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.
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.