5: The Doctrine and Promises of Self-Reliance


    The Doctrine and Promises of Self-Reliance

    Have an opening prayer.


    Let’s start by introducing ourselves to the group and sharing our experiences in working to keep our commitments this past week. As part of your introduction, please share the following:

    • Your name

    • Your mission

    • How long you’ve been back from your mission

    • An insight or question that came from keeping your commitments this past week

    The Importance of Self-Reliance in God’s Work and in Your Plan


    Self-reliance is the ability to provide for your temporal and spiritual necessities.

    Regardless of your circumstances or level of education, you will need to learn and live the principles of self-reliance to succeed in fulfilling the Lord’s plan for you.

    Being self-reliant is a doctrine; it is part of God’s plan of salvation. God expects you, by relying on Him, to learn to be self-reliant both spiritually and temporally. This is part of God’s work and glory.


    Why is self-reliance part of God’s purpose for you?

    Promises about Becoming Self-Reliant

    The Lord Will Assist You in Your Daily Labors


    In Alma we read the following admonition: “Yea, cry unto [the Lord] for mercy; for he is mighty to save. … Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them. Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase” (Alma 34:18, 24–25).

    Activity: (5 minutes)

    Divide into groups of three and discuss the following questions:

    • Why does the Lord ask us to “cry,” or pray, over our education or labors?

    • What promises are available to those who do this with faith?

    The Lord Will Provide


    “I Will Provide for My Saints.” (No video? Read the First Presidency letter in the My Foundation or My Path booklet at LDS.org.)


    The Lord declared: “And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine. … For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves” (D&C 104:15, 17).


    How does the Lord provide for His Saints? What part must I take in providing for myself with the Lord’s help?

    Activity: (3 minutes)

    Individually write some temporal and spiritual necessities for your life below:


    President Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught, “Like two sides of a coin, the temporal and spiritual are inseparable” (“Providing in the Lord’s Way,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 53).

    Activity: (5 minutes)

    Divide into new groups of three and discuss the following question: How can finding a job and earning a living be both a temporal and a spiritual matter?

    His Grace Is Sufficient—You Can Become Anything the Lord Desires You to Be


    President Thomas S. Monson instructed: “Should there be anyone who feels he is too weak to change the onward and downward course of his life, or should there be those who fail to resolve to do better because of that greatest of fears, the fear of failure, there is no more comforting assurance to be had than the words of the Lord: ‘My grace,’ said He, ‘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’” (“Your Eternal Voyage,” Ensign, May 2000, 48).


    Christ has promised, “If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me” (Moroni 7:33). How have you felt Christ’s enabling power in your life?


    In what ways have you seen Christ’s grace bless your life or the lives of friends and family members?


    The Lord pleads with us to embrace the following truth: “Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies” (Thomas S. Monson, “Duty Calls,” Ensign, May 1996, 44). He created us and is able to empower us to become whatever He desires to make of us, which will be everything we need to quality to return to His presence.

    Recall how the Lord called Moses to bring his people “up out of the affliction of Egypt” (Exodus 3:17), but Moses doubted he could become the leader the Lord needed, saying, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent … but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” The Lord replied: “Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say” (Exodus 4:10–12).


    How was Moses able to become the leader of Israel? What does this mean for you personally?

    My Path for Self-Reliance

    My Path for Self-Reliance helps you understand the skills and habits you need to develop to become more self-reliant. To participate, contact your local stake self-reliance specialist.


    What did you learn on your mission about the truth “whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies”?


    “He Polished My Toe.” (No video? Read the script below.)

    Elder Enrique R. Falabella: “When I was growing up, we didn’t have much. I remember one day when I approached my father and said to him, “Papa, I need a new pair of shoes. These ones are already worn out.’ He stopped and looked at my shoes and saw they were really worn out. He said, ‘I think this is something we can fix.’ He took a bit of black polish and polished my shoes, leaving them shiny and nice. He said to me, ‘Now they’re fixed, son.’ I replied, ‘No, not yet. You can still see my toe sticking out of my shoe.’ He said, ‘Well, we can fix that too!’ He took a little more polish and he polished my toe!

    “That day I learned that there is a solution to every problem. I am convinced that this principle of self-reliance and this initiative is a way to hasten the Lord’s work. It’s part of the work of salvation. All of us can become better than what we are now. You have to let go of apathy. Many times we become complacent, and this destroys our progress. Every day is a day I can make progress if I decide to do something different to improve what I’ve done poorly in the past. If you do it with faith, exercising faith and hope in Christ that He will be there helping you, you will find the way to make progress in temporal and spiritual things. This is because God lives and you are His son or daughter.”


    What does the Lord want you to understand about being self-reliant?


    What impressions have you had about how you can become more self-reliant?


    • Review the life vision and goals you set with My Plan at the end of your mission. If you didn’t start My Plan during your mission, begin filling out the worksheet at the back of this manual.

    • On your mission, what did you have to do to qualify for the blessings of the Lord? What should you do now to qualify for His help? Share your answers to these questions and what you learned today with another returned missionary, another young single adult, or a member of your family.

    Choose an action partner for this week and take two minutes to share with each other the commitments that you feel impressed to work on. Decide how you will follow up with each other during the week.

    Have a closing prayer.