President Spencer W. Kimball said, “We encourage all Latter-day Saint families to become self-reliant and independent” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1976, 170; or Ensign, May 1976, 124). There is good reason for this counsel. President Marion G. Romney explained: “We’re living in the latter days. … We are living in the era just preceding the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are told to so prepare and live that we can be … independent of every other creature beneath the celestial kingdom” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1975, 165). (See D&C 78:13–14.)
Bishop Vaughn J. Featherstone taught us which skills we should develop in order to provide for our needs: “Now regarding home production: Raise animals where means and local laws permit. Plant fruit trees, grapevines, berry bushes, and vegetables. You will provide food for your family, much of which can be eaten fresh. Other food you grow can be preserved and included as part of your home storage. Wherever possible, produce your nonfood necessities of life. Sew and mend your own clothing. Make or build needed items. I might also add, beautify, repair, and maintain all of your property” (“Food Storage,” Ensign, May 1976, 117).
To follow Bishop Featherstone’s instructions, we must learn how to provide for ourselves in the following ways:
“The Savior has commanded the Church and its members to be self-reliant and independent. …
“To become self-reliant, a person must work. Work is physical, mental, or spiritual effort. It is a basic source of happiness, self-worth, and prosperity. Through work, people accomplish many good things in their lives. …“As people become self-reliant, they are better prepared to endure adversities” and are “better able to care for others in need.
“Without self-reliance one cannot exercise these innate desires to serve. How can we give if there is nothing there? Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves. Money to assist the needy cannot come from an empty purse. Support and understanding cannot come from the emotionally starved. Teaching cannot come from the unlearned. And most important of all, spiritual guidance cannot come from the spiritually weak.”
“The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.”