Friday, 22 April 2016

Self-reliance

This is one post in an A-Z series of 26 where I am writing about living as a Mormon in the wilderness of Kuantan


The ultimate aim is not for us to be dependent on an organisation but to be able to be self-sufficient beings. The Mormon church tries to strike a balance between being merciful to those who stand in need of mercy (see the Christlike stance on refugees), and helping all become self-reliant (note the extra-curricular self-reliance classes held by church members around the world).

I am a stubborn supporter of self-reliance and demand it of everyone, but when urged by my better half, show mercy to those in need. After all, I was in need of monetary help before, and had a good friend who willingly obliged.

My pride was dented in having to ask for money, even though my friend understood our immediate need and had earlier said he was ready to help when needed.

Raymond, front centre, helped me out financially when I stood in need
 We duly paid him back in installments and determined to never have to borrow of others again. It was a horrible feeling to ask for help. I felt that I couldn't provide for myself or my family. I felt very small. It was a very humbling experience.

We gained great motivation to work harder and save more. To consciously save money and build our savings. To be a little more frugal in our spending. To be in a position to not have to rely on anyone else for our welfare.

And I can tell you, that is an awesome feeling!

Living in the wilderness of Kunatan, we don't have an immediate branch leadership that we can turn to when in need. We belong to the KL branch which is 3-4 hours away and we know just a handful of people there. So we understand that we are isolated from the church and this spurs us on to never need to rely on the church - for money, or for spiritual light.

We have to be responsible for our spiritual welfare too. That probably comes at a greater degree of difficulty than earning money. With no lessons to prepare for Sunday School, no fellowship with other members, no mid-week activities, living as a Mormon in the wilderness can be incredibly tough spiritually. It is unimaginably easy to 'forget' to pray and for scripture study to become obsolete. 

On the flip side, guided by the Spirit we have become our own teachers, escaped all the horrible cliches associated with groups of Mormons stuck in repetitive circles, and learned to rely more strongly on God's grace for our spiritual nourishment.

We see things in an entirely new light, looking at gospel topics from different perspectives, living the gospel with more pronunciation and decision, according to our circumstances. Such spiritual self-reliance we could not have developed as personally in more tight proximity to the church.

I finish with this scripture, which has been applicable to us:


 26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
 27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
 28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.
 29 But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.
- Doctrine & Covenants 58: 26-29

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