Mormon bishop disguises himself as homeless man to teach congregation about compassion

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  • Primary Friend Marquette, MI
    Feb. 17, 2014 1:42 p.m.

    I'm surprised by the judgmental comments from church members about homeless/less fortunate people. We have a few people in our congregation (members and investigators) that look a little like that bishop. We also occasionally have strangers come to sacrament meeting looking like that. I don't know that they have been ignored, I have seen them greeted, and when appropriate, directed to the bishop or bishopric. If all they want is to ask for money there is a proper channel for that. We are here to help and to teach if they are willing to listen. If they are not, they probably won't be hanging around... there are easier ways to panhandle.

  • OneWifeOnly San Diego, CA
    Dec. 6, 2013 11:54 a.m.

    This article has stuck with me for days but the bishop and the author has provided the reader with literally no practical advice for how to deal with a homeless person. Literally last night a homeless person camped out in my driveway and this morning although he is gone, his stuff is in my front yard so he will be back. I want to do something for this man and in fact my husband and I have offered him a job working to tidy up our yard, pull weeds etc. Our offer seems to have been taken as an invitation to show up anytime day or night and live on our property. I am at a loss for what to do to help and still remain compasionate.

  • OK Mom Ardmore, OK
    Dec. 4, 2013 12:43 p.m.

    Let's see...major deception by one having spiritual stewardship resulting in feelings of shame by ward members; total annihilation of the reverence and purpose of Sacrament meeting; naive expectation that one should place themselves or their families at risk for potential harm in order to teach that we shouldn't judge others? What kind of idiocy is this? Has anyone read about Elizabeth Smart and how her experience began? Maybe this bishop should spend some time figuring out a meaningful ward service project, accomplished in a safe, supervised environment? I can't think of a single reason why this was a good idea. I am stunned...

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    Dec. 3, 2013 6:15 p.m.

    This man is my hero.

    Dec. 2, 2013 3:52 a.m.

    Legal Immigrant: Thank you for taking the concept of "free agency" and turning it into a tirade against the poor.

    Funny, I don't see anywhere in Christ's ministry where He withheld from the downtrodden for their "choices".

  • JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt Beverly Hills, CA
    Dec. 2, 2013 12:25 a.m.

    I think what this Bishop did was amazing.

    We as LDS and Christians can have a positive attitude toward the poor, sick and needy. Maybe we cannot help everyone in every instance but we can choose to have a good attitude in trying to help someone.

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    Dec. 1, 2013 10:11 p.m.

    KSL TV recently ran a series on our local panhandlers, most of whom were found to be addicts. By giving, we're actually enabling them and, in the end, making things worse. Might as well give them the pills and the booze.

    Help them out of the gutter. Don't encourage them to stay there.

    Nice stunt by a bishop who really isn't focused on the real problem, but got his five minutes of fame.

  • On the other hand Riverdale, MD
    Dec. 1, 2013 9:57 p.m.

    We have a homeless man in our ward; his name is George. His presence took some getting used to. He looks and smells homeless, but he does his best to be presentable given his limited resources. He spends much of his time at church sleeping on the sofa in the foyer, a testament to how basic his needs are. He does not beg while at church (I don't know if he begs elsewhere). He's a really gentle person with monumental challenges. He's been a member of the church a lot longer than he's been homeless. Life has been hard on him.

    The bishop makes sure George has food. It's my understanding that the ward tried to provide him with shelter for a time, but he preferred the streets to whatever arrangements had been made on his behalf (I don't know the details). By assignment, a ward member coordinates other assistance for George as needed. Many people have been called on to serve George in some small way. George may not be representative of all people who are or claim to be homeless, but we are blessed to have him in our ward.

  • Isaiah 1:15 Ogden, UT
    Dec. 1, 2013 9:50 p.m.

    Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just--

    18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

    19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

    22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.
    Mosiah 4:17-23

  • faith in deed Mesa, AZ
    Dec. 1, 2013 9:34 p.m.

    hope you'll consider coming into a mormon church on a Sunday and give it a chance, to see if you'll hear a few more messages of compassion.

    @Liberal Ted
    agreed... but we gotta have patience with those who don't know or don't trust the process. Many who are real down on their luck feel betrayed and think they can't trust anyone anymore, so they think they're better off just getting the cash in hand.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Dec. 1, 2013 12:49 p.m.

    @ liz

    "We need to be certain of our facts before making comments about where the money goes."

    What facts are you certain of Liz? Since the Church keeps all of its finances secret, you cannot be certain of any facts.

    All you really know is what somebody said, which of course is "hearsay". Hearsay is information gathered by one person from another person concerning some event, condition, or thing of which the first person had no direct experience nor can it be adequately substantiated. It is doubtful whether the person who made the statement you are relying on had direct knowledge either. "Double hearsay" is when a hearsay statement offered as evidence contains another hearsay statement.

    So your double hearsay regarding Church finances is pretty much meaningless to me.

  • ShmittyWitty Maple Valley, WA
    Nov. 30, 2013 10:46 p.m.

    I was treated similarly to what to how he was treated while attending a singles ward in Bellevue, WA. It really opened my eyes.

  • Declo 68 China, 00
    Nov. 30, 2013 7:07 p.m.

    These kinds of scenarios always leave me a little troubled. I am bothered because I may be the one avoiding the beggar and on the other hand I know from my law enforcement experience to use good judgment. After living in Washington DC area for six years and in China last year I think I learned something from many beggars. This is what I learned.

    Not all beggars are equal. Some are frauds and parasites while others are sincerely in need. How do I know the difference? Usually I don't. Brigham Young said, in essence, give to all so as not to miss the really needy person (Discourses, Brigham Young, p.274) or, "do all things in wisdom and order" Mosiah 4:27?

    I think the test is not in the beggar but in me. Why am I giving or not giving to the beggar? (I give not because I have not." Mosiah 4:24) In China, I decided if I couldn't make eye contact, smile and touch the person then I was giving for the wrong reason. I began privately looking forward to seeing beggars instead of seeing them as an interruption to my otherwise stellar performance as a human.

  • liz Littleton, CO
    Nov. 30, 2013 2:52 p.m.

    I have see several comments over the past few weeks about our tithe going to purchase the Florida property and paying for malls. This was answered quite well by a gentleman explaining that our tithe is used for church buildings, temples but not for malls and land for businesses. Those are funded by the profit from the other businesses run by the church, which also have a purpose, one being preparation for disasters and hard times. We need to be certain of our facts before making comments about where the money goes.

    Nov. 30, 2013 8:59 a.m.

    This is still a free country!
    Everyone has the right to exercise his God given agency!
    If you choose to be homeless then that is your own doing!
    If you choose to apply failure principles in your life, then you will most likely fail!
    If you choose to apply success principles you will most likely succeed and not be homeless!
    So spare me the phony sympathy for the "lees fortunate' in society!
    They made their choices now they must live with them!
    Actions have consequences!
    We already are being gouged to extremes by ever oppressive governments via forced extortive taxation, countless "social programs" to feed /house the homeless,/ eliminate poverty; yet this national disgrace continues to expand exponentially with no end in sight!

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Nov. 30, 2013 8:51 a.m.

    I actually have a great deal of respect for what this bishop did. Say what you will about the homeless - they do exist and they can't be ignored. My wife is such a great example to me of how we should feel and react toward those in desperation. Yes many homeless are on drugs and most use alcohol heavily. Many homeless are scam artists. However I wonder how each of us would react if we found ourselves in the same situation. My wife will always want to stop and give money to the guy on the side of the street at Christmas time or some food. A few weeks ago she gave a rather large food gift we received at a party to a homeless man on a cold October evening. I remember my first thoughts - oh boy let's not stop ...let's just drive by like everyone else... this guy is probably a scammer anyway. The man took the food and as I handed it to him out the window I could see the appreciation in his face.

  • LDS Alcoholic Phoenix, AZ
    Nov. 30, 2013 8:48 a.m.

    What Bishop Musselman makes me proud to be a member. It shows how he was trying very hard to teach his congregation that when you do it for the least you do it unto him. I know there is a dividing line and I have seen people abuse the Church and be dangerous and I won't ever give a beggar cash - offer to buy then what they say they want instead. I've also seen people join the church looking very scary and become leaders. As someone who has had difficulties with living the Gospel I really applaud his trying to teach compassion for those of our Heavenly Father's children who are more visibly spiritually sick.

  • formerSLCer Lawrence, KS
    Nov. 30, 2013 8:47 a.m.

    The varied responses to Bishop Musselman's keen experiment are not surprising. My experience with Church members, however, are unfortunately less positive and say a great deal more about some LDS members. (For the record, I myself am a gentile, I employed young members of the Church, and my sister was a convert.) For 12 years I managed a store across the street from Temple Square in what was then Crossroads Mall. I regularly opened early during Conference weekends so that visitors, foreign and American, could shop. One year, I don't remember whether it was spring or fall, a shoplifter took several items from our store. I tried to stop him, but he ran out onto S Temple and headed east toward Main St. Although I shouted "Help! Shoplifter!" several times, not one person who was standing in line to enter Temple Square moved to assist me. Not a single one! What did I learn about the LDS faith that day, I ask you?

  • Dadof5sons Montesano, WA
    Nov. 30, 2013 7:02 a.m.

    why am I not surprised? I had a family friend years ago come to church he was dressed like any other day as a hippy back in the 70's and a sister from the ward goes up to him and says "we don't dress like that here!" he never darkened the door of our church again. I have ever since encouraged people to come as you are. I would rather see people in jeans and t shirts then white shirts and ties. i would rather have people smell of cigaret smoke and stale booze and beer, then perfume and cologne. Is not the spirit we come to heal at church? how often have we judged a person just by the way they dress?

  • Mendel Iowa City, IA
    Nov. 30, 2013 3:30 a.m.

    I have not read all the comments, so I don't know whether this has been pointed out before: Did anyone offer to take the disguised bishop to the Bishop? The Bishop has resources to help and is a Judge in Israel.

  • Lasvegaspam Henderson, NV
    Nov. 30, 2013 1:08 a.m.

    The word "judge" has been hijacked in our day and its meaning contorted and confused. Hopefully, we all recognize who the author of confusion is. Our Lord tells us that we must learn to judge righteously. Case closed.

  • MaryannT ,
    Nov. 30, 2013 12:47 a.m.

    If my Bishop pulled a stunt like this, I would lose all trust in him. Not only was it dishonest, but he was actually setting a "trap" for his congregation. This is not a true principle for teaching people.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    Nov. 29, 2013 4:56 p.m.

    Reading many of you one would believe, if they didn't know better, that the Church never gives any money, service, shelter, ect to the needy in our world. The LDS Church has set up probably one of the best welfare systems in the world. One, which many governments would do well to copy. We, by giving our contributions as members do much to help people like that Bishop was pretending to be. Being generous with our time and money is not "proven" by whether or not we gave or even acknowledged a particular person at a particular time. If we did that at every opportunity, we'd have little time left for all the other responsibilities we have every day. This stunt did not prove anything about the LDS Church, its members, or any other organization out there, religious or otherwise.

  • m.g. scott clearfield, UT
    Nov. 29, 2013 4:29 p.m.

    And imagine if the Bishop had nothing but positive (as he sees it) reactions from all who came to Church that day. People would be accusing him of trying to make it look like Mormons are better people than all others. Yeah, that would have played well in the cynical mainstream media.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Nov. 29, 2013 4:23 p.m.

    I don't have near enough time to read all these posts, but in case you read mine, and no one has pointed it out, the LDS Church has discouraged us from giving money to panhandlers due to the fact that in most cases it solves nothing and likely exacerbates their problem. You see them often at or near General Conference. Imagine if everyone of the 10s of thousands of people attending Conference gave money to them. They would be millionairs by the time Conference was over. Is that really what would help the down and out? I don't think so. What did this Bishop expect his people to do? Offer to drive him to a homeless shelter? He wouldn't have gone if they had. Give a lot of money, when in fact the Church has fast offerings for such needs? As long as no member called the person an ugly name, or in some way assaulted the Bishop, I don't think any of his ward did anything wrong. It was a stunt, and I suspect he will be hearing from his Stake President, and or the General Authorities about it. It proved nothing.

  • CDCilley Chino Valley, AZ
    Nov. 29, 2013 3:37 p.m.

    I applaud Bishop Musselman for the inspiration that he received when he sought how to give a instruction to his ward.
    Reading these comments, I have to add something about judging. The lesson I have learned from my Heavenly Father is that His Judgements will not come until AFTER all the facts, occurrences, et al are in. Thinking on this I have determined for myself that I 'evaluate' the person using all my resources, the guidance of the Holy Spirit first, then my own experiences ... Even in our courts the judging comes after all the pros and cons of a case are considered, THEN comes the judging.
    Judging is a 'final' determination; evaluation of a person allows me to have more room for compassion. One of the main reasons we are here in mortality is to learn HOW to judge, so I don't judge until all the facts are in.
    We do NOT know all the circumstances surrounding any individual. So I refrain from judging and follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the scriptures, my own experiences, all of them.
    Didn't Christ say, "Judge not, that ye be not judged."

  • Chilover Riverside, CA
    Nov. 29, 2013 2:19 p.m.

    I can see so many sides to this. My son lives a homeless life. He is 25. I would want people, especially church members to be kind and receptive with him. I do know on the otherhand, that altho he wouldn't rob anyone, he does play on people's sympathies, just in his appearance alone. Money given to him may go for food/clothing/room or substances. He has a home/family to go to but chooses to make ask the world to support him. He isn't well. I can see how we would judge someone in that position, out of survival. I also see how we judge each other for our choices about judging him! I would want you to love my son, give him food but please don't give him money. Buy him what he needs, if you must. Many of the homeless are mentally ill. I wish the church had more help available to them. I wish I knew the answers. Pray for them and count your blessings!

  • upinIdaho idaho falls, ID
    Nov. 29, 2013 1:55 p.m.

    For a state that shouldn't have already forgotten the Elizabeth Smart incident, I find this an interesting article. People love to immediately embrace the "Do Not Judge" remarks. If you don't judge, you are opening yourself and others up to very dangerous situations.
    I don't think the message to all those young children present that day should be, "Hey that homeless guy is probably a loving, harmless Bishop in disguise"!
    We need to be loving, and judge righteously. Although he shouldn't be turned away, a very guarded welcome should have taken place. Due to plans for a scenario like this, we had plans as a Bishopric that someone would have immediately been assigned to welcome, assist, be there to answer questions, and ESCORT this man in a very loving manner.
    Since the Bishop was "absent", that would have fallen to the presiding counselor.
    If you think the people were un-Christlike that wanted to turn him away, take your children or grandchildren down to Pioneer Park and let them take a stroll all by themselves and then see if a guarded approach is unwarranted.

  • Ashley123 USA, UT
    Nov. 29, 2013 1:09 p.m.

    In my opinion, I think Mormons on the whole are judgmental about lots of things and for me, and in my experience, not very Christ like and not all that charitable to others, except within their own religion and church. I remember my husband's family coming back from church, and then all they talked about was golf, better cars and bigger homes. The church is really not like a church at all, just bunches of people pretty much saying the same thing over and over again. It was more like a social club.

    However, in this situation, I think I understand the lesson, but at the same time if anyone approaches me I will put safety first and then compassion second. Many homeless people have mental illness and substance abuse problems and you do not know how the will react. I have given money to many of them. I know where the money is going, and it is not for food, but I can understand about addictions and mental illness. Children are far more loving, caring and compassionate than adults, until adults teach them otherwise.

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    Nov. 29, 2013 12:46 p.m.

    This whole exercise was treating our neighbor with kindness and civility. No where in the article does it state that we are to give or anything else. Yet, I've there when a beggar has come and asked for money. I give him a dollar almost every time without care or how he spends it. That is not my choice but it is my choice to give. The Smart's were right to try to help and others have done so as well. Yet, I wonder how many of you have stood in soup kitchens administering to these individuals. How many of you give when the opportunity comes or do you just turn your back.

    Many of you would turn a young woman away if dressed in a miniskirt, rainbow hair and tattoos. Do you really think the Savior would. This whole lesson was on compassion. You were asked to judge the individual just to love. You have the scriptures to support you. It is time to stand up and be counted. Someday you will be asked the same question as the Savior did in the OT? What will your answer be, they were fake?

  • Penn usa, PA
    Nov. 29, 2013 12:05 p.m.

    The so-called statistic of 90% that another writer states as fact, rather than opinion, is incorrect and misleading. Start learning by working with the homeless as I did for 15 years.
    The causes of homelessness include;
    The deinstitutionalization movement from the 1950s onwards in state mental health systems
    Redevelopment and gentrification activities instituted by cities across the country through which low-income neighborhoods are declared blighted and demolished
    The failure of urban housing projects to provide safe, secure, and affordable housing to the poor.
    The economic crises and "stagflation" of the 1970s,which caused high unemployment.
    The failure to provide effective mental health care and meaningful job training for many homeless veterans.
    Many foster children become homeless when they are released from foster care at age 18.
    Natural disasters that destroy homes:
    People who are hiding in order to evade law enforcement.
    Adults and children who flee domestic violence.
    Teenagers who flee or are thrown out by parents
    Foreclosures of homes
    Evictions from apartments
    Lack of support from friends or family
    Lack of resources in place in the communities to help aid in prevention of homelessness

  • elvisroidutexas Herriman, UT
    Nov. 29, 2013 11:05 a.m.

    Great comment from momw 10:24 a.m.

    youth lessons for November discussed ways to give, also self-reliance. Good reminders especially on Black Friday.

  • jzwillows willows, ca
    Nov. 29, 2013 10:48 a.m.

    The problem is not the these Mormons do not love the homeless. Their behavior is a symptom of something far worse.

  • momw payson, UT
    Nov. 29, 2013 10:24 a.m.

    I can understand the Bishop's intentions, but I am uncomfortable with him doing this in a Sacrament Meeting. Perhaps the ward party would have been a more appropriate place. I believe that this could become a problem if it is carried out by others to a wider audience. We had an attempted abduction in a ward building not long ago and while we should never judge someone by how they look, we do have to provide a level of safety. In the church there is a pattern to follow in giving to those in need. We are instructed in D&C to give to the Bishop, who then allocates those funds as he is directed. In the church we also have a transient Bishop who cares for those who may not live within the boundaries of a local ward. I do feel that we can help others when moved upon by the spirit, but we do have to consider the safety of those around us and ourselves when being kind to a person we do not know. Give to the Soup Kitchen or Food Bank instead!

  • Arkad01 Mexico City, DF
    Nov. 29, 2013 8:24 a.m.

    "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not". - Isaiah 53:3

  • Arkad01 Mexico City, DF
    Nov. 29, 2013 8:00 a.m.

    "I love that man better who swears a stream as long as my arm, yet deals justice to his neighbors and mercifully deals his substance to the poor, than the smooth-faced hypocrite" - Joseph Smith.

    "It is better to feed ten impostors than to run the risk of turning away one honest petition" - Joseph Smith

    "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" - Hebrews 13:2

    Matthew 25:35-40
    Matthew 5:42
    Luke 6:38
    Luke 12:33-34
    Matthew 10:8
    Mark 12:31
    Mark 10:21
    Luke 10:25-37

    "Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you." - Jacob 2:17

    "And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." - 1 Corinthians 13:3

    What both Jacob and Paul are pointing to is that Charity is more than giving. Charity is loving. Job's "friends" thought his suffering was due to sin. Thinking that someone's suffering is due to sin is the diametricaly opposed to charity.

  • jzwillows willows, ca
    Nov. 29, 2013 7:48 a.m.

    The moral of the story isn't "don't judge" but rather "don't judge unrighteous," "don't be holier than thou," "be compassionate," and perhaps particularly "don't turn away from the needy because you have so much and they have so little."

  • Penn usa, PA
    Nov. 29, 2013 7:12 a.m.

    The bishop's actions to play-the-part of a homeless man were quite disingenuous. His attempt to teach was calculated, but insincere, as it fell short of providing a human experience between different people. Would he choose to play the part of a paralyzed person, to see if congregants would lower him through the roof or leave him outside? Perhaps he'd consider playing the bleeding woman, who upon touching Jesus' hem, is healed of her hemorrhaging? A retired pastor, who ministered in inner city and rural churches on the east coast, I had the fortune to serve congregations who counted homeless individuals and families among them. As Jesus himself showed, a ministry that seeks to bridge divides between different people or communities, provides opportunities in day-to-day life for people to walk in others shoes. It would have been far less calculating, and more sincerely relevant, if the bishop himself had quietly lead them into ministry among those who are experiencing homelessness, in their own places of life, rather than falsely appear among them on the steps of the church.

  • Kenster999 San Francisco, CA
    Nov. 29, 2013 1:57 a.m.


    You're so close! You said "Lesson: That 'homeless' person you avoid could be Jesus in disguise."

    Lesson: that "homeless" person *is* Jesus.

  • VanB Apeldoorn, N/A
    Nov. 29, 2013 1:43 a.m.

    This story is now reaching The Netherlands as well, as 2 regional newspapers are reporting about it. On one site of the newspapers ('de Volkskrant')it is the 2nd best read article of the day.

  • Kayjunior United States, CA
    Nov. 29, 2013 1:39 a.m.

    Scary costumes belong at a Halloween party, not at sacrament meeting. I would have pulled my grandchildren away, being cautious for their safety.

  • brent d Lehi, UT
    Nov. 28, 2013 10:33 a.m.

    Matthew 25:40 states "...Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Yes, the Spirit will warn us if the "homeless man" is a predator or a fake. It requires that we be in tune, and not just judge by appearance or the context in which we see such a man. I have been suspected as being "homeless" when walking on the Temple grounds, because I was alone, and I look "different". When the feelings of one's heart are right with the Lord, yet those around you judge you based on what they see on the outside, it hurts. The Savior died of a broken heart, because His own received Him not, but took His precious, loving life, judging Him to "be of the devil". May we remember to be "wise as serpents, yet harmless as doves". May there be more of "the dove", which is a symbol of peace, in our hearts this holiday season, is my prayer...

  • Anonymous100 Anywhere, UT
    Nov. 28, 2013 10:29 a.m.

    I understand what this bishop was trying to teach but disagree with his methodology. Experts who work with the homeless state that it is harmful to give money directly to them. It enables and encourages their behavior instead of driving them to the organizations established to give them the help they need. Donate or volunteer at shelters and other such organizations, but do not give the homeless money. While doing so may make us feel better, we are not really helping. As far as church goes, all should be welcomed, but I would be wary of anyone who seems to be "off" in any manner, homeless or not, well dressed and clean or not.

  • brent d Lehi, UT
    Nov. 28, 2013 10:19 a.m.

    Many judged and evaded the Savior because He was "different". I think Bishop Musselman was inspired to do that, to teach his ward. I have been misjudged, when my heart's intent was good, but due to appearances, I have been treated like "a homeless man". I know what it's like to be rejected, and avoided. May the Lord bless all of us to remember that "if ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

  • JonathanPDX Portland, Oregon
    Nov. 28, 2013 10:13 a.m.

    An interesting experiment.

    We tend to avoid things that make us uncomfortable, be they situations or people. While some might see Bishop Mussleman's actions as being disingenuous, I think it was more along the line of simply providing a splash of cold water in the faces of some who have been lulled into complacency in their insular world.

    While we should be wary of strangers, especially where children are concerned, wariness does not rule out compassion and kindness, nor our obligation to love others as we love ourselves.

    Perhaps the Bishop's lesson can be taken to heart by all of us in that we should exercise more faith in Christ and follow his example when dealing with those who may not share our blessings and bounty, yet are no less deserving of charity, compassion and love.

  • FelisConcolor North Salt Lake, UT
    Nov. 28, 2013 8:56 a.m.

    LDS Liberal:

    It seems that you are distressed by the lack of compassion shown towards the homeless by those of us who actually have experience working with them. An understandable position, since the holidays are full of treacly TV shows and movies which portray the homeless as innocent victims with hearts of gold needing only a hot meal to get back on their feet.

    In reality, roughly 90% of the chronically homeless are mentally ill, addicted, or criminals (including serious sex offenders) and in many cases, all three apply. Anyone who would open their doors and wallets to a random homeless person off the street is putting themselves and their family in significant danger.

    If you're feeling morally superior, come on down to Pioneer Park in SLC any day of the week (just not alone or after dark). There you will find dozens of chronically homeless persons in need of your boundless compassion and unlimited resources. I DARE you to invite just one of them into your home, no questions asked, and treat him as the Good Samaritan would.

    If you decide it's too dangerous, then you're just a preening hypocrite.

  • IRunToFightCancer Denver, CO
    Nov. 28, 2013 8:49 a.m.

    This very type of scene... a homeless man's experience in a church... changed my life years ago. It's a scene from the book, In His Steps, by Charles M. Sheldon. It changed my life because my own mother was homeless at the time, and it helped us turn our attention towards her to get her off the street.

    Brigham Young said, Suppose there are 10 beggars. Nine of them do not have good intentions. Do you not give to all 10, so as not to be taken advantage of by the nine? Or do you give to all 10 so as not to miss the one who is truly in need of your kindness?

    Thank you for creating this experience for others and for sharing it.

  • Brown Honeyvale, CA
    Nov. 28, 2013 8:06 a.m.

    I completely disagree with this bishop's "lesson." Perhaps the Elizabeth Smart story is still too painful for my heart. I accepted a ride from a "nice" man when I ran out of gas and he began to take me away from the gas stations. It was a miracle I stood up to him and he fearfully returned me to my car.

    Unfortunately, we Have to be wary of everyone, whether dressed as a homeless man or in a suit and tie. This is so judgmental of those whose background and experiences you do not know; and a poor way to teach a lesson. I hope the children that witnessed his transformation on the stand are taught and reminded by their parents that they need to be careful who they trust and that it is okay to make judgements based on the promptings of the spirit. But of course, that is one of the buzz words of Satan these days--"we should not judge." (Yes! We should!)

  • Dave Sommers Smyrna, TN
    Nov. 28, 2013 8:05 a.m.

    WWJD? There's probably a similar msg here like the good Samaritan.

  • Believe It Scottsdale, AZ
    Nov. 27, 2013 9:32 p.m.

    Well done, Bishop! We all need so much more of those reminders. The importance of being Christlike to all we meet, is so key. I'll never forget when I was moving cross country a few years back. I visited a ward in Park City, UT, that I was planning on moving into, and not one person said hello or even acknowledged me throughout the meetings. I've never been treated that way at church ever. I almost tripped someone to ask where sunday school class was. The coldness I felt defined my decision, to not move there. I moved to AZ instead and love it. Each time since then, when I see that someone is new or visiting, I go out of my way to say hello to them, so that they know someone cares that they are there. Thanks for your great reminder Bishop, to us all. Because, after all... what would Christ do?

  • Nonomomorhona Salt lake city, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 9:09 p.m.

    While giving money to the homeless isn't advised it is still okay to be polite and kind. I like what this bishop he knows who the judgmental jerks in the ward are.

  • kargirl Sacramento, CA
    Nov. 27, 2013 8:02 p.m.

    Sometimes people do all the right things, and never catch the brass ring. Or the catch it, but it slips away. Some people never get the earliest lessons, and figure it out, others, do what they can. We don't know, Jesus never tells us to assume. He simply tells us to feed the hungry, give a drink to the thirsty, a bed to the weary, clothing to those with none, shelter to the homeless, healing to the sick. And to love our neighbor as He has loved us. Not a lot. We can do some of that, whatever is in our power. We can lead them to a source, take someone into a store and buy them a sandwich and a bottle of juice. Every little bit helps. I know. I've been there.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 7:14 p.m.

    Van: You made a comment with regards to the church building malls and buying land in Florida. My understanding is that no tithing funds were used to build the City Creek Center. As far Florida I don't for sure. I would be surprised if tithing funds were used. You seem quick to judge without all the facts. I am serving an inner city service mission in Ogden. Many people come to church in street clothes. One such person was recently baptized. I believe to many LDS and Christians in general are to judgemental of others. We don't always know circumstances or challenges others face. Many of the homeless are mentally ill and need medication and treatment.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Nov. 27, 2013 6:53 p.m.

    There are so many facets to this experience and many lessons to be learned. Like this Bishop noted, you have to be careful judging people and how they felt to respond.

    I would like to suggest that this should bring to each of us a need for interpersonal inspection. During the age of the Nephites, many fell into the trap of social and economical stratification where the poor were shunned and 'costly apparel' and riches caused hearts and heads to puff up.

    We just need to be cautious that though we should be cautious around such people, our motivation should never be one of 'I am better than he is' and therefore we cross the road and continue on our journey on the other side.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 6:53 p.m.

    Interesting --

    I see a pattern --
    those that are the most critical of the "homeless"
    are also the most critical of the Bishop.

    Another lesson they forget,
    Judge not...

  • FunctionForm Denver, CO
    Nov. 27, 2013 6:50 p.m.

    I think this is a good exercise, but I'm not too critical of this Ward in Taylorsville(?) I think? Of course people in a smaller town don't know how to react to something and someone they are not familiar with. Yes, we should become more comfortable with reaching out to those who are not like us, but why would a homeless person have showed up at this Ward? Now, I would invite any of you to come visit my Ward in downtown Denver and you would see people like this all the time. We even have street people sleeping in our parking lot. But Denver isn't Taylorsville and our experiences are different.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 6:02 p.m.

    If nothing else, congregation members will probably long remember this meeting and how they felt about the stranger. How many meetings do we actually remember (let alone learn something about ourselves)? I have usually forgotten what the speakers said by the time I arrive home. So I disagree that this was the wrong time and place for the bishop to teach his congregation something about themselves.

  • wallyball SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 5:34 p.m.

    The basic idea is good but the Bishop is the wrong person to do it and Sacrament meeting is the wrong place. It will be interesting to see how his relationship with the ward members has been affected.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 5:18 p.m.

    So often we think we are doing well in life. We’re going to church, paying our tithing, reading our scriptures, saying our prayers, etc. Of us and our situation, Amulek said:

    And now behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and vaileth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith. (Alma 34:28)

    I invite you to prayerfully ponder this subject, and remember these things next time a beggar approaches you. I will try to as well.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 5:15 p.m.

    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! (D&C 56:16)

    He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes [option #3 in this post] shall have many a curse. (Proverbs 28:27)

    Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. (Matthew 5:42)

    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. (Mosiah 4:26)

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 5:14 p.m.

    “Suppose that in this community there are ten beggars who beg from door to door for something to eat, and that nine of them are impostors who beg to escape work, and with an evil heart practice imposition upon the generous and sympathetic, and that only one of the ten who visit your doors is worthy of your bounty; which is best, to give food to the ten, to make sure of helping the truly needy one, or to repulse the ten because you do not know which is the worthy one? You will all say, Administer charitable gifts to the ten, rather than turn away the only truly worthy and truly needy person among them. If you do this, it will make no difference in your blessings, whether you administer to worthy or unworthy persons, inasmuch as you give alms with a single eye to assist the truly needy." ~ Brigham Young

  • Aggie238 Logan, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 4:45 p.m.

    I'm somewhat appalled at some of the comments here. Of course you should be prudent about what kinds of situations you put yourself into, and I don't think this Bishop was insinuating otherwise. That does NOT excuse you from following Christ's admonition to care for the poor and needy. In the Bible I read, the Savior didn't say "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, provided they are not addicted to drugs or alcohol, and provided that you can trust them to use your help they way you think it ought to be used, ye have done it unto me." Rather, He taught that if that is our attitude, we have "great cause to repent."

    Is it any different if you give of your substance to the poor and they use it to buy food versus buying alcohol? As far as God concerned with you, it doesn't matter one iota. Sure, they might be better off if they choose to buy food, but are you any worse off if they choose to buy alcohol? Who are we to judge who is worthy to be helped?

  • petersenjc47 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Nov. 27, 2013 4:25 p.m.

    Several years ago in Houston, Texas we had a similar experience at church. There was a beggar in town, I had seen him many times. He was tall and thin and had long hair and a beard. One Sunday I was surprised to see him on the sidewalk outside our LDS chapel. As far as I could see, everyone, including me, just ignored him. But during our testimony meeting - it was fast Sunday that day - one sister told about her young son's experience with seeing the beggar. He said, "Look mommy - Jesus!"

  • Gone with the wind Magna, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 3:20 p.m.

    When I lived on The east bench in a MFH park in fort union area I had a similar experience as this bishop which still hurts me to this day. The first day my husband a doctor and my son went to church we dressed in our best clothes came early to church . Bishop secretary come out say you new ask the particulars and then said don't associate with any one in MFH park Nothing but user and abusers Then says where do you live. We give him the address and he says sorry I don't know where that is . I said in the MFH park. He turn and walked back in his office . Had many who shunned us would not give us church jobs all because where we lived . They were down right mean every Sunday after 2 years I stopped going. and prayed every day for a new ward that I found in Magna.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 2:48 p.m.

    While it is good to help the poor, lets not forget the warnings given to the poor as they seek help. See D&C 56:17 "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!"

  • B ob Richmond, CA
    Nov. 27, 2013 2:30 p.m.

    Perhaps what those who ignored him sensed he wasn't what he appeared to be.

  • CougMan San Diego, CA
    Nov. 27, 2013 2:19 p.m.

    As a bishop for six years in San Diego, I have mixed feelings about whether this is appropriate to put the members in this uncomfortable position. I would be surprised if the Stake President or Area Seventies would have approved this ahead of time.

    We have strangers and homeless drop into our ward and we always welcome them with kindness. However, when they start asking members for money or disrupting the service with unusual requests, I always have the members bring them to me so I can meet with them privately to see how I can help them. I have a duty to protect the members from panhandlers but also a responsibility to make sure I don't turn away a truly needy person without giving some kind of help. I've had some dangerous situations related to this but too long to detail here. I doubt you'll see other bishops replicating this kind of object lesson as I doubt the Church leadership will want to put the members through this. There's a reason it's not in the Handbook of Instructions or you haven't seen the prophet do this in General Conference.

  • Gail Winn West Haven, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 2:14 p.m.

    The Bishop may have meant well, but pulling a stunt like that takes the focus off of true compassion. We recently were encouraged to "first observe and then serve." Compassion comes from our heart and not from manipulation. Panhandlers for the most part are manipulators. It is easy to hand someone a dollar, but does that make you compassionate? Do you forgive others? Are you patient and kind? Study, ponder and pray about the scriptures and let the Holy Spirit guide you in all you do. Let the Savior soften your heart and you will be compassionate. Opportunities are all around us, they do not have to be fabricated.

  • suess Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 2:11 p.m.

    Several years ago there was a man in our ward who was an undercover cop. He really looked rough, but quit coming to church because of negative reactions he was receiving. He was accidentally shot and critically wounded while working security protecting the prophet at conference. I have a police friend who was working narcotics undercover. He said when they moved into their home neighbors would have nothing to do with them -- even forbade their kids to play with theirs. After years of working undercover, he was promoted to Sergeant and had to "clean up". I've so often wanted to ask what his neighbor's reactions were when they realized that not only were they living in the same neighborhood as a "good guy", but one that was out protecting them everyday. I try to help when I can and the one I remember is a "beggar" asking me to buy him a hamburger -- said he was $.27 cents short, and gave me what he had to buy something to eat. Hopefully he didn't eat the money I tucked in the wrapper. We should all learn from this. Example was always my greatest teacher.

  • Blue AZ Cougar Chandler, AZ
    Nov. 27, 2013 1:58 p.m.

    "the religious frequently follow their basest inclinations when it comes to meeting strangers"

    Not sure what religion has to do with following your "basest" inclinations. Are there not atheists or anti-religionists who would react the same way to meeting a stranger? Again, it's a lesson in human nature, not religion.

  • MrHysell American Fork, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 1:04 p.m.

    Truth inspired by a hoax (Google Pastor Jeremiah Steepek). Interesting. I would have loved to see the looks on the congregations faces! Well played Bishop, well played indeed.

  • thpslc Holladay, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 12:56 p.m.

    I think there is a big difference between "judging" and being cautious. This Bishop showed that there is often something beyond what you see on the outside. Someone might be homeless because of a number of reasons. They may have addiction issues or mental health issues or they may be so beaten down they may not be able to get up. They may even *gasp* have a criminal history. Jesus would have reached out regardless of the reasons and aren't we supposed to live a Christ like life?
    Look closer people, you might see the face of God! Thank you Bishop Musselman! You Rock!

  • cougs108 South Jordan, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 12:41 p.m.

    Wonderful story! Sometimes we need to be awakened to those less fortunate than ourselves. Yes we need to somewhat careful but reaching out in caution is okay too.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 12:38 p.m.

    (Readers Digest very condensed version)

    27 ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; & ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
    28 ...
    29 ... so he asked..., “And who is my neighbor?”
    30 ... “A man going from Jerusalem to Jericho, ... was attacked by robbers. They stripped him ..., beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest ... saw the man, ... passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, ... passed by .... But a Samaritan, ... came ... and when he saw him, took pity on him. He ... bandaged his wounds, .... Then he put the man on his own donkey, an inn and took care of him. The next day he gave two denarii and gave to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him, and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense'....
    36 “Which of these three ... was a neighbor...?”
    37 ..., “The one who had mercy on him.”
    Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    Nov. 27, 2013 12:35 p.m.

    I'm a little ashamed by some of the comments here. The article says that the Bishop was at home wondering what to do to teach his congregation about judging when it came to his mind what he was supposed to do. How many of you have been sitting doing the same thing to teach your children and you get an idea in your mind? This is called inspiration or in even the most complex personal revelation. Someone mentioned that a pastor got the same type of idea a few weeks ago. This is a lesson that all of us are open to personal revelation regardless of faith.

    The whole topic wasn't about what this person needed but about pre-judging him. Some members had a bad relationship with one like the bishop and turned him away. Personal experience carries a lot. However, scripture is pretty clear that we are not to turn anyone away. Even a person who has been excommunicated is to be welcome in our congregation. The Bishop IS A JUDGE in Israel which pertains to his calling. However, he too needed this as much as his congregation.

  • annewandering oakley, idaho
    Nov. 27, 2013 12:28 p.m.

    there was a time in my life when we were desperate. Many would have considered us homeless although we had a camper and were together as a family. A homeless beggar came up to our pickup window asking for change. We had one quarter to our name and a bag of rice to feed our six kids and no help in sight. That man, drunk and homeless that he was was an angel sent to us from God. He literally fed US. All that summer he and his under the bridge trolls made sure we had enough to eat and helped us find help. Never look at a person, judging them for their circumstances. We might be their angel or yes. They might be OUR angel.

  • Hopeful1 Country, NM
    Nov. 27, 2013 12:29 p.m.

    Saying hello to this stranger or giving him a kind word and a smile wouldn't hurt anyone, would it? Welcoming him to church wouldn't hurt anyone, would it? But there is such a thing as "idiot compassion". In such a case, "we rely on a shallow and ultimately selfish notion of helping that is primarily concerned with eliminating our own unease rather than truly lending a hand......Avoiding idiot compassion suggests that we pause to consider what is truly needed when helping others - that rather than jumping to solutions or rushing to the rescue, we can be discerning and deliberate in our efforts."
    - Michael Carroll

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Nov. 27, 2013 12:04 p.m.

    The Prophet Joseph Smith's favorite hymn was "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief".
    King Benjamin's sermon also comes to mind.

    Trampling the poor and needy was the plight and ultimate down-fall of the once blessed and righteous Nephites.

    Good call Bishop,
    Good call.

  • caaron Draper, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 12:04 p.m.

    Many comments about panhandlers, others will say: are we all not beggars?.Who are we to judge? How do we know why a person is begging or mooching. We have no idea what the person has been through! And why they're is doing that! The thing boils down 'us' and not 'the beggar'. Whether or not they are what they claim to be, they'll be judged for who they claim to be. We'll be judged on how we react to their petition. Who cares how they use the money. That's their concern. We'll be judged for what WE do and what's in our hearts. I remember a 'bad lady' begging here in Draper. She asked if I had any spare change. I gave her what I had, mostly pennies. She then asked for a ride somewhere. On the way she told me that she begged for change (pennies mostly) to save them up and then donate them to Primary Children's Hospital at the year's end. We never knowr what's in a person's heart. Yes, we are to judge righteous judgment, but always give and you'll never go wrong.

  • QuickRick Brigham City, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 11:59 a.m.

    Re: Van

    I've been attending church weekly for more than 60 years, and I have never heard a message about "the importance of paying your tithing so the church can build more 2.5 billion dollar malls or buying a bigger percentage of Florida." I have heard many messaged about compassion and charity. Tithing isn't used to buy malls or bigger percentages of Florida. Do your homework before you make more ridiculously uninformed statements.

  • CDCilley Chino Valley, AZ
    Nov. 27, 2013 11:54 a.m.

    I spent a number of years hitchhiking around this country,looking for work, going to my mothers funeral, or following God's direction. Sometimes experiencing bad rides, but 90+% of the time experiencing good fellowship from those who helped me. Now whenever I see someone hitchhiking I send up a quick prayer and ask my Heavenly Father if I should stop or keep on. The Holy Spirit has only had me pass someone by maybe 4 times in the last 20 years.
    I do the same with the homeless. Once in a while I will give a dollar or two but for the most part I will give food, energy bar, etc., if I am able. A quiet silent prayer on their behalf never hurts anything either.
    A pleasant greeting, a smile, and remembering that admonition our Lord has given us in Matthew 25:40 "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." serves me well. Having been there, done that, won the T-shirt, and bought the hat, I do not just walk on by. I cannot just walk on by.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 11:50 a.m.

    To "van" luckily the LDS church didn't spend a dime of tithing money on a mall. The poor should be grateful that the LDS church purchased more land in Florida. Now the LDS church can run more cattle on that property, and feed even more people.

    Think of it this way. What is better for a church to do, give money to the poor, or purchase a farm and give their members an opportunity to serve AND to provide fresh food for those in need perpetually?

  • thebigsamoan Richmond, VA
    Nov. 27, 2013 11:48 a.m.


    "What you are suggesting is not in harmony with the revealed word of God. There is nothing in the Lord's admonition to, "care for the Poor," that we should be concerned with the motive of the beggars, in fact, it is to the contrary. In the Book of Mosiah we are warned:

    ...and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish."

    The Lord also admonished and expects us to be wise. What if the homeless person is a fake, or even worse, a felon with insincere motives? How long would it take you to continue to be kind and helpful? I'm not saying that we must shun them but that we must be cautious and very very careful. We are living in a very different and dangerous world now that we can't be too careless and nonchalant in our desire to be good Samaritans to our own detriment. It's noble to help yes, but we must also be wise about it!

  • crowdog Pocatello, ID
    Nov. 27, 2013 11:36 a.m.

    What many of you are forgetting, is that the clothes or situation don't make the "predator". I am not saying that you don't need to be cautious about people you don't know, but as a mental health professional, most problems aren't caused by strangers. They are people you know and trust. On the people that are commenting that the guy could be mentally ill. That is true, but realize that the congregation that you go to has as many or more that are struggling with mental illness.

    We in the church have a really hard time addressing mental illness, and we all need to be better at understanding where people are at, including myself.

  • Gene Poole SLC, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 11:32 a.m.

    My wife and I lost our home and everything else a little over a year ago. At our ages it is difficult to find. To remain self employed is difficult without a base of operations. Our Stake President and Bishop helped as much as they could officially. Then they went further personally because they knew that our plight was serious and we were in danger if we were on the street. We have been helped and befriended by angels unawares.

    To be on the outside looking in may just offer a different perspective. I laud those who feel compassion and I have compassion for those who castigate.

    Where are we now? Doing our best to pull out of a very deep pit. Each day is a struggle between depression and elation that we know that no matter how deep we go or have gone, we will not have suffered as much as the Savior. I constantly pray that I can use my skills to bring us back to a place of acceptability in society. We continue to hope. We continue to work to do better.

  • Hopeful1 Country, NM
    Nov. 27, 2013 11:31 a.m.

    Contrary to some of the comments here, it doesn't seem to me that the bishop was judging anyone. He was inviting improvement and self-examination in the members. It was left up to each person to examine their own hearts and their reactions to the "homeless man". And to those who say the bishop was "deceiving people" and the Savior would never dress up as a homeless man, of course he would! Isn't the hymn, A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief, about that very thing? Not only would the Savior do that, he is doing it every day. Each & every one of our fellow beings really "is" the Savior in disguise. We ought not judge, and we ought not treat some people better than others. Will we be filled with compassion, and act upon it, even when it is to our own detriment? Ignoring the disapproval, scorn, and criticism of many? Matthew 25, "Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me." Mosiah chapter 4 and D&C 38 are also very enlightening. "I am in your midst and ye cannot see me."

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    Nov. 27, 2013 11:13 a.m.

    I didn't see anything in this piece about whether or not to give money to panhandlers.

    It was about treating others with respect and kindness and refraining from being judgmental.

  • VegasJazzFan ,
    Nov. 27, 2013 11:09 a.m.

    Good learning lessons, I just think the reveal was in an inappropriate setting. I think the Bishop was too worried about how many of his congregation "cried". It could have left the same message if his "reveal" was after Sacrament meeting was over.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 11:04 a.m.

    "The homeless culture is one of thievery, drugs, alcohol, and some of the most heinous crimes."

    --- There you go, judging people whom you've never met and have no clue as to their circumstances. Are you aware that a very large number of homeless in this country are returned Veterans who have suffered enormously for your freedom? Who are you to judge those whom you know not?

    @Tyler D;

    The majority of religions rely on guilt and embarrassment to get their adherents to conduct themselves "properly".

    @Blue AZ Cougar;

    Oh, I definitely agree, the religious frequently follow their basest inclinations when it comes to meeting strangers. Please recall the parable of the Good Samaritan. This particular article is about Mormons though, and Mormons need to start treating other people better, imho.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 11:02 a.m.

    Yes help those in need. When people are deceiving you and claiming that they have no money, when in fact they do. It's okay not to help them.

    The scriptures state to help those in need, not those that are committing crimes.

    It's up to you to determine the best way. If you think handing money out to people, to make yourself "non judgemental" then fine. The problem will continue to grow.

    If you give your money to church organizations, shelters, women shelters etc. Then you know your money is going to be used and given to those that are in need.

    Isn't that how the scripture reads? To help those in need?

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Nov. 27, 2013 10:52 a.m.


    "....Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped and raped by a man who appeared homeless, and her mother was kind enough to speak to him, help him and offer him work...."

    Let's not make that brute representative of homeless people. You may find yourself living on the street someday. None of us should fool ourselves with the smug belief that it won’t happen to us. No one asks for that fate and if it does, it doesn’t mean we deserved it. In reading over these posts, it appalls me to see the rabid extremes some resort to in order to avoid facing a brutal reality we would much rather turn our faces away from.

  • The Final Word Alpine, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 10:51 a.m.

    Am I mistaken or did the Savior discern/judge the Sadducees and the Pharisees intentions before answering them?

    Are we not blessed with intelligence to determine the ill intentions of others before we are deceived potentially at others or our own peril?

    I think we live in a different time and need to do our best to provide service and compassion to others. There are plenty of opportunities to do so that lessen the risk of personal injury or outright fraud/being taken advantage of.

    I suggest people utilize what they have to make safe decisions about their service instead of being defrauded by the organized crime of aggressive panhandling we have in our area. It is not my opinion it is proven fact. Responding to that on the street only makes our streets more attractive to those who may want to take advantage and potentially harm others.

    Use your intelligence you were provided/blessed with to make the best decisions you can. Don't enable those with self-destructive behaviors or those who wish to perpetrate more crime on our community. That does not improve their lives or yours.

  • Downtime Saint George, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 10:49 a.m.

    This is one of the dumbest ideas I have ever heard. The Bishop's responsibilities do not include putting people in situations to expose their weakness. It is to invite improvement. And there are myriads of more personal ways that can happen. Hey, at least he got his picture in the paper. Mission accomplished.

  • Utah Native Farmington, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 10:43 a.m.

    At my sister's wedding dinner, a "homeless" woman came in, dirty, dressed in ragged clothing, unkempt, etc. We all thought, "Oh great -- she saw the 'Visitors Welcome' sign on the LDS church building and took it literally!" My brother, who is no longer active in the LDS faith, was the only one to jump up and graciously offer her some of the same fine food we were eating. I kept thinking how this uninvited guest, with her deplorable condition, was ruining the celebration. The expressions of the other guests told me they felt similarly. The woman wanted to make a toast to the couple, and offer a gift. When she pulled out an enormous pair of underpants, we began to realize it was a prank arranged by friends of the happy couple. But what I took away from it was how hardened I was in my own heart towards someone presumably in need. I was grateful for the lesson.

  • justice4children Mapleton, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 10:41 a.m.

    To RANCH: Pray tell, just exactly what does "smelling coffee" have to do with the intended message? Putting 'anything' into ones body that is not 'healthy' certainly does not, by any means, "a better person make"! Perhaps sticking to the intended subject rather than attempting to 'put down' anyone's religious beliefs might lead to a more productive lifestyle.

  • gee-en Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 10:32 a.m.

    I can't believe how much I agree with Liberal Ted on this, when usually I disagree with everything he writes :-)
    I also can't believe how much people twist the scriptures around to fit their specific niche ideas and drop one or two verse without taking into account the full body of Gospel teachings.

  • belgie Tualatin, OR
    Nov. 27, 2013 10:22 a.m.

    @Ranch - or, it could be a genuine homeless person with a drug addiction looking for someone with a little girl he could kidnap.

  • Chilanga Larkspur, CO
    Nov. 27, 2013 10:17 a.m.

    Please don't judge those who were a bit fearful or distant with this man. Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped and raped by a man who appeared homeless, and her mother was kind enough to speak to him, help him and offer him work. Ted Bundy played on people's sympathies to troll for victims. We've been trained to be careful, and (unfortunately) sometimes fearful. As a mother, I'd be careful too, if I saw a homeless-looking man at church. I hope we can find a way to help others and be warm and welcoming, but not set ourselves up to be victims.

  • cj2018 KUTZTOWN, PA
    Nov. 27, 2013 10:07 a.m.

    As Christians, we are to practice charity, the pure love of Christ, without reservation or condition. If you are LDS and reading this, only one scripture should come to mind: Mosiah 4:16-19. I won't quote the entire thing here; just a few lines.

    " yourselves will succor those that stand in will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need, and ye will not suffer that the begger putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
    "Perhaps thou shall say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him...for his punishments are just.
    "But I say unto you...whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent...and hath no interest in the kingdom of God."

    It couldn't be any clearer. "You will succor those that stand in need," not you should, or you're excused if you've been hurt or it's that person's fault. There may be times when you'll be asked to "judge with righteous judgment." This isn't one of them.

  • woodlandgal Woodland Hills, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 9:53 a.m.

    I saw someone I know post this on FB.. On one hand its good lesson on not judging people- like the previous poster said. However we are have heard countless talks by various leaders in the church who have said the church is true, the people are not. We all have things to work on and these folk maybe not recognizing the bishop- wondered does this guy want the gospel or does he want something from me? They don't know, no missionaries with him, but do know they can give in fast offerings to those in need. Its not the place of the bishop to judge his congregation. He helps them, counsels them, helps on the right road to repentance when needed. However, being imperfect as we all are, we all have room to grow. Was the bishop really judging the ward? Seems like it. That judgement and I dont mean what comes with the mantle of being bishop, is left to the Lord right? I have been in London where visitors have stolen things from members while in church- so yes it does make you a bit cautious based on experience not prejudice or judging. .

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 9:49 a.m.


    I didn't miss the point at all. Maybe if you live in a neighborhood or community that doesn't have homeless people then you need the "eye opener".

    However, living in an area where crime is rampant. Panhandlers on every corner, parks over run with druggies etc. You can't walk around in la la land and think every person with a cardboard sign has only your best interest in mind.

    Let's see you send your little child to be wrapped up in the arms of people panhandling.

    I'm fully confident, that if these people decided to turn their lives around and that is really what they wanted. And with the support of the community and the resources we can help that person on their feet. The problem is many of these people are not looking to get on their feet. They know what heart strings to tug on to make you feel guilty and open your wallet to them.

    Again, it's better to donate to local shelters. They are staffed and trained to help these people. Try volunteering at the shelters etc.

    Whenyougivetopanhandlersyou're just feeding the problem and not solving it.

  • SenoraJefe orem, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 9:47 a.m.

    I think the overall message I learned is "be kind and vulnerable to those who look like criminals, you never know when it's really a good guy just trying to deceive you". Now I'm trying to decide if a "good" guy is really very good if he's deceiving.

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    Nov. 27, 2013 9:46 a.m.

    Argument #1--Those who treated the Bishop warmly are true saints and all others have some work to do in the judge not lest ye be judged dept. This is very much like people who spend two hours at church or mass and then begin gossiping about people as soon as they get in the car to go home.

    Argument #2Those who kept their children at a safe distance from the disguised Bishop may have been the kindest of them all. They were protecting their children from a very likely mentally ill person, a person who hadn't bathed and could possibly spread staph infection and a person who might want to attack them for no reason. They were also telling their children, "Lets get into church where you can learn to obey the scriptures and you won't end up like this guy."

    Umm, I think #1 wins.

  • Blue AZ Cougar Chandler, AZ
    Nov. 27, 2013 9:44 a.m.

    @ Ranch
    "Now, what's it going to take to get the rest of Mormonism to wake up and smell the coffee?"

    This has little to do with Mormonism -- it's more a lesson in human nature, because I think you'd find the same reaction across all religions (maybe some more than others).

  • The Final Word Alpine, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 9:43 a.m.

    Great lesson and an admirable point. However, one only need read the article in the local news about the literal organized crime of professional panhandlers here in our area to know the concern with blanket application of endless compassion.

    I doubt during the Saviors time there was the extensive organized crime of orchestrated begging by people who are nothing but criminals and thieves....often with jobs!

    I often help people in need but unfortunately with the entitlement mentality that our government has built we have created and enabled a web of thieves who believe they should have unlimited access to other peoples money in any way possible and the end justifies the means.

    When the president of our own country incites class warfare and incessantly insinuates that people who have money "are not paying their fair share" meanwhile they carry over 80% of the tax burden for everyone....well that is a problem that has created another problem.

    Compassion is great but I would like to have some degree of comfort I am actually helping someone who needs help vs a thief who simply wants to steal which in turn enables more criminal behavior ie drugs etc

  • Capt Moroni Perris, CA
    Nov. 27, 2013 9:43 a.m.

    If the Savior stood beside me would I say the things I say? Well this Bishop got to find out just that. I wonder how those that turned him away are feeling at this important holiday season? We should be thankful for what we have. I think most of us have sufficient for our needs, yet, I wonder how many of us impart of our overage with the poor around us, myself included. We never know who is knocking at the door...maybe it's the Savior come to stand beside us...

    I'm better because of this story...

    Thank you for sharing it!

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Nov. 27, 2013 9:40 a.m.

    Not entirely sure what lesson the Bishop meant to teach here. Is it simply that we should be less judging & more compassionate up front or at all times in all circumstances?

    And if the lesson is meant just to teach compassion should it be motivated by guilt & embarrassment or by a desire to truly understand a person’s unique situation? Too often it seems to be the former and so we have people who just quickly toss someone their spare change satisfied that they did their Christian duty, unaware (or not wanting to be aware) that they may be doing more harm than good.

    [I can think of very few scenarios where giving money directly to a homeless person is a good idea.]

    It really comes down to foolish compassion vs. discerning & insightful compassion and too often lessons like this seems to guilt people into practicing simply more of the former.

  • Snark Provo, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 9:35 a.m.

    The lesson was great, using that venue however did not show good discretion. Visual aids are discouraged in a Sacrament Meeting, and the drama of this event is better played out in a setting more removed from remarkably sacred emblems. Try this at a fireside or a ward Christmas party. The lesson would be equally poignant without the risk of interfering with the unique purpose of that sacred meeting. Remember, I applaud the message and the creativity.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 9:34 a.m.

    Sounds nice in theory but I do recall the Elizabeth Smart affair that started with her father bringing her kidnapper into the home to do odd jobs in a attempt to aid him.

    I have worked in a mental health setting and can assure you some, not all, of the homeless are mentally ill to a greater or lesser extent. Some self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, and panhandle or commit petty theft to support their habit. The aid they seek may not be the help that they need over the long run.

    Organizations exist for the purpose of helping the "down and out". Pamela Atkinson a saintly and Christian person if there ever was one has championed their cause and helped facilitate support networks for them. We have been asked to support those organizations in lieu of individual hand-outs. Hasn't the Road Home been given press and credit for reducing homelessness?

    IMO Be charitable but wary. Yes, the beggar should not have to petition us in vain, but how we respond is important.

    We live in a sort of "Shire" and forget that there is a rather dangerous world outside that wants in.

  • Petra Sanpete County, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 9:34 a.m.

    This was done a few weeks ago by a pastor in a different denomination, though I don't remember the details. Unless this bishop was influenced by that, either subtly or overtly, it does make me wonder if our Heavenly Father is so very concerned about the terrible economic state of affairs in this country that he would inspire two people to do this very thing. When you have a candidate running for president who disparages 47% of our entire population, the vast majority of that percentage being the elderly poor, the poor who also have disabilities, poor children, veterans returning from combat, the working poor, and, yes, the homeless, and when that candidate is actually also Mormon, it does make you wonder if maybe all of us should be spending much more time reading King Benjamin and much less praising each other for our financial "successes" in life.....

  • SenoraJefe orem, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 9:28 a.m.

    I really don't agree with this at all. The homeless culture is one of thievery, drugs, alcohol, and some of the most heinous crimes. Sometimes good people fall on hard times, but 9 times out of 10 there will be a family member or friend to help them out. Homeless people are on the streets because nobody trusts them, and usually for good reason. Most homeless people have quite a string of criminal records.

    I'm joyful when someone wants to turn their life around, it's truly one of the greatest things to witness. But sitting in a church pew doesn't mean you're automatically trust worthy. All the bishop succeeded in doing is promoted is congregation and their children to be more venerable and naive. To further drive his message, he should show up to church with a bomb strapped to his chest.

  • Jon1 Arlington, VA
    Nov. 27, 2013 9:16 a.m.

    To me it seems obvious that many of the commenters to this article have missed the point. It was an eye opener for me. That fact that we are all God's children and that we should not judge others came through loud and clear. I have some improvement to make in these areas.

  • Anne26 West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 9:15 a.m.

    This is a tough one for me.

    Years ago, we had taken our family to a park, when we noticed a few men whose appearance made me uncomfortable. I told myself I was being silly and to stop judging them. Not long after this, one of the men approached us and threatened us. I was grateful he didn't have a weapon. I learned my lesson that day that if someone makes me uncomfortable, then I need to follow my instincts. I wish the world were a safer place.

  • xert Santa Monica, CA
    Nov. 27, 2013 9:16 a.m.

    I think this is a great experiment and kudo's to the Bishop. It would have had even a better effect if he had done this the Sunday morning after BYU had lost to Utah and he had dressed the same, but worn a drum and feather U shirt. Those who would have welcomed him and treated him warmly under those circumstances would be saints indeed.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 8:56 a.m.

    So what was the lesson of compassion taught?

    Was the lesson to the people “Don’t discriminate because you might lose a reward”?

  • Macfarren Dallas, TX
    Nov. 27, 2013 8:55 a.m.

    I find this teaching method somewhat manipulative. The world teaches that the end justifies the means, but I do not find that to be true in gospel teaching in which the means is equally important as the end.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 8:43 a.m.

    RE: VAN, Great to here a message other than the importance of paying your tithing so the church can build more 2.5 billion dollar malls or buy a bigger percent of Florida.


    For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

    And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

    Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?(James 2:2-4)

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    Nov. 27, 2013 8:43 a.m.

    You are absolutely spot on. Seeing these desperate people on a daily basis in L.A. County, it has been determined by many researchers that most of these people are feeding their addictions. If I were to give in to every one their demands, I would be broke. Even at that, I have made exceptions, when felt to do so, by my inner feelings, on a one-one-basis. Additionally, there is always a danger of taking out your wallet to pay. It can easily be snatched away from you.
    In this area of the country, there are many opportunities to feed the homeless at the various shelters, which is often a church assignment in our local wards and stakes. It's quite rewarding service.

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    Nov. 27, 2013 8:43 a.m.

    I'm a bit surprised at reactions the bishop described, except for the one he explained, and that one is understandable.

    A man with some apparent mental issues, who could have passed for homeless, came to our ward in So Calif on Sunday very poorly dressed and reeking of smoke and booze. I didn't notice any kind of negative reaction. Everyone was kind to him.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Nov. 27, 2013 8:41 a.m.

    “ will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

    Perhaps thou shalt asay: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
    But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent

    ....For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have.

    King Benjamin’s address in Mosiah 4 is matter for somber reflection on this Thanksgiving Eve. Yes, there are dangerous people on the streets. We have to use good judgment while trying to be imitators of Christ as we are called to do.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 8:41 a.m.

    I would also teach my children to use your brain and it's okay to judge and ask questions.

    Yes, all homeless are not Mitchells looking for child brides or predators or druggies etc. But, a good percentage are. About 95% of the panhandlers in the valley are manipulating and deceiving people claiming they have no money or income. Which is an outright lie.

    Your best option is to donate directly to shelters, direct these people to those shelters and explain that is where you donate your money to.

    There are soo many resources in the valley for the homeless. There are over 100 locations where they can get free meals (all three) everyday.

    Learn about those locations and donate to them.

    It's good to ask questions and learn about people around you. Even people you trust or are in a trusted position. Even good people go bad.

    I don't think the Lord intends for us to be brainless and fall into every wolf trap or allow wolves into the herd. Even the Saviour took a whip and removed people from the temple that didn't belong there. He said follow him and his example.

  • TMR Los Angeles, CA
    Nov. 27, 2013 8:40 a.m.

    What a great story! Thanks to a Bishop who taught multiple lessons in such a creative way. Learning not to judge is one of life's greatest challenges, as evidenced even by some of the posts in response to this story.

  • Olive Anderson Walnut Creek, CA
    Nov. 27, 2013 8:33 a.m.

    Would the Savior have dressed up as a homeless person at a gathering of Saints to make a point? This well-intended bishop used the sacred institutions of his calling and Sacrament meeting to make a point. The Savior taught by example, not by deception. I am a little disturbed by this story. I think some of its unintended consequences might be leaving members of his congregation feel judged and less less trusting.

  • PLM Kaysville, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 8:29 a.m.

    I'm sure the Bishop knew what his ward needed and prayed about this before he did it. We members of Christ's church have a lot to learn and long way to go before we are truly like our Savior. Isn't that the goal?

  • Mugabe ACWORTH, GA
    Nov. 27, 2013 8:31 a.m.

    Benjamin Franklin, Said: "This BIshop would do well to consider that there are many panhandlers and beggars who ask for money to take advantage of people and feed their addictions."

    What you are suggesting is not in harmony with the revealed word of God. There is nothing in the Lord's admonition to, "care for the Poor," that we should be concerned with the motive of the beggars, in fact, it is to the contrary. In the Book of Mosiah we are warned:

    "...and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

    Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just." (Mosish 4:16-17

    It would be good for you to read the remainder of this text, you will learn that you are also a beggar.

  • van Saratoga Springs, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 8:26 a.m.

    Amazing story. Great to here a message other than the importance of paying your tithing so the church can build more 2.5 billion dollar malls or buy a bigger percent of Florida.

    I admire this bishop for his effort for teaching his congregation the importance of compassion.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 8:18 a.m.

    I have mixed emotions and reactions to this.

    On the one hand I understand about judging other people. However, we all need to judge one another. If we took everyone at face value, then everyone would be a sucker and prey for predators. For example a Bishop using his status to embezzle money from his congregation or using a position of trust to manipulate others to invests in his business etc.

    Having homeless and needy people coming into my church each week, I welcome them. They either sit down and enjoy the service or they immediately ask for money. There is a process to obtain help and I am more than happy to begin that process for them. Most of the time they get really angry and leave, hoping to have cash in hand.

    We had one guy that kept coming back. Wouldn't give his name, his story changed each minute, he had friends in the neighborhood, then didn't have friends etc. Eventually after a few creepy things the police were called and they escorted him off the property.

    I would never teach my child to trust every stranger that comes up to you and do whatevertheyrequest.Thatisfoolish.

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 8:17 a.m.

    This was a different way to do it but it did receive good response. The main thing is the Bishop has shown compassion and concern for the homeless We also realize there are homeless who choose to be that and others who do not. Hopefully his good desire to enlighten the membership of his ward will be for life and they will think about this if ever they are judgemental with those who are different or who have less. Bless him for caring.

  • gittalopctbi Glendale, AZ
    Nov. 27, 2013 8:11 a.m.

    Great lesson, Bishop Musselman! As a bishop, you are entitled to the inspiration concerning your flock and none of these nay-saying critics are. It's so interesting to see how people reveal their own weaknesses for the world to see by the criticisms they throw out. The Internet does that.

  • Serenity Manti, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 8:08 a.m.

    Wasn't it a few years ago that the General Authorities asked the people around temple square not to give money to the homeless surrounding temple square especially at conference time? There was also something going around that some of those homeless panhandle for a living and make more money than an average person. Some of these homeless use panhandling as a way to make some easy money so they wouldn't have to work or to support their drug or alcohol habits. I'm not sure if I agree with the idea of a bishop disguising himself as a homeless man. I honestly don't think that Jesus would disguise himself as such in this day and age because of the connotations which go along with being homeless. My idea is to be kind and if you have food, give food instead of money. My husband and I have done that and it seemed to be really appreciated. Whether to give or not? Just let the Spirit guide in each individual case.

  • Mukkake Montreal, QC, 00
    Nov. 27, 2013 8:00 a.m.

    This isn't really that innovative. Alot of panhandlers are already fakes.

  • SparkyVA Winchester, VA
    Nov. 27, 2013 7:58 a.m.

    One of the reasons we go on missions is to learn to love people who are different. I remember the admonition of my Bishop as I left for my mission "Learn to love your people." We tend to separate ourselves from unpleasant things. And in a sense, we fear that poverty could happen to us and our loved ones. We have worked hard, done the right things, made the right choices that have provided ourselves and loved ones with a good life. But sometimes things go wrong. Read the story from yesterday about my friend Mike Reese and his wife Michelle who died two days after he returned home after a year abroad. His daughter is serving in a Utah mission, and his son is about ready to leave on his mission. And now he has lost his job as well. We cannot know the sorrow and burdens this good man carries. We can only help.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 7:47 a.m.


    Lesson: That "homeless" person you avoid could be Jesus in disguise.

  • Dante Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 7:46 a.m.

    A stunt.

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    Nov. 27, 2013 7:46 a.m.

    I think "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" surely would have been an appropriate closing hymn for that particular meeting. Perhaps we should sing it or even just read the lyrics a bit more often.

  • DVD Taylorsville, 00
    Nov. 27, 2013 7:45 a.m.

    My oh my oh my... you do have to be wise in working with the homeless and those that panhandle, but we can ask the Lord in prayer, in our hearts, to help us understand what to do at that moment.

    As for the Bishop and his ward, Matthew 25:40 "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.", right?

  • dotGone Puyallup, WA
    Nov. 27, 2013 7:44 a.m.

    Interesting. Comments are interesting also. Everyone's a critic! At our ward building, the brethren take turns patrolling the parking lot during meetings because there have been so many car break-ins, but I can't picture them asking someone to leave.
    I sat in on a Relief Society lesson once that was about being kind to the strangers. The teacher was telling about a visiting authority/dignitary that sat in the back and was ignored. She seemed to be saying you should be friendly to everyone because you don't know who's "important". I found that annoying because who decides who's important!? And I said so.

  • Larry Case HOTCHKISS, CO
    Nov. 27, 2013 7:44 a.m.

    I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who said "If you look for the bad in a person, expecting to find it, you surely will" It seems to me Bishop Musselman was 'looking for the bad in people.

  • Mayfair City, Ut
    Nov. 27, 2013 7:37 a.m.

    Loved this.
    And depending on our own experiences sometimes that drives how we feel and how we act. But we can all improve.
    Glad people are thinking about it and sharing it. Kudos to the Bishop for his take on all this, and the make-up artist too. And for people embracing the posts about it on Facebook.
    Many lessons here.
    Lots to think about.

    Nov. 27, 2013 7:37 a.m.

    When dealing with the alleged "homeless" it is always prudent to err on the side of caution since you never know if the person has mental issues, will pull a knife on you and inflict bodyly harm!
    Then when soemeone is injured or killed by a homeless perpetrator; who is going to pay the medical and funeral expenses and pick up the pieces?

    Anyone who intentionally sets out to impersonate a homeless man should not be surprised how people react!

  • belgie Tualatin, OR
    Nov. 27, 2013 7:29 a.m.

    I'm not sure what I'm supposed to learn from this. It may have been educational for the bishop, and shocking for his ward, but I really don't see how this teaches me to be more compassionate or changes how I act with homeless people.

  • farmingtonhousewife Farmington, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 7:28 a.m.

    This just goes to show that we cannot judge people by how they look, how they dress or how they appear to be...our blessed Savior Jesus Christ did not - we are all the same in his eyes.

    I have known many persons in the church that look down on others by what they wear, or how they look. Shame on them.

  • LinfordFamily Fairview, WY
    Nov. 27, 2013 7:00 a.m.

    I find this an interesting article though the idea is not original. It was widely reporteda about a new paster in an evangelical church in California came the first day as a homeless person. Going through very similar experiences - being treated at times rudely, ignored and being invited to leave - then the redemption and learning moment came when the "homeless person" was introduced s the new pastor and he walked up to the lecturne. But, it certainly makes us reflect about our own Christlike behaviour.

  • Brother Benjamin Franklin Orem, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 5:47 a.m.

    This bishop is teaching some good things that we need to keep in mind about not judging others based merely on their appearance or assuming that we know what they are like and what they have been through.

    However, I have some serious concerns about this method of teaching also. I think he should have told a few more people...perhaps the first counselor and some others. Doing what he did could have been very offensive to some of the members of his congregation.

    Did it have the intended effect? Sure.

    Should missionaries, Primary teachers, and others start doing this? Absolutely not!

    This BIshop would do well to consider that there are many panhandlers and beggars who ask for money to take advantage of people and feed their addictions.

    I think a far more effective way of teaching this would be to have ward members, youth, and children help at a homeless shelter or with serving a Thanksgiving dinner.

    It can send the wrong message to some people and can make some even more skeptical, especially those members who may not know the bishop well, be less active or investigating the LDS Church, and so on.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Nov. 27, 2013 5:36 a.m.

    There are a lot who live pay check to pay check, on the edge of being homeless. No one has got a raise that keeps up with inflation in years, overtime is cut, and the light switch is turned off to save money. We are in the dark ages. Not a good time to be self centered, even tho we are sad. we can still give the gifts we can keep. your smile, your heart and your word.