Remember when our ancestors built their own meetinghouses?  I grew up in a little church by a stream that the ward there had built.  Some of the old men had laid the foundation.  Most of the people there had painted or remodeled or added a wing where we had classrooms.  There was a ‘cry room’ for nursing mothers that was built on a second story at the back of the chapel, with a little balcony, so they could still see the service.  Naturally, because there were no piped-in sound systems back then.

There were real joys to doing it that way.  At the same time, the hardship of building and paying was intense.  It is a blessing that we can now afford to hire builders.   But we only know it is a blessing if we remember there used to be another way.

Years ago I had the opportunity to preside over a stake whose roots reach back a great while. When the first ward was formed in that area, the local people, out of their own meager resources, bought the land and constructed the building without any help from the general funds of the Church. When that building became too small, they constructed a larger one entirely from their own resources.

By the time I came into the presidency of that stake the Church policy provided for matching funds, the Church to put up one dollar for each dollar provided by the local members. Under that formula, we in that area built six new chapels, in addition to providing funds for their maintenance and all of the activity programs carried on in the various wards.

There may have been a few murmurings, but the faith of the people overrode all of these. They gave generously, notwithstanding the stresses of their own circumstances, and the Lord blessed them in a remarkable way. I know of none who went hungry or without shelter. And I know something of the fruit of those homes which have produced a generation and almost a second generation who walk in faith and who have gone across the world and become men and women recognized for their various skills and integrity, as well as for their activity in the Church.

In those days we would have thought the Millennium had come if we had received word that the Church would bear all of the costs of providing land, all of the costs incident to building construction, operation, and maintenance, let alone an activity and administrative budget allowance of forty dollars per year per individual, based on the number who attend sacrament meeting.

It is not the Millennium, but this long hoped-for and prayed-for day has come. Though I have been a party to its inauguration, I still stand in awe at what has happened.

-thus President Hinckley

Other Posts from the April 1990 Member Finances Fireside

Marilyn Nielson Let us not quibble or complain

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