Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Entitlement Doctrine

This morning my day began with a thought from The Words of Joseph Smith.

"...the President made some observations respecting the pecuniary affairs of the church, and requested the brethren to step forward and assist in liquidating the debts on the town plot, so that the poor might have inheritances." (Emphasis mine, WOJS p. 36.)
It was thought-provoking to me that the Saints were being encouraged to think of the poor among them by liquidating debts on plots.

A footnote in the next entry in the same book led me to a verse in Deuteronomy 15, which I came across on accident while seeking Deut. 30. Accidents are often miracles.

Deuteronomy 15:7-11:
"If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thy heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide into him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him naught; and he cry unto the Lord against thee, and it be sin into thee. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land."
After reading these verses and highlights this morning, I was shocked and left without speech at Elder Renlund basing his talk this morning on the soul he met in Africa, for their sense of "entitlement".  The dots connected in my brain were Africa + entitlement = ingratitude for American contributions.  Perhaps I am misjudging; perhaps the soul he spoke of was the one wealthy human in that country. Maybe some government bureaucrat. I HOPE with all my heart that I misunderstand, and there is more to the story. Maybe it is I that is falsely jumping to conclusions.  

If he speaks of a human of little means, however, who felt entitled to some scraps of food or clean water, whoa. Yes, if that's the case, wo, wo, whoa. Pray it be not so.

I really enjoyed the talks on forgiveness and humility by the men who are so prominent I don't remember their names. They hit the spots on my heart.

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