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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended October 20, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 17Oct00

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Unitus Seeks to Unite LDS Donors and Volunteers With Charitable Work

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Unitus, a non-profit organization for Latter-day Saints dedicated to improving economic conditions of church members and their neighbors and with no official connection to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, launched the beginning of its organization this week. Unitus member, Warner Woodworth, hopes to link donors and volunteers to projects in an effort to alleviate suffering worldwide.

Twenty percent of Mormons in the Philippines are land squatters, with an additional 60 percent having no running water in their homes. Ninety percent of Ugandan LDS church members are unemployed. Forty percent of returned Brazilian LDS missionaries cannot even read The Book of Mormon.

LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley was honored at a luncheon for his humanitarian efforts over the years. "I have walked among the poor across the Earth," said President Hinckley as he accepted the award. "I have seen so much suffering and deprivation, trouble and sorrow, my heart has ached."

Concerns for the hopeless cycle of poverty which spawns ignorance and illiteracy that leads to unemployment, President Hinckley said, "Without education, these people cannot be lifted." This view is shared by many who are taking steps to support LDS students in Third World countries.

Reed Dames's Orem-based company, Woodgrain Millwork, has opened plants in Brazil and Chile. He has offered to pay tuition for young returned missionaries who want to go to school. He currently has helped 380 men and 75 women.

In January, 1999, Unitus organizers held a series of meetings with LDS members in Kenya to form a cooperative modeled after the pioneers. Today, the Platinum Oven Bakery in Nairobi, sells 5,000 to 6,000 loaves of bread for about 30 cents each.

Woodworth, professor of organizational behavior at Brigham Young University and Unitus chairman, believes Mormons cannot just pay tithing and expect the church to take care of all of its members. "The church bureaucracy moves slowly, we must take the initiative and engage in personal acts of righteousness."

"Like our ancestors, we are on a rescue mission," Woodworth said. "The Saints around the world are suffering and we must help them."


DAILY BREAD, LDS humanitarians mobilize to ease suffering among Mormons and their neighbors worldwide
Salt Lake Tribune 14Oct00 N4
By Peggy Fletcher Stack: Salt Lake Tribune


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