Monday, August 4, 2008

No simple answers

I was recently reading Mormon 8 in The Book of Mormon. Verses 38-39 really stuck out to me. They read:

"Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies–because of the praise of the world?
"Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by you, and notice them not?"

These are words for our day (Moroni, who is writing here, says so). It seems that often in The Book of Mormon one of the key signs that a society is ripe in iniquity is when they no longer care for the needy.

I have great appreciation for all the work the LDS church does in humanitarian efforts. I'm happy to contribute because I know that there is very little overhead and the majority of donations actually help the needy. However, it is too easy for me to have an "I gave at the office" kind of mentality (but in this case, "I gave at church"). I know there are things in my own community and neighborhood which could benefit from my efforts and contributions.

So many things to ponder: How to get started? How to keep a balance? How to not feel overwhelmed before I even begin? At what point does "helping" the needy turn into paternalism or enabling people to not be self sufficient. Who can/should judge that fine line? What, if any, role should the government play? Can you legislate charity (in the real sense, not the post-New Deal sense) and compassion? If those in a position to help don't choose to share their wealth should "we the people" vote to force them to share? What does it say about a society if people don't care for those in need? I have some opinions but too often my answers to these questions conflict with one another. There are no simple answers...

1 response(s):

Corrie said...

That's a great scripture.
I read two days ago in Alma 34 that our prayers are in vain and availeth us nothing if we don't have charity. That one affected me more than usual this time around.