Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Thinking Beyond Fast Offerings

The fast offering program of the Church has long been an inspiration to me. It is such a powerful concept, a way that we can all participate in helping the poor and needy among us. There are no overhead expenses, so 100% of what you donate will help someone, and personal care and attention goes into that help. How grateful I am for that program.

Latter-day Saints often assume that the best way to help the needy is to be generous in our donations through the fast offering program. Please be as generous as you can, but if you have more to give, please don't let your generosity stop there. In some cases, there are real needs that Church leaders are aware of that are difficult to address through the official fast offering program because of the wise restrictions and guidelines in its use. When I was a bishop, I truly appreciated a few generous souls who simply handed me cash and told me to find a good use for it - uses that fast offerings couldn't address. The donors weren't able to get a receipt or a tax deduction for this kindness, but there were several people in great need who were able to get more direct help through such means. Others would provide service or goods or cash directly to people they knew were in distress. Yes, fast offerings are wonderful, but sometimes alternate routes can provide further inspired help for those in need. In any case, I hope we can all strive to be more generous and thoughtful of those around us, especially those in times of hardship and financial stress. Recognize that throwing cash around makes some problems worse, so be wise and prayerful in what you do.

6 comments:

The Narrator said...

I've learned to love the fast. For a while when our family went through a rough finacial spot, the Church's welfare program kept us from not only starving, but from being homeless as well. I've ever grateful to those that contribute a genereous fast offering as it kept my family from being in a really bad spot.

I also love the process of fasting and I truly feel closer to the Lord in my prayers when I fast correctly. Thanks for a great couple of posts on the subject.

The Narrator
Traveling Shoes

Ariel said...

What kinds of needs would be met by cash that wouldn't be met by fast offerings?

cayblood said...

There are strict rules no what a Bishop is allowed to use fast offerings for. So if he were given cash with the understanding that he could use it however he saw fit, he could help people in some ways that wouldn't be allowed if the money were donated specifically as a fast offering.

Bookslinger said...

Christmas presents for kids is one way that a cash donation outside of fast-offerings can be made to help the poor.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone read about the history of fast offerings in the Church? In the early days in Salt Lake it was the Bishop that would go around to the homes and collect the offerings on Fast Sunday. I believe it was mainly food products that were donated. If I remember correctly this was done while the babtisms were being performed at Church. Back then, any member could be babtized every week, this was before the sacrament was doen weekly. Anyone else know more about this? I think Susan Black wrote about it in one of her books.

xDREx said...

We have a member that came down with Cancer (T4). After 2mths of recovery, their savings began to disappear, as well as their financial stability. The Bishop made sure that their groceries and bills were taken care of. I am more than happy to give fast offerings after seeing how the funds are used to help others.