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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – Welfare, 1839

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood: Welfare, 1839.” You can view other years here.

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1839:    1 Jun.:  Bishops, not 70s, to care for poor.

“A conference was held in Quincy, Pres. Joseph Smith presided.  He informed the Seventies it was not the will of God that they should appoint, or have committees to take care of their poor, but that Bishops were the authorities that God had specially appointed for that purpose; which counsel was immediately responded to.

The following is from the Seventies record:

A council of the quorum of Seventies was held according to adjournment in Quincy.  Met at the committee room and the council called to order and opened by prayer by President Joseph Young.  President of the counsellors Joseph Young, Josiah Butterfield, Zerah Pulsipher and Henry Harriman.  Pres. Joseph Smith jr, Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith were also present and most of the Twelve.

After the council was opened the room being crowded to over flowing it was adjourned to a grove.

President Joseph Smith jun. gave the Seventies much instruction about what things they should teach and the manner of communicating the gospel to the children of men and on many other subjects especially enjoining it upon the Elders to keep and render a just account of all monies put into their hands for any purpose whatever which account should be rendered to the Bishop of the Church, and spoke at great length on the subject of every steward being just who has anything entrusted to his charge and be able at all times to give an account of his stewardship.  President Hyrum Smith addressed the council much to the same effect, both of them enjoining it upon the Elders to remember the Bishops of the Church in their travels and on all proper occasions when it could with propriety be done to solicit aid for the poor and send that which they might receive to the Bishop or Bishops to be by them appropriated according to the laws of the church. . . . {Seventies Record, A 78}”

(JH 1 Jun., 1839)

1842:  Jan.:  “Our duty to the poor.”

“It is the duty of the several branches of the Church to do all they can in righteousness for the industrious and suffering poor who are among them, especially those of the household of faith.  But at the same time they should take due caution lest they are imposed upon.  Now in order to do this, it is not good for members to travel from one branch to another to solicit charity, &c.  First, each branch has its own poor, with whom they are well acquainted, and of whom they are prepared to judge, and these are all they are able to be burdened with, and more too.  Secondly, if this principle of ininerant begging were suffered, a dishonest man, who would rather lounge than work, might live for years–a day or two in one branch, and so in another, and never seek employment.  This would open the temptation for hundreds of others, and in a few months hundreds of dishonest persons might be turned loose upon the churches under the name of saints in distress.  We have heard of some of late who came through different branches with a recommend from some elder, and who, on pretence of going to some place of relief, or to seek work, have lived a day or two on one branch, and a day or two on another, perhaps not more than two miles, or one mile distant from each other, and thus they have idled away their time, and imposed upon the simple, while perhaps the industrious poor, or the faithful ministers of the gospel, have been neglected.

These things are painful to the heart of the saints, and must be efectually done away.

Men sometimes come to us for a line to certify their membership, and then make use of it to influence the different branches to help them.  We therefore wish it to be distinctly understood that no line or certificate of membership from us is to be construed into a paper to influence itinerant begging.

While, on the other hand, we hope that the hearts of the saints will ever be open to afford a night’s lodging or a morsel of bread to the suffering stranger who may be providentially thrown among them.

Again, many industrious and faithful brethren may be destitute of employment, and may need a helping hand to enable them to emigrate to a land where bread is cheap and work plenty.  Now we would recommend that those who are able LEND the means for them to emigrate instead of bestowing the means gratis, because those brethren, as far as they are able-bodied, can pay them again when they are in a land of labour and bread; and if they have it to give they can give it to the sick and the afflicted, the widow and the fatherless, or for the support of the ministry, or to build the cities and temples of our God.”  (Parley P. Pratt, MS 2(9):136-137, Jan., 1842)

1845:  1 Oct.:  The first Fast Day?

“I once heard a pious Methodist preacher say, and he a good man in his way, according to the light he had (who will arise and condemn many of this generation), that in order to keep himself awake in a Methodist chapel, used to carry a bunch of nettles in his pocket, and when he felt getting too drowsy, sting himself.  Poor soul, he would not have needed that had he heard our president Brigham Young, or any of the twelve, he would be kept wide awake, I warrant him.  ‘To the poor is the gospel preached,’ and how is it preached?  Why, pur, simple, plain–hear an extract, Brigham Young was preaching, I was present–‘Is there any poor man here without money, without meat, and without work, let him come to me and I will keep him.  I will not promise to give him money, but he shall have plenty of meat, and if he wants a coat he shall have one, if he wants a hat he shall have one, or any thing else, and he can stay till lsomething better turns up.’  Did the English bishops preach the same way, the church would not be partly filled.  In another sermon I heard him say–‘Do you bishops attend to the poor as you ought to do, I fear some of you do not; I know there are some good ones, but those of you who do not, resign your offices to those who will attend to them, and if you do not, cursed be you in the name of the Lord from this time, and the curse shall follow you wherever you go.’  Then he spoke at length concerning the duties of bishops, &c.  He proclaimed a fast for the next Thursday, and begged the brethren to remember the poor, and assist the bishops, and each one to take what they should eat on the fast day to the poor, (not forgetting a few little comforts for them) naming several, amongst the rest a little ginger, which made us smile to think our president did not think it beneath his dignity to remember the poor old women’s comfort, &c.  Well, Thursday came–the fast commenced, likewise the gathering for the poor; people were seen trotting in all directions to the bishops of the different wards with bundles under their arms, some small, some great, and soon these little mites of twenty thousand people swelled into barrels of flour, and other food for the poor, and I dare say the ginger was not forgot.  We met, and prayed, and spoke, and listened to the simple effusion of many an honest heart, and heard many a bright testimony, and went away rejoicing with good appetites to enjoy our tea, and the poor enjoyed theirs.  Yes, ‘to the poor is the Gospel preached’ in these last days, and explained in a way not to be misunderstood.  It is a fine sight to see thousands upon thousands, with hundreds of carriages of all descriptions wending their way to the appointed place.”  (MS 6(8):123-124, 1 Oct., 1845; author unnamed, writing to the MS from Nauvoo)

1846:    8 Nov.:  70s to care for the poor of their quorums.

“At 3:30 the Presidents of the Seventies met with Pres. Young in his new house with doors but no windows, and chimneys built of brick obtained from the ruins of an old fort at Council Bluffs, but no floor.

Pres. B. Young spoke to the presidents and related a dream which he had concerning the Rocky Mountains.  Brother Joseph Young proposed to the Seventies to dig the mill race on Saturday, and also to give one tenth, if need be, to sustain the poor in their respective Quorums and that each quorum provide for their own poor.”  (JH 8 Nov., 1846)

1847:  21 Mar.:  Meeting with bishops concerning poor.

“In the evening Pres. [Brigham] Young attended a meeting of the Bishops, and conversed about relieving the wants of the poor.”  (JH 21 Mar., 1847)

16 Apr.:  1/10 to be given to Bishops for the poor.

“The idle shall not eat the bread of the laborer; therefore, let a record be kept by the captain of each ten or his clerk, how each man employs his time, from day to day, and let the same be reported weekly to the clerk of the division or presidency of the organization, and let one tenth of the avails of each man’s labor be appropriated for the benefit of the poor and sick under the direction of the Bishops, according to the council of the presidency; for the poor ye have always with you, and the sick often, and he who administers to them, serveth the Lord.”  (JH 16 Apr., 1847)

1848:    31 Mar.:  Care of the poor in SLC.

“The High Council at Great Salt Lake City met, and took into consideration the circumstances of the destitute.  Inasmuch as some persons had arrived there who were well supplied with a variety of articles, but who had neglected, in the face of counsel, to bring enough provisions, while others of the destitute were soldiers and pioneers, whose present necessities it was but just and charitable to supply; the council decided, that Bishop Tarlton Lewis and Edward Hunter act in behalf of the destitute, and that all who apply for help bring a schedule of their effects signed by the Bishops of their ward and said Bishops were fully empowered to receive donations, buy, sell and make all exchanges and distribution the several circumstance of the applicants might require.”  (JH 31 Mar., 1848)

1849:    22 Feb.:  Bishops to provide for poor of own wards.

“Pres. Young met in council with President Heber C. Kimball, the Twelve and others at Geo. B. Wallace’s house.  The following brethren were ordained and set apart as Bishops for the wards named:  David Fairbanks, 1st ward; John Lowry, 2nd ward; Christopher Williams, 3rd; William H. Hickenlooper, 6th; William G. Perkins, 7th; Addison Everett, 8th; Seth Taft, 9th; David Pettigrew, 10th; Benjamin Covey, 12th; Edward Hunter, 13th; John Murdock, 14th; Abraham O. Smoot, 15th; Isaac Higbee, 16th; Joseph L. Heywood, 17th; James Hendrix, 19th.  A number of brethren were also set apart as counsellors to the Bishops.  Pres. Young advised to first fence the city by wards, and wished the Bishops to gather up the poor and look after them, and each bishop to provide food for the poor of his own ward, and not depend upon the Bishops of other wards.”  (JH 22 Feb., 1849)

25 Mar.:  Support of the poor.

“The Bishop’s Quorum met in the School Room.  Bishop Hickenlooper introduced the subject of providing for the poor, saying that he had many loud calls for assistance.

Charles C. Rich said that we supported the poor last year by donations, and the brethren giving into the hands of the Bishops who dealt it out, holding the receiver responsible for the pay when they were able.  They had generally paid up.

Voted that the plan of supporting the poor last year be adopted.”  (JH 25 Mar., 1849)

1851:    6 Oct.:  Fast offerings for the poor.

“On motion, it was voted that the Saints throughout the District known as the Pottawattamie purchase, observe Thursday the 9th inst., as a day of fasting and prayer, and those branches at a distance to whom information could not be communicated prior to that day, should observe Thursday following, and that all, as the custom heretofore had been; take the offerings to their acting Bishops for the benefit of the Poor and needy, in their various districts.”  (Semi-Annual Conference of the Pottawatamie District, 6 Oct., 1851; JH 6 Oct., 1851)

1853:  7 Jun.:  Relocation of poor as a remedy.

“The minutes of the Salt Lake bishops meetings provide evidence that relocation was a recurring theme in attempts to reduce urban poverty.  In 1853 Tarlton Lewis, the bishop of a relatively distant settlement, ‘said there was plenty of employment for all the poor we could send there.’  Bishop Joseph L. Heywood advanced the idea that bishops could counsel the poor who were capable of working ‘to go into the country, where a living [was] easily to be made.’  Bishop David Pettigrew gave further backing to the concept of relocation by explaining that the previous winter his ward was ‘crowded’ with poor, ‘but they had now, with but very few exceptions, got them out into the country.'”  (Pace Diss., pp. 276-277; also Bishops Meetings, 7 Jun., 1853) 

1856:    9 Jul.:  Bishops and care of the poor.

“If the Bishops learn that any of the poor in their Wards are improvident in the use of provisions, let them take charge of their provisions and deal them out as necessary and a fair proportion may demand.  And if the poor feel to complain of such treatment, and are unwilling to comply with so wise a regulation for mutual support, let the Bishops say to them that they have the privilege of leaving their Wards.”  (“Counsel from the First Presidency,” DN 6(18):141, 9 Jul., 1856)

29 Sep.:  Relocation.

“Several months after his ordination as bishop in 1856, Bishop [Elijah] Sheets recommended that the poor be counseled ‘to go into the country.’  He did not want poor persons brought into the Eighth Ward by anyone who was unable to provide for their support and hoped to prevent the Ward’s becoming overburdened with ‘more than [its] share of the poor.'”  (Pace Diss., p. 279; also Eights Ward Historical Record, 29 Sep., 1856) 

[Teachers Meeting]  “The subject of bring[ing] poor people in to the ward was brought up by the Bishop.  He recommended that the brethren council them to go into the country and that no one bring them in the ward unless the[y] was able to support them so as not to burthen the ward with more than our share of the poor.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 29 Sep., 1856)

15 Oct.:  How bishops are to handle the poor immigrants.


You are well aware that many of the brethren and sisters who annually arrive are destitute of teams, wagons, goods, cash, and almost everything except what they have on.  This is more particularly the case with those who have and will soon come in with hand carts, and calls for general and prompt philanthropic action on our part, that the time and skill of the new comers be not wasted, and that they may not needlessly suffer.

Heretofore it has been too much the practice of the Bishops and brethren in the country to select the single and able-bodied, and leave the old, the infirm and children on the hands of the Bishops and people in this city.  A moment’s candid reflection will convince all of the impolicy and injustice of such a course, for the majority of those located outside of this city are where land is cheap and plenty, water and cattle range abundant, and fuel easily obtained.  At least these are the arguments they have used, and if this city has some disadvantages for obtaining a livelihood, how can they expect all of the old, the very young and the infirm to be properly cared for therein?

To avoid this, and to more equally distribute duties among all who profess the same faith, the Bishops throughout the various settlements in Utah are requested to take prompt measures for the speedy removal of those now on Union Square, in this city, and those yet to arrive, ere inclement weather sets in; also to devise ways and means for the most advantageous employment of the time and skill of all.  The Saints are counseled to aid their Bishops in these duties; and those who have acquaintances and relatives are more particularly expected to look after their welfare and location.

The several Bishops in the Territory will call uopn the Presiding Bishop, Edward Hunter, and his Counselors, Leonard W. Hardy and Jesse C. Little, who will direct them who and how many to take into their different Wards, that no Ward or locality receive an undue share of the poor, helpless and infirm.  This city has invariably borne the heat and burden of supporting that class, and it is high time that those who are living amid an abundance of grain, cattle, horses, range, fuel, water, &c., should round up their shoulders to receive their share of the load.

From all the settlements far and near, those willing to aid can bring in tithing weat and other articles, and thus come prepared to take back such as Bishop Hunter and his Counselors may designate, without depending upon this city to furnish transportation as has too often been the case.

Hear ye, O ye Bishops in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints dwelling in the mountains, see that no man, woman, or child, living in your Wards and able to labor and sustain themselves, is idling away his time; and especially the poor who have to call upon you, from time to time, for help.  And now, while provisions are plenty and cheap, see that they procure a sufficient quantity to sustain them through the year, that none need suffer.

Suffer not people to run from Ward to Ward, without a recommendation from their Bishop, that you may not be imposed upon by idlers or loafers.

If your Wards are so large that you cannot attend to them and do your duty, you have the privilege of dividing them, that others may help bear the burden.

While these steps are taken by the faithful and liberal, that the new comers may not be discouraged, or suffer hardships uncalled for, it will be wisdom in them to reflect that they have come to a new and strange country, where comforts and conveniences have to be wrested from the fude elements with much patience and labor; that they have not come here to sing themselves (nor to be sung) away to everlasting bliss; but that useful occupation is honorable in all.  This is necessary, in order that they may not become a burden to the cause, prove recreant to their duties, after many hardships, and thus lose the reward of their baptism and journeyings.

Let all be sure not to be off their watch nor lay down their armor; but live your religion, that you may be comforted, and enabled to accomplish the purposes of your being here, with joy and honor to yourselves and to the acceptance of our God.

Brigham Young

Heber C. Kimball

Jedediah M. Grant.”

(DN 6(32):253, 15 Oct., 1856)

1857:    10 Jun.:  Propriety of building a storehouse.

[Teachers Meeting]  “The Bishop then stated the object of the meeting which was for the Teachers to report and then to take into consideration the propriety of building a store house to put our grain in.  The[y] reported their various Blocks which showed that the ward was in good standing with some little exception.  The blessings of the store house was then discussed by the Brethern and it was the mind of the ward that each individual take care of his own grain.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 10 Jun., 1857)

5 Sep.: Beware of Welfare Fraud.

“The Pastors and Presidents should be particularly careful that they are not imposed upon by individuals who join the Church, more for the sake of obtaining pecuniary relief than from a pure love of the truth, as has been the case in some instances.”  (Editorial [S. W. Richards, Editor], MS 19(36):569, 5 Sep., 1857)

1858:    17 Oct.:  Teachers half asleep/See after wood for poor.

[Teachers Meeting]  “The Bishop made some remarks.  Said that he believed the Teachers was half asleep and he was ashamed to see the people forgetting their God and their prayers and that many was looking after gold more than their God, and if they was not careful they would apostatise.  Bro. Woodward coincided with the remarks of the Bishop and said the Devil tried to keep the people from meeting and doing their duty.  Encouraged the Brethern to hold fast to the truthes of the gospel.  Br. Houtz made some appropriate remarks.  The Bishop wished the Teachers to see after the wood for the poor, also for the Schoolhouse.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 17 Oct., 1858)

1859:    24 Mar.:  Teachers to look after needs of the poor.

[Teachers Meeting]  “The Bishop said he was pleased with the reports of the Teachers.  Liked to see the people feel well.  Wished the Brethern to see to the widows & destitute, and as there was some wavering to try to save them, also to have the people to take care of their bread stuff.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 24 Mar., 1859)

12 Jun.:  People should store up provisions.

“A meeting was held in the Seventy’s hall at 6 p.m. at which Elders Orson Hyde, Wilford Woodruff and Ezra T. Benson addressed the meeting on the importance of people storing up grain and provisions, etc.”  (JH 12 Jun., 1859)

1860:    21 Jul.:  70s Circular Concerning Breadstuffs.


Seventies’ Council Hall

Great Salt Lake City, July 21, 1860.

To the Presidents of Quorums and Mass Quorums of Seventies–

‘Why are we not united in carrying out Council?’

Dear Brethern, it has been resolved upon by the First Presidency of Seventies and General Council, that the following instructions should be forwarded to you, and that you be solicited, together with the Presidents of Seventies associated with you, to co-operate in carrying them into effect.

This is only carrying out the counsel of the first men of this Church.  It is pretty generally known that by them a scarcity of breadstuffs has been predicted, if not a famine.  Some have stated their belief that before many years a pound of flour would be worth a pound of gold.  This may be considered by many extravagant; but if there is not a scarcity of bread throughout the American Continent ere long, then the words of the Prophets of the Lord will have falled to the ground.  We would therefore recommend to you some wise and judicious course to gather up what bread stuffs you can and deposit the same in safe and convenient bins to preserve it from one to five years–a bin erected in the middle of a dry room, so as to pass round it, is considered one of the safest modes of preservation.  There are many moderate farmers among us who have but little surplus grain and they are obliged to dispose of it to procure the necessaries for their families.  We would respectfully recommend that all such should be called upon indiscriminately for that amount of grain they think they can spare and live without; commit it to the individual who has charge of the bin and take his receipt for little or much, whatever he can do without for the present.  This, however, is only applicable to those who do not wish to take charge of their wheat in their own granaries, or who have not suitable places for safe deposit.  There is scarcely a grain raiser in the community who has got so little but what he may spare from three to five bushels and have it disposed of and from that up to one hundred or one thousand–just as their circumstances permit; and what man, we would ask, is there who in case of the ravages of the grasshoppers or crickets, seeing the fields of grain demolished, or other misfortunes, such as hailstorms or tornados, would not feel gratified when he reflects that he has got five, ten or fifty bushels of wheat safely deposited in a secure place, that he may have it at call?  We think that if the brethern will take this into serious consideration they will see the consistency of this course, at least many will feel this to be expedient.

We would also recommend to any of the brethern who have wealth sufficient to make investments of this kind to buy in of such brethern who are under necessity of selling and deposit it with their own surplus grain and have it on hand in times of famine and imitate the great patriarch of old, even Joseph, who, being thus prudent, stored up all the surplus grain throughout the land and became a savior of his father’s house.

We would especially call the attention of the brethern to the fact that heretofore great quantities of wheat have been used at the several distilleries and breweries and would recommend that in the future the sugar cane, barley, potatoes, etc., be substituted for that purpose and that wheat be used in ano manner but that in which the Lord has designed it–bread for the human family.

As the Presiding Bishop has laid the injunction upon the Seventies to teach and advocate, throughout the Territory, the necessity of preparing for famine, we expect the Bishops will co-operate with us in helping to bring to pass this much desired effect.  Our circulars, however, we have confined to the Seventies, not wishing to convey the idea that our jurisdiction extends further.

Brethern, recollect there is an hereafter, when every man’s deeds and doings, as well as the influence he has used, will be scanned and scrutinized by a righteous tribunal.  How gratifying it will be to those individuals who have listened to good and wholesome counsel, and how mortifying will it be to those who have taken a course either directly or indirectly which has tended to the destructive instead of the salvation of their brethern!

Joseph Young, Sr.,

L. W. Hancock,

H. Herriman,

Z. Pulsipher,

A. P. Rockwood,

H. S. Eldredge,

Jacob Gates.

R. H. Atwood, Clerk.”

(JH 21 Jul., 1860)

19 Aug.:  How to deal with the poor/role of Bishops.

“While brother Cannon was speaking of the trouble the Gentiles have in providing for their poor, I thought, if they would take my counsel, that I could tell them a better way than they practise.  They raise large amounts of means for supporting their poor.  It is given to them; they use it up, and are where they were at first.  Had they wisdom, they would appoint a man to take charge of the poor and take them into Kansas or Nebraska, or some other locality where land is cheap, and teach them to support themselves.  Set the men to ploughing and the women to planting, with a good farmer to show them how, and in a little while they will be able to sustain themselves.  Let each Ward of a city do this, until all the able poor are provided with farms and know how to raise their bread; then let them get a few sheep, and manufacture the wool into good, warm, and comfortable clothing, and then raise flax and manufacture it.  By pursuing this course, in a few years there would be but few poor in the United States.

The reason we have no poor who are able to work is because we plan to set every person to work at some profitable employment, and teach them to maintain themselves.  If a person is not able to take care of himself, we will take care of him.  How?  Ever since I left my father I have had some of his family to provide for.  Ever since I have been in this Church I have never suffered a relative to be maintained by the Church.  But some men and women cast their children and other relatives upon the Church.  If one has an aged sister who cannot maintain herself, he passes her over to the Church; or if an aged father or mother, why, ‘let the Church or brother Brigham take care of them and provide for them.’  It is a disgrace to every man and woman that has sense enough to live, not to take care of their own relatives, their own poor, and plan for them to do something they are able to do.  There are some blind people here who more than maintain themselves.  Some old ladies cannot do hard work, but they can darn stockings and do other light work.

There is yet much to be done by the Bishops in these matters, though I have not so much occasion to preach to the Bishops on this subject as I used to have.  We have been removing and appointing others who do better.  We intend to do this until we have fathers for the people.  If a Bishop will act to the extent of his calling and office, and magnify it, there will not be an individual in his Ward that is not employed to the best advantage.  He would see that all lived as they should, walking humbly with their God, attending to their prayers, observing the Sabbath-day to keep it holy, and ceasing to swear and steal.  There would not be a person his his Ward that he does not know, and he would be acquainted with their circumstances, conduct, and feelings.  That will be the case by-and-by.  We are improving; and by-and-by we shall be quite a well-behaved family, and can hail each other with delight as brethren and sisters, and the Lord will own and bless us as his children.”  (Brigham Young, 19 Aug., 1860; JD 8:145-146)

1861:    16 May:  Teachers to look after the poor.

[Teachers Meeting]  “The Bishop arose and said he would like the Teachers to notice if they was any poor in the ward.  If they was we must see to them that they did not lack the necessaries of life.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 16 May, 1861)

11 Jul.:  Care of the poor.

[Teachers Meeting]  “The Bishop said he had not much to say but if the people was not progressing they must be going back.  Thought if mild words did not answer, a little sharp talk would do them no harm, for they was some in the ward that was fast asleep and it was time to wake them up to a sense of their position & do our duty to see to the poor, pay our donations, make special visits where needed them and do all the good we could.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 11 Jul., 1861)

3 Oct.:  Care of poor/Deacons to care for schoolhouse.

[Teachers Meeting]  “The Bishop arose and said he had some remarks to make touching the poor that had come in this season.  Wished them to be distributed around in such places as they would take care of themselves and earn their own living, not for people to take them in their homes that could not take care of themselves and deprive the people of being sent where they would take care of themselves.  Winter was now approaching and we had to see to all these things in due season, that the poor would not suffer.  Wished his Brethren to be awake and help to roll forth the purposes of God and be blest in all things.  Exhorted the Brethren to take care of their grain & provision.  Told the Deacons to see the School house was cleaned out, glass put in and made comfortable for winter.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 3 Oct., 1861)

28 Nov.:  Duties of Teachers/Care for the poor.

[Teachers Meeting]  “The Bishop said there were some poor that would need wood for winter, counselled some of the Teachers to go round with a team and gather wood from some of their Blocks that could not donate a load.  He also refered to the boys shooting in the ward.  Told the Teachers to see that it be stopt for peoples lives were in danger.  Thought that some of the Teachers did not visit the people as often as they should.  If Teachers would do their duty our skirts would be clear of the Blood of all men.  Told them to cheer up the Saints in every situation where it was needed, chastise when needed by the Spirit of the Lord, for there were some that had a name in the Church but never did their duty but we had to do the best we could.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 28 Nov., 1861)

1863:    19 Feb.:  Duties of Teachers/Care of the Poor.

[Teachers Meeting]  “The Bishop said that if men could not act as Teachers, they should report and be liberated and it would be all right, but some men did not act & did not report and it was not right.  He wished men to be on hand and awake.  If we were not on hand were not in the line of our duty.  He considered it an honor to act as a servant of God if only a Deacon.  He wished the Brethren to enlighten the minds of the people and magnify their callings.  Spoke on the wants of the poor.  Told the Teachers to see they had wood & the necessaries of life.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 19 Feb., 1863)

6 Oct.:  Care of the poor:  instructions to bishops.

“I will now make a requirement at the hands of the Bishops, both those who are here, and those who are not here and which every individual must see is necessary and just; and that is, for them to see that there is sufficient breadstuff in their respective Wards to last the members of their Wards until another harvest; and if you have not sufficient on hand, we shall require you to secure it and hold it in such a way that the poor can obtain it by paying for it.  There are persons who would part with every mouthful of breadstuff they have for that which does not profit them, and bring starvation upon the community.  I wish the Bishops to have an eye to this, and to devise employment, that the new comers and strangers that may be among us may have a chance to earn their bread.  Let sufficient wheat be held in reserve by those who have it, or are able to buy it, for this purpose, that none may suffer.”  (Brigham Young, 6 Oct., 1863; JD 10:256)

1864:  21 Jul.:  Preserving bread and production of the Earth.

[Special Meeting]  “The Bishop introduced Bro. John Van Cott and E. Stevenson [both of the First Council of Seventy], who made known the object of their visit by reading a circular, recommending a unity of action on the part of the people in preserving their bread and the production of the Earth, so that the whole people might be sustained.”  (8th Ward Minutes, 21 Jul., 1864)

9 Oct.:  Bishop Hunter and relocation.

“Presiding Bishop Hunter’s ideas concerning relocation were important because of his influential leadership position.  His attitudes are particularly relevant to the present study, because they may have influenced or at least reinforced the thinking of the ward bishops regarding the safety-valve philosophy.  In 1864 Bishop Hunter expressed his intention of having ‘the incoming emigration’ go to ‘country settlements.’  Hunter ‘required the bishops from a distance to take with them several families now waiting to go to different parts of the Territory.’  The Presiding Bishop believed that ‘the country’ held superior employment potential for the poor than did ‘the city.'”  (Pace Diss., p. 277; also Bishops Meetings, 9 Oct., 1864)

1867:  29 Jun.:  Poor who relied too little on their own efforts.

“In 1867 [Bishop Edwin Woolley] referred to ‘the great number of poor in the Thirteenth Ward [who], not showing any disposition to help themselves out, settle down on the charity of the ward.'”  (Pace Diss., p. 272; also Thirteenth Ward Historical Record, 29 Jun., 1867)

3 Nov.:  Duty of bishops to supervise food storage.

“It is a common saying, ‘as with the priest so with the people.’  I will change that a little, and say as are our bishops so are the people.  We have said much to the people with regard to laying up provisions to last them a few years.  This is our duty now; it has been our duty for years.  How many of our bishops have provisions laid up for one year, two years, or seven years?  There may be a few bishops who have got their grain laid away to last their families a year, but the great majority of them have not.  The people do, or should look to their bishops for example.  Each bishop should be an example to his ward.  If the bishop of a ward lays up wheat to last his family a year, two years, or seven years, as the case may be, his neighbors on the right and on the left will be very apt to do the same; they will very likely build good bins and try to fill them.”  (Brigham Young, 3 Nov., 1867; JD 12:106)

5 Dec.:  Bishops to take care of their own poor.

“BISHOP’S MEETING.–There was a very interesting Bishops’ meeting at the City Hall last night [5 Dec.], which was attended by President B. Young and D. H. Wells, B. Young, junr., Bishop Hunter and his Counselors L. W. Hardy and J. C. Little, with representatives from all the wards in the city and from Brighton Ward.

. . . .

The subject of the poor in this city was taken up and considered; and President Young moved that henceforth the Bishops take care of the poor in their several wards instead of their being supplied from the General Tithing Store as at present.

The motion elicited remarks from a number of the brethren, all of whom expressed their appreciation of its wisdom; and much interest was manifested in the condition of the poor, while a liberality was given expression to which was creditable to the heads and hearts of the speakers.

Bishop E. D. Woolley queried from what source the funds to sustain the poor were to be derived, whether from Tithing or donation.

President Young said that at the monthly fast day, in the days of Joseph, the Prophet, the brethren donated of their substance to help the poor; and that if the same were faithfully done now there would be more than enough to supply the wants of the poor in our midst.  Those who thus exercise their liberality are proportionately blessed of the Lord–a principle, the truth of which was recognized by all present.  He also recommended that a suitable building in each ward be used for the poor, that several persons may reside together, which he urged for the sake of economy, and for other reasons.

The President’s remarks and suggestions met the hearty concurrence of the brethren present; and those who spoke expressed themselves warmly as to the good results which would arise from their practical application.  It was decided that the counsel and suggestions given with regard to the poor should be acted upon immediately.”  (DN 16(45):355, 18 Dec., 1867)  [NOTE THAT THIS MEETING MADE NO MENTION OF THE REORGANIZATION OF THE RELIEF SOCIETIES TO ASSIST WITH THE POOR.  IT APPEARS THAT THAT DECISION WAS MADE BETWEEN THE TIME OF THIS MEETING (5 DEC.) AND THE 8 DEC. PUBLIC MEETING AT THE TABERNACLE, REPORTED IN THIS SAME ISSUE OF THE DESERET NEWS, DATED 18 DEC.]

8 Dec.:  Brigham on care of the poor.

“President B. Young instructed the congregation on various principles, and pointed out the best course to be adopted with regard to caring for our poor.  They are very few in number, but they have to be provided for; and in drawing their support from the General Tithing Store much time is lost which might be usefully employed and turned to productive advantage.  He recommended the Bishops to look after the poor in their various wards, to find a suitable place in each ward where they can reside and be comfortable, to find employment for the sisters at knitting, sewing, crocheting, lace-making, and similar kinds of work which they can do; and to find something for the brethren to do, who are not able to go out and cut and saw wood, or do any heavy labor, at bottoming chairs, making door mats of flags, weaving willow baskets, and such kinds of employment.

He referred to the origin of fast days in the Church, and their objects, one of which was to have the food of every kind that was saved by fasting donated for the use of the poor; and showed that if the flour, meat, fruit, &c., saved by one day’s fasting of the whole community in a month, were placed in the hands of the Bishops for the poor, there would be more than enough to supply the wants of every person in the Territory, whose necessities would give them a claim upon the liberality of their richer brethren and sisters.

He also recommended that Female Relief Societies be immediately formed in the various wards, to look after the poor and minister to their wants.”  (Tabernacle Sabbath Meeting, 8 Dec., 1867; DN 16(45):355, 18 Dec., 1867)

8 Dec.:  Donate fast day offerings to the poor.

“The Bishops should, through their teachers, see that every family in their wards, who is able, should donate what they would naturally consume on the fast day to the poor.”  (Brigham Young, 8 Dec., 1867; JD 12:116)

15 Dec.:  Fast day and food for the poor.

“President B. Young preached.  Among other things he treated at some length on fasting and fast days, and instructed the Bishops of the various wards to see that every family in their respective wards should, on the fast day, carry, according to the size of their families, the quantity of food which would have been consumed by them to the bishops, for the poor; and the bishops–particularly of the 13th and 14th Wards–were instructed to cut off from the Church those who refused thus to assist the poor.

His remarks were reported in full.”  (Tabernacle Sabbath Meeting, 15 Dec., 1867; DN 16(46):365, 25 Dec., 1867)

18 Dec.:  Relief Societies to be organized to assist poor.

“There is really no necessity for any person to suffer in this community for want of the necessaries of life.  Our people believe too firmly in the Scripture that ‘he that hath pity upon the poor, lendeth to the Lord,’ to knowingly permit any person to go destitute while they have anything to share with them.  The Bishops have so many cares devolving upon them, so many duties to attend to, that it would not be surprising if, occasionally, some persons, who need assistance should escape their attention.  If proper measures, however, were taken in the various Wards, the wants of all might be duly attended to.  Many of the poor have heretofore, been dependent upon the Tithing Office for their support.  It is now desirable that that Department should be relieved from their calls, that the work of cutting stone, &c., for the Temple may be prosecuted.  The care of the poor, therefore, now devolves upon the Bishops.

President Young has suggested a plan which, if rightly carried out, can not fail to relieve the Bishops from the care which they otherwise will be likely to have in providing for the poor.  He suggests the organization of Female Relief Societies in the various Wards, whose duty it will be to visit the sick and the helpless and the needy, and learn their wants, and, under their Bishops, collect the means necessary to relieve them.  This suggestion must strike every one, who reflects upon the subject, as admirably adapted to meet the wants of the case.  These duties would be accepted readily, we believe, by our sisters, if they were satisfied that it was the wish of their Bishops for them to attend to them.  There are very many who, we feel assured, would take especial pleasure in the vocation.  It would present a field of usefulness to them that they would gladly enter upon.  Though women are precluded by their sex from going abroad as missionaries, and from performing many labors which fall to the lot of man, they are not, therefore, devoid of interest in the progress of the Work, or destitute of the desire to contribute, to the full extent of their ability, to the accomplishment of God’s purposes.  In the sphere which the President proposes they should occupy, there is room for extended usefulness.  Woman is peculiarly adapted to fill it.  She is, by nature, kind and sympathetic, and the sight of suffering awakens the kindliest emotions within her breast, and until that suffering is alleviated she cannot rest.

Man has his calling–there are duties for which he is peculiarly fitted.  But for this class of duties to which we allude he has not the adaptability possessed by woman.  They seem to come particularly within her province, and we have no doubt, if the Bishops will act upon the suggestion of the President, and organize these societies, and call the sisters to their aid, they will find that they have an auxiliary force on which they can rely, and one, too, that will relieve them from duties which sometimes press heavily upon them.  It is President Young’s wish that the Bishops take this suggestion into consideration, and taht in the Wards of this City, and in the country Wards where such Societies can find employment, they will take early steps to organize them.”  (“Female Relief Societies,” DN 16(45):354, 18 Dec., 1867)

22 Dec.:  Plan for caring for the poor.

“I wish to remind you of a plan which we have adopted for the sustaining of our poor.  Next Sabbath will precede our next fast meeting.  At our next fast meeting I want the Bishops of the several wards in this city, the Bishop on the other side of the river, and the Bishop of the Sugar House Ward, making twenty-two wards in all, to see to it that every family in their wards bring a portion of their substance with them for the poor, to be deposited where the Bishop shall appoint.  The Bishops of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth wards which are the wards containing nearly all the merchandise in the city–Bishop Woolley and Bishop Hoagland are the stewards over them–I wish them not to pass by the merchant, but let him also bring in proportion to his family for the support of the poor, also the doctors and lawyers in your wards.  If they refuse to assist in maintaining the poor, let them be cut off from the Church, and make very little ado about it.  Other wards are not as wealthy as these two wards, yet it is also true that these latter have more poor to sustain.  I merely wanted to put the brethren and sisters in mind of this to-day.  As to how much people should administer on a fast day for the sustenance of the poor, I will say, if you feel pretty close, and as though you have not much to spare, reckon up how much you consume in your families of flour, meat, vegetables, groceries, etc., and carry two-thirds of that day’s rations to the Bishop of your ward.  If you feel as though you could give a little more, give all the three meals, if you are in the habit of eating three meals a day; if you are not in the habit of eating three times a day, it is no matter, two-thirds as much as you consume in the day devote to the poor, and carry to your Bishop.  I would also urge upon the Elders of Israel the necessity of going to fast meeting regularly.  If I am unable to attend fast meeting myself, I try to be attentive in givin gmy substance to feed the poor; and I wish to remind every Bishop, that it is expected of him not to let a single family escape the performance of this important duty, that the poor may be fed and properly cared for.”  (Brigham Young, 22 Dec., 1867; DN 16(47):370, 1 Jan., 1868)