“In Mine Own Way”
Lesson 38 – D&C 38:30; 42:30-31, 42; 58:26-28; 104:13-18; Our Heritage, pgs. 108-109, 111-114.
As Latter-day Saints, we should commit ourselves to greater self-reliance and service to those in need.
D&C 38:30 teaches that we should be self-reliant and that—if we prepare as instructed—we will have no need to fear.
The goal of spiritual self-reliance is to have the strength to resolve difficult problems in our own lives and strengthen others in their times of spiritual need. Elder Boyd K. Packer said: “We have been taught to store a year’s supply of food, clothing, and, if possible, fuel—at home… Can we not see that the same principle applies to inspiration and revelation, the solving of problems, to counsel, and to guidance? We need to have a source of it stored in every home… If we lose our emotional and spiritual independence, our self-reliance, we can be weakened quite as much, perhaps even more, than when we become dependent materially” (Ensign, May 1978, 91-92).
In class, be prepared to volunteer some insight as to how we can teach children spiritual self-reliance.
To be temporally self-reliant, we must assure that we can use the temporal blessings the Lord has given us to provide for ourselves and our families. When we are capable of doing this for ourselves, we should not shift the burden of our care to others in or outside our family.
Developing temporal self-reliance includes learning to work effectively, storing food and other essential supplies for a time of need, managing our finances carefully and prudently, and gaining a good education.
President Brigham Young wanted the Saints to exemplify and practice industry in their new home in the Salt Lake Valley and to work together for the common good, so the region was given the name, “Deseret”, a Book of Mormon word for “a honey bee” (Ether 2:3). We should also work together for the common good and be industrious. “To become self-reliant, a person must work. Work is physical, mental, or spiritual effort. It is a basic source of happiness, self-worth, and prosperity. Through work, people accomplish many good things in their lives” (Church Handbook of Instruction, Book 2, , 257). Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “Work is always a spiritual necessity even if, for some, work is not an economic necessity” (Ensign, May, 1998, 38).
Obviously, those who follow the oft-repeated counsel of multiple latter-day prophets to acquire and maintain a year’s supply of food, clothing, and other necessities where possible, will be blessed in time of need by their ability to be self-reliant in their basic temporal needs.
The Church Handbook of Instructions explains: “Church leaders have not given an exact formula for what to store. Rather, they suggest that Church members begin by storing what would be required to keep them alive if they did not have anything else to eat… Through careful planning, most Church members can store a year’s supply of the basic items needed to sustain life. However, some members do not have the money or space for such storage, and some are prohibited by law from storing a year’s supply of food. These members should store as much as they can according to their circumstances. All members can provide themselves with added security by learning to produce and prepare basic food items” (Book 2, 258).
To be self-reliant, it is important to know how to manage your finances prudently. Poor money management can seriously impair individual and family life. The Church Handbook of Instruction explains: “To become self-reliant in resource management, Church members should pay tithes and offerings, avoid unnecessary debt, save for the future, and satisfy all of their personal obligations. Members also should use their resources, including their time, frugally and avoid wasting them” (Book 2, 258).
President Gordon B. Hinckley warned against the dangers of debt: “I urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt to the extent possible. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from bondage… If you have paid your debts, if you have a reserve, even though it be small, then should storms howl about your head, you will have shelter for your wives and children and peace in your hearts” (Ensign, Nov. 1998, 54).
The Doctrine and Covenants contains numerous passages that clearly emphasize the Lord’s desire that we care for the needy.
· D&C 42:30-31. We are giving unto the Lord when we give to the poor.
· D&C 44:6. We are required to visit and succor the poor and needy.
· D&C 52:40. We cannot claim to be disciples of the Lord unless we remember the poor, the needy, and the sick and afflicted.
· D&C 56:16. If we are rich and do not share with the poor, our riches will canker our souls.
· D&C 88:123. We should love one another and give to each other, as the gospel requires.
· D&C 104:18. We will dwell in torment if we do not impart of our abundance to the poor.
· D&C 104:13-18. These verses explain the Lord’s “own way” of providing for his children’s temporal needs. His way requires that we give according to that which we have received. As we have received freely and lovingly, we should acknowledge openly the blessings we have received from Father and use them as He would—to bless those around us according to their needs. Necessary help should be accepted with gratitude and humility. Help should be used wisely to overcome limitations and sustain development of one’s potential. Then, when the needy have overcome their need, they are responsible to help others less fortunate than they.
We meet much of our responsibility to the poor through the Church when we give a generous fast offering that the Bishop can use to relieve the needs of those in our ward and stake. “The Church designates one Sunday each month as a fast day. On this day Church members go without food and drink for two consecutive meals. They…give to the Church a fast offering at least equal to the value of the food they would have eaten. If possible, members should be very generous and give more than the value of two meals” (Church Handbook of Instruction, Book 2, 256).
Giving to the Church’s organized humanitarian assistance program is another avenue for helping those in need. President Monson reported results of some humanitarian efforts: “In 1992 a devastating hurricane… struck the east coast of Florida, leaving a path of ruin behind it, with homes battered, roofs gone, people hungry. Our members were there to help. Home after home was cleaned and repaired without charge. It mattered not the faith or color of the person who occupied the home… “ He continued…“Far away in the foothills on the western slopes of Mount Kenya, along the fringe of the colossal Rift Valley, pure water is now coming to the thirsty people. A potable (drinkable) water project has changed the lives of more than 1,100 families. When we originally became aware of the need for pure water, we were able to help fund a project in cooperation with TechnoServe, a private voluntary organization. With villagers providing the labor, drinkable water now flows through 25 miles of pipes to waiting homes in a 15-village area. The simple blessing of safe drinking water recalls the words of the Lord, ‘I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink’ [Matthew 25:35]” (Ensign, June 1998, 37).
D&C 58:26-28 counsels us about our personal responsibility to be actively engaged in an effort to help the poor and needy on an individual basis—not just through Church programs.
The First Presidency established the inspired welfare program of the Church during the Great Depression. It was designed to promote self-reliance and provide a method of helping the needy among the Saints. The creation of this program is summarized in Our Heritage, Pgs. 108-9.
As communicated by the First Presidency at the time, “Our primary purpose was to set up, in so far as it might be possible, a system under which the curse of idleness would be done away with, the evils of a dole abolished, and independence, industry, thrift and self-respect be once more established amongst our people. The aim of the Church is to help the people to help themselves. Work is to be re-enthroned as the ruling principle of the lives of our Church membership” (Conference Report, Oct. 1936, 3).
Education is a basic foundation for self-reliance. Since the earliest times of this dispensation, leaders have counseled the Saints to educate themselves as well as possible and avail themselves of educational opportunities throughout their lives. In the first year of settling in the Salt Lake Valley, the pioneers established a school for children in a tent. In subsequent years, every ward was directed to establish a school to educate the children. The University of Deseret was created in 1850 for the provision of higher education. Note: The Deseret alphabet was an interesting product of education in the pioneers’ new home in the West. For examples of the deseret alphabet and information about it, go to the following URL -- http://people.delphi.com/deseret/home/home.htm and click on “Deseret Alphabet” near the bottom of the page.
Lessons may be found on the Internet at www.neumanninstitute.org