My wife and I are reading the delightful The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, written by Maria von Trapp. I highly recommend it; it is written in an endearing colloquial style and full of practical faith and humor.
Maria clearly believes that the events of their lives are firmly directed by God’s will. She returns often to the theme of a saying posted above the doorway in her convent: God’s Will Hath No Why.
Most of us are familiar with this story, related by Wilford Woodruff:
In our stake general priesthood meeting last week, a member of our stake presidency testified that he knows the First Vision really happened. He rhetorically asked how he could say that he knows, since he wasn’t there at the time; of course his answer was that his knowledge comes from the Holy Ghost. He then followed up with another rhetorical question: “If our testimony comes by the Holy Ghost, then why don’t we say ‘I believe’ or ‘I hope’ that the First Vision occurred?”
A couple of weeks ago, our sacrament meeting theme was “Spiritual Self-Reliance”. Interestingly, most the speakers didn’t really speak about spiritual self-reliance. Instead, they mostly discussed our dependence on God and Christ. So I got to thinking…
The Church is a church of doing. We emphasize good behavior, acts of charity, ordinances, family home evenings, service, scripture study — even food storage. We have employment specialists and welfare services that are intended to help people be temporally self-reliant. Church leaders frequently teach of the evils of consumer debt and the need for financial preparedness.
Does the Church similarly emphasize spiritual self-reliance? In what ways? And for me, a more important question: what is spiritual self-reliance?