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Home / Articles / News / Letters /  Holy House for Homeless

Holy House for Homeless

By City Weekly Readers
Posted // May 29,2013 -

While in California recently, I stopped at an eatery and looked up across the street to behold the majestic San Diego LDS temple. I have spent many hours there convinced I was “saving the dead.” That notion, in a city that boasts the third-largest homeless population in the United States and the largest percentage of homeless veterans, is embarrassing, not to mention incomprehensible.

In 2012, it was reported that the LDS Church spent more money building City Creek Center than it spent in the past 25 years on humanitarian contributions. It’s no small curiosity, since tax-exempt status was granted to religions ostensibly to pick up the slack for the poor and needy. And it’s rather disingenuous, considering that the church requires members to pay 10 percent of their gross income for the privilege of entering one of those temples.

Their own scripture specifically tasks members: “O ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls? … Your churches, yea even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts. For behold, ye do love money, and your substance and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.” (Mormon 8:33, 36-37)

The root cause of violence and terrorism is poverty and inequality. The proof is evidenced in the staggering increase of crime in the past five years at home and abroad due to economic downturn. Especially hard-hit is San Diego, with its immigration challenges. To its credit, San Diego is progressive in treating its homeless population, but the city is 18th on the list for federal funding, behind cities with less than half its homeless population. With inadequate shelters to accommodate the burgeoning load, on any given night you can see San Diego’s massive homeless population bed down on city streets in what is referred to as “sleeping central.”

It made me wonder … what if, in an enormous gesture of goodwill, the LDS Church was to throw open the doors of the San Diego Temple (as well as several local chapels) and allow the homeless to seek shelter and safety there? What would Jesus do?

The temple has a cafeteria, laundry facilities, lockers, at least three separate large rooms that could be turned into sleeping quarters, and a chapel for instruction. The church has an abundance of multitalented and service-oriented members, coupled with a frustrated and feeling-helpless local community-minded population, who would jump at the chance to save the living!

“What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone [temple or mall]?” (Matthew 7:9)

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Posted // June 13,2013 at 12:34

I love how some of the people commenting on here have absolutely NOTHING to contribute regarding the topic at hand and instead simply make a personal attack on the author.

She suggests using more church money to help the homeless and needy (God forbid!) and using the temples to shelter the living, and instead of saying, yeah that's a good idea, all you can do is bash her.

I'm sure if there was a church in Utah that spent billions on a mall or some other commercial venture instead of using it for charitable purposes she would write an article on that too.  If you feel she is unfairly picking on the LDS church then please point out what other churches in the area spend money like the LDS church does.  


Posted // November 19,2013 at 23:39 - Julie has an interesting perspective. She creates an atmosphere of abrasiveness but I lean towards thinking she would have you think outside the box. She makes a lot of assumptions which are not based on any real facts but I feel she's doing that out of the inability to make her point without being a martyr. People like to blame others for their plight yet they own it. No not everything is in ones control but one's attitude and posture surely is. She sees what she wants just like the uneducated person looking for the flaw in a piece of paper and then comparing that to someone's life full of flaws, yet what is truly missed is the fact that their is much more white on the paper than the dots and marks we so willingly focus on. She's painted an image and leaves us to think that it defines all about the Church and its membership. Sadly too many jump at the chance to cross swords rather than to paint a truthful all encompassing picture. I don't have to explain away her gripes or complaints. I simply know they hold no water and that the purpose of the edifices she seemingly abhors is much more grand and full filling than simply a lunch room and laundry facility. To be truthful I doubt she encounters much that she would consider sacred, but, I venture too far myself and must leave those pinning up to her. People in despair and discomfort have solace through the Bishops and the Bishops store houses as well as through the local congregations and the efforts of civil and societal organizations in addition to the other religions and governmental agencies. What she doesn't understand is that those Temples were built (especially the older ones) with funds from people much poorer than those with the worst conditions on our streets today. It was a sacrifice they gladly made to honor the work of their God and to believe and to be reminded of what can be achieved with coordinated efforts and undying devotion to correct principles of love and compassion for their dead and the living. It is a place of expressed love, devotion and honor. To bad she can't see the weight of the white paper is far above the small failures we imperfect people carry around with us. It is a perfect place of honor, nobility, perfection and love that we can experience and savor in quiet away from the cares of the world. If even for just a few minutes. There is no other place like it on this planet. That is what a temple is and what she has evidently never experienced. People of all classes regularly attend and it is the one place that everyone is truly treated equal, with love and respect regardless of their status in life. So sorry you don't understand why they are so important.


Posted // June 19,2013 at 15:53 - If you do a little research you'll find that the LDS church does more than most to help the needy and altho I am not a member of their church I've been on the receiving end. Also - I think that if you do a little more research you'll find that Julie Taggart chooses only to "pick on" the LDS church. That's where she spends her angst.


Posted // June 12,2013 at 18:38

Julie, I want to thank you for your creative solution for helping the homeless of San Diego.   It obvious that you have given much thought to this problem, having one of your own children experience homelessness.  

I apologize for the insensitive responses you have received from thoughtless egocentric individuals.   Its sad to see so much callousness in our culture.   Kudos to you for your efforts.   I hope you keep giving service to homeless and needy individuals.   Surely, you are doing exactly what Jesus wants us to do.   As he said, ". . . as you do it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me. "


Posted // June 19,2013 at 15:57 - I am curious that you think this is a "creative solution" - it's no solution at all since it is not going to happen. I guess the reason Julie gets "insensitive" responses is because her anger is against the LDS church exclusively - there are so many buildings that are empty and NOT being used that corporations or the government could put in to use for the homeless that it is just ridiculous for her to think that using a temple is a brilliant idea. It is just her way of lashing out at an organization that she hates (although she will tell you that she doesn't "judge anyone". )


Posted // May 30,2013 at 22:11

It would be interesting to hear comments from some of Julie's critics on the question of "what would Jesus do?" but this would require that they focus on the message and not the messenger so I have little hope in that regard.  Anyway, great article Julie, you've voiced the sentiments of many.


Posted // May 30,2013 at 08:04

JLT -- you know that all of these reponsders are just enemies of cn and that they love to dig at healing wounds -- whether what you write about is or is not a good idea it is something that is given as a gift to the enemies of cn -- while you are loved he is not and everyone loves to take his foolish ideas and mock them -- because so many know he is a fool -- i would be curious to see what kind of reponses you would get if had you written this under another name -- but being associated with or having been associated with cn and his evil works you are a target for these who reply on here --  cn disingenuously linked this on his journal today setting you up for criticism -- so all those critics go here and take shots because of him -- i can see that one of the replies defending you is actually cn hiimself (his language and cadence is so obvious) and the others are probably all from the same group of people who love to dig and dig -- JLT -- you are loved by many who would help you -- i would bet that had you written under an anonymous name this would have gotten maybe two simple replies -- but the evil of cn continues to boil -- reach out to those who really love you JLT and see that you can be cared for -- shake loose from your past ten years and move to the comfort of those who care about you and don't care about what you can do to advance their agenda


Posted // May 30,2013 at 20:50 - I have to agree with your distant friend - all of the responses - "Wondering", "Formerly of", "Marty" and "Realistic" are all the same person - ME. I apologize. And I realized your distant friend is right - there would be no interest if it wasn't for my disdain for CN - sorry. Your friends comment made me realize that I also like a good fight and has made me feel ashamed. I do apologize.


Posted // May 29,2013 at 23:23

Right - whatever. A lot of good this haranguing does. Completely pointless.