Saturday, February 13, 2016


Role of Self-Reliance

In 1970 I was called to serve as a missionary in the England North mission.  I often shared a movie with investigators called Man’s Search for Happiness. The movie’s depiction of the plan of salvation, had a significant impact on many.  You can still watch it today on YouTube.  I quote a portion of the video for you here.

“Life offers you two precious gifts—one is time, the other freedom of choice, the freedom to buy with your time what you will. You are free to exchange your allotment of time for thrills. You may trade it for base desires. You may invest it in greed. You may purchase with it vanity. You may spent your time in pursuit of material things.

“Yours is the freedom to choose. But these are no bargains, for in them you find no lasting satisfaction.

“Every day, every hour, every minute of your span of mortal years must sometime be accounted for. And it is in this life that you walk by faith and prove yourself able to choose good over evil, right over wrong, enduring happiness over mere amusement. And your eternal reward will be according to your choosing.

“A prophet of God has said: ‘Men are that they might have joy’—a joy that includes a fullness of life, a life dedicated to service, to love and harmony in the home, and the fruits of honest toil—an acceptance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ—of its requirements and commandments.

“Only in these will you find true happiness, the happiness which doesn’t fade with the lights and the music and the crowds.” 

“Be assured that you are here, not by accident or chance.  But as part of a glorious, everlasting plan.  By a still small voice within you, and through revelation to his appointed prophets, God, our Eternal Father, guides the affairs of his children today as in the past.”

President Boyd K Packer said, “Things that don’t change, stay the same”

President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “It is my duty, it yours, to be better today than I was yesterday, and for you to be better today than you were yesterday, and better tomorrow than you were today.”

It is the principle of your choice, your accountability, your self reliance that I write about today.

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)

In 1945 my Dad and Mom purchased 1 acre of ground and built a small home.  That first summer Dad Planted a garden and fruit trees, and in the Fall Mom canned all the vegetables for use during the winter and spring.  The next summer he did the same thing.  Everyday he went to work as a printer and when he came home in the afternoon, he worked in his garden until time for bed. The only day my Dad did not work was Sunday.  For 40 years my Dad did the same thing. 

Every summer and fall Mom filled and sealed hundreds of bottles of tomatoes, beans, corn, fruit, jams and pickles. When we were old enough to work, we had responsibilities to help with all of it.  We worked during school vacations and after school. Most of what we would eat for the next year was produced by our family. As the Prophet Joseph Smith said of his family, I can say of mine, “by continuous labor we were able to have a comfortable living always having enough good food to eat.

In April 1986 my Dad passed away two months before retirement and without planting his garden.  After that every spring and summer my mother looked to me and my family to provide her with vegetables from our garden.  Sister Anderson and I still plant a garden every year and store the abundance for use during the winter and spring.

Growing a garden every year and storing the abundance, is just one of the principles of self-reliance that I learned from my parents.

Another Principle of Self-Reliance that parents taught me was NO DEBT.  My parents built a small home with money from savings.  As our family grew they saved and expanded the home.  Never did they borrow money and go into debt for these things.  

Everyone faces financial challenges in life. Through wise budgeting, you can control your real needs and measure them carefully against your many wants in life. Too many have incurred too much debt. To be Self-Reliant we should have no consumer debt.  It is alright to have modest loans for our housing and for Education, however, consumer loans should be avoided.  A consumer loan is one where the items you borrow money for, are often used up or consumed long before we have paid for them.  It is much easier to borrow money than it is to pay it back. Debt puts you in bondage to the lender and many find themselves working for a stranger rather than for their own family.  The so-called five six loans (20% interest per month), prevalent in the Philippines are the worse example of such bondage.  If you are tempted to take one, Don’t!  If you already have one, make the necessary sacrifices and pay it off, NOW.  If you are offering these loans, STOP.  Heavenly Father does not want you in bondage to others, nor does he want you placing others in bondage to yourself. 

These two principles of Self-Reliance, Growing a Garden and food storage and Staying out of debt may sound like temporal principles, however their foundation is spiritual.  Let me share a scripture with you.

 D&C 29:34 Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal…
 35 Behold, I gave unto him that he should be an agent unto himself; and I gave unto him commandment, but no temporal commandment gave I unto him, for my commandments are spiritual; they are not natural nor temporal…

This scripture tells us there is no such thing as a temporal commandment. It also tells us that man is to be “an agent unto himself.” Man cannot be an agent unto himself if he is not self-reliant. Independence and self-reliance are critical to our spiritual growth. Whenever we get into a situation, which threatens our self-reliance, we will find our freedom threatened as well. If we become more dependent, we will decrease our freedom or ability to act for ourselves.

There are many things you can do to become more self-reliant.  I am only addressing a few of them here.  As you strive to become self-reliant you will learn more about service to God and your fellowman and you will become a consecrated member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Consecrated Members do whatever is necessary to magnify their callings, pay a full tithe and generous fast offering, keep the Sabbath day holy, hold family home evening, study the scriptures and serve their neighbors.

Mosiah 2:17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.

Tuesday afternoon as Sister Anderson and I left the Self-Reliance Center we observed many of the Youth of this stake cleaning and polishing the Urdaneta Stake Center.  I do not know if it was by assignment or their own choice and it does not matter.  What matters is that they were cheerfully serving each of us by cleaning and caring for this beautiful building. 

Jesus demonstrated that a consecrated life is a life of service. Hours before the agony of His Atonement began, the Lord humbly washed His disciples’ feet, saying to them:

 John 13:14-16 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

Consecrated members keep the Sabbath day Holy and make preparations for the Sabbath on Saturday. Some consider this impractical and choose to shop and prepare for the Sabbath on Sunday.  Let me explain,

If you knew a typhoon was coming on Tuesday and you knew you would not be able to get food or water for 5 days, what would you do on Monday?

The Sabbath comes every Sunday, what are you going to do on Saturday to prepare for the Sabbath?

San Isidro Group

Last week we were working with members and investigators in San Isidro Group from Rosales 2nd Ward.  

They have a hard time attending church because it is so far and transportation costs so much. We challenged them to ask their friends and neighbors if they could get someone to drive them and they could all help pay for gas. I even suggested that they might come on a kuliglig and told them how I drove a kuliglig and how we have seen others attend church on one.

On Sunday 11 of them came to church on a kuliglig. 

And they experienced a miracle on the journey.

At the next barangay from theirs they had a flat tire. One of the sister offered a prayer asking that they would have a miracle and be able to attend church. 

They used a hand pump and filled the tire with air. They then drove all the way to church without it going flat again. They stayed for church and afterwards, filled the tire again and drove all the way home without a flat.

One who lives a consecrated life does not seek to take advantage of another but, if anything, will turn the other cheek and, if required to deliver a coat, will give the cloak also (see Matthew 5:39–40). 

A consecrated life is a life of integrity.  We see it in the father and mother whose demonstrated first priority is to nourish their marriage and ensure the physical and spiritual welfare of their children. We see it in those who are honest.  

We show our honesty to the Lord by the tithes that we pay.

If you want more blessings, pay a full tithing.  Pay it every week.  Pray daily with your family and tell Heavenly Father that you are paying an honest tithing and that you need His promises to be fulfilled for you and your family.  

 Malachi 3:10  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord  of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall  not be room enough to receive it.

Pray daily with your family that the windows of Heaven will opened that you will receive these promised blessings.  Tithing is a principle of Faith.  Tithing is a principle of Self-Reliance.

Next, pay a generous Fast Offering

Fast Offerings are another key to self-reliance.  When we pay fast offerings we allow the blessings of God to flow to others and our lives will also be blessed.

Allow the words of the Hymn, Because I have been given much, to become who you are.

Because I have been given much, I too must give
Because of thy great bounty, Lord, each day I live
I shall divide gifts from thee
With every brother that see
Who has the need of help from me

Because I have been sheltered, fed by thy good care
I cannot see another’s lack and I not share
My glowing fire, my loaf of bread,
My roof’s safe shelter overhead
That he to may be comforted

In My Path to Self-Reliance there is a self-assessment that we should all review periodically.  These spiritual principles include feeling and following the promptings of the Holy Ghost, Reading and Studying the scriptures daily, daily prayer, partaking of the sacrament every week, being worthy of the temple recommend.  Finally, “we sacrifice to serve others”, makes it clear that Self-Reliance is an eternal pursuit.  

I add a quote from Elder Bednar to help keep perspective:

“If today you are a little bit better than you were yesterday, then that's enough. And, if tomorrow you are a little bit better than you were today, then that's enough.”― David A. Bednar

That is what our pursuit of Self-Reliance is all about.  Progress!  Do a little more each day.  Work a little harder.   Try new things.  Trust in the Lord and remember that Faith is an Action Word.  You cannot simply say “I have faith, now bless me.”  You must give our Father in Heaven something to work with.

We have been given a wonderful gift recently in the Self-Reliance Program.  I testify to you that it is inspired and that if you will accept it and do all you are asked you will progress.  I promise that this is the key to you having greater Hope, Peace and Progress.

Is it easy?  No it is not!  It is not supposed to be easy.  It takes work, a lot of work.  I promise you that if you will work at it you will be blessed.  I promise you that you can have the necessities of life.

2 Nephi 31:20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

Work Hard and Endure to the End!

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