Bishop Caussé Shares Heart of Church Welfare and Humanitarian Efforts

Presiding bishop delivers keynote speech at Chapman University symposium

News Release

“It is our conviction that no person can truly claim to love God without also reaching out and lifting up God’s children, both through offering spiritual comfort and providing for temporal wants,” said Bishop Gérald Caussé, presiding bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bishop Caussé spoke at a religious symposium at Chapman University in Orange, California, Tuesday evening, February 20, 2018.

 

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“The temporal and spiritual aspects of our lives are fundamentally intertwined,” said Bishop Caussé, who outlined the principles behind the Church’s welfare program to more than 800 members of the university administration, faculty and community and faith leaders on the Southern California campus near Los Angeles.

“This same principle was amply illustrated in the life of the Savior Himself,” he explained. “While much of His time was dedicated to teaching — as evidenced by His powerful sermons and parables — the biblical accounts are just as replete with examples of His feeding the multitudes and healing the infirm.”

Bishop Caussé told the audience that Mormons and other Christians are driven to make personal sacrifices because of their devotion to Jesus Christ, and acts of service bless both the giver and the receiver.

“It is this phenomenon — the mutually beneficial impact that service has on both giver and receiver — that drives us as a Church to not only provide aid through donated money and supplies, but to build in opportunities for service and personal interaction,” he added.

“Self-reliance has been a foundational principle of the Church’s welfare program ever since its inception,” said Bishop Caussé.

He said that caring for the poor and needy became one of the missions of the Church under the leadership of President Thomas S. Monson. “Until the very last years of his life, [President Monson] would be found in his ‘free’ time visiting hospitals, care facilities, and homes of the elderly to lift and to cheer. He understood that regardless of how many sermons he preached over the pulpit, what mattered even more would be the sermon that he taught and exemplified through his life.”

Bishop Caussé, who oversees the temporal affairs of the Church, including the welfare and humanitarian programs, said the global efforts to care for the poor and needy also include partners and community members of other faiths.

“It is as we interact with each other, serving side by side, that we are mutually uplifted by one another, and it is for this reason that we strive to include volunteer service in our humanitarian efforts whenever possible,” he said.

The Mormon leader pointed to the JustServe.org website developed by the Church that can be used in any community to publicize opportunities for service.

The Church is also recognized around the world for its grassroots Mormon Helping Hands program, which sprang into action with tens of thousands of volunteers in their bright yellow shirts last fall after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas, while hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the Caribbean and Irma went on to impact Florida.

“What occurred in Houston is evidence of the principle that the Church’s welfare system, at its core, is not a massive program managed from Utah. More often, it is the inspiration and initiative of a small group or single individual acting on basic values of self-reliance and caring for one’s neighbor,” said Bishop Caussé. “By reaching out to lift others, these volunteers were lifted themselves.”

The event was hosted by Chapman’s Fish Interfaith Center and the Latter-day Saint Student Association, presented under the direction of the John A. Widtsoe Foundation.

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