Bishops’ Storehouse Opens the Windows of Heaven
How a bishop helped a family in need through the resources provided by the welfare program of the Church.
In 1831 the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that members of the Church should “impart of [their] substance unto the poor, … and they shall be laid before the bishop … [and] kept in my storehouse, to administer to the poor and the needy” (D&C 42:31, 34).
More than 180 years later, bishops’ storehouses around the world continue to support bishops in the call to “be faithful; stand in the office which [the Lord has] appointed unto [them]; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5).
Whether it is a building containing food and other supplies or a set of resources in the ward a bishop can draw from, bishops' storehouses are being used to care for those in need.
The Church manual, Basic Principles of Welfare and Self-Reliance (2009), says, “The Lord’s storehouse is available to every bishop and exists in every ward. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the Lord’s storehouse is not limited to a building or a warehouse filled with commodities awaiting distribution.”
Where a brick and mortar storehouse is not available, bishops can purchase needed commodities from local merchants using fast offerings.
The following experience is an example of how one bishop used the storehouse to help his ward members.
Sister Johnson needed a job but didn’t know where to start. Her bishop, Bishop Sanchez counseled her to be patient and helped her enroll in training to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA).
“My goal was to work in a hospital,” Sister Johnson said.
As Sister Johnson attended classes, Bishop Sanchez opened the bishops’ storehouse to the family to help them financially and to provide them with food.
One principle of the bishops’ storehouse is that those receiving welfare assistance pay it back through work opportunities. Avoiding getting something for nothing teaching self-reliance and provides a greater sense of worth to those receiving the assistance.
Sister Johnson’s husband was not a member, but he mopped floors at the meetinghouse early in the morning to help repay the assistance the family received.
“I believe in a plan that has been made by our Heavenly Father,” Bishop Sanchez said. “I know that He thinks about us individually every single day because every day that I kneel in front of my bed I do feel his influence in my heart.”
The Lord has said, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith . . . if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).
At the end of the training course, Sister Johnson received her CNA certificate and, even better, two job offers.