The foundation of self-reliance is hard work. Parents should teach their children that work is the pre-requisite to achievement and success in every worthwhile endeavor. Children of legal age should secure productive employment and begin to move away from dependence on parents. None of us should expect others to provide for us that which we can provide for ourselves. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensign, November 1991, p. 16
We should seek to become self-reliant, so far as possible, rather than depend on someone else to provide for us. Some people seem to have the notion that we have a right to everything in life without making any effort to produce it ourselves. Many believe the government and others should take care of us: they think they should provide food, health care, and housing. Of course, society must care for some of its people, but the general population should get away from the idea of depending on the government for things they can provide for themselves and their families. — Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensign, May 1992, p. 87
Man is commanded of God to live by the sweat of his brow, not someone else’s. — Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, November 1976, p. 34
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.
No true Latter-day Saint, while physically or emotionally able, will voluntarily shift the burden of his own or his family’s well-being to someone else. So long as he can, under the inspiration of the Lord and with his own labors, he will supply himself and his family with the spiritual and temporal necessities of life. (See 1 Timothy 5:8.) — President Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, November 1977, pp. 7-78; Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, p. 180
I wish to urge again the importance of self-reliance on the part of every individual Church member and family.
None of us knows when a catastrophe might strike. Sickness, injury, unemployment may affect any of us.
We have a great welfare program with facilities for such things as grain storage in various areas. It is important that we do this. But the best place to have some food set aside is within our homes, together with a little money in savings. The best welfare program is our own welfare program. Five or six cans of wheat in the home are better than a bushel in the welfare granary.
I do not predict any impending disaster. I hope that there will not be one. But prudence should govern our lives. Everyone who owns a home recognizes the need for fire insurance. We hope and pray that there will never be a fire. Nevertheless, we pay for insurance to cover such a catastrophe, should it occur.
We ought to do the same with reference to family welfare.
We can begin with a one week’s food supply and gradually build it to a month, and then to three months. I am speaking now of food to cover basic needs. As all of you recognize, this counsel is not new. But I fear that so many feel that a long-term food supply is so far beyond their reach that they make no effort at all.
Begin in a small way and gradually build toward a reasonable objective. Save a little money regularly, and you will be surprised how it accumulates.
Get out of debt and rid yourself of the terrible bondage that debt brings.
We hear much about second mortgages. Now I am told there are third mortgages.
Discipline yourselves in matters of spending, in matters of borrowing, in practices that lead to bankruptcy and the agony that comes therewith. — Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley, “To Men of the Priesthood,” Ensign, November 2002, p. 58
We seek to build inner moral strength and character in the members of the Church in complete harmony with the following statements of modern prophets and apostles: “Our primary purpose [is to establish] . . . independence, industry, thrift and self respect.” (Heber J. Grant, Conf. Report, Oct. 1936, p. 3) Our “long term objective . . . is the building of character in the members of the Church, . . rescuing all that is finest down deep inside of them, and bringing to flower and fruitage the latent richness of the spirit, which after all is the mission and purpose and reason for being of this Church.” (The Church Welfare Plan, Gospel Doctrine course of study, 1946, p. 44) — President James E. Faust, “Strengthening the Inner Self,” Ensign, February 2003, p. 3
The welfare handbook instructs: “[We must] earnestly teach and urge Church members to be self-sustaining to the full extent of their powers. No true Latter-day Saint will . . . voluntarily shift from himself the burden of his own support. So long as he can, under the inspiration of the Almighty and with his own labors, he will supply himself with the necessities of life” (, 2). . . .
We have succeeded fairly well in teaching Latter-day Saints that they should take care of their own material needs and then contribute to the welfare of those who cannot provide for themselves.
If a member is unable to sustain himself, then he is to call upon his own family, and then upon the Church, in that order. . . .
When people are able but unwilling to take care of themselves, we are responsible to employ the dictum of the Lord that the idler shall not eat the bread of the laborer. (See D&C 42:42)
The simple rule has been to take care of one’s self. This couplet of truth has been something of a model: “Eat it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”
When the Church welfare program was first announced in 1936, the First Presidency said:
“. . . The aim of the Church is to help people help themselves” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1936, 3; italics added). . . .
It is a self-help system, not a quick handout system. It requires a careful inventory of all personal and family resources, all of which must be committed before anything is added from the outside.
It is not an unkind or an unfeeling bishop who requires a member to work to the fullest extent he can for what he receives from Church welfare.
There should not be the slightest embarrassment for any member to be assisted by the Church. Provided, that is, that he has contributed all that he can. . . .
The substance of what I want to say is this: The same principle – self-reliance – has application to the spiritual and to the emotional. . . .
Unless we use care, we are on the verge of doing to ourselves emotionally (and, therefore, spiritually) what we have been working so hard for generations to avoid materially. — President Boyd K. Packer, “Solving Emotional Problems in the Lord’s Way,” Ensign, January 2010, pp. 50-51; from April 1978 General Conference address