Friday, February 16, 2007
Down the Slippery Slope: 3 Nephi 5-6 pgs 416-20
And of course, after just 6 short years they start to spiral down into wickedness again. And what was their first step on the slippery slope?
 And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning, yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches.
 Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God.
 And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up; yea, insomuch that in the thirtieth year the church was broken up in all the land save it were among a few...
Let's break down this process: 1.Pride and boasting. 2. Ranks according to wealth and learning.
When I lived in Pakistan I saw church member in the depths of third world poverty. This is poverty unimaginable for those in the US where there are welfare systems in place. Third world poverty is helplessness and hopelessness. It is poverty maintained by discrimination and despare. Surely if you compare these people with other church members in the States you see people ignorant because of their poverty and great learning because of their riches. I often wondered how the church could help our members out of these dire circumstances. I felt we must do something to reach out or be condemned for not trying. Just as pride and class distinctions broke apart the ancient congregations in America, it could do the same in these latter days.
I was so very excited to see a few years ago that the church is reaching out to poor members around the world by a program called the Perpetual Education Fund. This fund is a simple honor system where members from all over the world can borrow money for college or technical training and then repay it later when they are employed. This is an old concept for Americans but believe me, this is a radically new program in many parts of the third world.
I love this system. I'm proud of this system and I'm proud of this Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for trying to uplift the poorest of the poor around the world through the dignity of education and employment.