How Mormons get it right when it comes to service to others. In the spirit of transparency, I am not Mormon or as they prefer to be called LDS which is what I will refer to them as for the rest of this post. I attend a non denominational praise Jesus, Bible thumping church. My entire family has been baptized Southern Baptist. My best friend in the whole wide world is LDS though. I spent this past summer with her so I got a first hand look at what being a modern day Latter Day Saint (LDS) entails. I had already had some interactions before this summer though. This summer just cemented my opinion of how they do a much better job than other Christians when it comes to serving others.
My first interaction with the LDS Church serving others was when a member of my own church had a mom who needed a new roof. Being the good Southern Baptists that my church was , we compiled a committee to see if there was money in the budget for such an expenditure. By the time her own church came to a decision, the local LDS church had already put a new roof on her house. No questions asked. No checking church membership. Not do you deserve a new roof? Just an elderly lady who needed a new roof . They saw a need then filled a need.
As I spent the summer with my dear friend, I realized that this was inherent to their religious teachings. Their wards (or places of worship) are from what I’ve seen centrally located in the parts of towns where the people society deems as less than desirable usually have to live. Their children go out to serve “missions” for two years right out of high school. They hold events in these communities to help people. Once the people’s needs are met, they are more receptive to hear what you have to say. Even Jesus knew this when he fed the 5,000 then delivered His message.
Items are shared freely among church members. If someone doesn’t need it then it is offered to others. A need is announced to the church or group, where it is immediately filled. It certainly reminded me A LOT of the Acts church where all items were pooled together for the greater good of the community. I witnessed them give furniture to single moms, kitchen items to elderly people to make their life easier, and food given to members without question. In fact, the church regularly seeks out members who may need assistance in getting food. They are so zealous in this attribute that they frequently help others before a need is voiced.
Lots of times churches get caught up in the logistics of money, time as well as worthiness in regards to helping others. I have not witnessed that in the LDS church. Service to others is an important tenet in their religious teachings. It is always at the forefront of their minds and actions. Imagine what a world we would live in if every self professing Christian adopted this simple principle : See a need, fill a need.