“Foundation Honors Welfare System,” Ensign, May 1992, 112
According to the Heritage Foundation, one of the best known conservative think tanks in the United States, the country should follow the lead of the Church’s welfare system.
While the Church’s welfare system provides temporally for those it helps, it also focuses “on strengthening the family, teaching a vigorous work ethic, and helping the needy to help themselves,” wrote Tucker Carlson, assistant editor of the foundation’s journal, Policy Review. “Its themes are ones the secular world would do well to study,” he continued.
Carlson pointed out several reasons for the success of the welfare system.
Welfare recipients are expected to work for what they receive, often at one of the Church’s 50 canneries or 135 other food production sites. This lowers the cost of the assistance received.
Home teachers visit members every month, often discovering financial and other problems before they become critical.
Locally, the welfare system is directed by bishops, who administer assistance according to the specific needs, giving no more than is necessary. In addition, the system normally provides food or pays bills directly. Rarely is cash given to welfare recipients.
Members are encouraged to take care of their own family, including elderly parents.
Mormon culture encourages the belief that welfare is a last resort.
Members are counseled to store at least a year’s supply of food, clothing, and fuel. Doing so often helps individuals and families survive rough times, eliminating the need for welfare.
Members are encouraged not only to take care of themselves but also to give generously to others.