When I was a Gospel Doctrine teacher, there was a time when somebody asked me if I thought that God made the earth out of nothing. I, of course, wanted to immediately respond that I think even God has to follow certain laws, like how you can’t make something out of nothing (unless you saw where my life was a few years back at BYU and where I am now, then you might question science). However, we skipped the discussion in class to avoid the inappropriate “Doctrine of Larrie.” I chose not to abuse my INCREDIBLE power and knowledge that made me the teacher, not them.
Now, Alaska is one of my Gospel Doctrine teachers (and all I have to worry about on most Sundays is how wrinkled the table cloth is in Relief Society). This Sunday, I was waiting to hear “The Gospel According to Alaska” in regards to a question he asked, but he opted for the “here’s a new topic” to avoid furthering the debate. So what were the Misfit Toys debating about, you ask? Alaska’s question was something along the lines of, “Is it correct to give to beggars?” He prefaced this with a couple of instances where he gave money to somebody “in need,” and found out later that their stories of need were bunk.
So how do you answer the question? Should be a pretty simple yes or no. In class yesterday, after Alaska asked the question, I raised my hand to share my opinion, but another was called on first. So he shared his opinion, then one of the women raised her hand to counter. Without telling you my opinion (clearly a VERY difficult thing for me to do when writing), here are the arguments for a yes answer and a no answer (not verbatim).
No: If the Prodigal Son had been receiving free charity, he wouldn’t have been slumming with swine and may not have broken down and returned to daddy. If we give free handouts, how can the beggar learn to earn his pay? (See Luke 15:11-32.)
Yes: What the beggar does with a handout doesn’t cheapen the spirit of charity behind the donation and it’s not our place to judge. We cannot determine a “worthy beggar.” (See Mosiah 4:17-24.)
So what’s your take? Yes or no? Or perhaps, which answer do you think I agree with?
(P.S. Does it matter who said what? The “no” came from a member of the bishopric; the “yes” came from the FHE co-chair. Hmm…)