Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Warning: This is going to be a long post, but I beg you to read it. Skip this intro and read the article if you read nothing else!
Like a lot of people out there I have been really frustrated with what is happening to our country and what is going on in our government; so for the past few months I have been doing a lot of thinking and "research" (in the form of listening to a few different programs, as well as reading a few political books) in order to better educate myself with what is going on, and then what I think about it, and what I can do about it. With what I have learned I have felt so completely frustrated and equally overwhelmed. Where in the world do I begin and how in the world is my voice to be heard enough to make a difference?
While there are about a zillion things I feel are really important to address and that could be talked about, the main thing that I want to talk about right now is the principle of self-reliance. Wow! What a beautiful thing. This is something that I think the government is taking away from the people all underneath the mask of "compassion".
When I wrote about this I wanted it to be something that came from me...not from the books I've read or the people I've listened to, but I wanted my answer to "Why can't we help everyone?" be my own. And, okay, so it isn't exactly going to be just that BUUUUTTTT I promise you that I did not hear this on the radio, see/hear it on TV, read it in a book, but this talk came to mind while I was praying about it....wondering where the line is between government helping people and letting people help themselves.
This was what came to mind. It's an article from the March 2009 Ensign. A talk given by Elder Marion G. Romney in 1984! (The things that are in bold are my doing for emphasis.)

"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.”1

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.

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.”2

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."

AAAAAAMMMMMMEEEEEENNNNNN!!!!! Again, this is one principle/issue of a thousand that I feel passionate about, and perhaps it's just my pregnancy horomones, but honestly I feel like crying because I love our country so much and because I believe we are headed for some really tough times if we don't get up and do something about it. I beg of you to start learning- start listening- start acting on the things you believe and let's get out there and help save our country!

(Good reads: Glenn Beck's, Common Sense; and The 5000 Year Leap- Principles of Freedom 101, by W. Cleon Skousen.)


jamie t. said...

Amen! I agree. Good for you gfor writting about things you're passionate about. We all need to get invovled.

Kayce said...

Yeah Jena, that is the perfect talk. I also read something from Heber J Grant during the depression that said, "I believe that there is a growing disposition among the people to try and get something from the government of the United States with little hope of ever paying it back. I think this is all wrong." I absolutely agree with you on this, and I love your blog and your husbands blog.

Josh and Emily said...

Very good thoughts. It's a topic that bothers me too. My religion teacher showed us this talk from 1977 that talks about how we can't get the law of consecration mixed up with socialism.

Mark said...

Jenna, I love your consrvative views! I read "Liberty and Tyranny" by Mark Levin and gave it to Grandpa to read. You ought to borrow it when he's done, it's a good conservative read, especially the part on illegal immigration. I was talking to the captain on my way to Chile last night about how I would rank the 4 most pressing issues facing our nation and I ranked them as: 1-National debt, 2-illegal immigration, 3-Energy, and 4-education. I had no idea you had such conservative tendencies! You're becoming my new favorite neice! Love you guys, U. Mark

Tory said...

I think it is awesome that you spend time praying about ways to make a difference. That says a lot about the kind of person you are!

Julie said...

I agree with Tory. Jena I'm so impressed with you. You've taken it upon yourself to learn and understand this stuff. I'm so intimidated by politics. You inspire me to learn more though.