“Presiding Bishop Testifies before U.S. Senate Committee,” Ensign, May 1995, 112
Bishop Merrill J. Bateman, Presiding Bishop of the Church, recently appeared before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee to give an overview of the Church’s welfare program.
“Fundamental to the Church’s welfare program is the principle that those receiving assistance are expected to work to the extent of their abilities for what they receive,” Bishop Bateman explained during the March 29 appearance.
“Recipients work on welfare production projects, in storehouses, canneries, or in sheltered workshops,” he told committee members. “They also may be given opportunities by their bishops to serve in behalf of others within the community who are in need of assistance. Work engenders independence, thrift, and self-reliance.”
Bishop Bateman pointed out that the Church’s welfare program focuses on three main areas: prevention, temporary assistance, and rehabilitation.
He also explained that permanent dependence on the welfare program was discouraged; exceptions were noted for the aged or infirm who had no other resources. The Church leader said that help is administered at the local level and can include counseling, employment assistance, food, clothing, shelter, or financial aid.
Bishop Bateman also talked of the employment centers, social service agencies, farms, and canneries made available to Church members in many parts of the nation.
He was one of several representatives from various religious organizations who addressed the Senate committee.