Friday, November 26, 2021

When the Church Refused to Love as the Savior Did

As I read the New Testament, I am astounded by the Savior's love for others. Story after story, sermon after sermon, his message was of love, love and more love. With an immeasurable height and an eternal width and breadth, I doubt neither you nor I will ever be able to fathom how deep his love goes.

(Sometime, open up the scriptures and see how many times the Savior used the word "Love." Then count how many times he used the word "Obey").

Who he loved was -- and still is -- considered radical and revolutionary. To the Samaritan woman, he said "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour." [1]. To the Roman Centurion, he said, "Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour." [2].

As "the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth" [3], one would expect to see the church behave in a manner which parallels, if not perfectly mirrors, the Lord's behaviors. Those truly in need could hypothetically come to the Lord or his church, and receive an equal amount of love.

Let's look at a recent, if not contemporaneous, example of a group of people with no rejected status (like the Samaritan woman) nor are despised (like the Roman centurion):

Canadians!  😀

When God Dumped a River of Water from Above

On November 14-15, 2021, southern British Columbia was hit by catastrophic flooding.

Southern British Columbia gets rain all the time. But this time, it was different. B.C. was hit by an "Atmospheric River" -- a long, narrow band of moisture in the atmosphere that can extend for thousands of miles. These rivers in the sky can transport 15 times the volume of the Mississippi River. When that moisture reaches the coast and moves inland, it can rise over mountains, generating rain and snowfall. [4]

Unfortunately, with respect to this storm, the area's infrastructure (including pumps in and around the Sumas Lake area) never had a chance. [5] Thousands of British Columbians were displaced - some having been trapped, shivering, in their vehicles for days. Thousands more were evacuated. Human and animal lives were lost. The costs of damage to highways, railways, farmlands and infrastructure is in the billions. Supply chains have been severed. Grocery store shelves have been emptied. And roads into Vancouver have been virtually cut off from the rest of the country…all due to the floods.

And here's the kicker:

The flooding isn't over yet. There's another line of storms hitting B.C. right now.

And all this comes after another atmospheric river drenched the same area almost two years ago. [6]

So, you tell me: Do you think that people there need a little help? Maybe with some basic necessities, like water, food, blankets, sanitary supplies, medicine and most of all, hope?

When Love Appeared in British Columbia at JUST the Right Time

Fortunately, many people got the help - and most importantly, the understanding, caring and love - they desperately needed:

  • The Salvation Army in Kelowna (where evacuees from Merritt and Princeton are staying) has been collecting donations like winter clothing and toiletries, and giving them to people whose homes are affected by the floods. [7]
  • Seventh Day Adventist Church: People can leave their cars and have a place to eat and sleep - and bathrooms," Bill Gerber, director of the center run by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. [8]
  • St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church: A donation plate was set up to collect money for the residents of Merritt and Princeton. [9]
  • St. Anthony of Padua Church in Agassiz (Catholic): First responders and volunteers at the community center have been busily organizing clothing, blankets, food and water being brought in by local residents. Parishioners have opened up their homes to total strangers who were displaced by the floods. [10]
  • Baptists: The Grace Baptist Church in Hope, B.C., is offering a warm welcome to dozens of stranded travelers with every comfort it can provide, right down to the padded pews at bedtime, says lead pastor, Jeff Kuhn. [11]
  • Alliance Church: "If anybody needs anything, you can walk in there and come out with eggs and milk and produce," said Shawn Vickar, a pastor at Yarrow Alliance Church. [12]

Most impressive: The local Sikh community. (Background: In the Sikh religion, Sikh temples are called gurdwara. These places have daily feeding programs called langar, which serves meals to all free of charge, regardless of religion, caste, gender, economic status, or ethnicity. People sit on the floor and eat together, and the kitchen is maintained and serviced by Sikh community volunteers. [13]  This is in contrast to the LDS Church, which announced earlier this month that it will be closing all temple cafeterias in 2022). [14]

In Surrey, volunteers at Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib cooked more than 3,000 meals a day for travelers who were stranded in Hope because of the double mudslides that came down on Highway 7. They then hired private helicopters out of their own pockets to ensure the food was delivered to people in need. [15] Check this out:

Who Was Absent from Relief Efforts

With everybody from tiny parishes to Sikh communities involved in rescue and relief efforts, it would be natural to expect the LDS Church to be in the thick of things. 

(After all, the Vancouver British Columbia temple is located just 14.3 km (8.9 miles, or 24 minutes) east of the aforementioned Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib).

That's where things take a sad turn.

Of the eight stakes and one district in B.C., [16] only one -- the Abbotsford British Columbia Stake -- has been severely impacted by the flooding. Yet you'd never know it by looking at the "Abby Stake's" Facebook page, nor the church's Canadian homepage (full-size screen captures taken 11/26/21 are located here and here). 

Not a word mentioned about the floods. Not even one "Helping Hands" yellow jacket.

However, I have learned from a first-hand source that one ward in the Vancouver, BC stake did tell its members (1) to "consider reaching out to your ministering assignments, friends and neighbors and see if they are in need of assistance", (2) it is "seeking counsel from Stake Leadership on how best to respond and render assistance" and (3) to contact the Elders Quorum or Relief Society if "you or anyone you know is having challenges at this time."

Interestingly enough, the church's financial reserves (estimated at well north of $100 billion) are intended to serve as a "rainy day fund" for the church. [17] (If ever there was a rainy day in Canada, I'd say now would be the time). 

The man who created that "rainy day fund" for the church was former apostle and First Presidency member, N. Eldon Tanner. He hailed from -- you guessed it -- Canada…(Alberta to be specific; British Columbia's neighbor to the east). [18]

Tainted Love

Are the Brethren aware of the troubles in southern British Columbia? It's highly likely.

Could they order Latter-day Saint Charities to assist that area's residents? Yes.

Why haven't they?

We are told "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." [19]

With respect to Southern B.C.'s current conditions, where are the fruits of the Lord's love via his "only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth"?

I'll admit that the Savior did say that we should not let our alms be seen of men, and we shouldn't let our left hand know what our right hand is doing. [20]

But is the best the Church can do is to wait for instruction from above the hierarchy chart and in the meantime let leaders know if anyone in a cataclysmically devastated area "is having challenges at this time"?

It'll be interesting to see what the church does (or doesn't do) when the heat of the pre-millennial tribulations really gets turned up.

Sources

1. Matthew 15:28
2. Matthew 8:13
3. D&C 1:30
4. https://www.inverse.com/science/atmospheric-river-storms
5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQdsRd77Gmo
6. https://globalnews.ca/news/6489579/what-is-an-atmospheric-river
7. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/merritt-princeton-evacuees-donation-1.6258925
8. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-hope-amid-the-chaos-disaster-brings-out-the-best-in-flood-hit
9. https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2021/11/21/particularly-dark-kamloops-bc-pastor-urges-parishioners-to-help-those-in-need.html
10. https://www.catholicregister.org/item/33761-faith-and-the-b-c-floods
11. https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1974625859970
12. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/yarrow-chilliwack-bc-floods-volunteers-relief-centre-1.6260193
13. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langar_(Sikhism)
14. https://www.deseret.com/faith/2021/11/5/22766173/the-simple-reason-the-church-is-going-to-close-all-temple-cafeterias-in-2022
15. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/canadian-sikhs-help-flood-hit-in-british-columbia-340457
16. https://churchofjesuschristtemples.org/statistics/locations/canada
17. https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2019/12/20/despite-whistleblower
18. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathan_Eldon_Tanner
19. Matthew 7:20
20. Matthew 6:1-8


6 comments:

PNW_DPer said...

Well, my son-in-law who lives in the neighborhood just south of the border in Lynden, WA (the Bellingham and Lynden areas just south of B.C. also suffered massive flooding from the same storm) says that according to their stake president block meetings were cut to only 1 hour for sacrament, with all members over 14 years of age strongly encouraged to go to work in cleanup and relief efforts instead of spending time in second hour meetings. In their ward the Aaronic priesthood over 14 years old that administered the Sacrament did so dressed in outdoor work clothes to be ready to go right to work on cleanup and relief efforts right at the end of the meeting.

So, it seems that one stake (on the US side of the flooding) seemed to be trying to do something good for relief.

Latter Day Truths said...

PNW_DPer,

Thanks for your information! IMO, that stake did the right thing. They are living testaments to D&C 58:

26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.
29 But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.

Now if we could just get the general church officers -- you know, the very same ones in whom we're supposed to trust -- to do the same. If a Stake President could mobilize such forces, then why can't the general church?

Latter-Day Truths said...

Just as a follow-up:

The Golden Temple in India feeds thousands of people for free every day. Contrast that to how many LDS temples (let alone stake centers, let alone ward buildings) which feed no one for free).

https://fb.watch/9ypUn6992u/

Rebecca said...

I learned about the Golden Temple years ago and was so impressed how they are living the Christian charge to feed the hungry better than the 'only true church'. I wondered why we didn't have soup kitchens and homeless shelters in every temple district. It has been so disheartening to learn that the church does very little in charity work compared to what I used to believe.

Bryce said...

Several years back, I was reading a blog post of an announcement from the church that select ward houses were to be used as needed during the week as food kitchens and overnight housing. I recall feeling that this was the right thing to do and was glad to belong to such a church. My feeling was short lived when I realized it was April 1st.

Anonymous said...

Well at some point you're going to realize that if you are a member, you don't need to wait to ask to help someone out in need, or to organize others for that matter. My Dad as EQL back in the day helped get food out to flooded folks in the Rapid City SD disaster. Didn't wait for SLC to say it was ok. De-centralize your thinking and you'll be much happier.