Quantcast

Comments about ‘Bishop Caussé shares church welfare principles at LDS International Society conference’

Return to article »

Published: Tuesday, April 8 2014 11:55 a.m. MDT

Comments
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Wastintime
Los Angeles, CA

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?

Wastintime
Los Angeles, CA

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.

1Reader
Sunnyvale, CA

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.

1Reader
Sunnyvale, CA

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.

rhstay
Frankfurt am Main, 00

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.

rhstay
Frankfurt am Main, 00

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.

Wastintime
Los Angeles, CA

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.

Wastintime
Los Angeles, CA

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 that?

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

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.

rhstay
Frankfurt am Main, 00

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.

rhstay
Frankfurt am Main, 00

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.

1aggie
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

@rhstay
Regarding 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.

1aggie
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

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.

Danny Chipman
Lehi, UT

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.

1aggie
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

@ Danny Chipman

I 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.

jmort
SLO, CA

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 needed.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments