Gordon Monson: The LDS Church takes a $44M leap forward in loving its neighbors, no matter where they live

Its latest large contribution to fight world hunger honors the faith’s namesake: Jesus Christ.

(Courtesy of Nde Ndifonka, Catholic Relief Services, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The Utah-based faith has donated $44 million to help fight world hunger and malnutrition in 30 countries.

If one of the primary goals of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to spread love one to another, its announced donation to help curtail world hunger is making that spread of love real, in the most pragmatic of ways — not just with verbal expressions and hugs, not by teaching the uninformed and unwashed about new gospel principles, but rather with stacks of cold cash.

Money may not buy happiness, but it can help keep people nourished, help keep people alive.

Forty-four million bucks worth of nourishment, as reported by The Salt Lake Tribune’s Peggy Fletcher Stack, offered on this occasion to feed the world’s hungry. Hungry mothers, hungry fathers, hungry children, hungry travelers.

Glory hallelujah. Good on the church for that.

This is one more lean forward for a faith that has not just deep pockets, but deep vaults, resources so vast that the organization has come under fire from more than one corner — some within the faith itself — for its hoarding and holding of overabundant wealth. The church has donated resources before — more than $1 billion last year — and it has the funds to build on those contributions moving forward, enough to make a substantial difference in varying ways around the globe.

Getting food to those with bloated bellies and babies suffering from hunger pains, what could be more Christian than that?

These are the kinds of contributions to worthwhile charitable causes that accomplish three notable things for the faith: 1) It does good where good is desperately needed; 2) It follows the example of the church’s centerpiece, Jesus Christ, doing what he would do were his sandals on the ground here; 3) It brings positive attention to the church for using its riches to help out a brother and a sister — some 2 million of them in countries where food insecurity is a daily struggle.

The church has given a multitude of humanitarian offerings before, but the amount donated this time is one of its more sizable gifts. And the manner in which the contribution is being given lessens the charge that the church is merely buying or seeking in any way — hey-hey, look here! — good public relations, good public relations for its missionary efforts, good public relations inside the organization to help church members feel better about all the money they hand over to their faith in tithes and other offerings, including volunteer services rendered.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) A mother and child receive nourishment at the Ifo Refugee Camp in Garissa County, Kenya, on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022.

It is working with other charitable organizations — not flying solo — on this to get sustenance to those who lack it in countries such as Ghana and Ethiopia and some 28 other nations.

This donation comes in partnership with CARE International, Catholic Relief Services, Helen Keller Intl, The Hunger Project, among others.

One church official correctly said that the global faith shows its love to God by reaching out to his children, wherever that need exists.

Hear, hear.

All Latter-day Saints, while acknowledging there is a whole lot more good yet to do in the world, helping others abroad and at home in a range of kind, charitable offerings and acts, can feel a sense of fulfillment when their church, the one they sacrifice so much for, comports itself in this manner, doing what they believe Christ would do.

Give, give, give — to those who suffer, those who cry out, those who are less fortunate, those who lack basic necessities — all for the physical and spiritual betterment of humankind, sharing the bounties it possesses.

A tip of the cap, then, to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for doing as an organization what it teaches its individual followers to do — to love their neighbors no matter in what continent, what country, what condition, what neighborhood they live.

Feed his sheep, regardless of where they wander or which shepherd they follow.