I was reading the SL Tribune article yesterday on the passing of Sister Hinckley. The last paragraph read something like “In lieu of sending flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the church’s Perpetual Education Fund.” That struck a chord. We’re all familiar with the custom of suggesting donations–usually a charity very close to the hearts of the family…the lung association for lung cancer victims, or the children’s hospital for families whose children were treated there. The Prophet and his family chose the Perpetual Education Fund, and I was again reminded how much that program resonates with me.
We’ve been writing about prophecy and the role of a prophet or of the Prophet. That prompted some scripture study last night, and I came across the Bible Dictionary entry titled “prophet.” The message was not centered on foretelling, rather on just telling. Inspired exhortation. Can we find a better example of inspired exhortation, of inspired leadership, than the Perpetual Education Fund?
1. We are an internationally minded people. For many of us, our mission service has cemented a love for another culture into our lives. Even those who didn’t serve a foreign mission feel the pulse of the church and feel concern over our brothers and sisters who are faithful and yet struggling temporally. Previous to the institution of the PEF, I heard so many people wondering what they could do to help, and feeling that whatever help they gave was on such a small scale that while rewarding, it was also frustrating. More commonly, we wished to give, but didn’t search for the means to do it.
2. The international church is growing at such a fast rate, particularly in poorer areas of the world. Educated, financially stable leaders are needed to fulfill lay-clergy responsibilities. The gospel helps create focused, goal-oriented individuals…but those same people are trapped in cycles of poverty. In a chuch devoted to consecrating extra to the good of the kingdom, some wealth redistribution seemed to be in order–but the mechanism had to be effective and (practically speaking) accepted.
3. We are history minded. Our own pasts and our families’ pasts resonate with us. President Hinckley recognized the dynamic described above and found a way to tap into our own pioneer heritage, using our passion for our history to channel our love for our brothers and sisters. Inspired exhortation, and inspired leadership. I know that church members I’m acquainted with LOVE this program. I’m touched that the Prophet and his family love it as well.
Perhaps this is a month that we could be particularly focused on the PEF when making our offerings?