How To Improve Spiritual Self-Reliance

Area Leadership Message

Elder Robert A. Dryden, Great Britain
Elder Robert A. Dryden, Great Britain Area Seventy

How do we assess the importance of spiritual and temporal Self-Reliance? 

President Thomas S. Monson has said, “Let us be Self Reliant and independent…Salvation can be obtained on no other principle.”

How then might we improve our spiritual Self Reliance? The Apostle Paul defined that condition man must reach to be truly spiritually Self Reliant.  It is the condition in which a man has earned the right to have the living of the Gospel written “not in ink; but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in the fleshy tables of the heart.”[1]

A Remarkable Story

Occasionally a member displays a truly remarkable progression towards spiritual self-reliance. Paul is one of those. 

He was the youngest of five children, raised in a home and district where drink, drugs, abuse, violence, and imprisonment were normal parts of life resulting in family poverty and hardship.  That poverty often resulted in Paul being asked to steal food for the family.  He was taken in to care in his youth and was violently abused.

Below are his steps of progression and accomplishments in a little more than a year:

The Book of Mormon became the love of his life.  The Holy Spirit amazed him by becoming his constant companion. He was called to be a ward missionary and success followed in baptisms and activations.  He identified (with help) and baptised vicariously 65 direct line members of his family.  He was given a car by a brother who recognised his great zeal for the Lord’s work.  Paul is now really self-reliant.  He received the Melchizedek Priesthood and was called to serve as a facilitator within the stake addiction recovery programme.  He worked in caring for the homeless in the city.  He organised and held cottage evenings for new members, investigators and returning less active members.  He was assigned to speak in Stake Conference; was endowed in the temple.  He fulfilled his dream of going to General Conference with the missionary who found and baptised him.  Tears filled their eyes as President Monson entered the auditorium.

The First Presidency introduction to the Self Reliance services ‘My Foundation’ course encourages us to diligently study and apply the principles of Self-Reliance and promises that as you do so, your life will be blessed.

We reach spiritual Self-Reliance as we follow the guidance of the First Presidency and diligently practice simple devotions in our personal and family daily lives.

1 Keeping the Commandments of God.[2]     

2 Search the scriptures (particularly the Book of Mormon) and learn to … “press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ”[3]  

3 Pray from our hearts, “When we do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be drawn out in prayer unto him continually…” [4]

The teachings of Brigham Young harmonise powerfully with those of the First Presidency in the essential path of obtaining spiritual self-reliance.

Brigham Young has said, “We…take all the laws, rules, ordinances and regulations contained in the Scriptures and practice them as far as possible, and then keep learning and improving until we can live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”[5]

“The people cannot receive the laws in their perfect fullness; but they can receive a little here and a little there, a little today and a little tomorrow and a little more next week…if we wish to act upon the fullness of the knowledge that the Lord designs to reveal, little by little to the inhabitants of the earth we must improve upon every little as it is revealed.”[6]

His message confirms that “our personal growth in the Gospel comes little by little and line upon line as we live the principles we learn,”[7]in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


[1] 2 Cor. 3:3

[2] Matt. 23:35-40

[3] 2nd Nephi 31:20

[4] Alma 34:27

[5] DBY 3

[6] BDY 4

[7] Teachings of the President of the Church; Brigham Young (1997) 21-27