On Monday, May 20, a cluster of tornadoes hit several states, the most severe storms hitting Oklahoma. Reports say that at least twenty-four people have died, including several children. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church) sends its deepest condolences to the victims and has already started assisting in the relief effort. These efforts are not unique to the Church of Jesus Christ and are characteristic of the faith’s emphasis on administering to those in need and serving those within the community.
The Church of Jesus Christ Is Already Involved in Helping the Tornado Victims
Within hours of the disaster, local leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ were in the process of coordinating with other local relief agencies to organize and execute relief efforts for the victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes. These volunteer efforts also include establishing a relief center that will help coordinate supplies, volunteers, and volunteer assignments. The relief force from The Church of Jesus Christ will consist primarily of local church members and full-time missionaries. (All of the Mormon missionaries—approximately 200—have been accounted for.)
The Church of Jesus Christ Can Provide Unique Relief Services
One of the services church members and Mormon missionaries can provide is translation for those victims who do not speak English. Both church members and missionaries are helping those who speak Spanish or Vietnamese communicate with emergency responders.
In addition to translating, Mormon charities are gathering supplies and finding housing for those affected by the storms.
The Church of Jesus Christ Wants to Work with Others in the Community
Mormons want to “dispel stereotypes often held about the Church, showing that Latter-day Saints are Christians who contribute to the good of their communities.” The Church of Jesus Christ not only encourages its members to involve themselves in their local communities, but it also helps coordinate those volunteer efforts. Mormon charities are often involved in relief efforts after natural disasters like the tornadoes in Oklahoma, and the Church also heads up several other humanitarian and relief organizations. For more information, visit the LDS Humanitarian Center homepage.
Charlotte graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor's degree in English, with an emphasis in editing. During her education she interned with the Neal A.Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, BYU Publications, and the New Era magazine. Charlotte currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and son. She's a stay-at-home-mom and has been able to keep up her writing through maintaining a personal blog (smallandtrivial.blogspot.com).