“Spiritual and Temporal Well-Being: Our Personal Responsibility,” Liahona, July 2018
I believe that spiritual and temporal well-being are personal responsibilities of each and every one and can only be achieved through obedience to God’s laws and commandments.
In 1984, as I was finishing high school, I was hit by a car and spent some weeks in the hospital. As I had no chance to complete my high school at the same time as my peers, I was feeling my life becoming troubled, dark, and hopeless. I had a big question in my mind about who I was going to become.
Three years later I had a chance to read the Book of Mormon, and this helped me understand that men are created to reach the full purpose of their mortal existence. It reads, “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25). Those words gave me hope, and I started seeking the means to have that joy.
In pondering the scriptures, I have read from the Book of Mormon and discovered that the Lord was helping Nephi in every situation. This gave me hope that the Lord would also assist me if I take righteous decisions and then act. Since then my life has completely changed to become better.
The Book of Mormon lightened my life, and I was able to take decisions that led me to complete my technical high school (even late), find a job, get married, and later pursue my education—which I am still continuing to do.
Here are some principles I learned through these experiences:
Study the scriptures, read the words of the living prophets, and pray with a real intent will invite God’s power into your activities. Nephi and his people are a great and inspiring example to anyone who seeks a balanced life regarding spiritual and temporal well-being (see1 Nephi 17:7–8). Seek the Lord’s guidance in all that you do. Elder L. Tom Perry (1922–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “The Lord does help when we go to Him in times of need, especially when we are committed to His work and respond to His will.”1
Have faith to follow and act diligently. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “Please notice the requirement to ask in faith, which I understand to mean the necessity to not only express but to do, the dual obligation to both plead and to perform, the requirement to communicate and to act.”2 Faith is a principle of action. If we have faith, we become agents to act and not to be acted upon. Brigham Young instructed the Saints, saying, “Instead of searching after what the Lord is going to do for us, let us inquire what we can do for ourselves.”3 As our faith leads us to obey His commandments and turn to Him, He will be ready to assist where we are unable to progress (see 2 Nephi 5:10–11).
Set a plan of what you want to achieve. If we do not know what we can do—and if we cannot make a plan—we will never get out of the bondage of poverty and debt. It will be impossible to achieve self-reliance. A plan on what to do to get what we want in this life is the first step to becoming responsible for our own lives. Elder Robert D. Hales (1932–2017) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “The welfare plan is an integral part of the plan of salvation; the scriptures provide the spiritual framework for the welfare plan.”4
Take responsibility for your own situation and decide to work hard. President Marion G. Romney (1897–1988) taught, “The principle is the same in all the countries; we should strive to become self-reliant and not depend on others for our existence.”5
Joseph Smith’s family is a wonderful example of taking responsibility to work. He says, “As my father’s worldly circumstances were very limited, we were under the necessity of laboring with our hands, hiring out by day’s work and otherwise, as we could get opportunity. Sometimes we were at home, and sometimes abroad, and by continuous labor were enabled to get a comfortable maintenance” (Joseph Smith—History 1:55).
In the Book of Mormon, we read about the Jaredites who “were exceedingly industrious, …
“And they did work in all manner of ore, … and all manner of metals; …
“… And they did work all manner of cloth, …
“And they did make all manner of tools to till the earth. …
“And never could be a people more blessed than were they, and more prospered by the hand of the Lord” (Ether 10:22–25, 28).
In Handbook 2 we read:
“[During the worldwide Great Depression], the First Presidency outlined a welfare plan for the Church. … ‘[To abolish] the evils of a dole. … [And to ask that] ‘work … be re-enthroned as the ruling principle of the lives of our Church membership.’”6
Spiritual and temporal well-being are personal responsibilities of each and every one of us—and can only be achieved through obedience to God laws. We also see that the spiritual and temporal are inseparably connected but that we need to become spiritually self-reliant before temporal self-reliance can be reached. Just like the pedal—connecting to the rear wheel of a bicycle through a chain—produces the movement to speed up the front wheel, spiritual self-reliance gives all the efforts and strength to our temporal well-being. The Savior taught, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). To teach spiritual and temporal self-reliance is to teach undiluted spiritual truth.
I have come to know by simply applying the gospel and the words of the living prophets that these principles are true. We have worked and are still working as a family to reach spiritual and temporal self-reliance, and the Lord has accomplished His promises to us.