I used to be a tour guide at the Humanitarian Center, in downtown Salt Lake City. The building was always a beehive of activity with various groups coming in to spend an hour or two packaging kits, making quilts, or sorting donated items. Dignitaries from all over the world would tour the facility. In many cases, these dignitaries would ask for help for their people and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, owners of the Humanitarian Center, would happily make the arrangements.
As a tour guide, I loved sharing information and stories about how the LDS Church was often the first, along with the Red Cross, to arrive at any disaster or crisis throughout the world. And it felt good to be part of a Relief Society that worked to provide hygiene, newborn, and school kits that could be stored and shipped throughout the world at a moment’s notice.
But, times have changed.
The Humanitarian Center no longer works that way. They prefer to receive monetary donations, so they can get the cheapest price for materials and avoid exorbitant shipping costs. They’ve learned that more help is needed in providing clean water, immunizations, and education. By donating to LDS Philanthropies, we can be assured that our money is going directly to aid those who are destitute. The money will never be siphoned off to pay someone’s income, or sent to help an organization you actually don’t approve of.
Another way to help is to become an advocate.
At the World Congress of Families IX, Edmund Burke was quoted multiple times with, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” One of the presenters, Kelli Houghton, said it this way, “While you are doing nothing, someone is doing something.” The idea behind her thoughts is that others are doing terrible, horrible things while we sit and do nothing.
If you, like me, are concerned for the future of mothers, fathers, children, and families, you may want to join an organization that takes steps to help those who are being threatened, molested, or killed. You may be interested in making sure that our governments allow a father and mother to protect their own children, or that mothers have the choice to stay home to raise children if they wish. We are in the midst of a war and our precious children are the victims. You may feel the call to get involved and demand that people be accountable for their choices and hold fast to what’s left of our moral society.
Many sessions at the World Congress of Families urged attendees to volunteer, to find a way to get involved. They are fully aware that people hesitate. Not everyone is cut out for standing in front of a crowd proclaiming the evils of the world. And few people have spent years studying the ills of society. But we were assured over and over again that there is something all of us can find to do, using our interests, talents, and hobbies to help our society be better and stronger and safer.
Here is a list of ideas that may trigger something inside you, that speaks to you, is exciting, and doable, because everyone can do something.
- Start a blog. This is probably the easiest and safest thing you can do, but it can be a powerful message that informs people and brings awareness to serious problems.
- Write a letter. Have you ever heard of someone walking into a store and being faced with something that is clearly inappropriate, and not family-friendly, so they feel compelled to write a letter to the manager/owner/president of the company? Your letter may make all the difference.
- One woman likes to collect stories, so she helps children share their own stories. Another woman wrote a Family Night guidebook that is being used by families across the world.
- Several “homemakers” explained that they felt the need to get involved and have spent the last several years starting their own organizations and traveling the globe speaking out for the protection of families.
- A very important way every mother can help is to spend time raising her own children, teaching them self-control, discernment, and accountability. These children will have a greater chance of offering moral value to the world.
The following are websites of organizations that are trying to protect children. There are serious concerns all over the earth. If the evils of the world haven’t affected your family yet, they surely will.
As you look up any of these sites, find out how they were originated. You’ll see that they were started by concerned parents, just like you and me. There are many, many more organizations out there doing good. And there is still need for your advocacy.
Over the years I have done a lot of humanitarian service, but I’ve always done the safe and easy thing. Now that I have seen what the World Congress of Families is about, I don’t think I can continue playing it safe. I need to do something more. I am feeling compelled to work harder to save families. And what of our Relief Societies? Is the Lord waiting for us to gather together and have our voices heard, and better yet, assist those who need a loving mother’s arms wrapped around them?
M. Russell Ballard said, “In today’s world, where Satan’s aggression against the family is so prevalent, parents must do all they can to fortify and defend their families. But their efforts may not be enough. Our most basic institution of family desperately needs help and support from the extended family and the public institutions that surround us” (“What Matters Most is What Lasts Longest,” Oct 2005). He seems to be offering an open invitation to get involved and do something, or at least become educated in the plight of our children’s generation. Maybe you are the next person to start an organization that can make a difference in a child’s life.