Philip Allred’s Meridan Magazine blog post titled, “Lesson 35: A Mission of Saving” really got me thinking this morning! I believe Philip was saying, in short, just as our pioneer ancestors rescued each other temporally, we Saints today can rescue each other spiritually.
Although I agree with this perspective wholeheartedly, I think we ought to be careful not to assume that we Saints don’t need to concern ourselves with rescuing each other temporally – ie. economically. Didn’t the Savior himself say, “For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things“?
The Saints were invited to migrate to Utah for one specific purpose, to build a Zion society, literally. And, for over four decades they were anxiously engaged in doing exactly that — besides being “of one heart and one mind” in religion, they were also united politically AND economically (all three of which elements, from one perspective, is the very definition of Zion). Though their progress was marked by fits and starts, the Saints overall were making substantive progress in building a self-reliant, self-sustaining, united society.
Unfortunately, the heavy-handed enforcement of the Edmunds Anti-Polygamy Act literally squashed that effort to build a Zion society and the Church had to settle for being just a religion or face extinction. Babylon literally swallowed up and digested our fledgling Zion society. We Saints now compete with each other economically in the marketplace instead of cooperating for our mutual benefit.
Today, in spite of the fact that our leaders have challenged us to rescue our economically distressed brethren via our priesthood quorums, we have allowed, in my ward alone, several families to go un-rescued as they lost their jobs, their homes, and their hope. Our lack of effort to rally to their rescue was certainly not the result of a lack of righteousness (we boast of a large number of temple workers in our ward), but probably the result of our conditioning in the American competitive free enterprise system. That Babylonian-style economy trains us to let the competitive free market “weed out” those who were unfortunate to have chosen occupations most susceptible to economic downturns. Instead of working to “liberate the [economically] captive”, we Saints have been conditioned to sit back and watch our neighbors be devoured in Babylon’s cherished struggle of the survival of the fittest.
We can and should do better. In his talk, “This Is Your Phone Call“, Bishop Richard C. Edgely, challenged us to use our priesthood quorums to rescue our brethren who are drowning economically. He invited:
There it is! We have permission (although I’d argue we never needed it) from the Brethren to creatively solve the economic problems of those in our quorums! We can rescue each other without waiting to be commanded in all things! Ready, Go!