Menlo Smith: A man who will loan you the shirt off his back

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  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Oct. 13, 2014 10:38 a.m.

    @timpClimber: I was in Melo Smith's ward in St. Louis, too. I deeply respect him and his family.

    The principles of combining opportunity with self-reliance work everytime.

  • Nunn24 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 12, 2014 6:01 a.m.

    This is great and everything and the idea of accountability especially makes good sense, but let's not get confused. Outright giving is not necessarily the soul-destroying, spoiling thing for the recipient that some think it is. Certainly the Book of Mormon and Jeffrey Holland don't think so.

    So then let's consider the statement for its face value: "...when you economically empower someone they solve all those issues on their own." Most people really do want to succeed. In most cases, just a smidgen of confidence and encouragement and maybe a little mentoring, plus a little financial empowerment, which could take the form of a loan but not necessarily the form of a loan, often is all that is needed.

  • Uncle_Dave Springville, UT
    Oct. 11, 2014 9:18 a.m.

    Thank you for this article. Loved it.

  • ER in AF Harare, Zimbabwe, 00
    Oct. 11, 2014 2:45 a.m.

    I found this article very inspiring. I have lived in areas of extreme poverty- China (yes, there is extreme wealth there but also extreme poverty)-Rwanda and now Zimbabwe. Zim now has around 90% unemployment in the formal sector. Meaning that most just do what they can, day to day and meal to meal with no job that they know they will have tomorrow. Catch as catch can. And maybe eat but never save or ever get ahead. Poverty means never attaining most dream. In fact it often means not having dreams.

    I don't want to detract from the article, but I live in a socialist country and lived thru the last time that people thought socialism was a good idea. It never worked in as grand a scale as it had in the 20th cent. I am amused and afraid that so many people think it is now viable. Like something has changed in human nature. Increase without incentive is a dead end. I think Menlo Smith would agree with me.

  • Jim Cobabe Provo, UT
    Oct. 11, 2014 12:54 a.m.

    I understand the point of the article to be Smith's honest desire to return something significant to the world where he been so fortunate. Among people who have amassed real wealth this seems quite a rare and laudable personal quality. He certainly has nothing that forces him to be so benevolent, and as far as I know, he has never sought for public recognition. When I met Menlo Smith in 1974, I thought he was a generous and unpretentious man who made benevolent use of his extensive wealth to help better the lives of many. We sat together with him to share at his dinner table. I was not impressed from this article that the focus was to promote any political or socio-econmic agenda, or anything other than to give due credit to a very good man who has accomplished great things.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 4:29 p.m.

    "Why, oh why, can't those who trumpet the cause of mega social give-away programs see this?!"

    First, most of us who are socialists do not "trumpet give-away programs." We understand that everybody, except those who are disabled, must work. People need work for their own self-respect.

    Now to the article. I understand that the Deseret News desperately desires to offer "free market" solutions to poverty and the rapidly eroding middle class. I have no objections to micro-credit. Anything which allows a self-directed enterprise to make it is all to the good.

    But I wonder how these micro-enterprises make it against competition from the big guys. How many of them survive any length of time?

    The hard fact is that most people must be employees under the current capitalist system. It would be great if we could all be solitary proprietors but that won't happen.

    The socialist alternative includes both state owned enterprises and worker self-directed enterprises where several workers get together to form an enterprise and manage it collectively.

    It is good we are thinking of alternatives because capitalism is running out of gas.

  • Oh, please! Saint George, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 12:32 p.m.

    This quote in the article sums up most of our problems and solutions in the US:

    “He looked at all the aid that is typically handed out, in housing, water, medical care, transportation, or whatever, and what he figured out is that when you economically empower someone they solve all those issues on their own. When you provide people the mechanism to stand on their own feet they take care of themselves.”

    Why, oh why, can't those who trumpet the cause of mega social give-away programs see this?!

  • Ted H. Midvale, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 10:34 a.m.


    Who said Yunus pails in comparison? Certainly not this article. Drop the victim attitude, its not pretty.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 9:12 a.m.

    So? Yunus, Grameen Bank, & his Nobel Prize pail in comparison because one there is a latter day saint who has done it?

    Its this kind of self-absorbed insecurity that true believers exhibit that make the rest of us scratch our heads.

  • timpClimber Provo, UT
    Oct. 10, 2014 7:24 a.m.

    We lived in the same ward with Menlo in St. Louis and soon came to love and respect him and his family. They are genuine and loving to all. His quiet example of how wealth can be used to lift up the poor teaches us about true discipleship.