Thursday, November 14, 2019

2019.11.14 - ALL YOU WHO DENY THE BEGGAR



For over thirty years, The Good Samaritan House has been serving the less fortunate in downtown Salt Lake City- 365 days a year. (11,000 days in a row)  By providing a meal, personal care items and direct assistance to those in need, this homeless center run by the Catholic Church has been a vital source of food and stability for the poor and the needy in Salt Lake City. This Good Samaritan Home is located on South Temple, just east of the Salt Lake Temple. It is owned and operated by the Catholic Church. 

But, a few weeks ago it closed. 

It will continue to run the program out of the St. Vincent de Paul Church located in a less prestigious neighborhood on the west side of the valley. It is rumored that wealthy donors were no longer willing to donate money to the Church because they didn't want the homeless population walking along their street and in their neighborhood.  The wealthy were unwilling to help pay for the needed renovation of this home. The property alone is worth millions and millions of dollars.. and developers have another real estate project planned instead of helping the homeless. 

For those of you who don't know, South Temple is considered Salt Lake's Millionaires Row. This exclusive street was meant to be the finest and most prominent avenue in Salt Lake City. The wealthiest families built their mansions along South Temple and today it is home to the world’s richest street of religious and non-religious buildings. It was originally called Brigham Street.  Since Brigham Young's mansion was the first home on South Temple called the Beehive House.

Related image
Brigham Young's Beehive House. President Young was the first millionaire west of the Mississippi. 

Here is a Historic Photo of the beginnings of what South Temple looked like in the early 20th century.



Here are a few more of the recent mansions along South Temple:


And probably one of the finest buildings on South Temple is now called the Thomas S Monson Center names after President of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before President Nelson. 
Here is a photo of the building that prominently displays his name. 


I share the above information as a backdrop to a scripture found in Ezekiel 16:49. It is about the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. We read in this scripture the real iniquity of these two "great" cities:
“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom -  pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”
We typically think that the real reason that Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed was because of sexual sins.  The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is a cautionary tale of the destructive consequences of sin. These two cities have been used historically as metaphors for homosexuality. But reading this verse in the Old Testament it is clear that the iniquity of Sodom was not "sodomy" but for PRIDE, ABUNDANCE.. and NOT HELPING THE POOR AND THE NEEDY.

Not only is it a sad day that the Good Samaritan Home is being closed that was used to help those in need, but I find it also sad that along South Temple there are bright red signs with Meters asking others to not directly support panhandlers. A Panhandler is defined as a BEGGAR who typically stands on a street with an outstretched container in hand, begging for loose change.

Here is a photo of those meters across from the Salt Lake Temple along South Temple. Instead of helping the poor and needy directly you are supposed to give your loose change to organizations. Don't give to a person, but put your money in these meters. The sign says.. "PLEASE DON'T SUPPORT PANHANDLING."





We would do well to reread the sermon given by King Benjamin. The words he shared with his people were made known to him by an angel of God. (Mosiah 3:2)

Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

“But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, 
wherefore the world lieth in sin.” 
D&C 49:20

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ok, let's look at Mosiah 3:2 to see if that's really what King Benjamin is talking about keeping in mind that serious life destroying drug addiction didn't exist in the Nephite times:

"... therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer..."

Not giving to panhandlers but giving to donations centers (as the sign says) doesn't sound like you're "staying your hand". In the end, you are imparting of your substance to the donation center to help the beggar. Having real questions about the beggars usage of the money because there's a huge chance that you're fueling a drug addiction is a serious and ethical issue which is why most major cities ask you not to give them money.

"for his punishments are just..."

No one is saying that his punishment is just. No one is saying that the homeless deserve to be homeless.

Here's your homework since your heart is so heavy and torn up about this ... go to a local shelter and talk to them (because I have) about why almost every major city begs the residents not to give money to the homeless. See if it sounds like they're being cold hearted and un-Christlike or if you're just being naive.

Andy

p.s. I really hope a meth house never pops up into your neighborhood where you have groups of drug addicts hang out around your house. You'll be surprised at how quickly find a safe place for your family overwrites trying to be super tolerant to all of society's undesirables.

BARE RECORD OF TRUTH said...

Thanks for the comment Andy. You bring up valid concerns. I am not sure what reasons King Benjamin's people had to stay their hand and not even give the beggar food, but it must have been justified like we feel today. You are right, maybe they didn't have drug addictions back in the day, so if the concern is that the "undesirables" will just take your money and buy drugs, could we at least "give unto him food"? Or do we prefer to have organizations take care of the problem and wash our hands by just put quarters in a meter.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. This was great. I appreciate that someone feels the same way I do. I can tell you as a “visitor” to the LDS church I attended a Priesthood Quorum lesson my friend was teaching about “Are we not all beggars” and the lesson was wonderful. To my astonishment about 10 men in the class took their turns commenting on why they don’t have to give to the beggar. The reasons were varied. One being the same as Andy’s above. A few or hers had the opinion that they didn’t need to give to the beggar because they already do through the church. As someone who at the time didn’t believe the Book of Mormon to be true, the lesson taught in it contained light and truth and it was completely lost on the crowd. This is what I think is referred to a stiff neck and a hard heart. I am very grateful to have developed a deep love for the Book of Mormon and since it’s the “most correct of any book” and will “get me closer to God by abiding in its precepts” I am going to take the words of King Benjamin at face value. As a non-Mormon this is what I teach my non-Mormon children. We are trying to practice authentic Christianity. Thank heavens my husband is on board with giving to the beggar. Though admittedly I have been shocked to see the large amounts that have been handed over. Hahahaha guess I found a charitable man. ;)

Jill

Denver Snuffer said...

If you give directly to the beggar, she receives 100% of your donation. Charities consume part of every donation to conduct their charitable business. A recent study showed that major charitable organizations pass through between 1% and 65% to the intended poor or charitable cause. The average charity in that study only passed through 47% of the donations to the intended beneficiaries.

Lori said...

I do not get down into SLC often, so I was not aware of the movement against panhandling. I tried to find the organization listed on the meter pictured. I am not able to fully see the web address: slc____.org on the meter sign. In my search, I did learn that a law was passed in 2017 making it illegal to give to panhandlers at busy intersections in Utah. Here is the bill for those who want to read it: https://le.utah.gov/~2017/bills/static/HB0161.html.

Both the one receiving and the one giving would be breaking the law and given fines starting at $100, depending upon how many infractions the persons have. I had thought maybe instead of money I could give my coat or hat or shoes or something that wasn't money, but the law includes the transfer of "money or property." That also means nonperishables or food items cannot be given.

How heartless. I feel badly that I was not even aware of this law. I had been wondering why I no longer see beggars on street corners around Wal-Mart and elsewhere throughout my county. Now I know it is considered illegal to ask for help or to give help at street corners or on roads in UT, where many people would be most likely to see someone in need, and where "the Lord's true church is headquartered."

In juxtaposition to this, the LDS church is expanding the number of "Light the World Giving Machines" to include 10 locations worldwide. No interactions with undesirables involved. No face-to-face contact where we can look into a person's eyes and ask his name.

I feel astonished we have become so hardened of heart to the plights of others. I pray we will awaken and repent.

Anonymous said...

So, I can assume that you keep a stack of $20s in your pocket and hand those out to every homeless person you come across? Certainly one stupid law wouldn't stop you, correct?

Lori said...

Hi Anonymous. No, not a stack of $20s, and not every homeless person I see. I would put myself in close relationship with them because we are debt-poor and working on it. The only difference between myself and the poor of the streets is one paycheck and my pride, which probably keeps me from openly asking for help.

But we give where we can, when we can, and how it feels right to do so. And I would agree with anyone who would say we brought upon ourselves our struggles, and not blame them for turning away.

My comment was not an indictment so much as an expression of my own surprise that the state I live in and the church I belong to want to create bigger government and more organizations that require staffing, paperwork, rules/regulations, etc. instead of encouraging people to be mindful of others and seek inspiration for how to help. I understand the safety issue with busy intersections, though I wonder if there is data to back up the reasoning. I also acknowledge there is concern over addictions and substance abuse.

With the real estate and rental markets continuing to make housing a struggle for some and the escalating costs of groceries, the resources of the government and organizations are not enough to meet the growing needs. And if we now are restricted in where and what we can give, and if those in need are restricted in where and what kind of help they can ask for, how will poverty ever be eradicated? Or am I being silly with wishful thinking?

Why is homelessness even an issue in 2019, almost 2020? Seriously. What are we doing wrong if it is wrong to give money or other property to a homeless person?

Anonymous said...

As I've studied and examined the scriptures I've learned, at least for me, that after we have received the grace of Christ, which comes free, we show that we have received his gift by the good works we do. All of the good works we do seem to be tied to helping the poor, needy, beggar and the least among us. The post has already pointed to King Benjamin. You can also look at Isaiah 58, that tells us that our Fast is worthless if it is not connected to sacrificing for the poor. Read Alma 34 and see that all the praying we do is in vain unless we remember the poor. And if that's not enough, go read Matthew 25. The Lord seems to indicate that his sheep are those that take care of the least among us and the goats didn't take care of the least. I read that to mean that we can go to church, pay tithing, not smoke or drink and not use a potty mouth, and it means nothing if we don't take care of the poor. Nothing!

I understand the push back on why to not give to the beggar out on the street. They're valid arguments but that does not release us from what the scriptures teach.Those thinking that by giving to an organization or institution fulfills that requirement will find themselves lifting their eyes in Hell being in torment.

I've adoptive, figuratively, a homeless women that I watch over. It's been inconvenient as hell but I'v chosen to do it. Out of all the years I've watched over her she has made very little progress. She's on drugs much of the time. I've also taken in my home a mentally ill person because he lost his mother and would be out under a freeway pass without help. It's inconvenient as hell. He will only get worse over time. I have to make sure he gets his medication and disability. I have to take him shopping and all the other stuff.

I bring this up because I believe if we are to take the scriptures seriously we have to take personal responsibly to reaching the poor. I help these people because the spirit told me too. I don't give to everyone because I don't have the means. I thought that was what the Holy Ghost was for, to tell you when to act. If it tells you to take a thousand quarters and fill the little machines up then do it. If it tells you to take your coat off and give it to a poor person then do it. We do this for our sake more than theirs. It's how we maintain a broken heart and contrite spirit.

I know I'm taking a long time here. I want to share one more story. I'll make it short so I'll leave out a lot of detail. I was down at Pioneer Park one Sunday morning doing what I could for the poor down there. It was a summer day so I had shorts and sandals on. Something remarkable had just happened to me (another story) and I was standing on the grass thinking about what had just happened when a homeless man came up to me and asked if I had a pair of socks he could have. I didn't. I din't even have a pair on my own feet to give him. He walked away without being filled. I was so pissed off that I couldn't help. I looked up to heaven and shouted to God in my mind that this man only wanted a pair of socks and I couldn't help him. A simple pair of socks. After I ranted for a few seconds to God I looked down at the ground and right between my feet was a pair of socks. They were clean and rolled up like my mother would give me after she washed them. I pick them up and took them to the man. I have no idea how those socks got there. Neither he or I notice them as we talked but they were there.

God does honor those that personally do things for the least among us.

Anonymous said...

As I've studied and examined the scriptures I've learned, at least for me, that after we have received the grace of Christ, which comes free, we show that we have received his gift by the good works we do. All of the good works we do seem to be tied to helping the poor, needy, beggar and the least among us. The post has already pointed to King Benjamin. You can also look at Isaiah 58, that tells us that our Fast is worthless if it is not connected to sacrificing for the poor. Read Alma 34 and see that all the praying we do is in vain unless we remember the poor. And if that's not enough, go read Matthew 25. The Lord seems to indicate that his sheep are those that take care of the least among us and the goats didn't take care of the least. I read that to mean that we can go to church, pay tithing, not smoke or drink and not use a potty mouth, and it means nothing if we don't take care of the poor. Nothing!

I understand the push back on why to not give to the beggar out on the street. They're valid arguments but that does not release us from what the scriptures teach.Those thinking that by giving to an organization or institution fulfills that requirement will find themselves lifting their eyes in Hell being in torment.

I've adoptive, figuratively, a homeless women that I watch over. It's been inconvenient as hell but I'v chosen to do it. Out of all the years I've watched over her she has made very little progress. She's on drugs much of the time. I've also taken in my home a mentally ill person because he lost his mother and would be out under a freeway pass without help. It's inconvenient as hell. He will only get worse over time. I have to make sure he gets his medication and disability. I have to take him shopping and all the other stuff.

I bring this up because I believe if we are to take the scriptures seriously we have to take personal responsibly to reaching the poor. I help these people because the spirit told me too. I don't give to everyone because I don't have the means. I thought that was what the Holy Ghost was for, to tell you when to act. If it tells you to take a thousand quarters and fill the little machines up then do it. If it tells you to take your coat off and give it to a poor person then do it. We do this for our sake more than theirs. It's how we maintain a broken heart and contrite spirit.

I know I'm taking a long time here. I want to share one more story. I'll make it short so I'll leave out a lot of detail. I was down at Pioneer Park one Sunday morning doing what I could for the poor down there. It was a summer day so I had shorts and sandals on. Something remarkable had just happened to me (another story) and I was standing on the grass thinking about what had just happened when a homeless man came up to me and asked if I had a pair of socks he could have. I didn't. I din't even have a pair on my own feet to give him. He walked away without being filled. I was so pissed off that I couldn't help. I looked up to heaven and shouted to God in my mind that this man only wanted a pair of socks and I couldn't help him. A simple pair of socks. After I ranted for a few seconds to God I looked down at the ground and right between my feet was a pair of socks. They were clean and rolled up like my mother would give me after she washed them. I pick them up and took them to the man. I have no idea how those socks got there. Neither he or I notice them as we talked but they were there.

God does honor those that personally do things for the least among us.

Anonymous said...

one lds person, who might have had a dream of heaven, writes,

"As iniquity increases, the hearts of the people lose the natural love humans have for one another. (And the love of man shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound. D. & C. 45: 27) ...

THE GREAT SIN THE PROPHETS HAD TO BE EXPOSING, WAS THE SIN OF INEQUALITY, OR AS JACOB ARTFULLY STATES; INIQUITY! (Jacob 2:12-21) The Lord will allow them to ripen in their iniquity until the destruction comes. (And now, we can behold the degrees
"
https://www.ldsfreedomforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=32623

while current church leaders talk about church welfare program as the consecration.