My emotions have been very close to the surface this past week. So when I tell you I burst into tears yesterday pulling up to Deseret Industries, I hope you won't judge me.
Halloween is coming up and, as my friends know, I'm a sucker for costumes. I've been gathering all the necessary bits for our family's costumes way ahead of my usual schedule this year (aka not the night before!) but couldn't find one necessary piece. A friend told me there was a really great DI on the other side of the freeway and, with few options left, I decided to check it out.
I drove down 800 S, listening to the BBC and passing pens back to Soren, trying to keep him awake. I also looked for the big red and blue DI logo. That's why I almost missed the understated gray sign proclaiming the entrance to Welfare Square. An arrow for the Cannery, an arrow for Employment Services, an arrow for the Bishop's Storehouse, and then--ah!--this way to Deseret Industries. We took a sharp turn into the gated area.
It was the huge grain elevator that did me in. I'd never seen it before but the logo on the side was instantly recognizable as a symbol of provident living and the joy that comes as we help people help themselves. President Monson said that if we visit Welfare Sqaure, "your eyes will glow a little brighter, your heart will beat a little faster, and life itself will acquire a new depth of meaning." I felt that. It was because I caught a glimpse of the efficiency, compassion, and wisdom of God's plan for His saints. That place is a little piece of Zion.
Although we may not practice the law of consecration as the United Order did during the early years of the church, current-day members (and endowed members doubly) have made a covenant to care for the poor and the needy. The demands of this covenant are partially fulfilled when we pay tithing and fast offerings. And with those funds, through the Welfare Plan, God can ensure that the temporal needs of all His saints are met.
In working as a Relief Society president and at Step Beyond, I experienced a little bit of what the Welfare Plan is all about. To those who join with us, we as a people can offer relief from poverty. At the bishop's storehouse, we feed the hungry. At the employment center and the DI, we put people to work as well as educate them. At the cannery, we prepare for the future. With the perpetual education fund, we lift generations out of ignorance. In the bishop's office, saints receive the funds necessary to clothe and shelter their families in times of financial hardship.
I submit to you that the laws of tithing and fasting are the modern-day law of consecration--and they work! This comprehensive plan for the provident living of all church members is a tender mercy of the Lord.