Second Thoughts About Elders Holland’s “Beggar” Talk

At the 2014 Fall General Conference of the LDS Church, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave a challenging and compelling talk concerning our obligations to the poor.  But I’ve wondered about a couple of things.  But they are very minor.

First, what was the point of the following?

Now, lest I be accused of proposing quixotic global social programs or of endorsing panhandling as a growth industry, I reassure you that my reverence for principles of industry, thrift, self-reliance, and ambition is as strong as that of any man or woman alive.  We are always expected to help ourselves before we seek help from others.

This statement is definitely overly defensive.  Like there is some need to pacify those in the audience who feel that the poor have brought poverty on themselves through their slovenly ways.  While this may be true of a small percentage of those in need, it is certainly not the norm.  And what about the children of the “slovenly.”

By the way, I had to look up the meaning of the word “quixotic.”  It means:  1.  possessing or acting with the desire to do noble and romantic deeds, without thought of realism and practicality; exceedingly idealistic; 2.  impulsive;  and 3.  like Don Quixote, romantic to extravagance, absurdly chivalric, apt to be deluded.  Great word, but I don’t like the application here.  We all have an occasional desire to tilt at windmills, and that is not always a bad thing.

Picasso's Don Quixote Preparing to Tilt at Windmills

Picasso’s Don Quixote Preparing to Tilt at Windmills

Second, I wish Elder Holland would have mentioned the situation in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.  The members there must be struggling mightily, not only with poverty but now also with Ebola.

Third, I wish he had made some suggestions about how the LDS Church and its members could do more to get involved in global war on poverty.  The Church does some now, but it could certainly be doing a lot more.

But again, these are only criticism to a wonderful and much appreciated talk.


This entry was posted in Africa, Government Aid, mormonism, Religion, Social Justice and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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