120,000 LDS Children Are Malnourished

At a recent academic conference I heard a talk by Robert A. Rees, vice-president of the Liahona Children’s Foundation. Rees began his talk by taking issue with two Mormon “myths.” To paraphrase, “The first is that Mormons take care of their own. Sometimes they don’t. The second is that charity never faileth. Sorry, Relief Society ladies; sometimes it does.” Rees then went on to describe a startling problem of child malnutrition around the world, including the following statistics.

  • “We estimate that 120,000 LDS children are malnourished. Our recent data from Cambodia shows that 76% of children screened are malnourished and that 50% of those screened in Guatemala are malnourished.
  • “Malnourished children often suffer significant decreases in brain growth that are permanent and affect their long-term ability to learn and to obtain meaningful work.
  • “Research by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that nutritional supplementation of children affected by malnutrition improves cognitive outcomes (IQ), increases adult earning potential by 10%, decreases the incidence of intestinal and respiratory infections of childhood, and allows the child to have the energy to grow normally.
  • “Supplementation prevents death in 5–10% of children affected by severe malnutrition.”

The Liahona Children’s Foundation currently has more than 30 operations and serves about 4500 LDS children in Cambodia, Ecuador, and Peru. This is a not-insignificant number, but that still leaves many malnourished LDS children who are not receiving help. Please consider donating to help these children.


120,000 LDS Children Are Malnourished — 9 Comments

  1. Shiny sparkly mall? Or starving children? What a sad choice.

    Aspiring to be Christ’s disciple, I accept a burden of responsibility to help others, but that puts me directly responsibile for neither shopping malls or for starving children in Cambodia. Where I see injustice or suffering, I try to help. I do what I can.

    It is easily seen that much of the inequity in third-world privation results from political tyranny and social strife. We are doing what we can. The divisiveness and strife in our society serves mostly to compromise our own ability to help, when we approach the point where our own children are hungry, within our own communities.

    There is no reason not to have both bright shining centers of commerce, and relief for starving children here and across the world. We cannot hope to address world poverty by bringing all the world down to the same common level of abject misery. The problems must be approached with the object of lifting everyone up.

    Spreading the good news of the Gospel is one effective way to serve that end.

  2. Froggie, the church’s commercial developments don’t cost money, they make money.

  3. Owen. Show me where they make money. Additionally, if they are, why aren’t the profits being used to alleviate this and other problems?

  4. Although this article would feign appear to be academically credible, it has some serious problems. It gives an improper quotation as follows:

    “To paraphrase, “The first is that Mormons take care of their own. Sometimes they don’t. The second is that charity never faileth. Sorry, Relief Society ladies; sometimes it does.” ”

    When you paraphrase someone’s words it is not appropriate to put them in quotations. We reserve quotation marks for an quote. It makes it appear that those were the very words used by the Vice president of Liahona Children’s Foundation at an academic conference, but that could just as easily have been the personal interpretation of this article’s author. This, on the other hand, is not an academic article nor holds any weight or bearing in a credible arena.
    Secondly, this article provides bullet point “statistics” about the situation of malnutrition in the world, but fails to provide context or normalization of the presented data. Real statistics must provide more information than this author affords to his audience. Proper quotations are used again, so I assume the bullets to be actual snippets of the original academic presentation, but they are without context, reference point, or anything wherewith to normalize the quoted percentages. Neither does the article attempt to inform as to the current efforts of charity organizations, nor does it give information about what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is doing to address malnutrition in these countries.
    I therefore credit this articles as opinion. If it was the purpose of the article to demonstrate how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is failing to take care of its starving members, it, not the Church, has failed gloriously. The author will have to do much better if he wishes to be regarded as credible.

  5. Jonathan, the bit I called a paraphrase is close to an exact quote, but I’m not sure I got every word exactly right. The bullet points are pulled directly from a handout he passed around. There wasn’t really any context in the handout. In fact, they’re presented here in the same order as they appeared on the handout.

    I don’t know what, if anything, the LDS Church is doing to address malnutrition. That wasn’t the point of the post. The point of the post was to encourage donations to address a humanitarian issue.

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