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22. Providing for Temporal Needs and Building Self-Reliance
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“22. Providing for Temporal Needs and Building Self-Reliance,” General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (2020).

“22. Providing for Temporal Needs and Building Self-Reliance,” General Handbook.

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22.

Providing for Temporal Needs and Building Self-Reliance

22.0

Introduction

Members of the Church covenant to “bear one another’s burdens, … mourn with those that mourn … , and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:8–9). Caring for those who have temporal needs is part of the work of salvation and exaltation (see 1.2). This responsibility applies to all members of the Church as they minister to one another.

Church members are also counseled to strengthen their own self-reliance through diligent work and with the help of the Lord. Self-reliance is the ability, commitment, and effort to provide the spiritual and temporal necessities of life for self and family. As members become more self-reliant, they are also better able to serve others.


INDIVIDUAL AND FAMILY EFFORTS


22.1

Build Self-Reliance

With help from the Lord, members build self-reliance in the following ways:

  • Develop spiritual, physical, and emotional strength.

  • Gain education and employment.

  • Improve temporal preparedness.

22.1.1

Spiritual Strength

The Savior taught that “all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal” (Doctrine and Covenants 29:34). Members develop spiritual strength as they do the following:

  • Exercise faith in Christ.

  • Pray.

  • Fast.

  • Study the scriptures and the words of the living prophets.

  • Obey the commandments.

  • Attend sacrament meeting and other Church meetings.

  • Provide service to others.

  • Participate in sacred ordinances and strive to keep the associated covenants.

As members do these things, they receive guidance from the Holy Spirit on how to solve their problems and minister effectively to others.

22.1.2

Physical and Emotional Health

Heavenly Father wants His children to develop physical and emotional strength. This includes doing the following:

  • Obey the Word of Wisdom (see Doctrine and Covenants 89; see also 38.7.14 in this handbook).

  • Strive to eat nutritious food, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and maintain a healthy weight.

  • Avoid substances and behaviors that are harmful or addictive.

  • Practice good hygiene and receive proper medical care.

  • Develop and strengthen healthy relationships with family and others.

  • Learn to manage stress.

  • Seek help for mental or emotional challenges as needed.

Exercise

22.1.3

Education and Employment

The Savior taught that “the glory of God is intelligence” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:36). He also taught, “Seek learning, even by study and also by faith” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:118; see also 130:18). Education or vocational training can lead to better employment so members can provide for personal and family needs.

Developing the capacity to work will help members contribute to their families, the Church, and the world. Members are counseled to work hard and be honest in all they do.

22.1.4

Temporal Preparedness

The scriptures teach the importance of being prepared (see Ezekiel 38:7; Doctrine and Covenants 38:30). Members are counseled to become prepared so they can care for themselves, their families, and others in times of need.

Members increase their financial preparedness by:

  • Paying tithes and offerings (see Malachi 3:8–12).

  • Eliminating and avoiding debt to the extent possible.

  • Preparing and living within a budget.

  • Saving for the future.

  • Obtaining an appropriate education to help them provide for themselves and their families (see 22.3.3).

Preparedness also includes developing a plan for how to take care of basic needs during an emergency. Members are encouraged to build both a short-term and longer-term supply of food, water, and other necessities.

For more information, see Personal Finances for Self-Reliance and “Temporal Preparedness Resources.”

22.2

Minister to Those with Temporal and Emotional Needs

The Lord’s disciples are taught to “love … and to serve one another” and to “succor those that stand in need of … succor” (Mosiah 4:15–16). Members strive to see others as the Savior sees them, understanding their unique strengths and needs. By doing this, members will be inspired to know how to minister to those who have temporal and emotional needs. These needs may include food, clothing, housing, education, employment, physical health, and emotional well-being.

22.2.1

The Lord’s Storehouse

The Savior taught, “Impart of your substance unto the poor, … and [it] shall be laid before the bishop … [and] shall be kept in my storehouse, to administer to the poor and the needy” (Doctrine and Covenants 42:31, 34). All the resources available to the Church to help those with temporal needs are called the Lord’s storehouse (see Doctrine and Covenants 82:18–19). These include members’ offerings of time, talents, compassion, materials, and financial resources to help those in need.

The Lord’s storehouse exists in each ward and stake. Leaders can often help individuals and families find solutions to their needs by drawing on the knowledge, skills, and service offered by ward and stake members.

Besides the resources of the Lord’s storehouse, members can often receive needed help through government and community resources (see 22.12).

Virtue

22.2.2

The Law of the Fast and Fast Offerings

The Lord has established the law of the fast and fast offerings to bless His people and to provide a way for them to serve those in need. The law of the fast blesses both givers and receivers. Members grow closer to the Lord and increase in spiritual strength as they live the law of the fast. They also strengthen their own self-reliance and develop greater compassion. (See Isaiah 58:6–12; Malachi 3:8–12.)

Fasting may be done at any time. However, members usually observe the first Sabbath of the month as a fast day. A fast day typically includes the following:

  • Praying

  • Going without food and drink for a 24-hour period (if physically able)

  • Giving a generous fast offering

A fast offering is a donation to help those in need. When members fast, they are invited to give an offering that is at least equal to the value of the meals not eaten. Members are encouraged to be generous and give more than the value of these meals if they can.

Members may give their fast offering and a completed Tithing and Other Offerings form to the bishop or one of his counselors. In some areas, they can also make their donation online.

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In some wards, the bishop may authorize Aaronic Priesthood holders to collect fast offerings (see 34.4.2).

22.2.3

Service

Members seek to serve others as the Savior did (see John 13:35). They strive to become aware of each other’s strengths and needs. They minister to one another with love and understanding.

Service can be coordinated in the ward, stake, or community. Where JustServe is available, members and others can use it to identify service opportunities in the community. Members and others can also provide disaster relief or community service through Church-sponsored projects such as Helping Hands.

22.2.4

Humanitarian Aid

The Church provides humanitarian aid throughout the world. It does this both directly and through partnerships with other relief organizations. This aid is typically delivered through the Church organization called Latter-day Saint Charities. It is given without regard to race, religion, or nationality.

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Members and others who wish to support these efforts may donate to the Church Humanitarian Aid Fund. Members may give their donation and a completed Tithing and Other Offerings form to the bishop or one of his counselors. In some areas, they can also make their donation online.


LEADER EFFORTS


22.3

Pattern for Building Self-Reliance and Ministering to Those in Need

Church leaders represent the Savior as they care for those with temporal and emotional needs (see 22.3.4). In doing so, they strive to help members strengthen their self-reliance.

Leaders seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost so they can assist with sensitivity and compassion. The following pattern will help leaders address members’ needs in a way that builds self-reliance:

  • Seek out those in need.

  • Help them assess and address short-term needs.

  • Help them build long-term self-reliance.

  • Minister to those with emotional needs.

22.3.1

Seek Out Those in Need

The bishop has a sacred responsibility to seek out and care for those in need (see Doctrine and Covenants 84:112). Others who have an important role in helping the bishop with this responsibility include:

  • Ministering brothers and sisters.

  • Relief Society and elders quorum presidencies.

  • The bishop’s counselors.

  • Other members of the ward council.

As needed, the bishopric may call ward welfare and self-reliance specialists to support these efforts (see 22.6.4).

In a spirit of love and concern, ward leaders and those who serve with them help identify members who may need assistance. It is not enough to assist only when asked. Leaders should counsel with ministering brothers and sisters to ensure that members in need receive proper care.

22.3.2

Help Members Assess and Address Short-Term Needs

Members strive to meet their basic needs through their own efforts, help from extended family, and help from government and community resources (see 22.12). If these sources are insufficient, members may need Church assistance.

Church assistance might include help with short-term needs such as food, hygiene items, clothing, housing, or other basics. Bishops may use fast offerings to respond to these needs.

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In some locations, bishops may also use bishops’ orders for food and other basic goods (see “Bishops’ Orders and Referrals” in Leader and Clerk Resources [LCR]).

When providing Church assistance, leaders follow the principles and policies outlined in sections 22.4 and 22.5.

22.3.3

Help Members Build Long-Term Self-Reliance

Members may need ongoing support to address longer-term challenges. Education, vocational training, or other resources can help them build self-reliance and provide for their longer-term needs. Relief Society and elders quorum leaders, ministering brothers and sisters, and others can help members gain access to these resources.

The Self-Reliance Plan helps members identify their strengths and needs. It also helps them identify useful resources. This plan should be used each time Church assistance is considered. The bishop may assign Relief Society leaders, elders quorum leaders, ministering brothers and sisters, or others to help members fill out the plan.

As part of a self-reliance plan, leaders may recommend that members participate in a self-reliance group. These groups help them develop skills and resources for better education, employment, or financial management (see 22.13). The groups are generally organized by stake or ward councils (see 22.10.2, 22.7).

The bishop, or another leader he assigns, uses the Bishop’s Guide to the Self-Reliance Plan when providing assistance. This form helps leaders follow up on members’ progress toward self-reliance.

22.3.4

Minister to Those with Emotional Needs

Many members experience emotional challenges. Ministering brothers and sisters and ward leaders can be instrumental in helping members with these challenges.

A person’s struggle with emotional challenges can also affect his or her family members. Ward leaders should be attentive to the needs of family members, especially spouses. Leaders extend support and understanding to them.

The Church provides “Counseling Resources” to help leaders support members on a wide range of emotional and social issues. Additional resources for members include the following:

See also “Emotional Health” in 22.13.

Bishops may consult with Family Services staff to better understand a member’s emotional challenges and to identify available resources and services. Stake and mission presidents may also consult with Family Services. As part of this consultation, Family Services staff may help these leaders evaluate if a member with serious emotional or social challenges may need professional counseling. These leaders can request a consultation by contacting their Family Services office or their welfare and self-reliance manager. See 31.2.6 for contact information.

Adaptation Icon
Bishops can refer members who need counseling to a Family Services professional, where available. They do this by using a bishop’s order for services (see “Bishops’ Orders and Referrals” in LCR). Alternatively, members may seek help from reputable professional counselors in the community.

Sometimes bishops counsel members who need help to repent of sinful behavior. This behavior may include sins related to or caused by addictions. In these situations, bishops should refer to the guidelines in 32.8.1 and 32.8.2.

Management of Money

22.4

Principles for Providing Church Assistance

With the help of the Lord, members seek to provide for themselves and their families. When members need financial assistance, they should turn to the following sources in this order:

  1. Their extended family

  2. Government and community financial resources

  3. Church assistance through fast offerings

When members need short-term help with food or other basic goods, bishops may use fast offerings to provide assistance (see 22.3.2). Where bishops’ orders are available, bishops generally use those to provide food and other basic goods.

Church assistance is intended to help members develop independence, not dependence. Any assistance given should strengthen members in their efforts to become self-reliant.

When providing Church assistance, leaders follow the principles in sections 22.4.1 through 22.4.5. Bishoprics and clerks are encouraged to review the video “Sacred Funds, Sacred Responsibilities.”

22.4.1

Encourage Personal and Family Responsibility

Leaders teach that individuals and families have the primary responsibility for their own temporal, emotional, and spiritual well-being. By living principles of self-reliance, members will be better able to solve future needs on their own (see 22.1).

Before providing Church assistance, the bishop (or another leader or member he assigns) reviews with members what resources they are using to meet their own needs. This person may suggest other resources for the members to consider, including resources in the government or community (see 22.12).

22.4.2

Provide Temporary Assistance for Essential Needs

The goal of Church assistance is to temporarily meet basic needs while members strive to become self-reliant. Fast-offering assistance is generally used to pay for essential items, such as food and clothing. However, it may also be used to pay for housing or utilities. It may also be used to pay for personal services such as counseling, medical care, or vocational training.

Church assistance is meant to sustain life—not to maintain lifestyle. Members may need support and empathy as they work to reduce or eliminate expenses to better provide for their own needs.

Bishops should exercise good judgment and seek spiritual direction when considering the amount and duration of the assistance given. They should be compassionate and generous while not creating dependence.

22.4.3

Provide Resources or Services Rather Than Cash

If possible, the bishop should avoid giving cash. Instead, he should use fast offerings or bishops’ orders to provide members with groceries or services. Members can then use their own money to pay for other needs.

When this is not sufficient, the bishop may assist by using fast offerings to temporarily pay essential bills (see 22.5.2). If possible, these payments should be sent directly to the service provider (see 22.5.3).

22.4.4

Offer Work or Service Opportunities

Bishops invite those who receive assistance to work or provide service to the extent of their ability. This helps members maintain a sense of dignity. It also increases their ability to be self-reliant. Where JustServe is available, it may be used to identify service opportunities in the community.

Some members who are elderly or disabled may be limited in the work or service they can provide. Leaders should understand their situations and offer options that allow them to do what they can within their circumstances.

22.4.5

Keep Information about Church Assistance Confidential

The bishop and other ward leaders keep confidential any information about members who may need Church assistance. This protects members’ privacy and dignity. (See 31.3.)

Members who receive assistance should recognize the sacred nature of fast offerings and bishops’ orders. They should treat any assistance they receive with confidentiality and respect.

Sometimes it may be helpful for the ward council or others to know about the needs of an individual or family. An example is when a member is looking for a job. In these cases, the bishop and other leaders generally seek the member’s permission to share such information.

22.5

Policies for Providing Church Assistance

Church leaders should follow the policies outlined in this section when providing assistance through fast offerings or bishops’ orders for food and other basic goods.

22.5.1

Policies Regarding Recipients of Church Assistance

22.5.1.1

Assistance to Ward Members

Generally, members who receive Church assistance should live in the ward boundaries and have their membership record in the ward. Assistance can be given regardless of whether the member regularly attends Church meetings or follows Church standards.

If a member recently moved into the ward, the bishop contacts the previous bishop to discuss the person’s situation before providing assistance. Bishops can also review any assistance given during the previous three years in the “Finance” section of LCR.

22.5.1.2

Assistance to Bishops and Stake Presidents

At times a bishop or members of his immediate or extended family who live in the ward may need Church assistance. When this occurs, the bishop reviews the needs and the proposed assistance with the stake president. The stake president’s written approval is required before a bishop may use fast offerings or approve a bishop’s order for himself or his family.

If fast-offering funds are used, the stake president reviews the bills and other expenses before authorizing payment. The bishop may not approve a payment for himself or his family.

When a stake president or members of his immediate or extended family who live in his ward need assistance, he contacts the bishop. The bishop follows the same principles and guidelines of Church assistance that he would for any other member. However, once the bishop has approved the request, the stake president must submit it to the Area Presidency. The stake president and bishop await written approval from a member of the Area Presidency before proceeding with the payment or order.

22.5.1.3

Assistance to Persons Who Are Transient or Homeless

Bishops may assist members and others who are transient or homeless. However, they carefully consider the type and amount of assistance given. They are encouraged to counsel with the bishop of the person’s previous ward before giving assistance.

Bishops generally invite transient or homeless members who receive assistance to accept work or service opportunities. Bishops may also refer these members to community resources that are equipped to address their needs.

Based on need, a stake president may appoint one bishop to handle all requests arising in the stake from people who are transient or homeless. In some areas there is a concentration of stakes with large numbers of people who are transient or homeless. In those situations, the Area Presidency may call a service missionary to handle their requests for assistance. This person should have served as a bishop.

22.5.1.4

Assistance to Persons Who Are Not Members of the Church

Persons who are not members of the Church are usually referred to local community resources for assistance. On rare occasions, as guided by the Spirit, the bishop may assist them with fast offerings or bishops’ orders. For instance, the bishop may consider assistance for parents or caretakers who are not Church members but have one or more children who are members.

22.5.2

Policies on Using Fast Offerings

22.5.2.1

Medical or Other Health Care

Each Church area has established approval limits for using fast offerings to pay medical, dental, or mental health expenses. These limits are recommended by the Area Presidency. They are approved by the Church Welfare and Self-Reliance Executive Committee. Limits may vary by region or country in an area.

When bishops use fast offerings to help pay for medical, dental, or mental health care, they should not exceed these limits without appropriate approval. For approval amounts and guidelines, see “Use of Fast Offerings for Medical Expenses.”

22.5.2.2

Consumer Debt and Failed Businesses or Investments

Fast offerings may not be used to pay consumer debt, such as credit cards or personal loans. Nor may fast offerings be used to pay money owed as a result of a failed business or investment.

22.5.2.3

Repayment of Fast Offerings

Members do not repay fast-offering assistance they receive from the Church.

22.5.2.4

Ward Fast-Offering Expenditure Amounts

Bishops are not required to limit fast-offering assistance for ward members to the amount of donations collected within the ward.

22.5.3

Policies on Making Payments

If possible, payments should be made directly to the businesses that provide goods and services. Payments are not typically made to the person being assisted.

Bishopric members and clerks follow the financial procedures outlined in 34.6.7 when:

  • Preparing a check.

  • Preparing an electronic disbursement.

  • Withdrawing cash for a fast-offering payment.

22.5.4

Policies on Payments That Would Benefit a Bishop or Stake President

When providing members with fast-offering assistance, a bishop may not use the funds to pay for goods or services in a way that would benefit him personally. Any exception would require approval from the stake president. For example, if the bishop owns the rental property where a member lives, he may not use fast offerings to pay that member’s rent unless the stake president first gives approval. The same policy would apply if fast offerings are used to buy food for the member from a grocery store the bishop owns.

If a fast-offering payment for a member would benefit the stake president or a business he owns, Area Presidency approval is required. Once the bishop approves the proposed payment, the stake president submits the request to the Area Presidency. The stake president and bishop await written approval from a member of the Area Presidency before proceeding with the payment.

22.5.5

Protecting against Improper Use of Funds

Bishoprics and clerks should protect fast-offering funds from improper use. For questions or to report abuse of Church assistance or fraud, members of bishoprics or clerks in the United States and Canada can call the help line at 1-800-453-3860, extension 2-7887. Members of bishoprics or clerks outside the United States and Canada should call their area office.

22.6

Roles of Ward Leaders

22.6.1

Bishop and His Counselors

The bishop has a divine mandate to seek out and care for those with temporal needs (see Doctrine and Covenants 84:112). He delegates much of this work to the Relief Society and elders quorum presidencies. However, certain duties are performed only by the bishop. For example, the bishop:

The bishop and his counselors have the following responsibilities:

  • Teach the principles and blessings related to (1) caring for those who have temporal and emotional needs and (2) building self-reliance (see 22.1). This includes personal and family preparedness.

  • Teach the law of the fast and encourage members to give a generous fast offering (see 22.2.2).

  • Oversee the gathering and accounting of fast offerings (see 34.4.2).

As the presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood, the bishopric also oversees the efforts of Aaronic Priesthood quorums and Young Women classes to serve those with temporal needs in the ward and community (see 10.2.2 and 11.2.2). These efforts are coordinated in ward youth council meetings (see 22.8) and in quorum and class presidency meetings (see 10.4.3 and 11.3.4.2).

22.6.2

Relief Society and Elders Quorum Presidencies

Under the direction of the bishop, the Relief Society and elders quorum presidencies have a key role in caring for those in need in the ward (see 8.2.2, 9.2.2). These leaders teach ward members to:

  • Minister to those in need.

  • Live the law of the fast.

  • Build self-reliance.

  • Increase personal and family preparedness.

Relief Society and elders quorum presidencies apply the pattern described in 22.3 as they help care for those in need.

Adaptation Icon
In some locations, bishops have the option to provide members in need with a bishop’s order for food and other basic goods (see 22.13). The bishop generally assigns the Relief Society president to meet with the members and fill out the order form (see 9.2.2.2). However, he may also assign the elders quorum president (see 8.2.2.2). A counselor in the Relief Society or elders quorum presidency may be assigned if the president is unavailable. The assigned leader submits the completed form to the bishop for his approval.

22.6.3

Ministering Brothers or Sisters

Assistance with spiritual and temporal needs often begins with ministering brothers and sisters (see 21.1). They report the needs of those whom they serve to their elders quorum or Relief Society presidencies in ministering interviews and at other times. They may share needs that are confidential directly with the bishop.

22.6.4

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Ward Welfare and Self-Reliance Specialists

Bishoprics may call individuals or couples as ward welfare and self-reliance specialists. These specialists support ward leaders in their efforts to care for others and help them become more self-reliant.

Specialists may be assigned to specific areas of focus. These could include the following:

  • Employment

  • Education

  • Preparedness

  • Emotional health

  • Personal finances

  • Local government and community resources that serve those in need (see 22.12)

Bishoprics may also ask specialists to help coordinate or facilitate self-reliance groups. These groups are generally organized by stake or ward councils.

22.6.5

Summary of Callings and Roles

The following table summarizes the callings and roles discussed in 22.6.

Calling

Visit and Assess Needs

Teach Principles of Self-Reliance

Assist Members with the Self-Reliance Plan

Approve Fast-Offering Assistance or Bishops’ Orders

Calling

Bishop

Visit and Assess Needs

May, but often delegates

Teach Principles of Self-Reliance

Yes

Assist Members with the Self-Reliance Plan

May, but often delegates

Approve Fast-Offering Assistance or Bishops’ Orders

Yes

Calling

Relief Society and elders quorum presidencies

Visit and Assess Needs

Yes

Teach Principles of Self-Reliance

Yes

Assist Members with the Self-Reliance Plan

As assigned

Approve Fast-Offering Assistance or Bishops’ Orders

No

Calling

Ministering brothers and sisters

Visit and Assess Needs

Yes

Teach Principles of Self-Reliance

Yes

Assist Members with the Self-Reliance Plan

As assigned

Approve Fast-Offering Assistance or Bishops’ Orders

No

Calling

Ward welfare and self-reliance specialists (if called)

Visit and Assess Needs

As assigned

Teach Principles of Self-Reliance

As assigned

Assist Members with the Self-Reliance Plan

As assigned

Approve Fast-Offering Assistance or Bishops’ Orders

No

22.7

Role of the Ward Council

An important role of the ward council is to plan how to care for those in need and to help them become self-reliant (see 7.5.1 and 7.6.2). Council members base these plans on information from ministering interviews and from their own personal contacts with those in need. In discussing the needs of members, the council respects the desires of any who request confidentiality.

As ward councils consider how to care for those with temporal and emotional needs, they do the following:

  • Plan ways to teach ward members how to apply principles of self-reliance (see 22.1). These principles include personal and family preparedness.

  • Plan ways to help those who have immediate needs, such as unemployment, and those who have longer-term care needs, such as health problems or disabilities.

  • Identify ward members whose skills might be helpful in responding to immediate and long-term needs.

  • Identify possible work or service assignments for those who receive Church assistance.

  • Identify members who could benefit from participating in a self-reliance group. These groups are generally organized by stake or ward councils.

  • Identify other government, community, or Church resources that can benefit members (see 22.12 and 22.13).

  • Plan ways to give service in the community. Where JustServe is available, it may be used to identify such service opportunities.

Ward councils also prepare a simple written plan for the ward to respond to emergencies. This plan should be coordinated with the stake’s emergency plan (see “Stake and Ward Preparedness”; see also 22.9.1.3 in this handbook).

Ward welfare and self-reliance specialists may be invited to ward council meetings as needed.

22.8

Role of the Ward Youth Council

One purpose of the ward youth council is to help youth become consecrated followers of Jesus Christ (see 29.2.6). Serving those who have temporal needs is important to achieving this purpose. Among others, persons who may have temporal needs could include those who are elderly, ill, or disabled.

Under the bishopric’s guidance, the ward youth council plans ways to serve those in need in their ward and community. Specific service activities can be planned during quorum and class presidency meetings. Where JustServe is available, it may be used to identify service opportunities in the community.

22.9

Roles of Stake Leaders

22.9.1

Stake President and His Counselors

The stake president and his counselors lead the efforts of ministering to those with temporal and emotional needs and building self-reliance. The stake Relief Society presidency, high councilors, and other members of the stake council assist them.

The stake president and his counselors have the following responsibilities:

  • Teach the principles and blessings related to (1) caring for those who have temporal and emotional needs and (2) building self-reliance (see 22.1). This includes personal and family preparedness.

  • Teach the law of the fast and encourage members to give a generous fast offering (see 22.2.2).

  • Teach bishops how to properly provide Church assistance to those who have temporal needs (see 22.9.1.1).

  • Ensure that elders quorum presidents and ward Relief Society presidents are taught about their roles in caring for those in need. High councilors and stake Relief Society presidencies help instruct these ward leaders in their responsibilities (see 22.9.2 and 22.9.3).

  • Direct the stake’s efforts to prepare for and respond to emergencies (see 22.9.1.3).

The stake president also has the following responsibilities:

  • Review fast-offering requests for medical expenses that exceed a bishop’s approval limit. The stake president may approve requests up to his approval limit. He submits requests that exceed his approval limit to the Area Presidency for consideration (see 22.5.2.1).

  • Review any requests for Church assistance for bishops (see 22.5.1.2).

  • Serve as the agent stake president for welfare and self-reliance operations if assigned (see 22.9.1.2).

The stake presidency may assign one or more high councilors to help oversee the efforts of caring for those with temporal needs in the stake (see 22.9.2). The stake presidency may also call stake welfare and self-reliance specialists to support these efforts (see 22.9.4).

22.9.1.1

Teach Bishops the Principles of Providing Church Assistance

The stake president ensures that bishops are caring for those with temporal needs in their wards. He teaches bishops the principles and policies for providing Church assistance (see 22.4 and 22.5). In teaching, he uses real and practical examples.

In his interviews with bishops, the stake president reviews fast-offering payments from the ward’s monthly financial statement. He also discusses with each bishop the principles he is using to help members. He counsels with the bishop about any payments or patterns in the statement that may show a misunderstanding of correct principles.

Principles and practices for providing Church assistance are also discussed in the stake bishops’ council (see 22.11).

The stake president ensures that each bishop reviews the training in the video “Sacred Funds, Sacred Responsibilities” at least once a year.

22.9.1.2

Serve as the Agent Stake President for Church Welfare and Self-Reliance Operations

Where applicable, the Area Presidency assigns an agent stake president to each welfare and self-reliance operation in their area. Examples of these operations include the following:

The assigned stake president helps find volunteers to support the needs of the operation. The volunteers may come from the agent stake and from other stakes served by the operation.

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The agent stake president may organize an agent stake operating committee to oversee the operation. Committee members include the following:

  • The stake president or an assigned counselor

  • A high councilor

  • A member of the stake Relief Society presidency

  • The manager of the operation

  • Welfare and self-reliance specialists as needed

22.9.1.3

Respond to Emergencies

The stake president oversees Church emergency response and communications within his stake. In disasters that cover more than one stake, the Area Presidency or an assigned Area Seventy may direct the response. Welfare and self-reliance managers support area and stake leaders in these efforts.

Stake presidents may call welfare and self-reliance specialists to oversee an emergency operations center, manage communications, or handle safety concerns. If needed, the Area Presidency or an Area Seventy may also appoint such specialists at the area level or coordinating council level.

Ministering brothers and sisters report the conditions and needs of members to quorum and Relief Society leaders. These leaders report to the bishop, who reports to the stake presidency.

The stake presidency reports information to (1) the Area Presidency or an assigned Area Seventy and (2) the welfare and self-reliance manager. This report includes the status of members, missionaries, Church facilities, and the community. If Church members have been affected by a disaster, bishops may use fast offerings to help meet basic needs. Bishops follow the principles in 22.4.

The stake president approves public information that is released locally by the Church. He coordinates this with the stake communication director if one is called (see 5.2.1.7). He ensures that information is accurate and timely. He may serve as the Church spokesman to respond to questions from the media. He may also assign the stake communication director or another spokesperson to do this. In disasters that cover more than one stake, the Area Presidency or an assigned Area Seventy may manage public communications.

Church leaders may make the resources of the Church available to civil authorities during an emergency. With approval from the Area Presidency, Church buildings (except temples) may be used as shelters, first-aid stations, or feeding locations. Such use of a Church building should be coordinated with the assigned facilities manager. If another charitable or community organization is permitted to use the building, a usage agreement should be signed. See “Use of Church Buildings in a Disaster” for more information.

More information is available at “Emergency Response Procedures.”

22.9.2

High Councilors

The high councilor assigned to each elders quorum supports the quorum presidency in their responsibility to care for those in need and help them build self-reliance (see 22.6.2).

The stake presidency may also assign one or more high councilors to do the following:

  • Help teach stake and ward welfare and self-reliance specialists their roles, if specialists have been called (see 22.9.4 and 22.6.4).

  • Coordinate volunteer efforts for welfare and self-reliance operations.

  • Serve on specialized working groups that coordinate resources related to self-reliance or community service (see 22.10.2).

In stakes that support a welfare and self-reliance operation, a high councilor may be asked to serve on the agent stake operating committee (see 22.9.1.2).

22.9.3

Stake Relief Society Presidency

The stake Relief Society presidency supports ward Relief Society presidencies in their responsibility to care for those in need and help them build self-reliance (see 22.6.2).

Members of the stake Relief Society presidency may be asked to serve on specialized working groups that coordinate resources related to self-reliance or community service (see 22.10.2).

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In stakes that support a welfare and self-reliance operation, a presidency member may also be asked to serve on the agent stake operating committee (see 22.9.1.2).

22.9.4

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Stake Welfare and Self-Reliance Specialists

As needed, the stake presidency may call individuals or couples as stake welfare and self-reliance specialists. They support stake leaders in their efforts to care for others and help them become more self-reliant.

Specialists may be assigned to a specific area of focus. For instance, they may be asked to:

Stake specialists coordinate efforts with welfare and self-reliance specialists who may have been called in the wards.

22.10

Role of the Stake Council

Members of the stake council discuss the needs of stake members and plan how to help members become self-reliant (see 29.3.8). They identify resources in the community and stake that can help ward leaders care for the temporal and emotional needs of their members (see 22.12 and 22.13). They develop and maintain a simple written plan for the stake to respond to emergencies (see “Stake and Ward Preparedness”). Stake councils may also plan ways of providing service in the community.

22.10.1

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Resources Coordinated by the Stake

Based on local availability, the stake council may access or implement any of the following optional resources. These resources can help stake members build self-reliance or participate in community service:

22.10.2

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Specialized Working Groups

To help organize and manage the optional resources outlined in 22.10.1, the stake presidency may appoint specialized working groups, such as JustServe working groups. These groups could consist of selected members of the stake council or the stake adult leadership committee (see 29.3.9). They could also include specialists such as the following:

22.11

Role of the Stake Bishops’ Council

The stake bishops’ council is held to counsel about responsibilities pertaining to bishops. It includes regular discussion of the principles of (1) caring for those who have temporal and emotional needs and (2) building self-reliance (see 29.3.11).

Council members are encouraged to:

  • Exchange ideas, experiences, and resources for addressing members’ temporal and emotional needs. This includes resources in the community. It also includes ideas for work or service opportunities for members who receive Church assistance.

  • Discuss ways to encourage members to receive the blessings of living the law of the fast and donating fast offerings.


GOVERNMENT, COMMUNITY, AND CHURCH RESOURCES


22.12

Government and Community Resources

In many areas, members have access to government or community resources that help with basic needs. Such resources may include:

  • Health care assistance.

  • Food assistance.

  • Job training and placement services.

  • Mental health services.

  • Education programs.

  • Senior assistance programs.

  • Housing assistance.

Members are encouraged to explore these resources, in addition to resources provided by the Church (see 22.13).

Fresh Vegetables

22.13

Church Resources

The following table lists Church resources that can support members’ efforts to provide for their temporal and emotional needs and build self-reliance. The Lord’s storehouse (see 22.2.1) and fast offerings (see 22.2.2) are available to bishops in every ward.

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The other resources listed are optional and vary by location.

Category

Resources

Category

Immediate needs

Resources

  • The Lord’s storehouse (members’ offerings of time, talents, compassion, materials, and financial resources)

  • Fast offerings

  • Bishops’ orders for food and other basic goods through a bishops’ storehouse or grocery store.*

  • Bishops’ orders for clothing or household items through a Deseret Industries store.*

* Bishops’ orders are placed through “Bishops’ Orders and Referrals” in LCR.

Category

Education and employment

Resources

Category

Emotional health

Resources

Category

Temporal preparedness

Resources

Category

Community service

Resources