The Church handbook of Instructions states that “Self-reliance is the ability, commitment, and effort to provide the spiritual and temporal necessities of life for self and family. As members become self-reliant, they are also better able to serve and care for others.” (Handbook 2—Administering the Church (2010), Section 6.1.1).

Marion G Romney said the following: “Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves… And most important of all, spiritual guidance cannot come from the spiritually weak.” (Oct Conference 1982, The Celestial Nature of Self-reliance).

To achieve this goal of stocking our “shelves” both spiritually and temporally, the Lord, through our Prophet, has given us a number of wonderful resources to use. In last month’s Ensign we briefly discussed the “My Path to Self-Reliance” booklet and how that can be used at many levels to help members begin on their journey to self-reliance. Below we will briefly outline the three main workgroups:

My Job Search

This 12 week course helps members learn the skills necessary to find a job and succeed in it. Group members identify good career opportunities, practice networking skills, how to present themselves confidently, prepare themselves for interviews, and help them excel on the job.

Starting and Growing My Business

This 12 week course will assist members who are wanting to start and grow their business in making wise business decisions. Members practice key business principles, such as record keeping, marketing, and money management. The result is a business built on sound principles giving it a greater chance of success.

Education for Better Work

This 12 week course (6 weeks + week 7-12 of “My Job Search”) will help members to identify the training required to either enhance their career or start a new career. Group members learn study techniques and determine funding requirements and assistance for their chosen course.

“For me, it’s taught me to think of the Saviour in everything I do, every single principle and lesson is geared around a scripture or teaching, which filters to the Lord himself. I love how every class is not just one person speaking, but a group discussion and we help each other to grow our business and improve ourselves. You might say in business you look out for yourself only, but that’s not the way we’ve been commanded to work, and it has become so apparent through this course.” (Workgroup Participant)

Alongside each of these workgroups is the booklet, “My Foundation: Principles, Skills, Habits”. This booklet contains 12 (20 min) lessons focussing on the Principles of Self-Reliance, starting from “Exercising Faith in Jesus Christ” through to “Staying on Task, Receive Ordinances”. My Foundation was prepared to help members of the Church learn and put into practice principles of faith, education, hard work, and trust in the Lord. Accepting and living these principles will better enable each member to receive the temporal blessings promised by the Lord.

A bishop from the Glasgow Stake shared this insight:

“The Self-Reliance Initiative has been such a wonderful opportunity for the Lord to bless the lives of the members in our ward.  There were four members who started on the workgroups, and as they studied and applied the My Foundation principles in their lives I saw a tremendous spiritual growth in each of them.  Their testimonies were strengthened, their understanding of the gospel increased and they developed a love and friendship for one another.  They worked together and helped and supported one another.  Each of them are now more temporally and spiritually self-reliant.

I know that this Initiative is inspired of the Lord.  I know that the blessings that I have seen come into the lives of the members are available to each and every person who participates in this Initiative.”

To begin on your path to self-reliance, make an appointment to speak with your unit or Stake Specialist.