The lesson in question was lesson 13 in the Gordon B Hinckley manual, "blah blah temporal SELF RELIANCE." You know why I hate lessons on self reliance? Because invariably they're given by rich white guys who have no idea what it's like to be poor. Case in point, the lesson tells us that,
“My father had an idea that his boys ought to learn to work, in the summer as well as in the winter, and so he bought a five-acre farm [about 20,000 square meters], which eventually grew to include more than thirty acres. We lived there in the summer and returned to the city when school started.
I only know one other family that had that kind of work experience. The dad in the family I know is the CEO of a company. Going out and buying a five acre farm simply so your kids can learn the true nature of hard work just reeks of privilege.
There are dog whistles around every corner. The most blatant, of course, is the
Those who have participated as the recipients of this program have been spared “the curse of idleness and the evils of the dole.”
I'm pretty sure President Hinckley didn't know many poor people if he thought they're idle or if he thinks asking for government assistance is an evil thing. The quote itself, "the curse of idleness and the evils of the dole" comes from President Grant who was the president of the church during the great depression. That statement is one that was used widely at the time to indicate a resistance to the New Deal and expansion of welfare to help those made destitute by the combination of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. It's a phrase that's continued in popularity among republicans.
And it's a phrase I hate.
Why do people go on the dole? Right. Because they want to eat. I am all in favor of working hard and contributing positively to the society in which we find ourselves. But I also recognize first, that there are those who can't for reasons beyond their control (disability, age, etc.) and second, that there are a lot of jobs that simply aren't compensated at a level that reflects the importance of that job to society (mothers in particular, but really all low-skill, low-wage labor. Low-skill is not equivalent to low-importance).
I wish that we as a people would, instead of talking about the value of self-reliance, start talking about the social contract that binds us together as a society and that only works if everyone (or most everyone) holds to it. It's true that everyone needs to contribute, and everyone should be striving to contribute at least as much as they take out as long as they are able, but at the same time when you're contributing to society the society then has an obligation to compensate people. A stable, free society can only come from a system where people feel their contributions are adequately and appropriately valued. Undervaluing people, and then compelling them to work through fear, is only a short step removed from slavery, particularly when we produce so much and are so wealthy as a whole.