The Church states new emphasis of caring for the poor.

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December 10, 2009 by Thailer Snow Bushman

I’m very excited for this and I’m looking forward to the lessons and programs that will becoming out of this. One thing that I hope wont be passed up is the question “Why are they poor?” If we really truly want to combat poverty we will have look at the root of the problem and act from there.

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15 thoughts on “The Church states new emphasis of caring for the poor.

  1. The Mike says:

    I’m pretty pumped for this new addition to the mission of the church. It helps clarify what Monson’s goal is as president of the church, he wants to be the charity/service president.

  2. Ron Madson says:

    Great! The question as to the “why” we have the poor and needy will hopefully be addressed consistent with King Benjamin’s address…”we are all beggars..”

  3. James says:

    What an exciting announcement! I love to watch the progression of the Church. I feel like President Monson stands as someone who epitomizes practicing what we preach.

    I hope that this will facilitate a membership who begins to look beyond “paying a generous fast-offering” as the sole way of caring for the poor and needy. I hope it also helps to break down the seemingly prevalent attitude that the “poor are poor because they are lazy,” and confronts the rat-race, dog-eat-dog world that we live in.

  4. they are so silly. Love and persuasion was not His way of doing things, but rather coercion. why ask people to be charitable when the higher path is to force them to be charitable. the Gov is much smarter. Safety nets, welfare programs, social security… Don’t even give the membership the choice. just take it.

  5. Jami says:

    I think the Perpetual Education Fund is the perfect solution to the root problem of poverty. Microloans are also beneficial.

  6. Joseph says:

    mormonbastiard,

    As always, I appreciate your views, and I am glad you contribute because I am a strong believer in open discourse. In this case, however, I am confused by the sarcasm and its implications. Nowhere in this post is coercion promoted and love and persuasion denounced. The post simply celebrates the fact that President Monson, well-known as a real people-person and humanitarian, is adding extra emphasis to caring for the poor, going so far as to elevate it to a clearly stated mission of the LDS Church. It seems to be an indication that more “persuasion” is going to happen in that direction. If

    In terms of the root cause of poverty, it is already clearly stated in LDS scripture:
    “But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.”

    Jami,

    I agree the the Perpetual Education Fund is a wonderful program, but your claims for it go beyond what any church leader has made for it. I also have been following Muhammad Yunus for years and feel he has certainly done a great work in alleviating poverty, and he certainly was deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize. But even he does not claim that it addresses the “root problem” of poverty, or that it is a cure-all (http://www.democracynow.org/2008/2/12/nobel_laureate_and_banker_to_the). Just a step.

  7. Joseph says:

    * “it” in the last paragraph meaning “microloans.”

  8. Jami says:

    So, Joseph, are you saying that D&C 49:20 is the answer to the root problem of poverty? I appreciate any elaboration.

  9. Thailer says:

    D&C 104:18 show us what is the root of the problem.

    14 I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.
    15 And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.
    16 But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low.
    17 For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.
    18 Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.

  10. Joseph says:

    I re-read through my comment, and confirmed that I did state that Doctrine and Covenants 49:20 describes the “root cause” of poverty, not it’s solution. The scripture Thailer quotes above comes closer to discussing solutions, but details for how to accomplish this could still be debated. For many years this debate was shut down in the LDS Church because of communist paranoia resulting from the Cold War. I’m glad to see the discussion going again.

    The main point of my comment was that the sarcasm directed at the author of the post was uncalled for, because nothing was ever mentioned about coercion nor was love and persuasion disparaged.

    While I’m at it, though, I am going to give my 2 cents on the matter:
    If we are to take the scriptures seriously, it is just a cold hard fact that there is going to come a time when the Lord is going to say “Alright, you’ve had enough time to repent, your wealth is being taken from you and given to others more worthy of it.” Look to the Old Testament for times that it has happened in the past. And I personally agree with Woody Guthrie:

    “When the love of the poor will someday turn to hate
    When the patience of the workers gives way
    It’d be better for you rich
    if you’d never been born
    so they laid Jesus Christ in his grave”

    “Jesus Christ” – Woody Guthrie

    And quoting old Woody further (but sung by Billy Bragg)
    “They’ll take the money
    and spread it out equal
    just like the Bible and Prophets suggest”

    “Unwelcome Guest” – Billy Bragg

    Oh, and one more Woody Guthrie, this time sung by Wilco:

    “The only way
    we can ever beat
    the crooked politician men
    is to drive the money changers
    out of the temple
    put the Carpenter in”

    “Christ for President” – Wilco

  11. Forest Simmons says:

    Jami,

    I hope that you don’t feel your voice has been smothered. I personally believe that the perpetual education fund is a great step in the direction of “from each according to his ability, and to each according to his needs,” which is not just a socialist slogan, but is found throughout all of the standard works in various versions.

    For example in the Book of Mosiah we find both Alma and King Benjamin independently formulating this motto:

    Mosiah 4: 26 And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.

    Mosiah 18: 27 And again Alma commanded that the people of the church should impart of their substance, every one according to that which he had; if he have more abundantly he should impart more abundantly; and of him that had but little, but little should be required; and to him that had not should be given.

    The touchy part is what Joseph alluded to at the end of his last post. How is this to be implemented?

    We know that the Lord respects the agency of man, yet he will not let the blood of the innocent women and children (who have died because of the selfishness of the war profiteers and other entrenched super rich and powerful) always cry from the dust without eventually being heard.

    As Thailer pointed out from D&C 104, none of it really belongs to man in the first place; if the Lord wants to redistribute it, it is his to redistribute.

    Moroni says that we have robbed the poor by our fine clothing and fine sanctuaries. Inasmuch as we rob one of the least of them, we rob the Lord.

    In fact, according to Malachi we rob the Lord by withholding our offerings, and we cannot expect to escape the fiery consumation decreed if we don’t repent.

    So there are consequences for withholding the wealth that we control (not “our” welath) from the poor. Does this compromise our free agency? No more than consequences for any other kind of robbery compromises our free agency.

  12. Forest Simmons says:

    Most people, not just Mormons, are extremely ignorant about hiow the rich rob the poor. Nephi, Jacob, Moroni, etc. saw it clearly, but we read the Book of Mormon over and over again without seeing it because we are willfully blind for the most part.

    Just one tiny example. When Mormon tells us that the Nephites stopped having all things common among them, he gives the reason:

    24 And now, in this *two hundred and first year there began to be among them those who were lifted up in pride, such as the wearing of costly apparel, and all manner of fine pearls, and of the fine things of the world.
    25 And from that time forth they did have their goods and their substance no more common among them.

    It was the pride of the rich, not the laziness of the poor. But listen to any gospel doctrine class when the subject is brought up: “How can we keep from getting scammed by the lazy poor people?”

    Here’s a link to a tiny window into what Moroni saw about the rich robbing the poor in our day:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/scahill12182009.html

  13. Forest Simmons says:

    The question remains: How do we get the rich to stop robbing the poor?

    Each of us can stop our self from robbing the poor if we make a conscious and informed effort. I suggest that when we buy clothing made in sweat shops, when we support union busting corporations, when we buy things that we don’t really need instead of making a more generous fast offering, when we support the billionaire bailouts and the war mongers, etc. then we are robbing the poor.

    Is there anyway that we can change the system before Jesus comes back and sets things aright like he did for the society we read about in 4th Nephi?

    There is power in numbers, so the church can make a difference. That is one reason this announcement of increased emphasis on helping the needy is so heartening.

    But we have also been told not to sit around waiting to be commanded in all things.

    Is it possible to approximate the Law of Consecration and Stewardship in a secular democratic setting? Or do we just have to be content with capitalism until the second coming?

    What say ye?

  14. Joseph,

    Despite the sarcasm I am sincerely thrilled that the Church has added emphasis to helping the poor. My sarcasm is towards the fact that whereas the Church encourages and pleads with us to be charitable, progressives and socialists (as I understand the term) would force us to be so.

    I was originally approached by Mr. W. VanWagenen about this publication and thrilled by his emphasis on anarchism and the principles that follow Joseph Smith’s headliner. I have since been surprised by the actual content and seeming contradictions (see articles on forced redistribution).

    I still learn much from all of you here at the MW, which is why I keep coming back. Perhaps I will someday find what I’m lacking in understanding and thus the contradictions will become contradictions no more.

  15. Joseph says:

    mormonbastiard,

    I understand your concerns, and I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers. I was just pointing out that the comment seemed out of place with the post. I realize in other places of this blog and in the Mormon Worker redistribution of wealth is discussed, but I didn’t see that in this post. I do think caution should be used in assuming that everyone associated with the Mormon Worker agrees with every article or post written for the paper or the blog. But I do appreciate the concerns you raise.

    Forest,

    Having read Nibley’s Approaching Zion at the impressionable age of 18, I definitely believe that we not only should, but are under covenant, to live a more “law of consecration” type life. You sound like you have gotten closer to this than I have been able to do. But I definitely do not believe we should just sit around and wait to be “commanded in all things.” Babylon’s economy is gonna crash sometime, and the more prepared we are for that the better (I’m hardly prepared at all). Just my thoughts.

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