Archive for the ‘LDS/Mormon’ Category

What the Mormons Know About Welfare

March 2, 2012

Mitt Romney has raised the issue of the social safety net. Washington could learn from the lesson of his church.


Salt Lake City

Ever since Mitt Romney said he was “not concerned about the very poor” but would fix America’s social safety net “if it needs repair,” conservatives and liberals have been frantically making suggestions. Gov. Romney says he would consider options like restructuring Medicaid. But if he wants to see a welfare system that lets almost no one fall through the cracks while at the same time ensuring that its beneficiaries don’t become lifelong dependents, he could look to his own church.

As I ride in a golf cart through a new 15-acre warehouse on the outskirts of Utah’s capital, I can’t help but wonder: How many Wal-Marts would fit in here? How many burgers can you make from 4,400 industrial pallets of frozen meat? And how do they keep this place cleaner than my kitchen floor?

Dedicated last month, the Bishops Central Storehouse contains a two-year supply of food to support the Mormon church’s welfare system in the U.S. and Canada (primarily for church members in need) and its humanitarian program, which sends food, medical supplies and other necessities to the needy (of all faiths) world-wide.

In addition to goods from canned peaches to emergency generators, the facility also houses the church’s own trucking company, complete with 43 tractors and 98 trailers, as well as a one-year supply of fuel, parts and tires for the vehicles. Just in case.

The storehouse is not only a kind of physical marvel — it has been built to withstand an earthquake with a magnitude as high as 7.5 — but also a symbol of strength and self-sufficiency.

Launched during the Great Depression, the Mormon welfare system was designed by church leaders as a way to match the armies of the unemployed faithful with some of the nearby farms that needed temporary labor. As storehouse manager Richard Humpherys explains, goods and services were traded so that if a father needed food for his family he could get some in exchange for, say, repairing the fence of a widow down the road.

Mormons and U.S. Marines carry aid to landslide victims in central Philippines in 2006.

In 1936, Heber Grant, one of the church leaders, reported the reasoning behind this effort: “Our primary purpose was to set up insofar 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 among our people. The aim of the Church is help the people to help themselves. Work is to be re-enthroned as the ruling principle of the lives of our Church membership.”

Over the ensuing decades, the church acquired farms and ranches of its own. It built grain silos and dairies and canneries to store and process the food. By the end of World War II, church leaders had enough in the way of reserves that they contacted President Truman to ask if they might assist in feeding and clothing the destitute across Europe. The president readily agreed.

Because it has members on the ground around the world, the church continues to be an important force in bringing food and supplies to the impoverished and victims of natural disasters. Local church leaders contact the central headquarters in Salt Lake City to tell them what is needed — gauze pads, school supplies, wheelchairs — and the church does its best to accommodate.

The Department of Defense recently visited the new storehouse to find out how the Mormons are able to mobilize so quickly, and there is an almost military sense of efficiency and strategy to the church’s efforts. When Hurricane Katrina struck, for instance, the church had positioned its fully loaded trucks in a kind of semicircle from South Carolina to Texas because no one knew how the storm was going to move. The church used reserves of fuel that it has placed around the country, and drivers were able to bring full tanker trucks into New Orleans, powering rescue vehicles and even chain saws to remove tree limbs.

Most of the inventory in the central storehouse, though, goes to supply more than 100 smaller storehouses around the country, plus hundreds of soup kitchens and homeless shelters of other religious communities around North America. Members of the Mormon church who find themselves in difficult circumstances can go to their local bishop and ask for aid.

The bishop then fills out an order allowing them to go and receive food from the local storehouse. Seventy percent of the items on the shelves are produced by the church itself and the remainder are purchased at steep wholesale discounts. According to Rick Foster, who oversees a smaller storehouse in Salt Lake City along with the cannery and dairy at Welfare Square (the original site of all the church’s welfare services), people depend on the food at the storehouse for an average of three to six months

That’s because the church’s goal is to help them get back on their feet as soon as possible. And the storehouse is only one of the tools at the disposal of local bishops, who may also refer members to other church programs, including employment counseling or family services. The bishop may even use money from a fund at his disposal to help pay for education, housing or utilities.

The labor behind the farming, food production, counseling and even cattle ranching is provided almost entirely by volunteers. Some are retired folks who come in every day. Other times an entire ward, or congregation, will come for the day, each of the members standing on an industrial assembly line packaging bread, processing cheese or sealing jars of apple sauce.

Regular tithing by church members helps pay for the facilities, but the primary source of capital support is the Mormons’ monthly fast, as church members are asked to contribute what they would have spent on two meals. Many give much more, says Mr. Foster.

It is safe to assume that Mr. Romney is among them. The tens of millions of dollars he has given the church over the years have raised suspicion in some quarters. What does the church do with all that cash? Wouldn’t that money have been better spent paying a higher income-tax rate? But his donations are supporting the kind of safety net that government can never hope to create. Jesus may have said the poor will always be with you, but he didn’t say Medicaid would.

Ms. Riley, a former Journal editor, writes frequently about religion.

Wall Street Journal article on 2/18/12: What the Mormons Know About Welfare

How to create a “Google Alert” for your ancestor

December 28, 2009

How to create a “Google Alert” for your ancestor

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We spend a lot of time looking for our ancestors. Wouldn’t it be nice if they just showed up in our email’s inbox? With the free tool, Google Alerts, this is possible.

With hundreds of millions of web sites on the Internet, we typically use search engines, such as Google, Bing, Excite, etc. to find what we are looking for, such as our ancestors. Some of us probably even search for our own names to see what others are saying about us.

I don’t know how many thousands or millions of new web sites are created each month, but if we really want to find on the Internet what we are looking for, then we have to continually search and re-search – and then do this every month to see if any of the new web sites contain what we are looking for.

By creating a Google Alert, whenever Google finds your word or phrase that you are interested in, Google will automatically send you an email. For example, I am searching for an ancestor, James Marion McCall. If, today, I don’t find anything relevant, I can create a Google Alert for his name, and then work on other things, such as get ready for our 7th annual Legacy Genealogy Cruise to Australia and New Zealand. 🙂 Then, if someone publishes new information to a website that Google finds, I’ll get an email with a direct link to the new page.

In a sense, our ancestors are hunting for us for a change.

Here’s how to do it.

1) Go to, enter your search terms, your email address, and click “Create Alert”.


2) Google then sends you a verification email. You will not receive Google Alerts on your topic until you click the link in the verification email to confirm your request.

3) Sit back and relax. Do something with your living relatives. Go on vacation. Read a book.

While you are enjoying life, Google is working for you. When it finds your phrase, you will receive an email with a link to the website, and hopefully information about your ancestor.

For more information or to create an alert, visit

(Info from

Military Records Request – search aid

December 23, 2009

For anyone that does family history or genealogy work the following information will be useful at some point in your information searches. Hope you can out this to good use, and happy hunting.

DD Form 214, Discharge Papers and Separation Documents

corner of dd-214A Report of Separation is generally issued when a service member performs active duty or at least 90 consecutive days of active duty training. The Report of Separation contains information normally needed to verify military service for benefits, retirement, employment, and membership in veterans’ organizations. Information shown on the Report of Separation may include the service member’s:

  • Date and place of entry into active duty
  • Home address at time of entry
  • Date and place of release from active duty
  • Home address after separation
  • Last duty assignment and rank
  • Military job specialty
  • Military education
  • Decorations, medals, badges, citations, and campaign awards
  • Total creditable service
  • Foreign service credited
  • Separation information (type of separation, character of service, authority and reason for separation, separation and reenlistment eligibility codes)

The report of separation form issued in most recent years is the DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. Before January 1, 1950, several similar forms were used by the military services, including the WD AGO 53, WD AGO 55, WD AGO 53-55, NAVPERS 553, NAVMC 78PD, and the NAVCG 553.

To get copies of DD Form 214, Discharge Papers or Separation Documents:

Quote about America from President Harold B. Lee

October 30, 2009

We WILL win this battle!

We receive so many negative, pessimistic, and critical emails about our country and its government, that it is nice to read these assuring and faith promoting words.

Quote from President Harold B. Lee: LDS Church

“Men may fail in this country, earthquakes may come, seas may
heave beyond their bounds, there may be great drought, disaster, and hardship, but this nation, founded on principles laid down by men whom God raised up, will never fail.  This is the cradle of humanity, where life on this earth began in the Garden of Eden.  This is the place of the new Jerusalem.  This is the place that the Lord said is favored above all other nations in all the world.  This is the place where the Savior will come to His temple.  This is the favored land in all the world.  Yes, I repeat, men may fail, but this nation won’t fail.  I have faith in America; you and I must have faith in America, if we understand the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We are living in a day when we must pay heed to these challenges.

I plead with you not to preach pessimism.  Preach that this is the greatest country in all the world.  This is the favored land.  This is the land of our forefathers.  It is the nation that will stand despite whatever trials or crises it may yet have to pass through.

(Ye Are the Light of the World, 350-51)
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against
spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Ephesians 6:12

Gladys Knight Tells Floridians, “This is the Light”

October 18, 2009

By Geoffrey Biddulph

Gladys Knight and her 60-person choir of Latter-day Saints gave four performances for more than 5,000 people in southern Florida last week.

“This is the way, this is the light,” she said in teary testimony regarding The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Gladys Knight is famous worldwide for such songs as “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” and “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Over the weekend, she, along with her choir and a three-person band gave four shows to thousands of members and non-member investigators, who crowded into the Fort Lauderdale Florida stake center building. They heard Knight’s renditions of “Because I have been Given Much” and “I am a Child of God,” as well as several Gospel songs that are not in the Church hymn book.

Knight sang several solos, but she also directed several choir members who also took the stage alone. They sang songs such as “Uphold Me with Thy Sweet Spirit” and “Oh, How I Love Jesus” with a swelling choir behind them.

The highlight of the evening was certainly when the famed singer and her husband both gave their testimonies of the restored gospel.

“It is indeed a miracle that I belong to this church,” Sister Knight said. “The image of the Church in the past has not been conducive to my being here. It shows His hand in motion. An African-American woman: Who knew I would have a calling such as this?”

Knight has indeed been given a special calling by the Brethren to travel throughout the world giving her testimony both in speech and through song. Given her fame and her reputation, she may be a vessel for bringing thousands of tens of thousands to investigate the Church.

Several years ago, Gladys Knight’s son was the first member of her family to look at the Church. After he got baptized, her daughter came next.

Sister Knight described her search for God’s true church, which came after the baptism of her children:

“I was raised in a Baptist home. We spent all day on Sunday at church. I was kind of all over the place religiously. I was a Baptist and then a Catholic and then I went to several other churches. I was seeking. There was something good in every one of those churches, but I thought there’s got to be more. My daughter Kenya said, ‘talk to the missionaries.’ I fell in love right away. They were respectful, and the first thing they said was, ‘Can we pray?’ I believe in the power of prayer. They told me, ‘You check it out.’ I got on my knees and asked the Lord, and I got my  answer. I couldn’t wait for my next lessons. I said I wanted to get baptized tomorrow.”

Very soon after that, she was baptized.

Her husband, William McDowell, gave an eloquent and humor-laced testimony about his courtship and marriage to one of the most famous singers around.

They met because he was the manager of a spa in San Diego. “As Gladys kept traveling around the world, and I kept on traveling around San Diego, it was common knowledge Gladys has lost her mind and had joined those Mormons,” Brother McDowell said.

He would go to visit her in Las Vegas and, “There were a lot of young men on bicycles who kept on visiting — hungry young men on bicycles.”

McDowell added, “They kept on saying they belonged to the true church of Jesus Christ. I was raised very Baptist by god-fearing people, my grandparents. How could they not be members of the true church?”

But McDowell said he went to seminary and read The Book of Mormon and then got on his knees and asked, and “I received the answers. My grandparents had prepared me to recognize the Truth when I saw it.”

He acknowledged his brother, who was in the audience, and said, “This is the first time he has heard my testimony. Hopefully I can bring my family to a truth. The Church of Jesus Christ has been restored. It was restored by a young boy, Joseph Smith, who in a field saw God the Father and Jesus Christ.”

McDowell continued, “Take the time to research and find out for yourself. Take the time to pick up The Book of Mormon. Ask whether it is true. If you want to see a miracle, just think that Gladys Knight is running a choir in the Mormon Church.”

He then introduced his wife as “Gladys Knight McDowell,” and she sang a song to which Brother McDowell wrote the lyrics — “He Lives.” It was a very moving song about the Savior that Knight sang to a misty-eyed crowd.

“I have to give this testimony of mine,” Knight said. “I have no other choice. Sometimes the truth is right before you and you don’t see it.”

Knight said that it has sometimes been difficult for her to tell people she is a Mormon. “But this is the true church. It has the 12 apostles, just like Jesus’ church. Just like the people in Jesus’ day, we need to look farther for the truth. The people in those days got the same ridicule we get today. I was willing to risk that for the honor of serving him.”

She asked non-members in the audience, “At least see for yourselves. At least be obedient to that end.” She then went into the audience to shake hands and give hugs to the many people who adore her.

Mission President Noel Reynolds said his missionaries received 425 solid referrals from the event.

“The missionaries from the Haitian branch brought 17 people, and one young lady asked to be baptized right away after hearing Gladys Knight’s testimony,” President Reynolds said. Another ward mission leader had been asking his father, a Baptist, to hear the discussions for year. His father finally agreed with enthusiasm after attending the Gladys Knight event.


May God bless you in your life and help you in your search for happiness.

For anyone who has questions and is interested in finding out more, click on this link –

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