Thursday, February 23, 2012

Suppose...

"Suppose that in this community there are ten beggars who beg from door to door for something to eat, and that nine of them are imposters who beg to escape work, and with an evil heart practice imposition upon the generous and sympathetic, and that only one of the ten who visit your doors is worthy of your bounty; which is best, to give food to the ten, to make sure of helping the truly needy one, or to repulse the ten because you do not know which is the worthy one? You will all say, administer charitable gifts to the ten, rather than turn away the only truly worthy and truly needy person among them. If you do this, it will make no difference in your blessings, whether you administer to worthy or unworthy persons, inasmuch as you give alms with a single eye to assist the truly needy."

--Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:12
as quoted in John A. Widtsoe, ed., Discourses of Brigham Young (Salt Lake: Deseret Book Company, 1941), p. 274.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The ancient Christian document, THE DIDACHE, has some good advice.... "Let your alms sweat in your hands, until you know to whom you should give."

J G-W said...

The Book of Mormon teaches that it is a sin to turn the poor away without helping them. I'm inclined to think that the Book of James is pretty explicit on this score as well (see, for example, 2:14-17).

I agree, it makes sense to give alms wisely. But I'd be afraid to let them sweat too long. :-)