Mormon leaders announce help for refugees

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Knitting a brighter future for Syrian refugees in Lebanon (Wikicommons)

(Wikicommons)

Knitting a brighter future for Syrian refugees in Lebanon (Wikicommons)

Knitting a brighter future for Syrian refugees in Lebanon (Wikicommons)

Knitting a brighter future for Syrian refugees in Lebanon (Wikicommons)

Here’s something of good report that crossed my desk yesterday.

The First Presidency of the LDS Church has issued a statement to be read in sacrament meetings around the world this weekend, bringing the plight of refugees to the forefront.

It’s a brief statement, but a welcome and powerful one.

As reported by the Daily Herald and the blog Zelph on the Shelf (which kindly agreed to allow RNS to use its photo of the letter), the Church is extending special help to refugees and has encouraged Mormons around the world to donate to the LDS Humanitarian Fund to further this work.

The Mormon Newsroom reports that through the years, the fund has provided “hundreds of thousands of blankets, clothes, emergency medical supplies, food, and other resources to refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Syria.”

In addition to donating, the letter invites individual wards and stakes “to participate in local refugee relief projects, where practical.” I’ve been hearing stories of wards doing this, including a Dumfries, Scotland ward that posted some really inspiring photos on social media of all of the goods it was getting ready to ship to refugees last month.

Here’s a link about some Welsh saints collecting over 2 tons of non-perishable food for refugees; Mormons in Germany have helped to house and feed the refugees who have flooded into their country.

I hope that many other wards will get involved with this effort.

(Courtesy of Zelph on the Shelf)

(Courtesy of Zelph on the Shelf)

Note: This post was updated on October 30, and the video added.

  • Dan the Mormon

    A welcome announcement, but not very surprising. It is only news when it seems like the Church is doing something negative or controversial. Unfortunately people don’t usually pay much attention to things as quotidian as churches helping the poor.

  • onecrazymama

    Finally.

  • Bob

    This makes me happy. I love that they are inviting us to work locally (w/ our ward, or with other local groups) on relief efforts, in addition to making donations.

  • A Happy Hubby

    Thanks for letting me know before Sunday. I have to say that this topic was the most bothersome thing I came away from general conference – the fact that nothing was really said about it. We have the largest refuge issue since WWII and a church saying it is Christ’s true church in it’s biggest meeting??

  • Mike

    I welcome this news though it is tempered for the following reasons. We always seem to be the last organization to make statements on current topics. The pope did a U.S. tour awhile back and spoke out on this. During the great depression, church leadership took years before taking control long after individual wards and stakes took action. Second, if you donate to the humanitarian church fund it very well may go to this crisis but they have no legal obligation to do so. They can buy land in Florida with it if they like and we will never know because of the no disclosure policy. Next point, I have not seen (and I have looked) where tithing money has gone to assist in this crisis which in my view is what Christ would spend it on. Last point, members need to think for themselves! I mean really-we have to ask leadership what we can do in this situation?

  • Jared Pope

    Debbie, are you kidding me? What the hell do you think the church does with its money? Tell me who is getting rich, who is profiting from it? Name one leader of the church who has made more money as a church leader vs. their private life prior to being called into service? Name a single person that benefits financially from the LDS financing structure. You liberals and your distrust of corporate financing, yet you have no issue with our government continuing to push 19 trillion in debt financing to fund their “do good” programs.

  • boo

    Boyd K Packer. Thomas Monson etc. Packer was a church employee all of his adult life, first in Seminary and Institutes and then as a GA .When he died his personal residence was valued at $2,000,000. President Monson another church employee almost all of his life owns 3 houses with a total value of $2 million .My own cousin in the PresidingBbishopric and then in the 70 made a lot more money as a GA than he ever did before. I am a moderately successful lawyer and he lived a lot better than I did. Ask them why they don’t disclose salaries like all charities do ( except the Catholic church) and they say huh we don’t think it is any of your business. They hid it because they know what the reult would be if they didn’t

  • Debbie Snowcroft

    Jared Pope wrote: “What the hell do you think the church does with its money?

    Who really knows what they do with all their money? Wasn’t that my point? The LDS Church refuses to make public any verifiable financial accounting.

    That said, the Church recently finished building a multi-billion-dollar shopping mall in Salt Lake City, they’re beginning the largest residential development in Florida’s history, and they have a major theme park in Hawaii (and don’t try saying that tithing wasn’t used, because they make no financial accounting, so you have no way of knowing).

    Jared Pope wrote: “You liberals and your distrust of corporate financing….”

    Public corporations have strict financial accounting rules, so technically we “liberals” would say it’s those privately held corporations (like the LDS Church) that refuse to make public financial disclosures that are undeserving of trust.

    Those and multi-level-marketing scams.

  • Jenna

    Mormon’s love to boast how they help the poor and needy more than any other organization.

    “A study co-written by Cragun and recently published in Free Inquiry estimates that the Mormon Church donates only about 0.7 percent of its annual income to charity; the United Methodist Church gives about 29 percent.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2012-07-10/how-the-mormons-make-money

  • Mike B

    Boo, I think you are making things up. I have heard such claims before, and they are not true. I know where the LDS Leaders live, because my uncle used to clean carpets for them, and they are not as ornate as you think. The numbers you report are false, according to official reports by the church, which are detailed at the following web address, as well as your claim being refuted. Here is the link http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_church_finances/No_paid_ministry/General_Authorities_living_stipend If some of the leaders do maintain other homes, it is because before they became a Church leader, they did well in their chosen profession. But the lifetime ones like Packer and Monson don’t make the bank you claim. And more information on where the church spends money (30,000 ward budgets, employment specialists, etc) can be found at the following link. http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/humanitarian-aid-welfare-services-breakdown-donations-costs-resources check facts first.

  • Ladean
  • These are good things to share with those in need. However, Mormonism is not sharing the true identity of Jesus.

    http://downtownministries.blogspot.com/

  • Moroni Breitbart

    One of the reason that the Church is last to come out and make a statement is two fold; first of all, if you have to be told/instructed/commanded in all things, you are an unworthy servant. Second, the Church can’t come out and say things as they are – like being a liberal is no different than the Kingmen of Pahoran and Moroni’s time – and should be dealt with accordingly – because that would take away the free agency given to you by God. It’s surely unfortunate that this needs to be, given that so many lack the brain power to understand it themselves.

  • LaDean
  • Danny S

    Moroni, “intellectual infant”? No need to insult others. Remember, in your mind you represent the true church of Jesus Christ. Would He have threatened Downtown Dave with physical harm? Your comments are ironic on so many levels.

  • Sam

    Note the date of this letter. This was before the Paris attacks. When Republican governors all over the US are saying they don’t want Syrian refugees, one Republican governor says his state will accept refugees. Which one? Utah. Compassion is more important than politics. Note, however, that many who claim compassion do not want to do anything to change the situations that refugees are running from. We have to do both.

  • Celeste

    I don’t care if you are Buddiest. Catholic. Mormon. Atheist. Or frog worshippers. We need more people helping with the situation, and I’m pretty happy to hear this. Can we stop criticizing for a few moments and work together?

  • kiana

    Major theme park in hawaii? Haha. I’m laughing so hard right now. It’s called the polynesian cultural center and its tiny.and trust me it ain’t no disneyland far from it. I make 7.50 an hour and in return the school pays my tuition which I am so great full for. No loans no debt. so I can go to byuh right next to it for my college education. I’m from new Zealand and most students are international. No one benefits from this place but it’s students and no money goes back to the chuch. Tourists pretty much pay for my education and in return we hula, dance and provide entertainment. If it wasn’t for the church I wouldn’t be able to get a college education.

  • EMAN

    AMEN!!!