Earnest L. Wilkinson (1899-1978) was a lawyer in Washington, D.C. and New York City, before he became President at Brigham Young University (BYU) (1951 to 1971). He also supervised the church’s education system (LDS Church Educational System).

Quotes by Earnest L. Wilkinson:

On August 6 this year, at Amsterdam, Holland, President Kimball reiterated the consistent view of our Church leaders that people in need should rely on their families and the Church for support, rather than any government ­welfare program. Lest you be unaware of the extent of the present social revolution and the change in our content of government, let me introduce some authorities as to just how socialistic we have become. I call as my chief witness, Norman Thomas, for many years Socialist candidate for president of the United States. After seeing one by one the principles of his party adopted by ­others, he retired as the perennial Socialist ­candidate for president, intimating that it was no longer necessary for the Socialist party to continue. I call as my second witness Mr. Earl Browder, former leader of the Communist party in America, who, in a pamphlet published in 1950, stated that socialism was further advanced in the United States than in socialist Britain, that although we did not have governmental ownership, real control by government was much greater in the United States than in Britain. Since the time of this statement (26 years ago) we have gone much, much farther down the road of the welfare state. President Lyndon Johnson, in a speech to senior citizens 12 years ago, boldly stated: “We are going to try to take all the money we think is unnecessarily being spent and take it from the “haves” and give it to the “have nots” that need it so much.” (Statement to Senior Citizens at White House, January 15, 1964). This is the code under which the state will take from you your property and determine how it will be spent and to whom it will be given – a theory of government which was expressly rejected by our Constitutional Fathers in favor of the concept of freedom and individual responsibility.

America 1776-1976. Ernest L. Wilkinson, President of Brigham Young University Aug. 17, 1976.

Poverty is no disgrace and scarcely a handicap to the courageous of spirit. If men develop their self-reliance by meeting and solving the problems that present themselves, they achieve great strength, integrity and force of character. They demonstrate the fact that they were created in the image of God. They achieve the potential given them by the Creator. On the other hand, when men become accustomed to living from subsidies, bounties, long-continued charity or any means of sustaining themselves by the effort of others, they lose confidence, integrity, courage, initiative and independence. The soul grows smaller and the spirit withers as one seeks more and more to cast the burden of his life upon his neighbors, the taxpayers. Herein lies the soul-destroying evil inherent in any type of collectivism, call it socialism, fascism, communism or welfare statism. All of these ideologies teach men that they are not custodians of their own weal or woe but that they are meant to be groveling creatures forever pleading with stronger men who exercise the authority of government for bigger and better handouts of ever increasing variety. Such men may have strong, healthy bodies, but, having lost their spirit the image of God dies within them and they become leaners and not lifters. They become a part of the problem and not a part of the answer. That which ministers to the courage, bravery and independence of man is from God and that which teaches him to obtain as much as possible of his living from the labor of others is from Satan. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is an ideology developed by the prince of the powers of darkness for destroying the souls of men.

BYU Speeches of the Year, 1960. Address Give to the Brigham Young Studentbody.
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