Church leaders admonish strong work ethic

Church leaders have spoken often of the need for Church members to have a strong work ethic. Following are quotes from several Church presidents on the importance of work:

President Gordon B. Hinckley: "There is no substitute under the heavens for productive labor. It is the process by which dreams become realities. It is the process by which idle visions become dynamic achievements. It is work that spells the difference in life. It is stretching our minds and utilizing the skills of our hands that lift us from mediocrity." (St. George, Utah, Area Chamber of Commerce address, Jan. 20, 1998.)

President Howard W. Hunter: " 'Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, . . .' (Ex. 20:9.) This is a restatement of the law that existed from the beginning when God rested after the creation. I have always been interested in the words 'six days shalt thou labour.' This appears to be as much a commandment to work six days as it is to refrain from work on the seventh day." (General Conference address, April 1965.)

President Ezra Taft Benson: "Children must be taught to work at home. They should learn there that honest labor develops dignity and self-respect. They should learn the pleasure of work, of doing a job well." (General Conference address, October 1982.)

President Spencer W. Kimball: "As a boy I saw how all, young and old, worked and worked hard. We knew that we were taming the Arizona desert. But had I been wiser then, I would have realized that we were taming ourselves, too. Honest toil in subduing sagebrush, taming deserts, channeling rivers, helps to take the wildness out of man's environment but also out of him. The disdain for work among some today may merely signal the return of harshness and wildness — perhaps not to our landscape but to some people. The dignity and self-esteem that honest work produces are essential to happiness. It is so easy for leisure to turn into laziness." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 362.)

President Harold B. Lee: "Men and women of wealth, use your riches to give employment to the laborer; take the idle from the crowded centers of population, and place them on the untilled areas that await the hand of industry. Unlock your vaults, unloose your purses, and invest in enterprises that will give work to the unemployed and relieve the wretchedness that poisons the moral atmosphere around you. Make others happy and you will be happy yourself." (Stand Ye In Holy Places, p. 284.)

President Joseph Fielding Smith: " 'Thou shalt not be idle for he that is idle shall not eat the bread, nor wear the garments of the laborer.' That is good sound sense, isn't it? Why should a man in idleness partake of the industry of the industrious — provided that this man who is idle, is in a physical condition that he can work? I am not at all in sympathy with any kind of movement that tends to destroy manhood by encouraging men to be idle, and I don't care what age that is. It doesn't matter how old he gets, if a man is physically strong and is able to perform services, he should take care of himself; that the Lord expects him to do." (General Conference address, April 1945.)

President David O. McKay: "There are fences to rebuild, barns to repair, yards to clean up, houses to remodel and to paint, vicious and destructive weeds to destroy as they deface the highways and ravage crops. . . . Let us look around and see if there is not work near at hand. Such work will be a benefit not only to the individual but also to the community and the public generally." (General Conference address, April 1938.)

President George Albert Smith: "The Lord gave me intelligence. He directed that I should work, and I began to work when I was 12 years of age, and I found joy in it, and have earned my living and helped others during more than 50 years." General Conference address, October 1934.)

President Heber J. Grant: "I am a firm believer that work does not kill anyone, but that laziness does kill a man at an early age. . . . I have never seen the day when I was not willing to do the meanest work, (if there is such a thing as mean work, which I doubt) rather than be idle." (Gospel Standards, p. 108.)