Aren't We All Beggars? | Letters | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Aren't We All Beggars? 

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I am not a Mormon, but I offer this wisdom from The Book of Mormon, Mosiah, Chapter 4:

15 But ye will teach them to walk in the ways of truth and soberness; ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.

16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.

17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—

18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.

19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

Recently, I met a destitute homeless woman who had just gotten off TRAX. She was frantic because she did not have money for the fare, and had been given a $55 citation. This penalty pushed her further into a hole of despair, and her plight was made worse.

I have witnessed armed TRAX officers allow people without a ticket who were wearing “fine clothing” the opportunity to pay later.

In kinder times, an unarmed conductor collected fares and, at the worst, would not allow the nonpayer to proceed. If they wanted to, fellow passengers could have the opportunity to “share of their substance” and pay the fare. In any case, no crime was charged.

Why can’t we treat each other equally, without judgment? Every human deserves to be valued and respected.

If we require the poor to labor for a portion of our substance, it defeats doing for others what we would want done for us if we were in similar circumstances.

How we should treat each other has been spelled out.

John D. Lopez

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