Cease!  Desist!  Send no more letters about ward moving services!  I have more than I can use for the next two weeks, and people are still sending ‘em — which only goes to show what a hot topic this is.

Today’s column is full of moving horror stories, as well as grateful letters from people whose lives were blessed by loving ward members who sacrificed their time and their strength to help move them from one place to another.  Here they are:

We used to have a family in our ward that was always asking for help (we’ll call them the “Needy family”).  One day they announced they were moving from the ward, and that was one move where everyone was anxious to participate. 

After their stuff was moved, they also wanted the ward to help them clean and fix up the house so it could be sold.  I arrived one Saturday to help with the interior painting, only to find that the Needy family was nowhere to be found.  We asked the bishop where they were, and he said, “I don’t want to tell you because you will leave!”  After much prodding, he informed us that the Needy family could not help paint because they were on a cruise!  After they moved, I heard rumors that their new ward refused to coddle them, and they actually became a little more self-reliant.

Like previous contributors, I have also had my share of moves where the family had made no preparations, and we were expected to sort through their garbage and personal items, and other assorted junk they had collected over the years.  In one memorable move, we found a stash of pornographic magazines behind the wheat cans in their food storage area.  We deferred to the elders quorum president as to whether these items should be moved or tossed into the trash.  His advice was to throw the magazines in the truck and let the parents handle the situation when the magazines were discovered.

The key to avoiding these abusive situations is for the bishop and other priesthood leaders to assess the request, and determine if real need exists, or if the family is just being lazy or cheap.

FJR in Sugarland

Your letter, FJR, reminds me of a move just last weekend where my husband helped.  He arrived there to find people frantically stuffing things into boxes, including dirty dishes from the sink, while the homeowner talked on her cell phone.  The homeowner (who was more disorganized than rude) had a longstanding habit of just dropping things where she finished using them, so the kitchen boxes might have clothing in them and tools ended up in the bedroom boxes.  Apparently the homeowner blew a gasket when nobody could tell her where they’d packed her remote controls.

Readers, if you’re going to have people help you move, it’s only common sense for you to pack a box that is clearly labeled, “THINGS I NEED FIRST.”  These essentials might include medicines, toiletries, your scriptures, your son’s stuffed elephant that he cannot sleep without, a few changes of underwear, and, yes, those sacred remote controls.  If other people are packing for you, you really don’t have the right to shout when they don’t know which box contains which item.  A little forethought prevents a lot of headache.

I had to chuckle about the priesthood moving service.  My dad was always willing to help but before he would agree he would contact the family and put three conditions on them. 

First, the family must pick up all the dog doo.  He was sick of stepping on it when he moved people. 

Second, their wet laundry better not be sitting in their washing machine and they expect someone to lug it out for them. 

Third, they needed help moving, not packing, and he wasn’t going to stand around waiting for them to pack.  Plus, they might not appreciate his method of packing (it involved a scoop shovel), so they needed to do that themselves. 

He was pretty blunt with people over his conditions and the fact that he wouldn’t hang around waiting.  He was definitely the go-to guy in the ward for big jobs so people knew he would work hard for them and get it done, but he also wouldn’t put up with any nonsense.

Jennifer in Texas

What a great letter, Jennifer.  I especially got a kick out of your father using a scoop shovel to help pack.  I know a ward that could have used him last weekend.

I think it is absolutely appalling that quorum members are expected by other ward members to pack, and/or move other members.  I have never, nor would I ever, think of calling on friends and members to help me with something like that! 

I, too, have a husband who is a high priest and has a back problem he is under the care of a neurologist for.  He always politely says no, that his physician forbids him from lifting.  We do and expect to, pay for help when we need it from professionals, whether it is something as simple as doing our yard work or something as big as moving furniture. 

I even heard a rumor earlier this year that our stake president had instructed priesthood quorums that they are not to provide moving services due to liability issues, but see that it is still going on.  I totally agree with the opinion of “Fed Up in Fresno,” who started this topic. 


Cathy, it never occurred to me that there could be liability issues in something like this.  No wonder the new church manual says people shouldn’t feel obligated to help members move.

I understand perfectly the feelings of the woman in Fresno, since many of the high priests are no longer truly physically able.  However, especially in today’s economy, many people need to move and do not have the resources to pay movers. 

Not everyone is as blessed as others to have sufficient resources to pay movers.  Many of these are single mothers who cannot possibly accomplish the task on their own, but there are also families with a variety of circumstances that cause problems for the family and make it extremely difficult to accomplish this.

I do not really think the issue is one of stopping the service of helping others move; the issue is more one of those being served being truly grateful and helpful (by having things boxed and ready, when able).  

I know we have even gone over ahead of time as a Relief Society to help box goods in preparation for moving.  Unfortunately, nothing is perfect.  There are people who are still learning to become who they are meant to be.  We are not here to judge, but to help. If there is someone who abuses the help, then it would be the bishop’s responsibility to talk to that family and help them problem solve the situation.  

If “Fresno’s” husband is not physically able to help, maybe his obligation as the home teacher is to help organize others to help.  He certainly should not be expected to endanger his health in order to fulfill his calling as a home teacher. 

Seeing Both Sides

You make a point, Seeing.  There are lots of moving duties that do not require heavy lifting.

  Some of those include organizing the movers, feeding the movers, or driving the truck.  Be creative!  If you really want to help, there’s always something you can do.


Amen to the comments of “Fed Up in Fresno”!   Fortunately, many people who ask for help are prepared and grateful.  But we have also experienced the points she made.

In the first place, home teachers or not, I think such requests should go to the quorum president or group leader, not straight to the home teacher.  The quorum leader can set out base requirements (such as: everything needs to be packed in boxes before they come) and schedule a convenient time for everybody.   If the family is moving to another ward, it’s possible they can also help contact members in the new ward to assist with the unloading.  One ward bishop gave instructions that the priesthood movers would not move food storage, freezers or pianos. 

Compassionate service of any kind should be available for those situations where a family cannot do for themselves; services are not an entitlement because of church membership.

Peeved in Petaluma

Thanks for the ideas, Peeved.  I especially like the idea that whoever coordinates the move can work with the new ward to help get the unloading done.  That’s a good way for the person who is relocating to make early ties with new ward members.

We live in a ward that is comprised of military (the largest military housing development in the nation) as well as civilian housing.  We see a constant influx and outflow of people as their orders change and they are assigned to a new duty station. 

We moved into the civilian area of the ward 30 years ago, just as my husband was getting out of the military.  The military paid for that move and we didn’t involve ward members.  We did most of the packing ourselves prior to the movers arriving and unloaded at the other end.  

It’s always been interesting to me that all of the military services pay for moves when it is duty station-related.  In my experience the military members pocket the moving money they receive from the military and ask the ward members to do the move for them.  They usually will rent a U-Haul truck, load it up and drive themselves (but only after members have helped box and load that truck).  They also call ahead to their new ward to get people lined up to unload into their new place.  They look at the money they receive from the military for the move as a “bonus” to help pay their bills, and most civilians are not aware they even get this allowance to move.

In our youthful years, moving members was not such a problem, although I can tell you the same horror stories of walking in and having nothing packed, no moving boxes, and members being hurt as things like a refrigerators or washing machines fell on them, hurting their back because they weren’t lifting properly, falling off a porch as they moved a heavy couch, and so on.  We also are seeing a trend where members are asking the Relief Society to come help them pack the boxes for several days during the week before the priesthood quorum is scheduled to load the truck.  

These “service projects” also end up being done by the same members all the time because they are the ones at home.  They are the mums with little kids, the dads who are retired and shouldn’t be moving heavy stuff, or priesthood and Relief Society presidencies who feel they need to participate because of their callings.   They also ask the Relief Society to clean their houses after they leave so they don’t have to pay the military cleaning fee of a couple of hundred dollars for leaving the place trashy.  This entails getting the house ready for the next person to just walk in (vacuuming, washing all floors, surfaces, cleaning cupboards, washing windows)

There is a sense of entitlement that has grown up over the years, and gets passed along from ward to ward, and base to base.  This is not limited to the military, but we see more abuse in this area by virtue of the constant movement of military families.  Our priesthood and Relief Society are incredible and never say no.

I always think it amusing when members say, “We only need help with the heavy stuff.”  We now get calls from members who tell us they have a non-member neighbor they just met who is moving in and could we send over members to help them move in, as they’ll be so impressed with the Church they will want to take the missionary lessons.  I don’t know of one conversion that has been made this way, but it happens a lot.  Originally this was a “service” to those who were actually “needy” but it has gone way beyond that.   

The problem is that the civilian housing (the core membership) is now aging out as we’re all in our 60’s+ yet we have multiple home and visiting teacher responsibilities to the military population (because of their significant compassionate service needs), and so when they call on us in this role we feel the need to respond because you know if you don’t, then the person who will end up doing it is the guy that doesn’t know how to say no even though he just had bypass surgery or the one that just had a replaced hip.

I don’t know what the answer is other than to say, “No one over the age of 50 should be asked to be ward movers.”  It doesn’t eliminate the abuse but it makes it a lot safer for those willing priesthood members who regardless of circumstance and health will continue to be the “ward moving company.”  Somehow the younger generation has a lot easier time of “just saying no.”    

Carol in San Diego

Carol, the military situation is an interesting one.  I can see both sides of it, and it’s not an easy situation. On one hand, it almost seems unethical to ask for free help when you’ve been given money to pay to have that help performed.  On the other hand, the military is paid so little for doing so much that families probably really need the extra money.  I’m glad I’m not in a position to judge that.

I really like your idea of a blanket statement that, “No one over the age of 50 should be asked to be ward movers.”  I think that should be written in stone somewhere.  Anybody have a chisel?

Priesthood quorum moving and Relief Society cleaning services go hand in hand, and there are many out there who use and abuse the service that is given.

I have moved 18 times in 21 years of marriage. The only time I  felt I had to call on these wonderful people was when I was sick with breathing problems and we had to move across country with two small boys. The service and love were overwhelming and being unable to help made me feel worse, but a loving sister and brother talked to me while it was all being done and it was over before I realised the job was completed.


Like “Fed Up in Fresno,” my husband has been called out many times to assist with moving, only to be told they have changed the date or they have decided not to move at all. Packing boxes, my pet hate! It has gotten to a stage now that if someone is moving and we are not doing anything special, we will help, but if we have plans we will carry on with our plans. If the situation is a forced or desperate one we will assist, but if we know there are stronger bodies, we will supply the drink and food.

Most people know weeks before if they are moving and ward/branch council is a good place to put it forward so all in the ward/branch can know and assist.  It is a service and if it is used correctly it can bring joy and happiness to all. If it is abused it can lead to discontent and non-attendance.

Glenda Olman
Albany Branch, Southern River Stake
Western Australia

Glenda, it’s interesting to learn this is a worldwide problem.  You’re a hero for being able to pick up and move 18 times in 21 years, and it’s purely amazing that you only had to ask for help on one of those occasions.  It’s nice to know the help is there when you need it, though.  I’m sure that one time you used the ward movers, you felt as though you were being ministered to by angels from heaven.  The idea two ward members had to sit with you and cheer you up while others were performing physical labor was truly inspired.

I actually feel that “fed up in Fresno” has hit the nail on the head on all counts.

Where is the acceptance of responsibility for such members who (in my opinion!) take advantage of the kindness of HP groups and elders quorums?

This happens time after time is many wards in the Church, as if a special certificate came with the baptism covenant!

Good on you, Fresno!

Not Entitled

Victoria, BC, Canada 

If there’s a certificate, Not, I want one!  I’d love to lie around eating bonbons while other ward members waited on me.

On second thought, cancel that certificate.  I think I’d feel too guilty to use it.

May I be blunt? I have been involved in so many moves of ward members that I cannot count the number. Most of these have been for less active or inactive members. Most of the time these people have been on welfare and Church assistance.

My biggest complaint is the lack of preparation of the movees in helping and their lack of packing their own things in preparation for the move.

My mom used to say, “Poor people have poor ways.”  It is certainly demonstrated to be a truth by this free moving service that has been abused throughout the Church.


Weary has a point, readers.  If people are going to move you, the least you can do is be ready for them.  That means being packed and ready for them when they arrive, unless there is a compelling reason (not an excuse, mind you, but an actual reason) for you to do otherwise.

Helping ward families with moves will outlive its usefulness when families stop moving. Which is to say: Never.
However, moving families have a corresponding set of responsibilities:
1. Recruit their own local family members first.
2. Have everything boxed up before moving day.
3. Work harder and longer than the movers.
4. Provide food and drink.
Whenever a family asks for moving help, the person receiving that request must ensure that the family understands and fulfills its four responsibilities. If the family doesn’t man up, the movers go home, and the moving family can reschedule. Pretty simple set of checks and balances.

In wards where families are wealthy (and fortunate) enough to have professional movers ? yay. Lucky you. But that ain’t the norm. The norm is, Mormons help one another move, and we eat pizza and sandwiches when the move is complete. 
That’s who we are.
LM Post 
P.S.  I’ve never been in a ward where moving was the sole responsibility of the high priests group. That’s a doctrinally baseless twist. Moving is a ward responsibility, and everyone over the age of eight pitches in. When everyone participates, the entire process, including cleaning, takes less than two hours ? the maximum time any correctly staffed service project ought to require.

Good letter, LM.  I like the list, although I’d add that the pizza and sandwiches are part of what’s expected on moving day.  All too often, movers are not even offered drinks of water.

Our ward doesn’t use the high priests! It is only the elders, and they are politely asked.  If people can’t help, they don’t!

Our daughter and son-in-law were recently transferred to Georgia from Utah. Only two elders showed up, but the three of them took four hours and loaded the 27-foot trailer. Luckily, one elder was an engineer and they loaded a lot more than others could have.

My daughter would have helped, but she is six months pregnant. She did have all the boxes loaded, taped and marked where they were supposed to go when they reached their destination.

When the moving truck arrived a day after they arrived, a call went out (not by my daughter, but a neighbor) and the truck was unloaded in 35 minutes! They are forever grateful and supplied drinks and food in Utah and in Georgia.

It shouldn’t be expected of the priesthood brethren, but what goes around comes around!


Mary, I like what you wrote about what goes around, comes around.  Even those of us who don’t avail ourselves of priesthood movers accept other forms of service.  For example, dear friends of ours installed backsplash tile in our kitchen last week.  Although Clark could do nothing in return to help them, he helped one of the ladies in the ward move on Saturday.  It’s a circle of service, and all of us should learn to gratefully receive that service and to graciously give it.

Thank you for this article. I’ve been thinking about this off and on lately. We all are well aware that there are more vital acts of priesthood service than moving a family, as stated so frankly by Elder Dallin H. Oaks, in both Worldwide Training Sessions in November 2010 and February 2011.

To me it is simple in following the pattern given by the Brethren: Is the family self-reliant enough to do it personally? If not, have they looked to their extended family members for assistance? If that is still not sufficient, then help should be given by the Church. Never is it right for anyone to automatically expect help. It is not right if they can afford it, or if help from their family is sufficient. It is plain abuse if they are self-reliant.

I think the other danger is that for those priesthood holders/leaders who do not understand that we are living far below our privileges (as stated By President Uchtdorf).  He said, “Nevertheless, too often our actions suggest that we live far beneath this potential …. Brethren, we are faced with a choice. We can be satisfied with a diminished experience as priesthood bearers and settle for experiences far below our privileges.

Or we can partake of an abundant feast of spiritual opportunity and universal priesthood blessings.” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Priesthood Session, Your Potential, Your Privilege, April 2, 2011)


Too often people think that all the priesthood is meant for is moving people (or any strictly temporal service for that matter), and uses those types of service to justify that they are doing all the Lord means for them to do, excusing themselves from the true power of the priesthood ? being an instrument in the Lord’s hands of bringing about the immortality and eternal life of man, starting with our immediate family.

In other words, I have to often observed that we take the easier road of temporal service to avoid the harder road of saving souls.

Bottom line: I believe we should be quicker to respond to saving souls by the power of the priesthood and more selective in responding with a knee-jerk reaction and dropping everything else to help someone move.

Tristen Smith

You make good points, Tristen. Thanks!

I think this is an unacceptable misuse of service in the wards.  Next to it is the Relief Society Cleaning Service.  I have known women who move every six months from the same filthy home to a clean one, expecting the Relief Society to come in and clean up their messes. 

We have also had totally inactive people call for the free service, while family members sit and watch.

It is good to give charity; it is bad to be someone’s doormat.

No Doormat Here

I think your situation, No, is why the new church manual suggests that bishops get involved.  Bishops can determine who really needs a service, and who is looking for a free ride.

Our ward elders quorum and high priest group members just finished moving a sister who relocated to another area of our city.  Not only were they “expected” to move her from her home, but move her into her new complex ? plus everything she had in two large storage units. 

She was a hoarder, and insisted on keeping everything.  Her home literally had paths going from one room to the next, with ceiling-high newspapers and boxes reaching upward on both sides.  Not only did the brethren have to contend with more than 21 truckloads from her four-room apartment (not counting the furniture), but they had to endure the smell of urine-soaked papers where her dogs had relieved themselves for heaven knows how long.  Lastly, her two older sons and several nephews never showed their faces.

It required three weekends and many evenings to do the job, and these great Saints persisted until the deed was done.

Our EQ rarely has a weekend they’re not asked to help move in or out some family in the ward.  I’m aware of several back injuries and other complications caused by constant lifting and other heavy work.  And to top it all off, the Relief Society has to go in afterwards and help clean.   

How far is “too far?”


Whoa, Overburdened.  With all the 176 letters I received on this subject, yours is the only one where the writer had experience in moving a hoarder.  All the rest of us who have felt taken advantage of over the years should take our hats off to you and your ward’s elders and high priests.

I can’t help but wonder why your bishop allowed your ward members to be burdened like that.  Maybe it was because he knew that all of you who did this Herculean task will be richly blessed for your efforts ? in the next life, if not in this one.  This is truly a case where everyone involved would be benefited by asking themselves, “What would Jesus do?”  Given the mental condition of hoarders and their inability to throw away things that the rest of us consider to be garbage, this was a woman who was truly in need. 

This touched a nerve for me.  When I was a teenager, my father was the home teacher of a single mother that called on my father several times a month to fix her plumbing, vehicles, electrical, garbage disposer, and any other kinds of maintenance, repair, or errand that occurs in every family.  My dad always responded, always fixed, repaired, moved, or whatever else was asked of him, for which, I am sure, he will be rewarded.

However, as a single mother, I have told my home teacher that he is my “ace in the hole.”  I will not ask him to do anything I can do for myself, or that my family can’t help me with. 

I believe that it is our responsibility to depend on ourselves to take care of ourselves to the degree that we can.  Our home teachers are part of the overall support and care that the Church has provided for our individual needs.  They are not the “go-to” people for every project in our homes.  They are, in my opinion, a back-up we can depend on when our own initiative or knowledge is not sufficient to do something necessary.

Single Mom

Thanks for a great perspective, SM.  I think all home teachers and visiting teachers should prayerfully consider the needy families we visit and determine at what point “helping” becomes “enabling.”  As all you parents are fully aware, your children would never have learned to walk if you hadn’t let them stagger around and fall.  Sometimes the same thing applies to adults who should have learned these lessons long ago.

I so enjoyed this question and the examples given. We have moved 15 times and all were company moves except two. The two we did ourselves with the exception of the large pieces (which we hired someone to move for us).

With that said, there are people who don’t have the luxury to have company moves or the means to hire. However, having a husband who was called many times to help load or unload families in our wards, there are certain things that must be told to the family, by the elders quorum or high priest leader.

They must have all things packed and ready to load. Do not expect the brethren to do the packing as their time away from family or work is precious. If you need help with packing, have that taken care of during the week before. Those who can help from church and family should be invited to help and the family moving should be flexible to the hours that help can be there. Have your own boxes and packing supplies. De-junk your house before packers get there.

I once drove a sister and all her worldly possessions from Washington to Utah. She and I and a few others, packed for two months prior to the move. On the day of the move we had two older brethren arrive to help us load the full size U-Haul truck. We had to get her out of the apartment and the apartment cleaned before the following day.

It was a disaster for these two brothers who had bad backs to load this truck by themselves. I strongly suggest that you know the day before who is available to help and if necessary call upon others who might be members of other wards to help. When we arrived in Utah, the brethren were ready and waiting for us and had the truck unloaded in less than two hours.



Also be sure to have plenty of cold water and food available for those who are helping you move.

Also, realize that although this is an act of service, it is not the calling of the elders quorum or high priests to be a moving service. I know of no brethren or sisters who aren’t glad to help anyone in need as long as the mover uses some common sense and has things ready to be moved.



Katy, Texas

You’re right, JKH.  Being considerate is the key.  If people who are being moved try to imagine the plight of the movers, they’ll be a lot more likely to make things as easy for the movers as they possibly can.

I could write a thesis paper on this topic. I have gone into homes to help where we were truly needed and provided a valid, valuable and irreplaceable service. I have also gone to help, only to find a young (healthy) couple, with no children eating homemade waffles without a single box packed (actually, they hadn’t obtained boxes yet).   My family had cold cereal that morning because I was going off to serve.

 My family has moved about twenty times and I have it down to a fine art, even though our budget would never cover a moving company. By stopping normal activities in advance (think grilled cheese for dinner and no more piano lessons), closing out top shelves, packing food storage, back rooms, second bathrooms early, cleaning and closing off rooms as you go. I would even “off limit” rooms that were done so I didn’t even have to go back and wipe up or vacuum.

My moving days consist of loading neatly stacked boxes going from the garage to van. I have done this with small children, two weeks after a C-section and in three days once.  We usually hire young men from the ward and provide dollies and safety supplies.

I have often thought that bishops and RS presidents should be trained to assess moves and intervene early to teach in the same way welfare orders are processed and help assessed for the newly out of work. Working out the details of what assistance is appropriate, what needs to be done prior to the ward coming and assuring “geriatric” home teachers aren’t being abused.  Self-reliance should be learned as a child, but I think for some it might need to be taught prior to church assistance being provided.

Been There

What a great letter, Been There!  I really like your suggestion of packing and “closing out” rooms once they’re packed so you don’t have to go back and clean them again.  I also like your suggestion that ward leaders “train” new movees on what their responsibilities are when movers help them.  In a lot of cases, a checklist is all it takes.

Waffles, indeed!

I have been assisting the elder’ quorum for many years to help move-ins and move-outs.   I have moved numerous times and have received this wonderful blessing.   

I have never heard of anyone purposely abusing the blessing, though I don’t doubt it.   Yes, sometimes families have not had enough time to box up everything.  Yes, I have watched as able family members don’t participate; I can’t judge why but I have asked some if they could help me and they were always willing.   Yes, sometimes there are not enough priesthood members to help out.  I don’t consider these abuses.  

I consider the help I have received a wonderful blessing and the help I give a wonderful service opportunity blessing me. 

If a priesthood member cannot help out for any reason, the quorums I have been in understand completely.   Yes, it is best when we have a great number helping out.   Those quorum members who have received help moving in/out are the ones who readily volunteer to help others.  We are the ones who are behind the “Priesthood Moving Company.”  I really like the “Priesthood Moving Company.”

To “Fed-Up in Fresno,” I recommend turning the family needing help over to the bishop so that he can ask other quorum members to help.   Now you hopefully won’t have to worry about it except for praying that the family gets the help they need.   Whenever you are asked to help a family move you can politely decline with/or without mentioning your condition and ward members who are Saints will love you just the same.   We readers love you just the same too.

Michael Winward

Fort Worth, Texas 

You have a terrific positive attitude, Michael!  Thanks for your uplifting letter.

I think if people just have a few possessions and they need help moving, fine. People living in already furnished accommodations that just have a car load or small van load of personal possessions to move are easily helped.

Homeowners that have furniture, fridges, and other oversized items should use professional moving firms, like I have done. What happens if one of the elders hurts their back and can’t work? What if one of the men drops a valuable and breaks it?

We should help those that cannot help themselves. Only families in dire poverty should be moved by the ward. My husband has helped members move, but we drew the line when members started asking us to move their nonmember relatives as well.  If Relief Society wants to go over and help pack boxes, that is a good safe way to help. I have babysat kids so that their parents could pack in peace.  Meals could be offered to new move-ins or to people that have packed up their kitchens.  Members should definitely not think it as a right to have a free moving service.


I, too, wonder what happens if a mover gets injured and can’t work, Vim.  I also wonder about breakage, and whether some entitled members will pursue the hapless mover to get reimbursement for something that has been accidentally broken.

As for people asking for church members to move nonmembers, perhaps this is something that the local missionaries can organize.  That’s a good service they can perform.  The members already have enough to do moving ward members and performing other acts of service.

My husband and eight children and I have moved several times from one state to another. Each time I seemed to be pregnant, or just a few weeks’ postpartum. We’ve packed all our belongings, worked each child to the point of tears late at night, and strained body parts that doctors had said should be resting. Only then have we asked the ward for help to load our boxed belongings into a truck, or to unload them into a storage unit.

Oh, how I wished we could have afforded professional movers, but our family has lived at or below poverty level for our 20+ years of marriage. Through very frugal living have we been able to get by.

Asking for help has always been difficult, especially when we have some family who simply don’t think they should lift a finger for anyone. We just put out the call to the ward in general, praying that a couple of people might show up to help. To thank those who do, we always buy some pizzas, cookies, and drinks, once putting it on a credit card because we had absolutely no money left and were losing our house to foreclosure, but help deserves to be thanked.

Ward families are there to help, but not to be taken advantage of. Instead of demanding high priests to help, why not let the move be a service project for the youth of the ward? Even Beehive girls can carry boxes! (If my nine-year-old daughter can do it, so can a thirteen-year-old.)

I agree that some certainly take advantage of others, but to paraphrase Brigham Young, I’d rather help those who really don’t need it, than to deny someone who desperately does.

And there’s nothing wrong with giving an honest, “No, we’re physically not able to help you this time. We wish you the best of luck.”

Someone Who’s Moved from Utah to Maryland to Virginia to South Carolina to Idaho and Back to Utah (Lord, please ? no more moves!)


Someone, I’m sure you’re the kind of family that people don’t mind moving.  It sounds as though you go above and beyond to do as much work as you can yourselves, even to the point of enlisting your children as pack mules.  (And yes, it’s good for them!)

It sounds as though you’ve had a hard road financially. I hope this past move is the last you’ll ever have to make, and that your family fortunes will greatly improve over the coming years.

Okay, people, I’m serious — please send no more letters on this topic.  I have more than I can use already, and there are other topics on the horizon.  I want to hear from you, but not on this topic.  Save your energy for the next one!

Until next time — Kathy

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

Henry Ford