Something We Can Agree About – The Importance of Humanitarian Work

The last post that I wrote was in relation to some items in the SSA debate and specifically issues in Utah.  While I don’t want to focus too much on things that are so divisive, I want to turn my attention in this post to something on which, I believe, everyone can agree.  That is the importance of the humanitarian work in which my church is engaged (I’ll focus on LDS Charities, but in a broader sense I am thrilled with the work of  good people everywhere).  I think that if we can focus on the good that we can do as a great brotherhood and sisterhood of mankind, it will help us to see the good in each other and focus on the abilities and dignity of every human soul.

On February 27, 2014, the United Nations  held a meeting in NYC to focus on “the role of the Church’s global humanitarian outreach efforts”.  The meeting ran for almost two hours and is well worth your time to watch (I folded clothes and did dishes, etc. for a couple of days as I listened to this meeting – LOVE the internet!!!!)  You can find out more on this meeting at the LDS Newsroom

There are a couple of ideas that I want to focus on for a moment that I found in the meeting.

Sharon Eubank (director of Humanitarian Services and LDS Charities) posed the questions –

Why would a church have a credible humanitarian arm? What is the motivation behind that?

And her answer –

We are to “feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to provide for the widow, to dry up the tear of the orphan, to comfort the afflicted, whether in this church, or in any other, or in no church at all” Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, March 15, 1842.

She also stated:

“Charity is more than aid … It emphasizes dignity, human worth, cooperation, unity, sacrifice and the assurance that no one is too poor or too disabled or too marginalized to contribute something of value.”

LDS Charities workd on projects which do the following:

  • Implement local solutions to local problems
  • Increase Knowledge, skills, and capacities
  • Involve beneficiaries [those receiving the aid] in project and design work
  • Provide opportunities for people to serve

More stats about LDS Charities:

  1. Self funded from private donations (85% of those donations are under $50)  – everyday people essentially saying -“you work in places where I can never go, please do this good work for me.”
  2. Annual budget is 2 years rotating (spending this year the money collected in 2012).
  3. 36 paid staff (admin costs paid by LDS church) projects headed up by thousands of volunteer hours (missionaries, local congregations, technical specialists,  etc.)
  4. Spend $50 – $100 million every year on these humanitarian projects  (i.e. – clean water, neo-natal resuscitation, vision care, wheelchairs, family gardens, immunizations, etc. see LDS Charities for more on these projects, though I warn you, you will get LOST in the information on this amazing site.)

To hear more about specific stories, visit the Faith in Action  (a radio series which “examines the welfare, humanitarian aid, and service opportunities happening worldwide. The interviews include humanitarian missionary couples, groups participating in service projects throughout the world, and the history of the Church’s welfare program”) you can find it  here.

I was especially pleased with the way that the LDS Church partners with Rotary International, Islamic Relief, Catholic Relief Services, World Health Organization, U.N. High Commission for Refugees and others.

This is the link to the video:

Discovering Mormonism and Its Role in Humanitarian Assistance


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