Friday Forum: He Stole From the Rich, Poor, and the In Between

Discuss Proverbs 22:16

He that oppresseth the poor to increase his richesand he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.

discuss and  discuss

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About JA Benson

Joanna entered the world as a BYU baby. Continuing family tradition, she graduated BYU with a degree in Elementary Education and taught for several years. Growing up in Salt Lake County, her favorite childhood hobbies were visiting cemeteries and eavesdropping on adult conversations. Her ancestral DNA is multi-ethnic and she is Mormon pioneer stock on every familial line. Joanna resides in the Southeastern USA with her five children ranging in age from 8 to 24. Her husband passed away in 2009. She is an avid reader and a student of history. Her current intellectual obsession is Sephardic Jewish history, influence and genealogy. She served as a board member for her local chapter of Families with Children from China. She is the author of “DNA Mormons?” Summer Sunstone 2007 and “Becoming Hong Mei`s Mother” in the Winter Sunstone 2009

5 thoughts on “Friday Forum: He Stole From the Rich, Poor, and the In Between

  1. Sadly no amount of prison time can restore what Bernie Madoff and his cohorts stole from his victims. Prison is a poor substitute for the suffering that Madoff would be unable to experience in this life. I am confident that God will help him understand the depth of his depravity in the life to come and he “shall surely come to want”, just as the scripture says.

  2. My father made a career out of being a fraud investigator for the government and he made mention that there are two types of people when it comes to fraud. Those who seek punishment and those who want the money back. Typically you can’t have both which is unfortunate. I do get Elie Wiesel’s pain though. Here was one of their own, trusted, and he stole with straight up lies and no moral compass. From widows, from charities, from those who are barely getting by; their whole life lost to buy himself more stuff. Though I doubt his punishment described in the article would be effective. To work Madoff would need a conscience, and if he had one of those he wouldn’t have stole it to begin with. I hope Madoff lives a long contemplative life so the scripture comes true in only the way the Lord can.
    It is ironic though as I just saw in the book I am reading (World Light, Haldo Laxness) the following exchange between the pastor and the protaganist:
    “If one wants to steal, dear boy,” said the pastor, “then for God’s sake one should never steal from the rich. A rich man has a 100 peats, and then suddenly he has only 99 left: one of them has been stolen. He won’t forget that even on his deathbed. A poor man has only one peat and is just as poor if it’s stolen; and by the next day he has forgotten all about it. The wealthy man will inevitably get you into trouble if you steal from him; the poor man doesn’t even bother to mention it. That’s why all genuine thieves have the the good sense to steal from the poor.” (page 462)
    Given the amount of research Laxness did for his books, and his personal politics, this little verse has added a little more depth to this passage. Thank you.

  3. Thanks Brian.
    T Stevens- I was most shocked at the theft of Elie Wiesel’s charities. If ever there was stealing for the poorest of the poor that was it. It was chilling how Mr Wiesel described his meetings with Madoff and how easily and quickly he was duped. Madoff must have a charming and trusting demeanor about him.

    Your comment from World Light, Hado Laxness is spot on. I have known many poor individuals. When someone steals from them, they rarely seek justice. They are so accustomed to demoralizing circumstances.

    To look at the Madoff case with a broader scope, I think it has been this easy money mindset that US citizens have fallen into, that has gotten our economy in the current shape that it is in. This mindset has made it easier for scam artists to take advantage of others.

  4. Individuals that decide to take from others are usually self-absorbed, somewhat narcissistic and (sadly) intelligent people. Those that are the victims are usually shocked at the personal attack on their life. Having been one of those victims (not the maddoff scheme) I understand that pain and betrayal. I try to live my life with integrity and honor so being deceived hurts on a deeper level. It shakes our trust in humanity. Once trusted friends, as I’m sure Maddoff was considered by many, become enemies. It’s shocking to realize how the perpetrators can justify, rationalize and minimize their actions. It’s also sickening to hear them rewrite the history of the situation in order avoid their accountability.

    However, I do know this, Heavenly Father does hold them accountable. There is always a day of reckoning, frequenting in old age. We may or may not see their consequences in this life (which can be maddening) but it does happen. The individuals who stole from me were once good people, I can only hope they acknowledge the pain they have caused one day.

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