From the Life of President Harold B. Lee


Helping a Family in Need

See The Presidents of the Church, Teacher’s Manual, pages 180–181.

Harold B. Lee served as a stake president during the 1930s. Times were hard—many people had lost their jobs. Worried about the 4,800 families in his stake whose fathers had no work, he called a meeting of all the bishops.

Harold: Every needy family in your wards must be given food and a few small gifts for Christmas. Visit them on Christmas Eve, and when you have finished, report back to me.

On Christmas Eve morning, he was driving to work. He saw a small boy walking in the snow without a coat or gloves.

Harold: Where are you going?

Boy: I’m going uptown to a free picture show.

Harold: Well, hop in. I’m going uptown, too.

Harold: Son, are you ready for Christmas?

Boy: We aren’t going to have any Christmas at our house. Daddy died three months ago and left Mama and me and a little brother and sister.

Harold: Give me your name and tell me where you live. You will have a Christmas. I promise that you won’t be forgotten.

That night, when the last bishop came to report, Harold realized that he had forgotten his promise.

Harold: Bishop, do you have enough to make one more visit? There is another family who needs our help.

Bishop: Yes, I have enough. Give me the address, and I’ll make the delivery.

President Lee went home. He was grateful that the little boy’s family was provided for but felt sad to have nearly forgotten them.

On Christmas morning, President Lee made a promise to himself.

Harold: From now on, I will be more aware of others’ needs. I will know my people better, and I will find out how I can help them.

He developed a welfare program to store food and other necessities for the members of his stake. When the leaders of the Church saw what he was doing, they called him to expand the program for the whole Church. The Church welfare program continues to provide for needy Latter-day Saints today.