Welfare and Service: For All Times and All Places


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President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency dedicates the new Sugarhouse Utah Welfare Services Center on June 8, 2011. The facility includes Deseret Industries, LDS Employment Resource Services, and LDS Family Services. The dedication comes at a time when Latter-day Saints are encouraged to do all they can to serve others in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Church welfare program.

“Great temporal needs of the children of Heavenly Father have come again in our time as they have and as they will in all times,” President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, said in a general conference address. “The principles at the foundation of the Church welfare program are not for only one time or one place. They are for all times and all places.”

President Eyring’s words seem particularly poignant as Latter-day Saints throughout the Church are organizing and participating in days of service in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Church welfare program and as he dedicated the Sugarhouse Utah Welfare Services Center on June 8, 2011. The facility includes Deseret Industries, LDS Employment Resource Services, and LDS Family Services.

“This building is intended and designed to magnify our power to help others,” he said. “Deseret Industries [is] a part of the general welfare plan of the Church to help lift people to employment so that they might better lift themselves to the capacity to care for themselves and their families.”

Blessings for the Giver and the Receiver

Members of the Church can keep their covenants to help others in need by turning sympathy into action. Those who are blessed are to give encouragement and opportunity for others who need help in providing for themselves.

“The way it is to be done is clear,” President Eyring said. “Those who have accumulated more are to humble themselves to help those in need. Those in abundance are to voluntarily sacrifice some of their comfort, time, skills, and resources to relieve the suffering of those in need. And the help is to be given in a way that increases the power of the recipients to care for themselves. Done in this, the Lord’s way, something remarkable can happen. Both the giver and the receiver are blessed.”

Principles of Action in Welfare Work

In his conference address, President Eyring outlined four principles of action he has observed while serving others and receiving service in his times of need.

Serve and You Will Be Blessed

First, Heavenly Father will bless people with happiness and self-respect as they provide for their family’s needs and in turn reach out to help others. Using surplus time and money to teach others to become more self-reliant will bring the Lord’s blessings.

“I have learned that the way to have a surplus is to spend less than I earn,” President Eyring said. “With that surplus I have been able to learn that it really is better to give than to receive. That is partly because when we give help in the Lord’s way, He blesses us. … I have found that to be true in my life. When I am generous to Heavenly Father’s children in need, He is generous to me.”

Work and Create Unity

Second, taking part in welfare work will bring a power of unity among those serving and those receiving the service. Quoting President J. Reuben Clark Jr., he said:

“That giving has … brought … a feeling of common brotherhood as men of all training and occupation have worked side by side in a welfare garden or other project.”

Strengthen Families

A family can also become more unified as they are drawn into the work, which is President Eyring’s third principle of action. As family members participate in fulfilling welfare work, they too become unified as they learn to serve others and develop a willingness to care for other family members when they are in need.

Seek Out the Poor

The fourth principle is to seek out the poor. President Eyring spoke of the bishop’s duty to find and provide for the needy after those in need and their families have done all they can.

“I found that the Lord sends the Holy Ghost to make it possible to ‘seek, and ye shall find’(Matthew 7:7-8) http://churchofjesuschrist.org/scriptures/nt/matt/7.7-8?lang=eng#6 in caring for the poor as He does in finding truth. But I also learned to involve the Relief Society president in the search. She may get the revelation before you do,” he said.

Plan a Service Project

President Eyring gave three suggestions for leaders and members as they seek revelation in planning service projects:

  1. 1. Prepare spiritually and encourage others to do the same. “Only if hearts are softened by the Savior’s Atonement can you see clearly the goal of the project as blessing both spiritually and temporally the lives of the children of Heavenly Father,” he said.
  2. 2. Choose recipients whose needs will touch the hearts of those rendering the service. The love felt between givers and recipients may have a more profound effect than the temporal service that is provided.
  3. 3. Draw on the powerful bonds of families, quorums, auxiliary organizations, and community members. “The feelings of unity will multiply the good effects of the service you give,” President Eyring said. “And those feelings of unity in families, in the Church, and in communities will grow and become a lasting legacy long after the project ends.”