“Helps for Leaders,” Disability Services: Leaders (2020)
“Helps for Leaders,” Disability Services: Leaders
As you minister to the needs of others, you can help them experience joy and fulfillment. You can also help them understand that “each [of us] is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129). Each of us has been given unique gifts that can be used to bless and serve those around us. We are all needed in the Church of Jesus Christ.
To reach the divine destiny our Heavenly Parents desire for us, we all need the opportunity to learn and live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Regardless of impairments, all of God’s children merit the opportunity to make covenants and help build the kingdom of God on earth.
As you work with members with disabilities who face life challenges, prayerfully consider these truths:
The minds and spirits of all of God’s children are capable of growth.
Every child of God adds richness and value to the human family and to the Church.
Sacred covenants are intended to bless the lives of all those who desire and are able to participate.
All members of the Church, including those with differences or disabilities, should have meaningful opportunities to minister, teach, and lead.
A disability is not a punishment—neither to the individual nor to the parents (see John 9:1–3).
Everyone has something to contribute. It is our blessing and responsibility to follow the example of Jesus Christ and seek out the one.
We read in 1 Corinthians 12:25–27 about the body of Christ:
“That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
“And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”
We are not complete without each member. The eye cannot contribute in the same way the hand is able to, nor can the foot do the work that the ears can do. We are better when we learn how to appreciate the strengths we all bring to the Church. We become more like Christ as we care for one another.
What can we do to help others feel loved and included in the full body of Christ in our own wards and stakes? In 3 Nephi 22:13 we read, “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord.” That scripture could easily have read, “Thy children shall be taught of the Lord.” It is instructive that God chose to include the word all. We must recognize that all of God’s children merit the opportunity to learn and live the gospel. Every person has something to contribute to the Church of Jesus Christ.
We help others more fully live the gospel when we do our best to create a safe space for them physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. Often this can be done by reaching out to them one by one and asking things such as “What would you like me to know?” or “What are some things we can do to help church be a place where you or your child can be successful?” Often the act of individually reaching out to invite and ask sincere, loving questions can be the first step in helping others feel more a part of their faith.
Others often look to their parents and Church leaders to determine how they will respond to a situation. How can you reflect love, patience, and charity as you set an example for others to follow?
Keep in mind that we are so much more alike than we are different from one another. In the Church, we can do an incredible job of providing some of the things people need most that don’t even require any sort of training—things like being a friend. The greatest resource will always be individuals working together to find solutions as members with disabilities advocate for their needs and others lovingly listen and provide help.
That All May Worship (pamphlet)