Church Welfare Offers More Than Short-term Aid in Times of Need

As the world faces growing uncertainty, many members are coming to more fully appreciate Church leaders’ frequent counsel to be prepared. However, adversity often comes unexpectedly. Unemployment, the loss of a loved one, or a natural disaster typically aren’t events one can mark on a calendar months in advance.

When calamity destroys self-reliance, the Church’s resources are meant to help members not only for the short term, but also in rebuilding their lives. The Church’s welfare program was developed to give assistance to those in need while teaching them principles of self-reliance and providing opportunities for them to develop it.

Church resources that are particularly relevant to current circumstances include bishops’ storehouses, LDS Employment Services, and the All Is Safely Gathered In pamphlets, which teach principles of provident living.

Bishops’ Storehouses

Soon after the Church was organized in 1830, Church leaders and members gathered to Kirtland, Ohio. In December of 1831, Newel K. Whitney was called to be the second bishop of the Church. As bishop, he was a steward over the temporal and spiritual needs of the congregation. Many of the members did not have much and had traveled to Ohio on foot, carrying everything they owned.

While staying at the John Johnson home in Hiram, Ohio, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation to establish a storehouse: “It must needs be that there be an organization of my people, in regulating and establishing the affairs of the storehouse for the poor of my people, both in this place and in the land of Zion” (D&C 78:3).

To accommodate the needy people in the area, Brother Whitney collected grains and other useful commodities to store and distribute to the poor. Thus, in Kirtland, the first form of a bishops’ storehouse was established.

Functioning much like that early storehouse, 146 bishops’ storehouses are serving people in need around the western hemisphere today. And in locations where an official bishops’ storehouse is not accessible, each bishop oversees a storehouse of sorts made up of the time, talents, and other consecrated resources of faithful Church members that the bishop can call on to assist those in need (see Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 1: Stake Presidents and Bishoprics [2006], 18).

Just as the items found in Newel K. Whitney’s storehouse were the necessities, bishops’ storehouses today are stocked with essential food and home items.

Recipients of any commodities provided through the bishop are provided with opportunities to work, to the extent of their ability, in return for the items they receive. Assignments may include cleaning a meetinghouse or being of service to someone else who needs help. This gives the recipients a sense of ownership and accomplishment as well as an opportunity to give back.

Storehouses are funded by fast-offering donations from members of the Church throughout the world. Most of the work carried out at bishops’ storehouses is volunteer work, done by generous people wanting to help. In areas where access to a bishops’ storehouse is not available, bishops may use the funds from fast-offering collections. This money goes toward food and necessary items for specific individuals in need.

LDS Employment Services

Employment resource service centers located throughout the world offer free services for those who are looking for work or trying to improve their employment situation.

More than 100 centers are located in the United States, and more than 150 centers are located throughout the world in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Europe, and Latin America. The services are available to anyone, not just Church members.

Employment resource service centers offer help in finding job openings and opportunities and show participants how to better qualify for work.

Some of the services available include job postings, instructions on how to search for a job, one-on-one assistance, and career services. Classes include how to enhance a résumé, Internet training in computer skills, interviewing proficiency, and specific job training.

In 2006 more than 225,000 people around the world were placed in jobs. LDS Employment Services helps people find jobs quickly because of the networking available and new skills learned and applied.

Access to more information on LDS Employment Services can be found at Tips to help job applicants get hired, career counseling, educational funding information, and job opportunities are available on the Web site. A search by map shows the locations of employment resource service centers.

Financial Preparation

For decades Church leaders have counseled members to live within their means and to get out and stay out of debt. Doing so prevents unnecessary stress on marriage and family relationships and provides stability in an unstable economy.

President N. Eldon Tanner (1898–1982) of the First Presidency said: “Those who structure their standard of living to allow a little surplus, control their circumstances. Those who spend a little more than they earn are controlled by their circumstances. They are in bondage” (“Constancy amid Change,” Liahona, Feb. 1982, 46).

In an effort to help Church members establish control over their finances and live a debt-free life, the Church has produced a pamphlet outlining the basics of family finances.

“Latter-day Saints have been counseled for many years to prepare for adversity by having a little money set aside,” the First Presidency wrote in the All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances pamphlet. “Doing so adds immeasurably to security and well-being. Every family has a responsibility to provide for its own needs to the extent possible.”

Members are encouraged to follow a few simple rules to get their finances in order. The first item on the list includes paying tithing and points out the blessings promised to a full-tithe payer. Other steps include avoiding debt by spending less money than is earned and using a budget. Recording expenditures helps reveal how budgeted funds are spent.

Gradually building a financial reserve is another way to be prepared for emergencies. Parents are encouraged to teach family members the principles of financial management, involving everyone in creating a budget and setting financial goals.

“We encourage you wherever you may live in the world to prepare for adversity by looking to the condition of your finances,” the First Presidency wrote. “We urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from this bondage. Save a little money regularly to gradually build a financial reserve.”

Be Prepared

With the uncertainty of the world around them, members can find hope through heeding the words of the prophets and doing all within their power to prepare. Welfare services are one way people are preparing for and recovering from hard times.

Through bishops’ storehouses, LDS Employment Services, and learning how to put their homes in financial order, members can press forward, knowing that “if ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30).

A service missionary helps a customer at a bishops’ storehouse in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Photograph by Welden Andersen

People hoping to improve their employment situation participate in a career workshop offered at an LDS employment resource center.

Photograph by Robert Casey

The Church has offered guidelines for provident living to help members through difficult economic times.

Photograph by Robert Casey

New Temple Presidents Now Serving

By assignment from the First Presidency, 39 new temple presidents are now serving with their spouses. The presidents of the Panama City Panama, Rexburg Idaho, and Twin Falls Idaho Temples began serving earlier in 2008 after the temples were dedicated. The president of the Draper Utah Temple will begin serving after the temple is dedicated on March 20, 2009.


New President

Adelaide Australia

Philip F. Howes

Apia Samoa

John P. Hanks

Asunción Paraguay

David K Udall

Baton Rouge Louisiana

Max P. Brough

Bern Switzerland

Raimondo Castellani

Billings Montana

Ronald M. Morrison

Bismarck North Dakota

John R. Reese

Bogotá Colombia

Jorge J. Escobar

Boise Idaho

Wenden W. Waite

Columbia South Carolina

Brent H. Koyle

Curitiba Brazil

Jason G. Sousa

Draper Utah

Donald L. Staheli

Freiberg Germany

Frank H. Apel

Guayaquil Ecuador

Jorge A. Rojas

Idaho Falls Idaho

Larry G. Stoddard

Jordan River Utah

F. Wayne Chamberlain

Kona Hawaii

Opurainonarii Mo‘o

Logan Utah

W. Rolfe Kerr

Los Angeles California

Grant R Brimhall

Louisville Kentucky

Dale R. Hettinger

Lubbock Texas

E. Dale Cluff

Madrid Spain

Garry K. Moore

Mount Timpanogos Utah

L. Edward Brown

Newport Beach California

D. Thomas Borgquist

Oakland California

Richard A. Hunter

Ogden Utah

Robert R. Steuer

Panama City Panama

Ronald D. Jamison

Rexburg Idaho

Val R. Christensen

Salt Lake

Sheldon F. Child

San Antonio Texas

Marion D. Woods

San Diego California

Bruce L. Olsen

Snowflake Arizona

Lewis Tenney

Suva Fiji

LaRon P. Woolley

Sydney Australia

W. John Bailey

The Hague Netherlands

Jacob J. Van Ry

Toronto Ontario

Stephen M. Hadley

Twin Falls Idaho

Donald R. Gerratt

Vernal Utah

Mac W. Holmes

Washington D.C.

Earl C. Tingey

The Guayaquil Ecuador Temple is 1 of 39 temples with new temple presidents.

Photograph by Edward Ledeno Perez

Church Aids Hurricane Victims

Many people were affected by the 2008 hurricane season. Power outages, flooding, and other physical damages to homes left many without shelter. More than 20 Church buildings throughout the Caribbean and the United States were used as shelters. Approximately 35 member homes were destroyed, and more than 250 were seriously damaged.

In an effort to help storm-stricken areas, the Church responded quickly, sending much-needed help and supplies. Priesthood leaders worked with other organizations to distribute supplies.

Hurricane Gustav

Hurricane Gustav, the second major hurricane of 2008, formed on August 25, 2008, about 260 miles (420 km) southeast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and eventually caused serious damage in the Dominican Republic; Haiti; Jamaica; the Cayman Islands; Cuba; and Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas in the United States.

Torrential rain and strong winds blew threw Haiti on August 26, as Hurricane Gustav’s destructive path left people homeless and without many necessities. At least four major storms hit the area during the 2008 hurricane season (Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike), leaving a trail of destruction and a need for help with cleanup work.

The Church sent three planeloads of supplies to Port-au-Prince, and priesthood leaders worked with multiple organizations to help distribute the aid. Included in the supplies were hygiene kits, hand soap, cleaning kits, tents, generators, plastic sheeting, hammers, and nails. The Church also sent additional funds to purchase food and other necessary relief supplies.

Many Church members in Haiti assisted in putting together and organizing relief supplies that were then distributed to areas of need.

In addition to the relief efforts in Haiti, aid was sent to help victims in the southern United States, also hard hit by the storms. The Church donated more than 20 truckloads of supplies, including more than 7 truckloads of hygiene kits (103,600) and 11 truckloads of cleaning kits (22,176). Food boxes intended to feed a family of four were distributed to some 1,200 families. Each food box included rice, vegetable oil, peanut butter, fruit drink mix, and assorted canned goods.

Additional assistance from the bishops’ storehouse in Slidell, Louisiana, included food, water, generators, tools, sleeping bags, chain saws, tarps, and other smaller items.

Hurricane Ike

The third major hurricane of 2008, Hurricane Ike, stormed through Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and the United States, leaving a trail of destruction in early September 2008. States in the U.S. affected included Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.

In preparation for Hurricane Ike, the Church sent supplies to Slidell, Louisiana, and to Houston, Carrollton, Lufkin, and San Antonio, Texas. More than 9,000 cleaning kits were distributed to the various areas before the storm hit.

Other supplies sent as part of the prepositioning strategy included a supply of food and hygiene products along with assorted emergency supplies. Included were blankets, sleeping bags, work gloves, chain saws, wheelbarrows, first aid kits, cots, tents, and water.

In response to all of the destruction, approximately 18,500 member volunteer hours were given over a two-day period by approximately 1,300 cleanup workers. During the two-day period about 2,500 projects were completed.

David Dickamore, wearing a Mormon Helping Hands shirt, cuts limbs from a tree blown down by Hurricane Ike in Texas.

Photograph by Carina Olsen

Church Gives New Look, More Content

To make using easier and more effective, the Church has made navigation and visual changes to the site and added more multimedia content.

“When visiting the earlier version of, you had to do too much navigation to get into the doctrine,” said Ron Wilson, manager of Internet and marketing for the Missionary Department. The new design has a “cleaner look, simpler navigation, and more open feeling.”, includes information about the basic beliefs of the Church, gives answers to frequently asked questions, tells people where they can find and attend Church meetings in their area, and allows visitors to communicate with missionaries live.

Although the overall content and purpose of the site haven’t changed, it has been updated. In addition to the visual changes, the new Web site includes additional content to make it more media rich. There are testimonies from General Authorities and from members from all over the world. A new video entitled Finding Happiness is now available, which gives insight on how to find purpose in life.

The home page of the new site directly addresses these four commonly asked questions: What is the purpose of my life? Does God really know me? What happens when I die? Is God happy with me?

The updated site is intended to help nonmembers and members alike. All information and lessons found on the site are aligned with the missionary lessons found in Preach My Gospel.

Members are encouraged to use the site and to share it often. They can give the Web address to people inquiring about the Church or find answers to others’ questions or their own. “This is a safe and nonthreatening way for members to share the gospel,” Brother Wilson said. Future plans include making it easier to link to from personal blogs, social networking sites, and personal Web sites.

The updated Web site launched on September 18, 2008, in English and is expected to be available in Spanish by early 2009. More than 20 languages are planned to be available later in 2009.

The updated site includes more content and is meant to be more appealing to all visitors.

Book of Mormon Reaches 140 Million Milestone

The 140 millionth copy of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ was recently distributed, passing another milestone in the book’s history. Since it was first published in 1830, the Book of Mormon has been taken worldwide by more than a million missionaries. It is currently available in 107 languages.

In 2003, Book magazine named the Book of Mormon one of the “20 Books That Changed America” (July/August issue, 59). In October 2007, President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) described its modern influence: “Through all of these years critics have tried to explain it. They have spoken against it. They have ridiculed it. But it has outlived them all, and its influence today is greater than at any time in its history” (“The Stone Cut Out of the Mountain,” Liahona, Nov. 2007, 83).

The Book of Mormon has been described as the “keystone” of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (see Introduction to the Book of Mormon) and is used side by side with the Bible in members’ teaching and personal study.

The Church has printed more than 140 million copies of the Book of Mormon since 1830.

Temple News

Twin Falls Temple Open

The Twin Falls Idaho Temple is open and operating after its dedication on August 24, 2008, by President Thomas S. Monson. This marks the 128th operating temple in the world and the fourth in the state of Idaho.

“We are grateful for this long-awaited day of dedication, when this, Thy holy house, has been completed,” said President Monson in the dedicatory prayer. “Bless, we pray Thee, those faithful members here and throughout the world who have contributed their tithes which have made possible this magnificent edifice for Thy name’s honor and glory and for the blessing of all who enter herein.”

The new temple district includes 14 stakes serving approximately 42,000 members in the south-central Idaho area. Temple visitors can see the beautiful Idaho scenery of waterfalls and the syringa flower (Idaho state flower) represented within the 31,500-square-foot (2,900-square-meter) temple’s walls, stained glass, and landscaping.

More than 150,000 visitors toured the temple during an open house held the month before the dedication. The temple was first announced in October 2004, and ground was broken in April 2006.

The Twin Falls Idaho Temple was dedicated in August 2008.

Draper Temple Dates Announced

The First Presidency has announced open house and dedication dates for the Draper Utah Temple. This will be the 12th operating temple in Utah and the 129th worldwide.

“We, with you, look forward to the dedication of this house of the Lord and the blessing it will be to the Saints,” the First Presidency said in a letter to members dated September 15, 2008.

The open house was to begin on Thursday, January 15, 2009, and is scheduled to continue until Saturday, March 14, 2009, excluding Sundays. The dedication will be held from Friday, March 20, through Sunday, March 22, 2009, with four dedicatory sessions held on each of the three days.

The Draper temple was first announced on October 2, 2004, and the groundbreaking occurred on August 5, 2006. The temple will officially open on Monday, March 23, 2009.

World Briefs

Joseph Smith Manual Available as PDF in 11 Languages

The Church Curriculum Department has expanded the online availability of the manual Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith to 11 languages.

PDF files and MP3 audio files of the manual are available in English, Cantonese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Files for American Sign Language are also available.

Access the manual and other Church publications at

Triple Released in Chinese (Simplified Characters)

A new edition of the triple combination in Chinese (simplified characters) was made available through Church distribution centers in October 2008. The edition includes the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and a study aid titled Guide to the Scriptures. The Book of Mormon in Chinese (simplified characters) was published in 2001. The Book of Mormon in Chinese (traditional characters) was published in 1965, and the triple in 2007.

North American Missionaries Leave Bolivia

Some 102 North American missionaries serving in Bolivia were transferred to missions in Peru in September 2008. The transfer was made in consultation with U.S. government representatives in Bolivia and with the cooperation of Bolivian immigration authorities as a precautionary measure during unsettled conditions. The Church expects them to return when conditions improve. The Church has good relationships with the Bolivian government and has a significant humanitarian aid program there.

Additional Sharing Time Ideas, February 2009

The following are additional ideas Primary leaders may use with the Sharing Time printed in the February 2009 Liahona. For the lesson, instructions, and activity that correspond with these ideas, see “I Will Be a Strong Link” on pages F4 and F5 of the children’s section in this issue.

  1. 1.

    Use stations to teach that the priesthood is the power and authority of God used to bless and guide us. Invite priesthood holders approved by the bishop or branch president to teach at each station. Ask the pianist to play a song or hymn about the priesthood as the children move between stations (see “Stations,” Teaching, No Greater Call [1999], 179).

    Station 1: Display a picture of Jesus Christ. Use pictures to teach about the restoration of the priesthood (examples: Gospel Art Picture Kit 407 [John the Baptist Conferring the Aaronic Priesthood] and 408 [Melchizedek Priesthood Restoration]). Have a priesthood holder tell about his line of authority back to Jesus Christ by letting the children represent the priesthood holders in this line as he talks about them. Recite the fifth article of faith together.

    Station 2: Teach the children about the ordinances and blessings made possible through the priesthood by showing a picture and sharing a personal experience that goes with the picture (examples: baptizing and confirming: Gospel Art Picture Kit 601 [Baptism]; giving a healing blessing: 613 [Administering to the Sick]). Give the children an opportunity to share feelings about a blessing they’ve received. Make sure the children understand that if they do not have a priesthood holder in their home, they can receive blessings through home teachers, missionaries, the bishop or branch president, or others who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood.

    Station 3: Ask the children to name qualities that men need to qualify for the priesthood. Have them or their teachers write each quality on a piece of paper. Have the children choose a quality and tell what a Primary boy could do now to work on that quality. Bear testimony that having the priesthood to bless us is like having Heavenly Father close by all the time.

  2. 2.

    Display pictures that represent each day of the Creation. Teach that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ created the earth and everything on it for the benefit and use of people. Read together and discuss Doctrine and Covenants 59:18–20.

    Tape one of the following labels on eight children: please the eye, gladden the heart, for food, for raiment, for taste, for smell, to strengthen the body, to enliven the soul. Have these children sit facing the rest of the Primary. Have another child choose and hold a picture from the first day of Creation. Let the children decide which label fits that creation. Have the child wearing that label hold the picture. Ask how we show appreciation and good judgment in using that creation. Repeat for each day of the Creation. Stand the children with labels in the correct order, and again read Doctrine and Covenants 59:18–19. Bear testimony that God’s creations bless us.

  3. 3.

    Song presentation: “How Firm a Foundation” (Hymns, no. 85, vv. 1 and 3). Introduce the song by having the children listen for who should be our rock—our foundation—as you read Helaman 5:12.

    Have a child hold a rock and a picture of Jesus Christ while you sing the first line. Have the children repeat the line. On the board, write “faith in his _____________.” Have the children listen for the words to put in the blanks while you sing the second line. Have them sing the line. Ask: Where do we find His word (scriptures)? Invite a child to come up and hold scriptures. Have the children sing the first two lines. Sing line three. Add to the child’s scriptures until he or she is holding all the standard works, a conference report, and pictures of modern prophets to show how abundantly the Lord has given us His word. Have the children sing line three. Ask them to listen while you sing lines four and five for the word that is repeated three times (“Savior”). Define refuge (place of safety), and have the children sing lines four and five. For each line in the third verse, show a picture of Jesus Christ that represents the message. Ask the children to listen again in lines four and five for the word that is repeated.

    Bear testimony that Jesus Christ is a sure foundation and that if we are built upon His gospel, we shall not fall.