Learn—Maximum Time: 45 Minutes

“Learn—Maximum Time: 45 Minutes,” Personal Finances for Self-Reliance (2017), 22–28


Today’s Discussion:

  • Faith in Jesus Christ

  • Unity with Spouse

  • Commitment to Self-Reliance

1. Work and Take Responsibility


When Adam and Eve were asked to leave the Garden of Eden, God said, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground” (Genesis 3:19). While the Lord desires to provide us with everything we need temporally, He expects us to work hard and take responsibility for our own needs. Notice that one of the supporting walls on the Financial Stewardship Success Map (see page 8) is “work.” Becoming temporally self-reliant requires continual hard work and diligence.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught, “The Lord doesn’t expect us to work harder than we are able. He doesn’t (nor should we) compare our efforts to those of others. Our Heavenly Father only asks that we do the best we can. … Work is an antidote for anxiety, an ointment for sorrow, and a doorway to possibility. … When our wagon gets stuck in the mud, God is much more likely to assist the man who gets out to push than the man who merely raises his voice in prayer—no matter how eloquent the oration” (“Two Principles for Any Economy,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 56–57).


Think of examples of hard workers in your life. What attributes do these people have in common?

We Must Eliminate Our Temporal Reliance on Others


President Spencer W. Kimball taught, “The responsibility for each person’s social, emotional, spiritual, physical, or economic well-being rests first upon himself, second upon his family, and third upon the Church if he is a faithful member thereof. No true Latter-day Saint, while physically or emotionally able, will voluntarily shift the burden of his own or his family’s well-being to someone else. So long as he can, under the inspiration of the Lord and with his own labors, he will supply himself and his family with the spiritual and temporal necessities of life” (Teachings of President Spencer W. Kimball [2006], 116).


Elder Dale G. Renlund, quoting Elder Wilford W. Andersen, taught: “The greater the distance between the giver and the receiver, the more the receiver develops a sense of entitlement” (“That I Might Draw All Men unto Me,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016, 39). Entitlement is feeling that you deserve something without taking the proper and complete action needed to obtain it. It is the opposite of responsibility. When you feel entitled to temporal blessings, the Spirit withdraws from your life. As you draw closer to Christ, feelings of responsibility for your own welfare will fill your heart, and feelings of entitlement will dissipate.

  • How can depending on others limit our personal growth?

  • Why is it important to avoid dependencies on government or social programs?

  • What other risks are associated with relying on others, including family, for our personal needs?

2. Work Together to Manage Money


How have your finances affected you spiritually and emotionally?


One of Satan’s most prevalent and powerful tools for destroying families is financial carelessness and its accompanying stress. Because families are central to Heavenly Father’s plan (see The Family: A Proclamation to the World), it is important that we avoid blame, distrust, and anger in our homes. Whether you are married or single, wise financial stewardship can bring loved ones closer to each other and to God, and can be a safeguard from evil; a unified approach to financial stewardship can ultimately bring gratitude, harmony, and peace.


Why is it important for spouses to be one in financial matters?


Spouses often come from different cultural, economic, and religious backgrounds. They may have different traditions, child-rearing techniques, and spending habits. One spouse may be naturally interested in tracking expenses and following a budget, and the other may find it tedious and burdensome. This may spark disagreements. However, embracing each other’s differences and truly listening with love and humility will foster an environment of unity. If you are single, it is important to be honest with yourself and to involve the Lord in your financial stewardship decisions.

Many couples believe that the solution to their financial problems is increasing their income. However, a divided approach to managing money can be far more damaging to a relationship than low income or lack of financial resources.


How can financial discord be more damaging than low income or lack of resources?


Elder Marvin J. Ashton taught, “Management of family finances should be mutual between husband and wife in an attitude of openness and trust. Control of the money by one spouse as a source of power and authority causes inequality in the marriage and is inappropriate. Conversely, if a marriage partner voluntarily removes himself or herself entirely from family financial management, that is an abdication of necessary responsibility” (One for the Money: Guide to Family Finance [booklet], 2006, 3).


How will being unified with your spouse change your life?

Wise Financial Stewardship Prepares Us for Marriage


Whether you are preparing for marriage or are single, divorced, or widowed, wise financial stewardship can help you be ready for future relationships. Many new couples are burdened by debt and poor spending habits brought into the relationship, which can cause a difficult beginning to their marriage. Striving to develop good spending habits, build up savings, and reduce or eliminate debt will invite the Spirit into your relationship and create a bedrock for a successful marriage.


How can being a wise financial steward now help you prepare to be a better spouse in the future?

3. Hold Regular Family Councils


Last week we discussed the importance of counseling with the Lord. He wants to help you succeed. In addition to counseling with the Lord, prophets have taught the importance of having regular family councils.


“Family Councils,” available at srs.lds.org/videos. (No video? Read page 31.)

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How could holding family councils benefit you and your family?

Discuss Financial Stewardship in Your Family Council


A regular executive family council between husband and wife is the perfect setting to discuss financial stewardship. If you are single, choose a parent or other family member, roommate, mentor, or friend and hold a regular and honest council with the person about your finances. If you are married, you will probably need to have important discussions with your spouse throughout this course. After this course, holding regular family councils will help you continue to become more unified and more self-reliant.

One of your commitments this week will be to designate a time to hold a regular family council. As part of your family council, you should discuss finances. You may want to use the “Sample Family Council Discussion” outline on the next page to guide this part of your family council.