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
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