Peculiar
Humanitarian Donations
and Fast Offerings

By Lin Stone

It Begins With Some Peculiar Families

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints takes peculiar delight in using the funds collected by its members in a peculiar manner.

Members of the Church may make donations for Humanitarian Services, and some members take peculiar delight in directing where their funds will go to work, providing clean water  for nations in Africa, for example.  Now, here's the really peculiar part.  100% of the fast offerings and humanitarian donations go directly to those in need --

Yes! 100%  !!!

And here it gets even more peculiar. 

ALL the overhead and administrative costs associated with these programs in addition to the resources needed to build storage facilities, house and deliver humanitarian aid supplies around the world, plus -- train the volunteers that want to get in on the action where they can help most -- plus a few other Unforeseen Expenses that become necessary in order to deliver that pin-pointed help  are privately absorbed by the Church.

There are people that will spearhead the entire operation to insure maximum benefit for the receivers, already trained and extremely effective, who stand ready to spring into action instantly -- at no cost to the benefactors.

All these donations are concentrated for maximum effectiveness -- with 100% of the total amount arriving on the scene in the form (sometimes cash just will not work, people need sandbags or bottled water or enough food to fill thousands of stomachs) that will do the receivers the most good right then. 

That is a peculiar way for an institution to be doing things, isn't it? 

If some government was doing this it would first tax the people against their will, then arbitrarily decide where to spend the money, after first sending it hither, thither and yon and back again, and some harried spokesman will arrive to be feted and dined then toasted by dignitaries in their best suits -- and the people back home look at the figures that started and the sum that arrived, and they say, "Didn't anybody else pay their share?" 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is so peculiar that it hires independent, unbiased auditors that examine all the funds received by the Church. and all the funds disbursed by the Church, AND EVERY PENNY IS ACCOUNTED FOR! 

This is an example of the world-wide church being pelted with the epithet of "SECRETIVE"?

Members that look at the concentrated figures publicly reported and they are astounded!  "I'm a part of this?  My contributions are helping thousands of people learn a new trade, people receive fresh water right at their doorsteps?  WOW!"

A whole lot of folks are wishing their government was so secretive because they keep finding out (from independent and furious sources) that their hard-earned money is funding terrorist attacks or drug lords or bringing in kudzu to control erosion.

 Help Is Concentrated To Help Families,
Right NOW, And, In The Future

Today, thanks to a robust infrastructure, the Church continues to relieve the hunger, thirst, suffering and poverty of millions of people around the world and to empower individuals and communities to become more self-sustaining.

The Church is interested in helping those in need become self-sufficient in the long term as well as meeting the immediate needs of the families.

  1. After the 2004 tsunami devastated Southeast Asia, LDS Humanitarian Services personnel were still working with community-based organizations to provide longer-term aid and development three years later.
  2. In addition, the Church regularly donates wheelchairs,
  3. funds global immunization efforts,
  4. provides clean water service,
  5. trains doctors and volunteers in neonatal resuscitation programs,
  6. and offers training and treatment for preventing blindness for people all over the world, regardless of race, religion or nationality.
  7. When the multimillion-dollar Teton Dam disaster struck Idaho in 1976, a force of 45,000 Latter-day Saints was deployed almost overnight to provide emergency relief.
  8. When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Mormon relief trucks arrived before the National Guard was even allowing relief through.
  9. The reach of the Church is World Wide.  Massive oil spills in South Korea in late 2007 found hundreds of volunteers handling the disaster with plans, supplies and manpower within days.
  10. The 2010 Haitian earthquake catastrophe was met immediately with 160,000 pounds of food and emergency resources,
  11. and a month later, when a devastating earthquake hit Chile, an airlift of tents, tarps, supplies and even diapers was quickly deployed.
  12. The Church s clean water projects have benefited nearly four million Africans.
  13. The Church sponsors many other relief programs,
  14. including extensive welfare,
  15. vocational, rehabilitative,
  16. counseling
  17. and other services.
  18. These services include millions of hours -- donated  without charge -- by Latter-day Saint doctors, nurses and other Church members each year.
  19. Thousands of other professionals and volunteers give freely of their time and means to those in need, with no expectation of praise, publicity or reward..

But it's ALL a SECRET!

While the Church s humanitarian aid efforts and its significant financial donations may be recognized in a few areas, it would seem that very few people realize that reporters, writers and publicists are publicly announcing what is being OPENLY accomplished by this secretive Church that floods the world with missionaries that are praying for access to someone that will listen.

"Here Is Why We Give"

Have you ever helped someone big time and they shrug their shoulders and walk off with a mumble of sound that might be "Thanks" thrown over a disappearing shoulder?  It hurts, doesn't it?

But the Latter-day Saints pride themselves on being a peculiar people.  As disciples of Jesus Christ, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints endeavor to follow the Savior s admonition

  1. to feed the hungry,
  2. give drink to the thirsty,
  3. take in the stranger,
  4. clothe the naked
  5. and visit the sick
  6. and those in prison (see Matthew 25:35 36).

For 170 years the Church has been rebuffed, renounced, ridiculed, disenfranchised, stripped of their property, hounded from pillar to post -- and they still go on trying to be like Jesus Christ, the Savior of ALL MEN.  Through the efforts of individuals, families and Church programs, temporal and spiritual assistance has been given to millions in need.  WHY? 

Well, that's just one more of the secrets that tens of thousands of missionaries are praying to find someone that will listen to them tell.  "Hey, is there anybody out there that wants to hear a secret about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?  Just call 1-888-537-1212

A recent study -- sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy and Practice -- focused on the charitable donations and volunteerism of active Latter-day Saints in the United States. Professor Ram Cnaan and a team of researchers analyzed survey data from a large sample of church-attending Latter-day Saints living throughout the country. Based on their findings, the authors concluded that active Latter-day Saints "volunteer and donate significantly more than the national average. Regardless of where they live, they are very generous with their time and money, Cnaan, an expert in faith-based social services and the lead researcher, said. Through a theology of obedience and sacrifice and a strong commitment to tithing and service, Latter-day Saints are model citizens."

MODEL CITIZENS he said, not secret? Hmm.   Independent researchers who actually search out the facts are saying that Latter-day Saints are good citizens, no matter what country they live in.  Oh, I know one of their secret catechisms that reads:  "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents and magistrates, and in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law."

*

Donations and Resources

Wall Street Journal columnist Naomi Schaefer Riley has gone on record for observing that the LDS welfare system lets almost no one fall through the cracks while at the same time ensuring that its beneficiaries don t become lifelong dependents.   red and bold added by Lin Stone.

In keeping with the biblical practice of paying tithes, Latter-day Saints offer one-tenth of their income to the Church just as Abraham paid tithes to Melchisdek.. Ththing funds provide spacious, modern buildings or places of worship for members around the world and pays to maintain them in excellent condition. "We have thousands of such buildings and continue to open more, sometimes several in a week.

Tithing funds furnish education programs, "including support for our universities and our seminary and institute programs."  Tithing funds the building and operating of nearly 140 temples around the world that marvel and astound neighbors as well as members themselves.  Members with current temple recommends feel privileged to come in and clean and polish up the temple.  One woman pleaded for the privilege of polishing the noses of the oxen holding up the baptismal fount where clean water is constantly pouring through.  Her husband happened by and whispered, "I told you I'd take you to the temple."  

The administration of the world s largest family history program is included in the package supported by faithful members paying their tithing.

What About Fast Offerings

It's so peculiar.  On the first Sunday of the month, faithful, healthy members of the Church are encouraged to follow through on their promise to fast for two consecutive meals -- and donate to the Church that money they would have spent on food.

Where does that money go?  These special, completely voluntary funds will go to help those in local congregations, where Mormon leaders confidentially allocate funds to the needy, with the ultimate goal being eventual self-reliance.

Humanitarian Aid

The Church has joined in more than 200 major disaster assistance efforts, including the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2010 Chile earthquake, the 2010 Pakistan flooding, the 2009 Samoa tsunami, the 2009 Philippines typhoon, the 2009 Indonesia earthquake, the 2008 Ethiopia famine and many others. Naturally, the Church undertakes these projects without regard to the nationality or religion of the recipients.

When a disaster strikes, Latter-day Saints work with local government officials to determine what supplies and food are needed. Materials are then purchased or assembled locally or shipped from LDS storehouses. After urgent needs are met, the Church looks for additional ways to aid in long-term efforts. Our approach is always to help people become self-reliant by teaching skills and providing resources for a self-sustained life.

All of these efforts are made possible by the generous donations of Latter-day Saints and many other charitable individuals and organizations. One hundred percent of the donations given to the Church s Humanitarian Services go directly to those in need; the Church absorbs all of its own overhead and administrative costs.

While the Church s emergency response to major disasters has drawn more media attention lately, how many times can they praise, explain, or condemn this rowdy bunch of law-abiding Latter-day Saint as they engage in many other less visible initiatives. In addition to the Church s humanitarian aid, donations sponsor ongoing global efforts.

This peculiar, secretive Church created an interactive web site at: ldscharities.org that reveals its local initiatives and global projects being completed throughout the world. The local initiatives are need-based projects tailored to particular locations in conjunction with local leaders. The projects might include:

Neonatal resuscitation training: providing resuscitation training and equipment to health practitioners and organizations each year in countries with high infant mortality rates.
Clean water projects: working with local community leaders to provide access to clean water with wells and other water systems in countries where such access is unavailable.
Food production and nutrition initiatives: providing training to families and communities to increase productivity and self-sufficiency with home food production and nutrition training.
Wheelchair distribution: working in partnership with local organizations to provide wheelchairs to the disabled.
Vision treatment: providing equipment and training to local, qualified medical personnel to perform eye surgeries and prevent blindness.
Childhood immunizations: partnering with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to provide immunizations and vaccinations for measles, whooping cough and other conditions.
These programs rely not just on donations but also on the time, efforts, expertise and resources of countless volunteers to provide the training and manpower to maintain these services.

Welfare Program

While humanitarian relief is directed to global communities and individuals not of our faith, Latter-day Saints also contribute to the welfare program, which is primarily designed to care for the needy within the stewardship of the Church, though, at the discretion of bishops, local funds can, where possible, assist others in need who are not of our faith. These services operate on principles that encourage self-reliance and self-respect. For example, recipients of these resources are given the opportunity to work to the extent of their ability for the assistance they receive or to pay forward the service rendered in other ways. Overhead costs are provided through other funding sources.

Members donations make possible the programs and resources for self-reliance, relief and emergency services. In addition to meeting the need for food, clothing and shelter, these include providing vocational rehabilitation and employment opportunities for citizens, immigrants and refugees and funding counseling and adoption services as well as addiction recovery support groups and resources for social, emotional and spiritual challenges.

Individuals typically depend on the Church s food assistance for only three to six months before they become self-sufficient once again.

In 2011 there were almost 10,000 volunteer missionaries serving in welfare services, providing services such as managing employment centers, teaching English as a second language, teaching marriage and parenting skills, improving agricultural and medical practices and distributing clothing.


Perpetual Education Fund

Donations to the Perpetual Education Fund support Latter-day Saints in some countries outside the United States in their efforts to acquire technical, vocational or professional education. Loans are granted at minimal interest, and participants do their best to repay the loan as soon as possible to become free of debt and to make money available for others who need help. Repayments from existing participants and donations are used to make new loans to qualified students. The entire administrative cost of the PEF program is borne by the Church, leaving 100 percent of the donations to go directly toward the loans. Over 50,000 students have been helped by these loans, with a 90 percent pay forward rate.

LDS Family Services

LDS Family Services draws on charitable donations to offer counseling services related to addiction recovery, familial conflict resolution, abuse and other issues for individuals, couples and families at a cost based on a family s ability to pay. They also help fund complete adoption services for members and provide services to birth parents and families (regardless of faith). Donations assist those unable to completely self-finance the services.

Mormon Helping Hands

The Church also sponsors the Mormon Helping Hands program, which brings together members of the Church and their neighbors to provide community service all around the world. In recognizable yellow shirts, these volunteers help people whose lives have been affected by disasters or other emergencies. Volunteers also partner with government and nonprofit organizations to support and improve the communities where they live; they clean parks, restore public structures and perform various other community services. Originally started in South America, the program has since spread to nearly every corner of the earth. Hundreds of thousands of Latter-day Saints and other volunteers have donated millions of hours of service to their communities through this program.

Time

Of course, not all donations can be measured monetarily. Time is a precious resource, and Latter-day Saints give it generously. According to the data in the Penn study, an active Latter-day Saint volunteers 427.9 hours annually to charitable causes (35.6 hours per month 57 percent of which is for religious purposes). They spend an average of 150 hours annually serving in the Church's social and community initiatives, such as the Church's worldwide welfare and humanitarian aid programs. The study reported that individual members give an additional 34 hours annually to other social causes unrelated to the Church. In 2011, almost seven million hours of labor were donated to Church welfare facilities alone.

Other Donations?  YES!

Mormons may be peculiar, but they are Model Citizens, Too!  They find time to go sing in Nursing Homes, clean up parks and roadways -- and they work HARD at being model citizens, good parents -- and great children.  While they are yet in the toddling stage, Mormon children are taught to be model citizens.  The training is voluntary, of course, but children begin training at a tender young age to perform in pageants, write and give talks, and help new members and investigators to feel right at home in their meeting house.

In short, Latter-day Saints strive to follow the scriptural counsel to be anxiously engaged in a good cause. An abundance of good causes can be found outside Church-sponsored programs, and members are encouraged to be generous with their time and resources in every way they can, all on a individual, voluntary basis. No one is forced to join this secretive Church.  No one is forced to read the Scriptures; no one is forced to set aside one night every week for the FAMILY to get together for fun and treats.  No one is forced to go to the temple.  No one is forced to go to heaven.  Isn't that peculiar that millions of people have searched hard to find this strange Church and are anxious to learn all its peculiarities so they themselves can also become MODEL CITIZENS Striving to perform Good Works.  According to the Penn study mentioned earlier, an active Latter-day Saint also donates generously to non-Church-related charitable causes.

The success of the Church is a credit to all the individual Latter-day Saint congregants and their neighbors who voluntarily give of their money and time and support, talents, skills and other resources as they strive to be like Jesus and do unto others as He would do if He were here in person.

the end

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