Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes mistakenly called the “Mormon Church”) are firm believers in helping the poor and needy. We believe that it is what Christ would do, and so we should follow His example by helping others. We learn principles like this from the Book of Mormon, a book of holy scriptures similar to the Bible, because it talks about it in there. The Book of Mormon is about the God’s people who lived on the American continent. The Book of Mormon tells and preaches of Christ; Christ even appears to the people in that land after He was resurrected.
One of the more prominent parts of the Book of Mormon that talks of helping the poor among us is from the book of Jacob. Jacob was a prophet among the nation of the Nephites (the “father” of their nation was Nephi, who left Jerusalem in the year 600 BC, 13 years before the city was destroyed by the Babylonians) who was commanded to tell the people to repent of their ways and return to God. One of the sins that the Nephites were struggling with was pride. Many of them believe that because they had more money and riches compared to others, that they were better than the poor. Jacob tells them that this is a false assumption, and that everyone is equal to each other. He tells them that if they do seek for riches, that the riches should be used “for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and afflicted” (Jacob 2:19).
As members of the Church today we try to do this. One of the ways we do this is a “fast offering” fund. A fast offering fund is where members of the Church, or anyone who wants to participate, donate money to the cause of helping others that are going through financial struggles. By doing this, those who need the money will receive it. What is amazing is 100% of the money donated is given to the cause of those in need. Now-a-days, many charities only give a portion of the money donated to the actual cause. With our Fast Offerings, 100%, and no less, goes to those who need it. We also have what is called tithing, where members give 10% of all their income to the effort to help build our Church. It is used to build more church buildings, and things of that nature. None of the money donated ever is given to our clergymen; they do not have salaries at all. They do not get paid a penny for all the time and effort they put into helping out the Church.
My parents, after each paycheck they get, pay both tithing and fast offering. Because of this economy, everyone has had a hard time, my family included. We moved in the summer of 2007, around when the house market started to fall. Over 5 years later, we have yet to sell our old house, making it sometimes hard to pay bills for two houses. No matter how tight money got, we would always pay 10% for tithing, and what we could for fast offering. Because of this, we have ALWAYS been able to pay each monthly bill. It is because God blessed us that we have been able to get through these five years. I know that if we use our money for the right purposes, God will bless us, and help us out. I know this Church is true. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that if we choose to do the right, we will be blessed.
This article was written by Laura R., a student at Brigham Young University and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.