This is an excerpt from one of my all-time favorite conference talks, by President Marion G. Romney, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, as delivered at the October 1976 General Conference.
To emphasize the contrast between the Lord’s plan and some of the absurd practices of our day, I shall read a clipping or two from my miscellaneous file. The first concerns a hippie couple who were walking down the street. They both had long hair and were dressed in
typical hippie attire, complete with beads, sandals, and headbands. The fellow said to the girl: "I’m going over and pick up my unemployment check. Then I’ll drop in at the university to see what’s holding up my check for my federal education grant. After that I’ll pick up our food stamps. Meanwhile, you go over to the free clinic and check your tests, pick up my new glasses at the city health center, then go to the welfare department and apply for another increase on our eligibility limit.
“Then I’ll meet you at five o’clock at the federal building for the mass demonstration against this rotten establishment.”
I clipped the following from the Reader’s Digest some time ago.
“In our friendly neighbor city of St. Augustine great flocks of sea gulls are starving amid plenty. Fishing is still good, but the gulls don’t know how to fish. For generations they have depended on the shrimp fleet to toss them scraps from the nets. Now the fleet has moved. …
“The shrimpers had created a Welfare State for the … sea gulls. The big birds never bothered to learn how to fish for themselves and they never taught their children to fish. Instead they led their little ones to the shrimp nets.
“Now the sea gulls, the fine free birds that almost symbolize liberty itself, are starving to death because they gave in to the ‘something for nothing’ lure! They sacrificed their independence for a hand-out.
“A lot of people are like that, too. They see nothing wrong in picking delectable scraps from the tax nets of the U.S. Government’s ‘shrimp fleet.’ But what will happen when the Government runs out of goods? What about our children of generations to come?
“Let’s not be gullible gulls. We … must preserve our talents of self-sufficiency, our genius for creating things for ourselves, our sense of thrift and our true love of independence.” (Reader’s Digest, Oct. 1950, p. 32.)
Now a contrasting clipping entitled, “It’s a Good Thing There Wasn’t Anybody Around to Help the Pilgrims”:
“They landed in a forbidding wilderness. No Federal Housing, so they went to work and built their own. No Free Stamp Program, so they raised what food they ate, and when they didn’t raise enough, went without.
“No Free Schools, so mothers taught their children. No Recreational Programs—they were too busy working. No anti-draft riots—everyone was expected to share in the protection of his country. No Social Security—no security atall, except what each provided for himself.
“But there were compensations. No rioters demanding something for nothing. No unwashed ‘students’ telling their mothers what to teach. No wasteful bureaucrats paying themselves out of the workers’ production.
“Nothing, really, for the Pilgrims but hard work and a lot of it.
“Did it pay off?
“Our standard of living proves it.” (Christian Economics, Nov. 1972, p. 25.)