“Manage Resources Efficiently, Church Officers Counseled,” Ensign, May 1981, 96–97
The basic mission of the Church, and the efficient management of Church and personal resources to accomplish that mission, were the major topics of discussion as general, regional, and local authorities of the Church met Friday, April 3, in Salt Lake City.
A special meeting in the Tabernacle on Temple Square Friday evening capped a full-day gathering of Regional Representatives of the Church. Also invited to the evening meeting were stake presidents and bishops.
President Spencer W. Kimball said that the “grand and glorious objective” of the Church is to assist “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” The Church will accomplish that objective, President Kimball said, by:
• proclaiming the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people;
• perfecting the Saints by preparing them to receive the ordinances of the gospel and by instruction and discipline to gain exaltation;
• redeeming the dead by performing vicarious ordinances of the gospel for those who have lived on the earth.
He urged Church officers and members to expend “our talent, our time, and our means—as individuals, families, quorums, wards, and stakes—in ways which are consistent with the carrying out of the grand and glorious purposes of the Lord.” He coupled that with a caution: “Prudence and wisdom not only suggest but dictate that we take steps to husband our resources.”
At President Kimball’s invitation, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley of the Quorum of the Twelve discussed guidelines relating to the efficient management of Church and personal resources.
“There is an old proverb,” he noted: “‘Waste not, want not.’ It is the application of this principle for which we plead.”
Elder Hinckley explained that tithing, the payment of one-tenth of a person’s income, is the “Lord’s basic law of revenue.” This is coupled with the payment of fast offerings “for the care of the poor and the needy among us.”
These two are well established and binding upon all members of the Church, he said.
But the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, he said, are urging leaders at all levels of Church administration to carefully examine the cost of Church activity to members and ensure that such costs are not unnecessarily burdensome.
These additional expenses are reflected in assessments for budgets to finance ward and stake operations and activities, and out-of-pocket expenses for such things as travel to and from meetings and activities, participation in social and recreational programs, and similar matters.
All of the necessary expenses—for building temples and chapels, maintaining the welfare program, supporting missionaries—emphasize the need for careful control of budget requirements for other purposes, he said.
Accordingly, the First Presidency and the Twelve have formulated guidelines for efficient fiscal management, including caution when requesting formation of new wards and branches or the division of stakes; more efficient use of existing facilities to accommodate new wards and stakes, even if stake boundaries are crossed; and construction of adequate but less expensive facilities.
Requests for additional welfare production projects and storehouses should be made only if added financial demands on members are not excessive, the guidelines stated. A moratorium was placed on acquisition and development of distant recreation properties.
Reduction of stake and ward budget assessments should be sought by careful review to curtail unnecessary expense and by stricter adherence to the consolidated meeting schedule to reduce unnecessary heating and cooling of buildings and cut travel costs to members.
According to the guidelines, budgeted and out-of-pocket expenses should be reduced by avoiding travel and expenses for youth activities beyond local facilities; planning inexpensive social activities; and arranging home teaching and visiting teaching assignments to minimize travel.
Elder Thomas S. Monson, also of the Quorum of the Twelve, reviewed five principles essential to the proper functioning of the Church’s welfare program. They are:
—Self-reliance. As President Spencer W. Kimball has said, “No true Latter-day Saint, while physically or emotionally able, will voluntarily shift the burden of his own or his family’s well-being to someone else.”
—Work. “Work brings happiness, self-esteem and prosperity. It is the means of all accomplishment; it is the opposite of idleness,” according to President Kimball. “We are commanded to work. Attempts to obtain our temporal, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being by means of a dole violate the divine mandate that we should work for what we receive. Work should be the ruling principle in the lives of our Church membership.”
—Financial management. “Too many in the Church have failed to avoid unnecessary debt,” Elder Monson said. “The slightest bump in the economic road sends many crashing. The solution is to spend less—not more—than we earn. Some are using debt as a gamble against future earnings, hoping to pay off presently contracted obligations with easily acquired, inflated dollars. Such speculation can be disastrous.”
—A year’s supply of food, clothing, fuel where possible, and financial reserves. “Let us again encourage each individual and family to be fully prepared in the elements of personal and family preparedness,” Elder Monson urged.
—Family reliance. “Each head-of-household has the responsibility to provide for and care for his own family,” Elder Monson said. “Also, there is a sacred obligation for children to care for their parents. In our present society, and too often in the Church as well, we are experiencing what might be called ‘parent neglect.’ Too many times the emotional and social needs and in some instances even the material essentials of life are not provided by children to their aged parents. This is not right. By example we must teach otherwise.”
Elder Monson counseled bishops administering assistance to the needy to complete a thorough analysis of needs and to determine that the family and individual have done everything possible to meet the need. When given, welfare assistance is to be temporary and partial, and the recipient must work to the extent of his ability, he said. Bishops, however, should remember they have a divine mandate to seek out and care for the worthy poor and needy, he added.