Elder’s Quorum Movers and Funeral Potatoes

By: Craig - May 01, 2006
I must admit to being a little bit bitter. For three years I was an Elder’s Quorum President under a bishop who felt it was the primary responsibility of the Elder’s quorum to act as the moving company for every Tom, Dick and Harry who moves across the city or the world.Now don’t get me wrong, service is a vital function of the Elder’s quorum, but if you were to look at any one of my shirts, you would have seen the enough footprints to have accounted for the hordes of Genghis Khan.

Let me explain the pattern of service in this one ward in central Oklahoma. Friday night (8 ish), I would receive a call from the Bishop. He would tell me that a family was moving and would I have a group of elders over to “help them move” at 8 the next morning. I would scramble to call every elder and elder age man on my list (which at that time had 108 names on it). Invariably 90% would not answer the phone (isn’t caller ID wonderful?). of the remaining 10% 9% would have plans for the next day. The remaining 1% (me or my councilors) would feel guilted into showing up at 8 the next morning and find out that the family were high priests, and 9 time out of 10 hadn’t even packed. I actually arrived to move the bishop’s daughter and wondered why her washer was so heavy–it had wet clothes in it.

Where are the families? I thought if you needed help you turned to your family first. Where are the home teachers? It was just assumed that elders had nothing better to do than spend all of their Saturday moving people who had the means to move themselves.

Which leads me to funeral potatoes. My mother-in-law is one of those Saints that has had her calling and election made sure. There is an evil tradition of their forefathers in their community that the relief society sisters make an after funeral dinner for anyone that has died. Its not just a small meal for the family after a funeral of a ward member, but its a flat out banquet for any attendee of the funeral of anyone buried in their community, member or not, resident or not. Because she is one of those sisters that never says no, she makes these banquets a couple of times a month for people she has never met. The Bishop just calls and lays on the assignment.

My wife had an ectopic pregnancy a couple of years ago. The tube burst and she had to recover from surgery. The relief society called to arrange meals, cleaning, and childcare during her convalescence. When my wife explained that while she was unable to do some of those things, we had made arrangements for the kids, I could cook and clean, and we really didn’t need any additional help. My wife was then subjected to a lecture about how we were depriving people of an opportunity to serve. The problem was, we really didn’t need the help. My wife was so guilted that she acquiesced to a week of meals. We were then the recipients of many fine meals (and some not so fine), that we could not eat all of. I know some of those families struggled.

The problem I have is that many wards contain enablers. Not enough people say no because it is a priesthood leader that is doing the asking. There are evil traditions that elders move things and relief societies make food. But that is NOT the program of the church! When we moved, My wife and 2 children packed up everything we owned and left (it took us a day and we probably needed the help, but I refused to ask). Because of my bad experiences, I deprived members and my family of a service opportunity. But I thought it was better that than perpetuating the tradition.


    1. My general preference has been that, if I could do it myself, I will do it myself. If I need help, I will ask for help. However, even when I do ask for help (as I did with our last move), I do as much myself as possible.

      I vastly underestimated the scope of our last move, and appreciated the help the members of the church gave. My wife had a medical procedure on her back, so she could not do much to help pack, and some of the Relief Society came and helped pack up the kitchen. For the move itself, I knew I needed help with the couches and bookcases, but found I needed much more help than that. We had three storage units to put our stuff in, and I had mostly filled one of them and started a second before the day of the move. I had donuts & breakfast burritos, and milk, juice, and water for the people who showed up.

      I lived in a ward in Las Vegas that had a checklist for people before we would help them. Because of that, when I was ten minutes late for the move, I nearly missed it.

      The Relief Society did not have the same sense of obligation for food. My wife had several operations before the move, and nobody offered a meal. That was for sickness, but funerals were a different story. It is like they had funeral potatoes and ham in storage, ready to put on a spread with only a few hours’ notice. My wife never heard a complaint about the funerals–the sisters saw it as a matter of pride how well they could put a funeral meal together.

      It all depends on where you are from, I guess.

      Comment by CS Eric — 5/1/2006 @ 12:37 pm

    2. during my mission to southern california i was once assigned to a ward where the elder’s quorum president would go and “inspect” the home of the people who were moving the night before people were expected to come and help. if they weren’t packed, he called off the help. he told me that he was more than willing to get people to help load a truck but that this was all they should be doing. further, he said that if the packing is done ahead of time, the whole ordeal would take 2 hours at most. at the time, i thought it was pretty harsh. now i’m the elder’s quorum president and my wife is pregnant and i’m working full time and going to school and i completely understand the situation. needless to say, nobody in the elder’s quorum has done any packing lately (except for the folks that were moving, of course).

      Comment by paul — 5/1/2006 @ 12:50 pm

    3. There is an evil tradition of their forefathers in their community that the relief society sisters make an after funeral dinner for anyone that has died.

      I laughed out load. I can see the offering of food to the dead would be an evil tradition. Much like the egyptians leaving food in the tombs for the afterlife.

      I think it would be great for the elders to prepare meals. We lived in a ward that had a three meal policy. You get three meels for a new baby. It was a ward with a lot of students, so I guess you have to draw the line somewhere. My thing was when we declined the offer, there was a tremendous amount of resistance. The reality is that we didn’t need the food. I am an able cook and we had family around. Give those three meals to a family that still is in need after their three have been spent.

      That is the problem I see. People feel spent and so when there is a moment of true need, the desire is found wanting.

      Comment by J. Stapley — 5/1/2006 @ 1:31 pm

    4. Having just been released as EQ pres after 3 years of service, I consider myself fortunate to have worked with our bishop. He had also been the EQ pres in the ward and understood all of the pressures and responsibilities of the position. He would generally only ask the EQ to help move someone if the family truly needed it. And he would try to give me at least several days’ notice, if not a week or more. On those rare occasions that we had very short notice, I made sure that the family understood that I would do the best I could to round up help, but I couldn’t guarantee anything on such short notice. If a family wasn’t completely packed and ready to go when we showed up for a move, we would help move what we could (furniture, etc.) and leave the rest up to the family.

      While helping people move may have been the least favorite part of my job as EQ pres, I did have the chance to witness a minor miracle associated with an emergency move. The back story is complex, but basically a husband and wife had been separated and the wife had been living in an apartment in our ward, but neither was particularly active. Their lives were all sorts of messed up, but they decided to patch things up and he was moving into her apartment. They had been slowly moving things by themselves over the course of about a month. About 2 days before the end of the month, the landlord to the old place went back on an agreement and told them that everything had to be out of the place by the end of the month or he was going to charge them an extra month’s rent, plus some other (extortionary) charges, etc. In a panic, they turned to the bishop, who turned to me. We rounded up several people and trucks and showed up Saturday morning (last day of the month) to help. They had things pretty well organized and most things were ready to go. We finished moving the organized stuff by lunchtime and the family assured us that they could handle the rest of the items themselves and sent us on our way. Well, at about 4:30 or so I got a call from the wife, who was hysterical. The husband had stopped to rest for lunch and had become quite ill (probably heat exhaustion, but the fact that he had MS probably didn’t help either) and was unable to finish the move. She had been caring for him all afternoon in the hopes that he would recover enough to finish, but by this time it was apparent that it was not going to happen. She was quite helpless, but I assured her that I would take care of it. I felt pretty helpless myself, where was I going to find anyone to help finish this move on a Saturday evening with no notice. I talked to my brother-in-law, Josh (who lives in my ward), to see if he could help and, out of compassion, we resolved to see the project through, even if it took us all night.

      Then inspiration struck. Josh remembered that his younger brother, who had recently returned from a mission, was getting together that night with some other recently-returned missionary friends. So I called them and asked if they wanted to turn their get-together into a service project and they agreed. Within half an hour, out of nowhere, the Lord suddenly provided 6 able-bodied young men to take care of this family. Finishing up the move was fairly easy, and we were done in about 2 hours. Immediately following, the family started to make the necessary changes in their lives and began coming back to church. They moved out of the ward about 18 months later, but they had returned to full activity in the church and last I heard they had made plans to be sealed in the temple. You never know what means the Lord may use to touch people’s lives and to get them to turn around.

      Comment by Capt. Obsidian — 5/1/2006 @ 2:21 pm

    5. Captain,

      That is just the sort of thing that elder’s quorums are for…sadly that is not what they are used for much of the time.

      J- I guess I should have worded that a little better. On second review it does sound as if they were preparing hte food for the dearly departed. Oddly enough, that WAS a common practice on my mission in Japan. Though not by the relief society.

      Comment by Craig — 5/1/2006 @ 2:57 pm

    6. I was an Elders Quorum President too. One of the evil traditions that got started in our ward is having the Elder’s Quorum re-shingle your roof. I’m not kidding. We helped one family that needed it and then the flood gates opened up. It made me very nervous – having our Elders up on peoples roofs. What if someone fell? What if the roof leaked badly when we were done? Yikes!

      Comment by Eric — 5/1/2006 @ 4:11 pm

    7. It’s a wonder that more Elders don’t get seriously hurt while moving large pieces of furniture, pianos, etc. I say move what you can reasonably do and pay professional movers to take care of the heavy stuff.

      Comment by Justin — 5/1/2006 @ 5:14 pm

    8. I’ve sworn to my wife that we’re never moving again until we can afford to pay people to do whatever we cannot do for ourselves. I view it as part of being self-sufficient. I think I’ve been asked to move one too many big screen TVs. It is just hard to imagine the people with so many possessions can really need help moving.

      Comment by Bradley Ross — 5/1/2006 @ 6:06 pm

    9. Eric,

      Our EQ also helped a widow re-shingle a shed. She supplied the shingles and we supplied the labor. Before we even started I told her that the labor was worth exactly what she was paying for it and since she was relying on the Lord for labor, she would also have to rely on the Lord for a guarantee against leaking.

      Comment by Capt. Obsidian — 5/2/2006 @ 9:47 am

    10. Bradley:

      I’m with you on the move philosophy– sell the big screen if you need help and use the proceeds to hire a real mover. It’s amazing to me that someone living in a 2500 sq.ft. home with thousands of dollars worth of electronic devices and other niceties would even have the gall to ask the EQ to participate. Spend a little less on the home and what fills it and save some money for a rainy day– like when one needs to move.

      Comment by paul mortensen — 5/2/2006 @ 11:08 am

    11. Haha…you know I have always hated the ‘EQ as movers’ tradition. In the four years that we’ve been married, my husband and I have moved 6 times. It was never easy. Not remotly, and 3 of the times we were moving from a 3rd floor walk-up to another 3rd floor walk-up. We have NEVER asked for help! We have friends and family for that. This last time, we were moving to the same city as my husbands family. We used those u-pack containers and so could use a week or so to unpack them once they got to our new apartment. The problem was, my husband started his new job the day we arrived in town, and we had to give the containers back by saturday. I did what I could carry, but, the furniture and most of the boxes were way beyond my ability. So, we asked my husbands family (dad and 17 year brother) to help us one evening after work to knock the rest of it out. They refused! They told us to find out what ward we were in and have the EQ come help us! I was horrified, I would never ever in a million years have the audacity to call up strangers and ask them to help me move. Finally his family grudingly came and helped us, thank goodness.
      We have however decided that we are not moving for a long time, and that we wil hire movers next time!

      Comment by Veritas — 5/2/2006 @ 12:05 pm

    12. I cant believe that family would say no in favor of the E.Q.

      That reminds me of a mother who, when asked to take care of her uncooperative daughter during primary, said “No, That your responsibility now. This is MY time.”

      Comment by Craig — 5/2/2006 @ 12:51 pm

    13. I mentioned to our Stake President that I was glad to be a High Priest, because I will never have to be an EQP. Not so, he gibly told me. A high Priest may still serve as an EQP…Curses. Next to nursery leader in our ward (we have three nurseries), it has to be the most thankless job in the Church. I proppose that for every successful move, you can wipe one major transgression off the board.

      Comment by Chris S — 5/2/2006 @ 1:38 pm

    14. The solution to the EQ moving requirement could be to do it the way the ward we lived in in St George did it when we had a short-notice move: come at your convenience.

      We asked for help as soon as we knew the date for the move, and were told that it was not a convenient day. How little we knew. On the date of the move, it was just us and family (I was the only male who was both younger than 65 and older than 7, so we really did need help for the bigger stuff). We had been living in a condo next to my wife’s parents. Her dad called two weeks later, laughing. It seems the elders’ quorum had shown up that morning, ready to help with the move, and were a little offended that they had gotten up that early on a Saturday morning for nothing.

      Yes, I will ask for help, but not for what I can do, and not for what professionals should do. The piano always gets packed and unpacked by professionals. It takes about 20 minutes, and they charge by the hour, but neither the piano nor the backs of the elders get broken.

      Comment by CS Eric — 5/2/2006 @ 1:58 pm

    15. My wife and I have moved roughly 6 times in the 7 years we have been married. We have always asked family to help. Once we asked the Relief Society to help clean the apartment after we vacated it. I think only one woman showed up. She was a great help though.

      Veritas, that is quite possibly one of the most repulsive stories I have heard. It doesn’t suprise me though. What good is family if they can’t be there for you?

      Comment by Ian M. Cook — 5/2/2006 @ 2:05 pm

    16. Wow, this is a sore spot for me. I am a single woman who has moved many times. I have never, not even once, asked the EQ to help me move or asked them for help of any kind.

      I have never asked the RS for help either. If the need ever arose, I would probably refuse their offer of meals. I have been in many of my LDS ward member’s homes and can’t stomach the thought of eating anything they might want to cook :-)

      I think people totally take advantage of the issue of service in our church. It’s not service if the people giving it are resentful and it’s not service if the people asking are fully capable of doing it themselves.

      Comment by Indi — 5/2/2006 @ 2:28 pm

    17. When we moved in January, I moved virtually everything myself in our minivan over the space of a week. My sister-in-law was over one evening and she helped out with one of the trips. The last day, I had one person help me with a single truckload for things that were too large (couch, armoire, queen-sized bed, love seat) too fit in my van. Even then, he had to leave briefly and I had unloaded everything on my own by the time he got back. Mary, of course, did virtually all the packing and cleaning (her mum helped out with cleaning one day).

      As our current elders quorum president, I have orchestrated one move. It was for a less active family that was poor and the wife was confined to a wheelchair. For everyone else who has asked me for help with their move, I simply tell them I will give them a few minutes at the beginning of elders quorum for them to get volunteers. If they phone me, I ask them who they have coming already.

      Actually, the week after I called, the previous elders quorum president phoned me up the day he was moving and asked me to organise some people to help him move. I more or less told him to do it himself.

      I learned my lesson the first around; I’m not being a moving company the second time around.

      Comment by Kim Siever — 5/2/2006 @ 2:39 pm

    18. Chris S,

      When the Regina Saskatchewan Stake was created from the Saskatoon Saskatchewan Stake, one of the counsellors from the former stake presidency was called to be elders quorum president in his ward.

      Comment by Kim Siever — 5/2/2006 @ 2:41 pm

    19. My brother is in the military, so all of his wards have had lots of other people in the military. The military will move your stuff when they transfer you. However, if you do it yourself, the military pays you a significant chunk of change for saving them the money. Military families would use the EQP, then pocket the money the military gave them. Finally, the bishop of one military ward simply said they would not help a military family move, period. They could do it themselves, or let the military movers do it, but the number of people expecting the EQ to move them so the family could get the money got to be overwhelming. Smart bishop.

      Comment by Melinda — 5/2/2006 @ 7:49 pm

    20. Indi wins the phrase of the month:

      “It’s not service if the people asking are fully capable of doing it themselves.”

      Honorable mention goes to Kim:

      “For everyone else who has asked me for help with their move, I simply tell them I will give them a few minutes at the beginning of elders quorum for them to get volunteers.”

      Comment by ed — 5/2/2006 @ 10:54 pm

    21. Those are great ways to handle it, but the problem with many situations are that it is a priesthood leader making the assignment.

      I have served in two Bishoprics since then, and I try to emphasize the real role of the EQ and relief society every chance I get.

      Comment by Craig — 5/2/2006 @ 11:14 pm

    22. Craig,

      When our bishop asks me to organise moving, I ask him if he contacted the home teachers. If not, I pass the information on to the home teachers and let them co-ordinate it.

      Comment by Kim Siever — 5/3/2006 @ 10:21 am

    23. We recently had a new EQ Pres set apart in our ward. After the setting apart the Stake Pres had a few words to say about the new EQ Pres’s duties.

      “Pres. ___________ it is not your job to run a moving company. I want you to know it, and I want everyone here to know it. You may wish to assign someone to coordinate these types of activities, but that is up to your discretion.”

      You could see the look of relief on the new EQ Pres’s face when the SP said this.

      It was good to hear, and even better to hear it from someone in authority, and said with authority.

      Comment by Talon — 5/3/2006 @ 2:40 pm

    24. I wonder if what she really got was a lecture. Maybe she took it that way. I love to help out in the situations you describe. If someone asked for privacy, I’d honor that, but a little help can go a long way, and it’s a privilege that way.

      #2 Paul, I love yourEQ president. Way to go. That would tick me off so bad when people expected us to pack.

      Capt. Obsidian, your comments to the widow annoy me. Would you want someone to treat your wife that way if you died?

      As a young widow, I had to negotiate a lot of treacherous waters and I was grateful for any help I got. I seldom asked, but still…

      Comment by annegb — 5/7/2006 @ 7:04 pm

    25. Re: high priests as EQ presidents

      Sounds like the policy has changed. About 15 years ago a high priest was called as EQ president in our ward. He was a friend of some of the Brethren. Within a few days of his telling one of his friends of the calling, instructions came from SLC to our stake president to release him and call an elder as president immediately.

      Comment by DavidH — 5/8/2006 @ 11:46 am

    26. That is a really interesting thing, DavidH. I’ll see what I can dig up.

      Comment by J. Stapley — 5/8/2006 @ 6:28 pm

    27. OK, I’m getting ill. I agree that people should be prepared to move if people are going to help them if at all possible. I agree that it’s not necessarily something that should be the Elders’ Quorum President’s job to coordinate the move of everyone ever. But why the fuss over helping someone out?

      It’s not service if the people asking are fully capable of doing it themselves.

      That’s rot. People are capable of all sorts of things. Doesn’t mena they should have to always do everything. Personally, I think it’s great to be able to help someone have a less arduous time of things than they otherwise might. If I get up early and make breakfast for my wife on a day whe would otherwise do it, that’s service, even though she is certainly capable of making her breakfast.

      I’ve sworn to my wife that we’re never moving again until we can afford to pay people to do whatever we cannot do for ourselves.

      Who gets this sort of luxury in deciding to move. I move when I have to, personally. And what, if someone scrapes to get into a house (a case of a voluntary move), let’s certainly deny them home ownership until they can foot the bill for movers, as well.
      I recently had four days in between business trips to move my family. One day was Sunday. My wife was pregnant. I’m thankful to everyone who lifted a box. I’m thankful to the person in the new ward who helped my wife unpack dishes. I’m thankful to the student who had no particular reason to be there that hepled clean our old place. We’d have had real problems without help. It would have gotten done, but I was glad people didn’t decide to test the issue.
      When our child was born, I certainly could have cooked those few meals that people brought to us. But one little sleep and work pressure, I accepted those meals.
      Please, self suficency isn’t isolation.
      The role of the EQ is certainly an issue. I think it is just to say that this shouldn’t be the EQP’s job, but I also think that we should know the brothers in our quorum well enough that when we find out they are moving we wouldn’t be anywhere else but their house, hepling them move, if we can, if only because it’s the last chance to help someone we love. Someone moving in–it’s our first chance to let them know we welcome them.
      Enough rant. It’s at least partly the jetlag talking.

      Comment by Steve H — 5/24/2006 @ 7:38 pm

    28. I’m with you, Steve.

      Comment by annegb — 5/26/2006 @ 12:07 pm

    29. Steve, good for you for standing

      Comment by Matt — 6/25/2006 @ 6:09 pm

    30. Sorry, my son hit a button on the keyboard and my message was sent a little prematurely. I was going to say: Steve, good for you for standing up for what is right. You are exactly right when you say that just because someone is “able to do something” doesn’t mean they should have to. If that were the case, we should condemn anyone with a secretary. How dare they hire someone to do a job they could do themselves? The fact is, service isn’t about doing something for someone that can’t do it themselves, it is about love. When you serve someone, you show your love and support. You don’t do the service to “get a job done”. You do the service to show love. That is the number two commandment of the Savior. The first is to love God and the second is to love our neighbors. Now how do you all propose we love our neighbors without serving them? The answer is that we can’t. I couldn’t believe what I was reading when people were saying not to help others when it is a task they could get done on their own. I also couldn’t believe the people saying that they wouldn’t ever ask for help. If we were walking together and I opened the door for you, would you tell me, “Please don’t do that. I can open the door for myself.” Likewise, would you then not open the door for your wife, or someone that had their hands full because they could do it themselves. It is this kind of selfish attitude that is tearing this nation apart. I agree that self-sufficiency is a good thing, but there is a difference between being able to provide for your family, and refusing help because you are too selfish to help another person in the same circumstance. Keep in mind, we are not in any position to judge who “needs” help and who does not. We have no idea what is really going on in another person’s life and to refuse them some reasonable help when they ask will not be a plus for us when we stand before the judgment seat.
      Just to sum up what I’m trying to say…We serve because we love, not because we have to.

      Comment by Matt — 6/25/2006 @ 6:25 pm

    Sorry the comment numbering is messed up.  I accidentally deleted the post and had to restore it

    Comment by J. Stapley — 6/25/2006 @ 9:43 pm

  1. It’s actually kind of amazing how things can fall into line if you exercise a little common sense sometimes and say “no” and then back it up. I haven’t ever done this with ward moves but I did it once when a guy from the stake sports committee or whatever it was called tried to guilt me into finding referees for a stake volleyball tournament. I had a few reasons for refusing to call our elders and ask them to do it:

    1. Our quorum wasn’t fielding a team for the tournament — since we weren’t participating, I didn’t see why we should be supplying refs.

    2. He called me the night before they were needed. No previous notice though he claimed he sent an email.

    Anyway, it was a memorable phone call.

    Comment by danithew — 7/17/2006 @ 10:23 pm

  2. Last night, for family home evening, we talked about service. I looked in the gospel artpack for a picture of someone serving. They have actual photos near the back, and I figured there would be a picture of someone serving, maybe several, to use with such lessons. Low and behold, there was such a picture–just one–of an elders quorum helping someone move.

    Comment by Steve H — 7/18/2006 @ 11:10 am

  3. I have recently been called as an EQP from being the first couselour. We have moved a number of families and I find more often than not, that it’s the presidency that gets the call and are the only ones to make the project. I have even been called to help move someone outside our ward boundaries before. Under the circumstances, they were older people and had had a death in the family, I gladly did this service. At first, not so, but after I saw the gratitude for what we were able to do, I was glad I was there. FAct of the matter is, Elder’s quorum shouldn’t be abused as the moving company of the neighborhood, but how much I appreciate the help n a long hot day of moving when neighbors stop in to help carry boxes. I think that’s a sign of a good nieghbor. Service can be given to someone as a surprise or a gift, just like anything else-if you give it cheerfully and not begrudingly, you should get those “warm fuzzy” feelings too.

    Comment by mk — 8/15/2006 @ 1:08 pm

  4. Moving = temporal need

    Temporal needs = Bishops responsibility

    To all the bishops who misunderstand how it works, if someone needs to be moved, dip into those fast offering funds and HIRE MOVERS!!!

    Comment by jm — 9/12/2006 @ 8:35 am

  5. I think I definitely agree that families should pack before the elder’s quorum helps to move.

    I personally enjoy helping people move. Yes, I’m female, but I like to go with my husband and help carry heavy things. (You might call me an honorary member of the elder’s quorum.)

    I agree that helping people move is about love, more than about need. It shows support.

    And I like it when the families get a bunch of breakfast burritos for us.

    Comment by Michaela Stephens — 7/31/2008 @ 8:26 pm

  6. I am a current EQ President, and I have some strong feelings on this subject. I agree with Craig’s article…particularly his point about “evil traditions.” It is somewhat galling that many folks in the Church view having the EQ move them as an entitlement.

    Case in point…just last week we were involved in a move for a family that was downsizing…from a 10,000 square foot home to a 5,000 square foot home! They are lucky I didn’t realize that fact until the move was underway. We literally moved over 20 couches, heavy appliances, a piano, dining room and kitchen table, etc., etc., etc. To top it off, these people weren’t even considerate enough to offer us anything to eat or drink! AND they had the gall to ask us to come back to put together their baby grand piano (I put my foot down at that). Amazing you say…no, just par for the course. I will say that something good came out of this, since we had some less active guys come out, but that is simply an example of the Lord taking lemons and making lemonade.

    I am in the process of trying (along with my counselors) to change the entitlement culture in my ward. However, it’s an uphill battle since my Bishop is probably one of the nicest guys in the world, and therefore has a tendency to let people walk all over him. The interesting thing is that he knows this about himself, but he just doesn’t have it in him to engage in confrontations…it’s just easier to go along and pacify folks.

    In my ideal world, folks who have the means would either pay for their move themselves (I’m far from rich, but I’ve paid for it myself several times and it isn’t that expensive if you pack most of your own stuff and just have the professionals move the heavy items) or at least take some ownership of their move and organize it themselves.

    By the way, I have absolutely no problem helping move someone who is (1) unable to afford to hire help; or (2) elderly or disabled and therefore unable to perform heavy labor. While I would expect even these folks to take some ownership of their move by at least asking their friends/families for assistance, I feel these are true service opportunities and welcome the opportunity to serve such folks. In most other cases, people are “gaming” the system and eating up my valuable time and the time of others in my quorum, and I quite resent it. Probably not the right attitude to have, but I simply can’t stand being taken advantage of by folks who are cheap, inconsiderate, or lazy.

    Call me selfish, but I would rather spend my limited free time with my family/friends, playing golf or helping folks in true need, not padding the pocketbook of someone who could care less about me, the guys in my quorum, and the fact that every time we move someone we place our health in jeopardy.

    Comment by Jeb Kreischer — 2/2/2009 @ 9:58 pm

  7. When you see a beggar on the street asking for money, how often do you think that he uses the “donations” he gets to buy drugs or booze? So do you not give him the money? The Lord says that he will not suffer that the beggar put his hand out to us in vain. Our responsibility is to give aid when it is asked for – the receiver has the responsibility to use the gift appropriately and righteously. It was Satan’s plan to force people to use God’s gifts “appropriately.” Christ gave us the opportunity to choose how to use the blessings we receive.

    Yes, some people will abuse your help, demand more than they should, but we need to be careful about making such judgments about what others need.

    Sometimes they may ask for help just so they know someone cares enough TO help.

    Sometimes the person least able to render aid (particularly financial or food) is the person who most needs to give something meaningful or something that requires a real sacrifice – who are we to say they are “too poor” to make such a gesture on our behalf?

    I’ve organized two funerals in one week this week. I’ve hardly had to make any calls. Everyone has called ME – asking what they can do to help, what they can bring, where and when they can be of service. The men in our ward make it their business to know when there’s a need and just show up – individually or as a group – to render assistance to those who are moving, to the widows, to the sick and to the lonely.

    I feel bad for most of the posters on this thread.

    I know my ward is probably unique – but it’s the way every ward should function – and it can start with each one of us being willing to lend time, money, assistance and make sacrifces for others – even before we are asked.

    Comment by Dulci — 4/16/2009 @ 9:34 pm

  8. “Our responsibility is to give aid when it is asked for – the receiver has the responsibility to use the gift appropriately and righteously.”

    I’m going to call you on this one. (Along with your abuse of the “judge not” doctrine.)

    I personally think that members do need opportunities to serve, and I had been sorely missing service until I came to my current ward.

    Certainly there may be some who have become overly cynical about service who have posted here, but most of the comments I’ve read merely reflect the thoughts of the author, who was right on.

    The quorum is not a movers club.

    Regarding “judging not”, I recommend the following:


    Regarding your thoughts on Charitable giving, I’ll recommend:




    (I’ve written about this subject too many times to want to repeat yet again.)

    Comment by Sean M. Cox — 7/19/2009 @ 9:16 pm

  9. The elders quorum is not a free moving service.

    The relief society is not a free maid service.

    The elders quorum and relief society should be spending their limited available service time helping the sick, the poor, the widows, and attending to true emergency situations. Although, under certain dire circumstances, a move can be considered an emergency.

    The bishop and/or elder’s quorum president should be sure the assistance is actually WANTED. Sometimes the “help” is literally forced on a family that just wants to take their time and move a few pickup loads at a time.

    If a family that is moving just needs a hand with a couple of key items just grab your neighbor, a friend, your home teachers, or a nearby family member.

    However, families should do what they can to move themselves. That includes putting the kids, teenagers, and college students in the family to work (in my experience the kids tend to stand around and watch everyone else work).

    If a family needs help and can afford movers, then they should hire the movers. If the family needs help and can’t afford movers then they should ask their extended family, if any live within a 100 mile radius (well, let’s make that 150 mile radius). Then, if they need more help they should ask their home teachers. If the home teachers need help, the home teachers should talk to the bishop. If the bishop is sure the family needs help then the bishop should ask the elders to help out.

    If the family can’t afford a moving van, then it is fine to ask family; then home teachers; then the bishop/elders quorum to help with pickups, etc. But if they can afford a moving van they should rent one even if it is a local move.

    If someone needs help moving, then they should be prepared when the volunteers show up. As much work as possible should already be done so that only the heavy or awkward items that the family can’t move themselves are left to load. Things should be boxed and the boxes should be labeled clearly. The van should be open and waiting in the driveway. Small kids should be out of the way or even at a neighbor or family members home. Beds should be down. Electronics should be taken down and boxed and should not still be sitting in the cabinets all wired up. There should be plenty of blankets or other soft packing materials available to keep furniture from being scratched. Volunteers should have been contacted and be ready on the receiving end to help unload so the poor souls who are donating their time and gas to move out don’t also have to do the moving in.

    Comment by Markus Malek — 11/25/2009 @ 1:01 am

  10. I forgot to mention a couple of things:
    1. Once the volunteers show up, the movee should stop what they were doing and direct traffic. Otherwise, the volunteers will be forced to make decisions on their own.
    2. BEFORE volunteers show up, hold a garage sale, donate tons of stuff to charity, and DEJUNK. Nothing is more demotivating for a volunteer than hauling and loading countless bags and boxes of what appears to be nothing more than junk. Especially if the family is obviously well-off.

    Comment by Markus Malek — 11/25/2009 @ 1:07 am

  11. I can’t imagine our Savior turning down a move because he thought the person asking made too much money or was capable of moving on their own. He might take an opportunity to teach a lesson, because he KNOWS us all individually and can do that. We do NOT know others as Christ does and therefore cannot make those judgments. Period. We can however set up a structure that enables self sufficiency. There are some great ideas here about having the family ask for volunteers at the beginning of EQ and such. Self sufficiency is a principle very much encouraged in the LDS church!

    That being said, I have been in wards where things were expected, and/or people have refused service. That is not the spirit of charity, or genuine service. I have also been in wards where we really did feel like a family, and why wouldn’t your family want to help you in a time of stress, with or without “need” according to so-and-so?

    When we serve and rely on each other, we are strengthened as a ward, stake, and people. The spirit of the love of God, or charity, expels all need for knowing specifics about someone before giving your service or love.

    As with most activities in the church, you get what you put into it. If you don’t put your heart into service, or actually make yourself vulnerable by letting others serve you, you are the person refusing the feelings of the love of God, or charity, that may have come from it.

    Comment by M Rowe — 1/10/2010 @ 4:18 pm

  12. I suppose this is a matter of perspective. If you’re looking at it from the perspective of a guy who ends up moving people every weekend because he lives in an apartment building, after awhile it could get old.

    People seldom move in or out of our ward, but we help whoever needs it. If Bill and I were to move, we’d move everything ourselves but the big stuff. We’d have to have help on that. But I’d pop for really good fast food and drinks. Great music.

    When I left Bill, my sister and my two daughters moved the furniture. They were amazing. Not a guy in our bunch. We did it in one day–actually in hours.

    When I went back to Bill, a guy from my old ward and Bill moved the furniture. I’d moved a lot already. They acted like they should get a prize. Bellyaching about their backs.

    Comment by annegb — 2/17/2010 @ 4:09 pm

  13. Wow, I wish I had read this today before emailing our EQ pres to see if they were coming to help me move this weekend. I’ve never heard these negative comments before. When I was younger I used to go along with my husband to see if I could help too. It was more of a social thing. We made it a lot of fun. Now I’m 70 and single and although packing with the help of my daughters I’ve hired movers but somethings they don’t do, like taking apart beds or disconnecting tvs. I feel sooo guilty now for contacting the EQ.

    Comment by Granny N — 5/19/2010 @ 12:59 pm

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