Hell on Earth

According to a recent release from the LDS Newsroom:

All humankind . . . should . . . use the bounty of the earth to care for the poor and the needy.

Hurrah.  The LDS Church needs more of these pronouncements.  Because of recent Church  Sunday School lessons, there have been several very poignant postings on the internet.  The most powerful was written by mmiles for bycommonconsent.com:

I spent some time this summer interviewing prostitutes, almost all of whom had been victims of human trafficking at some point, usually sold into the sex trade in their early teens.  In the process, I sat in a room with a mother who sold her own daughters when they were eleven.  Unfortunately, this tragedy is common around the globe.  This is hell. In a church setting, rare–if ever–is ‘hell’ used to describe the realities of people lives.  Yet hell is often the only honest word to describe some realities.  Surely the lives of many who have endured war, genocide, rape, natural disaster, slavery, and inescapable poverty are captives in an indescribable hell.  I do not believe any hell exists post life, whose depths exceed the depths of the living hell people experience today.

mmiles goes on to say that unless we do something about the mortal existence of those who are suffering, how can we expect to have an realistic impact on their spiritual existence?

Telling an eleven-year old sex slave or Congolese child soldier about Jesus will do nothing for them in their current situation, their current situation being far more critical than a post-life salvation, which surely they are guaranteed in their current circumstances anyhow.

Child Soldier in Africa

Child Soldier in Africa

Kent Larsen on timesandseasons.org quotes the poem “Remember the Poor” by W.W. Phelps, one of the first and most prolific Mormon poets.  While, it was included in many 19th-century LDS hymnals, it was dropped sometime before the current hymnal:

Remember, ye clergy, as eyes to the world,–/Ah ye that pretend you are working for God,/For hundreds a year, in your clerical robes:–/The poor are forgotten at home and abroad:–/Remember the poor!

A friend and contributor to TRW, Dorothy Deasy, wrote the following about helping the poor:

The question is what is the responsibility of the Western world toward the developing one.  Do we see ourselves as in a symbiotic relationship, where we gain as much, if not more, than we give? Or do we see ourselves in a paternalistic/colonial role where the poor of the earth (here or abroad) are perceived as a drain on scarce resources?  The urgency is to establish precedents that put in practice the former belief over the latter.

I would so much like the LDS Church (in fact, all churches) to do more to help those who are living an earthly hell.

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5 Responses to Hell on Earth

  1. Susan says:

    I agree, Roger. Some of your posts are heart-breaking. It is obvious that you have a firm desire to continue to “save the world”. Your suggestions and choices to bring these awful subjects to the forefront are hard to read, but may be necessary. And, if there truly is a “hell” in the next life, nothing will guarantee a person’s place in that existence more (in my opinion) than messing with the lives of children.

    • rogerdhansen says:

      I certainly hope you are right.

    • Allen says:

      I think you’re 100% right, Susan! The scriptures teach that we must become as children to inherit the kingdom of God, that is, loving, kind, non-judgmental, forgiving, and so on. People who mess with the lives of children aren’t just messing with young animals. They are messing with spirit children of God. God said that his whole purpose as God is the immortality and Eternal Life of his children. Let us not detract from that goal.

  2. Allen says:

    From a negative viewpoint, “hell” is a good word to describe life. From a positive viewpoint, “heaven” is another good word to describe life. Strange that two words of such different meanings can be used to describe mortality.

  3. Pingback: Sunday in Outer Blogness: Mixed-messages edition! » Main Street Plaza

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