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Last week, readers debated the pros and cons of having the youth of the Church ask for handouts for the youth programs, rather than having them work for money.  One reader asked if anyone had some good fundraising ideas that did not involve begging, and we got two great letters on the subject.

We also have a new question for you today.  It concerns movie piracy.  Stay tuned after these first two letters to see what Movie Snob wants to know.  But first, here are the money-raising ideas:

Recently, the Young Women in our ward made cookie dough and formed it into balls, which were then frozen. They were packaged in bags of a dozen, and then sold to the ward members. I thought this was a great idea. If I want some cookies, I can take a couple of the frozen balls out of my freezer and bake them. No need to make a whole batch! Of course, they had to pay for the dough ingredients, but that would have been minimal. I think they did well on that project.

Also, the youth of our ward have a flag project. You donate a certain dollar amount per year and the youth will post a flag on your property on selected holidays.

I miss the days of rummage sales and bazaars and bake sales. I don’t know why we are no longer allowed to do those. I understand that the church would rather have us give old clothes and other items to charity, but donated handmade items such as dishcloths and towels, doilies (maybe people don’t use those anymore?), pot holders, as well as yummy cakes, cookies and pies earn far more than the donor spent to make them. I’m sure people would love to purchase items the youth had baked themselves.

Maybe some people don’t mind just giving the kids money, but I think that fosters the sense of entitlement, which is much too prevalent nowadays. The youth will appreciate more what they have to earn themselves with a little effort, and I do not consider “begging” for donations effort.

As for having to pay a fee to a location for a car wash, excuse me, but what’s wrong with the church parking lot? Of course you need to pay for the supplies, and that will come off the top before the total “take” is determined, but that doesn’t make it a bad thing to do. It is performing a service rather than just asking someone to give them some money.

Just my two cents.


Salt Lake City 

Sharee, I can’t stop thinking about those cookies, although your other ideas are terrific too.  I would have liked a flag flown in front of our house on September 11, for example, but didn’t have one to fly.  What inspired suggestions!  Thanks!

It’s been a while since I was in Young Women, going to camp, and needing to raise funds. Fortunately, I have more recent experience as a parent of youth.  Here are a couple of things that I have seen done that I think are particularly good:

  • A young man in our ward who needed to raise funds for his Eagle Scout project collected soda pop cans (in our state, there is a 10-cent deposit on each can/bottle). He put out the word a month or so before he planned to collect them, asked people to send an email if they had cans for him, and then on a designated day, he went around and collected them. He raised a substantial amount of money this way.
  • To raise money for camps, the youth in our ward have an activity for the entire ward where there is a ward dinner.  Then the youth put on a ballroom dance exhibition, followed by a silent auction of baked goods. A few months prior, the youth start learning the different dances, with the help of members of the local university’s ballroom dance club. The ward members (including the youth) are asked to bring baked goods for auction, which range from plates of goodies which are instantly sold for $5, to more elaborate creations that bring on friendly competition in the bidding (I’ve seen a strawberry pie go for $85!). Everyone usually has a pretty good time!  The ward members know what the fundraiser is for, and they come prepared to be as generous as possible. And the youth have dancing skills that they frequently use at stake dances. The end result is that the YW and the YM come away with a good sum of funds for their camps.

I personally don’t want my kids standing out in front of a store asking for a donation. I hate when I cannot get into the grocery store without some kid getting into my face asking if I’d like to donate to such-and-such a cause. And I don’t let them go door to door hawking candy for school groups.

My kids have been in marching band in high school, and I am much happier with the Car-Wash-A-Thon fundraiser they do than the candy sales. With the Car-Wash-A-Thon, they get pledges from friends and family, say 2 or 5 cents per car.  On the day of the car wash, the goal is to wash as many cars as possible. They wash the cars without asking for a donation from the drivers (though donations are gladly accepted).  After the car wash, they go to the people who pledged. So, if a person pledged 5 cents a car, and the kids washed 500 cars, then that person gives $25 to the band.

A Midwest Mom

Those are great ideas, Midwest!  I’d love to have someone come to our house and pick up soft drink cans after a party, and the ballroom dance idea is nifty because it also teaches the youth a skill they can use for the rest of their lives.  Neat, too, to have a free car was that’s actually free, because sponsors paid for it in the Car-Wash-A-Thon.  That’s mega-cool.

Okay, people.  Here’s our topic for today. 

I have an ethical/moral question for you and your readers. My teenage daughter was recently invited to a movie night at a friend’s house along with a bunch of other kids. I should mention that the home she was invited to is an LDS family.

When I picked her up later, I asked what movie they had watched. I was expecting her answer to be some recent release to DVD. Instead I was surprised to hear that they had watched a movie that had just barely been released in theaters a few days before. I knew that the movie had to have been pirated for them to have been able to watch it in their home.

Now, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of pirated movies is the “Seinfeld” episode where Jerry gets trapped into recording a movie with a camcorder in the theatre and subsequently becomes well known in the underground community for his expertise. I am also aware, however, that pirating has come a long way since then, with lots of online places you can go to stream or download movies and TV shows.


It seems pretty obvious to me that pirating is illegal, and I was surprised that this family was watching something that had been obtained in this manner.

I did some googling to see what some of the particulars are concerning these pirated movie websites and what people are saying about why they use them. From what I could gather it comes down to this:  The person/persons who are obtaining the movie and placing it on the internet are committing an illegal act and if movie companies or whatever powers-that-be wanted to come down on somebody, it would most likely be them.

The question comes with regard to the average person going on the internet to watch one of these movies. Is just watching an illegally distributed movie illegal? Is it morally/ethically wrong? I’ve seen some of the arguments out there from “the world.”  Now I am curious to know what people in the LDS community think.

Movie Snob

Boy, do I have strong feelings about this one!  My feelings do not just relate to movies.  They extend to music recordings and books and even handouts for church lessons that have been copyrighted.  Oh, could I go to town on this one!

However, I will sit back as moderator and let you all do the talking.  After all, that’s my job.

If you have something to say, here’s your opportunity.  Send your thoughts to [email protected].  Do not use the form on this page, because your response will very likely be lost if you send it that way.  Send a regular email to the address at the above link.  Can’t wait to read your thoughts on this subject.

Until next week — Kathy

“There cannot be a crisis next week.  My schedule is already full.”

Henry Kissinger

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