I have been watching the Hurricane situation in Haiti closely and it must have been terrifying. Bad enough to face a horrible storm in a comfortable, secure building but to face it with no shelter other than a tent? People in Haiti went wherever they could for shelter but one place was pretty restrictive according to this report from AOL: No Sanctuary at This Church in Haitian Storm...
LEOGANE, Haiti (Nov. 8) -- The water in Haiti's seaside town of Leogane rose to the doorsteps of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But if you're local, and homeless, you needn't have bothered coming here for help. Help is for Mormons only.
Hurricane Tomas swiped the western coast of Haiti late last week, and three days of rain brought massive flooding to many towns, including Leogane. The U.N. estimates 1,500 people in the city were displaced by the flood, most of whom have been living in temporary tents since the Jan. 12 earthquake.
The LDS church is one of the biggest and most modern buildings in Leogane, with the capacity to safely hold and protect 200. The church's hurricane policy? Only church members can seek shelter there. On Friday, 36 congregants and family members slept at the church.
They didn't receive food or water, sleeping mats or mattresses. On Friday afternoon, a dozen women sat on the ground and in chairs outside, underneath the shadow of the church's enormous satellite dish, while church staff more or less ignored them.
Wow, way to be witnesses to the community! Especially in a predominantly black nation where you have to cover up the vile racism of your organization's founders. Even though common sense and pure human decency would have called for opening your doors, that doesn't help in the authoritarian cult of mormonism:
"It's not simple," said Matthieu Chrisner, adviser to the bishop, the leader of the local congregation. Letting people take shelter here "is a very complex decision, and a lot of people would have to agree. It's a chain of authority that reaches the headquarters in the Central Caribbean."
If I had a group of children right now who needed a shelter?
"For now, we can have members of this church and their parents," he replied.
If they were disabled?
"I would have to ask at another level," Chrisner said. "There is a committee. Really, it's a committee inside of some other committees. It goes through the bishop, then a committee process ... then, there's no way to know if it's longer or shorter. I can't tell you how long it would take for an answer."
A local Mormon mother, 25-year-old Tanya Favery, sought shelter here before the storm. She thinks the Mormon-only policy is wrong, but she is resigned to her role, as a grateful beneficiary, and doesn't question the authority of the bishop.
"It's not normal, as a Christian," Favery said. "It should've been done otherwise. People could've come here and found Christ. But I'm not the decider."
They might have found something in this "church" but it wouldn't have been Christ. So even though what they were doing is clearly wrong, Ms. Favery doesn't question the authority of her "bishop". How tragic but this sort of blind obedience is one of the hallmarks of mormonism and all authoritarian cults. Perhaps I will run into Ms. Favery during my trip to Haiti. I would love to tell her who Jesus is and why He is not who mormons worship, no matter what the sign on the building says.