Elder Dallin H. Oaks (right) speaks during a panel discussion before the All-Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief in the U.K. House of Lords, on June 8, 2016. To his right is Dr. Peter Petkoff of Brunel and Regent’s Park College at Oxford.
LDS Church
From left, Dorothy Arnold and May Arnold work on quilts at the Humanitarian Service Room at Deseret Industries in Murray on Dec. 4, 2001.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Twelve-year-old Life Scout David Root, of Holladay, works on a humanitarian project for Haiti. Containers of farm tools, school benches and a dozen pallets of seeds are to be transported to Haiti.
MICHAEL BRANDY, DNEWS
With tens of thousands of ill-prepared refugees fleeing war-torn Syria in search of peace and protection across the border in Jordan, LDS Charities has answered the Jordanian government’s call for help with more than $1 million in humanitarian aid already provided or in the works during the next few months. A press release issued late Thursday indicated that LDS Charities, a nongovernmental organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “has made a substantial commitment to support efforts by the Jordanian government and other charitable partners to provide relief to the thousands of Syrians displaced from their homeland.”
IRI
\With tens of thousands of ill-prepared refugees fleeing war-torn Syria in search of peace and protection across the border in Jordan, LDS Charities has answered the Jordanian government’s call for help with more than $1 million in humanitarian aid already provided or in the works during the next few months. A press release issued late Thursday indicated that LDS Charities, a nongovernmental organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “has made a substantial commitment to support efforts by the Jordanian government and other charitable partners to provide relief to the thousands of Syrians displaced from their homeland.”
IRI
Lynn Burt, Laraine Upwall, Carolyn Barnett and Barbara Hunter volunteer at the Humanitarian Service Room at Deseret Industries in Murray on Dec. 4, 2001.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Church Service Missionary Elder Parker Hedin operates a bread slicer at the Welfare Square bakery in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, May, 31, 2016.
Hans Koepsell, Deseret News
Freshly baked bread cools before cutting at Welfare Square.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Bread is made, cut and packaged at Welfare Square.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

In a lecture given last month at the University of Oxford, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said that each year The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spends about $40 million on welfare, humanitarian and other LDS Church-sponsored projects around the world and has done so for more than 30 years.

That would account for approximately $1.2 billion on welfare and humanitarian efforts over the past 30 years. Elder Oaks also said that in the last year alone, Mormon volunteers have devoted 25 million hours of labor.

“In the year 2015 we had 177 emergency response projects in 56 countries,” Elder Oaks said. “In addition, we had hundreds of projects that impacted more than 1 million people in seven other categories of assistance, such as clean water, immunization and vision care."

Also recently, PBS devoted a seven-minute report on the show "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly" to the LDS Church's welfare system. According to reporter Lucky Severson, the system, which includes 115 bishop's storehouses in the United States, "holds enough provisions to meet the projected demands of members and nonmembers in the United States and Canada for two years."

An LDS spokesperson clarified for the Deseret News that the 115 bishops storehouses in the U.S. and Canada hold enough provisions to meet the projected needs of LDS members requiring food assistance for two years.

Last year while addressing a gathering in the Houses of Parliament, located at the Palace of Westminster, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve shared some numerical data about the LDS Church’s humanitarian efforts.

"Last year, LDS Charities responded to 132 disasters of one kind or another in 60 nations of the world, including a major typhoon in the Philippines, a destructive cyclone in the Kingdom of Tonga, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and extensive refugee assistance for Syria and Iraq," Elder Holland said, according to the Deseret News.

"In addition to such emergency relief we found calmer circumstances along the way, allowing us to provide wheelchairs in 48 countries, maternal and newborn care in 42 countries, vision care in 34 countries, clean water and sanitation projects in 26 countries, gardening projects in 17 countries and medical immunizations in nine countries," Elder Holland said.

Elder Oaks emphasized to the audience at Oxford that these humanitarian efforts are separate from the LDS Church’s worldwide missionary efforts.

“Our humanitarian aid is given without regard to religious affiliation, because we want our missionary teaching to be received and considered without influence from force or food or other favors,” he said.

In addition to refugee aid, the church's humanitarian efforts have brought clean water to Ghana, saved a school in Samoa and built a new home for a man in Kazakhstan.

Email: mjones@deseretdigital.com