Churches have an important role in these troubled times. As recounted in Matthew 25: 35-36, 40, Jesus Christ taught an important lesson to his disciples: “For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in; Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me; And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
In keeping with these teachings, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for years has taught and has actively assisted individuals and families to be self-reliant — that is, to not live beyond their means, to stay out of debt as much as possible, to create savings, to have an extra supply of food on hand in the event of emergencies or job loss and to increase one’s job skills or education.
Unfortunately, not all individuals can be self reliant, and, because of this, the church has developed an extensive welfare program to assist those in need (see www.providentliving.org). This program not only provides needy individuals with basic commodities and clothing, but it also provides individuals with resources to find jobs, to improve employment skills, to deal with marriage, family and/or psychological issues and to overcome drug and alcohol abuse and dependence.
In addition, church members volunteer time and provide financial resources to help those who are affected by natural disasters both in this country and throughout the world. Our church congregations in the local areas has been actively involved in providing assistance to the needy and is in the process of increasing it’s staffing and resources given the current economic climate. I feel that it is the responsibility of all churches to reach out and help the needy during such troubled times.
?Fred L. Carpenter is a bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.