Nelson in Africa

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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by Curt Sunshine » 22 Apr 2018, 12:07

To follow up on what Roy just said:

I have a huge problem with anything that even implies ridicule of the widow for paying her mite - or even the system that demanded she do so. It is important for people to feel like they are contributing to something about which they care deeply, and it is uncharitable to insist they shouldn't do so primarily because we believe they shouldn't.

I also have a huge problem with not providing fast offering assistance for people who are paying tithing in their poverty. However, we have an over-inflated sense of what is necessary in this country. Frankly, the biggest issue when discussing tithing and fast offerings, from a purely statistical perspective, generally isn't poor people; rather, it is people in the middle and upper-middle classes in wealthier countries. I know I have been a MUCH bigger drain on the balance at a few times in my life than any average member in Africa. That actually haunts me to a degree when I think about it.

Finally, unless we have a solid understanding of the economics of church membership in Africa, we are on incredibly thin ice when we try to discuss this topic from the luxury of our computers in our relatively luxurious homes.
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by SamBee » 22 Apr 2018, 12:49

Certain programs like emergency preparedness are probably even better suited to Africa than the developed world. I think also that the meetinghouses will also provide much needed cultural, social and sporting facilities in the places that need them, where corrupt governments will fail to provide for their poor citizens. Also the fact that the church uses local labor provides a degree of self-reliance that aid agencies do not always promote.
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by DarkJedi » 22 Apr 2018, 12:54

DevilsAdvocate wrote:
22 Apr 2018, 07:50
Maybe if they are lucky; it depends on the bishop (leadership roulette). There are plenty of horror stories online of Church members that were denied any assistance when they really needed it after they had been paying tithing for years leading up to that point. In any case, my impression is that the leaders typically view Church welfare as a temporary safety net for cases such as if someone is laid off until they can find a new job, not a permanent solution. But for many people, especially in some of these countries where the Church is growing the fastest poverty is a permanent condition even with their normal employment.
Been there and done that. Withholding of church welfare after many years of paying tithing and fast offerings (some of those years with above average income) was not the cause of my faith crisis but it was a contributing factor to it and to inactivity.

I sometimes listen to financial guru types on the radio. I see somewhat the same theme sometimes. The reason some people don't save isn't because they don't want to but because they literally can't. Even without debt (or cable TV) truly impoverished people are usually just getting by on what they earn, and often not really even getting by (without the help of food banks, etc.). From my point of view most if not all of these financial gurus do not truly understand poverty and the same can be said for the vast majority of our GAs and local leaders. Very few of them have ever known want, much less experienced unmet needs.

In truth this creates a conundrum for me. I may be prideful, and if I am I am - but I refuse to contribute to fast offerings and if asked why I'll tell them. I will however contribute to local food banks, etc. On the other hand, I do see that fast offerings do benefit some people who need it (and some who don't). I'm pulled both ways.
I don't think Church welfare is a very good answer for that. So what is the long-term answer from leaders like Nelson? Magic, as far as I can tell; basically they are counting on God blessing the poorest members so that they can afford to pay tithing consistently. But I think the more likely scenario is that members will either accumulate large debts, move in with their parents or other family members, etc. or else they will not remain faithful very long if 90% of their net or gross income is simply not enough to cover their basic living expenses .
Agreed. I don't think they have in mind that people will leave, but I don't think they fully understand that "blessings" might not always work that way.
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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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