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What does it mean to be self-reliant?

When we are self-reliant, we use the blessings and abilities God has given us to care for ourselves and our families and find solutions to our own problems. As we become self-reliant, we are also better able to serve and care for others. The Lord wants us to become both spiritually and temporally self-reliant.

Prepare yourself spiritually

What scriptures and other resources will help the young women understand what it means to be self-reliant?

Matthew 25:1–13 (The parable of the ten virgins)

Matthew 25:14–29 (Parable of the talents)

2 Thessalonians 3:10–13; Galatians 6:3–5 (Importance of working and being self-reliant) 

D&C 58:26–28 (We are agents unto ourselves)

D&C 88:118 (Seek learning by study and faith)

D&C 89:18–20 (Promises to those who obey the Word of Wisdom)

D&C 104:78 (Pay debts)

Susan W. Tanner, “Strengthening Future Mothers,” Liahona, June 2005, 20–24

Henry B. Eyring, “Spiritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Steady,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2005, 37–40

Work and Self-Reliance,” For the Strength of Youth (2011), 40–41

Becoming Self-Reliant,” True to the Faith (2004), 184–85

Self-Reliance,” Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010), 6.1.1

Temporal Self-Reliance,” Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society (2011), 51–56

Share experiences

At the beginning of each class, invite the young women to share, teach, and testify about the experiences they have had applying what they learned in the previous week’s lesson. This will encourage personal conversion and help the young women see the relevance of the gospel in their daily lives.

Introduce the doctrine

Choose from these ideas or think of your own to introduce this week’s lesson:

  • Share with the young women the definition of self-reliance at the beginning of this outline. Ask the young women to read D&C 58:26–28, and ask the following questions: What does it mean to be “agents unto [ourselves]”? How can we become more “anxiously engaged in a good cause”? What do these verses teach us about self-reliance? Discuss the answers as a class.   
  • Write the word “Dependent” on the left side of the board and the word “Self-reliant” on the right side. Ask the young women to define both words (if they need help, refer them to pages 184–85 of True to the Faith). Ask them to list ways they are dependent on others and ways they are self-reliant. Why does the Lord want us to grow to be self-reliant?

Learn together

Each of the activities below will help the young women understand what it means to be self-reliant. Following the inspiration of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • Write on separate slips of paper the following topics related to self-reliance: health, education, employment, home storage, finances, and spiritual strength. Allow each young woman to pick one that she is interested in, and invite her to read about her topic in a copy of section 6.1.1 of Handbook 2 (pages 34–35). Ask each young woman to briefly teach the class what she learned about her topic, how it relates to self-reliance, and what she can do now to prepare to be self-reliant in the area. How can the young women’s efforts in their youth bless their own futures? How can these efforts bless their families when they become wives and mothers?
  • Invite each young woman to read one of the stories in Daughters in My Kingdom (pages 51–56) about women who were self-reliant in early Church history. Ask the young women to retell their stories in their own words and share what they learn about self-reliance. What can the young women do to follow these examples while they are in their youth?
  • Divide the young women into pairs. Assign each pair a scripture about self-reliance, such as those in this outline. Invite the pairs to read their scripture passage and then create a Mormonad about self-reliance. You may want to show an example of a Mormonad from the New Era or Liahona. Give the young women the opportunity to share their Mormonads with the class. Encourage them to post the Mormonads somewhere at home to remind them of what they learned.
  • Write on the board the following aspects of self-reliance: health, education, work, finances, and spiritual strength. Assign each young woman to read a scripture about self-reliance, such as those suggested in this outline. Invite her to write her scripture reference next to the word or phrase on the board that she feels describes her scripture. Ask each young woman to share her scripture with the class and explain how it relates to the topic she chose. Ask the young women to choose something they will do to become more self-reliant in one of these areas.
  • Give each young woman either five coins, two coins, or one coin. Have them read Matthew 25:14–29 to find what happened to the person in the parable who was given the same amount of money they were given.  Discuss questions such as “What did the three servants do with the money they were given?” and “How does this parable relate to self-reliance?” Invite the young women to ponder the things God has given them that will help them become self-reliant, such as talents, personality traits, and abilities. How can they use these qualities to become more self-reliant? How can they use them to bless their future families?
  • Ask the young women what they and their families do to prepare for a natural disaster (such as an earthquake or hurricane). As a class, read the first three paragraphs of President Henry B. Eyring’s talk “Spiritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Steady.” What are some “spiritual disasters” or trials that we might face? What can we do to prepare spiritually? Give each young woman part of the remainder of President Eyring’s talk, and ask them to look for answers to these questions. Invite them to share what they find.

Ask the young women to share what they learned today. Do they understand self-reliance well enough to explain it to someone else? What feelings or impressions do they have? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this doctrine?

Live what we are learning

Invite the young women to consider how they will live by what they have learned today. For example, they could:

  • Commit to do one thing this week to become more self-reliant and share their experiences in next week’s class.
  • Complete one or more of the following from Personal Progress: Divine Nature value project 1 or 4, Knowledge value experiences or value projects, Choice and Accountability value experience 1 or 7