All Christians, Latter-day Saints especially, would be wise to re-read the story of the widow and her mite in context.

From KJV Luke 20-21, non-original chaptering removed:

¶ Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples,

Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;

Which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.

And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.

And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.

And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all:

For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

From Mark 12:

¶ And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,

And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:

Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.

¶ And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

In both accounts, Jesus is using the widow not as an example of righteous behavior, but of a person being exploited by the scribes. He had just condemned them for devouring widows’ houses, and here is just such a widow who has been convinced that she is obligated to cast in her living. The story wasn’t meant to hold up that exploitation as something to emulate.

Here we have scribes wearing nice clothes, who bask in the adoration of their religious followers, who enjoy the highest seats in every synagogue they enter and the chief seat at every feast. They tell the poverty stricken and vulnerable to carve donations out of their “living” — rather than exacting donations only of those who possess more than their necessities. They do all this with a cultivated skin of respectability and piety, all of which is pretense to cover the ugly truth of the economic system they perpetuate. They don’t look evil; they don’t sound evil; they and their followers believe they are righteous; but they do evil. They devour widows houses, and they will be damned unless Jesus is a liar.

 

 

Advertisements