Let’s Give Life for Christmas

A central invitation of the gospel of Jesus Christ is to give up our wealth in favor of those in need. King Benjamin expresses this imperative by instructing us to give our substance to the poor, just as freely as Christ gave his life for ours (Mosiah 4:16-26). Jesus invites a young man who wants to become perfect to sell all his possessions and give the resulting funds to the poor to obtain treasure in heaven (Matthew 19:21). A revelation of Joseph Smith’s from 1832 invites us to make ourselves materially equal with the poor, “for if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things; for if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you” (D&C 78:6-7). What better Christmas offering could we make than to try to embrace Jesus’s words on this?

Janet from Feminist Mormon Housewives has organized an excellent way for us, as an internet community of Mormons, to move in the direction of such a more fully Christian life. She has opened up a community fundraising team with the organization Heifer International. Heifer International, for those unfamiliar with the group, seeks a long-term and sustainable end to world hunger by giving extremely poor families economically productive livestock and training, along with encouragement toward self-sufficiency and toward eventually passing the gift along to others who are also in need. The easiest way to give is to open up the General Team Donation page. There you can make a contribution, in the name of the Mormon blogging group, for any amount starting at $10.

The Mormon blogs have proven to be a genuine community of friendship and of religious growth. Let’s also show that we can be a community of Christian care for the neediest and hungriest in our world. Giving a collective gift to Heifer International this Christmas will not single-handedly qualify us for the Celestial Kingdom, but it seems to me that it can be a step on our paths. This Christmas, let’s give some needy family the gift of life and hope. How better could we celebrate He who gave everything to give us the same, in more abundance?


  1. I worry about the treatment of the animals. I can’t in good conscience give to that particular charity. The idea of a bloggernacle charity is a great one, though. I would love to contribute to something else.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I donated, it was a very easy process. Thanks for the suggestion. I wonder if you could set it up so that there was a sub group for bycc, a subgroup for T&S, etc., to get a little competition going to raise the total amount given?

  3. Tatiana,
    I too was concerned by that question. This helped assuage my concerns. It is also, evidently, very environmentally conscious and quite transparent with its finances and minimally utilizes donated funds for administrative overhead.

  4. One more link.

  5. Another great charity is kiva.org, if someone wanted to set something up with them.

    I was excited to see this, because I have been interested in donating to Heifer, but it feels more meaningful to be part of something that can make a bigger impact than my single donation could.

  6. Ha! Tatiana, I just saw your comment on fMh that you already do kiva. Awesome.

  7. Thanks so much for posting the link–and thanks as well to Brad for assuaging fears regarding this particular charity. I chose it largely because of its fine reputation for both humane treatment of all God’s creations.

    Kiva is great as well; thanks for linking it, Tatiana.

    Happy holidays to everyone!

  8. Sorry about the grammatical glitches in that last comment. Motherhood, as it turns out, can turn one’s brain to applesauce. Happy applesauce, but applesauce nonetheless. ;)

  9. Aaron Brown says:

    Great idea. While we’re plugging charities, let me mention a couple more, if I may:

    1. Unitus (www.unitus.com) is a “global microfinance accelator” here in Seattle run by an LDS guy from Harvard’s Kennedy School, and is a great outfit.

    2. The Rural Development Institute (www.rdiland.org) focuses on securing land rights for the poor throughout the Third World. From a recent mailing:

    “RDI’s work is not about giving a handout, but about providing a hand up. Like the metaphor of teaching a man to fish, we know that giving a person fish does not provide sustainable and generational poverty alleviation. It also requires providing fishing rods and teaching people how to fish. But even that does little good if those people do not have secure rights to the pond.”

    Aaron B

  10. Please also consider what might be done to aid economic development in your own communities. Many, many rural communities throughout the U.S. and most inner city communities are struggling with ways to fully employ residents, fight crime and despair and prevent further decay of infrastructure.

    This doesn’t take a lot of money, it does, however, involve becoming involved in our local communities by attending development hearings, contacting local business incubators and development authorities with offers of help (many are seeking diversity within their board and volunteer corps), and assisting governmental entities and non-profits with support services for vulnerable adults, families and children.

    In the LDS diaspora, we as LDS people are underrepresented in politics, non-profit organization boards, and general economic development initiatives. Our skill sets are much higher in provident living, ability to participate, organize, and conduct meetings and in many other areas than large numbers of our community members.

    Some suggestions:

    1) Consider becoming a volunteer guardian or guardian ad litem for vulnerable children and adults.

    2) Seek appointment to citizen commissions.

    3) See a need in your community? Consider creating a new non-profit or seek fiscal sponsorship from an existing non-profit.

    4) Want a better economy in your community? Start that business you’ve dreamed about, learn to market globally, and place your business dollars in your own community whenever fiscally prudent to do so.

    Best wishes to all who dream of a better 2008.

    Theresa Petrey

  11. My wife and I love Kiva, and have done several loans through them. Other charities we help out with:

    1. Mothers Without Borders

    2. Aura’s House

    3. The Darfur Wall

    Also, before donating to any given charity, it’s best to look them up on the Charity Navigator (I’m limited to three links per comment apparently.. the website is charitynavigator.org) to see how the money will be spent, and find out other data on the organizations.

  12. We’re looking into permanent connection to a micro-loan organization at FMH. Connor or Tatiana, is it OK if I email you and ask for some of your experiences with them? I’m not financially savvy and the prospect of managing micro-loans daunts me, even though I think the concept marvelous.

  13. Janet, sure thing. I’m at cboyack -at- gmail -dot- com.