Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.

L&P 42:42.

Joseph Smith:

Thou shalt not take thy brother’s garment; (what he owns) thou shalt pay for that which thou shalt receive of thy brother.

L&P 42:54.

M. Russell Ballard:

Too many people in our country today are developing the attitude that government is obligated to care and provide for them. In many ways, government has fostered this attitude, but the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints know better. Some people who lived through the Great Depression and the period following, when the government bestowed gratuities upon the people, developed a feeling that the world owed them a living. In that climate, the First Presidency said in 1936: “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.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1936, p. 3). The love of work is an attitude that members of the Church must develop.

General Conference, April 1981. Providing for Our Needs.

Marion G. Romney:

We must be careful not to adopt the commonly accepted practice of expecting the government or anyone other than ourselves to supply us with the necessities of life.

In Mine Own Way, Ensign, Nov 1976, 123.

Heber J. Grant:

I have been impressed with the fact that there is a spirit growing in the world today to avoid giving service, an unwillingness to give value received, to try to see how little we can do and how much we can get for doing it. This is all wrong. Our spirit and aim should be to do all we possibly can, in a given length of time, for the benefit of those who employ us and for the benefit of those with whom we are associated If we do that, the reward is sure to come to us. The other spirit—to get all we can, and give as little as possible in return—is contrary to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not right to desire something for which we do not give service or value received That idea is all wrong, and it is only a question of time when the sheep and the goats will be separated, so to speak .. There are always, I believe, striving with us two spirits, one that is the inspiration of the Lord and one that is not . . . . the spirit that inspires work is from our Heavenly Father. The spirit that would have us get something for nothing is from the lower regions.

The Improvement Era, 1940, p. 43:137. The Church Welfare Plan p.70.

David O. Mckay:

We are placed on this earth to work and the earth will give us a living .. It is our duty to strive to till the earth, subdue matter, conquer the globe, take care of the flocks and the herds. It is the government’s duty to see that you are protected in it, and no other man has the right to deprive you of any of your privileges. But it is not the government’s duty to support you. I shall raise my voice as long as God gives me sound or ability, against the communistic idea that the government will take care of us all, and that everything belongs to the government. It is wrong! No wonder, in trying to perpetuate that idea, that men become anti-Christ because those teachings strike directly at the doctrines of the Savior .. No government owes you a living. You get it yourself by your own acts – never by trespassing upon the rights of your neighbor, never by cheating him. You put a blemish upon your character the moment you do.

Statements on communism and the Constitution of the United States, David Oman McKay, January 1, 1964, s. 23.

Howard W. Hunter:

There are several principles which undergird the significance of work in the Lord’s plan. First, as the covenant people we must be as self-sufficient as possible. We are to be free from dependence upon a dole or any program that might endanger our free agency. Second, we must work to support the families with which the Lord has blessed us.

Prepare for Honorable Employment, Ensign, Nov. 1975, 122.

Hugh W. Pinnock:

Why should we demand or even want another to provide what we need if we can furnish it ourselves? Father Lehi taught, “Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself” (2 Ne. 2:16). However, too many looks to the government, the Church, or some other institution to carry them. Why do we not resolve to take responsibility for our own actions and thoughts? “Choose ye this day, whom ye will serve” (Alma 30:8 see also Josh. 24:15). It is entirely appropriate to depend upon others for some of what we need. There is no substitute for loving and supportive parents, priesthood and auxiliary leaders, skilled doctors, dedicated teachers, and expert auto mechanics. Turning to these people for help is not wrong. But what is wrong is expecting others to do what we can and should do for ourselves.

General Conference, April 1989. Now Is the Time.

Joseph L. Wirthlin:

Men are being taught a demoralizing, and might I say a most degenerate doctrine that the world owes them a living without physical or mental effort upon their part. There has been nothing in history which has undermined and destroyed the moral fabric of the people more than this false doctrine, not a new doctrine, for it had its inception in the council of heaven when the Son of the Morning, Lucifer, proposed to save mankind without any effort upon their part. Men are encouraged to lean upon the government for their sustenance rather than to depend upon their God-given powers to create by the sweat of their brow and the work of their hands the necessities of life.

General Conference, Oct. 1944.

Ezra Taft Benson:

We must have the courage to stand against undue governmental paternalism and the cowardly cry that “the world owes me a living.” Nobody owes us anything for goods we do not produce, or work we do not do!

Liberty Against Creeping Socialism, BYU, Provo, Utah, 26 Aug. 1961.

Joseph F. Smith:

It is a bad thing for men to think the world owes them a living .. I don’t refer to the cripple, or those who are enfeebled by age .. there is a need for them to live, and there is a necessity for us to assist such, but there is no great need in this world for men and women who are able to work and will not work.

Conference Report, April 1898.

Spencer W. Kimball:

No true Latter-day Saint, while physically or emotionally able, will voluntarily shift the burden of his own or his family’s well-being to someone else. So long as he can, under the inspiration of the Lord and with his own labors, he will work to the extent of his ability to supply himself and his family with the spiritual and temporal necessities of life. (See Gen. 3:19, 1 Tim. 5:8, and Philip. 2: 12). As guided by the spirit of the Lord and through applying these principles, each member of the Church should make his own decisions as to what assistance he accepts, be it from governmental or other sources. In this way, independence, self-respect, dignity, and self-reliance will be fostered, and free agency maintained.

General Conference, April 1978. Becoming the Pure in Heart.

Spencer W. Kimball:

Work brings happiness, self-esteem, and prosperity. It is the means of all accomplishment it is the opposite of idleness. We are commanded to work. (See Gen. 3:19.) Attempts to obtain our temporal, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being by means of a dole violate the divine mandate that we should work for what we receive. Work should be the ruling principle in the lives of our Church membership. (See D&C 42:42 75:29 68:30-32 56:17)

Conference Report, Oct. 1977, pp. 123–25.

Albert E. Bowen:

There must be something tremendously important about work in the scheme of things pertaining to man’s salvation because the Lord lays such heavy stress upon it. He exalts labor both by dignifying with the stamp of His approval him who performs it and by condemning idleness in the severest terms—almost to the extent of making it a test of worthiness for membership in his Church. “Let every man be diligent in all things. And the idler shall not have a place in the Church, except he repents and mends his ways.” (D&C 75:29) .. Idleness is linked by Him with evil in such way as to indicate the relationship of cause and effect between them. “Now, I, the Lord am not well pleased with the inhabitants of Zion, for there are idlers among them and their children also are growing up in wickedness they also seek not earnestly the riches of eternity, but their eyes are full of greediness. These things ought not to be, and must be done away from among them wherefore let my servant Oliver Cowdery carry these sayings to the land of Zion.” (D&C 68:31-32). In no uncertain terms, the Lord laid upon every able man the duty to work for what he got. “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) And even the poor “who will not labor with your own hands” were under special reproof. (D&C 56:17)

Church Welfare Plan, 1946, p. 58.
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