The Essence of the Gospel

This post is part of the General Conference Odyssey. We’re covering the welfare session of the October 1977 General Conference. Note: this post is backdated.

I confess that sometimes I find the welfare sessions the least interesting of the sessions. (Overall, I like the Sunday sessions the best. Priesthood is very hit-or-miss.) But the commitment of the Church to the program has really started to sink in. It’s hard not to, with quotes like these from (then) President Kimball

Welfare Services is not a program, but the essence of the gospel. It is the gospel in action. (Emphasis original.)


The measure of our love for our fellowman and, in a large sense, the measure of our love for the Lord, is what we do for one another and for the poor and the distressed.

I confess I don’t know that much about the welfare services of the Church today, and the little that I do know has essentially all come from reading these General Conference talks. I know that the (modern) program started around 1935 or 1936 and that these talks in the late 1970s were seen as an attempt to reintroduce the program for a new generation. Which makes me wonder—if they relaunch the program every 40 years, are we due for another one? 1

There’s no doubt that the Church was—and remains—committed to the welfare program. I just wish I knew a little bit more about the nuts and bolts of how it operates today.

Check out the other posts from the General Conference Odyssey this week and join our Facebook group to follow along!