Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Works Brings Blessings

                    When Robert Rector and Kiki Bradley of The Heritage Foundation "broke the story on July 12 [2012] that Obama's Health and Human Services Department (HHS) had rewritten the Clinton-era reform to undo the work requirements" of the successful 1996 Welfare Reform bill signed into law by President Bill Clinton, legal experts Todd Gaziano and Robert Alt determined the move to be illegal.   The re-writing of the reform bill deleted the requirement for welfare recipients to work, seek work, or train for another job.  Apparently, the Obama Administration is receiving a lot of flack for this action because Jay Carney, the Press Secretary for the Administration, said that this is "categorically false" and "blatantly dishonest."  Bill Clinton was using the same talking points and calling the charges "untrue."  The Heritage Foundation has another essay on this subject here.  

                    We do welfare recipients a great disservice by giving them welfare checks without work requirements because work builds character.  It also makes our lives richer and helps us to become self-reliant.  Even though many people do not understand this principle, work is actually a blessing.  Our modern world emphasizes lives of ease and play, but there is great value in work.  There are few experiences that compare to the sense of accomplishment and well-being that comes when we work hard and do a job well.

                    If we were to stop people on the street and ask them if they like to work, many of them would tell us "no" while some would tell us that they enjoy working.  Imagine a world where no one worked.  The thought of not working might be attractive at first, but we would soon realize such a world would not be a pleasant place to live.  If everyone stopped working, garbage would pile up in our homes and on our streets; everyone would soon be wearing dirty clothes and eventually no clothing at all; no one would have food to eat;  we would all have to walk wherever we wanted to go; there would be no place to go for entertainment, etc.  When we understand this situation, we are better able to understand that work brings blessings into our lives.

                    I learned a hymn entitled "Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel" (Text and music by Will L. Thompson, 18476-1909; Hymns, no. 252) when I was a very young girl and still enjoy singing it.  This hymn gives many reasons for the importance of work.

                                        The world has need of willing men
                                        Who wear the worker's seal.
                                        Come, help the good work move along;
                                        Put your shoulder to the wheel.

                                        Chorus:  Put your shoulder to the wheel; push a long.
                                        Do you duty with a heart full of song.
                                        We all have work; let no one shirk.
                                        Put your shoulder to the wheel.

                                        The Church has need of helping hands,
                                        And hearts that know and feel.
                                        The work to do is here for you;
                                        Put your shoulder to the wheel.

                                        Then don't stand idly looking on;
                                        The fight with sin is real.
                                        It will be long but must go on;
                                        Put your shoulder to the wheel.

                                        Then work and watch and fight and pray
                                        With all your might and zeal.
                                        Push ev'ry worthy work along;
                                        Put your shoulder to the wheel.

                    The scriptures teach us that God expects us to work and support ourselves.  In Proverbs 14:23, we read, "In all labour there is profit."  This statement means that we can expect to benefit from working.

                    In Moses 4:25, we read, "By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread…"  This verse contains some of the Lord's words to Adam just before Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden.  This statement means that Adam would have to work to obtain food for himself and his family.

                    Just as working for their daily bread helped Adam and Eve to learn new skills, gain knowledge and develop self-esteem, working also helps us to gain those same characteristics.

                    President Marion G. Romney, who was a First Counselor in the First President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, stated:  "In Eden the Lord said to Adam: 
                    "`… Because thou hast … eaten of the fruit of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying - Thou shalt not eat of it, cursed shall be the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.
                    "By the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou shalt return unto the ground….' (Moses 4:23, 25.)
                    "Now this was not a vindictive decree.  The Lord was not retaliating against Adam.  He was simply placing Adam in a situation where he would have to work to live.
                    "The ground was cursed in the manner prescribed for Adam's sake, not to his disadvantage.   Had Adam and his posterity been able to live without working, the human race would never have survived" (Ensign, Jan. 1974, 89).

                    God expects all His children to work.  Even though many kings and other political leaders throughout history lived off the taxes paid by their people, this did not happen with all people.  The righteous political and religious leaders in the Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ  worked to support themselves.

                    In Mosiah 2:14, King Benjamin told his people, "And even I, myself, have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, and that there should nothing come upon you which was grievous to be borne - and of all these things which I have spoken, ye yourselves are witnesses this." 

                    In Mosiah 27:5, King Mosiah proclaimed that everyone should work to support themselves.  "Yea, and all their priests and teachers should labor with their own hands for their support, in all cases save it were in sickness, or in much want; and doing these things, they did abound in the grace of God."

The people appreciated that their leaders worked to provide for their own needs.  The scriptures tell us that peace was the result of everyone working for their own needs.  Although there were many reasons for the peace and the prosperity of the people, the willingness of their leaders to work with the people added greatly to the success of the people.

                    In Words of Mormon 1:18 an ancient American prophet and historian explained:  "Wherefore, with the help of these, king Benjamin, by laboring with all the might of his body and the faculty of his whole soul, and also the prophets, did once more establish peace in the land."

                    In Mosiah 27:6-7 the historian wrote:  "And there began to be much peace again in the land; and the people began to be very numerous, and began to scatter abroad upon the face of the earth, yea, on the north and on the south, on the east and on the west, building large cities and villages in all quarters of the land.
                    "And the Lord did visit them and prosper them, and they became a large and wealthy people."

                    From these historical records we learn that peace is a byproduct of people working to provide for their needs.   Good character is another byproduct of work.  President Spencer W. Kimball, the twelfth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, explained: "Few miracles in our [Church] history exceed that of establishing our settlements in a desolate land no one else wanted and then making the desert blossom as a rose.  Our people not only survived but flourished because of their faith and their family solidarity.  Our pioneer character was molded [by] hard work, sacrifice, pulling together, and depending upon the Lord.
                    "How well I remember my boyhood years in Arizona.  Our living came from the soil.  There was little money and seldom enough to go around.  Going without and making do was our way of life.  We learned to share:  we shared the work" (Ensign, May 1981,79).

                    Character is formed and "molded [by] hard work" because hard work helps us learn to discipline ourselves, to finish tasks, and to make wise decisions.  The following statements made by four brothers who often worked together with their family were quoted by Dean Jarman (Ensign, Nov. 1982, 87).   The statements reveal that the young men understood the importance of work in their lives.     
"An eighteen-year-old boy writes, `Since I can remember, I have been taught the value of hard work and honoring all of your responsibilities and your family name.  As I look back to my experience in family projects, I can see how they have shaped my character and personality by letting me make many important decisions.  I have gained confidence by meeting new people and am better able to express myself.  But the most important thing about family work projects is that your family comes closer together in love and respect.'"

                    "A thirteen-year-old who has been mowing lawns for four years writes, `Family projects have really helped me to understand how to work.  The harder you work, the better you feel.  I am grateful for a closer relationship with my brothers and parents.'"

                    "A sixteen-year-old said, `Working on family projects has taught us the importance of being honest and dependable.  It has taught us to make a lot of sacrifices in order to keep our name in good standing.'"

                    "A fifteen-year-old said, `The family work projects have helped me manage my money.  When I buy my clothes and other things, I take care of them because I know how much they cost and how much work it takes to buy them.  When my parents bought my things, I honestly thought there was an endless supply of money, so I wouldn't take care of them.  Also, work gives me a feeling of satisfaction.'"

                    My siblings and I worked together with our parents on our family farm; we planted and irrigated crops, milked cows, hauled hay, herded cows and sheep, pulled weeds, and whatever else needed to be done on the farm.  By working together, we became good friends and learned to respect and appreciate each other.  We still enjoy being together whenever possible; we serve as a working committee for our annual family reunions.  Working toward a common goal makes us better people and builds stronger relationships.

                    Elder Loren C. Dunn of the Quorum of Seventy related the following story:  "While we were growing up in a small community, my father saw the need for my brother and me to learn the principle of work.  As a result, he put us to work on a small farm on the edge of town where he had been raised.  He ran the local newspaper, so he could not spend much time with us.  … And sometimes we made mistakes.
                    "Our small farm was surrounded by other farms, and one of the farmers went in to see my father one day to tell him the things he thought we were doing wrong.  My father listened to him carefully and then said, `Jim, you don't understand.  You see, I'm raising boys and not cows'" (in Ensign, Nov. 1974, 11).

                    When Elder Dunn's father said, "I'm raising boys and not cows," he meant that his primary purpose for having a farm was to give his sons the opportunity to work.  From my experience of working on a farm, I know that his sons gained much from their experiences.

                    Work gives us a sense of accomplishment.  I enjoy looking back over a project - such as a freshly weeded garden or a newly cleaned room - and feeling great satisfaction at a job completed well.  I truly enjoy being able to go down my "to do" list and cross off projects completed.

                    President Brigham Young stated, "I have believed all my life that, that which was worth doing was worth doing well, and have considered it as much a part of my religion to do honest, reliable work, such as would endure, for those who employed me, as to attend to the services of God's worship on the Sabbath" (quoted by Dean C. Jessee in "The Prophet's Letters to His Sons," Ensign, Mar. 1974, 68).

                    President Young taught us that the quality of our work is as important as our attitudes in doing the work.  With good attitudes, we can feel great satisfaction in jobs well done.

                    I know the value of work and appreciate being around people who know how to work hard without being prodded to do so.  I particularly appreciate one of my sons-in-law who works very hard at whatever he is doing.  Work has brought feelings of great joy and satisfaction into my life.  I believe that we weaken our nation if we give welfare without requiring the recipients to work for what we receive.  In fact, I believe that doing so goes against the very laws of God.        I believe that the ability to work is a blessing in our lives.

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