A few months back a letter came in the mail announcing a pledge drive for “growth” from a local expanding church that I once held membership in. There was nothing objectionable in it to me to begin with until I read the statement that they were also prepared to receive gifts of real estate and even jewelry.
I had to re-read that statement more than once to believe it. Jewelry? You have got to be kidding.
I guess it’s not so uncommon for the elderly or rich to deed their real estate in their wills to the spiritual community they were a part of in their lives. But to turn in jewelry? That seems quite excessive to me. Also, in the letter, they were asking that each person commit to what they could give over a period of time, but that if that amount changed then the church staff would need to be informed.
Really? Again I shook my head. That sounds more like a debt collector than a foundation intent on increasing the spiritual growth of humanity. I haven’t been a member or darkened the doors of the unmentioned church since 2010, and not a word has been uttered about my absence, yet I have received numerous requests for money. Makes me feel really missed. Insert sarcastic tone.
As a previous member for a short period of time, of the LDS Church (something I did in an attempt to try and save my failed marriage and sanity), that is one thing I could not agree with that they practiced. That thing being that every year at the beginning of the year the families of each ward were expected to figure up what their tithes would be for the year and “settle up” with their bishop. I resented that involvement in my personal affairs. To me I had always viewed tithing as being a personal thing you should be giving of from not only your pocket but your spirit. And this turned it into a demand and a chore and I didn’t like it one bit.
But there is one thing I have to give the LDS Church credit for in a majorly positive note and that is when their members are in financial trouble, they HELP them. They have storehouses where families can get food in exchange for volunteering some of their time if they are able, but it is not required. And the food is good quality and quantity. They help them with job services, counseling, you name it. They equip their members for not just spiritual matters but life matters. They know their members within their ward by name and most wards and their bishops are good about following their needs and well-being. Sadly that is not the case in most other denominations.
Now I’m not advocating everyone become Mormon, because personally there are a lot of doctrines that I cannot agree with or follow, but I think they as a spiritual organization have a lot that others can learn and glean from in a major way.
I can name person after person and family after family who have been through hard times and went without food, and were members of a church and needed desperate help yet their church and it’s leaders turned their heads and a blind eye. What about all the money the individuals had funneled into their place of worship for it to be a ministry to others and to help the sick and hungry? Yet when they were the ones sick and hungry, there was no help for them in return.
I think the commercialization of this world has hit the churches hard. Especially now that I am seeing more and more churches who “help with making giving easy” by automatically drafting your tithes and offerings from your bank. You don’t even have to pull the money out of your pockets yourself, they just reach in and pull it out for you!
All I can do is wonder if Jesus would have had His bank account set up to do this? Or would He just simply reach out and minister to those around Him, knowing that if they had a soul that was truly helped, fed, nurtured, and clothed, then that soul would probably give heartily in return instead of having their help automatically drafted or demanded?