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The Path to Self-Reliance: Lessons from The Church Employment System

Today’s inspiration is drawn from “The Church Employment System” by Bishop H. Burke Peterson, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric during April 1976.

The Value of Work

From the beginning of human existence, work has been an integral part of our lives. It was after Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden that they were instructed, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground” (Genesis 3:19). Work, the act of earning our own way, is not only a means of sustenance but also a profound principle that teaches us self-reliance.

As parents and leaders, we have a divine opportunity to instill this eternal principle in our children. Alongside the value of honest and honorable labor lies the concept of self-reliance—not a stubborn, arrogant independence, but a humble yet strong self-respect and personal responsibility for ourselves and our families.

In this discussion, we’ll delve into the Church employment system, a crucial component of Church preparedness, and explore how it empowers individuals and families to become self-reliant.

Teaching Self-Reliance: A God-Given Duty

While the responsibility of teaching correct principles primarily rests with the priesthood quorums, each one of us and our families holds the primary responsibility for our well-being. It is essential to understand that the purpose of the priesthood and the work of Welfare Services is to help people help themselves.

When a member of the Church faces unemployment or underemployment, it becomes their responsibility to seek new opportunities. This process should be guided by their priesthood leaders, who play a vital role in teaching and encouraging them. Often, individuals may not know where to begin or how to navigate the job market, and this is where the Church employment system steps in.

The Role of the Priesthood Quorum

The priesthood quorum is the cornerstone of the employment program. It is not merely a theoretical chart but a group of men actively supporting one another. Quorum leaders and home teachers are entrusted with watching for signs of impending economic challenges among their assigned families. This includes recognizing excessive spending, business decline, inadequate education for current or future employment, and other indicators of potential economic stress.

When a home teacher identifies a need for employment or job improvement, this information can be reported confidentially to the quorum president or group leader. During quorum meetings, simple yet effective methods can be employed to gather specific information, such as labeling a silent roll with questions like “Do you know anyone who needs a job?” and “Do you know of any job openings?” The quorum secretary can ensure that the quorum leader receives this information promptly.

The Role of the Ward Welfare Services Committee and Employment Resource People

Sometimes, individual efforts and the support of the quorum are not sufficient to resolve employment challenges. This is where the ward welfare services committee comes into play. If necessary, the quorum leader should bring the issue to this committee along with a recommended solution.

Every ward should have at least one employment resource person who can provide assistance to members with employment issues. These resource people may already possess relevant skills or undergo training to better serve their ward. Their responsibilities include helping teenagers and adults prepare for employment, develop marketable skills, and understand the steps required to secure a job.

Visiting Relief Society teachers also play a vital role in identifying employment problems faced by families they visit. They should promptly report these issues to the ward Relief Society president, who can then bring them to the attention of the welfare services committee or the bishop.

The Role of Stake Employment Resource People and Church Employment Centers

In cases where ward-level efforts are insufficient, stake employment resource people can provide additional support. These individuals are appointed by the stake presidency and work alongside ward resource people to address employment problems that extend beyond a single ward’s scope.

Moreover, some areas have Church Employment Centers, which are highly specialized in helping members find job opportunities, matching their skills with job requirements, and providing vocational and educational guidance. These centers are essential resources for those seeking employment and should be utilized whenever available.

Strengthening the Church Employment System

In conclusion, the Church employment system is a powerful tool for fostering self-reliance among members of the Church. Its effectiveness depends on the active involvement of priesthood leaders, home teachers, Relief Society teachers, and employment resource people. To strengthen this system, we can take the following steps:

Teach Self-Reliance: Through priesthood leaders, home teachers, and visiting teachers, emphasize the importance of self-reliance and guide individuals and families to solve their own problems to the best of their abilities.

Stay Alert: Home teachers and visiting teachers should be vigilant in identifying employment needs within their assigned families and promptly report them to quorum and Relief Society leaders.

Identify Resource People: Every ward and stake should identify and train employment resource people who can provide valuable assistance to members seeking employment.

Utilize Employment Centers: Where available, Church Employment Centers should be utilized to access specialized services that can aid in the job search and skill development process. The importance of continuing on the path of self-reliance and the Church employment system

Scriptural Inspiration: The Dignity of Labor

The scriptures remind us of the dignity of labor and the value of working to sustain ourselves and our families. Ecclesiastes 3:13 says, “And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.” Through work, we find purpose, provide for our loved ones, and contribute to the betterment of society.

A Call to Make a Difference

As we reflect on the principles of self-reliance and the Church employment system, let us remember that these teachings are not exclusive to our faith. They are universal principles that can benefit all of humanity. Let us extend our efforts to help those around us, regardless of their religious affiliation.

Take the time to reach out to someone in need, offer guidance in their job search, or simply provide a listening ear. By collectively practicing and promoting self-reliance, we can make the world a better place—one person, one family at a time. Let the spirit of unity and support guide our actions as we strive to uplift one another, fulfilling our divine duty to “help people to help themselves.”

May we all find inspiration in these timeless principles and work together to build a more self-reliant and compassionate world. Link to the original: The Church Employment System

God Is Available. He Loves You…Do You Want Help?…see Prayers Answered”


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