Lesson 23: Providing for Temporal Needs
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“Lesson 23: Providing for Temporal Needs,” The Eternal Family Teacher Manual (2015)

“Lesson 23,” Teacher Manual

Lesson 23

Providing for Temporal Needs


God entrusts individuals with the responsibility of providing for their own temporal needs and the basic needs of their families. Parents have a sacred duty to provide their children with the temporal “necessities of life” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129). In this lesson, students will learn how the principle of self-reliance can contribute to their temporal and spiritual stability now and in the future.

Background Reading

Suggestions for Teaching

Mark 6:1–3; Luke 2:51–52


Write the following question on the board: “In what ways did Jesus Christ prepare Himself for His mortal ministry?” Invite students to read Mark 6:1–3 and Luke 2:51–52, looking for ways in which the Savior prepared Himself in His early years for His later ministry. As students give answers, list the following on the board:

Worked with his father as a carpenter (vocationally)

Increased in wisdom (educationally)

Increased in stature (physically)

Increased in favor with God (spiritually)

Increased in favor with man (socially)

  • How can following the Savior’s example in the five identified areas help you prepare to meet your own needs and those of your future family?

Read the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985), and ask students to listen for what President Kimball identifies as the responsibility of every Latter-day Saint:

Kimball, Spencer W.

“The Church and its members are commanded by the Lord to be self-reliant and independent. (See D&C 78:13–14.)

“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 Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball [2006], 116).

  • What responsibility did President Kimball say we each have?

  • Why is it important to become “self-reliant and independent”? (Students should identify the following: As we become self-reliant, we can provide ourselves and our families with the spiritual and temporal necessities of life.)

Invite students to share what self-reliance means to them. Then display the following statement by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and ask a student to read it aloud:

Hales, Robert D.

“Self-reliance is taking responsibility for our own spiritual and temporal welfare and for those whom Heavenly Father has entrusted to our care. Only when we are self-reliant can we truly emulate the Savior in serving and blessing others.

“It is important to understand that self-reliance is a means to an end. Our ultimate goal is to become like the Savior, and that goal is enhanced by our unselfish service to others. Our ability to serve is increased or diminished by the level of our self-reliance” (“A Gospel Vision of Welfare: Faith in Action,” Basic Principles of Welfare and Self-Reliance [booklet, 2009], 1–2).

  • What is the ultimate purpose of self-reliance?

  • How is our ability to serve others diminished if we are not self-reliant?

To help students further understand self-reliance, display the following statement by Sister Julie B. Beck, former Relief Society general president:

Beck, Julie B.


“How do we become self-reliant? We become self-reliant through obtaining sufficient knowledge, education, and literacy; by managing money and resources wisely, being spiritually strong, preparing for emergencies and eventualities; and by having physical health and social and emotional well-being” (“The Welfare Responsibilities of the Relief Society President,” Basic Principles of Welfare and Self-Reliance, 4).

Write the following words along the top of the board: education, finances, spiritual strength, home production and storage, health, and employment. Instruct students that self-reliance involves these six areas of a balanced life (see Providing in the Lord’s Way: Summary of a Leader’s Guide to Welfare [booklet, 2009], 1–2). Take some time as a class to discuss what young single adults might do to become more self-reliant in each of these areas so that they will be better able to provide for the temporal and spiritual needs of their future families and to serve in the Church. Write students’ responses on the board. Ideas might include the following:

  • Education: Obtain a degree or certification from a university or trade school, improve study habits, learn additional work skills, learn to perform basic home and auto repairs.

  • Finances: Pay an honest tithe and fast offering, learn to create a budget and adhere to it, learn self-discipline, avoid unnecessary debt, pay off debts, save some money from each paycheck.

  • Spiritual strength: Pray, study the scriptures, fast with a purpose, attend the temple regularly.

  • Home production and storage: Learn how to preserve and store foods, grow a garden (even just a few plants).

  • Health: Obey the Word of Wisdom, exercise regularly, eat healthily, get sufficient sleep, obtain health insurance.

  • Employment: Develop new job skills, foster a strong work ethic, earn advanced certifications.

  • What have you done to increase your self-reliance in one of these areas? How did this effort increase your feelings of self-reliance and self-worth? How did it increase your ability to provide for yourself and to serve more fully in the Church?

Invite students to set a goal to improve in one of these six areas.

Malachi 3:8–12; Matthew 6:19–21; 1 Timothy 6:7–10; 2 Nephi 9:51; Jacob 2:13–14, 18–19; Doctrine and Covenants 104:13–18

Financial management

Remind students that if they aren’t already, they will someday be responsible for providing for themselves and possibly for a family. Therefore, they must learn to be wise with their temporal resources.

Assign each student to read some of the following passages and identify principles related to prudent financial management.

After sufficient time, invite students to share what they found with the class. Make sure students understand the following principle: By applying wise financial principles, individuals and families can increase their own financial stability and be prepared to help others. (You might point out that in the scriptures the Lord often draws a connection between obtaining riches and the obligation to assist the poor and the needy. For example, see Jacob 2:18–19 and D&C 104:18.)

  • What blessings have you experienced from applying wise financial principles in your life?

Doctrine and Covenants 104:78

Avoiding unnecessary debt

Read Doctrine and Covenants 104:78. Then display the following statement by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917–2008) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and ask a student to read it aloud:

Wirthlin, Joseph B.

“Remember this: debt is a form of bondage. It is a financial termite. When we make purchases on credit, they give us only an illusion of prosperity. We think we own things, but the reality is, our things own us.

“Some debt—such as for a modest home, expenses for education, perhaps for a needed first car—may be necessary. But never should we enter into financial bondage through consumer debt without carefully weighing the costs” (“Earthly Debts, Heavenly Debts,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2004, 40–41).

  • Why is debt a form of bondage? (As students respond, help them understand the following principle: Avoiding unnecessary debt helps keep individuals and families free from financial bondage.) President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) taught, “Self-reliance cannot [exist] when there is serious debt hanging over a household. One has neither independence nor freedom from bondage when he is obligated to others” (“To the Boys and to the Men,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 53).

Invite a student to read the following counsel from President Thomas S. Monson aloud:

Monson, Thomas S.

“Avoid the philosophy and excuse that yesterday’s luxuries have become today’s necessities. They aren’t necessities unless we ourselves make them such. Many of our young couples today want to begin with multiple cars and the type of home Mother and Dad worked a lifetime to obtain. Consequently, they enter into long-term debt on the basis of two salaries. Perhaps too late they find that changes do come, women have children, sickness stalks some families, jobs are lost, natural disasters and other situations occur, and no longer can the mortgage payment, based on the income from two salaries, be made. It is essential for us to live within our means” (“Constant Truths for Changing Times,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2005, 20).

  • What are some possible consequences for individuals and families who fail to recognize the difference between wants and needs?

  • What are some ways to distinguish between wants and needs?

Encourage students to think about the following questions and write their answers in their journals:

  • In what areas of life could you become more self-reliant?

  • How can you better manage your temporal resources?

Student Readings