How Can We Become Self-Reliant?
Self-reliance centers and self-reliance groups assist those who are not self-reliant. Self-reliance centers and groups provide a support for members to become self-reliant and help others on their way to self-reliance.
There are great needs among us. Many lack the ability “to provide the spiritual and temporal necessities of life for self and family” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church , 6.1.1). Our modern-day prophets have counseled: “Self-reliance is a product of our work and undergirds all other welfare practices. ... ‘Let us work for what we need. Let us be self-reliant and independent. Salvation can be obtained on no other principle’” (Thomas S. Monson [quoting Marion G. Romney], “Guiding Principles of Personal and Family Welfare,” Ensign, Sept. 1986, 3).
What Are Self-Reliance Groups?
A self-reliance group meeting uses a council model and is different from most Church classes, lessons, and workshops. There are no teachers or trainers. Instead, local members counsel together, learn together, mentor each other, commit to act on what they are learning, and hold each other accountable for commitments. This group mentoring and counseling process, together with the workbooks and videos, creates a dynamic learning environment that strengthens each member in his or her progress toward a self-reliant life.
Who Can Be in a Group?
Group are made up of 8 to 14 women and men, usually age 18 or older. Group members can be church members or others.
Who Forms the Group?
Stake or ward leaders call self-reliance specialists to organize and facilitate self-reliance groups. Leaders may form as many groups and call as many specialists as needed. Each group meets at least 12 times for two hours each session and consists of 8 to 14 members. Groups can meet in stake self-reliance centers, Church buildings, or other appropriate locations convenient for the members.
Local leaders determine which of the following groups are needed in their units.
- Starting and Growing My Business groups help people start or improve their own business. These groups replace The Self-Employment Workshop
- My Job Search groups help people find new or better work. These groups replace The Career Workshop.
- Education for Better Work groups help people identify an educational path to increase their income. These groups replace Planning for Success.
As part of each group, members also study 12 doctrinal topics on self-reliance from the manual My Foundation: Principles, Skills, Habits.
The stake self-reliance committee provides training to stake and ward leaders to help them start and support groups. Leaders may hold self-reliance devotionals or other activities to invite people to join the groups.
Who Leads the Group?
There are no group leaders. The facilitator helps keep the group meeting on track and their primary role is to help group members learn to help themselves. Facilitators are not experts in business, education, employment, or teaching. They do not lead or teach the group, rather they simply help the group follow the materials exactly as they are written. Stake self-reliance specialists may be assigned to facilitate groups, or members of the group may act as facilitators.
What Do Group Members Do?
At group meetings, group members commit to act. They not only learn, but also do the things that make them self-reliant. They make commitments, help each other keep those commitments, and report their progress. Between meetings members act on commitments. This is where the real learning occurs. Members also provide mentoring and support with their action partner between meetings.
How Do We Get Started with Self-Reliance Groups?
Encourage your stake self-reliance committee to hold My Path to Self-Reliance devotionals to begin forming self-reliance groups.
What Materials Do Groups Use?
The stake self-reliance committee provides the following materials for the group meetings. Obtain the printed materials from the distribution center, local Self-Reliance Services manager or download them here:
Stakes or wards hold regular My Path to Self-Reliance devotionals. This devotional starts members on the path to self-reliance by helping them understand the importance of self-reliance, assess their current level of self-reliance, determine the skills and income needed to become temporally self-reliant, and select the self-reliance group that will help them reach that goal. The My Path to Self-Reliance workbook facilitates this process. My Path to Self-Reliance can also be used individually, with a priesthood leader, with a self-reliance specialist, or in a self-reliance center.
My Foundation, has been prepared to help members of the Church learn and put into practice principles of faith, education, hard work, and trust in the Lord. Accepting and living these principles will better enable you to receive the temporal blessings promised by the Lord.
This self-reliance group will help you learn to make wise business decisions as you start or grow a business. The goal of this group is not only to help you with your business; it is also to help you act in greater obedience and faith in the Lord and receive His promised blessings of temporal and spiritual self-reliance. Members practice key business principles for self-employment such as record keeping, marketing, and cash management.
This self-reliance group helps members learn the best way to find a job and succeed in it. Group members identify good job opportunities and practice networking, presenting themselves powerfully, preparing for interviews, and excelling on the job. The goal of this group is not only to help you find a job; it is also to help you act in greater obedience and faith in the Lord and receive His promised blessings of temporal and spiritual self-reliance.
Group members identify a job that will help them become self-reliant. They find the Preferred School or Program that leads to that job. Group members also learn study skills to succeed in their education and prepare for a Perpetual Education Fund loan, if appropriate. The goal of this group is not only to help you prepare for and succeed in your education; it is also to help you act in greater obedience and faith in the Lord and receive His promised blessings of temporal and spiritual self-reliance.
Certificate of Completion
Group members who attend meetings and keep their commitments may qualify to receive a self-reliance certificate.