Elder Hafen visited our stake recently, and shared seven tips or principles Elders Ballard and Scott (of the Quorum of the 12) recently shared with the brethren to deal with economic turbulence. I imagine none are too surprising considering the past and current teachings of the Church on temporal welfare. I thought I would share them here:
1. Pay your tithing and fast offerings. No question that the spiritual blessings from tithing and fast offerings outweigh any physical inconvenience. This is especially true in times of difficulty. This is number one as an expression of faith to open the windows of heaven.
2. Education and literacy. This is done with a long-term perspective in mind, a preparation for life. For me, I think it doesn’t just mean one discrete period of training, (i.e. college, vocational school, etc.) but more like a continuous, lifelong quest for learning, where one constantly strives to better one’s self.
3. Employment with a focus on career development. One factor to consider when finding a job is how it will contribute to one’s personal and professional development, both short and long-term.
4. Financial management. Elder Hafen explained this means avoiding consumer debt and having a savings for a time of need. He was befuddled by our overspending culture, bankruptcies, floating credit, etc. As a libertarian, I had no problem plugging in the easy money and easy credit policies of the Federal Reserve right into this one as a cause. And then I thought: is the cause (and a good comprehension thereof) really important theologically? I decided it is not nearly as important as understanding how to get through the difficult circumstance. To sum up, stay out of debt and save for the future.
5. Family home storage. This includes a financial reserve (see number 5) as well as some food storage. Elder Hafen referenced President Hinckley’s practical approach to food storage: better to have something than nothing. One must start somewhere.
6. Physical health. Elder Hafen mentioned eating right and exercising to stay in good physical health. This one was curious to me. But there are at least two relatively obvious reasons why this would be important: first, bad health can be very costly. In a time of need, it can be that much more of a financial burden to pay for medical care. Another reason is that good physical health makes one much more marketable in the labor force. This means a greater likelihood of finding a well-paying job in a tough labor market. And of course there are other benefits, like being better able to accomplish one’s job, feel good about one’s self, and receive spiritual blessings from good health.
7. Welfare. This was a little open-ended and vague. Elder Hafen asked “Why aren’t we (as a Church) doing better in welfare?” I was a little hazy at what was specifically meant, but suppose that this means that members of the Church should watch out for each other’s welfare, spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, etc., and for some reason, we don’t (at least not as well as we should). Elder Hafen largely left this question for us to think about.
Of course, none of these points are surprising or unusual when compared to traditional Church teachings and doctrine. Education, good health, continual progression, food storage, and watching out for each other’s welfare, for instance, all have strong scriptural and historical precedent.
These are all somewhat comforting to me. I have been thinking of this for some time. How do I prepare for economic calamity? These simple principles were somewhat of an answer to that query.
I would add that it behooves each member of the Church to strive for guidance and direction from the Holy Ghost, in addition to the seven recommendations.