Understanding the Role of Self-Reliance

Acknowledging the Past: Lessons from April 1976
Today’s inspiration is drawn from The Church and the Family in Welfare Services by Bishop Victor L. Brown during April 1976. This talk provides timeless wisdom on the roles and responsibilities of individuals, families, and the Church in caring for the needs of others. The core message revolves around self-reliance, preparedness, and the collective effort to support those in need.

Bishop Victor L. Brown emphasized the importance of self-reliance in the Welfare Services program of the Church. He highlighted that individuals and families are primarily responsible for their own well-being. This principle is deeply rooted in the teachings of the Lord, who desires that His people be prepared and self-sufficient. The scriptures remind us, “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30).

Self-reliance involves being prepared for various circumstances, whether they be economic challenges, natural disasters, or personal hardships. It means having the skills, resources, and mindset to take care of oneself and one’s family without relying excessively on others. This preparedness brings peace of mind and stability, allowing families to thrive even in difficult times.

The Church's Role in Welfare Services

While self-reliance is crucial, the Church also plays a significant role in supporting those who cannot fully care for themselves. The Welfare Services program is designed to help members who are genuinely in need, such as widows, orphans, the temporarily unemployed, and the sick. The Church provides resources through production projects, storehouses, and employment efforts to assist these individuals.

Bishop Brown noted the importance of local involvement in welfare services. Unlike government programs that provide extensive aid, the Church’s approach is to encourage community-based support. This method fosters a sense of responsibility and mutual aid among members, preserving their independence and self-respect.

Preparing for Different Conditions

Bishop Brown outlined three hypothetical conditions to illustrate the varying levels of need the Church might face:

Condition One: Stability

In a relatively stable economy with modest unemployment and limited natural disasters, only a small number of families would need assistance. The Church’s current resources would be sufficient to meet these needs.

Condition Two: Increased Stress

In a more challenging scenario with higher unemployment and localized disasters, the Church would need to maximize its production and organize broader work opportunities. The resources would be heavily taxed, but the Church could still provide substantial support.

Condition Three: Severe Crisis

In the most severe condition, characterized by widespread economic depression and social disunity, the Church’s current capacity would be inadequate. Members would need to rely heavily on their preparedness and support from each other.

The Foundation of Family Preparedness

Family preparedness is the cornerstone of the Church’s Welfare Services program. Bishop Brown emphasized five key elements of family preparedness:

Career Development: Breadwinners should prepare for their chosen occupations, and children should be guided towards satisfying and adequate vocations.
Financial Management: Families should practice budgeting and financial management, teaching these skills to their children.
Home Production and Storage: Families should have sufficient stores for basic needs and be involved in growing, canning, and sewing.
Physical Health: Families should practice preventive health principles and understand how to use health resources effectively.
Social-Emotional Strength: Families should develop resilience through righteous living, gospel study, and loving relationships.
These elements ensure that families are well-prepared to face life’s challenges and contribute to the overall well-being of the Church community.

Leading by Example

Parents play a crucial role in teaching their children about preparedness and self-reliance. By involving children in family activities such as budgeting, home production, and health practices, parents set an example of responsible living. This hands-on approach helps children learn valuable life skills and understand the importance of preparedness.


The Savior taught us the eternal law of parenthood when He said, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). Parents who lead by example create a strong foundation for their children’s future.

As we reflect on these teachings, let us commit to being prepared and self-reliant, not only for our own benefit but also to support those in need. By following the counsel of the Brethren, we can create a community of strength and resilience, capable of withstanding any challenge that comes our way.

Let us strive to make our families and communities places of refuge and support. By doing so, we fulfill the Lord’s commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves and to care for the poor and needy.

In conclusion, the principles of self-reliance, family preparedness, and community support outlined by Bishop Victor L. Brown remain relevant and vital today. Let us take these lessons to heart and work together to create a better world for ourselves and future generations. Remember, as the Lord has promised, “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30). The Church and the Family in Welfare Services

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