"Why Giving Matters"

Recently Arthur Brooks spoke at a Forum at BYU. While I didn't get to attend, I did listen to it online and it was one of the best Forums I've ever heard! Brooks is the author of "Gross National Happiness" and "Who Really Cares." In his speech he talked about the statistically proven fact that giving actually makes people happier. He gave two reasons for this: giving changes the way your brain works and giving changes the way other people treat you. It was interesting because Brooks is a Roman Catholic and he quoted Mosiah 4:21:

And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.
Brooks also told a story about what he called a "magic briefcase." On a previous visit to BYU, he was given a briefcase that he stored in his closet and never used. One day the briefcase he did use broke and he began using the BYU briefcase. As he carried it around he noticed that people would read the briefcase and then look at him and, Brooks thought, assume he was a member of the church. As this happened he began to feel different becaue he felt that he was representing Latter-day Saints. As he used the briefcase he noticed something funny; he began to act differently. He joked that one way the church could change the world would be to give everyone a BYU briefcase. I love this story because it reminds us that people are watching and have high expectations of us.

At the end of his speech, Brooks listed four myths about giving:

1. Giving makes you poorer -- research shows otherwise.
2. People are naturally selfish -- no, they are unnaturally selfish.
3. Giving is a luxury -- no, it is a necessity for ourselves and our communities.
4. The government will take care of people -- this attitude has been proven to have negative consequences.

If you have the time, you should listen to the speech, it will be well worth it!

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