The Doctrine of Self-Reliance

mormonad-worth-it-1156661-wallpaperselfSelf-reliance is the the ability to provide the necessities of life for yourself and your family.  It is an essential element of our temporal and spiritual well-being.  We can learn about self-reliance in the scriptures.  We have been instructed by Latter-day Prophets to use the scriptures in teaching the doctrines of the gospel.  President Ezra Taft Benson said:

“Always remember, there is no satisfactory substitute for the scriptures and the words of the living prophets. These should be your original sources. Read and ponder more what the Lord has said, and less about what others have written concerning what the Lord has said.” (The Gospel Teacher and His Message [address to religious educators, 17 Sept. 1976], 6).

Jesus Christ is the Master Teacher.  He used the scriptures to teach his doctrines and we must do the same.  To teach from the scriptures we must know them ourselves.  When we know them, we can share scripture stories and examples to help those we teach liken the scriptures to themselves.  Help those you teach catch the vision of self-reliance through reading and pondering what the scriptures teach concerning it.  Always begin your scripture study with prayer.  Ask for the influence of the Holy Ghost to help you better understand what you read and how it can bless individual members of your class.  It’s a pattern of asking, diligently searching and discovering.  You will not only find the answers you need, but will have an increased ability to recall what you have learned later on.

*    *    *

While on the subject of self-reliance, I feel impressed to share something more.  I had the blessing of serving on a committee that helped with this inspired youth curriculum initiative.  One of the lessons I learned quickly was the power of prayer.  If I wanted to accomplish the task at hand in a timely manner (which was essential as a mother of young children), I needed the influence of the Holy Ghost in my home, my heart and in my mind.  Countless times I would step away from my computer, feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for the help and words my Father in Heaven had sent.  On one occasion, nearing the end of our assignment, I had been asked to write on this very subject.  In my journal I wrote,

“I felt a tremendous mantle placed on my shoulders with this particular assignment.  Knowing the youth in my ward and the needs of my own children, this principle clearly taught and understood is vital for their day.  As I sat down to write I began with prayer.  I studied the scriptures and words of the Prophets for what seemed to be hours, but concluded with little proof I had accomplished anything.  To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement, but with the feeling of failure, came a gentle reminder directly from the scriptures, ‘And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness.  I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them (Either 12:27).’”

The next morning I remember asking, rather pleading, that Heavenly Father would help my mind focus in the little time I had to offer the assignment that day.  Almost immediately help came.  A spirit of love from the Holy Ghost filled the room and my heart.  I felt the heavenly veil had become quite thin, and that assigned angels, personal messengers, were present to assist me in the work.  Not just words came, but full sentences, as though they were whispered into my ear.  Finishing the final phrases, with the application portion of the lesson complete, I pushed my chair away from my kitchen table and said “thank you” with tears running down my cheeks.  It became evident to me that I could not take any credit for the writing.  I had simply been an instrument in the Lord’s hand to accomplish the work.

This experience testifies of the importance of this doctrine.  I know you will have powerful learning experiences this month with the youth in your ward as you prepare material that will be most beneficial to them.  My prayer is each will be moved to action and live these principles.  Below is a compilation of scriptures and General Conference addresses teaching the doctrine of self-reliance.  Use suggestions in lesson preparation and class this coming month.

Teaching Idea:  Provide a list of scriptures about self-reliance, such as those listed below, and invite the youth to read them and find one that is meaningful to them.  In groups or individually, have them create their own “Mormonad” on Self-Reliance, including the scripture that inspired them.  You may wish to bring an example of a “Mormonad” published in the New Era.  Give them the opportunity to share their “Mormonad” with the others.  Encourage them to post it somewhere visible at home to help them recall what they learned and live it!

Proverbs 3:5–6; Matthew 11:28–30; Mark 4:36–39; Alma 7:11–13; Alma 37:35–37; 38:5 (Seek the Lord’s help with challenges and problems)

Isaiah 58:6–11; Malachi 3:8–10; Matthew 25:35–40; D&C 82:18–19 (Ways to care for the poor)

James 1:27; Mosiah 18:27–28; D&C 42:29–30 (The importance of caring for the poor and needy)

Alma 34:27–28; Mormon 8:35–37: D&C 56:16–18; 70:14 (The Lord’s warnings to those who do not care for the poor)

D&C 104:15–18 (Provide for the poor in the Lord’s way)

1 Corinthians 6:19 (Our bodies are temples of God)

D&C 88:124 (Guidelines for keeping our bodies and minds healthy)

D&C 89 (The Word of Wisdom)

Genesis 3:19; Galatians 6:3–5; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; Mosiah 10:4–5 (We are commanded to work)

Proverbs 31:27Alma 38:12; D&C 58:27; 60:13; 75:29 (Do not be idle)

Moses 1:39 (God’s work and glory)

Proverbs 4:7; 2 Nephi 9:29; D&C 88:76–80, 118; 90:15; 93:36; 130:18–19 (We should seek wisdom and knowledge)

Proverbs 31:10–31 (A virtuous woman seeks wisdom and skills to care for her home and family)

Joseph Smith—History 1:11–17; 1 Nephi 11:1–6; D&C 138:1–11 (Examples of people in the scriptures who sought knowledge)

Genesis 3:19; Galatians 6:3–5; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; Mosiah 10:4–5 (We are commanded to work)

Proverbs 31:27Alma 38:12; D&C 58:27; 60:13; 75:29 (Do not be idle)

Moses 1:39 (God’s work and glory)

Proverbs 4:7; 2 Nephi 9:29; D&C 88:76–80, 118; 90:15; 93:36; 130:18–19 (We should seek wisdom and knowledge)

Proverbs 31:10–31 (A virtuous woman seeks wisdom and skills to care for her home and family)

Joseph Smith—History 1:11–17; 1 Nephi 11:1–6; D&C 138:1–11 (Examples of people in the scriptures who sought knowledge)

Matthew 25:1–13 (The parable of the ten virgins)

Matthew 25:14–29 (Parable of the talents)

2 Thessalonians 3:10–13; Galatians 6:3–5 (Importance of working and being self-reliant)

D&C 58:26–28 (We are agents unto ourselves)

D&C 88:118 (Seek learning by study and faith)

D&C 89:18–20 (Promises to those who obey the Word of Wisdom)

D&C 104:78 (Pay debts)

Proverbs 3:5–6; Matthew 11:28–30; Mark 4:36–39; Alma 7:11–13; Alma 37:35–37; 38:5 (Seek the Lord’s helps with challenges and problems)

Isaiah 58:6–11; Malachi 3:8–10; Matthew 25:35–40; D&C 82:18–19 (Ways to care for the poor)

James 1:27; Mosiah 18:27–28; D&C 42:29–30 (The importance of caring for the poor and needy)

Alma 34:27–28; Mormon 8:35–37: D&C 56:16–18; 70:14 (The Lord’s warnings to those who do not care for the poor)

D&C 104:15–18 (Provide for the poor in the Lord’s way)

Daniel 1:3–20 (Daniel and his friends are blessed for obeying the Hebrew laws relating to certain foods)

D&C 88:124 (The Lord counsels us on work and sleep habits)

D&C 89 (The Lord reveals the Word of Wisdom and the blessings for obeying it)

Genesis 3:19 (We should labor in order to provide for ourselves)

Matthew 25:14–30 (The parable of the talents)

Galatians 6:3–5; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; Mosiah 10:4–5 (We are commanded to work)

Alma 38:12; D&C 58:27; 60:13; 75:29; 107:99–100 (Do not be idle or slothful)

Matthew 25:1–13 (The parable of the ten virgins)

Luke 2:52 (Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and man)

1 Timothy 5:8 (Men should provide for their own)

D&C 83:2, 4 (Women have claim on their husbands; children have claim on their parents)

2 Nephi 9:29 (To be learned is good if we hearken to the counsel of God)

D&C 88:76–80 (We are to learn and teach of things spiritual and temporal)

D&C 88:118 (Learn by study and faith)

D&C 90:15 (We should become acquainted with good books, languages, tongues, and people)

D&C 130:18–19 (Whatever intelligence we gain in this life rises with us in the resurrection)

Malachi 3:10–11 (Blessings of tithing)

2 Nephi 9:30, 51; Jacob 2:13–14, 17–19; Alma 1:29–30; 4:6–8 (We should use riches to bless others)

D&C 19:35 (The Lord compares debt to bondage)

1 Kings 18:21; Matthew 6:24 (We cannot serve two masters)

Philippians 3:13–14 (We can reach for our goals and press forward toward them)

2 Nephi 32:9 (We should seek the Lord’s guidance in everything we do)

Alma 34:32–33 (This life is the time to prepare to meet God)

D&C 58:27–29 (We should be anxiously engaged in good causes)

Alma 37:37 (Counsel with the Lord)

D&C 9:7–9 (Heavenly Father guides us in our decisions after we have studied them in our own minds)

D&C 58:26–29 (We do not need to be commanded in all things; we should be anxiously engaged in good)

1 Nephi 15:2–11 (Laman and Lemuel had questions but did not inquire of the Lord)

Alma 40:1–12; Ether 2:18–23; Joseph Smith—History 1:10–18 (Examples of people seeking answers to their questions)

D&C 6:14–15 (The Spirit can enlighten our minds when we inquire of the Lord)

D&C 9:8–9 (When we have questions, we should study them out in our minds and then ask the Lord if it is right)

Matthew 25:1–13 (The parable of the ten virgins)

Mormon 9:27 (We should work out our own salvation)

Moroni 10:3–5 (We can know the truth for ourselves)

D&C 58:26–28 (We are agents unto ourselves to bring about righteousness)

D&C 130:18–19 (Diligence and obedience help us gain knowledge and intelligence)

Susan W. Tanner, “Strengthening Future Mothers,” Liahona, June 2005, 20–24

Henry B. Eyring, “Spiritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Steady,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2005, 37–40

Mary N. Cook, “Seek Learning: You Have a Work to Do,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 120–22

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Two Principles for Any Economy,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 55–58

H. David Burton, “The Blessing of Work,” Ensign, Dec. 2009, 43–46

Boyd K. Packer, “The Word of Wisdom: The Principle and the Promises,” Ensign, May 1996, 17–19

Henry B. Eyring, “Opportunities to Do Good,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 22–26

D. Todd Christofferson, “Come to Zion,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 37–40

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Forget Me Not,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 120–23

Jeffrey R. Holland, “Like a Broken Vessel,Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013

Thomas S. Monson, “We Never Walk Alone,Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013

D. Todd Christofferson, “Brethren, We Have Work to Do,Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 47–50

Gordon B. Hinckley, “Seek Learning

Robert D. Hales, “Becoming Provident Providers Temporally and Spiritually,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 7–10

M. Russell Ballard, “O That Cunning Plan of the Evil One,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 108–10

Henry B. Eyring, “Opportunities to Do Good,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 22–26

D. Todd Christofferson, “Come to Zion,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 37–40

Jeffrey R. Holland, “Like a Broken Vessel,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013

Thomas S. Monson, “We Never Walk Alone,Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Power of a Personal Testimony,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 37–39

Robert D. Hales, “Coming to Ourselves: The Sacrament, the Temple, and Sacrifice in Service,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 34–36

David A. Bednar, “Converted unto the Lord,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 106–9

Jeffrey R. Holland, “Lord, I Believe,Ensign or Liahona, May 2013

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Reflection in the Water,” CES Fireside

Dallin H. Oaks, “Good, Better, Best,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 104–8

Robert D. Hales, “To the Aaronic Priesthood: Preparing for the Decade of Decision,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 48–51

Richard G. Scott, “Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 8–11

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Power of a Personal Testimony,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 37–39

L. Tom Perry, “Raising the Bar,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 46–49

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