Moving Toward a Socialist Utopia (Part III)
Brothers and sisters, we’ve had a fine presentation this morning from which we can all profit if we will follow the counsel. I have in mind to discuss with you two basic, fundamental principles upon which the Church Welfare Services are founded which we should never forget. They are: first, love—love of God and neighbor—and second, work.
Before doing so, however, I desire to say a word or two about agency. Free agency means the freedom and power to choose and act. Next to life itself, it is man’s most precious inheritance.
Free agency was operative in the spirit world. The gospel plan, as there proposed and adopted, provided that men should enjoy agency in mortality. Satan, with a third of the hosts of heaven, fought it there and lost, but they did not give up their opposition to the principle.
In the Garden of Eden, God endowed Adam and his posterity with free agency. Satan and his followers have, from then until now, sought directly and in every conceivable indirect manner to substitute the principle of force for the principle of free agency.
I suggest we consider what has happened to our agency with respect to contributing to the means used by the bureaucracy in administering government welfare services. In order to obtain these means, one head of state is quoted as saying, "We’re going to take all the money we think is unnecessarily being spent and take it from the 'haves' and give to the 'have nots' that need it so much." (Congressional Record, 1964, p. 6142—Remarks of the President to a Group of Leaders of Organizations of Senior Citizens in the Fish Room, Mar. 24, 1964.)
The difference between having the means with which to administer welfare assistance taken from us and voluntarily contributing it out of our love of God and fellowman is the difference between freedom and slavery.
Now as to the principle of love. In the operation of our Church Welfare Services, such love is to be the motivating power which moves us to give our time, money, and services.
When we love the Lord our God with all our hearts, might, and strength, we will love our brothers as ourselves, and we will voluntarily, in the exercise of our free agency, impart of our substance for their support.
Now about work. Work is just as important to the success of our welfare services as are the first and second great commandments and the preservation of our free agency.
We must ever keep in mind that the First Presidency, in announcing the welfare program in the October 1936 conference, said:
"Our primary purpose was to set up, in so far as it might be possible, a system under which the curse of idleness would be done away with, the evils of a dole abolished, and independence, industry, thrift and self respect be once more established amongst our people. The aim of the Church is to help the people to help themselves. Work is to be re-enthroned as the ruling principle of the lives of our Church membership." (Conference Report, Oct. 1936, p. 3; italics added.)
A year before this statement was made, on October 7, 1935, President Clark, in a special priesthood meeting held in this tabernacle, referring to government gratuities, said:
"The dispensing of these great quantities of gratuities has produced in the minds of hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of people in the United States a love for idleness, a feeling that the world owes them a living. It has made a breeding ground for some of the most destructive political doctrines that have ever found any hold in this country of ours, and I think it may lead us into serious political trouble. "I fear," he continued, "we need not be surprised if some blood shall run before we of this nation finally find ourselves."
In his conference address of April 1938, President Clark said this:
"I honor and respect old age. I would not see it suffer from want, not from disease that can be helped. It is entitled to every care, to every act of kindness, to every loving caress which a grateful community and a devoted family can give. I have every sympathy with age. I know the difficulties which age has in fitting into modern, economic life. …
"Some plan must be devised that shall make certain that no aged person shall be cold or go hungry or unclad. But the prime responsibility for supporting an aged parent rests upon his family, not upon society. Ours is not a socialistic or communistic state, where the people are mere vassals to be driven about as animals from one corral to another. We are freemen. So still with us the family has its place and its responsibilities and duties, which are God-given. The family which refuses to keep its own is not meeting its duties. When an aged parent has no family or when the family is itself without means, then society must, as a matter of merest humanity, come to the rescue. This is perfectly clear.
"But it is a far cry from this wise principle to saying that every person reaching a fixed age shall thereafter be kept by the state in idleness. Society owes to no man a life of idleness, no matter what his age. I have never seen one line in Holy Writ that calls for, or even sanctions this. In the past no free society has been able to support great groups in idleness and live free." (CR, Apr. 1938, pp. 106-7.)
And I’ll say to you that no society in the future will ever be able to do so.
And in a private letter five years later, President Clark wrote:
"You must remember that back and behind this whole propaganda of 'pensions', gratuities, and doles to which we are now being subjected, is the idea of setting up in America, a socialistic or communistic state, in which the family would disappear, religion would be prescribed and controlled by the state, and we should all become mere creatures of the state, ruled over by ambitious and designing men."
What has happened during the third of a century since this statement was made testifies to President Clark’s prophetic insight.
Prayer in schools has been dealt a fatal blow. The integrity of the family is being undermined. Unemployment compensation, Medicaid, aid to families with dependent children (AFDC), food stamps, and hundreds of other transfer-payment programs for veterans, widows or widowers, and children are today all supported, totally or in part, by federal and state/local tax revenue.
Little is said or done in these programs about the obligation of parents to care for their own or of recipients to work for what they receive.
The Lord, in the revelations given during the Restoration, and the presidents of the Church since then, have unequivocally and repeatedly declared that our welfare services are to be founded on love and on work.
The Lord said in the revelation recorded in section 42 of the Doctrine and Covenants, specified by the Prophet Joseph as being the law of the Church:
"Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer." (D&C 42:42.)
A statement which focuses upon and gives real meaning to what we have been talking about here is the following "Editorial on Labor," written and published by John Taylor in Nauvoo, October 15, 1844. I just found this recently, and I think it’s a marvelous statement. This was way back there just after the Prophet had been martyred. It reads:
"Labor is the manufacturer of wealth. It was ordained of God, as the medium to be used by man to obtain his living [italics added]: hence it is the universal condition of this great bond to live. …
"God never meant to bemean his creation, especially his own image, because they had to labor:—no; never; God himself according to the good old book labored on this world, six days; and when Adam was animated from clay to life, by his spirit’s making use of him for a dwelling, we read that God put him into the garden to dress it:—Therefore, in connection with the samples of all holy men, we are bound to honor the laboring man: and despise the idler. …
"Let them labor like men, prepare for that august hour; when Babylon and all her worldly wisdom; her various delicacies; and delusive fashions, shall fall with her to rise and trouble the earth no more!" Then he said, "What a glorious prospect, to think that drunken Babylon, the great city of sin, will soon cease, and the kingdom of God rise in holy splendor, upon her ashes, and the people serve God in a perpetual union!" (Times and Seasons 5:679, Oct. 15, 1844.)
Now, my brothers and sisters, the handwriting is on the wall; "the interpretation thereof [is] sure." (Dan. 2:45.) Both history and prophecy—and I may add, common sense—bear witness to the fact that no civilization can long endure which follows the course charted by bemused manipulators and now being implemented as government welfare programs all around the world.
Babylon shall be destroyed, and great shall be the fall thereof. (See D&C 1:16.)
But do not be discouraged. Zion will not go down with her, because Zion shall be built on the principles of love of God and fellowman, work, and earnest labor, as God has directed.