This video discusses, among other things, a recent study (the largest of its kind) by the University of Pennsylvania regarding giving and serving behaviors of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Comparisons are made to other active volunteers and the conclusions drawn by the researchers are another compelling evidence of the restoration.
On this Evidences video, I want to talk about volunteering, volunteerism. And if you think about when Christ was on the earth, he talked about service, service, service constantly. The two great commandments, if you remember, love God and love your neighbor. How are we to love our neighbor? He gave the Good Samaritan as the symbol and example of that.
How do we love God? Well in Matthew 25, Christ talks about at the judgment bar, essentially having those inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. And then he says, “For I was hungered and ye gave me meat. I was thirsty and ye gave me drink. I was a stranger and ye took me in, naked and ye clothed me. I was sick and ye visited me. I was in prison and ye came unto me.” And the person says, “When did we do any of that to you?” And he says, “In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” So service and volunteerism would be a key thing to look at as one of the evidences of the Restoration.
So first of all, a study done in 2010. The Corporation for National and Community Service if you look on the screen here. They did a study of volunteering by state, and they did this by population so a per capita study.
Number one in the nation was Utah. Sixty percent of Utah are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The average was 89.2 volunteer hours per person. Number two was Alaska at only 55 hours. Relative to Utah, quite a drop down. A very significant difference there. Now we want to get a study though that is much more focused on just members of the Church, not as a state of Utah, but a focus study on Latter-Day Saints particularly and focus on a goal of …
There was a very large study that was done by the University of Pennsylvania. I’ll link this in the video, but it was called Called to Serve: The Prosocial Behavior of Active Latter-day Saints. And this was a very significant study, the largest of its kind that’s been done. And the scope and nature of this was on giving and volunteering of members of the Church. It was different from other studies in the size, 2,664 people. They were permitted to collect data during the church services so they were ensured to get mostly active members, and it had a very narrow focus, focused on, again, just volunteering and giving and really wanted to focus in on giving above even tithing and what kind of volunteering was being done in all different types of categories.
Also the method. They did 30 qualitative interviews, one to three hours, to help develop a questionnaire that was then used for these nearly 2,700 people. They went across four different time zones to try and get a representative sample. They did other statistical controlling that I’ll get into in just a minute, and then they did a baseline. There was a study done, you’ll see it in the show notes, of active volunteers in the United States on average had served for four hours a month. The average American, it was two hours if you’re an active volunteer, including even religious service, four hours.
So let’s take a look at the first slide here on this study. Now this is actually an infographic that was done here, and this was done by the Church actually. If you look here, the total number of hours are broken out into four categories. So for average active Latter-day Saints, 242 hours in religious volunteering for the Church, 96.2 hours volunteering for congregational social care efforts sponsored by the Church, 55.7 hours, volunteering for community social care efforts sponsored by the Church, and 34 hours volunteering for non-church affiliated charitable causes. So the total, about 428 hours a year.
Now remember the active volunteer in the US, the baseline there was 48 volunteer hours per year. So just putting it side by side. I did this slide just so you can see visually, it’s basically a nine-fold increase in the volunteerism amongst Active Latter-day Saints versus active volunteers in the United States. I thought that was extremely compelling data there.
Then if you were to look at … They had a statistic here combining all four categories of volunteering, shows that the average respondent gave 428 hours annually. “The Independent Sector 2011 study assessed the value an hour of volunteer labor to be $21.36. Based on this hourly rate, an active Latter-day Saint provides, through volunteering and annual social contribution valued at $9,140.”
Now they also wanted to look at charitable donations, and they did notice that they had some parts on tithing, but that wasn’t their big focus, but they did point out that 88% fully tithed, which the statistics showed, and there’s a link again in the program and I did a whole video on tithing, but this kind of validated some of the data from the tithing video, but only 4% of Americans tithe fully today. 88% in the study tithed fully. So it was fascinating.
But they went on to say, “Well how much do you give outside of tithing?” So these were charitable donations. So if you look on the slide here, $650 went to welfare donations, to the church for welfare distribution of various kinds, fast offerings or humanitarian as an example. And then non church-related charitable donations, $1,171 a year average donations there.
So the conclusion, a couple of points I wanted to pull out from the conclusion of their report. In the summary section it says, “This is the first study that focuses on giving and volunteering practices of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that has been carried out within LDS wards by a non-church-affiliated university. This unique combination allowed a researcher from the University of Pennsylvania who was not Mormon to reach 2,664 church-going Latter-day Saints. The LDS church permitted the study to be carried out, but all funding came from the University of Pennsylvania. We analyzed levels of giving and volunteering by statistically controlling for four variables: region of the country, level of education, income, and gender.”
“Active members of the LDS church volunteer and donate significantly more than the average American and are even more generous in time and money than the upper quintile or top 20% of religious people in America. Overall, we found that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are the most prosocial members of American society. Regardless of where they live, they are very generous with their time and money. Through a theology of obedience and sacrifice and a strong commitment to tithing and service, Latter-day Saints are model citizens.” Love that.
All right now, excited about a couple of other things. JustServe, a phenomenal new website and app that’s a few years old, that is just doing a phenomenal job. The Church created this and now it’s being used all over. It was the United States and Canada. Now it’s expanding worldwide and it’s bringing together people that want to volunteer and nonprofit organizations that need help. It’s a place where they can both meet for free essentially to merge together. Just a fantastic, fantastic operation. If you could only volunteer on Thursday nights for one hour, you can put that in and find a radius within 10 miles of where you live and find a service opportunity. It’s fantastic.
Now look at this quote from President Ballard. “We believe that there is a power behind JustServe,” said President M. Russell Ballard, acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “The power comes as a result of doing what Jesus Christ would do if He was here. We have felt the inspiration of Heavenly Father during the development of JustServe, and we are thrilled with the opportunity of doing this noble work alongside our dear friends in the community who represent all people and organizations who share the desire to serve and bless the lives of those in need.”
So JustServe was started in San Jose in 2011, and then expanded as a pilot effort in Denver, Colorado, and Dallas, Texas in 2013. By 2015, it had been approved for all the Church’s administrative areas in the United States and Canada, except Utah. And in late 2016 it was approved for three areas in Utah. As of March, 2018, JustServe has 355,000 registered volunteers, 11,455 current projects, and more than 54,000 projects completed, and now the Church has began to train JustServe specialists in the United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. And people using this are not of our faith as well. It’s just combining people, it’s just a way to bring people together to serve.
Now you may have heard of the Helping Hands or the Yellow Angels, many have referred them as, in helping humanitarian efforts when there’s a crisis out there and the deployment of this. I’m going to show you a quick little video clip on this. First of all.
Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and fires are all examples of challenges that are very difficult for people to deal with alone. When a disaster happens, Church leaders who live near the disaster area call Church headquarters to let them know what help they need. Workers load trucks with whatever supplies they need, tools, water, clothes, food and more.
Members of the Church from near the disaster area come together to volunteer with time and muscle power to clean up messes, feed the hungry, and help where needed.
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints join forces with other groups to help people no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they believe in.
So exciting to see all of those service efforts where it’s really needed. I’m going to actually show you a two video screens of the Church Newsroom website of all just headlines regarding Helping Hand projects of different stories on here.
So if you look on this first page here, a handful of different things. Amazing, this line. “Mormon volunteers gave more than 140,000 hours of service to Hurricane Sandy victims.” “Mormons donating 400,000 trees to help Haiti.” Just some examples.
And now here’s another screen. You can see on there. It’s just exciting to see all the different work that’s going on in the Helping Hands program as well.
Hope you enjoyed that Evidences video. Subscribe for more.
Summary of the University of Pennsylvania Study http://planphilly.com/uploads/media_i…
Latter-day Saints’ Q&A is a video series not produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but by me, an ordinary member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an independent voice, with a passion for studying Church history and defending the faith. In this series, I provide evidences for the restoration, and address tough questions posed by critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, offering faithful answers based on accurate research and historical references which will be posted at the end of each video.