The best treatment for economic, social, health and environmental problems facing the nation is "a renewed commitment to caring and sharing," a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Saturday.
Speaking at the annual convention of the Utah Lions clubs, Richard P. Lindsay commended the Lions and other voluntary service organizations."No one can make one person care for another," he said. "Without a sense of greater human concern and a greater commitment to our fellowmen, scapegoating in our society will increase, and social resentment may well explode.
"Racial strife, unemployment, greater suffering and divisiveness will inevitably result if we fail to meet the basic human needs of our time in a compassionate way," he said.
Lindsay lambasted self-gratification and "me-first" attitudes, and said they lead to unsatisfying, superficial relationships.
During a recent visit to the People's Republic of China, Lindsay said he received a greater appreciation for what many people take for granted in the United States.
"Among the many traditions of our own land that this experience helped me to cherish is the heritage and the blessing we enjoy as free citizens to voluntarily band together to meet many of the challenges we face in our free society," he said.
"It is impossible to imagine an American society without a spirit of voluntarism," said Lindsay. "The more that we do as a result of our own volition rather than someone else's, the freer we are."
Lindsay told the audience that citizen involvement is the key ingredient to make things happen in a community. He told of a survey in the small town of Moroni that was designed to determine the town's primary needs.
"Volunteers assisted in the distribution, collection and coding of the questionnaires," he said. From the data, community leaders identified eight major problems and projects needed to help make the town a better place to live. Once the needs were determined, the entire community pitched in to clean up the town, install an irrigation system and a new culinary water system, and build a new fire station.
Selfless service "can go a long way toward addressing the great political, economic and social problems of our time," said Lindsay.
"For this to happen, the psychology of affluence must give way to a new realism of expectation and a renewed emphasis on the social virtues of sharing, giving, committing, sacrificing and even forgetting or denying one's own pleasure for the moment."