Nelson in Africa

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DarkJedi
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Nelson in Africa

Post by DarkJedi » 17 Apr 2018, 06:32

https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900 ... cycle.html

I have trouble with this on multiple levels. It may have just struck me wrong or at a bad time, and honestly it is more in line with what I had expected from RMN. But this bugs me.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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nibbler
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by nibbler » 17 Apr 2018, 06:59

"We preach tithing to the poor people of the world because the poor people of the world have had cycles of poverty, generation after generation," he said. "That same poverty continues from one generation to another, until people pay their tithing."
I can see how the principle of tithing can help people learn to do more with less and learn the differences between wants and needs but if you're already poor I'd imagine that life is constantly teaching you those lessons.

I could also see the principle of tithing helping lift a people out of poverty if the collected tithing is going back into the community. Evaporation is a necessary part of the water cycle but it has got to rain. If it's only evaporate, evaporate, evaporate, then it's not sustainable.

With the closed books there's no way of knowing but I think that's a big if with the church. In wealthier nations the tithing dollars go up and a minuscule fraction of the money comes back to the community. I imagine in poorer nations that ratio is reversed, more money comes in than goes up, but when I refer to the collected tithing going back to the community I don't mean paying for a meeting house. A meeting house doesn't make a big difference in people's day to day quality of life.

I guess I'm thinking more about how fast offerings are supposed to work, how they could lift a community out of poverty, but he didn't say fast offerings.
Many Africans began saving money and planning their travel more than a month ago to attend what was billed here as a special devotional.
I admire their dedication. That said, this line in the article really stood out from the surrounding text.
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Beefster
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by Beefster » 17 Apr 2018, 07:45

I'm not going to water this down: Nelson is teaching BS and I am apalled. Tithing does not break the cycle of poverty and the only reason you might think it does is a result of confirmation bias. When you really get down to the nitty gritty, the faith-promoting stories are either riddled with magical thinking (i.e. making connections that don't exist) or are more the exception than the rule. People go bankrupt over tithing. People starve and go barefoot over tithing. Tithing is not a silver bullet.

Rant over.
Last edited by Beefster on 17 Apr 2018, 07:57, edited 1 time in total.
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Often I hear doubt being presented as the opposite of faith but I think certainty does a better job of filling that role. Doubts can help faith grow, certainty almost always makes faith shrink. --nibbler

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LookingHard
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by LookingHard » 17 Apr 2018, 07:48

Nelson is preaching the prosperity gospel - almost the definition of it. Just like the televangelists, "Send me your money and God will bless you."

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Beefster
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by Beefster » 17 Apr 2018, 07:58

I think that sort of preaching is disgusting and it is scripturally condemned. It is the essence of the Order of Nehors in the BoM.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Often I hear doubt being presented as the opposite of faith but I think certainty does a better job of filling that role. Doubts can help faith grow, certainty almost always makes faith shrink. --nibbler

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LookingHard
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by LookingHard » 17 Apr 2018, 08:05

I am not going to disagree with your general sentiment, but I will push back a bit.
nibbler wrote:
17 Apr 2018, 06:59
With the closed books there's no way of knowing but I think that's a big if with the church. In wealthier nations the tithing dollars go up and a minuscule fraction of the money comes back to the community. I imagine in poorer nations that ratio is reversed, more money comes in than goes up, but when I refer to the collected tithing going back to the community I don't mean paying for a meeting house. A meeting house doesn't make a big difference in people's day to day quality of life.
I 100% agree that it stinks that the financial books are generally closed, but some countries require the books be open. I think I saw reports that the church is sending/spending more money in the UK than they are bringing in.

And I do think in some places a nice durable building can help build a good community.

But even if you believe in temples, doesn't it make sense to make 10 smaller temples at $1M each rather than one $10M temple? It will give much more access to poor people that can have a real hard time traveling long distances, but will not be the same showcase building that says, "look how great our church is!"

But I 100% agree that the first thing the president of the church goes to Africa and says is, "gimme money" is a good thing.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by DarkJedi » 17 Apr 2018, 08:37

I apologize for the post and run, I had just read it and it bugged me enough I had to post but didn't have time to expound. I still don't have tons of time but you all have hit most of it. Prosperity gospel, Mormon magic, begging for money, all of it. And I also disagree with the whole dowry thing - but it's not my culture, it's theirs. I don't believe it's our place to try to change that culture.
He added that if he'd had to pay for his wife, "I would have missed five children, because only with my last five was I out of debt."
Hmm. I thought one of our teachings was to stay out of debt (it's actually in my patriarchal blessing). And he's at least an upper middle class guy in debt - what are these poor people supposed to do? (I know, pay tithing.)
I'm waiting for Curt to stop by and give his perspective so I can at least see the possibility of something positive here.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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On Own Now
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by On Own Now » 17 Apr 2018, 09:43

Dowry - I do think this is something that the Church should try to change among Church members. It's a common practice in parts of our world for higher-wealth men to force lower-wealth families to provide a usually-much-younger daughter for marriage. RMN isn't trying to change the practice in Africa, he's trying to change the practice among LDS members in Africa. If Church efforts someday contribute to the demise of caste systems and dowries, that's OK by me.

Tithing - I am totally opposed to the teaching that says pay your tithing even if you can't afford it. I think it's irresponsible. I was particularly disturbed by an article this decade in the Ensign:
If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing. If paying tithing means that you can’t pay your rent, pay tithing. Even if paying tithing means that you don’t have enough money to feed your family, pay tithing. -- Ensign, December, 2012
Poverty Cycle - Having said the above, I think it's actually somewhat novel to think of tithing as a tool for breaking out of the poverty cycle/poverty culture. Sociologists who are a lot smarter than me have asserted that in this poverty cycle and culture there is a "learned helplessness" and a prioritization completely unlike that existing in the middle-class. For example, according to those who study this, people living in poverty are much more likely to spend their even more precious resources on cigs and alcohol or on luxuries they simply can't afford, such as big-screen TVs and video games. Ruby Payne in "A Framework for Understanding Poverty" explained that even time is treated differently by people in poverty, with little or no planning for the future. Or as a friend of mine in the 80's once said, "Middle-class people plant flowers" (the implication being that middle class people will work for something today that has a payoff in the future). I think from RMN's perspective this message makes sense. He's basically saying that they should re-prioritize to align with God, and after all, Jesus himself is recorded as teaching in the Sermon on the Mount that our priority should be toward the Kingdom of God. In RMN's view, of course, this is all very clear. I'm not completely sure he's wrong. If the poverty cycle boils down to a combination of opportunity and prioritization, then something like tithing could at least mix up entrenched values and systems. But please don't confuse me as espousing the idea of paying even if you can't afford to.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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dande48
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by dande48 » 17 Apr 2018, 09:58

Here's what I think:
One of the biggest contributors of poverty is preference of the clan over preference to society. Hence, in third world communities, you give the best jobs to your family members, and not the most qualified applicants. If you can benefit your family at the cost of the community, you do it. If a young man wishes to join a family, he must contribute a sizable dowry to that family. I agree with President Nelson, that eliminating the dowry tradition will bring greater prosperity to the African nations.

One of the other biggest contributors to poverty, is the belief in divine providence. While America is very religious as a whole, we were founded upon the ideals of Protestantism and Calvinism. God does not often intervene, and so we cannot depend on Him to improve our lot in life. We must work hard, and be cunning and smart. A Utopian Zion can be built here on earth; we don't have to wait til the next life to be blessed.

If we can course correct third world countries on these two issues, I think they'll become some of the most flourishing nations in the world. Tithing does require the sacrifice of the clan for the benefit of the community. It gets them in the right mindset, which is a powerful thing. On the other hand, I understand the disgust many of us have, to asking the poorest of the poor to donate 10% of their income to the Church; Not to mention, coming from a GA is among the .007% richest people in the world. But I think the Church invests more in the poorer nations than they ever receive in tithing. While I'm against the preaching of the prosperity gospel, I don't think RMN is entirely wrong in the benefits it will bring.
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SamBee
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by SamBee » 17 Apr 2018, 10:16

If tithing collected in an African country is spent and redistributed within that country, it would be better.

Africa has had a serious problem with self-reliance. Colonialism has led to many problems, as have wars and corrupt governments. I also see onerous bank loans and a lot of charity work as sides of the same coin. One pulls money out of the country and the other makes people dependent on outside help.

I also think the LDS should encourage doctors, engineers etc to STAY in Africa. One of the other legacies of colonialism is developed countries stealing Africa's educated people.
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