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Posted 30 Apr 2001   For week ended April 20, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 17Apr01

By Rosemary Pollock

Why LDS Welfare Program Won't Take Government Money

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Catholic Community Services along with members of Interfaith Works and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may join together for the common goal of welfare services in local areas, but they will not be partners in President George Bush's offer to channel government funds through religious charities. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' unwavering answer is thanks, but no thanks.

"We're neutral. That's not saying we think it's wrong for every organization, but we just don't need it," said Dale Bills, spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "There is nothing the government can provide that the church doesn't already have, " said Garth Mangum, author of "The Mormon's War on Poverty," and economics professor emeritus at the University of Utah.

Members of Interfaith Works, a support network of Ogden's major ecclesiastical organizations, recently toured the Ogden Cannery, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Impressed by what they saw, the two dozen Interfaith Works members toured both the cannery and the Ogden LDS Bishop's Storehouse.

"This is a very good relief project that's for sure," said Polly Harrington, a representative from the United Church of Christ. "Our church sends things all over the world, too, but not from a specific place set up for that. I'm not sure any other church has as big of a set-up like this."

"Catholic service operations, along with other faith based organizations, are determined by government contracts," said Ron Pierre, director of Catholic Family Services of Utah. "We are in constant need of funding, so we are driven by the need to go out and obtain funding just like any nonprofit," Pierre said.

Accountability to and dependence on the government in exchange for money is another reason The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has for rejecting President Bush's offer. "The church doesn't want the government telling it how to do what the church sees as the church's job," Magnum added.

According to recently released statistics from the year 2000, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint volunteers donated an equivalent of 408,588 days of labor to relief programs. Since 1986, relief supplies have been shipped to 123 major disaster areas. Since 1985, donations to humanitarian programs have been accepted for $60.8 million and $291 million in material assistance has been given in 147 countries.

The White House agrees that the government funding isn't for everyone. "Charitable choice ought to be open to all qualified community-serving groups, but not all groups ought to participate. Faith leaders, organizations, and communities that perceive the slope as secularizing and slippery ought simply to opt out," said John Dilulio, director of the new White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.


LDS Church runs a tight ship with its welfare program
Ogden UT Standard-Examiner 14Apr01 N1
By Christy Karras: The Associated Press
Call it unique compassionate conservatism

Other faiths impressed with church's Ogden Cannery
Ogden UT Standard-Examiner 14Apr01 N1
By JaNae Francis: Standard-Examiner staff


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See also:

More about Garth Mangum and Bruce Blumell's "The Mormons' War on Poverty: A History of LDS Welfare 1830-1990" at

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information