Temporal Preparedness

Eternal Marriage Student Manual, (2003), 327–29


The principle of self-reliance stands behind the Church’s emphasis on personal and family preparedness.

—President Spencer W. Kimball

Selected Teachings

President Spencer W. Kimball

“I like the way the Relief Society teaches personal and family preparedness as ‘provident living.’ This implies the husbanding of our resources, the wise planning of financial matters, full provision for personal health, and adequate preparation for education and career development, giving appropriate attention to home production and storage as well as the development of emotional resiliency” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1977, 125; or Ensign, Nov. 1977, 78).

Elder L. Tom Perry

“On a daily basis we witness widely fluctuating inflation; wars; interpersonal conflicts; national disasters; variances in weather conditions; innumerable forces of immorality, crime, and violence; attacks and pressures on the family and individuals; technological advances that make occupations obsolete; and so on. The need for preparation is abundantly clear. The great blessing of being prepared gives us freedom from fear, as guaranteed to us by the Lord in the Doctrine and Covenants: ‘If ye are prepared ye shall not fear’ (D&C 38:30).

“Just as it is important to prepare ourselves spiritually, we must also prepare ourselves for our temporal needs. Each of us needs to take the time to ask ourselves, What preparation should I make to care for my needs and the needs of my family?

“We have been instructed for years to follow at least four requirements in preparing for that which is to come.

“First, gain an adequate education. …

“Second, live strictly within your income and save something for a rainy day. …

“Third, avoid excessive debt. …

“Fourth, acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain life” (in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1995, 46–47; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 35–36).

Health

President Spencer W. Kimball

“We teach our people to live the laws of health. It is paying important dividends in longer and more healthy lives” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1975, 6; or Ensign, May 1975, 6).

“The principle of self-reliance stands behind the Church’s emphasis on personal and family preparedness. … We hope that you are conscious of proper diet and health habits, that you may be fit physically and able to respond to the many challenges of life” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1978, 120–21; or Ensign, May 1978, 79–80).

“We refrain from taking harmful substances into our body. Through wisdom and moderation in all things, we seek good health and a sense of physical well-being” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1978, 7; or Ensign, Nov. 1978, 6).

Employment and Finances

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“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.

“This is a part of the temporal gospel in which we believe. May the Lord bless you, my beloved brethren, to set your houses in order. If you have paid your debts, if you have a reserve, even though it be small, then should storms howl about your head, you will have shelter for your wives and children and peace in your hearts” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1998, 69–72; or Ensign, Nov. 1998, 52–54).

Elder Howard W. Hunter

“May we refer specifically to vocational work or employment. The employment we choose should be honorable and challenging. Ideally, we need to seek that work to which we are suited by interest, by aptitude, and by training. A man’s work should do more than provide adequate income; it should provide him with a sense of self-worth and be a pleasure—something he looks forward to each day. …

“There are impelling reasons for our sisters to plan toward employment also. We want them 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. If a sister does not marry, she has every right to engage in a profession that allows her to magnify her talents and gifts” (“Prepare for Honorable Employment,” Ensign, Nov. 1975, 122, 124).

Elder Boyd K. Packer

“Do not ever belittle anyone, including yourself, nor count them, or you, a failure, if your livelihood has been modest. Do not ever look down on those who labor in occupations of lower income. There is great dignity and worth in any honest occupation. Do not use the word menial for any labor that improves the world or the people who live in it” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1982, 121; or Ensign, May 1982, 84).

Elder M. Russell Ballard

“Brothers and sisters, 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.

“The first key is to have a positive attitude toward ourselves.

“Attitude is an important part of the foundation upon which we build a productive life. In appraising our present attitude, we might ask: ‘Am I working to become my best self? Do I set worthy and attainable goals? Do I look toward the positive in life? Am I alert to ways that I can render more and better service? Am I doing more than is required of me?’ …

“Some people who lived through the Great Depression and the period following, when the government bestowed gratuities upon the people, developed a feeling that the world owed them a living. In that climate, the First Presidency said in 1936: ‘The aim of the Church is to help the people to help themselves. Work is to be re-enthroned as the ruling principle of the lives of our Church membership.’ (In Conference Report, Oct. 1936, p. 3.) …

“The love for work needs to be reenthroned in our lives. Every family should have a plan for work that touches the lives of each family member so that this eternal principle will be ingrained in their lives. …

“Brothers and sisters, let us discuss the second key, planning, which means to think out beforehand how we intend to reach our goals in life. Do we all have a plan to increase our value where we are employed? Have we taken the time to write down specific goals, and have we designed a plan of action to become more effective and productive? …

“The third key is to practice self-discipline both at our work and as we attempt to reduce our expenses in our homes. Regarding the latter, Church leaders should set the example by seeing that stake and ward financial requests are kept to a minimum. Members should—

  1. “1.

    Avoid debt-pooling where exorbitant fees are charged. We may want to consolidate debts using a bank or credit union loan that can be repaid at a sensible interest rate over a reasonable length of time. We may need to stop using our credit cards.

  2. “2.

    Exercise self-discipline by telling ourselves ‘We can’t afford it’ and refusing to take on further credit obligations.

    “An argument was overheard one day. One spouse said, while scolding the other for extravagant spending, ‘How many times do I have to tell you that spending money before you get it is economically unsound?’

    “‘Oh,’ said the other spouse, ‘I don’t know about that. This way, if you don’t get the money, at least you have something to show for it.’

    “Please be patient and carefully control your purchases so that you will not become enslaved to your creditors.

  3. “3.

    Make a budget and stick to it.

  4. “4.

    Cut expenses by distinguishing between wants and needs. Economize by controlling the use of goods, services, and energy.

  5. “5.

    Increase homemaking skills and have family members complete home and car repairs, when feasible.

  6. “6.

    Invest wisely. Avoid speculations and get-rich-quick schemes.

“Brothers and sisters, every one of us has the potential to improve and increase his earning capacity. We are far better off if we can improve and become more valuable on our full-time jobs than if we attempt to hold two jobs or to have mothers leave home to join the work force.

“When we learn to expect more success than failure in life, we soon will develop an attitude of success.

“‘Nothing succeeds like success.’

“Remember—a positive attitude, a well-thought-out plan, and consistent self-discipline can help us improve our circumstances. Applying these keys in our daily work will help produce more income, and practicing them in our homes will help reduce expenses. When we combine these principles with keeping the commandments of God, we can learn to become better managers of our time and resources and become financially secure” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1981, 115–18; or Ensign, May 1981, 85–87).

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

“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. 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” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 20; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 16).

Home Storage and Production

President Spencer W. Kimball

“Recognizing that the family is the basic unit of both the Church and society generally, 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” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1976, 170; or Ensign, May 1976, 124).

President Ezra Taft Benson

“I ask you earnestly, have you provided for your family a year’s supply of food, clothing, and, where possible, fuel? The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1987, 61; or Ensign, Nov. 1987, 49; To the Fathers in Israel, 4).