The prophets have taught us multiple times that although the Lord never forsakes us, usually he does not do for us what we can reasonably do for ourselves. When we do need help, very often the help comes through other persons which means that as we become self-reliant, the more able we are to build up God’s kingdom and to use the things the Lord blesses us with to help and serve others. Self-reliance is vital to our temporal and our spiritual well-being, and its fruits bring us full circle, for “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17). Conversation on Self-Reliance with Keith McMullin
When this interview was conducted, Brother McMullin was managing director of the Church’s Welfare Services Department.
Have I Done Any Good?
The Lord clearly values what you will find in that history book and in a text on political theory. Remember His words. He wants you to know “things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations” (D&C88:79). And He favors not only Spanish verbs but the study of geography and demography. You remember that His educational charter requires that we have “a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms” (D&C 88:79). There is also an endorsement for questions we study in the sciences. It is clear that putting spiritual learning first does not relieve us from learning secular things. On the contrary, it gives our secular learning purpose and motivates us to work harder at it. If we will keep spiritual learning in its proper place, we will have to make some hard choices of how we use our time. But there should never be a conscious choice to let the spiritual become secondary as a pattern in our lives. Never. That will lead to tragedy. The tragedy may not be obvious at first, nor may it ever be clear in mortal life. But remember, you are interested in education, not just for mortal life but for eternal life. When you see that reality clearly with spiritual sight, you will put spiritual learning first and yet not slight the secular learning. In fact, you will work harder at your secular learning than you would without that spiritual vision. Henry B. Eyring, “Education for Real Life,” Ensign, October 2002, 14
LDS Philanthropy Around The World
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is involved in many efforts to help those in need around the world. Learn more about the work being done to help others help themselves.
“We lose our life by serving and lifting others, this is the way to experience the only true and lasting happiness. Service is not something we endure on this earth so we can earn the right to live in the celestial kingdom. Service is the very fiber of which an exalted life in the celestial kingdom is made. Can we see how critical self-reliance becomes when looked upon as the prerequisite to service, when we also know service is what godhood is all about? Without self-reliance one cannot exercise these innate desires to serve. How can we give if there is nothing there? Food for the hungry cannot come from an empty purse. Support and understanding cannot come from the emotionally starved. Teaching cannot come from the unlearned. And most important of all, spiritual guidance cannot come from the weak.”
President Marion G. Romney, “The Celestial Nature of Self-Reliance”
Living Within Our Means
“If there is any one thing that will bring peace and contentment into the human heart, and into the family, it is to live within our means. And if there is any one thing that is grinding and discouraging and disheartening, it is to have debts and obligations that one cannot meet.” (Heber J. Grant, Gospel Standards [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1941], p. 111).
The Gullible Gull
“In our friendly neighbor city of St. Augustine great flocks of sea gulls are starving amid plenty. Fishing is still good, but the gulls don’t know how to fish. For generations they have depended on the shrimp fleet to toss them scraps from the nets. Now the fleet has moved. … “The shrimpers had created a Welfare State for the sea gulls. The big birds never bothered to learn how to fish for themselves and they never taught their children to fish. Instead they led their little ones to the shrimp nets. “Now the sea gulls, the fine free birds that almost symbolize liberty itself, are starving to death because they gave in to the ‘something for nothing’ lure!
They sacrificed their independence for a handout.
“Fable of the Gullible Gull” Reader’s Digest, Oct. 1950, p. 32
“The condition of the physical body can affect the spirit. That’s why the Lord gave us the Word of Wisdom. He also said that we should retire to our beds early and arise early (see D&C 88:124), that we should not run faster than we have strength (see D&C 10:4), and that we should use moderation in all good things. … Food can affect the mind, and deficiencies of certain elements in the body can promote mental depression. … Rest and physical exercise are essential, and a walk in the fresh air can refresh the spirit. Wholesome recreation is part of our religion and is a necessary change of pace; even its anticipation can lift the spirit.
” President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994), “Do Not Despair,” Ensign, Oct. 1986
Our birthright—and the purpose of our great voyage on this earth—is to seek and experience eternal happiness.
“Happiness, Your Heritage” by Dieter F. Uchtdorf
The Greatest Power The World Has Ever Known
In 1892, on a visit to America, Tolstoy asked his American host, Andrew W. White, “I wish you would tell me about your American religion.” “We have no state church in America,” replied Dr. White. “I know that, but what about your American religion?” Dr. White explained to Tolstoy that in America each person is free to belong to the particular church in which he is interested. Tolstoy impatiently replied: “I know all of this, but I want to know about the American religion…. The Church to which I refer originated in America and is commonly known as the Mormon Church. What can you tell me of the teaching of the Mormons?” Doctor White said, “I know very little concerning them.” Then Count Tolstoy rebuked the ambassador. “Dr. White, I am greatly surprised and disappointed that a man of your great learning and position should be so ignorant on this important subject. Their principles teach the people not only of heaven and its attendant glories, but how to live so that their social and economic relations with each other are placed on a sound basis. If the people follow the teachings of this church, nothing can stop their progress—it will be limitless.” Tolstoy continued, “There have been great movements started in the past but they have died or been modified before they reached maturity. If Mormonism is able to endure, unmodified, until it reaches the third and fourth generation, it is destined to become the greatest power the world has ever known.” Improvement Era, Feb. 1939
“Establishing a Beach Head” by Laraine L. Thompson
God Will Lift Us Up
What is Self-reliance?
Self-reliance is the ability, commitment, and effort to provide for the spiritual and temporal well-being of ourselves and of our families. As we learn and apply the principles of self-reliance in our homes and communities, we have opportunities to care for the poor and needy and to help others become self-reliant so they can endure times of adversity. lds.org
Teaching Our Children Self-Reliance
It’s developmentally appropriate for children to become more and more independent, self-reliant and responsible as they age. It can be challenging for parents to know when to step back and let their children try something on their own. After all, from the time their children were babies, parents have spent years meeting many to all of their child’s needs. Striking a balance between allowing your children to do tasks for themselves and helping them when they seem to need or want is a talent of very powerful parents.This balance allows their children to thrive because they feel more confident in themselves while still feeling supported and properly mentored. How can we instill self reliance and responsibility into our children?
Read the full article “You Can Do It! 7 Ways to Teach Your Children Self-Reliance and Responsibility by Dr. Robyn Silverman