When Maren and I decided that we would be roommates at the U, we also decided that we needed to make temple attendance a priority. It's been three weeks and we've gone to the temple every Saturday. We even got invited to go to the Brigham City Temple Open House last Saturday.
Being able to go the Temple every week has brought us so much relief from the stress of college. It's just nice to feel the peace and calm; to feel the Savior's love and support for what you are doing.
Last week when we went to the Temple, there was lady at the West entrance begging for help from the passersby. As far as I could see, no one helped her. No one even stopped to talk to her. Immediately I thought of a time when I went to the temple with a family friend: we walked by a couple who was begging and he stopped and said to them, "Will you please wait here, I'll go get you some food." We followed him to the car and he got the food we had brought for lunch and took it back to the couple. He said he hesitated to give them money for fear of what they might do with it, but we could give them all our food instead.
I told Maren that I wished we had some food to give her instead, but that we need to give her something. As we walked by we gave her what little cash we had. She thanked us and told us how she just wanted to feed her kids and not be abused anymore. I still can see her face; her sad eyes with heavy bags beneath and wrinkles reaching from the corners, her cheeks pained and scarred, her upper lip clipped in the middle.
Today we passed a man begging at the North East gate. His arms were swelled and he could barely hold his cardboard sign. We passed by him in a large group and almost didn't turn back, but I couldn't do it. I had a ten dollar bill in my wallet. He thanked me and I wanted to cry.
How is it that we are asked to not turn our backs on the poor and the needy, and yet so many of us grow up learning to be emotionally numb when we pass by those who need our help the most. I know that not everyone who begs is legitimate, but is that our place to decide who is and who is not? Is it really our place to turn our backs on the truly poor for fear of our own stupid pride? Because we may be getting conned? Because we don't want to loose our money to someone who may be a lost cause? I know that giving money or food to someone in need isn't as helpful as giving them a job and teaching them skills to retain it, but isn't anything is better than nothing?
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we are asked to be helpers. Intelligent helpers, but helpers nonetheless. Not everyone is in a position where they can help someone get a job, but everyone can point them in the right direction and give them food and money to help them along until they do get a job.
I read Alma chapters five through 11 today while I was in the Temple. In those chapters Alma has begun to preach throughout the land of the Nephites because the people have become corrupted once again. I was getting to the end of chapter five when Maren brought my attention to where she was reading in chapter thirty-five, on verse nine which reads:
" And he breathed out many threatenings against them. And now the people of Ammon did not fear their words; therefore they did not cast them out, but they did receive all the poor of the Zoramites that came over unto them; and they did anourish them, and did clothe them, and did give unto them lands for their inheritance; and they did administer unto them according to their wants."
In return, I showed her what I had been reading: