Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Self-Reliance Redo

I spoke this past Sunday in the Methuen Ward on self-reliance. I used the text of the last talk I gave on self-reliance, only I stripped it down to bullet points so I would not read it. That meant I did not have to talk so fast, but it also means I rambled a bit at times and probably used filler words. Oh well. One poor individual had actually been in Billerica when I gave the talk the first time. He only recognized the first Indiana Jones story and not the rest of the talk. I guess that's good that I use a memorable introduction, right?

You can find the notes I used below, or look at the Google Doc.

  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    • Series of trials
    • The Path of God
    • Diary - “only in the leap from the lion’s head will he prove his worth.”
    • leap of faith
  • Nephi
    • the brass plates
    • goes into Jerusalem on his own
    • And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do” (1 Ne 4:6)
    • Even though he did not know how, Mr. Go and Do . . . went and did.
  • Quest for self reliance
    • Last year on Stake Self-Reliance committee
    • Requires leap of faith
    • Committee, ward leaders, everybody
    • Blessings have come, are coming, and will come
Defining self-reliance
  • Church Handbook of instructions: “the ability, commitment, and effort to provide the spiritual and temporal necessities of life for self and family.”
    • A packed definition
    • The perfect example: Jesus Christ
    • It’s a continuum
    • We can each be more self-reliant
  • Not equivalent with wealth
    • Christ’s example
    • Retirement, debt, welfare
    • Recognize and utilize blessing
  • Something different than just independence
    • Christ had family and called apostles
    • He served, and was served
  • Going back to the Church Handbook: “As members become self-reliant, they are also better able to serve and care for others.
    Church members are responsible for their own spiritual and temporal well-being. Blessed with the gift of agency, they have the privilege and duty to set their own course, solve their own problems, and strive to become self-reliant. Members do this under the inspiration of the Lord and with the labor of their own hands.
    When Church members are doing all they can to provide for themselves but cannot meet their basic needs, generally they should first turn to their families for help. When this is not sufficient or feasible, the Church stands ready to help.“
    • spiritual AND temporal again
    • “the Church stands ready to help”
  • Not hermits
    • Hermits actually less self-reliant
    • Self-reliance not a badge of self-gratifying pride
    • Goal is to maximize our ability to act: agency
Motivation for self-reliance
  • President Thomas S. Monson - “Let us work for what we need. Let us be self-reliant and independent. Salvation can be obtained on no other principle.”
    ‘To understand why self-reliance is important, and how we can lead self-reliant lives, we must first understand three key teachings:
    1. First, self-reliance is an essential commandment in the plan of salvation or, as it is sometimes called, the plan of happiness.
      President Spencer W. Kimball taught, “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.”7
    2. Second, God can and will provide a way for His righteous children to become self-reliant.
      “And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine” (D&C 104:15).
    3. Third, all things, including temporal concerns, are spiritual matters to God (see D&C 29:34). As we commit to living the gospel more fully, we can become more self-reliant both temporally and spiritually.
      Brigham Young taught, “[The Savior] requires, absolutely requires, of us to take [our] people who have named his name through baptism, and teach them how to live, and how to become healthy, wealthy and wise. This is our duty.”8
Some of the gospel principles that can help us be more self-reliant include increasing faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, becoming more obedient, repenting of our mistakes, using our agency righteously, and serving others.’
Recent history of Church efforts to improve self-reliance
  • 2001 - President Hinckley announced the Perpetual Education Fund.
    • “loan program helps members of the Church of all ages get an education that leads to a self-reliant job.”
    • 80,000 individuals all over the world
    • did not have the original envisioned impact
  • 2012 - The Church commissioned a group to study the long-term direction of the Perpetual Education Fund
    • Result: the Self Reliance Initiative
  • End of 2015 - The First Presidency introduced Self-Reliance Services in North America
  • Fall of 2016 - Formation of the North Shore Stake
    • Self-Reliance Initiative rollout paused
  • Summer of 2017 - Stake Presidency trained on the Self-Reliance Initiative
  • End of summer 2017 - called Brother Stephen Day as our first Stake Self-Reliance Specialist
  • Last September - established and started training our Stake Self Reliance Committee.
  • Last October - First My Path to Self Reliance devotional
  • Last March - Second My Path to Self Reliance devotional
  • Thirteen self-reliance groups occurred throughout our Stake over the past year.
The power of the self-reliance committee and self-reliance groups
  • Committee
    • Meets regularly
    • Review and plan for self-reliance needs in the Stake
    • Work in progress
    • My Path devotionals and Self-Reliance groups
  • My Path devotionals
    • Introduce principles of self-reliance
    • Demonstrate power of group support
    • Establish goals
  • Self-Reliance Groups
    • Four specializations
      • Starting and Growing My Business
      • Personal Finances
      • Find a Better Job
      • Education for Better Work
    • Group members discuss
    • Facilitators - no teacher or leader
    • Manuals provide script for learning
    • A council model, teaching in the Savior’s way
    • Progress occurs through commitments between meetings
    • Members support each other
  • Testimony of group setting
    • Alma 32:27 - “But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
  • Nephi - example of self-reliance
    • Hunting with bows and with slings
    • 18 And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food.”
    • Expected of Laman and Lemuel
    • Unexpected from rest
      • What happened to the slings?
      • Even Lehi succumbed to murmuring
    • Mr Go and Do went and did:
      • He made a bow and an arrow (singular)
      • He picked up the sling again
      • He sought wisdom, guidance, and inspiration from his father
      • He looked for the will of the Lord as represented by the Liahona
      • He then acted on the counsel he received
    • 31 And it came to pass that I did slay wild beasts, insomuch that I did obtain food for our families.
      32 And it came to pass that I did return to our tents, bearing the beasts which I had slain; and now when they beheld that I had obtained food, how great was their joy! And it came to pass that they did humble themselves before the Lord, and did give thanks unto him.”
  • Quest for self-reliance
    • Your path
    • Comfort zone
    • Leap of faith
    • Join a self-reliance group
  • Testimony

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