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Remember Ezra Taft Benson Chapter 21: Principles of Temporal and Spiritual Welfare is about gospel principles, not political ones. Don't make this into a political debate- focus on the doctrine.
"The aim of the Church is to help the people to help themselves. Work is to be re-enthroned as the ruling principles of the lives of our Church membership." The church is all about work. In an article in the Huffington Post, Stephen Mansfield states, "Mormons rise in this life because it is what their religion calls for. Achieving. Progressing. Learning. Forward, upward motion. This is the lifeblood of earthly Mormonism." Even other can see that the gospel is about work and progress. Even when we help, it is not simply taking over doing things that others can do themselves. We help with love in the true sense; help that allows the person to keep their dignity and move forward not sideways. President Benson said,
I love this quote because it can apply to many different situations. The Lord isn't going to push me out of bed in the morning when I can easily get out myself. He isn't going to make dinner for me tonight even though I'm exhausted. He will help me when I really can't do it myself though. Wherein lies the difference. There are times when I really wish I didn't know how far I can be stretched but in the end I know it leads to greater things. It's called self-reliance because we can do it ourselves- even when there are times we think we can't.
President Benson goes on to talk about how we all need to be more self-reliant including on where we expect our food to come from. He stated,
Talk about lighting a fire under you to get that garden and food storage going. It didn't have to rain for Noah to start to build the ark and the world shouldn't have to fall apart before we start preparing our garden and food storage. Noah didn't load all the animals on his ark at once- it did it one at a time. You can buy one extra can of food, plant one tomato plant, can 1 batch of pears. It doesn't need to be completely overwhelming- it just needs to be done. How will you answer this prophetic challenge?
- Start with the parable of the 10 virgins then relate it back to temporal and spiritual welfare. You could also talk about the parable of the Talents. No matter what we were given, we all still need to work the same amount.
- Bring some of your garden bounty or canning for visuals. You can even share some of it at the end. Zucchini anyone?
- Gather some resources about gardening in your area. Put all the references and links in a handout.
- Delegate out a lot of your responsibilities at the beginning of class. Have someone else write on the whiteboard for you. Ask someone to decorate the table. Begin your lesson then hand it to someone to read for a little bit. Talk about the difference between what you did and the actual need for help. What blessings are you missing out on because you delegated so much out? What is your class missing out on because of your actions?
- Ask your Relief Society Activities Community if there will be any self-reliance activities soon that you can promote: car maintenance, cooking, saving money, etc.
- Start with a discussion focused around the spiritual aspect of work: Why do those that don't need any additional monetary support still need to work?
- Talk about different ways to budget. If one way doesn't work for you that doesn't mean you should give up on budgeting- you just need to find a different way to do it. There are lots of ideas here or remember all the categories you need in a budget with this great list from Overstuffed.
- Need MORE ideas? My husband lists 10 additional thoughts for teaching this lesson here. Remember to join our private Facebook group for those links he mentioned and ideas from teachers like you!
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"As Zion's Youth in Latter Days"- Hymn #256
"Come, Let Us Anew"- Hymn #217
"Come, Ye Thankful People"- Hymn #94
"Improve the Shining Moments"- Hymn #226
"Keep the Commandments"- Hymn #303
"Today, While the Sun Shines"- Hymn #229
"Because I Have Been Given Much"- Hymn #219
"Come, Come, Ye Saints"- Hymn #30
"We Give Thee But Thine Own"- Hymn #218
Questions to Ponder
- How do the principles in section 1 contribute to your temporal well-being?
- How do those same principles contribute to your spiritual well-being?
- What blessings come from purposeful work?
- What do you enjoy about work? How can you help children learn to enjoy work?
- How does producing and storing your own food bless your family? Do you have a garden?
- What blessings lead to managing money wisely? What consequences follow when you don't?
Suggested Study Schedule
Stay on top of your lesson and grab more resources with the Ezra Taft Benson Chapter 21 Study Journal.
"Providing in the Lord's Way" by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
"The Sanctifying Work of Welfare" by Bishop H. David Burton
"Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel" by Elder Neal A. Maxwell
"Welfare Principles to Guide Our Lives: An Eternal Plan for the Welfare of Men's Souls" by Elder Robert D. Hales
"Are We Not All Beggars" by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland