Stakes Receive Welfare and Self-Reliance Training
A new DVD titled Basic Principles of Welfare and Self-Reliance, along with a transcription of the DVD and a new booklet, Providing in the Lord’s Way: Summary of a Leader’s Guide to Welfare, is being shipped to stake and district presidents around the world to train bishoprics, branch presidents, high priests group leaders, elders quorum presidents, and Relief Society presidencies on how to apply Church welfare principles to today’s challenges.
According to Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop, the training gives ward and stake priesthood and Relief Society leaders the means to review and learn basic welfare principles and to discuss their application to assist those in need.
“The training will help stake and ward leaders be better prepared to teach and encourage Church members to live principles of provident living and self-reliance,” he said.
The DVD features four speakers: President Thomas S. Monson; Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop; and Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president. Each speaker focuses on different aspects of welfare: how the welfare program is the Lord’s program, the gospel vision of welfare as faith in action, bishops’ and branch presidents’ welfare responsibilities, and Relief Society presidents’ welfare responsibilities.
President Monson shares the scriptural account from 1 Kings 17 of the widow from Zarephath, who met the prophet Elijah during a famine. The widow was preparing to make a final meal for herself and her son before they died. Elijah asked the widow for food and promised that if she shared with him, her family would have food until the famine ended. She shared her food with Elijah and saw the fulfillment of his promise.
“This is the faith that has ever motivated and inspired the welfare plan of the Lord,” President Monson says. “To all within the sound of my voice I declare that the welfare plan of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is inspired of Almighty God.”
Elder Hales defines self-reliance and provident living. “Self-reliance is taking responsibility for our own spiritual and temporal welfare and for those whom Heavenly Father has entrusted to our care,” he says.
Provident living means “joyfully living within our means and preparing for the ups and downs of life so that we can be ready for the rainy-day emergencies when they come into our lives,” Elder Hales says.
“How, then, do we obtain Heavenly Father’s help so that we have enough for our own needs and also enough to serve others?” he asks. “One of the fundamental principles of welfare is the payment of tithes and offerings.”
Bishop Burton lists five basic and time-tested welfare principles for priesthood leaders. First, seek out the poor; second, promote personal responsibility; third, sustain life, not lifestyle; fourth, provide commodities before cash; and fifth, provide work and service opportunities.
Sister Beck says as she has studied the histories of the Relief Society general presidents, she has been reminded that the organization has accomplished its work in times of growth and prosperity and in times of war, famine, epidemic, and depression. She says a painting in her office of a pioneer midwife reminds her that one sister with one skill can be a blessing to many.
The Relief Society president fulfills an important part of providing aid, Sister Beck says—helping the bishop assess the needs of members. She adds that because this is “a divine work and because a Relief Society president has a divine call, she is entitled to divine help.”
The eight-page booklet included with the DVD, Providing in the Lord’s Way: Summary of a Leader’s Guide to Welfare, summarizes a 34-page manual that the Church has used to teach the principles of welfare and self-reliance in the past. The manual is called Providing in the Lord’s Way: A Leader’s Guide to Welfare and is still available to leaders as an in-depth guide on welfare management.
The DVD, transcription, and Providing in the Lord’s Way booklet do not replace the manual, but are a summary of and a supplement to it.
The Church released the English version of the DVD, transcription, and booklet in February 2009. Translations in Cantonese, Cebuano, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Spanish, Tagalog, Tahitian, and Tongan are being sent as the translation process is completed. Many have already been distributed.
The First Presidency has requested that when stake and district presidents receive the training packet, they go over the information with stake or district and ward or branch leaders. A letter included with the packet suggests an agenda for a training meeting that includes watching the 52-minute DVD or reading the transcription and counseling together on how to apply the principles taught.
According to Bishop Burton, as these leaders apply what they have learned, they will receive the inspiration and blessings of the Lord to move forward the sacred work of providing in the Lord’s way.
“Although many members face challenges as a result of today’s difficult economic times, the new training helps reassure ward and stake leaders that there are ways to address all welfare needs,” Bishop Burton said. “This training reinforces proven principles that the Lord Himself has established.”
After reviewing the materials, W. Wynn John, president of the Wilmington Delaware Stake, said the training information was “extremely timely,” as a rising number of members in his stake have lost their jobs. He said the materials would be helpful in teaching members self-reliance.
“It’s going to help us provide guidance and encourage people to take more responsibility for their personal welfare,” President John said.
Craig Ruesch, president of the Rose Park Stake in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, said, “I appreciated the attention to the responsibilities of key people—bishops, Relief Society presidents, and other priesthood leaders—helping everyone realize they have a part to play in helping others.”
President Ruesch said with the way the economy is right now, he thinks people will pay closer attention to self-reliance.
The training can help priesthood leaders apply the principles to the current circumstances, said Kenneth Smaellie, a Curriculum Department project manager who helped oversee production of the DVD and booklet. Welfare needs change from era to era, he said, and are different in today’s recession than they were in the Great Depression. But the new training helps reassure priesthood leaders that there is a way to address all welfare needs.
“It enforces proven principles that the Lord has established Himself,” Brother Smaellie said. “It also provides some current interpretation of tried and true principles to help priesthood leaders meet the needs of members today.”
Changes Made to Brazil Missions
Along with changes to mission presidents in more than 100 missions in July, the Church has made changes to three missions in Brazil.
The new Brazil Teresina Mission was organized from portions of the Brazil Belem and Brazil Fortaleza Missions.
The Brazil Belo Horizonte and Brazil Belo Horizonte East Missions were consolidated into a single Brazil Belo Horizonte Mission.
The headquarters of the Brazil Rio de Janeiro North Mission was moved to Vitoria, and the mission was renamed the Brazil Vitoria Mission.
With the creation of the Teresina mission and the consolidation of the Belo Horizonte and Belo Horizonte East missions, there remain 27 missions in Brazil, a country of nearly 200 million people, including more than one million members.
FamilySearch Indexing Now Available in Three Additional Languages
FamilySearch is adding three additional language interfaces—Italian, Portuguese, and Russian— to FamilySearchIndexing.org. Both Italian and Russian are already online; Portuguese is scheduled for the middle of 2009.
FamilySearch is currently indexing projects in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Russian. Two of these projects are records from Kyiv, Ukraine, collected from 1840 to 1842, and baptism records from Trento, Italy, collected from 1784 to 1924.
The FamilySearch indexing initiative uses volunteers to identify family history information on digitized historical documents for organization into a searchable index. People who are searching for their ancestors can access the indexes online to find out if further information is available.
In 2008, FamilySearch indexing volunteers indexed more than 115 million names. The volunteers who work on the indexing process live all around the world, said Paul Nauta, public affairs manager for FamilySearch. Volunteers are always in demand, especially those who read a language other than English, he said.
Anyone of any age can register to volunteer by visiting FamilySearchIndexing.org.
New Area Leadership Assignments
The First Presidency has announced changes in area leadership assignments effective on August 1, 2009. All members of Area Presidencies are members of the First or Second Quorums of the Seventy.
Elder Donald L. Hallstrom has been called to serve in the Presidency of the Seventy following the call of Elder Neil L. Andersen to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
The First Presidency also announced the combining of the South America North and South America West Areas. The new area will be called the South America Northwest Area.
Presidency of the Seventy
Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple Set for Dedication
The Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple will be dedicated in six sessions on Saturday and Sunday, August 22 and 23, 2009. The dedication follows the temple’s public open house which was held from June 1 through August 1, 2009. The temple is scheduled to open for ordinances on Monday, August 24, 2009.
In a letter dated April 7, 2009, the First Presidency stated: “We, with you, look forward to the dedication of this house of the Lord and the blessing it will be to the Saints.”
The Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple is the second to be dedicated in the Salt Lake Valley this year to alleviate overcrowding due to growth in the area. The Draper Utah Temple was dedicated in March 2009.
Atlanta Georgia Temple Closes for Renovation
The Atlanta Georgia Temple was set to close on July 1, 2009, for renovations that will take approximately 18 months to complete.
In a letter to members, the First Presidency invited those living in the Atlanta Temple district to attend other temples as their circumstances permit while the Atlanta Temple is closed. Some nearby temples are open by appointment only, so patrons and priesthood leaders will need to contact the temple in advance.
In the letter, the First Presidency also encouraged all Church members to “remain worthy of, or to become worthy of a temple recommend in preparation for the time when the temple will reopen.”
The Atlanta Georgia Temple was first dedicated on June 1, 1983.
Church Responds to Quake in Italy
Within hours of a major 6.3 magnitude earthquake, members of the Rome Italy Stake were organizing to provide food and hygiene items for the Italian Red Cross and shelter for those affected, and the Church had arranged to send fast offering funds to local Church leaders in L’Aquila, Italy, and surrounding areas. Local leaders formed an earthquake committee to provide temporal, emotional, medical, and spiritual support to members whom the earthquake affected.
At least 281 people died in the quake and multiple aftershocks on April 6 and 7, 2009. Towns and villages surrounding L’Aquila, Castelnuovo, Poggio Picenze, Torminatarte, Fossa, Totiani, and Villa Sant’Angelo reported deaths. Many people in Rome, which is about 55 miles (88 km) southeast of L’Aquila, felt the earthquake.
Rescue workers dug through debris, many with their hands, searching for survivors in the rubble. Close to 28,000 people were believed to be homeless.
Within two hours of the earthquake, local leaders accounted for the safety of all Church members and missionaries. L’Aquila has a branch with 25 to 30 active members. The Church received reports that four families of members in the branch had lost their homes. The earthquakes destroyed the L’Aquila meetinghouse.
The main earthquake, which occurred at 3:32 a.m. on April 6, demolished many of the historic buildings in the city as well.
The main hospital in L’Aquila was evacuated after the earthquake because of structural problems. Phone and power lines in the city shut down. Some bridges and roads closed as a precaution because of the series of aftershocks, one of which was a 5.6 magnitude.
Dam Breaks in Indonesia
At least 97 people died and more than 100 were still missing days after a colonial-era dam burst, sending a wall of muddy water through a suburb southwest of Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta, on March 27, 2009.
The 16-meter-high (52-foot-high) earthen dam, which Dutch colonists built in 1933, gave way after torrential rains overfilled the manmade lake Situ Gintung. The tsunami-like wave crashed through the low-lying residential area before dawn, flattening more than 300 homes and flooding 200 others.
Church members and missionaries were reported safe. The flood did not affect any Church buildings.
Soldiers, police, and volunteers helped to dig through mud and debris, looking for survivors. Church members from two branches in Jakarta worked with the Muhammadiyah Islamic Organization to provide aid to flood victims.
River Brings Flooding to U.S., Canada
Two people died and more than 50 were injured in the worst flooding Fargo, North Dakota, USA, has seen in 112 years. The flooding of the Red River led to the evacuation of 150 homes on March 27, 2009. The U.S. government declared all of North Dakota and seven counties in Minnesota, USA, disaster areas.
In Fargo, the flooding destroyed one member home, and approximately 17 member families evacuated as a precaution. All missionaries were safe. The floodwater did not damage any Church buildings or missionary apartments.
Volunteers filled more than 2.5 million sandbags to reinforce levees protecting endangered areas. Members and missionaries were among those volunteering. Many schools and offices in the area closed to allow students and employees to help sandbag.
Parts of Manitoba, Canada, prepared their communities as the floodwater moved downstream toward them. The Red River, which runs along the border between North Dakota and Minnesota, continues northward into Manitoba, Canada, and empties into Lake Winnipeg.
The flooding started in mid-March, when rainstorms melted the snowpack before it could be absorbed into the earth. The river overflowed as the additional water and large chunks of ice clogged its flow. The flooding eroded a dike, washing over parts of Fargo. At one point, the Red River rose to 40.32 feet (12 m), 22 feet (6.8 m) above flood level.
Local Church members are planning ongoing projects to help with the cleanup process.
Young Adult Stories Needed
Beginning in 2010, the Liahona will include more content specifically for young adults. To gather strong, inspiring articles, we invite young adults to contribute personal experiences with any gospel principle.
Please e-mail your submissions to Liahona@ldschurch.org or mail them to:
Please include your name, date of birth, address, e-mail address, and ward/stake (or branch/district) with each submission.
Additional Sharing Time Ideas, August 2009
The following are additional ideas Primary leaders may use with the Sharing Time printed in the August 2009 Liahona. For the lesson, instructions, and activity that correspond with these ideas, see
The temple is the house of God. Show a picture of a temple. Ask the children to raise their hands if they have seen or been to a temple. Invite the children to share their feelings about the temple. On one side of the board, write, “What is a temple?” and on the other side, write, “What special experiences take place in the temple?” Divide the children into two groups. While you sing together the first and second verses of “I Love to See the Temple” (Children’s Songbook, 95), have one group listen for what the temple is (house of God, place of love and beauty, holy place), while the other group listens for what takes place in the temple (feel the Holy Spirit, listen, pray, covenant with my Father, promise to obey, sealed together). Write their responses on the board after each verse of the song. Explain that the temple is a house of God and that the Lord has given instructions about what kind of house it should be. Ask the children to listen as you read together Doctrine and Covenants 88:119. On the board, write, “A house of _____” seven times. Ask the children to help fill in the blanks with the words from the scripture. To help the children understand that Church members must be worthy to enter the Lord’s house, invite the bishop or branch president to talk briefly about temple recommend interviews.
I will prepare now to go to the temple. Beforehand, draw on separate pieces of paper simple pictures of a mouth, eye, ear, hand, and foot. Write the following phrases on the board: “House of God,” “Place of love and beauty,” “Holy place.” To begin sharing time, ask a child to read the three phrases. Have the children whisper what the phrases describe (the temple). Teach that on each temple are written the words “Holiness to the Lord.” Explain that because the temple is holy and the work done inside the temple is holy, we must prepare ourselves to be worthy to enter after we turn 12. Have the children listen for when they should begin to prepare to go to the temple while you sing, “I’ll prepare myself while I am young; this is my sacred duty” (“I Love to See the Temple,” Children’s Songbook, 95). Ask: “When should I begin preparing to go to the temple?” (while I am young). Have the children sing that line with you. While the pianist plays “I Love to See the Temple,” pass around the drawing of the mouth. When the music stops, have the child holding the mouth tell one thing his or her mouth can do now to help him or her prepare to go to the temple: pray, speak kindly, tell the truth, keep the Word of Wisdom, and so on. (If the child is not able to think of a response, invite other children to respond.) After the child responds, ask for other ideas from the children. Do the same with the drawings of the eye, ear, hand, and foot.
Song presentation: “Families Can Be Together Forever” (Children’s Songbook, 188). Teach the chorus first by randomly posting wordstrips of each phrase, written with just the first letter of each word. (The first phrase would be FCBTF.) Tell the children to listen while you sing the chorus so they can help put the phrases in the correct order. You may have to sing it more than once. When the phrases are in order, have the children sing the chorus. Teach the first and second verses by writing a key word from each line on a wordstrip. Invite a child to the front of the room. Hold the wordstrip above his or her head where he or she can’t see it. Tell the children this is to remind them of the word not to sing. As the Primary sings, ask the child to listen for the key word that is missing. When he or she guesses correctly, have the Primary sing the phrase including the key word. Follow this pattern for the other lines. Sing the song all the way through.