Why do Mormons go out of their way to take care of their own and help others?

The CNN headline reads In Chinese town, quake shakes faith in school construction, 200 children were crushed to death in the collapse of a three story school. MSNBC.com reports that the U.S. Envoy to Myanmar is working to persuade them to allow aid in while fears are rising that thousands could starve to death. The Christian Science Monitor reports that the U.S. is On Track Toward Record Spring Tornadoes.

With all of these disasters around the world, I thought I would tackle the question of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and welfare, or as I like to call it "Caring for the hungry, thirsty, and naked." For a few years I lived in Clearfield and served as the Elders Quorum President (basically that is the individual concerned with the welfare both of material and spiritual needs for everyone in the local congregation between the ages of 18 to 50). The Bishop heard President Gordon B. Hinckley speak about living within your means and the Bishop felt inspired that living within our means included the congregations donations to fast offerings (money used by Bishops to help local members of the congregation during times of need).

In preparation of announcing this message to the congregation I was asked to prepare a lesson about welfare and fast offerings. I provide all of my scriptural references and a brief discussion about the scriptures quoted.

Abstract: Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints feel the need to follow the example of Jesus Christ by caring for the sick and needy and believe there are eternal blessings for those that give of their abundance for such noble purposes.

Jesus teaches caring for the needy and sick
We begin with the words of Jesus Christ as recorded in Matthew Chapter 25 versus 35 to 40. Christ has just talked about separating the goats from the sheep, it can be inferred that the sheep did what the King states:

“For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, an dye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
“Then shall the righteous answer him saying, Lord when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Mormon scripture explains why we care for others
Mormons believe these words of the Savior and follow his words by offering fast offerings once a month. Mormons believe in helping those and have recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants Section 104 versus 15 to 18 the following reason for caring.

“And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine. 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. 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.
“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.

I thought those were some tough words. But upon further reflection I realized that as an American I have been amply blessed with more than many others around the world. The good Bishop in Clearfield felt the same desire, he mentioned something to the effect that we lived in one of the wealthiest nations of the earth and he no longer wanted to take all of the welfare money, but his desire was to give welfare money to the worldwide Church to use in other countries. I feel I have been blessed and knowing what ten dollars a month will do in a third world country is amazing. Perhaps that is why in the afterlife an individual that doesn’t give to the poor and needy will be in torment, because of all the good that could have been done with their money while on earth.

Mormons understand giving up things for the good of others
Giving to the poor and needy is a law of the gospel. For Mormons the ideas of caring for the needy as spoken of by Jesus Christ are further identified in Doctrine and Covenants Section 42 versus 29-34 and versus 39-55. This is a long quote, but I will include it all and just highlight some of the important words of Jesus Christ.

“If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments. And behold, thou wilt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support that which thou hast to impart unto them with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken. And inasmuch as ye impart of your substance unto the poor, ye will do it unto me; and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church and his counselors, two of the elders, or high priests, such as he shall appoint or has appointed and set apart for that purpose.
“And it shall come to pass, that after they are laid before the bishop of my church, and after that he has received these testimonies concerning the consecration of the properties of my church, that they cannot be taken from the church, agreeable to my commandments, every man shall be made accountable unto me, a steward over his own property, or that which he has received by consecration, as much as is sufficient for himself and family. And again, if there shall be properties in the hands of the church, or any individuals of it, more than is necessary for their support after this first consecration, which is a residue to be consecrated unto the bishop, it shall be kept to administer to those who have not, from time to time, that every man who had need may be amply supplied and receive according to his wants.
“Therefore, the residue shall be kept in my storehouse, to administer to the poor and needy, as shall be appointed by the high council of the church, and the bishop and his council.

“For it shall come to pass, that which I spake by the mouths of my prophets shall be fulfilled; for I will consecrate of the riches of those who embrace my gospel among the Gentiles unto the poor of my people who are of the house of Israel. And again, thou shalt not be proud in thy heart; let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hands; And let all things be done in cleanliness before me.
“Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer. And whosoever among you are sick, and have not faith to be healed, but believe, shall be nourished with all tenderness, with herbs and mild food, and that not by the hand of an enemy. And the elders of the church, two or more, shall be called, and shall pray for and lay their hands upon them in my name; and if they die they shall die unto me, and if they live they shall live unto me.
“Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection. And it shall come to pass that those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them; And they that die not in me, wo unto them, for their death is bitter. And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed. He who hath faith to see shall see. He who hath faith to hear shall hear. The lame who hath faith to leap shall leap. And they who have not faith to do these things, but believe in me, have power to become my sons; and inasmuch as they break not my laws thou shalt bear their infirmities.
“Thou shalt stand in the place of thy stewardship. Thou shalt not take thy brother’s garment; thou shalt pay for that which thou shalt receive of thy brother. And if thou obtainest more than that which would be for they support, thou shalt give it into my storehouse, that all things may be done according to that which I have said.

Just two quick notes: I love the statements being idle and not wearing the garments of the laborer – Mormons believe people should be working. I also love the statement about that sick being nourished with all tenderness and not by the hand of an enemy.

Mormons donate time and money today
Currently Mormons do not give all of their property to the Church; members usually donate time or money. I’ve often thought I don’t have enough to give and I often think of a parable Jesus Christ taught, I use the words of Mark in chapter 12 versus 41 to 44.

“And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
“And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Mormons understand that giving must be done in wisdom
The question that comes to mind after reading this is: “What can you and I give?” Mormons understand that you don’t have to give everything, but of our abundance we can certainly spare a little. Don’t eat out one month and donate it as a fast offering. The words written in Mosiah chapter 4 versus 26 to 28 apply here.

“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.
“And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.
“And I would that ye should remember, that whosever among you borroweth of his neighbor should return the thing that he borroweth, according as he doth agree, or else thou shalt commit sin; and perhaps thou shalt cause thy neighbor to commit sin also.

Sign of the true church of God – Caring for the poor
I like the idea that retaining a remission of your sins day to day that we should impart of our substance to the poor. There is something about gratitude when we take care of others. This service to the poor is a sign of the true church of God. In Matthew chapter 11 versus 2 to 6 we can read:

“Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and she John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosever shall not be offended in me.

Who deserves care more than those at the bottom? I can’t think of anyone more deserving of care than those mentioned by Jesus. I also like that last comment blessed is he that is not offended. I think about this because sometimes people have difficulty receiving help. I have come to believe that there are certain seasons of life. Sometimes we are in the position to contribute to the communal stew and other times we are in the position to accept the stew "in all tenderness... and not at the hand of an enemy". I don’t think people need feel guilty or bad about accepting help.

Mormons believe work is central to the creation of humankind
I am not sure how I feel about idlers, but I think most members of the church recognize there are some that take advantage, and it is up to the bishops of the church to determine the correct course of action for each person requesting assistance. As Mormons, we believe that hard work is a central part of this life. In Genesis chapter 3 versus 17 to 19 we read:

“And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for they sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Commandment to rich and poor – Be Humble
Working for our own sustenance is a good thing. And caring for the poor and needy is a great thing. We can see the commandment to both the rich and the poor in Doctrine and Covenants section 56 versus 16 to 19. How strange that both those giving and those receiving need a commandment to be humble, to share, and to work.

“Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation, and of judgment, and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved!
“Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men’s goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands!
“But blessed are the poor who are pure in heart, whose hearts are broken, and whose spirits are contrite, for they shall see the kingdom of God coming in power and great glory unto their deliverance; for the fatness of the earth shall be theirs. For behold, the Lord shall come and his recompense shall be with him, and he shall reward every man, and the poor shall rejoice;

I love the end statement here “the Lord shall come and his recompense shall be with him”.

Mormons believe joy is promised to those that share
In the end, while some of the scriptures have strong language about hell and not being saved. The majority of Mormons are motivated by more than fear of some future punishment. Instead, most Mormons are motivated today by a hope of joy. In Doctrine and Covenants section 11 versus 6 to 14 describe a view common to many Mormons.

“Now, as you have asked, behold, I say unto you, keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion. Seek not for riches but for wisdom; and, behold, the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold, he that hath eternal life is rich. Verily, verily, I say unto you, even as you desire of me so it shall be done unto you; and, if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation.
“Say nothing but repentance unto this generation. Keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed. Behold, thou hast a gift, or thou shalt have a gift if thou wilt desire of me in faith, with an honest heart, believing in the power of Jesus Christ, or in my power which speaketh unto thee; For, behold, it is I that speak; behold, I am the light which shineth in darkness, and by my power I give these words unto thee. And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good – yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy; And then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.

In conclusion, the welfare of those in China, Myanmar, tornado alley and other locations around the world are receiving assistance from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For Mormons caring for the needy is part of their religious beliefs. For that reason, Mormons take care of their own and others.


By Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

There is a law to follow,
With a punishment affixed.
There’s poison you can swallow,
Though with truth it may be mixed.

If we break the rules in life,
While knowing what is right,
We find sorrow, guilt, and strife,
And weep through lonely night.

Yet, suffering comes to everyone,
Resulting from the fall.
We conquer this through God’s own son,
Who has endured it all.

The devil wants to cloud our mind,
So we'll think God’s love is lacking.
He distracts us from the perfect plan.
As his demons are attacking.

Remember the message that has been sent,
While sin does bring grief and sorrow,
All suffering is not punishment,
And, in God’s time, gets fixed tomorrow.


By Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

This life is like a courtroom,
And we have a role to play.
Like the pattern in a weavers loom,
We’ll leave our mark today.

Some pass sentence very early,
And from their stance don’t budge.
Yet, we’re to be a witness purely,
Letting Jesus be the judge.

You see, we'll all be weighed,
In the balance that is just,
Using good works we have made,
While clothed with mortal dust.

We’ll be judged by the way that we love,
How we’re loved doesn't mater so much.
As we follow the Savior above,
He can heal us with his gentle touch.

The Horrible Monster


Here is a little more inspiration and humor for you…

In the world, there was a horrible monster. All of the good people gathered together to fight against the monster. The longer the good people did battle with the monster the more they became like the monster and the stronger the dark power of the monster grew. When they saw the effect of their efforts, the good people stopped fighting and tried to show the monster kindness and compassion. The good people hoped to limit it's evil power and win the fight in this way. Unfortunately, the monster did not weaken or change its course and only killed the good people in larger numbers.

The good people, who were near despair, at this time remembered God and his promises. The good people realized that they had to do the best they could to fight the monster and defend their families while at the same time avoiding the tendency to become like the monster. The good people realized that even God will not force the monster to change, and yet, God has promised, that while the monster will continue to be evil, some day, He will keep the monster away from the good people forever. To receive this blessing the good people needed to oppose the monster without becoming one. The good people realized that the challenge before them, was to win the battle, while at the same time, following the laws of God and the direction of his spirit. The good people gained courage, because they remembered God's promise that if they have faith in him, that he will fight their battles for them and deliver them from the horrible monster.

Moroni 9:6 "And now, my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God."

1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"

I hope that you have a wonderful day!


-Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

P.S. Knock Knock
Who's There?
Impatient Cow
Impatient C...

My wonderful Mom


Here is a little more inspiration and humor for you…

When we were camping, Mom would never forget to enjoy a sunset, and she always marveled at the beauty of flowers. One of my favorite memories of her is her ability to enjoy the beauties of nature as we were walking along the trail. Once there was some Indian paintbrush that was all different colors, and she decided to collect a variety of shades. In the end she had a huge bouquet of Indian paintbrush, going from pale yellow all the way through deep red, with each exact shade there in order. She was just happy as she walked along that little trail and observed the beauty of nature and the works of God. She taught me to enjoy those same things. I am able to respect our Father in Heaven and his love, and to appreciate the power and majesty that he has in his hand. My mom taught me that. I never realized that I had learned all of these lessons in such subtle ways.

When there are eight children in a family it is sometimes difficult to get individual attention. But whenever I was feeling discouraged or I needed a little bit of support, I would find some treats or something tucked away especially for me. I can remember one day I came home from a difficult day at school and went down to my bedroom and there was a plate of cookies and a note from my mother. I will never forget that. It was such a surprise to go in there and be able to read that note and feel of her love for me. She was able to do that every time that I needed her. She would always take the time to talk with me. With eight children, she couldn't give me all of her attention, but she knew when I needed it.

One time I was throwing fruit at cars. A man stopped his car and came and told what I had done. I thought I was in for it. My mom just took me inside and sat me on the bed and talked to me. Then she just left and made me sit there and think about it for quite a while. It was better than any punishment that she could have given.

I am very thankful for my mother's prayers. She still prays for me. I will always remember waiting for her in the celestial room after receiving the endowment at the Salt Lake Temple. I was reflecting upon the meaning of things, and I just felt a great urgency to see her. I remember when she came into the room I embraced my mother and cried tears of joy for such a wonderful person in my life and such a great teacher.

I love my Mom.

I hope that you have a wonderful day!


-Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

P.S. Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Duane, who?
Duane the bathtub I'm drowning.

Loving one another


Here is a little more inspiration and humor for you…

I went and visited my Grandma (On my Mothers Side) shortly before she died and talked about a book that she helped to create. She was going to give a copy of it to each of her children. I read part of the book to my Grandma. I finished by reading a poem someone had written as a tribute about her father. The poem talked about the dignity with which he lived his life. His wife had preceded him in death many years before, and at the end of the poem it talked about the happy reunion that they must have had when he passed away. This was especially touching because my Grandpa passed away 15 years ago and grandma had lived her life with the same dignity and grace spoken of in the poem. It was beautiful! We both cried as I read the end. I love my Grandma and admire her for living alone and not having the best of health and still she continued to go forward in faith loving each and every one of her children and grandchildren. She has since passed away and I know that there was a very happy reunion when her and her husband saw one another again.

My Grandmother (On my Father's Side) passed away several years ago and my Grandfather has also set such a great example for me. He is 90 years old and he still travels around loving and spending time with his family. He is a great example to me and there will be another happy reunion for he and my Grandmother when he passes away. Here is a poem that my Grandmother (On my Father's Side) wrote to my Grandpa who is still living.

"So rapidly have the years flown by,
Today they have reached thirty-seven.
And a temple marriage long ago
Will keep us together in heaven.

There are so many words to use,
Like happiness, bliss and more,
But one word sums up life for me,
It's 'you' whom I adore.

We have been wed so many years,
It's more then half my life,
But I'm grateful to my Heavenly Father
That you made me your wife.

Our marriage craft has sailed along
On stormy seas and calm,
But we've always weathered the strongest blow.
Our love has healing balm.

The two years that we spent apart
Were lonesome it is true,
But contentment came with our first babe,
For she was part of you.

(Grandpa was in the Military during World War II
and this is the reason for the two years of separation.
Because of the war, he was not see his first-born daughter
until she was Four Months old.)

And over the years as babies came
Their number grew to seven.
As our love and faith grow stronger still
we know they came from Heaven.

We have shared much joy and gladness,
Sorrow too has come our way.
But always with you beside me,
There is peace when we kneel to pray.

May our years together go on forever
For this love will never die.
Our marriage for time and eternity
Has sealed together you and I."

May the Lord bless us all of us as we try to take care of one another.

I hope that you have a wonderful day!


-Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

P.S. Sometimes there is disorder in the Court…

Funny Law Court Transcripts

These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are
things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now
published by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm while
these exchanges were actually taking place.
Q: What is your date of birth?
A: July 15th.
Q: What year?
A: Every year.
Q: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
A: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
Q: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
A: Yes.
Q: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
A: I forget.
Q: You forget? Can you give us an example of something that you've
Q: How old is your son, the one living with you?
A: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
Q: How long has he lived with you?
A: Forty-five years.
Q: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo or the
A: We both do.
Q: Voodoo?
A: We do.
Q: You do?
A: Yes, voodoo.
Q: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his
sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
A: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
Q: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?
Q: Were you present when your picture was taken?
Q: She had three children, right?
A: Yes.
Q: How many were boys?
A: None.
Q: Were there any girls?
Q: How was your first marriage terminated?
A: By death.
Q: And by whose death was it terminated?
Q: Can you describe the individual?
A: He was about medium height and had a beard.
Q: Was this a male, or a female?
Q: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice
which I sent to your attorney?
A: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
Q: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
A: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.
Q: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
A: Oral.
Q: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
A: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
Q: And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time?
A: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy.

Santa’s Claws


Here is some inspiration and humor for you…

How grateful I am for my wife. A few years ago at Christmas time she helped me understand some very confusing things! For instance, we were at Grandma and Grandpa's house and my Daughter pointed to a Mrs. Clause doll on the shelf and said, "That's Mrs. Scratch." "Mrs. Scratch? Where did she get that from?" I asked my wife. "Well, it makes sense, if her husbands name is Santa Claws." Replied my wife.

I hope that you have a wonderful day!


-Appreciable Goodfaithpoet

P.S. A man was recently placed under arrest and taken to prison. When he reached the prison and was in his cell with his cell-mate, one of the prisoners on the cell-block shouted "Seventy-Two" after this everyone started laughing hysterically. The new prisoner was puzzled and asked his cell-mate what it was all about. "We have this old joke book that has been passed around the prison so many times that we all have it memorized. We just shout out the number of the joke instead of telling it." Replied his cell mate. The new prisoner asked if he could read the book. After he got the joke book he spent the next month committing all of the jokes to memory. Finally he decided to try telling one of the jokes from the book. That afternoon after lunch when everything was quiet on the cell-block he shouted, "Forty-three." No one laughed. The new prisoner turned to his cell mate and asked, "Why wasn't joke Forty-three funny?" His cell-mate replied, "That is a funny one, but, it's all in the delivery, I guess some people can tell a joke well and some people just can't."