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Author Topic: Will the Lord allow a faithful member of the church to go hungry or homeless?  (Read 321 times)

Enochscion

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While reviewing the material in one of the self-reliance books to help a friend who asked me to be her action partner for a class, I came across a dilemma. While I feel the Spirit reading the book (as I generally do with Church manuals), I'm skeptical of what I think is being presented as a core principle.

The principle that I believe is being presented, though it is never stated in these words, is:

"If you are a faithful member of the Church striving for self-reliance to the best of your ability, the Lord will not allow you to go hungry or homeless."

I would request any responses to first give a "yes" or "no" answer as to whether you believe that is a correct principle. (You're welcome to qualify your answer and discuss it for 10 pages, but please start with a "yes" or "no".)

Additionally, if you do not believe that is the correct principle, could you present what you believe the true principle is? And/or if you don't believe that is the principle the manual is presenting, could you share your take on what principle you believe the manual is presenting?

It would be very helpful if you could phrase alternative principles in terms that are as concrete and observable as possible for the principle (similar to how I phrased the one above).
 
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dyany

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No, absolutely not.
Other false statements like unto it:
"Faithful members trying their best will never have to suffer."
"Faithful, righteous people always live to a ripe old age and live a fulfilling life before they die."
"Hardships, trials, losses, and pain are always a result of sin."

These are not only false statements, they are SATANIC. If these were true, then every prophet in every book of scripture is false. If these were true, CHRIST'S SUFFERING WOULD BE PROOF OF HIS EVIL. And it's just BS.

What I DO believe is that we all need to work hard to keep the commandments and be as self-reliant as we can. But the capacity of each of us, at different times in our lives, will vary widely and ALL of us will have times in our lives when we cannot fully provide for ourselves. Period. From small children to the very ill to the disabled to the elderly. It's the nature of this world. And it's why most scripture talks about taking care of the poor. Not judging them. Not shaming them.

Do I believe that everyone should just be given everything they want? No, and that's kind of the false dichotomy Satan preaches. The atonement is a perfect example in this way as well as others: Christ saves us after all we can do, FROM our sins, not IN our sins. We can't escape them on our own. We are too flawed and hurt and broken. But if we TRY--to be self-reliant, to keep the commandments, to be good to each other--Christ will clean up the rough edges and shortfalls and the like, but when it counts. Which may not be now. Or tomorrow. Or even in this life. But two things we can be sure of: it will be perfect, and it will happen precisely when it needs to.
 
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cook

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yes.

But...

Like you stated, it doesn't actually say that. And understanding it implies so is your understanding. I think one would also need to  define hungry. My definition would  not be feel hunger (I feel hunger even though I  have abundantly), not  even eating very scarcely for a month or two but a longer term thing.

Why I responded this way? Because if you are a faithful member (and even not so faithful) and doing your best in self reliance, the church will step up to help before you are in that situation - or it should. As one doing your best with self-reliance you'd also know what support and where your community can give and you can use it or your bishop will help you use it. And so on. So the Lord will not allow you go hungry and homeless because he has created these systems in the church and societies to help. So I believe that sentence to be  true in that sense. Not that God somehow blesses you so that you wont face hard times or that you just miraculously come out of it.
 
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Jana at Jade House

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I have a gut reaction to the term self reliant. My belief inclines me to use self sufficient.  Self reliant sets up a solo act.  Self sufficient sets up a cooperative system.  No one can be totally self reliant unless you live in a cave and forage.  Sufficiency requires looking at your strengths and weaknesses and developing reliable, dependable sources and resources to be prepared when your community stutters and fails. 
To address the prime question here: My personal experience tells me that the manual statement is magical thinking. 
Paradise Californis Saints lost everything.
Saints all over the world struggle to eat and have a roof.  Otherwise there would be no need for Church welfare services.
So I would support rewriting the statement so that the hungry, homeless Saint is not further humiliated by someone judging them less than faithful, less worthy, just because their whole world fell apart.
 
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Roper

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"If you are a faithful member of the Church striving for self-reliance to the best of your ability, the Lord will not allow you to go hungry or homeless."

Perhaps a better way to say it is this: "If we are faithful members of the church, striving to build the Lord's kingdom to the best of our abilities, the Lord will guide us to the hungry and homeless."

The Lord is not some super powerful magician in the sky. He is our King, and we are His disciples. We do the work of His kingdom as we follow Him.
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 
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Palmon

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What Dyany and Roper said.
 
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nitasmile

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That is a double negative but yes a faithful person can be hungry and homeless.

 
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pnr

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He only has flawed mortals to work with, after all.   I suspect that there ARE times when His children go hungry because no one is listening or acting on inspiration to address the issue.   And in a world of every soul living full discipleship of Him, I think there will be no hunger that cannot be address with manna from heaven.
Nauvoo 1270, Feb 2005
 
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Enochscion

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After posting, I decided I wanted to go back to the actual book and make sure I'm not interpreting what I think it is saying too far. While I'm pretty sure the idea I expressed is widely believed by members of the Church (American members at the least), I don't want to be channeling my frustration unnecessarily at a source that might not actually be supporting that idea. But when I went back to the book, this is what I saw (I've bolded certain parts):

Personal Finances for Self-Reliance (2016) (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/personal-finances-for-self-reliance?lang=eng)

In the Message from the First Presidency:

Quote
Dear Brothers and Sisters:

The Lord has declared, “It is my purpose to provide for my saints” (D&C 104:15). This revelation is a promise from the Lord that He will provide temporal blessings and open the door of self-reliance, which is the ability for us to provide the necessities of life for ourselves and our family members.

In the section My Foundation: Self-Reliance is a Principle of Salvation:

Quote
"That day I learned that there is a solution to every problem." - Elder Enrique R. Falabella (part of a story)

Quote
Being self-reliant does not mean that we can do or obtain anything we set our mind to. Rather, it is believing that through the grace, or enabling power, of Jesus Christ and our own effort, we are able to obtain all the spiritual and temporal necessities of life we require for ourselves and our families. (Manual text)

Quote
“Self-reliance is the ability, commitment, and effort to provide the spiritual and temporal necessities of life for self and family. As members become self-reliant, they are also better able to serve and care for others.”

Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010), 6.1.1 (quoted in manual)



Thoughts?
 

Jason

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Much USA Poverty (and other advanced countries) is still luxury compared to poverty in the rest of the world. With the charities and government programs are available here, there shouldn't be anyone who cannot have enough calories and some sort of shelter. Even the drug addicts in the drug/homeless camps in Seattle get enough food and have options for indoor shelter. That is not true in many parts of the world. That is not true for most of history. It begins to be an apples to oranges comparison.
 

dyany

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I think this can be narrowly interpreted as we, basically alone with Christ, will be able to provide 'all the necessities of life.' I firmly believe this narrow interpretation to be complete BS. I have seen way too many people disabled to the point of absolutely being unable to provide for themselves, let alone their families, temporally. Period.
However, the statement itself contradicts that interpretation, when it says we would be "better able to serve and care for others." Unless the 'others' referred to are, by the narrow interpretation, unworthy or unfaithful, they wouldn't NEED to be served or cared for, right?

HOWEVER, if you broaden the interpretation to mean that the BODY OF THE CHURCH becomes self-reliant through the efforts of the members, then I think it stands. As in, I believe a high enough percentage of the population, when they work hard and are humble, obedient, and willing to sacrifice, will have enough surplus (not just goods, but mental, spiritual, and emotional energy and other resources) to be able to support not only the entire BODY OF THE CHURCH, but others outside that Body as well. And I think in many ways we have seen this through the financial dealings of our leaders, though they have been disparaged for the rainy day fund, it is an excellent example of this principle. We have been able to keep functioning through this difficult last year AND have been able to reach out and donate a lot to many good causes to help many people.
 

Jason

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One way for the people to "prosper in the land" is for everyone to strive toward the self sufficient principles, which principles will tend toward prosperity compared to alternatives. I think the "prosper in the land" promises are for the people as a whole, but individuals will always have individual challenges. The difference is that since the people as a whole are prospering, they can better help with the individual challenges, which then leads to everyone prospering above where they would have been. Our capitalistic, free market systems help, too.

Christ did say that we will always have the poor among us (when Judas was wondering why he was indulging with an expensive ointment, rather than selling it and giving it to the poor). So I wouldn't expect poverty to completely disappear.
 
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N3uroTypical

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Quote
"If you are a faithful member of the Church striving for self-reliance to the best of your ability, the Lord will not allow you to go hungry or homeless."

The last time I checked, the Lord was rather big on agency.  Sort of the entire point of the whole show.  The Lord allows people to do whatever they want. 

Similarly, while we have some pretty important and reliable promises from the Lord, always-having-a-home and never-going-hungry aren't two of them.  Spending 5 seconds thinking about the saints' experiences after Joseph died should make that pretty apparent.
What-about-ism is pointless. I like to think most people's responses to such arguments would be, "Yup. That person, who happened to wear the same political jersey I do/did, was totally wrong on that, too."
-Taalcon
 
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Roper

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Our capitalistic, free market systems help, too. ... Christ did say that we will always have the poor among us (when Judas was wondering why he was indulging with an expensive ointment, rather than selling it and giving it to the poor). So I wouldn't expect poverty to completely disappear.

For now. I would expect things to improve as we seek to build up the Kingdom of God and establish Zion.

- In the days of Enoch: "And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them." - Moses 7:18
- In the days of Nephi, a Disciple of Christ: "And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift." - 4 Nephi 1:3
- The Law of Consecration and Stewardship in the days of Joseph Smith.

These examples show what is possible, and what our aim should be. Sure, we serve the Lord in a world where possibilities are limited by the weaknesses of humanity. That doesn't mean that we have to adopt those limits as the only (and certainly not the best) possibilities. We are still the Lord's covenant people, charged with establishing Zion whether our economy is based on capitalism or socialism, and whether our government is based on democracy or dictatorship. All are inventions of mortality, and will be replaced by the Lord's economy and the Lord's government. In the meantime, we build.
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 
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Jason

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Would you rather...

Would you rather live a middle class life today in the USA, UK, Germany, Japan, France, Taiwan or any other advanced economy,

or would you rather live in the City of Enoch or with the Nephites in the 100 years after Christ's coming?

I have no doubt that the quality of life is higher in the modern society with regard to sanitation, sewage, medicines, vaccines, foods, refrigeration, transportation, heating, construction quality, access to information, education, opportunities, entertainment, and relative safety of life.

Would there be enough allure in the other societies that would draw you away from our modern advancements in life? Why or why not?
 

 


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