This article raises many questions. I will start the conversation by raising a
few.Bishop Caussé asks, "How do we fly to the relief of the
poor and needy wherever the church is being established?" I would ask why
are we only concerned about the poor and needy where the church is being
established? Why aren’t we concerned about the relief of the poor and
needy wherever they exist?Bishop Caussé says "welfare is
based on the observance of the laws of tithing and of the fast." Why is
that I ask? I don't believe Jesus taught that, but rather taught that we
should all be charitable at all times and under all circumstances. Is he saying
that if recipients don’t believe in fasting and tithing then we
shouldn't help them? Bishop Caussé states "the
beneficiaries of welfare participate through their work and service."
Although desirable, I don’t see any scriptural basis for this requirement.
What if welfare beneficiaries are unable to work or serve? Isn't the idea
of expecting a quid pro quo for receiving charity somewhat unchristian?
Continuing, Bishop Causse predicates aide upon local priesthood leaders being
available to mete out the aid. What if local priesthood leaders are not present
or available in an area where severe need exists? Based upon the fifth
principle, those people would appear to be out of luck.
To my friend Wastintime: 1) We in fact do care about the poor and
needy wherever they exist. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has
provided critical disaster relief aide in countries such as Iran, Pakistan,
Turkey, China and in many places throughout Africa. The Church has a very
limited presence in these places. And its members contribute charitably as
well. Not all of the Church's efforts are made public. In my past
observations, very few of the people who receive Church assistance actually
attend its meetings and many are not members; it is classic and complete
charity. 2) The laws of tithing and the fast enable Latter-day
Saints to better support and care for the poor and needy. This is clearly the
case in my view. We should keep in mind that it is fine and well to
belittle others' charitable efforts, but let's understand that if the
Church and its members did not support these efforts, there is not someone else
there waiting to help. These are charitable efforts and successes where there
would be none otherwise.
Continuing those points... 3) A. If unable, that's fine. B.
Not necessarily. Encouraging work and service for others is a great way to allow
people to pay back when they have no other means. The situation mentioned in
the Philippines is a great example. This can allow people to build new skills
and relationships that can assist them in becoming more self-reliant later on.
4) That's right (of course though, see the examples in reply
1). That is in part why the Church seeks to expand, so that there are local
leaders available to serve in more places. The Church works to uplift
spiritually, and temporally--when and where there are insufficiencies.
It's not easy or simple work, and resources are finite--but they are trying
hard to serve in the most important ways.
I am the Welfare Specialist for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
in the Europe Area. Your confusion about the terminology used in these talks is
very common and leads to big misunderstandings. In Mormon jargon there is
a difference between "WELFARE" (which is an internal program offering
aid to members of the church: it is funded by fast offerings and administered by
local church leaders) and "HUMANITARIAN AID" which is help freely given
to all in need throughout the world, regardless of membership. In fact,
virtually ALL of LDS Church HUMANITARIAN AID goes to non-members. It is
completely funded by freewill donations to the Church from members and friends
of the church and is administered by full-time senior missionary couples who pay
their own living expenses and receive no salary. We as a church have spent
millions of dollars providing non-members with free medical care, immunizations,
clean water, wheelchairs, seeds and rootstock, and hundreds of other free
services and items to improve their living conditions.
If you would like to read more about HUMANITARIAN Aid, go to LDS.org and search
for "Humanitarian Service." You will find great descriptions and photos
from hundreds of projects.Elder Causse was talking about WELFARE, aid
given to church members: thus teaching them to pay tithing and fast offerings is
appropriate. ALL church members in the world have leaders with the
responsibility to be aware of and minister to their needs as covenant members so
it is appropriate for their aid to be adminitered by those local leaders, like
Relief Society presidents and bishops. One of the goals of the WELFARE system
is to help individuals and families become self-reliant. By working and
serving, they are better able to follow the example of Jesus and charitably help
others. So, WELFARE is NOT Humanitarian Aid. There are different, but
reasonable, guidelines for each.
Thank you 1Reader for responding to my questions. Clearly the subject of
charity is not as interesting and important to most DN readers and posters as,
say, same-sex marriage, but I think it very important.I substantially
agree with everything you said except your statement that "not all of the
Church's efforts are made public." Applying Occam's Razor and
observing the Church's mega PR and self-promotion efforts (including
wearing bright yellow vests when performing community service), I think all
material aide is touted in one venue or another. I think we can agree,
that the welfare principles followed by the Church function such that the bulk
of the welfare is provided in the richest countries on earth (where most
members reside) rather than in the poorest countries (where it is perhaps most
needed). I can't help but wonder what areas Jesus would concentrate on if
he were here? Hypothetically speaking, I would like to think that a
church that professes to be the only true and correct church on earth would
focus on malnourished children in places like the Congo, Zimbabwe, Burundi,
etc., rather than on acquiring more farmland in the San Joaquin valley.
rhstay, thank you for your comments. According to the article, the theme of the
conference was "The church and humanitarian assistance" so it was a bit
confusing that the speaker (and the article) covered WELFARE and not
HUMANITARIAN assistance.Now that we've cleared up the
nomenclature, I think it is still fair to say that the bulk of the assistance
(in value), by whatever name, is occurring in rich rather than poor countries.
Would you disagree with that? While we have you, I have a question
that has bothered me for a while. Some time ago I was reveiwing the public
financial statements filed by the UK Church and noticed that the Humanitarian
Assisitance donated by UK members was not all being expended by the UK Church
(but was being loaned to the US Church). Of course the US Church does not
disclose its financials so we have no idea where that money went or whether it
has ever been expended on Humanitarian Aide. Do you have any insight for us on
All I can say is Ah-men!Thank You for FINALLY calling good
Latter-Day Saints such as Bishop Caussé and Pres. Uchtdorf, and not
perpetuating the false assumption that all Mormons are from Utah and vote
Republican!Yes, Social Justice and Socialism is alive and well and
lived everyday by good Latter-Day Saints.
Pt 1.Not to be too picky, welfare is how we deliver humanitarian aid to church
members. Bishop Causse, as a member of the presiding bishopric, is directly
concerned with directing dedicated funds to those members. Sharon Eubank,
director of LDS Charities / Humanitarian Services, and Robert Hokanson, manager
of major initiatives for LDS Humanitarian Services, focused more on assistance
to non-members. Seems logical to me that they spoke on their direct
responsibilities.The last fact sheet I received (2011) says "From 1985
to 2011, LDS Charities provided more than $1.4 billion in assistance to nearly
30 million people in 179 countries." I have not seen any totals for welfare
assistance, but I do know that many non-members receive welfare assistance
through the LDS bishop over their geographical location so, technically, totals
for non-member assistance is probably far greater.
Pt. 2 I believe that ALL donations to Humanitarian work in every country are
first sent to Salt Lake, pooled and then redistributed out to meet needs. Fast
offerings in excess of local need are also sent into Church Headquarters. NONE
of the developed, rich, western nations get back as much as they donate: that
would be absurd when the need in the developing world is so much greater.
Having just been in Africa and the Balkans, I can personally assure you that
there are far greater needs there than anywhere in the UK.
@rhstayRegarding your Pt.2 above, you said "I believe that ALL
donations to Humanitarian work in every country are first sent to Salt Lake,
pooled and then redistributed out to meet needs."According the
the Church's UK subsidiary's financial statements, this first started
happening in January 2011. If you examine Note 8 to the financial statements
(which are disclosed publicy and are easily accessable online) for the years
prior to 2011, you will see that for years prior to 2011 the UK brought in a
lot, but expended little. For example, in 2008, GBP 453K was contributed and
GBP 12K was expended. In 2009, GBP 344K was contributed and GPB 11K was
expended. There are issues associated with this new practice of
transferring the money to Salt Lake. 1) The Church's Great Britain
subsidiary is a separate legal entity and is legally required to expend
(itself) the Humanitarian funds contributed to it for Humanitarian relief.
Sending it to Salt Lake only to have to send it back someday seems inefficient
and unnecessary givien that people are starving in the world today. 2)
Secrecy - Sending the money to SLC reduces trasnparency greatly since the US
Church does not report in its activities.
If I were poor widow Brown living in the UK and considering how best to help
other poor people with the small mite that I have to contribute, it would give
me serious pause to know that money donated to my local church will be swept up
and transferred to Salt Lake City where who knows what happens to it next. In
that situation I think I would just donate to my local Salvation Army.
1aggie,If you are poor widow Brown concerned about where your mite
is going, you are of course free to donate it directly to the poor. By donating
it to a church, you are showing faith and trust in the ability of the leaders to
see that the money goes where it needs to, whether it's to the other poor
people in the UK or the other poor people in Polynesia. We are not to be
respecters of persons, though we do often feel closer to those in our sight.
@ Danny ChipmanI believe being 'no respecter of persons'
entails giving freely to ALL in need rather than delegating the decision making
to somebody else. I wonder what Jesus would have counseled his disciples to
do... help the poor directly or give their money to the Pharisees to distribute
as they see fit?And as we all know, many church leaders of many of
the world's churches in the past have proven to be fallible human beings.
1Aggie and Danny Chipman,One fact you have omitted from
consideration is that (according to the published financials) UK contributions
made to the Humanitarian Fund sat there unspent for years before being
transferred to the USA. So for example, suppose a UK member was
moved by the 6.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the Democratic Republic of the
Congo on Feb. 3, 2008 (which killed 500 people and left many homeless) and
donated 10K to the Humanitarian Fund. That money sat there for years while
people in the Congo suffered. That fact alone would destroy my faith and trust
in the ability of leaders to see that my money is being used where and when