Monday, December 7, 2015

What of a Store-House?

I believe there are generally four (plus one root) main considerations to ponder when considering the state of the soul.  They are: 

Physical.  These are temporal things, such as food, shelter, clothing, and things to support the comfort and health of the body.  

Emotional.  These are things which often get upturned because there is some disconnect between the needs of the physical world, and the needs of the next, which is

Mental.  These things are things of the mind.  When the mind is sound, the emotions are too.  When the mind is unsound, the emotions are often on fire.  The mental things are based upon the

Spiritual.  These are core beliefs.  These are the things which we believe are the foundation in our existence in this world.  This is how we make sense of the world, and how we connect with 

God.  God is the root of the core.  When there is harmony with God, all else makes sense, and ripples out to eschew GOOD in the world.  When there is disharmony or confusion with God, this ripples out too.  For example.  

If I believe it is important to God that I arrive 15 minutes to church, because He values me attending church, that will affect my belief that should I break this "law", that my spirituality is in jeopardy.  That perhaps I am not being obedient to his requirements.  So I make every effort to arrive at church 15 minutes early, because that is what the people who I believe represent him suggest I do.  So I attempt to obey them, as though they were God.  

Let's say my personal bodily needs disrupt my timetable, and I cannot make it early.  Let's say other factors like unexpected snow to clear off the car, heavy traffic, or unsafe driving considitions affect my plans, causing me to be late.  Let's say I'm so late that I expect I risk missing the sacrament.  My spiritual belief now impacts my mental belief, of that it is necessary for me to "renew my baptismal covenants" in order to have a good week.  So my mind is deeply concerned about my upcoming week.  

The mind then hollers at the emotions: STRESS!!!!!  PANIC!!!!!  YOUR WEEK WILL NOT BE GOOD IF YOU DON'T DO THIS NOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

The physical body tightens.  The blood vessels constrict.  The heartbeat races.  The muscles clench, as do the teeth.  The strain is now palpable, all because I believe God wants me at church 15 minutes early to be in good favor with Him, and now I'm 20 minutes late and counting.  How will I survive the week without this holy sacrament???  

Is this of God?  Is this truly what God wants of us?  Do we now self-shame, since we are not getting up or moving to get to church on time?  Is this "righteousness"?  

Let's look at another simple concept we may need to rewire.  The Bishop's Storehouse.  There are plenty of thoughts in the Bloggernacle on how the Church(TM) is using tithe monies of the members.  I won't get into that, as there are plenty of voices already on the subject.  I want to propose a new thought.  

We perceive that the Bishop's Storehouse was a place to store wheat or other foods to take care of physical needs.  We presume that Church supports us in supporting our spiritual needs.  The education system supports our mental needs for growth, and the emotional stuff is left to the doctors and "professionals".  (Whatever.)  However  as Latter-day Saints, we suppose that if we but pay our tithing via credit card online, via check in an envelope, or pennies in a jar, we are covering the Lord's requirement for us to take care of the needs of the poor.  What if there is more required?  Physical, emotional (covered through visiting/home teaching?), mental (provided in BYU and Institute), and spiritual (of course this is church, right?).  What have we lost through our modern age, that could easily be reinstated?

Could you imagine if one (or more!) member(s) in the ward actually offered a true, real in the flesh, Store-House?  That there would be a place where excesses could be gathered in, and offered as a free store?  Our local community has three thrift shops now.  People donate things but others are required to pay for them.  What about a place where people could bring their extra unused/unneeded but open packages of diapers, or extra furniture, or extra lettuce and grapes, extra blankets, extra baby gear, extra books?  The Store-House could be utilized by anyone, but most especially members?  What if the things provided there actually helped meet the needs of the members at large, and were offered to any of the needy in the community?  It could be returned when use is no longer needed (like books) and if not, there would be no loss or harm done?  

There would be no need for members to struggle with hoarding tendencies.  Likewise no need for "use it or lose it" philosophies on tithing funds, because the excess could be returned to Salt Lake for real redistribution to the poor in other lands who truly need it.  What if we built a true Bishop's Store-House?  

What if the word Storehouse meant both a place to store excess things, and a place to obtain that which is lacking?  Would you be willing to erect such a structure on your property?  I wonder what the Lord would think of this proposal?  

I sense that there is so much lack in the world right now, while we sit in abundance.  Yesterday at our local ward, I observed such overt expression of wealth that I left in complete dumbfoundedness.  You know a group of people are wealthy when they see no need to donate their excess to the poor, but would rather haul it off to the dumpster in the back of the lot because their time is worth more money. I'm talking books, manuals, videos, cassettes... things that are now so obsolete to us but surely folks in other lands would love these excesses.  

Last year (or was it two?) we cleaned out the storage closets from years of presidencies storing up their "use it or lose it" purchases.  We had boxes and boxes of items, much of which the leaders desired to go in the trash.  The RS President had the good sense to shuttle things to a local charity, but I was surprised at how many members were quick to opt for the dumpster.  Ironically there was little discussion among auxiliaries about reusing the items they no longer needed – things like glitter, rolls of hundreds of feet of paper, ribbons, costumes for road shows, lots and lots of fabric, mason jars, endless baskets, dishes, pots and pans, and even a pair of hiking boots.  If you're reading this from Africa, Argentina, or Mexico, how does it feel to know there is a use-it-or-lose-it mentality in your Stateside brothers and sisters?  How does it feel to know you tithe your last 25 cents so you could be cleared to receive your temple recommend, to know that members in the States get to spend $3.75 per scout badge that sits on a bookshelf somewhere?  Members in the States, how do you feel about this?  Do you have comforting consoling words on how you might have been more righteous in the pre-mortal world, to justify you receiving more by nature of your birth?  Or do you suppose that you work harder, therefore receive more, which is the doctrine of Korihor?  

Well I'm getting off on a tangent.  This is just hot on the mind due to seeing deacons shuttling stacks of books which I suggested be donated.  Rather than shuttling them to someone's trunk, they shuttled them to the garbage.  It felt symbolic.  You see, in Sunday School for the past two weeks they offered these books to the members.  Take them or they're going to be disposed of at the end of yesterday's meeting, they said.  I proposed that they be taken to charity if left at the end of the meeting.  A member balked, "What charity will take them?"  Um, last I checked charities don't discriminate from drop offs.  These books and manuals could serve as missionary tools.  I proposed the local Goodwill and another charity.  The Deacon's Quorum Leader interrupted that anyone who wanted to do this would need to take it up with the Bishopric.  I then met a counselor in the Bishopric, who said that if someone wanted to donate them, they could take initiative and do that.  

The end of the third hour came.  I headed to pack up the books, but to my surprise, the Deacon's Quorum Leader was so swift to put those deacons to work that half of the offerings were already in the trash four minutes after the end of meetings.  He was determined to get his job done, and do it quickly.  (What thou doest, do quickly.)  

How did it feel symbolic?  These were "old" manuals.  Manuals from the last 30 years of Priesthood and Relief Society.  The old is no longer needed when you have living prophets and apostles.  There were old Conferences on cassette tape.  Old Seminary videos I grew up on.  The Book of Mormon on tape, and Hymns on tape.  (Who even has a cassette player, right?)  Out with the old, in with the new, the old doesn't matter, it's only about you.  

Friends, we are amazing and astounding, aren't we?  We rob the poor because of our fine sanctuaries.  We neglect the beggars who can only beg at thrift stores, by refusing to donate because we are too busy.  We put our money on a slip and feel that's sufficient.  I propose we build a real Store-House.  Find a shed and build your own, because I don't foresee the local Bishop accepting chicken eggs anytime soon.  No offense, Bishop.  But like you said, you don't have the resources to do such a thing.  


  1. I love that graphic. It really just hit home with me. The whole "use it or loose it" it pretty bad. I just found out our RS is having a Party on Thursday night and it is being catered by Olive Garden. I don't know how big our RS budget was this year but know it must of been bigger then when I was RS President of $800 because of everything they have spent it on.

    It was only over the past few years I am understanding we are just stewards over things. We will be held accountable what we do with those things. Like do we share freely with others and have no poor among us. No poor among us on all levels of that image you shared earlier. Thanks for another beautiful post!

    1. W.O.W.!!!!! Just wow. Wow! I just don't have words, Sally. Thank you for sharing.


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