Much has been made of my Church(LDS) donating millions to support prop 8, and thus should have it’s tax exempt status revoked. There is many problems with this, besides throwing the baby out with the bath water. 1st millions were not spent in support of prop 8, by my Church, only thousands, in non-monetary type, IE travel. Millions were spent by members of my Church, after being told their donations would not be tax exempt, in support of prop 8. However the no on prop 8 received more money overall, and from out of state than the prop 8 supporters did.
The 1st amendment to the Constitution:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The problem with the argument of getting rid the tax exempt status of any church involved in support of prop 8, and I haven’t heard of anyone arguing for the getting rid of the no on 8 churches, is a) By tax code Churches are allowed to speak out on issues, not candidates, b) goes against the 1st amendment itself by prohibiting the exercise thereof by restricting the their own freedom of speech, c) people don’t understand how much these churches contribute to the communities, d) churches have a duty to speak out on these moral issues, e) people have the right to exercise their religion as they see fit, even by supporting prop 8. That is guaranteed by the freedom of religion.
SALT LAKE CITY —26 November 2008 —The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today released a report of its hurricane relief efforts during the 2008 hurricane season. Since late August, the Church has sent dozens of semi-truck loads of supplies to the Gulf Coast to aid those affected by Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Ike.
Additionally, two planes carrying over 47,000 pounds of supplies flew from Salt Lake City to the Caribbean nation of Haiti in September to help the Haitians recover from the effects of Hurricane Ike.
The Carlos Flores family of the West Green Ward, Houston, Texas received two food boxes.© 2008 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
According the Church’s Welfare Services Department, through the middle of October, the equivalent of about 61 total truckloads of supplies has been donated to the hurricane relief effort.
The effort included 12,000 food boxes, which contain rice, vegetable oil, peanut butter, fruit drink mix and assorted canned goods. Each food box can feed a family of four for several days. Also included were five truckloads of water, 185,000 hygiene kits, 55,000 cleaning kits, 20,000 pounds of clothing and 1,500 tarps.
Additional assistance of food, water, generators, tools, sleeping bags, chainsaws, tarps, fir strips and other items have been given from regional LDS Church storehouses.
William Skipper coordinates emergency communications over short-wave radio.© 2008 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
Assistance also included volunteers helping with the cleanup effort. Several missionaries in the Houston area wearing yellow Helping Hands t-shirts asked a woman if they could help clean up her yard. In a very firm tone, she indicated that she wanted every leaf raked and the yard cleaned perfectly. The missionaries went out of their way to make sure that they did an extra-special job for her. After they were finished, the woman came out to pay them because she thought she had hired them. When she was told they were doing it for service, she was thrilled.
The Church humanitarian aid system is experienced and well equipped to respond to a variety of disasters, including hurricanes. For instance, the Church provided 200 semi-truck loads of aid and 42,000 man-days of labor in response to Hurricane Katrina.
Disasters, as horrible as they are, give Latter-day Saints a chance to serve. Randy Ellis, Houston cannery manager and disaster volunteer, said: “We get involved because that’s who we are. We’re trying to follow the example of the Savior. It feels good to help your neighbor. We don’t do what we do to get people into the Church. We do it just to help people.”
Houston resident Billie Childress’s gratitude is typical of the many thanks the Mormon Helping Hands volunteers have received. “They have been fantastic,” she said. “They are unbelievable. They are a blessing.”
Bishops have many resources to meet members’ needs. Temporary financial help is available through special “fast offerings.” These funds are available to the bishop; they are donated monthly by members when they skip two consecutive meals and donate the money saved plus a generous additional amount for this purpose.
Also, across the country the Church operates enterprises that provide items for “bishops’ storehouses.”
For example, at farms in Utah, volunteers this summer picked more than a million pounds of peaches that were then canned and sent to bishops’ storehouses and public agencies in several states. Food, clothing and other necessities are stored in these warehouses until bishops requisition them for people in need.
These items then become tangible symbols of the “time, effort and love generously contributed for the common good.” The Church also operates a thrift store (Deseret Industries) that collects unwanted household goods, sells them inexpensively and provides training and employment.
Two principles seem to make the LDS welfare program a success. First, nearly everyone involved donates time and talent, eliminating expensive bureaucracy. And bishops offer recipients the opportunity to work in return for assistance, helping preserve their dignity and self-respect.
South County abounds with examples of people receiving help:
- Matt Deakin of Morgan Hill’s First Ward tells of an elderly woman who lived in a mobile home that had fallen into serious disrepair. Through the course of several weeks volunteer members tore out and replaced worn carpet and damaged flooring, providing her a much better living environment.
- Bishop Carl Woodland of the Second Ward in Morgan Hill recounts the story of an octogenarian, a proud Army veteran, whose house’s roof badly needed repairing. Again, volunteers joined in to replace the roof and provide him a dry home for the winter.
In addition to helping its local members, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also sponsors humanitarian relief and development projects that benefit the general public. Recent emergency relief assistance in times of disaster include the California wildfires and Hurricane Ike in Texas.