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Friday, December 2, 2011

Welfare Square: A nationwide model of economic self-reliance

Welfare Square grain elevator stands 178-feet tall in Salt Lake City, Utah
On Thursday 1 December 2011 the LDS Church's Welfare Square was toured by The Philanthropy Round Table as the last stop on a national tour highlighting the best practices in economic self-reliance.  The Round Table also toured the LDS Humanitarian Center and the Bishop's Central Storehouse.  Shannon Toronto, CEO of the Round Table, said, "We learned from our meeting today that the best programs recognize the dignity of the individual and that the highest quality of life is attained when a person becomes self reliant and can help others within her realm of influence" (Elizabeth Stuart, "Philanthropists eye LDS model of self-reliance", Deseret News, Friday 2 December 2011, B5).

This model of self reliance known as Welfare Square was founded during the Great Depression.  During this time, men would put in a whole day's work in exchange for food from the Bishop's Storehouse.  Today people "pay" for their food by completing tasks such as folding clothes at Deseret Industries thrift stores or canning food at local Bishop's Storehouses.  All this is in keeping with a revelation given through the Prophet Joseph Smith which reads, "The storehouse shall be kept by the consecrations of the church; and widows and orphans shall be provided for, as also the poor.  Amen" (D&C 83:6).  Also the words came to the Prophet thusly, "And again, let the bishop appoint a storehouse unto this church; and let all things both in money and in meat, which are more than is needful for the wants of this people, be kept in the hands of the bishop" (D&C 51:13).

Presiding Bishop H. David Burton, center; First Counselor Richard C. Edgley, left; Second Counselor Keith B. McMullin, right
The Presiding Bishopric has jurisdiction over the workings of Welfare Square and all the Bishops Storehouses, for "the office of a bishop is in administering all temporal things" (D&C 107:68).

The reason the world looks with awe and wonder upon The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is because it is run by continual revelation.  Although the world may not know this fact (and sometimes even deny it), it is nevertheless true.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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