To the left is a picture of Marion G. Romney. He was ordained an Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on October 11, 1951. He served as Second Counselor to Presidents Harold B. Lee and Spencer W. Kimball and later as First Counselor to President Kimball. After President Kimball’s death, President Romney resumed his position in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and became President of the Quorum on November 10, 1985. He died on May 20, 1988, at the age of 90. President Romney was serving as Second Counselor in the First Presidency when he gave this talk during general conference in October 1982. This edited version of the talk was first published in 1984. It reads:
I love the simple gospel truths as taught by the holy prophets, and I never tire of speaking about them. Since the beginning of time man has been counseled to earn his own way, thereby becoming self-reliant. It is easy to understand the reason the Lord places so much emphasis on this principle when we come to understand that it is tied very closely to freedom itself.
On this subject, Elder Albert E. Bowen said, “The Church is not satisfied with any system which leaves able people permanently dependent, and insists, on the contrary, that the true function and office of giving, is to help people [get] into a position where they can help themselves and thus be free.”
Many programs have been set up by well-meaning individuals to aid those who are in need. However, many of these programs are designed with the shortsighted objective of “helping people,” as opposed to “helping people help themselves.” Our efforts must always be directed toward making able-bodied people self-reliant.
Gullible Gulls - I clipped the following article from the Reader’s Digest some time ago. It reads:
“In our friendly neighbor city of St. Augustine great flocks of sea gulls are starving amid plenty. Fishing is still good, but the gulls don’t know how to fish. For generations they have depended on the shrimp fleet to toss them scraps from the nets. Now the fleet has moved.
“The shrimpers had created a Welfare State for the sea gulls. The big birds never bothered to learn how to fish for themselves and they never taught their children to fish. Instead they led their little ones to the shrimp nets.
“Now the sea gulls, the fine free birds that almost symbolize liberty itself, are starving to death because they gave in to the ‘something for nothing’ lure! They sacrificed their independence for a handout.
“A lot of people are like that, too. They see nothing wrong in picking delectable scraps from the tax nets of the U.S. Government’s ‘shrimp fleet.’ But what will happen when the Government runs out of goods? What about our children of generations to come?
“Let’s not be gullible gulls. We must preserve our talents of self-sufficiency, our genius for creating things for ourselves, our sense of thrift and our true love of independence.”
The practice of coveting and receiving unearned benefits has now become so fixed in our society that even men of wealth, possessing the means to produce more wealth, are expecting the government to guarantee them a profit. Elections often turn on what the candidates promise to do for voters from government funds. This practice, if universally accepted and implemented in any society, will make slaves of its citizens.
We cannot afford to become wards of the government, even if we have a legal right to do so. It requires too great a sacrifice of self-respect and political, temporal, and spiritual independence.
In some countries it is extremely difficult to separate earned from unearned benefits. However, the principle is the same in all countries: We should strive to become self-reliant and not depend on others for our existence.
Governments are not the only guilty parties. We fear many parents are making “gullible gulls” out of their children with their permissiveness and their doling out of family resources. In fact, the actions of parents in this area can be more devastating than any government program.
Bishops and other priesthood leaders can be guilty of making “gullible gulls” out of their ward members. Some members become financially or emotionally dependent on their bishops. A dole is a dole whatever its source. All of our Church and family actions should be directed toward making our children and members self-reliant. We can’t always control government programs, but we can control our own homes and congregations. If we will teach these principles and live them, we can do much to counter the negative effects which may exist in government programs in any country.
We know there are some who, for reasons beyond their control, cannot become self-reliant. President Henry D. Moyle had these people in mind when he said:
“This great principle does not deny to the needy nor to the poor the assistance they should have. The wholly incapacitated, the aged, the sickly are cared for with all tenderness, but every able-bodied person is enjoined to do his utmost for himself to avoid dependence, if his own efforts can make such a course possible; to look upon adversity as temporary; to combine his faith in his own ability with honest toil.
“We believe [that] seldom [do circumstances arise in which] men of rigorous faith, genuine courage, and unfaltering determination, with the love of independence burning in their hearts, and pride in their own accomplishments, cannot surmount the obstacles that lie in their paths."
Blog Author's Comments
I ask the question: Are we a nation of gullible gulls or are we developing into a nation of gullible gulls? Are we learning to fish for ourselves or are we given fish to eat and come back for more tomorrow? With everything that's been going in our nation the past several months it seems like the majority of the people want the government to take care of their every need.
What ever happened to individuals taking personal responsibility for their actions and decisions while accepting the consequences as men or women of honor? Why on earth would you get a mortgage you know that you can't afford and then expect the government to intervene and "bail you out"? Why would you run your multi-billion corporation into the ground and then come begging Congress for billions of tax payer's dollars to "bail you out" all the while you're flying in your private jets, planning expensive retreats, and receiving millions of dollars in bonus payments and not paying millions of dollars in back taxes yourself? I'm sorry, but in the words of Devin Hathcock, "Your lack of planning [or your stupidity] does not constitute an emergency on my part."
I hope as the people of the greatest nation on earth come to a rememberance of how we got here. Remember how it was by the grace of God this nation was founded and became independent of other nations. Remember how our forefathers sacrificed everything they had to gauruntee our freedom and liberties not to have them just given away to socialism. Ronald Reagan says it best in this remix I found on YouTube of some of his speeches: