I have said before and believed for years that money was the god of Utah Valley, and more generally, to too many Church members. Today I was taught a lesson that not only confirmed what I believed, but expressed a situation far worse than I imagined.
Our stake president spoke at our ward conference, to the Sunday school class (and this is in Rexburg), and told us some startling facts. He said that in the United States, college-age members contribute more per capita towards fast offerings than older adults. He suggests that this is because too many members are buying houses and vehicles far beyond their needs and money that could be going towards fast offerings and charitable contributions are instead making payments against totally unnecessary items of luxury.
So while I'm thinking about all the implications of that statement, he surprised us again. He said that on the Wasatch front, only 19% of all Church members are full tithe payers. Nineteen percent. Even if in Utah the activity rate is only 50% (anyone got stats on that?), that means that among active members only 2 of every 5 members are paying a full tithe.
We've had a number of discussions here on ProvoPulse about capitalism, welfare, etc. There seem to be two opposing viewpoints: those with money are greedy, and those without are lazy. Today's talk certainly confirmed the former. How is it that such a wealthy people cannot even pay the 10% the Lord asks for? How many members on the Wasatch front are struggling to keep their home warm, or feed their children, or provide adequate medical care? 81%? The whole talk was kinda disturbing. It is definitely worth thinking about.