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 Had that happened with church support or without church interference we could have simply withdrawn funds during financially bad times.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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