David H. Sundwall (my favorite bloggernacle Republican) reports over at A Soft Answer that the church will be revising the three-fold mission of the Church. It will be changing from the three missions to the four purposes of the Church. It sounds as though the three missions will still be represented, but the new forth purpose is of particular interest to me.
According to David’s report, Bishop Richard Edgley, counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, commented at a stake conference that the forth purpose would be “to care for the poor and the needy.”
Has anyone else heard any details or rumblings about this? I had heard somewhere that changes where coming to the three-fold mission, but I had not heard any further details.
Such an addition to the missions of the Church has been discussed at FPR by smallaxe almost two years ago (not only is he super nice, he is prophetic). I look forward to seeing how this is presented and discussed in coming Ensign magazines and General Conference addresses.
Now, this does not necessarily signal a radical change in the policies and practices of the Church. Bishop David H. Burton gave an account of the Church’s global humanitarian effort not long ago in General Conference. There has also been a focus on the perpetual education fund. Lest we forget, today is the day we give fast offerings.
However, I have long found that when it comes to matters of wealth and economics, there is no greater friend to inequality than Mormons (speaking of the general membership and not the leadership of the Church). What does inequality have to do with caring for the needy and the poor? Conditions of extreme inequality create and maintain poverty.
Like Hugh Nibley, I find that Mormons generally hold views consistent with Social Darwinism. The poor are poor because they deserve it. If only they worked harder and were more righteous they would not be poor. Like Nibley (see his lectures on the Book of Mormon), I find that most treat King Benjamin’s discussion of the beggar as outdated. If anything, King Benjamin’s discussion of the beggar is evidence that the Book of Mormon was written for our day.
While we seem more likely to give thought of the poor and needy at this time of year, it is a good time to give thought to how our actions (and inaction) year round contribute to poverty and the conditions of the poor.
Jacob 2:17: Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you.