Blessed Are the Poor?: Weekend Poll

By: wheatmeister
July 27, 2013

Apparently, you just have to take the correct turn in life. Easy stuff.

Blessed are the poor, but the rich have to sell all their possessions?  Is it really humility if you are compelled to be humble?  Rich people can’t get a break!  Is spending money really going out of style?

Are the poor inherently more virtuous? (choose up to three)

  • Rich people need to be charitable to be righteous. If they hoard their riches, they are not following Christ. (72%, 47 Votes)
  • The poor are usually more humble, even if their circumstances have compelled them to be. (43%, 28 Votes)
  • The poor are often envious of the rich and equally prideful and judgmental. (35%, 23 Votes)
  • The rich don't love others as much as they love their life of ease. (14%, 9 Votes)
  • Poor people are religious because they want something from God or from the religious community. (11%, 7 Votes)
  • Prosperity is often a sign of righteousness. The poor probably made bad choices. (2%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 65

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Discuss.

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19 Responses to Blessed Are the Poor?: Weekend Poll

  1. natebergin on July 27, 2013 at 4:12 PM

    Sometimes it seems like Jesus gives spiritual advantages to the poor, but then He suprises you too.

    You have the parable of the feast, where the bridegroom offers places at his feast to all the rich noble people first, who then reject him, and then invites all the poor people from the street. But then when one of the poor bums doesn’t have a wedding garment on, he is cast into outer darkness.

    Then there is the parable of the talents, which is ruthless to the poor. The one talent guy has all the marks of typical poverty mentality. Of course, you know that given his defensive, survivalist mentality, he will not have the wisdom to invest the little he has been given, instead hiding it in his mattress. Jesus says he is wicked and slothful, and then gives the quote made famous by Billy Holiday’s “God Bless the Chid” …”them that’s got shall get, them that’s not shall loose, but God bless the child that’s got his own.” But the poor one talent man has one thing right: “I knew that Thou wast an hard man.” Indeed, God is a hard man to the poor.

    So in the same chapter as the Parable of the Talents, you have the Prodigal Son, which is really about the same characters, except you have two guys with 10 talents, and one goes out and looses them all, but when he comes home, he is treated to a great celebration, rather than cast into outer darkness like the guy without a wedding garment.

    So who God, that speaks so arbitrarily, with such a mixture of mercy and ruthlessness? It is the God of Arbitrary Grace, the God who blesses the works of our hands and curses the works of others often for seemingly arbitrary reasons. The point being, our various states in life can be attributed to the arbitrary grace of God, and thus we cannot trust in our own strength. We can only trust in the aribitrary grace of the Lord, who has nevertheless promised to wipe away all tears in the next life. But this mortal life sucks for many people, and that’s just how God made it.

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  2. Phil on July 27, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    The rich think differently from the poor. If you tell a poor person you’re gonna start a business they typically say things like why where’s the money? It’s too hard! If you tell a rich person the same thing, They usually say go for it you can do it!

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  3. katie88 on July 27, 2013 at 8:29 PM

    I’ve been poor and I’ve been rich, and I don’t feel that generalizations about either catagory are helpful. Both groups have people that a proud, humble, selfish, unselfish, kind and unkind. My experience of 64 years serving and living in both groups, however, is that as a whole, the poor are more willing to give than the rich and give more percentage of their income than the poor to the Church and to charities. In this article, http://money.msn.com/now/post.aspx?post=8640300b-c383-468e-88fd-665140fe4dc7it says that the rich (top 20% earners) give 1.3% of their income to charity while the poor give 3.2%. It’s also interesting the read about the types of charities to which those groups donate.

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  4. katie88 on July 27, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    correction on line 5 “rich” instead of “poor”

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  5. Howard on July 28, 2013 at 7:44 AM

    Many lessons are learned by becoming a sell what you have give it to the poor and follow him disciple. The rich rarely have to confront their lust and craving for more, instead they can afford to indulge it. The rich miss the economic opportunity to let go, let God and as a result often seem to see their wealth as evidence of their omnipotence. Still a few of the wealthy see to keep these issues fairly well in check but the fall from money and social standing is long and very philosophically challenging. I know a wonderful woman who was born with a golden spoon in her mouth, it wasn’t a blessing it was a curse. The money is gone now, taken by another and as a result she has grown immensely.

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  6. YvonneS on July 28, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    I would like to choose something from the poll, but all the choices have some kind of negative phrase that makes it impossible to choose. I think that true humility is the recognition that God is greater than mankind. Pride that is bad is the kind that says I am better than everyone else including the creator and I don’t need any help, thank you. Being poor does not make one humble. It is possible to be proud without money. All people travel back and forth between having a poor or rich attitude. These things are fluid.

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  7. Will on July 29, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    I have always liked president packers quote on this:

    “Some are tested by poor health, some by a body that is deformed or homely. Others are tested by handsome healthy bodies; some by the passion of youth; others by the erosions of age. Some suffer disappointment in marriage or family problems; others live in poverty and obscurity. Some, perhaps the hardest of all, find ease and luxury. All are part of the test, and there is more equality on this testing than sometimes we suspect”

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  8. hawkgrrrl on July 29, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Will +1 – great quote!

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  9. Geoff - A on July 30, 2013 at 12:31 AM

    I am not sure that what the Lord wants is as described by the options. I think it is more the kind of feeling you get in a zion society. Not the kind you have in Utah, but the kind you get where there is least difference between the rich and poor in a country, and the feeling is one of all willingly sharing so none are left out. As opposed to us and them.

    You might also make a distinction between wealth (assets) and liquid funds.

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  10. ANON on July 30, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    I dislike the option about the poor being more humble because I think we have a tendency as a church to romanticize poverty (especially in conference talks and Ensign articles) that does a real disservice to real, hard-core poverty that we see in places like Africa.

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  11. Will on July 30, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    @10…or Detroit.

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  12. Mike S on July 31, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    Unfortunately, I think Christ’s teachings regarding the poor are currently being better reflected by the Catholic church than our own. I honestly can’t see Pope Francis spending billions of dollars on exclusive shopping malls, private hunting reserves, etc.

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  13. Will on July 31, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    Mike S.

    Baloney.

    The Catholic Church’s annual spending is estimated at $170 Billion with over 1,000,000 employees. 57 percent is for health care costs, 28 percent for colleges, 6 percent for day to day operations and just 2 percent for charitable activities.

    Like the LDS church they have investments to fund their enormous infrastructure. The LDS church just does a better job with a more secure income stream AND more income as a percentage to charity.

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  14. wideopenspaces on July 31, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Will, how do you know the LDS church spends more? The church does not disclose its financial records.

    As to the question, I don’t think you can generalize the impact of money or the lack therof on an individual person (in terms of their spirituality).

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  15. Will on July 31, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    They do disclose that 100% of monies received for humanitarian aide are used for humanitarian aide.

    Mikes point is the Catholic Church is better because it spends all this money on charity. The reality is that it is around 2% of their budget.

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  16. Mike S on July 31, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Two comments:

    1) We’ve hashed it out before, and I’ve posted on it, but from what the Church has released, we only spend around 1% on charity. Double that and call it 2%. Either way, we’re in the same ballpark.

    2) More importantly, in Pope Francis, the Catholic church has a leader who is calling his own organization on the carpet regarding charity. He’s using his position to review finances. He’s talking about the greed of corporations. He wants to reverse the previous course of his predecessors to focus more on what Christ Himself did as an example when He was here.

    In our current leadership, the mantra was “Let’s go shopping” as they cut the ribbon on the most expensive shopping mall in the United States – filled with store like Tiffany’s and Porsche that 99% of LDS members throughout the world couldn’t even afford to frequent.

    Many people in the LDS Church disagree with me, and think that the church should be spending billions on private enterprises. I just disagree. I am excited to see a leader of a church talk publicly like Pope Francis and focus on avoidance of what Tiffany’s and Porsche and everything else represents.

    Just my opinion.

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  17. Will on July 31, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Wideopenspaces,
    As Mike S said I have hashed this out with him.

    First off, I am not knocking the Catholic Church, nor am I knocking the amount they contribute(After all, 2 % of 160 BB is 3.2BB, which is a lot of money). I am saying both organizations need revenue sources from wherever they can to fund the overhead both of them face. They are both big institutional organizations that require billions just to cover basic operating expenses.

    I further agree with your comment on job creation. As Reagan best said it;”the only social program needed is a job”.

    My comments illustrate the point that in order to truly help the needy, you need a solid, stable income source. The LDS church is run by conservatives that understand this principle and apply it; thus, a successful financially entity.

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  18. Bon on August 1, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    Will:

    “My comments illustrate the point that in order to truly help the needy, you need a solid, stable income source.”

    Can you back that up with scripture(s) reference(s)?

    I’m struggling to come up with one, but perhaps you have one in mind.

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  19. Nick Literski on August 1, 2013 at 8:15 PM

    I think Will is precisely correct. The LDS church, more than anything else, is a “successful financial entity.”

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