Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Providing for those in need...We love doing it!

I recently was able to watch the NBC Rock Center episode about the Mormon Church. For the most part I thought they did a decent job. The media is getting better at sharing who we are as Mormons. One area where they spent some time was on the Mormon welfare efforts. Sometimes we are accused of being wealthy or even greedy. I always cringe a bit when I hear things like that. I thought this clip was nice in showing that all that we do (or industry, hard work, and growth) is aimed at helping each other to become self-reliant and return home to live with our Heavenly parents. All monies obtained and then spent by the Church are an effort towards those goals.

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To provide further evidence of our financial practices let me share my own experience. As an acting Bishop I have access to this system. Almost every week I am sending families in need to receive assistance. I pay mortgages, rent, and other bills. I have helped with funding medical procedures and rehab costs. From my little congregation of 300 in an area about 2 block by 4 blocks we spend thousands of dollars a year to help those in need. Most of this is financed by the members of the Church in the same geography through a monthly fast where they go for a 24hr period without eating. The money they saved from not eating they donate to a "fast offering" account that I can access to help others in the neighborhood (regardless of religious affiliation) who are in need.

Many of my LDS ward members give many times more than what they saved in food costs. It is amazing to see the generosity and equally humbling to sit and help families overcome financial difficulties. We have others in our congregation that we mobilize to help in finding jobs, creating budgets, obtaining education, and looking for ways to increase self-reliance.

Here is a nice article that covers some other areas the Church spends money to help those in need. If you feel so inclined you can even make a donation through the link.

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