Monday, April 13, 2009

April 2009 General Conference: Becoming Provident Providers

Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles delivered opening remarks following President Monson. I thought it set an appropriate tone for the rest of the conference.

He offered to all whose freedom to choose has been diminished by the effects of ill-advised choices of the past:
  • excessive debt
  • addictions to drugs
  • addictions to food
  • pornography
  • lower self-worth.

All of these excesses affect us individually and undermine our family relationships.
Elder Hales counseled us to shed addictions in this time of economic uncertainty. His warning was clear and certain -- the challenges of this day are to contribute to our strength, because the Lord will never allow suffering to befall us beyond our capacity.

We measure success by how faithfully we respond to challenge, seeking help from our Heavenly Father and strength through the Atonement in both temporal and spiritual things, which assistance enables us to become provident providers for ourselves and others.
How then do we avoid and overcome the patterns of debt and addiction to temporal, worldly things? Two lessons apply.
First ¨We can’t afford it.”
Second “Is the purpose of this gift to show your love for me or to show me that you are a good provider or to prove something to the world?”
These two lessons are the essence of provident living. When faced with the choice to buy, consume, or engage in worldly things and activities, we all need to learn to say to one another, “We can’t afford it, even though we want it!” or “We can afford it, but we don’t need it—and we really don’t even want it!”
We can learn much from communicating. Help each other become provident providers and teach our children to live providently.
The law of the tithe is the foundation of provident living. Tithing helps us overcome our desires for the things of this world and willingly make sacrifices for others.
review in family council:
  • family income plan
  • savings plan
  • spending plan
Whenever we want to experience or possess something that will impact us and our resources, we want to ask , “Is the benefit temporary, or will it have eternal value and significance?” to avoid excessive debt and other addictive behavior.
In seeking to overcome debt and addictive behaviors, we should remember that addiction is the craving of the natural man, and it can never be satisfied....We must want, more than anything else, to do our Heavenly Father’s will and providently provide for ourselves and others. With all the love I have in me and with the Savior’s love through me, I invite you to come unto Him and hear His words: “Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy.
Elder Hales testifies in closing:
...The appetite to possess worldly things can only be overcome by turning to the Lord. The hunger of addiction can only be replaced by our love for Him. He stands ready to help each one of us. “Fear not,” He said, “for you are mine, and I have overcome the world” (D&C 50:41).

1 comment:

Rhonda said...

The idea that the appetite to possess "stuff" (Thanks to Becky for reminding me of George Carlin) is in the same category of other addictions including drugs and pornogrophy cut to the bone.

We live very modestly, and the move two years ago from our home to an apartment has made certain "purges" necessary, but I struggle almost daily with my desire for things. "If I only had ______ then I would be..." What? happy? fulfilled? a better wife and mother? a better daughter and sister? a better friend? a better visiting teacher? Rather silly, isn't it?

On the other hand... I still can't help dreaming about that new minivan with the leather seats, and a DVD player.

Thanks for your review of this talk, Jim.