Presiding Bishop H. David Burton: 'Humanitarian services … make things better'

Presiding Bishop H. David Burton spoke Dec. 16 to the Utah Valley chapter of the BYU Management Society about the growing scope of the Church's humanitarian efforts. The address was delivered at a Christmas luncheon in the BYU Hinckley Visitors Center.

To underscore the increased emphasis being placed throughout the Church on humanitarian aid, Bishop Burton quoted language from the yet-to-be-released 2010 edition of the General Handbook of Instructions that addends "caring for the poor and needy" to the traditional three-fold mission of the Church of proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the Saints and redeeming the dead."

" 'To help individuals and families qualify for exaltation, the Church focuses on divinely appointed responsibilities. These include helping members live the gospel of Jesus Christ, gathering Israel through missionary work, caring for the poor and the needy, and enabling the salvation for the dead by building temples performing vicarious ordinances.'

"That's a quote that will appear beginning this year in the new General Handbook of Instructions."

According to Bishop Burton, humanitarian aid differs from Church welfare in that humanitarian efforts are aimed at non-members while welfare is assistance dispensed to members by the Church's 27,000 bishops. He said a primary objective of Church humanitarian outreach is to "relieve suffering by responding to emergencies — on the average, there is an emergency someplace in the world related generally to a natural disaster every two days." He added that the program's "secondary objective is to help families and individuals become self-reliant."

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