The tragic situation in Haiti is growing worse by the hour. Your prayers are needed. In our branch (a small congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), we have one Haitian member and several of his friends come to Church with us. It has been hard for them to get information from their loved ones. One of them learned today that his wife and daughter was killed. We mourn for his loss.
Anti-Mormons, exMormons, and atheists all tend to display derision for the Church, but it is in times like this that the power of our faith comes into view. In the weeks ahead, you’ll hear of valiant bishops, branch presidents, Relief Society sisters, and missionaries who are working right now, this very minute, to account for the members of their units and assess their needs. They will report their findings to their priesthood leaders and efforts will begin, independent of any government aid, to assist one another.
They will share whatever food and water they have. They will build makeshift shelters, perhaps using a meetinghouse or opening up a surviving home to house the sick and injured. They will help bury the dead. They will hold funerals. They will comfort the grieving. They will help clear rubble, rebuild homes, and start again.
The Church has arranged for two transport planes carrying 80,000 pounds of supples, pre-staged emergency hygiene kits, and other items are ready to arrive on Saturday. The Church has teamed with other Christian, Muslim, and secular relief agencies to provide humanitarian assistance. A team of medical doctors is also being sent to set up a temporary medical facility in an LDS meetinghouse that was largely undamaged by the quake.
One of the suffering citizens despaired to a reporter in a Reuters wire report, “There is no one in our country capable of sorting this out. Everyone is looking after their own families. Only the world can come to our rescue.” Instead of waiting for the world, the Haitian members of the Church are undoubtedly working to recover right now. In that process, they will reach out a caring hand to their non-Mormon neighbors.
As latter-day saints, this has been our lot throughout history. Our forefathers were persecuted and driven from homes in Missouri. Again, they were driven from Nauvoo into a barren wilderness, some with no more than the clothes on their backs. Our Mormon pioneer predecessors started with nothing and rebuilt–not once, but many times. Even after getting established in Utah, Brigham Young dispersed saints throughout the West to found new communities and begin from scratch. They built where nothing was before and they were successful in doing it.
What explains that success? They had the priesthood–an authority that transcends governments and the bounds of nations. They believed in revelation and they could count on personal inspiration to help them make decisions. Faith in that priesthood and the leaders who held the keys gave them faith to persevere in dire circumstances because they knew God would sustain them. Last of all, they were obedient. They were willing to sacrifice all, if required.
In dire situations like this, as the Haitian victim claimed, everyone looks after their own families. For this reason, the Church’s focus on the family as the basic unit of society is critical. It is truly the only sovereign unit of human society under heaven. If you strengthen the family, teach preparedness, and put prepared people under inspired guidance, they will eventually prosper. This comes as a result of trusting in the Lord, his priesthood, and the local Church leadership. A family guided by the priesthood is the strongest link in the societal chain.
We know our leaders are called by God, by prophecy, by the laying on of hands. When a disaster strikes, when war breaks out, when currencies collapse, or when empires and nations will crumble, God’s authority still exists among us. Miracles can occur and do occur.
Our critics may mock, but they have no comparable alternative to offer. Those who reject the counsel to be prepared will find themselves in want when an emergency arises. Those who trust in intellect and reason will find themselves paralyzed with fear when faced with mobocracy and violence. Those who reject the idea of an “Armageddon” don’t appreciate that an event, such as what has occurred in Haiti, has brought an “Armageddon” to the door of millions of Haitians.
When those who mock us are one day faced with these kinds of situations, particularly those who have dissented away from our ranks, will find themselves confounded. They will discover that Mormons have not altogether forgotten the lessons of our ancestors. The Lord will bless those who have been obedient to counsel and who follow their priesthood leaders in Haiti and they will recover again. Meanwhile, we pray for God’s blessings, his mercy, and his lovingkindness to be upon those who suffer in Haiti.
For more info:
If you would like to contribute directly to the humanitarian efforts of the Church, please click on this link: http://give.lds.org/emergencyresponse.