Perpetually Blessed

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?


  1. Brayden:

    First: If wealth transfer is a great idea…why all the hand-wringing over jobs moving from one country to the next? Isn’t this a goode thing? It means more jobs, skilled jobs now too, that can be held by Saints in 3rd World countries. PEF isn’t going to work very well if outsourcing doesn’t countinue so that the newly trained Saints can get jobs that needs their education.

    My understanding is that PEF doesn’t really ‘place’ graduates…because it doesn’t have any. Most of the individuals get loans & then use them in a local tech school or college. So…PEF really doesn’t have “graduates” either; unless you are counting as “graduates” those that have paid back the money they borrowed.

  2. I know, I wouldn’t so much mind a little dole too, but I’m happy with what we’ve got. I think the PEF is powerful in that it allows members of the church in developing countries to identify with the pioneers. All around, such an inspired program. And, like I said, one that can be accepted and embraced by liberals and conservatives alike.

    BTW, did you wonder when Elder Holland said that the missionary with the mismatched clothes whose mother was sick now had matched clothes and his mother was taken care of as well, what exactly he meant? I was assuming that he just took care of the family, but what if it was fast offering etc. Kind of an interesting precedent to announce from the GC pulpit. (I know, I know, back to the Holland talk, but apparently the excessive weeping burned it onto my memory…)

  3. There have been some general preliminary statistics announced in Priesthood, but not a lot of specifics. I’m not sure that they’re administering this program with a lot of transparency, but that’s the same with all church programs.

    Karen, the PEF is the best thing this Church can do, in my opinion, as it grows in developing nations. It is the only way I can think of to empower underprivileged members while still avoiding “the evils of the dole”. I wouldn’t mind, of course, a little bit of the dole being sent too, but that’s b/c I am a bleeding heart liberal.

  4. This is a great program. I’m interested in how well the program is doing. Does anyone know of any reported statistics regarding the success of the PEF in placing its graduates?