Love Thy Neighbor Without Stealing: Can Mormons Provide Shelters for the Homeless Without Supporting Government Theft?

by Robert John Stevens, March 29, 2017

A church friend sent me a link to the article How Utah Keeps the American Dream Alive. After reading it, here are my comments.

The Mormon Church encourages and supports government-forced redistribution of wealth by taxation to build and maintain homeless shelters in Salt Lake City. Taxation is theft—period. God commanded, “Thou shalt not steal.” Jesus and Paul reiterated that. In this regard, the Mormon Church has not figured out how to love your neighbor without stealing.

My wife and I once had financial difficulties and agreed to be a recipient of the Bishop’s storehouse—the Mormon welfare program for local churches. It was miserable, bullying and condescending. Having paid tithing and fast offerings for more than thirty years, had those monies went directly into mutual funds I would have accumulated a very large sum, probably close to a million dollars. Had that happened with church support or without church interference we could have simply withdrawn funds during financially bad times.

Instead, we had to be humiliated by working through church channels and meeting weekly with the female Relief Society President to fill out a checklist of items, mostly unhealthy, to get us by. It felt like humiliating begging to an organization that was increasingly reluctant to give back even a portion of my life-long contributions.

No brother or elder ever came over to offer me employment or to invite me to their place of work for lunch, which is probably the best way to get a job. None in executive or corporate positions would hire me for a day to prove myself, or even permit me to volunteer for a day, not even those I’ve known for decades.

Having a B.S. in Computer Science and completed my M.S. coursework also in Computer Science from Mormon-owned Brigham Young University in Provo, and with more than 25 years of professional experience at that time, I was highly qualified for church programming positions but even though they had dozens of openings, not even their management would give me a chance to prove myself for a day. I realized then that full-time career church employment is evil and desensitises church employees so they are less likely to be loving and charitable outside of their assigned, paid tasks.

Once when I mentioned to our Mormon landlord I wasn’t sure if my declining revenues would provide enough money for our rent, they immediately panicked. The Bishop was reluctant to help with our rent payment and when he finally committed he was late so our Mormon landlords immediately asked us to leave. The Bishop wouldn’t let us rent just anywhere—it had to be the lowest-priced rental. Those we could find nearby were unreinforced masonry structures which will collapse during a major earthquake so rather than put our family at risk, we moved our into a friend’s 600 sq ft basement and paid him rent.

The correct principles described in that article are not new to Christianity or Judaism. The Mormon Church is just in a healthy position to work on the problems because of 187 years of tithing accumulation, volunteer missionaries (mostly elderly in this category), and thousands of full-time career church employees who think they were chosen by and working for God himself.

If I were a Mormon apostle, I would not compromise on theft by supporting government theft. I would not employ tens of thousands of full-time employees supported by religious taxation aka tithing punishable by damnation vs secular jail time. Surely there are better ways such as teaching correct principles and encouraging Mormon college graduates to temporarily work at the Church but not a mandate as Israeli youth are required to serve in their military.

The American system of limited government was not intended to support government handouts. Mormon Presidents David O. McKay and Era Taft Benson taught it is not the proper role of government to provide welfare. That responsibility belongs to the people and to their churches. The Mormon tithing monies used to employ more than ten thousand full-time, career Church employees in Information Technology alone is more than enough to provide shelters for the homeless in Salt Lake City.

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Rating Church Talks

by Robert John Stevens, October 24, 2016

People often attend churches if they like the minister; hence the popularity of the mega TV ministries.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) believe in a lay ministry, meaning untrained people run the local churches and give sermons. Giving member opportunities to grow has proven very successful. One consequence though, it is often difficult to listen to poor speakers.

The main church service is called sacrament meeting and yesterday’s was the worse I ever attended. Two speakers well over 60 years old just rambled and rambled and said nothing.

The LDS Church needs to raise and restore the bar. Here’s an idea to think about: If the Sermon on the Mount is the best religious talk in history, and if we rate it as a 10, then how will your next talk rate?

What did Jesus do in his Sermon of the Mount talk? What did he not do?

Why are People so Lonely?

by Robert John Stevens, October 18, 2016

Yesterday I emailed a friend and asked why he and his wife don’t bring their kids by to play with our kids. He responded:

“Your move…created a little more distance (in Festinger (1951) he found that the greatest predictor of friendship ties among students in married student housing at MIT was how many doors away the two couples lived. Next door neighbors were cited as close friends 41% of the time…individuals four doors down were cited as close friends 10% of the time).”

We moved just a mile away and he passes our house twice every weekday to and from work. 🙂

That led me to wonder why people are so lonely and whether or not today’s religions really help.

Throughout history people become friends because they helped each other through trials and hardships and built things together.

After thinking more about his comments and the study he quoted, I remembered a quote by Mormon Founder Joseph Smith:

I see no faults in the Church, and therefore let me be resurrected with the Saints, whether I ascend to heaven or descend to hell, or go to any other place. And if we go to hell, we will turn the devils out of doors and make a heaven of it. Where this people are, there is good society.

Is that still true today? What can we learn from 19th century religions?

Compare the 21st century to times past. After high school, volunteer service and attending college we:

  • No longer work together to build our homes, barns, chapels, temples and cities
  • No longer help each other plant or harvest
  • No longer sit on our porches and enjoy friends
  • No longer physically fight for the cause of liberty or to defend our inalienable rights against government overreach
  • Make great financial sacrifices so certain church members may enjoy full-time career church jobs which leaves us with no or little money for entertainment, vacations or even nice furniture to entertain
  • Spend 40+ hours a week at work or more plus commute time
  • Work until April 24th (tax freedom day) just to pay our taxes. Tithe payers work more.
  • Allow the one-way media or ministry of propaganda to influence our thinking
  • Side with political parties that create strife and division/li>
  • No longer employ neighborhood children to mow our lawns, pull weeds, rake leaves, paint fences or wash our windows
  • Spend more time watching news, sports and videos, playing video games, and doing hobbies such as genealogy than spending time with true, living friends
  • Rarely if ever make true friends of the people we serve after our church assignments end
  • Indirectly are taught that church service is more important than developing true friendships
  • Are told to choose our friends which infers we should exclude those of non-conforming values or beliefs
  • Don’t associate too closely with other married couples because issues may arise
  • No longer send our kids to etiquette school or commit them to apprenticeships; therefore, they pale in communication skills and rarely have unique talents to share with and impress each other
  • Send our kids to public schools where they are taught the deep state curriculum vs home school them and guide them to follow their passions

Also most people today have fewer children despite the advice of Psalms 127:3-5

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

I suspect many readers will disagree with many of my points. I bet if we conducted a survey though we’d discover most people spend less than twenty hours a year with friends and most probably have fewer than three true friends.

These may be signs of the end of an empire or civilization which means a rebirth is coming and things will be very different as people work together to rebuild and survive.

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Half of church funds goes toward paying staff

But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish. — Book of Mormon 2 Nephi 26:31

How then can the LDS Church justify employing thousands of career employees? That’s a fair question, isn’t it?

Do they labor for money? Stop paying them and see how many remain.

To comply with their own doctrine, given the needs and goals of the church, is a better idea to apply strict term limits and implement revolving employment opportunities so more people can labor for Zion, mentor others, serve for pay and then return to industry?

The Enlightened View of Ownership

by Robert John Stevens, April 17, 2016

The Christian world knows well that John 1:3 states, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Jesus, the God of this world, made all things, and assisted beings under his direction at the dawn of creation and probably ever since.

Mormonism adds an enlightened view of that concept, that Jesus owns everything. Land records may state I own real estate but I really don’t own anything—God owns everything. My stewardship of wealth is temporary and used to bless myself, my family and the entire human race whenever possible.

Socialism and communism are the enemy to God and claims the state, not God and not the people, owns everything. The difference is significant.

How Churches Can Transition to Fewer Paid Career Employees and Set the Example for Government

by Robert John Stevens, March 8, 2016

Churches can become role models for governments to follow by converting their full-time, career employees to term-limited, part- and full-time employees, giving opportunities to serve for more members both young and old.

Many who love their faith will welcome the opportunity to improve their skills while enriching the lives of others, but can’t unless they are paid enough to provide for themselves and their families.

Because churches want to help their members obtain meaningful employment, they can become incubators for apprenticeships where people learn, grow, and graduate with improved, highly desirable skills for employment in the marketplace.

If just one major religious organization makes this transition, they may become a role model for governments to replicate.

Deep Pain

If you’ve been under- or unemployed, you probably felt pain and discouragement. If during those times you’ve applied for government jobs or at your religious organization and were rejected, you may have felt more pain especially knowing your contributions support the very people who rejected you. Discouragement and rejection may compound if you apply and re-apply but can’t even get an interview.

Disagree? Ask Yourself:

  • Is the proper role of these institutions to redistribute wealth to create a paid privileged class of career employees?
  • Even if the best and brightest are hired, how long should they be allowed to stay?
  • If you were unemployed but have the necessary skills for a job , should you be given an opportunity as you did when you gave volunteer service without pay, or should you wait for employees to fulfill their careers and retire?
  • What if no matter how well you’ve trained yourself, they won’t interview or hire you because they think you’re too old?
  • At what point is a paid privileged class supported by member financial sacrifices any different than slave masters who support themselves off slave labor?
  • Employees in government and at religious organizations are rarely hired to make a profit. Without that directive, do you expect bloat, inefficiencies and waste to increase? If so, could you help?
  • Even if you may not have all the skills required for a position, should God or taxpayers take a chance on you and hire and train you as an apprentice?

Let’s first discuss some pains related to government, followed by churches.

Relevant Pains in Government

  • The alternate unemployment rate in the United States is 22.8%. This figure represents the true unemployment rate using the former government reporting methods before they were falsified.
  • The size and cost of government is no longer sustainable. The United States is past the tipping point where there are fewer full-time workers than paid government employees and welfare recipients.
  • The minority working class now supports the majority. The difference is made up with ever-increasing debt welcomed and monetized by the private, secret Federal Reserve Shareholders.
  • Most citizens support government handouts and believe redistribution of wealth is the proper role of government.
  • Now that the middle class is nearly destroyed and much of their wealth has been transferred to the minority wealthy elite, the United States is becoming a nation of have’s and discouraged or angry, bitter have nots.
  • Many welfare recipients are now second or third generation and have no role models to follow or path to upward mobility.
  • Although it may be in the best financial interests of the banksters to keep the Ponzi scheme going for as long as possible, they are running out of tricks and know financial and economic collapse is imminent.
  • Many people with fresh ideas and needed skills want to help but they know there is little they can do as individuals in bloated government.
  • Time in government corrupts. Efficient people are forced to become inefficient.
  • Jesus said it best—”Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.”

    My point is that new people, especially young college graduates, bring fresh ideas to the workplace. For those ideas to result in innovative products, it is easier if barriers are removed by drastically reducing the number of former employees.

  • History is clear that great revivals occur only after much war, destruction and suffering, but this is the 21st century and we can learn from the past and decide to move forward without massive calamity.

Relevant Pains in Churches

  • Due to propaganda media, the rewrite of our history beginning in the progressive era after the Federal Reserve coup in 1913, the deliberate efforts to teach facts instead of precepts, and the removal of causation (cause and effect), church members mistakingly view the proper role of government to be only slightly different than what they see today.
  • Church employment is not much different than government employment. One is sustained by charitable contributions while the other by forced taxation. The big difference is church members serve God and their fellow men and women—a role model required for the restoration of government.
  • Church employees, like government employees, are not required to make a profit and therefore aren’t governed by the same market incentives and dangers that face entrepreneurs, small businesses and corporations.
  • Most church employees feel they are on a mission for God. Most rejected applicants feel rejected by God and their Church. Some silently fall into inactivity. Some become bitter.
  • Full-time career employment not only creates a privileged elite, it locks up most of the jobs for years.
  • Having served God at work, employees often rely on vicarious charity and become less likely to directly serve their neighbors after work. That can increase animosity for under- or unemployed neighbors.
  • Whether the economic decline will continue slowly or quickly due to catastrophic events, unemployment will continue to rise and tithing and charitable contributions will decline.
  • Resentment will grow for many who continue to pay tithing and charitable contributions while under- or unemployed knowing career church employees continue to be paid.

Solutions For Churches

Churches won’t fix the government’s problems but can become a role model for governments to model. Here are some ideas:

  1. Establish term limits for all paid employees to give others a chance to work, receive just compensation and increase their skills.
  2. Downsize projects and teams to optimal sizes and budgets so sacred funds can be better used elsewhere.
  3. Position church employment as the ideal place to train and mentor members.
  4. Improve member skills through revolving apprenticeships.
  5. Give older members more service opportunities to mentor and train younger people.

Solutions For Government

  • Government must not be a place where people are corrupted and rot, but a place where people learn correct principles, serve and grow so much that industry highly welcomes its graduates.
  • Restore government as a place where people serve their country, not for power or gain but out of love for their country and their fellow men and women.
  • Staff every department with as many new people as possible for specific term limits, mentored by a minimum senior staff, and governed by correct, canonized principles rather than bound by endless, burdensome laws written by special interests.
  • Restore virtue at every level of government. Emphasize the quest for virtue by highlighting proper role models both past and present of imperfect people who shined in their moments of greatness.
  • A national cleansing could begin with a great, authoritative leader but the Founding Fathers knew power corrupts and absolute power breeds dictators that reek misery upon the human family. It is therefore more likely to begin in our churches and synagogues.

Ideas to restructure churches and religious organizations

  1. Ask employees from each profession to submit a one-page paper outlining their suggested term limits. For some it may depend on the duration of their project.
  2. Meet with employees in person and discuss their suggestions but don’t limit feedback to management, nor church employees. Let people speak openly and honestly. Some professions such as professors, football coaches and building architects may require much longer durations.
  3. Ask for the most cost-effective and best ideas to mentor and train new employees for each profession. For software development, I’ve proved to myself that the most effective way to mentor requires sitting next to them and training them full time, and being there to answer questions and provide guidance. Eventually junior programmers surpass their trainers who then mainly offer wisdom, experience, quick answers and structure.
  4. Once spiritually confirmed, make a big announcement inviting all qualified church members to work for pay for some duration. I believe it will be highly welcomed by the membership.
  5. Decide that in most cases mentorship and apprenticeship are more important than swift production. Record and teach best practices that can be passed to each successive generation of employees.
  6. Ask former employees and groups to report on what they learned. Make those lessons available for newcomers.
  7. Emphasize preparation before Church employment by obtaining college degrees and specialized training.
  8. Ask members to consider Church employment before taking jobs in industry.
  9. Teach proper documentation so every employee fully documents everything and the reasons for their decisions, just as a franchise, for the future employees.
  10. Emphasize that work at the Church will be one of their most fulfilling experiences in life, increase their skills and prepare them for future employment elsewhere.
  11. Ensure members that once trained they may even earn more money than others who did not receive such wonderful training.
  12. Experiment with the ratio for seasoned versus junior professionals. This too will differ for each profession.
  13. Decide where and when rehiring is appropriate. For example, junior programmers may apply to become trainers/mentors but once their term is complete they may not apply for any other church job. I know of many technical people who just keep getting rehired for church positions and that is wrong.
  14. Emphasize that members working in corporations will have a responsibility to seek out and hire graduates from Church employment because they will receive the best on-the-job training, will be an asset to their organizations, and for revolving church employment to succeed graduates must be able to quickly find employment.
  15. Everything in this life is temporary: Few products will be relevant beyond a decade. Few services will be remembered; therefore, this life must be about revolving opportunity for God’s children.

    If we restore apprenticeships and mentorships within our churches, lives will be enriched, and members both young and old will deeply value serving.

    Once churches make this transition, it will be much easier to guide local, state and federal governments.

    Smarter people than I can come up with better organizational ideas for administering this but the answers will not all come from within, but from entrepreneurs and business leaders who have learned to do more with fewer resources.

    For religious organizations it must be based upon scripture, revelation and spiritual insights. I know I’ll rejoice at the wisdom when the correct, prophetic solution is revealed.

    For governments it must also be based upon the proper role of government, wisdom and lessons learned from the Founding Fathers and their study of the rise and fall of civilizations.