Because Mormons are Christians, we believe in doing and finding good things in life, and then in sharing those with others. In the Thirteenth Article of Faith, we express a belief in seeking after things which are “lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.” What does that actually mean?
It follows the old adage that, if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right! [go away, grammar nerds – it’s a colloquialism for crying out loud]. I heard a wonderful example of this a little while ago.
Our ward doesn’t usually work assignments at the cannery like so many others do. Just southwest of our stake is the largest welfare orchard the Church runs. I have no idea how many trees are involved. It’s easily tens of thousands of them. We grow peaches, apricots, apples, cherries, almonds, etc., and use them to feed the poor and needy. Our ward has a regular assignment to go, during the season, and volunteer labor. We go out as families, wards, or groups of friends and thin fruit early in the season so that the harvest results in fruit of the appropriate size. Then we return when the season is right and pick the fruit, pack it in crates, and ship it to LDS canneries who preserve and then distribute it worldwide.
We spend pleasant evenings working together and chatting in the orchard. Kids roam free chasing rabbits and snakes, throwing hard green peaches at each other, or sinking their teeth into ripe fruit which has fallen to the ground (we aren’t allowed to distribute those, so we can glean them).
Anyone can go out there and tour the place or volunteer, not just members of the Church. It’s southeast of Caldwell, Idaho, along Chicken Dinner Road just off Highway 55. Yes, Chicken Dinner Road. Not kidding.
There is a fellow out there, Steve Bair, who is the orchardmaster. OK, so I don’t know his official title. We just call him “Brother Bair.” He does a wonderful job of keeping us all organized, on time, and getting the most out of the harvest that we can.
Brother Bair told me a neat story a little while ago. I asked his permission to share it here:
“I would like to share a story that I was told by my supervisor in Salt Lake. The church just put in a new pasta plant in the Salt lake area. The church makes their own pasta for the welfare system. It takes a special wheat to make pasta. It is done with Durham wheat. Well when the church put in the equipment for the pasta plant they used Italian equipment. Who better to buy pasta equipment from but the Italians. They invented pasta didn’t they? Well to help them get started with the production, the Italian equipment company sent a representative to help them at start up and work out all of the kinks. When they began making pasta the Italian asked where they buy there wheat. He said that it was the best color pasta and best pasta he has experienced. (He has probably experienced a lot of pasta). They couldn’t make pasta like that. Our church people told him that we raised the wheat. It was grown on our own welfare farms. I think some of it in Montana, but they raise it other places also. It doesn’t surprise me that it is the best. It is the Lord’s wheat for the Lord’s table, to feed the poor. I have seen his hand in this work a number of times. I have had neighbors ask me what we are doing that is different than what they are doing, and this has happened more than once. We really haven’t done anything different that I could tell. We are blest. I love this work. It is a scared experience to be a part of and I get to do it every day. I hope you feel the spirit when you come out. Strive for it and you will. Thank you STEVE”
Just as the Lord does in His work, we seek after good things.