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Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Moral Responsibility to Assist the Disabled

A recent article entitled, "Mormons look at disability as opportunity" repeated a passage from the King Follett Sermon:
All the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement.
Since all souls are of great worth, Mormons don't tend to react to disability the same way as other people and other cultures have throughout time.


The article points out that many of Jesus' miracles were performed on disabled people and he showed great compassion towards them:
Yet in the New Testament, Christ consistently showed his compassion for the lepers, the blind and the lame. Dyches explained that Christ healed those who were blind or dumb or ill. In fact, 21 of the 30 recorded miracles were performed on people with disabilities, she said.
What bothers me is that disabled people are often not helped to progress whether spiritually, emotionally, intellectually or socially. I see this among members but leadership obviously feels differently.


I knew a woman who operated a successful Montessori school. She had a daughter with Downs Syndrome. The girl astonished everyone because she was so high-functioning. I heard, unconfirmed, that the mother felt she had promised her in the pre-mortal life that she would assist her in this one because of her disability. This girl was always well-dressed, even stylish, her hair styled, etc. She was astonishingly sharp in so many respects, despite her disability.


This girl was high-functioning because her mother had always worked extensively with her. I've seen so many disabled people left to just exist. Their needs are cared for but they aren't really assisted to progress. Often they are left to watch movies, television or to amuse themselves as they see fit.


But, just because they aren't capable of everything doesn't mean they aren't capable of anything. Surely, these people should be assisted to progress just like we assume those without disabilities ought to progress.


If everyone in this life is capable of "enlargement" then obviously we have a moral responsibility to assist them.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate this post immensely. In 2005 I was approached by a Jewish man severely disabled by a massive stroke 10 years previous. He sought me out to learn of our church (I am LDS). He had been told in a dream that our church had what his family needed to be saved. Thus began the discussions, our courtship, his baptism and our marriage - all within 10 weeks.

    I felt "called" to the task - to do all within my power and ability to improve this man's quality of life. I leaned heavily on our ward and stake leaders to assist me in the effort. They have been WONDERFUL. My husband has been embraced, encouraged and enriched by the efforts of most of our loving leaders and every so many of the members of our stake.

    What I would like others to know is that I was uncomfortable around the disabled - especially around the man I eventually married - until I prayed specifically to shed my own judgements, discomfort and disinterest.

    Your article is "spot on". I hope that many will be prompted to increase their efforts in lifting up the disabled.

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