I’m just so tired. Really really tired. I’m tired of seeing the church constantly under attack both from people outside of the church and especially those within it. I’m tired of being labeled unfairly by those who know nothing of my faith. I’m tired of being told how I should feel being a Mormon.
I get it. The church is far from perfect and the people within the church both currently and in the past have made mistakes that have caused harm to people.
Church history is messy. There are times where there are no good answers. But such is the history of any organization and individual. We all have dark times, times where we have made mistakes that we wish we could take back. There were and still are times that leaders within our church have made some poor judgment calls that have wounded those who needed the help the most. These are the stories that constantly get blasted in the media today.
But just because the church as an organization and members of the church individually can (and should) be better, that fact shouldn’t negate all of the great things we are doing. You don’t see headlines of all the countless hours that a Young Woman Presidency stays up at night trying to help a girl with a problem that she is currently facing, even though she is not a member of the church simply because they want to help. You don’t see the sacrifice made by Relief Society presidencies, Bishoprics and all the other local leaders who sacrifice weeks and months simply trying to help the people in their neighborhoods.
This is not including all of the humanitarian and welfare work The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is doing throughout the world nor all of the work that the church does for their members. Sometimes we reference all of the church’s humanitarian work and lump it all into a throwaway sentence, but it’s a tremendous undertaking that is directly affecting many of the poor and needy around the world.
Some numbers at a glance:
- Benson Food, helping over 96,000 individuals in 2015 alone with food production, storage and nutrition training
- Over 7 million man-hours donated to the welfare services of the church.
- Over 7,000 full time and part time volunteers in the welfare services of the church providing services such as
- managing employment center
- teaching English as a second language
- teaching marriage and parenting skills
- improving agricultural and medical practices
- distributing clothing
- The church responded to over 177 natural and man-made disasters in 56 different countries in 2016
- Over 7 million people have been helped with their clean water and sanitation initiative
- Over 57,000 individuals received wheelchairs in 2014
- Over 500,000 individuals were given vision treatment in 2015
- Over 44,000 individuals received maternal and newborn care in 2015
- Over 1800 community projects in 107 different countries supporting local organizations solve the problems and needs in their local communities
- Over 56,000 students have been helped with the perpetual education fund with a 90% “pay forward” rate
- Adoption services for families
- Mormons Helping Hands who have donated millions of hours of service with hundreds of thousands of volunteers
The church as an organization has helped people from around the world in a wide range of activities from providing clean water and sanitation in over 26 countries to helping refugees and individuals in the Ukraine from civil unrest. From dealing with typhoons and earthquakes to helping countries and individuals with the ebola virus, it’s a massive undertaking that the church is taking in their humanitarian efforts to truly help those who are in need.
You don’t just get to say “yes, I know the church is doing some good in the world but…”
You don’t just get to throw away all of the good the church does simply to tear it down as though any of the things they did don’t matter.
You don’t get to negate all of the millions of hours spent on:
- helping our neighbors move
- visiting those who are sick
- providing meals & supplies during family emergencies
- taking personal time off from work to help families
- going to camps/youth conferences to help teach life skills and lessons to the youth
- visiting retirement homes and providing spiritual services
- blood drives and donations
- counseling with families
- helping with adoption
- helping individuals find jobs and employment
- helping families find a place to live
- babysitting while the family is dealing with hospital issues
- trying to make new friends and reaching out
- simply saying hi and making people feel welcomed
- shoveling the driveways during the winter
- and the list could go on and on
We have massive improvements that we need to continue to work on both on the organizational level and on the individual level. We need to listen to our leaders and work on our sensitivities and being more understanding to vulnerable populations within the church like the LGBTQIA community and the youth who are dealing with depression or mental illness.
Of course we need to work on being less judgmental and more caring with one another and being more Christ-like in all that we do and say.
But as Elder Holland states:
“Be kind regarding human frailty—your own as well as that of those who serve with you in a Church led by volunteer, mortal men and women. Except in the case of His only perfect Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we. And when you see imperfection, remember that the limitation is not in the divinity of the work. As one gifted writer has suggested, when the infinite fulness is poured forth, it is not the oil’s fault if there is some loss because finite vessels can’t quite contain it all. Those finite vessels include you and me, so be patient and kind and forgiving.”
Just because we have areas of improvement and just because we are human and are prone to making mistakes, let us not forget all of the good we do as members of the church. While we are not perfect disciples, we do try to help those around us and we do try to make the world a better place and I’m tired of that message getting lost in the media these days.