It saddens me that Henry Eyring would use the sacred teachings and the name of Jesus Christ to collect money for the wealthy corporation of the LDS church. I was outside the conference center before this talk was given, and I watched the broadcast from the north visitor center.
Before the meeting began, thousands of Mormons walked by the beggars on both sides of the street and heeded them not. In this large and spacious palace, people are being taught to deny the beggar and only give to the wealthy corporation. These donations may or may not be used to help the poor. We don't know. The financial books are not open to the public. On the bottom of the new tithing slip it says, "Though reasonable efforts will be made globally to use donations as designated, all donations become the Church's property and will be used at the Church's sole discretion to further the Church's overall mission."
While members think they are giving to the poor, the money is being used however and wherever the top leaders deem necessary to build their financial empire. This is big business. They can and have used these sacred funds for the the building of a multi-billion dollar mall. The evidence is there. You can look across the street and see it. Outside the mall and the unnecessary conference center, the beggars sit on the streets denied access to these beautiful “Christian” structures.
When we go down to Salt Lake City, we often see our friend Samantha at the North gate between the visitor center and the conference center. Her story is usually the same, and she talks of being on and off the streets. I can see her trying to explain why she is still on the streets begging. Does it matter why she is begging? Aren't we all beggars who depend upon God for our every breath? She is a child of God and is asking for help. She told us yesterday that she appreciates our friendship more than our money. Most people walk by and ignore her. I don't know why she begs or what her life story is, but I do know she is asking for love. When I beg God for help, he freely gives and doesn't bring up the fact that I'm taking advantage of him again.
So let's look at how Henry has studied and taught iniquity to the people Mosiah 13:11. When I heard the first part of the talk, my heart took courage. I thought he was going to teach the people to care for the poor. He used scriptures that have a powerful and true message.
“My dear brothers and sisters, it is a joy for me to extend my love to you in this general conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That joy comes from the witness of the spirit that the love of the Savior reaches out to each of you and to all of Heavenly Father's children. Our Heavenly Father wishes to bless his children spiritually and temporally. He understands each of their needs, their pains, and their hopes. When we offer succor to anyone, the Savior feels it as if we reached out to succor him. He told us that was true when he described a future moment we all will have when we see him after our life in this world is complete. A picture in my mind of that day has grown more vivid in the days that I have prayed and fasted to know what to say this morning. The Lord's description of that future interview was given to his disciples, and it describes what we want with all our hearts to be true for us as well.”
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:34-40
Look at how the Lord's admonition is twisted into a money making venture for the church:
“You and I want that warm welcome from the Savior, but how can we deserve it. There are more hungry, homeless, and lonely children of Heavenly Father than we can possibly reach and the numbers grow ever farther from our reach. So, the Lord has given us something that we can each do. It is a commandment so simple that a child can understand it. It is a commandment with a wonderful promise for those in need and for us. It is the law of the fast. The words in the book of Isaiah are the Lord's description of the commandment and the blessing available to those of us in his church.”
“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” Isaiah 58:6-11
“So the Lord has given us a simple commandment with a marvelous promise. In the church today we are offered the opportunity to fast once a month and give a generous fast offering through our bishop or branch president for the benefit of the poor and the needy. Some of what you give will be used to help those around you perhaps someone in your own family. The Lord's servants will pray and fast for the revelation to know whom to help and what help to give. That which is not needed to help people in your local church unit will become available to bless other church members across the world who are in need.”
It looks like Henry is saying, there is so much need in the world, and it is increasing. You don't need to worry about it, just give your charitable contributions to the church so we can use it to further our purposes. You don't need to pray and fast to learn how to bless those in need; we will do it for you. Isaiah is talking about a personal sacrifice where we administer to the poor with our own substance in our homes. Isaiah never said give your money to the church; Henry made that part up. Henry mingled his money making philosophy with the word of God. Don't go out and just give to the poor because we won't be able to get our hands on it.
“The commandment to fast for the poor has many blessings attached to it. President Spencer W. Kimball called failing to follow that law a sin of omission with a heavy cost. He wrote, 'Rich promises are made by the Lord to those who fast and assist the needy. Inspiration and spiritual guidance will come with righteousness and closeness to our Heavenly Father. To omit to do this righteousness act of fasting would deprive us of these blessings.'”
The church members are then led to believe that their blessings come from giving generous funds to the church.
Henry then goes on to relate a heart touching story of poverty, want, and distress. This appeals to the people's tender hearts.
“. . . Other storms and tragedies will come across the world to people the Lord loves and whose sorrows he feels. Part of your fast offerings and mine this month will be used to help someone somewhere whose relief the Lord will feel as if it were his own.”
Now he admits that only PART of the money is used for the poor. We don't know what percentage is used for the poor. That is not disclosed. Why couldn't Henry say something like: “ALL of your fast offerings and mine this month will be used to help someone somewhere whose relief the Lord will feel as if it were his own.”
We don't know if 1% or 99% is given to the poor. Henry then goes on to tell another heart warming story of an African woman.
If Henry understood the scriptures, he never would have used this story. “Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you.” Doctrine andCovenants 119:5 Surplus property is tithed, not the family's income that is needed to take care of their basic necessities. This is what Isaiah has to say about this kind of talk:
“Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory? Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.” Isaiah 10:1-4
Watch where the strong emotion is interjected. This talk has been carefully crafted.
. . . (Eyring With emotion) “A visitor from the United States sat with Abi not long ago. During his time with her, he found his eyes drawn to a set of scriptures that were on a table. He could tell they were a treasure well marked with notes in the columns. The pages were worn, some were torn. The cover was detached from the scripture binding. He held the scriptures in his hand and gently turned the pages. As he did he found a yellow (with greater emotion) copy of a tithing donation slip. He could see that in a country where a dollar was worth its weight in gold. Abi Tory had paid $1 as her tithing $1 to the missionary fund and $1 as a fast offering for those who in her words were truly poor. The visitor closed Sister Tory's scriptures and thought as he stood with this faithful African mother that he was on sacred ground . . .”
Well, I won't quote the whole talk. You can listen to it yourself. The sad part is that I have bought into these teachings for most of my life and have donated way too much to the LDS church. I too am an iniquitous woman. The Lord has shown me my iniquity and is teaching me how to repent. I make no claims to be righteous. I am still in process of repenting and separating myself from this kind of thinking.