Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like all people (perhaps especially Mormons) often miss the mark. We confuse the means with the ends. At very least I often do. I can get so wrapped up in something that I miss the forest for the trees. Here are 3 areas that where I think we can easily go wrong:

1- Faith

If we have all faith so that we can move mountains, but we lack charity, we’re nothing. So how do we show true charity?

When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.

2- Fasting

Many times I have fasted with some specific purpose or blessing in mind. In fact, I was taught that this was how we were supposed to fast. We need to fast for something. But what does that mean? In my experience this has meant that we want to invoke some blessing from God. We want some family member who is sick or going through some trial to get blessings through our fast. What does God say about fasting?

Ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.

So it is not to make our petitions be more effective. It is not to increase the likelihood that God will grant our proposed desire. So why should we fast?

Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

What does it mean to hide yourself from your own flesh? My take is that we are all family, and as such when we ignore those in need, we are hiding ourselves from our own family. We could also take it to mean that we should take care of our own. For years I assumed that our tithing and fast offerings ensured that we took care of our own in Mormonism. By chipping in we were able to take care of all of our members in need, and also help others in our community. Turns out that this isn’t the case. There are Mormon children around the globe who are malnourished. We are failing them. If we choose to ignore this, we are hiding ourselves from our own.

3- Religion

What good is religion? Many today claim that they are spiritual, but not religious. Often this is because they’ve seen religions break the 3rd commandment and do unChristlike things in the name of God (thereby taking the name of God in vain). But what does pure, undefiled religion look like?

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction

Religion gives us an organization to effectively facilitate giving aid to those in need. Unfortunately, we aren’t sufficiently doing this globally. As I mentioned, there are many malnourished Mormon children around the globe. When the Liahona Children’s Foundation (LCF) started in 2008, it screened the children in 4 stakes in Ecuador and 5 stakes in Guatemala. 30% of the children in Ecuador and 50% of those in Guatemala were malnourished. Since the creation of the LCF, it has expanded to 9 countries and 110 different stakes. There are so many more that we need to help.

How to do Faith, Fasting, Thanksgiving, and Religion right

Some of the children who received aid from last years fundraiser.

Some of the children who received aid from our fundraiser last year.

There are many ways we can do this. Here is a great one: Rational Faiths is teaming with The Cultural Hall and Mormon Discussion podcasts to do a fundraiser this year sponsoring a stake through the LCF. Sponsoring a stake means that we raise enough money to provide for the nutritional and educational needs of the children in the stake. We here at Rational Faiths did this last year and raised $9,000. This allowed us to sponsor a stake in Ta Khmau, Cambodia and donate extra to help the LCF fill in any funding gaps for other stakes around the globe. This year our goal is to raise $10,000. My vote was to set our goal at $12,000 and sponsor two stakes.

So please, as we use our faith, fast in the Lord’s way, give thanks, and live our religion, consider donating to this cause. In order to make our goal, we need to let as many people know about this project as we can. Please share this with others in your ward. Share this with family. Help us spread the word and raise enough for children in need. You can do this by going to our fundraising page and making a donation. We’re even giving out donated prizes. If you have any questions at all about how funds are used, ask them in the comments.

Geoff was born in Northern Utah and raised primarily in Central California. He received a BS in Biomedical Physics from Fresno State, a MS and PhD in Bioengineering from Stanford, and is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Utah working as a Clinical Medical Physicist. He served his LDS Mission in Donetsk Ukraine. He's married and has two boys and two girls. He is currently the ward organist and primary pianist.

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