Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lesson: Temporal salvation for ourselves and others

George Albert Smith, Chapter 20,
Temporal salvation for ourselves and others

George Albert Smith became President of the Church as World War II was ending. The war had left many nations devastated, and thousands of people were without food and other necessities. In a general conference address, President Smith described their plight and urged the Saints to help relieve their suffering:
“They are all [God’s] children. They need us; they need not only our moral support and our religious teaching, but they need food and clothing and bedding and help of all kinds because, in many cases, they haven’t anything left. If you could see some of the letters that come into our office from some of the poor people over there, it would wring your hearts. People who have been taken away from their homes with the idea that they were going to be allowed to settle elsewhere, and all of a sudden deserted, and then when they returned to their homes, found them pillaged and robbed of what they had—everything—and left helpless, with no place to go.”

Because the Church had been in the practice of storing food for many years, it was prepared to help in these circumstances. Efforts to provide such help began near the end of 1945, when President Smith went to Washington, D.C., to make arrangements with the president of the United States, Harry S Truman, to send food and clothing to Europe. During their meeting President Truman said, “We will be glad to help you in any way we can. … How long will it take you to get this ready?”

President Smith surprised him by replying: 
“It’s all ready. … We [have been] building elevators and filling them with grain, and increasing our flocks and our herds, and now what we need is the cars and the ships in order to send considerable food, clothing and bedding to the people of Europe who are in distress. We have an organization in the Church [the Relief Society] that has over two thousand homemade quilts ready.”
President Smith reported to the Saints that as a result of these shipments, “many people received warm clothing and bedding and food without any delay. Just as fast as we could get cars and ships, we had what was necessary to send to Europe.”


Main topics

If we are wise with our means, we will be prepared for hard times.

The Lord has directed us to work to earn our own livelihood.

Neither the rich nor the poor should set their hearts upon riches.

Through tithing and other offerings, we assist in the work of the Church and bless those in need.

If we are generous with our means, there is no need for anyone to go without.


When you think about each topic, ask yourselves these questions:

Why is this principle important?
What makes it hard? (What are the obstacles to living it?)
What makes it easy, or could make it easier to live?
What are the blessings that come from living it?

The answers may provide insight into why our church teaches principles and how you can live them better.


If we desire to be identified with the kingdom of our Lord, the celestial kingdom, this is our opportunity to prepare,—with love unfeigned, with industry, with thrift, with perseverance, with a desire to do all that is within our power to bless others, to give—not to be always feeling we must receive, but desire to give, for I say to you: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” [Acts 20:35.]

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of giving, not only of our substance but of ourselves, and I thank my Heavenly Father that I belong to such an organization that has been so instructed.



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