Chapter 13 Hinckley Lesson: Self-Reliance

The topic of this lesson is Self-Reliance, but the doctrine is really how to gain spiritual peace in this life. It’s an interesting parallel.


How many of us are usually fighting fires in our lives? I don’t mean the flaming kind, I mean the emergencies that come up every single day; those things that come up and demand our attention. Many of us live with 2-5 fires a day. Think about it. How in the world do we survive these life-gouging fires?


Not only do these fires cause us to re-act to life, they keep our minds only on the present and never on the future.


We live in a “throw-away” society right now. If something is slightly imperfect, we throw it away and buy new. America is affluent and we are all riding the wave with our credit cards in hand. Do we not believe our national economy could implode any day? Do we feel that secure that a paycheck will come every time we expect (and rely on) it to?


In the Encyclopedia of Mormonism it explains the idea behind Mormonism’s Beehive:


“Its origin may relate to the statement in the Book of Mormon that the Jaredites carried “with them Deseret, which, by interpretation, is a honey bee” (Ether 2:3). The Deseret News (Oct. 11, 1881) described the symbol of the beehive in this way: ‘The hive and honey bees form our communal coat of arms…. It is a significant representation of the industry, harmony, order and frugality of the people, and of the sweet results of their toil, union and intelligent cooperation.’

“Working together during this early period, individuals contributed specialized talents and skills for building an integrated and well-planned community in a hostile environment. Community, not individuality, created this persistent symbol. … It links the Mormon community across time while symbolizing the Mormon pioneer past.”


A couple of ideas strike me as I look at this definition:


“It is a significant representation of the industry, harmony, order and frugality of the people” and “Working together [brings about a] well-planned community in a hostile environment.”


Pres. Hinckley talks about the genius of this Church. “Everybody works. You do not grow unless you work.” We work in our callings, in our neighborhoods, as a ward family, as family members, etc. We understand this comes about through physical labor, but Pres. Hinckley is actually talking about faith and testimony of the truth. This is the link of our belief. We build the kingdom of God by being self-reliant–or independent–from the world and its downward spiral. This allows us freedom to worship God as we choose. And most importantly, it brings us peace, even peace amidst the turmoil of the world.


The Welfare program of the church is a great guideline to follow. Pres. Hinckley mentions it in Section 2:


“The individual, as we teach, ought to do for himself all that he can. When he has exhausted his resources, he ought to turn to his family to assist him. When the family can’t do it, the Church takes over. And when the Church takes over, our great desire is to first take care of his immediate needs and then to help him for so long as he needs to be helped, but in that process to assist him in training, in securing employment, in finding some way of getting on his feet again.”


If we are mentally aware of this order of things: take care of self, ask family for help, then finally go to the church and understand that the church will help us by teaching us to take care of self, we will recognize the great importance of self-reliance. This encompasses not only our temporal needs but our spiritual needs as well.


Why is the bishop so busy? Because people aren’t self-reliant. Why has the church recently put so much emphasis on ward councils? So they can teach members how to be more self-reliant.


There is a new Self-Reliance program that is being introduced. It covers these four important areas:


  • Starting and Growing My Business
  • Personal Finances
  • Find a Better Job
  • Education for Better Work


The Lord is well aware of how Satan works. He leads you on with the promise of power and riches then pulls the rug out from under you. Our world works in much the same way. Credit cards, high-paying jobs that require no education or effort on your part, easy money, etc.


By living the principles of Self-Reliance in temporal ways, our homes and lifestyles will still be standing strong when that rug is pulled out–and it will be pulled out.

By living the principles of Self-Reliance in spiritual ways, our faith and testimonies will still be standing strong when that rug is pulled out–and it will be pulled out.


Pres. Hinckley promised: “Should storms howl about your head, you will have shelter for your [family] and peace in your hearts.”