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NBC News: "Mormon bishop dresses as homeless man to teach flock a lesson"

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NBC News: "Mormon bishop dresses as homeless man to teach flock a lesson"

Old 12-06-13, 12:53 AM
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NBC News: "Mormon bishop dresses as homeless man to teach flock a lesson"

There's a rumor running around that this kind of incident is just a rumor. While there have indeed been some fake stories about this kind of thing, there's also at least one real incident of it occurring, and this is it.

This does not surprise me. The part about how it was the children who showed the most compassion especially does not surprise me, because they are too young and innocent to have become jaded and cynical. Apparently, those are things that we learn, and are not born with.

I often at least say hi to homeless people, and I have bought them food on several occasions. But I never give them money. Also, when the same homeless person begs for money in the same spot every day for a really long time, sometimes I do eventually ignore that one person.

Also, I know that there are people who are just pretending to be homeless too. If someone with clean clothes and good teeth who doesn't smell, shows up at the same place every day asking for money, I don't think that person is actually homeless.

But then I guess I shouldn't make assumptions like that.


http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013...flock-a-lesson

'The congregation was besides themselves': Mormon bishop dresses as homeless man to teach flock a lesson

November 29, 2013



By Tracy Connor, Staff Writer, NBC News

A Mormon bishop who wanted to teach his flock a lesson about charity went to the extreme and enlisted a Hollywood-style makeup artist to transform him into a scruffy vagrant who then panhandled outside his church.

David Musselman, 45, said he knew some of his congregants would be kind and some might be mean, "but what surprised me the most was the reaction of indifference."

"The majority of the people just ignored me and went to great lengths not to make eye contact," Musselman, the bishop of Taylorsville Fourth Ward in a suburb of Salt Lake City, told NBC News on Friday.

"And that was an unexpected lesson for me: We don't always have to give money or even food, but if we act the way we say we believe, just smiling and making eye contact and allowing them to have a little bit of dignity can be enough."

Musselman said he got the idea for the stunt from a friend of his who chided him for being annoyed that she is always stopping to empty her pockets for the unfortunate.

He took it to heart and then began thinking about how he could get his church members to do the same. He decided he needed something with more "shock value" than a Sunday sermon to get the point across.

He approached makeup artist Tara Starling, whose TV and film credits include "High School Musical," and also started an organization that makes sandwiches for the homeless.

"For me, it was the two parts of my life colliding," she said.

Starling spent about two hours last Sunday giving Musselman unkempt mutton-chops, grimy, scarred skin and bad teeth.

About an hour before services, he showed up at the front door of his church in dirty clothes with a sign that asked for food and a box where people could put money.

"It was very surreal," said Musselman, a divorce mediator and father of six.

He had dozens of interactions with people arriving at the church. Some were giving: He collected an apple, some crackers and about $20.

"But I had several people ask me to leave the property," he said.

He said the children were "very kind," and he could tell many of them wanted to help and approached their parents.


"Some of them gave and some of them didn't." he said. "Some wished me a happy Thanksgiving and some avoided me."

When the service started, Musselman walked into the church and took a seat in the front pew until an assistant, who was in on the ruse, announced that "this homeless man would like to say a few words."

"The congregation was besides themselves," the bishop said. "They had no idea what was going to happen."

He approached the pulpit in character, recited the hymn "Have You Done Any Good Today," said he wanted to give some of what he had collected to the church, and asked if the bishop was there.

"Of course, they said he wasn't. Then I pulled my wig and glasses off," Musselman said.

"The gasp the congregation had nearly knocked me over. They were stunned."


Jaimi Larsen, 38, who had not recognized Musselman when she saw him outside, said, "You could hear a pin drop."

Once he had unmasked himself, the bishop gave a talk on "giving and gratitude and compassion," which apparently struck an emotional chord.

"There was one woman who was pretty much sobbing uncontrollably," Larsen said.

Afterward, those who had shunned Musselman came up and confessed their shame. One woman said she was going to tell her grown children to donate anything they bought her for the holidays to a homeless shelter.

"I felt horrible that they felt so horrible," he said.

"But I believe it had the effect I hoped it would have."
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Old 12-06-13, 01:02 AM
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Re: NBC News: "Mormon bishop dresses as homeless man to teach flock a lesson"

Originally Posted by grundle View Post
I often at least say hi to homeless people, and I have bought them food on several occasions. But I never give them money. Also, when the same homeless person begs for money in the same spot every day for a really long time, sometimes I do eventually ignore that one person.
And yet you spend years of your life trying to discredit people you've never met online. Maybe spend more time doing good deeds instead.
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Old 12-07-13, 09:57 AM
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Re: NBC News: "Mormon bishop dresses as homeless man to teach flock a lesson"

If this is real (unlike the discredited urban legend reported elsewhere), it certainly demonstrates the need for proper organization in this group. Aside from the lack of congeniality displayed by some, it would appear that they lack the structure to handle situations such as this.

If the group had a diaconate, the person should have been invited to come in for the service and to meet with deacons afterward (unless the person is fainting from lack of food, in which case the hunger issue would have be immediately addressed). The deacons would find out the person's situation and assess their immediate needs, address spiritual issues (which usually are the root cause of the person's problems...at least, in my experience) and stress the importance of church attendance & affiliation, and then provide the person with food (either from food stored at the church for that purpose or to take the person to a grocery store). This approach couples the primary mission of the church (feeding the soul) with the secondary mission (meeting physical needs).

What the bishop should be concerned about is why his group doesn't have officers who respond to these situations. Don't know what the Book of Mormon says about deacons, charity, etc., but the Bible (which, purportedly, the LDS group recognizes if only nominally) has a lot to say about those things and how to deal with situations such as the one presented.

An orderly approach from those who are experienced enough to discern between real needs and scam artists is the best way to meet the biblical charge of mercy while avoiding the problem of enabling those who could help themselves. The biggest challenge is to avoid becoming cynical after witnessing firsthand the many "needy" people who should be self-sufficient but who rely upon others to meet their wants. It's disheartening to want to help people only to see them comfortable with living a life of allowing others to pay for their habits. We've counseled 'needy' people who drive new cars, live in very nice apartments yet get government subsidies, have big-screen tvs, cell phones, high speed internet, etc. and who drink Starbucks coffee...all while calling around to get nearly every bill paid. It's sad.
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Old 12-07-13, 10:14 AM
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Re: NBC News: "Mormon bishop dresses as homeless man to teach flock a lesson"

Mormon chicks are freaks in the sack when they're no longer part of the church.
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Old 12-07-13, 10:48 AM
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Re: NBC News: "Mormon bishop dresses as homeless man to teach flock a lesson"

Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
And yet you spend years of your life trying to discredit people you've never met online. Maybe spend more time doing good deeds instead.

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”

― G.K. Chesterton, What's Wrong with the World
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Old 12-08-13, 11:55 PM
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Re: NBC News: "Mormon bishop dresses as homeless man to teach flock a lesson"

He tried it with his church and in two hours was given $20 and some food. Not that bad. I know of some churches where he would have gone empty handed.
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Old 12-09-13, 09:15 PM
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Re: NBC News: "Mormon bishop dresses as homeless man to teach flock a lesson"

Not surprising a guy whose survival depends on his "flock" would encourage this sort of behavior. I'm sure he would like them to be very generous.

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Old 12-10-13, 09:21 AM
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Re: NBC News: "Mormon bishop dresses as homeless man to teach flock a lesson"

Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
If this is real (unlike the discredited urban legend reported elsewhere), it certainly demonstrates the need for proper organization in this group. Aside from the lack of congeniality displayed by some, it would appear that they lack the structure to handle situations such as this.

If the group had a diaconate, the person should have been invited to come in for the service and to meet with deacons afterward (unless the person is fainting from lack of food, in which case the hunger issue would have be immediately addressed). The deacons would find out the person's situation and assess their immediate needs, address spiritual issues (which usually are the root cause of the person's problems...at least, in my experience) and stress the importance of church attendance & affiliation, and then provide the person with food (either from food stored at the church for that purpose or to take the person to a grocery store). This approach couples the primary mission of the church (feeding the soul) with the secondary mission (meeting physical needs).

What the bishop should be concerned about is why his group doesn't have officers who respond to these situations. Don't know what the Book of Mormon says about deacons, charity, etc., but the Bible (which, purportedly, the LDS group recognizes if only nominally) has a lot to say about those things and how to deal with situations such as the one presented.

An orderly approach from those who are experienced enough to discern between real needs and scam artists is the best way to meet the biblical charge of mercy while avoiding the problem of enabling those who could help themselves. The biggest challenge is to avoid becoming cynical after witnessing firsthand the many "needy" people who should be self-sufficient but who rely upon others to meet their wants. It's disheartening to want to help people only to see them comfortable with living a life of allowing others to pay for their habits. We've counseled 'needy' people who drive new cars, live in very nice apartments yet get government subsidies, have big-screen tvs, cell phones, high speed internet, etc. and who drink Starbucks coffee...all while calling around to get nearly every bill paid. It's sad.
Would you say most of the homeless from your experience were lacking spirituality, or were they mentally ill?
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Old 12-10-13, 09:30 AM
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Re: NBC News: "Mormon bishop dresses as homeless man to teach flock a lesson"

I saw this guy and I immediately called him out as a fake. Everybody knows that real homeless people drive a gold Cadillac and eat fine lobster, and he was doing neither.
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Old 12-10-13, 10:30 AM
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Re: NBC News: "Mormon bishop dresses as homeless man to teach flock a lesson"

I'm just happy someone finally did this so we can quit linking to snopes.
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Old 12-18-13, 11:14 AM
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Re: NBC News: "Mormon bishop dresses as homeless man to teach flock a lesson"

Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
Don't know what the Book of Mormon says about charity
Moroni chapter 7:

[46] Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail --

[47] But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

[48] Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.
Mosiah chapter 2:

[17] And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.
The LDS priesthood structure has deacons, but they are 12 and 13 year old boys.
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