Monday, August 8, 2016

Seek Ye Learning

Talk to SR Conference in Dagupan August 6, 2016

If you have ever attended a Self-Reliance Fireside taught by Sister Anderson and I, then you have heard us declare that we believe in two keys to Self-Reliance

Work and Tithing.

For you more seasoned members of the church,  for you who understand Self-Reliance and are working diligently to teach these principles to the members of your Stake or District I will give you two additional keys to consider

Work and Learning

D&C 109:7  …seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith;

D&C 58:27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

Joseph Smith loved learning even though he had few opportunities for formal education.  In his journals, he spoke happily of days spent in study and often expressed his love of learning

Joseph taught the Saints that knowledge was a necessary part of our mortal journey, for “a man is saved no faster than he [gains] knowledge,” and that “whatever principle of intelligence we attain … in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.” D&C 130:18-19   

During challenging times, it is even more important to learn. The Prophet Joseph taught, “Knowledge does away with darkness, [anxiety], and doubt; for these cannot exist where knowledge is.”

From the beginning, Church leaders have counseled us to get all of the education we can as a preparation for and improvement of our careers.

I begin with the Old Testament story of Naaman

2 Kings 5:1 Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.

An Israelite slave girl who served Naaman’s wife spoke of prophets in Israel who had the power to heal.

The king of Syria sent a message to the king of Israel saying, “I have … sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.” The king of Israel suspected a plot and complained, “He seeketh a quarrel against me. … Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy?”

Elisha, the prophet, heard of the king’s distress. And “he sent to the king, saying, … let him come now to me.”  Elisha would heal Naaman, and he told why: that “he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.”

When Naaman was near, Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in Jordan seven times, … and thou shalt be clean.” Naaman was angry. There were rivers in Syria, as good, he thought, as the Jordan. He had expected Elisha to perform some impressive ceremony like clapping his hands upon him. And he “turned … away in a rage.”

But one of his servants courageously chastised the general and said, “If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it?”

Humbled by his servant, Naaman “went … down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God: … and he was clean.” (2 Kgs. 5:1–14)

Human nature hasn’t changed over the years. Even today some of us expect to be bidden to do some “great things” in order to receive the blessings of the Lord. When we receive ordinary counsel on ordinary things, there is disappointment, and, like Naaman, we turn away.

The counsel I give to you may seem simple, even trivial to some of you. But it is consistent with the doctrines and principles announced by the First Presidency when the welfare program was first introduced almost 80 years ago:

“Our primary purpose [is] to set up, in so far as it might be possible, a system under which the curse of idleness would be done away with, the evils of a dole abolished, and independence, industry, thrift and self-respect be once more established amongst our people. The aim of the Church is to help the people to help themselves. Work is to be re-enthroned as the ruling principle of the lives of our Church membership.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1936, p. 3.)

The emphasis here is on Self-Reliance.  Work was the key in 1936 and is still the key today.  Education is critical.  Opportunity for that education and training are everywhere in the Philippines.  We have good schools for our youth.  We have good Universities and trade schools for our young adults.  We have TESDA available for everyone.

As leaders, are we properly counseling our members on the opportunities available to them?  Are we counseling and giving them vision of who they are and what privileges God is wanting them to partake of?

That is the responsible role of all leaders in the self-reliance program.  We must help people to help themselves. 

There are many, many opportunities available for training.  Even if we have a good job, or a good business we should continually be looking for more knowledge and training.

D&C 58:27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

Many of the opportunities require time to seek and find them.  May i suggest just a few places that we need to visit?  I am suggesting that every Stake and District might organize a committee to seek and find the opportunities within their borders.  You might consider using unemployed or under employed members to work on such a committee.  Sister Anderson and I have visited many of these offices and discovered opportunities.  This is not a time to be shy.  Missionaries are taught OYM (open your mouth).  That is what is required here.  There are NOT opportunities ongoing every month of the year but there is something happening each and every year.  Regular visits are required, making friends with those who work there is important.  OYM  Many of our members work in these offices and are a wealth of information.  A few examples:  

Municipal office

Barangay Halls

Agriculture office





A young mother in Rosales recently went to a town next to where she lives and took training in Goat Raising, Vermiculture, Vaccinations and other skills.  When asked if she was going to start raising goats she said no, she did not have land, she just wanted to learn more.  

We have a duty to learn as much as we can, to encourage our families, quorum members, relief society sisters to learn and become better educated.  We have the duty to mentor each other to find all the opportunities possible.

D&C 75:28 And again, verily I say unto you, that every man who is obliged to provide for his own family, let him provide, and he shall in nowise lose his crown; and let him labor in the church.

 29 Let every man be diligent in all things. And the idler shall not have place in the church, except he repent and mend his ways.

This commandment, to provide for our family is possible.  It is possible here in the Philippines.

D&C 104: 17 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.

We do not need to go abroad.  We do not need to create single parent families by sending Mother or Father away.  We can do it here, in this great land by following the principles of Work, Education and paying our tithing.

Let’s mentor and teach and remind each other who we are.  We are part of the greatest generation that God has sent to the earth.  We have the highest integrity, Dependability, the best habits and teachings in the world.  May God bless us that we will build into our lives these principles of Self-Reliance that have been part of the gospel from the very beginning.  Self-Reliance is not a new doctrine, it is not a program that we do once and then sit back and say, I did that.  Self-Reliance is something we do everyday of our lives.  Self-Reliant is what we become.  To you leaders I quote Luke 22:32 “…and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”


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