This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
There's been a flurry of letters about whether or not to give to beggars. As a Mormon, whenever I pass a beggar, I'm haunted by the exhortation of King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon:
"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.
"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 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent." (Mosiah 4:16-18)
I know, not all who hold out a sign are beggars (some are con artists); regardless, we should be generous. If not directly, then indirectly to food banks, homeless shelters and aid societies.
Josephine M. Jones
Salt Lake City