Mine started today also (about 7pm est). funny thing is I can open a pic etc and send a message through gallery and add text message but I just can't directly open the app with the icon or check incoming messages. Nice to know its not just me and probably a bug, however, waiting for a fix is nuts. Do better Verizon; we pay you more than enough!
I am in Easter North Carolina and I am having the very same issue described above. I have done everything suggested to no avail. I, too, do not want to lose my messages. I have very important information in my messages and therefore, do not want to lose them.