Our son Andrew who is graduating with his MBA from UVU this Friday and lives in BYU off-campus housing, told me scripture reading is rare and he doesn’t know anyone who reads them consistently. From the many Elder’s Quorums I continue to visit and the discussions and lessons I hear, he may be right that it is rare.
Andrew is only 26 and yet most of my his friends who married are already divorced. With the mind-blowing high cost of living, the cards are stacked against them. Compare the high salary and down payment they must have to get into a home with the requirements to begin a homestead in previous generations.
To see just how much things have changed and the emphasis to prove doctrines using scriptures, re-read Apostle LeGrand Richard’s, “A Marvelous Work and a Wonder” which was written for missionary work, and compare it to today’s Sunday School and quorum manuals.
Consider the attention members today give to their scriptures, the high divorce rate, the abandonment of constitutional principles which include the emphasis on free agency to buy property and develop homesteads without government intervention which I know a great deal about in Utah County, social media (especially Facebook) etc., what can be done?
The solution may require a re-awakening to return to these basic, core principles. What do you see happening to reverse the trend?
Maybe a solution can be found in or related to the trust George Müller placed in God and the orphanages God and he created and sustained. Watch this video with your wife and entire family. There is a message here that needs to be re-introduced everywhere:
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.
How humbling and inspiring!
by Robert John Stevens, April 13, 2013
We lost our home in 2011. Neighbors came from many families to help us pack and move but nobody offered us a place to live, even though I believe everyone knew we had no place to go. Boxes were marked with orange paint to indicate camping equipment and placed near the door of one of our storage units in case we did not find a place to live and had to camp.
At the last minute, old friends in Cedar Hills, Utah offered us their unfinished basement. Their children had all moved away. We stayed there for three months. They often avoided us by hiding in their bedroom or watching TV for hours after we went to bed. Never once did they ask us to eat dinner with them. All but once they rejected our offer to eat with us. It was very uncomfortable to share a hallway bathroom with eight people which was situated right next to their master bedroom.
The husband was addicted to the false God and idol Glenn Beck, Fox News and to necon thinking. His patient wife had listened to him so many times, her understanding of good versus evil and right versus wrong was also corrupted.
Then they lost their Christianity and asked us to leave, knowing we did not have enough money for first and last’s months rent and again had nowhere to go.
I have never returned to their home, nor do I ever plan to. I cannot think of anything more revolting to God than to throw out a family with children, especially those with children under four.
Over the years, during difficult financial times we’ve lived in unfinished basements, with friends and relatives and tents. I don’t know anyone who has moved as much as we have. I think we have a feeling for it and can sympathise but we don’t look homeless. We always rebound financially and have still done better than most, even most programmers with similar advanced degrees.
Bishop Kurt Ostler of Highland, Utah and I had a very interesting private discussion last year. He commented how hypocritical it often felt on the way to church to pass by homes that are in disarray. He said he’s wanted many times from the pulpit to stop church and send everyone out to help those in need. I agreed with him completely, having frequently had the same thoughts.
I try to always give some or all of the money in my wallet to beggars. The more I give, the more money I seem to make. Sometimes the return on investment seems to be enormous.
I love to see Mormon temples. They seem so clean and pure but I am very uncomfortable with passing their parking lots full of people participating in ordinances for the deceased and think how much happier I’d feel to see the same people outside participating in community service projects, how much more pleasing it may be for heaven looking down upon us, and how, according to my understanding of the New Testament, our rewards after this life may totally depend on those few acts of charity.