Church News - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Lord provides for needy in His own way

Published: Saturday, March 15, 1997

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At the April 1986 general conference, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke of the Lord's admonition to care for those who are in need: "In 1831, the Lord said: `Remember the poor. . . . Inasmuch as ye impart of your substance unto the poor, ye will do it unto me.' (D&C 42:30-31.)

"A little later, he again declared, `Visit the poor and the needy and administer to their relief.' (D&C 44:6.) Later the same year, he warned: `Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls.' " (D&C 56:16.)Elder Nelson said: "With these teachings throbbing in our ears, stated and restated in accounts to all people in all days of recorded scripture, let our thoughts return to the homeless, beggars in boats, human beasts of burden, and to multitudes stricken with poverty.

"Is it possible to be faithful to our solemn obligation to care for the poor and needy, to lift them and to love them - worldwide?

"Where shall we begin?

"When?

"How?

"Hear the answer of Almighty God:

" `I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.

"`And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.

" `But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low.

" `For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.

" `Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.' " (D&C 104:14-18.)

Elder Nelson said that some might ask, " `What about those who are poor because they are idle and unwilling to work?' They should heed these words of warning:

" `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.)

" `Wo unto you poor men . . . who will not labor with your own hands!' (D&C 56:17.)

"Judgment of worthiness is made by the bishop, and ultimately by the Lord, as taught by Nephi: `With righteousness shall the Lord God judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth.' (2 Ne. 30:9.)

"Ours is not to judge; ours is a covenantal obligation to care for the poor and the needy, to prepare for their rejoicing when the Messiah shall come again. (See D&C 56:18-19.)"