In April 1832, the Lord provided specific instructions to the church on caring for those “who have lost their husbands or fathers.” If they lack the resources to support themselves, the combined resources of the church—the Lord’s storehouse—is available to them. “The storehouse shall be kept by the consecrations of the church,” He said; “and widows and orphans shall be provided for, as also the poor” (Doctrine and Covenants 83).
The Lord has always been concerned about the welfare of widows and orphans, and He has always expected His people to pay particular attention to their needs. For example:
- “When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands” (Deuteronomy 24:19).
- “Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees…to turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!” (Isaiah 10:1-2, 2 Nephi 20:1-2).
- “I will be a swift witness against…those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless” (Malachi 3:5, 3 Nephi 24:5).
- “Why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground, for vengeance upon your heads?” (Mormon 8:40).
James warned us that there is a difference between talking about religion and actually living it. He defined the core activities of “pure religion” in this way:
To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.James 1:27
Today, I will remember the people I know who have lost spouses or parents. I will find ways to reach out to them and to serve them.