6: Principles for Becoming Self-Reliant


    Principles for Becoming Self-Reliant

    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

    Lifelong Commitments


    As you take responsibility for your temporal and spiritual well-being through a life of service, you will need to live by certain standards as a devoted disciple of Christ. Some commitments include the following:

    • Keeping the Sabbath day holy and worthily partaking of the sacrament every week

    • Fasting, praying, and feasting on the word of God

    • Paying tithes and offerings

    • Being faithful to your temple covenants, including accepting calls to serve and keeping the law of chastity and avoiding pornography

    • Becoming temporally self-reliant by working and obtaining all needed education

    • Helping your family live the gospel


    Why is each of these commitments necessary in your life? What other commitments would be helpful to you?


    In Alma 37:6 we read about the power of “small and simple things.” In what ways have you experienced the power and promise of small and simple things?

    Four Principles for Becoming Self-Reliant


    Becoming self-reliant, both temporally and spiritually, requires obedience to key foundational principles. While there are several principles to learn, there are four main principles that underlie God’s promises to help us become self-reliant.

    “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”

    1. Exercise Faith in Jesus Christ


    When we exercise faith in Jesus Christ, we rely on Him to forgive our shortcomings and to enable us to become what He wants us to become. The path of discipleship is rigorous and requires endurance. President Henry B. Eyring taught that “if the foundation of faith is not embedded in our hearts, the power to endure will crumble” (“Mountains to Climb,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 33).

    Activity: (5 minutes)

    Divide into groups of three and discuss the following question: Why is a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ essential?


    The Savior taught that with faith “all things are possible” (Mark 9:23), but we must remember that faith is a choice. Elder L. Whitney Clayton taught that “belief and testimony and faith are not passive principles. … Belief is something we choose—we hope for it, we work for it, and we sacrifice for it. We will not accidentally come to believe in the Savior and His gospel any more than we will accidentally pray or pay tithing. We actively choose to believe, just like we choose to keep other commandments” (“Choose to Believe,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 38).


    What are you doing to nourish your faith? What more could you do to “draw near” to the Lord (D&C 88:63)?


    Even when we choose to show faith, we do not always receive answers when and how we expect them. Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught, “Real faith in God therefore includes not only faith in him, but in his timing, one of the things that is most difficult for us to have faith in” (“If Thou Endure It Well” [Brigham Young University devotional address, Dec. 4, 1984], speeches.byu.edu).


    What does it mean to have faith in the Lord’s timing?

    2. Be Obedient


    The Lord has declared, “Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength” (D&C 11:20). The scriptures contain several examples of the blessings that come from obeying the Lord’s commandments with all one’s “might, mind and strength.” The sons of Helaman were preserved and made victorious in their battles because they were “firm and undaunted” and chose to “obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness” (Alma 57:20–21). Similarly, you can receive protection and guidance through obedience to God’s commandments and to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.

    The scriptures teach: “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated” (D&C 130:20–21).

    Simply stated, no one can receive the needed blessings from God unless he or she obeys the laws associated with the desired blessing.

    President Spencer W. Kimball

    “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.”

    Spencer W. Kimball, “Welfare Services: The Gospel in Action,” Ensign, Nov. 1977, 77


    What led the sons of Helaman to obey with exactness? What would lead you to do the same?


    Obedience has great promises associated with it, especially when it comes to accomplishing our mission and goals in life.

    Nephi wrote: “And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it be so that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness” (1 Nephi 17:3).


    What did Nephi testify that God will do if we obey Him? Are there commandments that you need to be more strictly obedient to that could bring needed spiritual and temporal blessings into your life?

    3. Solve Problems, Act for Yourself


    As children of our Heavenly Father, we have the power to reach above our current circumstances and progress to great heights. As we take advantage of this ability to act, we take responsibility to come unto Christ and rely on Him as we work out our temporal and spiritual salvation (Matthew 11:28–29). President Marion G. Romney taught, “Salvation is an individual matter, and we must work out our own salvation in temporal as well as in spiritual things” (in Welfare Services Meeting Report, Oct. 1976, 13).

    Activity: (5 minutes)

    Divide into new groups of three and discuss the following question: Why is taking initiative to solve our own problems one of the essential principles of becoming self-reliant?


    Elder Robert D. Hales taught: “The Lord expects us to help solve our own problems. … We are thinking, reasoning human beings. We have the ability to identify our needs, to plan, to set goals, and to solve our problems” (“Every Good Gift,” New Era, Aug. 1983, 8–9).


    Why does the Lord want us to work to solve problems? How have you been blessed by solving difficult problems?


    What examples did you observe on your mission of the importance of taking initiative to solve problems?

    4. Become One, Serve Others


    Spiritual and temporal poverty is overcome as we serve one another and become “of one heart and one mind” (Moses 7:18).

    Doctrine and Covenants 104:15–16 states: “It is my purpose to provide for my saints. … But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low.” This means that as the rich and poor become one, only then can the Lord provide for our needs. Each of us must be willing to give of our time and talents in the service of others if we are to receive the Lord’s complete temporal and spiritual blessings.

    Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught that each of us has a responsibility to serve others: “Rich or poor, we are to ‘do what we can’ when others are in need” (“Are We Not All Beggars?” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 41).

    Amulek taught the poor and needy Zoramite disciples: “And now behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith” (Alma 34:28; see also Mosiah 4:16; D&C 44:6; 88:123).


    What did Amulek teach the Zoramite disciples about service? How can serving others strengthen your faith?

    Activity: 10 minutes

    Divide into pairs and complete the following activity together: Read the account in 1 Nephi 16:21–32 of how the Lord helped Nephi obtain food in the wilderness. What does this passage teach about the four principles of self-reliance?


    Teachings in 1 Nephi 16:21–32

    Exercise faith in Jesus Christ

    Be obedient

    Solve problems, act for yourself

    Become one, serve others


    What stands out to you most about Nephi’s example in 1 Nephi 16?

    My Foundation

    My Foundation helps members of the Church learn and put into practice principles of faith, education, hard work, and trust in the Lord so they can become spiritually and temporally self-reliant. Download this manual at srs.lds.org.


    • Consider a problem you are trying to solve in your life. How did you help others on your mission to solve their own problems? Write in your study journal the questions you have about the problem. List resources God has provided to help you. Use these resources to answer at least one of your questions.

    • Share what you learned today with another returned missionary, another young single adult, or a member of your family.

    • If you participated in My Plan on your mission, review what you learned and recorded about becoming spiritually and temporally self-reliant. If you didn’t start My Plan during your mission, use the worksheet at the back of this manual.

    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.