Sunday, January 22, 2012

Welfare Reform Mormon Style

When Mitt Romney releases his tax information I think we’ll hear some discussion on the need for tax reform.

But, when people see his contributions to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I think we could have some serious discussion about welfare reform. I went to (the official website for the church, also known as the Mormon church) to see some of what the church does with its contributions. It’s impressive.

First, the church does not have professional, paid clergy. It is comprised of a huge volunteer force. Second, not only do they use tithing funds to build churches, temples, and help support their educational facilities, they have the LDS Charities and humanitarian services set up. What is so distinct about these humanitarian efforts is that 100% of the donations received to the humanitarian funds goes to the projects. The church absorbs all the overhead costs itself. And then there is the miraculous work they do throughout the world.

Here is what they say about the LDS Charities on their website:

“Helping People Help Themselves”

Jesus Christ told those who would be His followers that they were to give meat to the hungry and drink to those who thirst. His is a gospel that includes taking in the stranger, loving neighbors as self, and visiting those who are sick or imprisoned. He taught while He lived on the earth—and has since taught through modern prophets—that we are to love and care for each other, that we should visit the fatherless and the widow in their afflictions, and lift up those whose hands hang down and whose knees are feeble.

“Latter-day Saint Charities, sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is an application of this admonition of Jesus Christ to help others in need. We have sponsored relief and development projects in 167 countries. This assistance is rendered without regard to race, religious affiliation, or nationality and is based on the core principles of personal responsibility, community support, self–reliance, and sustainability.

“Unique in its support structure, Latter-day Saint Charities has access to the resources of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which include food production and processing, grain storage, vocational rehabilitation, donated used clothing, and employment and social services. Largely run with volunteer labor, Latter-day Saint Charities operates both independently and in cooperation with other charitable organizations and governments. Last year, over one million man–days of labor were contributed by volunteers in support of welfare initiatives.

“Latter-day Saint Charities provides emergency relief assistance in times of natural disasters. In addition, our primary community development programs include clean water, neonatal resuscitation training, vision care, wheelchairs, immunizations, food production, and other health programs.

“The assistance we render is made possible by generous donations of cash and in–kind materials from members and friends of the LDS Church.”

The Church provides food, and other relief supplies as needed. In 2010 alone the Church provided relief to people affected by 119 disasters in 58 countries.

Here is some of the work they’ve done:

  • In Haiti, after their massive earthquake two years ago, the LDS Charities provided over one million pounds (25 semi–trucks) of food, hygiene kits, water filtration bottles, water systems, and medical supplies such as medicine and wheelchairs. Two thousand seven hundred tents were distributed to families forced to leave their homes.

  • In Japan, after last year's tsunami, in the first few days the Church provided more than 135,000 pounds of food, water and supplies, 10,000 liters of fuel and 15,000 blankets. Local Church leaders created an emergency response committee, which met daily to identify and respond to community needs and to organize volunteer efforts. Over 40,000 hours of service were given by more than 4,000 Mormon volunteers. Hundreds of congregations in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka established plans to assemble hygiene and cleaning kits. Members also delivered aid by scooters provided by the Church to areas too difficult to reach by car. In addition, the Church made a substantial financial donation to the Japan Red Cross.

W This sort of organized assistance from the LDS church can be seen at almost any disaster any place in the world. Many of us have seen the bright yellow T-shirts or vests with the Mormon Helping Hands logo on it worn by local volunteers helping with disaster assistance or just community clean-up.

Some of the church's on-going efforts include:

Training –The church provides programs to train and provide equipment for health care providers to help save the lives of newborns in resource limited countries. Since 2002, over 193,000 health care workers have been trained in these life-saving techniques.

Wheel chairs—The church provides mobility devices including wheelchairs for rough terrain, hospital wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, and canes. Since 2002, over 415,000 people have received one of these devices.

Immunizations—Church financial contributions and help from 59,000 local Church volunteers have supported campaigns in 35 countries since 2003. As a result of these international efforts, there has been a 92% reduction in measles deaths in Africa and a 78% reduction worldwide. An estimated 4.3 million lives have been saved.

The church also has programs for building water systems, personal food production, and vision assistance. Just in Africa they have hundreds of projects in every country from pineapple farming and clean water projects to animal husbandry skills training and remodeling school classrooms. They have over 600 projects in Asia, over 300 in South America, and hundreds more world-wide.

But the general theme throughout all of their efforts is helping people to help themselves. This is something the church believes is critical in strengthening individuals, families, and communities.

We’ve heard the saying, “Give a man to fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and feed him for a lifetime.” The LDS church seems to push that even further to include, “Teach a man to teach another to fish, and feed a village for generations.”

How's that for welfare reform?


  1. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing the valuable information with us .Keep continue to post like this.

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  2. Wheel chairs that helps to make it easier for people to move and is compact, portable and easy to use.