She Pointed To The Salt Lake Temple And Said: “They Have Our Backs!”


Over the years I have heard some complaints from both members of our church, and those not of our faith, that as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints we don’t do enough for the communities wherein we reside. That while we do a lot of service, most of it is done for our own members. And that, at times, we can be exclusive in our behavior.

A couple of years ago I found myself in a business meeting in an office building that was directly across from the Salt Lake City Temple. In fact, the huge picture window of the conference room where we met, framed the temple and the surrounding square. I sat one on one with a women of about 40 who told me she had been raised in Salt Lake City. The conversation was very open as we talked first about business and then we ended up talking about our backgrounds. The conversation eventually made its way to religion. She related how she had been raised in Salt Lake City and although she was of another faith, her childhood was filled with joyful memories and she happily related how she had wonderful friends both LDS, and those that weren’t. It was clear she had warm feelings for the Mormon church even though she was not a member. As our hour-long meeting came to an end, and as we got up to leave, she looked at me, turned towards the temple, and said, “It is a wonderful feeling to know that they have our backs. I know that no matter the peril that comes to this town or state, they will reach out and help, and they don’t care what faith, color or persuasion you are!” Having served in positions in the church which has allowed me to see the enormous service that is rendered by our members, I was glad to know that she felt the devotion that the church has of living up to the charge given by the Savior to succor the weak” and provide “a resting place for the weary traveler.”

In my experience, the majority of the service given by members of the church are for those who are not actively participating in our church services. Having served as a Bishop with the responsibility of overseeing the welfare funds of the ward, I most often found myself dispersing the sacred funds of the church to members who had not been actively engaged in church attendance. Many were down and out on their luck and were making an effort to come back to Christ. Hundreds of hours of service is given weekly by members to help needy families and individuals regain their spiritual, emotional, mental and economic health.

I recall the words of the Savior when he said, “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have the glory of men…” (Matthew 6: 1-2).

I have a strong testimony of the service oriented nature of our church. The people in it do so much good and do so without the “left hand knowing what the right hand is doing.” (Matthew 6:3). To serve willingly and silently, to me, is to gain the “grace of God.”

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