Heber J. Grant:
As God’s children all, and as brothers and sisters in Christ, we must as a matter of spiritual responsibility and pursuant to positive divine command care for the helpless, the unfortunate, and the needy. Furthermore, it is essentially a neighbor to neighbor obligation. It is not a function of civil government. This is fundamental.
Dallin H. Oaks:
We should also push back against the worldly practice that has been described as the culture of dependency—the expectation that the extended family or the community or the government will provide what you desire with a minimum of effort on your part. As required by the spiritual growth that is the purpose of the plan of salvation, the gospel teaching of self-reliance pushes back against the idea or culture of dependency .. Don’t be part of the worldly attitude described in the characterization of your generation as the “me generation,” interested only in “what’s in it for me.”
Ezra Taft Benson:
It has been fundamental to our way of life that charity must be voluntary if it is to be charity. Compulsory benevolence is not charity. Today’s egalitarian are using the federal government to redistribute wealth in our society, not as a matter of voluntary charity, but as a matter of right.
Neal A. Maxwell:
Those who say dogmatically that morality can’t be legislated turn about and say dogmatically that total welfare can be legislated! In the long run, the welfare state operates against human welfare, particularly our precious agency, but the pathology may take a few decades to become visible. I’m reminded of the vaunted guns of Singapore, which “guaranteed” the security of that port city. The trouble was, the guns fired seaward only, and Singapore was taken by land. Such myopia is not the exclusive property of military planners, but among all planners without principles.
These systems rely for their financial resources upon public treasuries which are fed out of the taxation of the people. The donor thus becomes not a voluntary giver but a compelled giver. Between him and the beneficiaries of his contribution there is no bond, hence the character building value which attends voluntary responses to the cry of need is lost. He has paid his taxes and is through, experiencing none of the exhilaration of spirit which floods the being of the voluntary donor to the relief of distress. On the other side, the beneficiary of aid paid under the mandate of law is all too likely to forget the sense of gratitude which should well up in the heart of one who receives voluntarily rendered succor. Instead, he is all too apt to fall into the habit of thinking that he is getting only what is his personal right, and in that spirit to become demanding and grasping for more and greater bestowals at the expense of a proper sense of thankfulness.
George Albert Smith:
Consider the condition in the world, the number who are determined to take from the rich man not what belongs to themselves, but that which belongs to the others. God has permitted men to get wealth, and if they obtained it properly, it is theirs, and he will bless them in its use if they will use it properly .. We must not fall into the bad habits of other people. We must not get into the frame of mind that we will take what the other man has. Refer back to the ten commandments, and you will find one short paragraph, “Thou shalt not covet.” (Exodus 20:17) That is what is the matter with a good many people today. They are coveting what somebody else has when as a matter of fact, many of them have been cared for and provided with means to live by those very ones from whom they would take away property.
Ezra Taft Benson:
No true Latter-day Saint or true American can be a socialist or support programs leading in that direction. These evil philosophies are incompatible with Americanism, with Mormonism, and with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
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.
Gordon B. Hinckley:
As government increasingly assumes the burden of caring for all human needs, the independence of our social services and the doctrine which lies behind that position will become more and more important.
Howard W. Hunter:
What is the real cause of this trend toward the welfare state, toward more socialism? In the last analysis, in my judgment, it is personal unrighteousness. When people do not use their freedoms responsibly and righteously, they will gradually lose these freedoms .. If man will not recognize the inequalities around him and voluntarily, through the gospel plan, come to the aid of his brother, he will find that through “a democratic process” he will be forced to come to the aid of his brother. The government will take from the “haves” and give to the “have-nots.” Both have last their freedom. Those who “have,” lost their freedom to give voluntarily of their own free will and in the way they desire. Those who “have not,” lost their freedom because they did not earn what they received. They got “something for nothing,” and they will neither appreciate the gift nor the giver of the gift. Under this climate, people gradually become blind to what has happened and to the vital freedoms which they have lost.
Gordon B. Hinckley:
Is it too much to ask of anyone, any member of this Church, that you actually fast for two meals a month? It will only bless our lives if we do so. I am satisfied that if every man and woman and child in the United States of America were to observe this great and marvelous practice, which costs no one anything, not a thing, that it would take care of all the welfare problems of this nation.