Charity or Robbery? Honor or Dishonor?


Prophet Statesmen, Albert E. Bowen

No government—federal, state, or municipal—has any money or anything else out of which to bestow bounty, except what it first takes out of the pockets of its individual citizens. It follows that whenever any one, “aged,” or indigent from other causes, takes help out of the public treasury, he is indirectly reaching round and taking money out of someone else’s pocket—not unlawfully, to be sure, but still so taking it. Has anybody, except under real necessity, any moral right to do that? . . . .

Many hard working people find their taxes a heavy burden. They pay them out of sacrifice, bordering sometimes on deprivation. Is there any sanction in gospel principles or teachings, or in the ordinary codes of honor or fairness of dealing which will say to such a one that he must bear this burden for the benefit of another just as well able to work as he, but chances to be 65 years old while he himself is but 50? Questions of honor and ordinary elemental honesty are here involved. Attaining the age of 65 is no remarkable personal achievement. It involves merely the passage of time with which the individual has little, if anything to do.

Source: Albert E. Bowen. The Church Welfare Plan. A 1946 Sunday School Lesson Manual by Albert E. Bowen of the Council of Twelve Apostles. Albert E. Bowen (1875–1953) was a mem­ber of the Quo­rum of the Twelve Apos­tles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Prior to his call to full time church ser­vice Albert Ernest Bowen taught at Brigham Young Col­lege, then grad­u­ated with hon­ors from Uni­ver­sity of Chicago law school, prac­ticed law in Logan, Utah, and later Salt Lake City, where he also became involved in many impor­tant busi­ness ven­tures such as the Utah Con­struc­tion Com­pany, the Amer­i­can Sav­ings and Loan Asso­ci­a­tion, and the Utah Fuel Company.

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