Managing Temporal Resources

“Managing Temporal Resources,” Building An Eternal Marriage Teacher Manual (2003), 55–57

Doctrinal Overview

President Heber J. Grant taught: “If there is any one thing that will bring peace and contentment into the human heart, and into the family, it is to live within our means. And if there is any one thing that is grinding, and discouraging and disheartening it is to have debts and obligations that one cannot meet” (Relief Society Magazine, May 1932, 302).

Sixty-six years later, President Gordon B. Hinckley told the priesthood in conference: “Now, brethren, I want to make it very clear that I am not prophesying, that I am not predicting years of famine in the future. But I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order. …

“I urge you, brethren, to look to the condition of your finances. I urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt to the extent possible. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from bondage” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1998, 70, 72; or Ensign, Nov. 1998, 53–54; student manual, 61–62).


Happiness in marriage is more likely if couples prepare now for difficult economic times.

Student Manual Readings

“To the Boys and to the Men,” President Gordon B. Hinckley (60–62)

Selected Teachings from “Debt” (59–60)

Selected Teachings from “Temporal Preparedness” (327–29)

Suggestions for How to Teach

Discussion. Read and compare the statements by Presidents Heber J. Grant and Gordon B. Hinckley in the “Doctrinal Overview” above. Ask students to identify the main principle taught in these statements.

Group work. Have students turn to President Hinckley’s address, “To the Boys and to the Men” (student manual, 60–62). Why are the prophets of God concerned about our temporal affairs?

Divide the class into small groups, and assign each group a portion of President Hinckley’s talk. Have students look for teachings that complete the following sentence: To prepare for the future, we should .

After a few minutes, have the groups report their findings. These might include:

  • Understand interest and avoid paying it.

  • Buy a home that we can afford.

  • Prepare for emergencies.

  • Live within our means.

  • Become self-reliant.

  • Be modest in expenditures.

  • Discipline ourselves in our purchases to avoid debt.

  • Pay off debt as quickly as we can.

  • Keep a reserve of money, even if it is small.

  • Have students discuss how they can apply these teachings in their lives.

Discussion. Discuss some of the quotations in Selected Teachings from “Debt” (student manual, 59–60). Read the statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley on page 59 and ask:

  • Why do many people go into debt? (To satisfy their desires.)

  • What happens as a result of debt? (They dissipate their resources by paying high interest and they become as slaves to the debt.)

Read the statement by Elder James E. Faust on page 60 and ask:

  • What examples can you give of distinguishing between wants and needs?

  • What does Elder Faust say is an important part of being independent? (Being free of personal debt.)

Read the following statement by President J. Reuben Clark Jr., who was a counselor of the First Presidency:

“Interest never sleeps nor sickens nor dies; it never goes to the hospital; it works on Sundays and holidays; it never takes a vacation; it never visits nor travels; it takes no pleasure; it is never laid off work nor discharged from employment; it never works on reduced hours; it never has short crops nor droughts; it never pays taxes; it buys no food; it wears no clothes; it is unhoused and without home and so has no repairs, no replacements, no shingling, plumbing, painting, or whitewashing; it has neither wife, children, father, mother, nor kinfolk to watch over and care for; it has no expense of living; it has neither weddings nor births nor deaths; it has no love, no sympathy; it is as hard and soulless as a granite cliff. Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away from it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, or orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1938, 103).

Ask students for ways to complete this sentence: “Interest is .”

Suggestions for How to Teach

Discussion. Ask students to describe an experience in which preparation helped them perform with greater confidence (such as school, music, or athletics).

  • According to Doctrine and Covenants 38:30, how does preparation relate to fear?

  • Why is preparation important in bringing about a good outcome?

Explain that temporal preparedness involves more than getting out of debt. Share the following statements from the Selected Teachings from “Temporal Preparedness” (student manual, 327–29). Ask students how heeding each one can help eliminate fear from our lives.

  • “‘Provident living’ [includes] the wise planning of financial matters” (Spencer W. Kimball, 327).

  • “We teach our people to live the laws of health” (Spencer W. Kimball, 327).

  • “Ideally, we need to seek that work to which we are suited by interest, by aptitude, and by training” (Howard W. Hunter, 328).

  • “We want [our sisters] to obtain all the education and vocational training possible before marriage. If they become widowed or divorced and need to work, we want them to have dignified and rewarding employment” (Howard W. Hunter, 328).

  • “What can we do to improve our family finances? May I suggest three important keys that will help us. They are attitude, planning, and self-discipline” (M. Russell Ballard, 328).

  • “The foundation of self-reliance is hard work. Parents should teach their children that work is the prerequisite to achievement and success in every worthwhile endeavor” (Joseph B. Wirthlin, 329).

  • “We call upon Latter-day Saints everywhere to strengthen and beautify the home with renewed effort in these specific areas: food production, preservation, storage; the production and storage of nonfood items” (Spencer W. Kimball, 329).

  • “I ask you earnestly, have you provided for your family a year’s supply of food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel?” (Ezra Taft Benson, 329).


Ask students what our attitude should be about preparedness. What goals could you set to become prepared? Testify that we can learn to live within our means and follow the counsel to be temporally prepared.