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Pure Religion: The Story of Church Welfare Since 1930

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This book describes the beginnings, development, and effects of the welfare program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It chronicles the efforts of Harold B. Lee and other stake leaders to help unemployed Saints during the Great Depression, the formal development of the Church welfare program in 1936 under President Heber J. Grant, the development of Welfa This book describes the beginnings, development, and effects of the welfare program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It chronicles the efforts of Harold B. Lee and other stake leaders to help unemployed Saints during the Great Depression, the formal development of the Church welfare program in 1936 under President Heber J. Grant, the development of Welfare Square and other welfare facilities throughout the United States and Canada and other parts of the world, the extensive humanitarian efforts of the Church today, and many other aspects of welfare work, including brief biographies of great welfare leaders. The book describes the activities and programs that have been developed over the years to care for the poor in the Lord’s own way, and it presents many heartwarming stories of those whose lives have been blessed by welfare. The history, stories, and photographs show how those involved in welfare throughout the years have sought to exemplify “pure religion and undefiled” (James 1:27). Pure Religion will touch the hearts of readers who are striving to care for the poor and needy and love their neighbors as themselves. It will also provide the background necessary to more completely understand the modern-day welfare efforts of the Church throughout the world.


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This book describes the beginnings, development, and effects of the welfare program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It chronicles the efforts of Harold B. Lee and other stake leaders to help unemployed Saints during the Great Depression, the formal development of the Church welfare program in 1936 under President Heber J. Grant, the development of Welfa This book describes the beginnings, development, and effects of the welfare program of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It chronicles the efforts of Harold B. Lee and other stake leaders to help unemployed Saints during the Great Depression, the formal development of the Church welfare program in 1936 under President Heber J. Grant, the development of Welfare Square and other welfare facilities throughout the United States and Canada and other parts of the world, the extensive humanitarian efforts of the Church today, and many other aspects of welfare work, including brief biographies of great welfare leaders. The book describes the activities and programs that have been developed over the years to care for the poor in the Lord’s own way, and it presents many heartwarming stories of those whose lives have been blessed by welfare. The history, stories, and photographs show how those involved in welfare throughout the years have sought to exemplify “pure religion and undefiled” (James 1:27). Pure Religion will touch the hearts of readers who are striving to care for the poor and needy and love their neighbors as themselves. It will also provide the background necessary to more completely understand the modern-day welfare efforts of the Church throughout the world.

30 review for Pure Religion: The Story of Church Welfare Since 1930

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Black

    The irony is that this book sat on my desk at church for the last couple of years of my tenure as bishop--unread. Much of the history was somewhat dry, but Bishop Rudd includes 3 chapters that by themselves are worth the price of admission. Chapters 11 and 14 contain numerous quotes from Church leaders, gleaned and carefully stockpiled over a lifetime of welfare work by the author. A number of them were new to me, and every one was useful. Examples: "The principles of the welfare plan, when appl The irony is that this book sat on my desk at church for the last couple of years of my tenure as bishop--unread. Much of the history was somewhat dry, but Bishop Rudd includes 3 chapters that by themselves are worth the price of admission. Chapters 11 and 14 contain numerous quotes from Church leaders, gleaned and carefully stockpiled over a lifetime of welfare work by the author. A number of them were new to me, and every one was useful. Examples: "The principles of the welfare plan, when applied, will lift us out of this worldly life. The welfare plan is the most spiritual program in the Church. It is the final program and preparation for us to live. If and when properly lived, it will usher in the millennium." (Marion G. Romney) "The poor may be poor in spirit, manner, habits or lifestyle. If they are given money, food, or clothing, they may remain poor. They have difficulty handling their money or managing their homes. They are usually remiss in their church attendance. Their needs require assistance from compassionate people, and even then, a long healing process is often required. ... The poor of the Church need leaders who are understanding and patient. Charity, the pure love of Christ, must be in the heart of every bishop and Relief Society president." (Glen L. Rudd) "It is better to feed nine unworthy persons than to let one worthy person--the tenth, go hungry." (Brigham Young). "Men and women of wealth, use your riches to give employment to the laborer! ... embark in enterprises that will give work to the unemployed. . . ." (Lorenzo Snow). "The welfare plan is a permanent plan for the purpose of extending temporary assistance to the individual, so far as his temporal needs are concerned, but permanent benefits so far as his spiritual welfare is involved." (J. Reuben Clark, Jr.) "The love of work is an attitude that members of the Church must develop. Every family should have a plan for work that touches the lives of each family member. . . ." (M. Russell Ballard) "Members who receive Church welfare assistance should be expected to work to the extent of their ability for what they receive. Bishops who do not provide this opportunity or fail to expect it do the recipient a disservice in terms of retaining their industriousness, maintaining their self-respect, and increasing their ability to be self-reliant." (Robert D. Hales) I opened Chapter 13, "Welfare success stories," with jaundiced skepticism, imagining that they would all say "this poor hard-working chap just needed a chance and now he is a CEO." Rather, these stories almost all started with, "so-and-so was a welfare failure story--had been given numerous opportunities and lots of help but refused to do anything for himself." Yet they are true success stories. Oh, how I wish I had read this chapter 5 years ago! Strongly recommended!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    The purposes and work of Church welfare is fascinating and carries with it a great sense of importance. I was inspired by the founding of the Welfare program by Harold B. Lee, the stories of individuals who were benefited, and the quotations from prophets and apostles on the purposes, design, importance, foundational principles, and future of this work. What would have made the book better: I) clarity on the purposes of each Welfare program (and how they fit together), II) discussion on how succ The purposes and work of Church welfare is fascinating and carries with it a great sense of importance. I was inspired by the founding of the Welfare program by Harold B. Lee, the stories of individuals who were benefited, and the quotations from prophets and apostles on the purposes, design, importance, foundational principles, and future of this work. What would have made the book better: I) clarity on the purposes of each Welfare program (and how they fit together), II) discussion on how success is measured, III) more data, IV) more insight into the problems trying to be solved (including trade-offs), V) evaluation of how well the program has done and where it has fallen short (more reflection and objectivity), VI) comparison with other effective welfare programs, VII) more insight into managing Welfare outside the U.S. and Canada, VIII) more detailed thoughts on how the Program will need to evolve to be more effective and better meet the needs of a changing world (based on known or expected trends) and Church population, and IX) a discussion on how much the Church gives, in terms of resources, to helping the poor and whether it is adequate.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ford

    About How and why the Mormon Church welfare program got started. The only downside is the book was published in 1995 so it does not reflect the current system.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cyndi

    This book title comes from James 1:27 which says, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted before the world." The book gives a comprehensive look at the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in their quest to provide relief to those in need. It chronicles the efforts of the Church to establish a system that would be able to give aid to those in need and those who are This book title comes from James 1:27 which says, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted before the world." The book gives a comprehensive look at the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in their quest to provide relief to those in need. It chronicles the efforts of the Church to establish a system that would be able to give aid to those in need and those who are able could give back something in return for the help they receive. Something that would not be attempted by government. But by administering the program this way, those who received aid and were able to give something back received so much more. Stories are related of people who learned skills and in some cases, how to work, learned to enjoy work and were able to take care of themselves after training. So much to say and so little space but there are good people in the world that help those in need and I am happy to play a small part in welfare activities.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    This book was very inspirational to me. The historical setting was useful, and I also enjoyed reading about how things changed/progressed over the years. The addition of the success stories was a very nice additional human touch to the book. Without those I don't know that the book would have been as powerful. I also very much enjoyed the explanations of why work itself is so important. That is not a message heard anymore. In western (really, American) society, the idea is pushed that the only wo This book was very inspirational to me. The historical setting was useful, and I also enjoyed reading about how things changed/progressed over the years. The addition of the success stories was a very nice additional human touch to the book. Without those I don't know that the book would have been as powerful. I also very much enjoyed the explanations of why work itself is so important. That is not a message heard anymore. In western (really, American) society, the idea is pushed that the only worthwhile life goal is one of leisure with no/little thought for others. The quote of President (of the LDS Church) David O. McKay rings so loudly, “Let us realize that the privilege to work is a gift, that power to work is a blessing, that love of work is success.” I will being thinking about this for a long time - I hope so anyway! Absolutely recommended to anyone interested in reducing suffering in those less fortunate than you.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    A fascinating, well-written look at the LDS Church welfare system, from its beginnings to the present day. This is an excellent book for members of the Church, but would appeal to anyone with an interest in social welfare. The principles outlined are enlivened with compelling anecdotes of the church welfare system in action. This book really helped me understand how the things we do in the Church (donating money to fast offerings, giving time in service to Church welfare projects, like the canne A fascinating, well-written look at the LDS Church welfare system, from its beginnings to the present day. This is an excellent book for members of the Church, but would appeal to anyone with an interest in social welfare. The principles outlined are enlivened with compelling anecdotes of the church welfare system in action. This book really helped me understand how the things we do in the Church (donating money to fast offerings, giving time in service to Church welfare projects, like the cannery, etc.) all fit together to aid the poor and prepare for times of distress, while at the same time encouraging self-sufficiency and service. I also enjoyed getting a look at Church presidents and apostles who really began their Church administration in the early days of the welfare department. Anyway, a great read for Sunday afternoons.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Wayne Goodworth

    Elder Rudd worked directly with all LDS Prophets since the beginning of the current Church welfare program. He shares the principles the prophets taught, the many ways the welfare program blesses those in need, how those who serve others are blessed, and many miracles that occurs from practicing pure religion. An incredible experience for me: I recently had the opportunity to visit exclusively with Elder Rudd on his final day of full-time service at the Church Office Building. That was definitely Elder Rudd worked directly with all LDS Prophets since the beginning of the current Church welfare program. He shares the principles the prophets taught, the many ways the welfare program blesses those in need, how those who serve others are blessed, and many miracles that occurs from practicing pure religion. An incredible experience for me: I recently had the opportunity to visit exclusively with Elder Rudd on his final day of full-time service at the Church Office Building. That was definitely an experience to remember. Throughout his years of service, he has provided so much insight and direction to so many people. It has been a blessing to associate with him (on the very limited opportunities I've had).

  8. 5 out of 5

    David

    I expected this to be informative but dry. Instead I found it to be fairly compelling and thought provoking. The program described here was built by an organization that had fewer than 10 million members for almost the entire time covered by this book (although they have 15 million members now). Would it be possible for a variety of Christian churches to establish a coordinated effort comparable to what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has established? If so, what are the limits o I expected this to be informative but dry. Instead I found it to be fairly compelling and thought provoking. The program described here was built by an organization that had fewer than 10 million members for almost the entire time covered by this book (although they have 15 million members now). Would it be possible for a variety of Christian churches to establish a coordinated effort comparable to what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has established? If so, what are the limits of what such a system could accomplish with the support of hundreds of millions of people?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Patsy

    I tried to read this book 20 years ago when I was serving as a Relief Society president, but never could connect the heart-warming stories from the book with the experience I was having. When I was called to serve again as a Relief Society president, I knew I had to finish this book, and I'm so glad I did. I'm grateful for the history and the stories, and the information about the people who have worked so hard for the current church welfare system. The chapters at the end have enriched my exper I tried to read this book 20 years ago when I was serving as a Relief Society president, but never could connect the heart-warming stories from the book with the experience I was having. When I was called to serve again as a Relief Society president, I knew I had to finish this book, and I'm so glad I did. I'm grateful for the history and the stories, and the information about the people who have worked so hard for the current church welfare system. The chapters at the end have enriched my experience and my perspective. Thanks to Elder Rudd for his work and for writing the book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    A very interesting history of the Welfare Program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sometimes the writing lacked momentum--lists of names, etc. The best parts were the stories of people who were helped, explanations of the genesis of certain programs, accounts of miraculous intervention, and quotations on welfare service by Church leaders. Reading this makes me proud to be a small part of this great work, and it also inspires me to do more for my fellow man.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Travis Hamilton

    This was a great read! I would recommend this book to anyone interested in helping the less fortunate, in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and lifting those who are down and out. This book has helped me gain a greater insight into the amazing program that has been established by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. This is the Lord's way of helping those in need to help themselves and for how we can help in that process.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This book opened my eyes to the far-reaching effects of the welfare program of the church. It has helped me to understand better how the program was organized to help people to help themselves, and that the church is often one of the first to respond to natural disasters around the world. It strengthened my own desires to be prepared.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    For those interested in the history of Church welfare, this book has all of the facts that you could want. I was hoping for an examination of the guiding principles/philosophy behind the welfare system, and this wasn't the book for that.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Missy

    This book opened my eyes and heart. I am very glad to have read and gained a deeper understanding of welfare principals. How can we touch someone’s heart if they do not have basic needs met? If only our government could use this system of self reliance:) The real stories are faith building.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Willis

    Has a lot of interesting stories about different things that have happened with the LDS welfare system. It feels like it bounces around from one story to the next without a whole lot of realy organization around particular themes and important events, so it feels more like a patchwork book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marcyhowes

    I first read this book 5 years ago . . .it is a very interesting read that explains the history and purposes of the LDS Church Welfare Program and the gospel principles behind it. I've been skimming it and enjoying it again.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bookwyrmgyrl

    I was afraid this book was going to be dull, since it is a history, but it wasn't! It was great reading, and I learned a lot from it. I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in welfare, preparedness, or church history.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Fred Provoncha

    If the LDS Church must be defined, let this define her...

  19. 5 out of 5

    T

    Great book. There were some very inspiring portions throughout the book. The writing isn't spectacular but the facts and the insights are!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brad Peterson

    There is a lot of detail in this history, which can make it difficult to complete, but in summary I enjoyed it and came away with a more complete understanding of the welfare program.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Art

    This book describes the history and effects of the welfare program of the LDS Church.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Grandma

    A Wonderful book about how we should help each other in hard times.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Albert

    I read it as a recommended read before our humanitarian mission to Armenia. It's documentary, interesting, but not compeling.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John Hutton

    This is definitely an interesting history book. It's hard to figure out how the principles of self reliance can be applied from that day to these days.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rex

    Faith-promoting book outlining the history and doctrine of the LDS church welfare program. I really enjoyed reading the history and quotes at the end of the book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emilysa

    The Church is true.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Troy

    Very interesting history. It made me proud to be part of such an organization. It was not the best written but it got the job done.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Excellent overview of the history of the LDS Welfare system. The last half of the book has great Latter-Day quotes from prophets.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    A wonderful history of how the LDS (Mormons) take care of the poor and needy. Inspirational stories included throughout the book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katina

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