We teach self-reliance as a principle of life, that we ought to provide for our spiritual and temporal needs and take care of ourselves. This great blessing from our Heavenly Father will help us to be happy and independent and will make our lives better here on earth and in the eternities, for as we embrace the principle of work, with integrity, our lives will be blessed forever.
In His spiritual work, our Heavenly Father expresses His purpose—to see His children happy (see Moses 1:39). In Doctrine and Covenants 130:21, there is a divine law attached to love that extends to all aspects of human life (spiritual and temporal), which is the law of obedience. The sons of Lehi did take their bows and their arrows and go forth into the wilderness to slay food for their families. With obedience and faith, they followed the compass and although they had many trials and dissensions among themselves, they worked together for their personal and family well-being.
Nephi testifies as follows: “They [the pointers on the compass] did work according to the faith and diligence which we did give unto them…
“…And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things” (1 Nephi 16:28, 29). Our Heavenly Father revealed, in Doctrine and Covenants 29:31 that “by the power of my Spirit created I them; yea, all things.” In verse 32, He adds, “First spiritual, secondly temporal.” He instructs, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33), which is the way and means to our self- reliance. Doctrine and Covenants 29:34 clearly says, “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; … nor the children of men; … whom I created.”
In His plan to help us individually on our path toward self-reliance (see D&C 104:13–17), He says, “I, the Lord, ... built the earth...
“And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine” (verses 14 –15).
In verse 17, He says, “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,” in order for us to become self-reliant.
Our self-reliance is a personal matter and depends on our degree of faith, as defined in the vision of our area plan for 2018.
We demonstrate our faith by following the restored gospel and by our baptism. Each one of us has received a portion of the Spirit of God. Our souls need to be strengthened. We need to build our spiritual experiences. Self-reliance is defined as an ability to self-govern, an ability to provide the necessities of life for self and family through commitment and efforts.
Becoming spiritually self-reliant encompasses everything that man needs to live on. These three aspects are the priorities of the vision of our area plan for 2018:
1. Increase faith through the payment of tithes and offerings. It is impossible for a man to come out of his economic difficulties and physical sufferings by disobeying or not keeping the law of tithing and offerings (see the poor widow’s offering in Luke 21:1–4). In 3 Nephi 24:12, Heavenly Father promised wonders unto His obedient children: “Ye shall be a delightsome land.” In verse 11, He says, “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground.” Let us consider the case of Ananias and Sapphira, who lied to the Lord by keeping back part of their tithing (see Acts 5:1–11). The Lord tells us that if man offereth a gift without real intent, it profiteth him nothing (see Moroni 7:6).
Take responsibility to work to improve our lives. A member of the Church is responsible for his spiritual and temporal well-being. Having received from our Heavenly Father the gift of knowledge (see Helaman 14:30), we have the prerogative to decide for ourselves, to solve our own problems, and to strive to become self-reliant (see D&C 58:28). President Thomas S. Monson (1927–2018) has counseled, “Let us work for what we need. Let us be self-reliant and independent. Salvation can be obtained on no other principle.” The Africa Southeast Area Presidency counsels to “assume personal responsibility to work to improve our lives.” Our Heavenly Father declared, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” (Genesis 3:19) and not in
the sweat of our neighbor’s face.
2 Nephi 5:15 and 17 relate that the people of Nephi were industrious, for they did “labor with their hands.” Of this principle, the Lord was very clear in saying, “Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer” (D&C 42:42).
Develop spiritual self-reliance in missionary work. As followers of Christ who live according to His teachings, we are sent two by two to build the world: “And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel, two by two” (D&C 42:6). It is also a personal responsibility to develop faith, obedience, and a commitment to serve His children. Once you are committed to the work, the Savior will never leave you alone but will go with you. He will “open the hearts of the people, and they will receive you” (D&C 31:7).
As Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught to the Africa Southeast Area Presidency and other General Authority Seventies, “Let us teach the pearl rather than the potter, for the doctrine of worldliness does not nurture man.” Get rid of pride, for whosoever does not obey the Lord’s commandment is proud, and our Heavenly Father resisteth him (see 1 Peter 5:5). “Pride, and arrogancy … do I hate” (Proverbs 8:13), which are the fruit of idleness and slothful- ness—the opposite of self-reliance. Our faith requires that these six principles be reinforced:
Pray individually and as a family with humility and faith.
Keep and observe the Sabbath day, for we talk of Christ on His holy day.
Strengthen oneself and family according to the gospel.
Counsel in families and wards and strengthen priesthood quorums and auxiliaries.
Prepare your family members to go to the temple.
Read, study, and ponder the teachings of the Book of Mormon and invite a friend to the sacrament meeting.
Put your faith into action. President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) taught, “Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds.” Thomas S. Monson taught this Formula “W”: “Work will win when wishy-washy wishing won’t.”
“Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself…
“… [And man and woman are free] to act for themselves and not to be acted upon” (2 Nephi 2:16, 26).
I testify that we have a Father who created us and who loves us. Jesus Christ is our Master and a model of faith. The Holy Ghost is ready to guide us in all things according to our needs and desires to be happy here on earth. We have living prophets and revelators who guide us through inspiration and divine revelation. God desires that we become self-reliant.
 Thomas S. Monson, “Guiding Principles of Personal and Family Welfare,” Ensign, Sept. 1986, 3; see also “Let Us Be Self-Reliant and Independent,” Liahona, Oct. 2017, 33.
 Gordon B. Hinckley, “Farewell to a Prophet,”Ensign, July 1994, 37.
 Thomas S. Monson, “Great Expectations” (Church Educational System Fireside for Young Adults, Jan. 11, 2009), 6, speeches.byu.edu.