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H. David Burton’s Creeping Socialism…at Wheat & Tares

April 12, 2011

H. David BurtonIf you hadn’t checked yet, my latest column at Wheat & Tares, about H. David Burton’s April Conference talk “The Sanctifying Work of Welfare”, is up.

The background for this post is that I was somewhat surprised to find liberal-type Mormons regarding several conference talks with such esteem — with some even going so far as to say this was the “Mormon liberal dream conference.” Most of the talks that seemed to be in tune with liberal ideas about social safety nets and welfare were backed up with mentions of “personal responsibility” and “self-reliance” — suggesting something quite different than the Mormon liberal dream conference.

Nevertheless, a couple talks at Conference made me begin to understand what I believe the deal is with the religious conservative emphasis on individuals. Welfare is about spiritual growth and transformation in this system, so a situation that helps the poor at the expense of the spiritual growth of the poor or those better off would be suboptimal.

My problem here is: it just seems like God isn’t all that effective at transforming people. So, yeah, it would be great if people helped the most destitute of all because of their spiritual transformation for Christ…but in the meantime, why can’t we set up institutions to work around the unregenerate nature of most people?

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2 Comments
  1. Seth R. permalink

    Thing is, we live in a social context where it is assumed that other organizations are already doing that.

    So why should the LDS Church add redundancy on top of it, rather than providing a unique function that the government social safety net does now, and will not provide?

  2. Seth,

    So why should the LDS Church add redundancy on top of it, rather than providing a unique function that the government social safety net does now, and will not provide?

    Perhaps because this isn’t a mutually exclusive proposition. Multiple groups working to the same end don’t distract or detract from each other.

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