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August 28, 1981 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1981-08-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Mormon Life -/Style an Example for Jewry

(Continued from Page 1)
of the Twelve Apostles and
author of a number of works
on this subject, notably "Is-
rael! Do You Know?" writes
that Jews are descended
from Judah (the Southern
Kingdom), and the Mor-
mons from Ephraim and
Menaseh (the sons of
Joseph, of the 10 lost tribes,
Northern Kingdom of Is-
rael.) Mormons believe that
by Divine Guidance the
"lrthern tribes arrived in
; New World and the
Mormons are their direct
descendants. Jews and
Mormons therefore have a
common destiny, Richards
explains, and "the sooner
the Jews will see the light,
the sooner will the world be
redeemed."
(Although there are no re-
liable statistics on Jewish
converts, we know a sub-
stantial number have joined
Mormon communities in re-
cent years — but more have
turned to Jews for Jesus and
other cults. Experts cite
ignorance of Jewish culture,
alienation and weak ties to
the Jewish community as
reasons for the susceptibil-
ity of young Jews to cult
movements. Because the
Mormons have a cohesive
community and a highly
developed set of programs to
ensure it, their ideas and ac-
tivities might be appealing
to some young Jews.)

stitutions,
including
Brigham Young Univer-
sity. Athletics, body exer-
cise and hard physical labor
are encouraged as part of
their virtuous life.
Ostentation and con-
spicuous consumption are
frowned upon; thrift is
encouraged. The Mormon
Church's buildings and
projects are unencumbered
by mortgages, and most
families avoid incurring
any debts aside from a home
mortgage because the home
is essential to family living.
Mormons also believe
that strong, independent
families raise independent,
self-reliant individuals who
can support themselves and
contribute to the larger
society. Their educational
and practical-assistance
programs stress learning
and the pursuit of excel-
lence, and the development
of vocational, professional
and homemaking skills.
Every Mormon, young or
old, is expected to do some-
thing for the home, whether
it be cultivating fruit and
vegetable gardens, canning
and preserving food, sew-
ing, house maintenance and
repairs, or other tasks. (One
is reminded of A. D. Gordon,
an early pioneer in Israel
who preached the "religion
of labor" and exhorted Jews
to return to the land, to
work hard for the sake of
work itself and as a way to
achieve personal indepen-
dence and self-reliance.)
Mormon community pro-
grams stress activities de-
signed for family enjoy-
ment. Sunday mornings are
devoted to family worship,
study and other activities in
church. After that, most
families visit relatives and
friends. Dropping a child off
at Sunday school and going
off to do something else is
virtually unknown among
Mormon parents.

Family the Center
of All Mormon
Functioning
Everything the Mormons
think and do with regard to
individuals and families is
rooted in their theology and
religion. They firmly be-
lieve that the individual,
the family, the church and
the community are insepar- _
ably interwoven, that the
family is central to the so-
cial fabric, that it is holy,
transcendent and eternal —
an unbroken chain continu-
ing from generation to gen-
Mormon Communal
eration.
Life Strongly
An individual, they be-
Emphasized
lieve, cannot understand
who he or she is except
Monday evening, every
within the context of the week, is set aside for "family
family, past, present and fu- together" activities at home
ture. It is hardly surprising, — music-making, work
therefore, that the Mormon projects, discussion, special
Church maintains the treats, and other projects.
single largest genealogical The church publishes many
archives in the world, and manuals, group-study
has developed an extensive guides and other materials
network of educational and to promote these goals.
social programs serving and
The church provides all
promoting family life.
kinds of help to prevent, and
Mormons frown on in- if necessary to resolve fam-
termarriage and on divorce. ily discord. No one is
Marrying within the church allowed to feel isolated or
having many children forsaken. Volunteer coun-
a fundamental mitzva, selors_ and teachers, many
d women are expected to professionally trained, reg-
stay home and raise the ularly visit troubled house-
children. Mormon leaders holds, functioning as big
often quote Prof. Uri Bron- brothers or sisters, as
fenbrenner's observation, educators, as therapists, as
"that you cannot pay a guides for referrals to other
woman to do what a mother professionals.
will do for free."
In addition, there are
Keeping fit is also part of sources that provide food,
the basic Mormon philos- clothing and health care, as
ophy,- and the religious well as vocational training
Mormon prohibitions or retraining and job place-
against smoking,, drinking ment for everyone who
alcoholic beverages, coffee needs them. However, since
and tea, eating too much Mormons stress self-
meat, and so on are strictly reliance and personal re-
observed in all church in- sponsibility, most of these

services are merely stop-
gaps until the recipients can
pick up their own lives
again.
The most important dis-
tinguishing feature of
Mormon life today, when
voluntarism in this country
has been declining for de-
cades, is the involvement of
every Mormon — the chil-
dren and the elderly, the
sick and the well — in some
kind of voluntary service to
the community. Tithing and
additional financial contri-
butions support the vast
Mormon enterprise. The
church itself has no paid
clergy, professional or other
functionaires; from top to
bottom, Mormon
enterprises are run almost
entirely by volunteers.

Voluntarism Major
Thrust of Mormon
Tradition

Every Mormon is raised
to believe that a part of one's
life belongs to the commu-
nity. Young people who
graduate from high school
are expected to devote one
year or two on voluntary
missions in this country or
abroad. These volunteers or
their families bear the full
cost of food and board, and
most of the travel expenses
involved in these missions,
and it is common for junior
high school and high school
students to save their wages
from odd jobs for this pur-
pose. Many adults, too, vol-
unteer for prolonged mis-
sions.
Aside from teaching, vis-
iting families, guiding
tours, helping with office
work, and so on, volunteers
make up most of the -work
force in the large farms,
supermarkets and general
stores that serve the needy,
as well as in canning fac-
tories, dairy processing
plants and other Mormon
enterprises. A Mormon
bank president will
willingly serve several
hours a week working on a
farm or in a factory; many
Mormons retire early and
devote the rest of their lives
to volunteer services.
The intellectual under-
pinning of the whole Mor-
mon way of life is Brigham
Young University, with its
huge, beautiful, immacu-
late campus. Although most
of its 27,000 students are
Mormons, the school is open
to all qualified applicants.
The rules of behavior are
strict and apparently
obeyed; and the students
look neat and wholesome.
(Leaders acknowledge that
some Mormons deviate in
the community and in the
university from norms of
behavior, but they either
did not know or would not
tell me the approximate
number of such "apos-
tates.")
Apparently Mormons do
not share the anxieties and
perplexities, the confusions
about the meaning of life,
the feelings of alienation so
common among other
American young people, in-
cluding Jews. If that is so,
could some of their commu-
nity programs be adapted to

Friday, August 28, 1981 11

LIFE'S SPECIAL EVENT S

give young Jews a similar
sense of belonging, partici-
pation and mutual support?
Certainly the family ac-
tivities merit consideration.
The Jewish community
might consider some educa-
tional programs about the
meaning and history of the
Jewish family and its cen-
trality to Jewish religion.
We might look into "family
together evenings," volun-
teer home-visiting pro-
grams, or family-to-family
visiting. This idea resem-
bles the para-rabbi sugges-
tion of Rabbi Harold Schul-
weiss some time ago.
The Mormon model sug-
gests several ways to re-
vive the voluntarism that
was once the hallmark of
Jewish community activity.
Giving every Jew, regard-
less of age, some community
responsibility might be an
effective antidote to the in-
sidious "me" syndrome.
Perhaps the Mormon
project most worthy of emu-
lation, is the call for one or
two years of volunteer
community service by
young adults. A Jewish
'peace corps" for high
school, college and graduate
students could revolu-
tionize and revitalize
Jewish communal life.



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The illnesses and malfunctions
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vere pain in the immediate back
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The human body operates as a coml.!
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Important points
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Treatment methods
utilized in modern
Chiropractic care.

Chiropractic is that science and art
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The practices and procedures corn-
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leges, postgraduate courses and
professional certification programs.
These include, but are not limited
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is

Chiropractic is a science
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integrity of the body.

sues of the body, particularly of the
spinal column, and the relief of re-
lated nerve disorders.

'

It utilizes a method of
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The education
of the doctor of
Chiropractic.

State licensed and regulated, the
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The chiropractic physician is primar-
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It is a conservative healing
art which does not utilize
• drugs or surgery.

It recognizes pain as a
symptom and not the cause
• of a health disorder.

-

The doctor of chiropractic is
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Chiropractic is the
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