“What do Catholics, Jews and Mormons have in common?” “Catholics don’t recognize birth control, Jews don’t recognize Jesus, and Mormons don’t recognize each other in Nevada.”
In 1993 there were 1.7 million Utah residents, 1.2 million of whom were Mormons. It was estimated that 90 percent of the 700,000 gamblers in West Wendover each year came from Utah.
Gambling is one of the world’s vices that so far has had no grip on me. I might be slightly obsessive compulsive and am worried about getting addicted to anything. I am also cheap! Somehow I knew at a young age the odds were with the house.
On my mission I saw a couple of missionaries put a few Canadian dollars on the Canadian Lottery , I always wondered what the conversation would be like with the mission president had they won. When I returned from my mission I drove out to Wendover with a friend/returned missionary and he was good enough at black Jack that he won enough each time to pay for two prime rib dinners. He always quit after he got enough to pay for the meals.
In my youth I knew adult members who would go to burlesque shows in Las Vegas. It was sort of sold to me at the time that it was like going to Europe and watching sophisticated culture. I think most kids who went from Salt Lake to California and passed Las Vegas put some of their spare change in the slot machines.
I hope I don’t get any of my old Aaronic priesthood friends in trouble with the following. I was raised in a part-member home and our house was a poker gambling den some Sundays after church where the limit was a dollar worth of pennies. I have to admit it was exciting as a young teacher to have doubled your investment. But it was equally as boring when your poker face was not up to scratch and your pennies were gone in the first 15 minutes. As far as I’m aware none of us had problems later on in life with betting or gambling.
In Mormon theology, gambling is not rigorously forbidden, like smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol or beverages with caffeine; it is viewed as a lesser transgression, an evil “based on the morally wrong philosophy of getting something for nothing, of taking money without giving fair value in return.”
Do you think the above is a fair description of how Mormons view gambling as being morally wrong and a lesser transgression?
I look at the severity of it! If you’re gambling the deed to the family’s house or your Austin Martin, that’s a major transgression in my mind and worse than having a cup of coffee. However if you’re getting petrol in Las Vegas and put a few nickels in a one armed bandit on the way out, it probably will weigh on your conscience for about a minute after, depending on your conscience!
“Gambling is to be found almost everywhere and is growing. People play poker. They bet on horse races and dog races. They play roulette and work the slot machines. They gather to play in bars, saloons, and casinos, and, all too often, in their own homes. Many cannot leave it alone. It becomes addictive. In so many cases it leads to other destructive habits and practices. And so very many of those who become involved cannot afford the money it takes. In many cases it robs wives and children of financial security. The game of poker, as it is called, is becoming a college and even a high school craze”.
“If you have never been involved in poker games or other forms of gambling, don’t start. If you are involved, then quit now while you can do so”. President Hinckley.
Is it harmless fun for some or will most get caught in its jaws and never find their way back,or just a day a year or every decade you can be something your not?
Is it just a bit excitement and glamour from good people who have been living a life of restricted behaviour all their lives and they feel they can’t do that forever without blowing up?
Have you had problems with gambling and found it addictive , do you have friends that are caught in the grips of it?
If you were in Las Vegas just messing around , put some dollars in the slot machine and won the house jackpot of $100,000.00 what would you do with the money? Give it back to the Casino? Give it to the Humanitarian fund or Fast offering? Keep what was left after tax and tithe the rest? How would the church advise someone in this situation?
Revelation has been taught to be in our time and our day! Did President Hinckley have insights to the nature of young people and us in our time and our economic circumstances?
As the economy appears to worsen will we see some members trying to get a home run on the roulette tables with their family’s savings?
Or will we see towns like Wendover boarded up ?
If you are LDS and work for a Casino how do you justify it ?
Is the time coming soon when gambling will be considered a more severe transgression?