Poll: Self-Improvement or Altruism
In my graduate school course on nonprofits, the professor explained that churches tend to specialize in one of two areas. Some churches focus on the self-improvement of their members. These churches emphasize adherence to certain moral codes. The other category of churches focuses on altruism—organizing charities and dispensing humanitarian aid.
During this lecture, a Jewish kid in the back raised his hand and asked, “What about the Mormon church? Mormons have a strict moral code—they don’t drink alcohol or smoke or have premarital sex—but they also have a huge welfare and humanitarian aid program.”
The professor agreed. He theorized that the history of settling and governing Utah territory independently had forced the Mormon church to become unusually well-rounded.
I was the only Mormon in the room, but I kept quiet. I was proud that these people of other faiths viewed the Mormon church as well-rounded, but unsure about whether I agreed with them. What do you think?