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Monday, July 18, 2011

Self Reliance and Industriousness

Of all that President Brigham Young in known for, self-reliance and industriousness is probably his legacy.  We will discuss self-reliance and industriousness using Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution (or ZCMI) as the prime example.

Founded in 1868, Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution was put in place by President Brigham Young so the Latter-day Saints would no longer have to worry about buying from Gentiles (non-Mormons), who would price-gouge when the Mormons wished to purchase from them.  He taught, "Ye Latter-day Saints, learn to sustain yourselves.  If you cannot obtain all you wish for today, learn to do without that which you cannot purchase and pay for; and bring your minds into subjection that you must and will live within your means" (Discourses of President Brigham Young, 293).  For this reason was ZCMI established - that the Latter-day Saints might sustain themselves.  What better way for the Latter-day Saints to be able to sustain themselves, then to be able to find the same products - whether corn, wheat, boots, tools, etc.- in Salt Lake City as in Ephraim, or in Provo as in Logan?

As seen in the picture above, all ZCMI store-fronts had "Holiness to the Lord" inscribed thereon.  But why "Holiness to the Lord"?  Because, according to President Young, "Is not the upbuilding of the Kingdom of God on earth a temporal labor all the time?" (DBY, 290–91).  Indeed it is, because the upbuilding of the Latter-day Saints consists of hard industriousness, the which, if pressed upon, leads to the Spirit of the Lord in our lives, because physical labor is a command of Him who is Holiness, even the Lord and Savior.  Said He to Adam and Eve immediately before their expulsion from the Garden of Eden, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground" (Gen. 3:19).  Indeed work, or self-reliance and industriousness, is a command of God.

Lastly, President Brigham Young taught, "Idleness and wastefulness are not according to the rules of heaven.  Preserve all you can, that you may have abundance to bless your friends and your enemies" (DBY, 290).  Let us not be idle, but the rather act in all holiness to the Lord by working to support ourselves and our loved ones, both in temporal as well as spiritual labors.  Let us be better people, and work all the days of our lives, that idleness and slothfulness be not found in us.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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