My Proposal for a Government Welfare Program

See if you can guess who uttered the following statements regarding welfare and caring for the poor. By the way, I really do think these principles make for a pretty good welfare program. Our government would be wise to follow such principles.

“Every man and woman ought to possess the spirit of independence, a self-sustaining spirit, that would prompt him or her to say, when they are in need, “I am willing to give my labor in exchange for that which you give me.” No man ought to be satisfied to receive, and to do nothing for it. After a man is brought down to poverty and is under the necessity of receiving aid, and his friends give it to him, he should feel that it is an obligation under which he is placed, and when the Lord should open his way he would return the gift.”

“It is a bad thing for men to think the world owes them a living, and all they have to do is to beg or steal to get it….I don’t refer to the cripple, or to those who are enfeebled by age, because I look at them in an entirely different light; there is a necessity for them to live, and there is a necessity for us to assist such, but there is no great need in this world for men and women who are able to work and will not work.”

“Even the poor who have to be assisted should be willing to do all in their power to earn their own living. Not one man or woman should be content to sit down and be fed, clothed, or housed without any exertion on his or her part to compensate for these privileges. All men and women should feel a degree of independence of character that would stimulate them to do something for a living, and not be idle; for it is written that the idler shall not eat the bread of the laborer.”

“Remember the poor, and to give means for their support…. No call for help [should ever be] heard in vain by them.”

“It is clear that plans which contemplate only relieving present distress are deficient. The Church has always sought to place its members in a way to help themselves, rather than adopting the method of so many charitable institutions of providing for only present needs. When the help is withdrawn or used up, more must be provided from the same source, thus making paupers of the poor and teaching them the incorrect principle of relying upon others’ help, instead of depending upon their own exertions…. Our idea of charity, therefore, is to relieve present wants and then to put the poor in a way to help themselves so that in turn they may help others.”

“Our people have learned through the commandments of God how to take care of themselves and are trying to help others to do likewise. They are ever helping each other and it is seldom that poor are found among them who are unprovided for. They are practically independent and may become entirely so by a stricter adherence to the law of the Lord! We believe that if other communities would adopt [these] plans…that poverty and pauperism would be greatly reduced or entirely overcome. Opportunities would be presented so that all might obtain work and thus provide for themselves.”

And the answer the answer is…Joseph F. Smith, 6th President of the Mormon Church. These quotes were taken from his book, Gospel Doctrine, pages 234 – 238.