2021
Become Self-Reliant to Better Serve the Lord
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Local Leader Message

Become Self-Reliant to Better Serve the Lord

“As we apply principles of self-reliance, we can receive significant spiritual and temporal blessings for ourselves and for our families.”

The scriptures and the General Handbook helped me understand why, what and how I could become self-reliant in my life since my earliest days as a member of the Church. I cultivated the desire to learn and to apply the scriptures and the words of modern prophets—and have come to know that they are true.

In the Church handbook we read: “Self-reliance is the ability, commitment, and effort to provide the spiritual and temporal necessities of life for self and family. As members become self-reliant, they are also better able to serve and care for others.

“Church members are responsible for their own spiritual and temporal well-being. Blessed with the gift of agency, they have the privilege and duty to set their own course, solve their own problems, and strive to become self-reliant. Members do this under the inspiration of the Lord and with the labor of their own hands”1.

After the fall, Adam and Eve, were driven out of the Garden of Eden to till the ground and provide for their own needs and to have dominion over all the beasts of the field, and to eat their bread by the sweat of their brows, as the Lord had commanded. And Eve, also did labor with him2.

Our Father in Heaven commanded that we work to provide for our needs and the needs of our own families. We should strive to keep this and all of Father’s commandments. He wants us to better understand the importance of work and to learn the correct principles of managing our income for the well-being of our family and to better serve each other.

In the Book of Mormon, we read of the Nephites and their culture of hard work:

The people of Ammon “were industrious, and did labor exceedingly”3.

The Jaredites “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”4.

“Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself . . .” and men and women are free “to act for themselves and not to be acted upon”5.

We also read in the Doctrine and Covenants, where the Lord revealed:

“Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer”6.

No matter what our own parents or grandparents may or may not have done to work and provide for themselves, the Lord’s position is absolutely clear: we have a responsibility to work to provide for ourselves and for our families, and to manage resources in the way that benefits us and our families throughout our lives here on Earth.

Two modern day prophets have counseled us on these principles:

President Spencer W. Kimball, (1895–1985) taught: “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”7.

President Thomas S. Monson, (1927–2018) taught: “Self-reliance. . . . is an essential element in our spiritual as well as our temporal well-being . . . President Marion G. Romney has said, ‘Let us work for what we need. Let us be self-reliant and independent. Salvation can be obtained on no other principle. Salvation is an individual matter, and we must work out our own salvation in temporal as well as in spiritual things’”8.

Temporal and spiritual self-reliance are inseparably connected. As we apply principles of self-reliance, we can receive significant spiritual and temporal blessings for ourselves and our families.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught about the relationship between self-reliance and hard work: “God has designed this mortal existence to require nearly constant exertion. I recall the Prophet Joseph Smith’s simple statement: ‘By continuous labor [we] were enabled to get a comfortable maintenance’ (Joseph Smith—History 1:55). By work we sustain and enrich life. It enables us to survive the disappointments and tragedies of the mortal experience. Hard-earned achievement brings a sense of self-worth. Work builds and refines character, creates beauty, and is the instrument of our service to one another and to God. A consecrated life is filled with work, sometimes repetitive, sometimes menial, sometimes unappreciated but always work that improves, orders, sustains, lifts, ministers, aspires”9.

I have come to know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, that the Church of Jesus Christ is His only true church upon the face of the world and that we do have living prophets again on the earth today.

Elie K. Monga was named an Area Seventy in April 2017. He resides in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is married to Vianney Mwenze; they are parents of four children.

Notes

  1. General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [2020], 22.1.1.

  2. See Moses 5:1.

  3. See Mosiah 23:5.

  4. See Ether 10:22–25, 28.

  5. See 2 Nephi 2:16, 26.

  6. Doctrine and Covenants 42:42.

  7. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball [2006], 116.

  8. Thomas S. Monson, “Guiding Principles of Personal and Family Welfare”, Ensign, September 1986, 3.

  9. D. Todd Christofferson, “Reflections on a Consecrated Life”, Liahona, Nov. 2010, 17.