General Conference Book Club Week 12: Elder Hales

dnews halescesfiresideThis week’s talk is the first talk that was given in April 2009 Conference.  Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about relying on the Lord and taking steps to overcome any addictions, excesses, or patterns that can harm our spirits and our relationships.  This was a great talk, and oh, so timely.

>> Click here to read “Becoming Provident Providers Both Temporally and Spiritually” by Elder Robert D. Hales<<

This talk was the topic of our Relief Society lesson at Church today.  Most of the talk appears to focus on finances and staying out of debt and such, but our teacher did an excellent job of encouraging us to look at all of that counsel and figure out what the spiritual application is.  The title, after all, suggests that message is there.

I think so many of us have some kind of addiction or excess that keeps us from greater success and happiness, even if it is negative patterns of thought or mood, so I loved reading the article in that light and realizing that we have been given tools to overcome those challenges.  Great article.  I’m anxious to hear your thoughts as well.

If this is your first visit to the General Conference Book Club, click here to learn more about it. You’re welcome to join us at any point along the way, and we’d love to welcome back many of you that we haven’t heard from in a while.


8 thoughts on “General Conference Book Club Week 12: Elder Hales

  1. I’m off to Girl’s Camp, so I decided to get right to this week’s talk. Here were the few thoughts I had:
    1. In the 8th paragraph, he talks about providing both TEMPORALLY and SPIRITUALLY. For the next few sentences, I highlighted the temporal things in blue, and the spiritual things in pink. Since I can’t do that here, I’ll type the spiritual things in all caps:
    JOYFULLY living within our means. (Really? Joyfully? Well… thinking about it, how joyful would it be to know exactly what you had to spend, and not needing to spend any more than that? Not even at Walmart or the Dollar Store?)
    BEING CONTENT with what we have. (See below.)
    AVOIDING excessive debt. (AVOIDING temptation…or Target, perhaps?)
    DILIGENTLY saving.
    Those things really struck me: JOY from living within our means, CONTENTMENT with what we have–both physically and spiritually, AVOIDING temptation, the ability to be DILIGENT as we save. What amazing spiritual gifts! What cool ways to work at being worthy of them.

    I, personally, struggle for contentment. I am always looking for the next thing, the next holiday, the next trip. Even when we’re not going into debt for those things, it is so hard for me to be content with today. So I’m going to use last week’s talk on prayer and pray for the ability be content with what I have.

    The other thing that I learned from this talk is that we have to want these spiritual gifts: contentment, joy, diligence, *more than anything else.* We have to desire to be content. We have to want to be happy. And I need to ask myself that question: “Is it for me, or for you?” I am amazed at how often I buy things “for my kids” when, really, they’re for me. So I think I’m going to put those two phrases on my fridge: “Can we afford it?” and “Do we need it?”

    Thanks, Stephanie!! See you when I get back!

    • I agree with you on the contentment thing. It’s a struggle for me as well. I always feel like I can cope if I have something to look forward to. As I read your comment, I realized I may be robbing myself of the joy in the moment. Something to think about…

  2. This was our lesson today, too! Like Becca, I struggle with contentment. (I think a lot of Moms do.) Someone today mentioned a great little quote: “Happiness isn’t having what you want; it’s wanting what you have.” SO true!! Even if you buy lots of things, they’re not going to be happy. Happiness is enjoying what you already have.

    There are SO many quotes I loved in this talk. I think I underlined at least half of it! Here are a few of my favorites:

    “Our success is never measured by how strongly we are tempted but by how faithfully we respond.” It’s not about how many things we look at in the store; it’s about how many things we put back down and walk away from. 🙂

    “Just as our grandparents and great-grandparents learned vital lessons through economic adversity, what we learn now, in our present circumstances, can bless us and our posterity for generations to come.” When I look back at the Great Depression, I see a group of humble, happy people. Even through all the difficulties, they found joy in life. I think that’s one of our challenges right now – to find joy through the difficulties.

    Last one – 2 Nephi 9:51: “Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy…” I always read just the first part of that – about not spending money. But being a provident provider also means to not labor for that which cannot satisfy. How much of my time do blogs take?? I’ve stopped reading quite a few blogs lately that just don’t satisfy. The only blogs I read now are those of good friends and those that truly uplift me and help me to be happy. It’s not about entertainment anymore.

    I LOVED this talk!! It really made me think.

  3. We had the sweetest experience discussing this talk as a family (and with the grandparents) last weekend. There were certain aspects that really stood out for me when my husband broke it down in chunks, and had each of us read a few paragraphs aloud. Amazingly, there were specific portions that applied so beautifully to each family member. I felt more than once as we were reading and discussing (and Steph, you’ll understand this, but most of your readers probably won’t) a very strong confirmation that what we’re doing for our oldest son right now is exactly the right thing for him and for us. One of the most moving parts of the discussion was talking about addiction, and that we all have addictions of one kind and another…food, shopping, sleep, etc…that prevent us from living providently. This was a beautiful, inspired, and (if we let it be) life-changing talk. So glad you chose it!

  4. 1. “Just as our grandparents and great-grandparents learned vital lessons through economic adversity, what we learn now, in our present circumstances, can bless us and our posterity for generations to come.” I think of those poor Zoramites who weren’t allowed to worship in the synagogues, yet their humility prepared them to hear and embrace the truth when taught by Alma and Amulek. Our budget has been much more painful in recent years, and I hope I’m learning the right lessons.

    2. “I speak specifically of choices that have led to excessive debt and addictions to food, drugs, pornography, and other patterns of thought and action that diminish one’s sense of self-worth. All of these excesses affect us individually and undermine our family relationships.” Isn’t it true that we all have some addictions? I love the things he lists because sometimes we don’t recognize that our negative thoughts or moods or reactions can be addictions…. self-defeating behaviors that destroy the things we want the most. I mentioned before that this talk was discussed last week in Relief Society, and the teacher applied the 12 step program to any addiction we might have. Matt and I tend to slightly overspend our budget goals every month. We’re seriously going to look at the Church’s 12-step program and make a strategy to overcome what has surprisingly become an addictive habit in our spending. That was a lightbulb moment for me.

    3. “Our success is never measured by how strongly we are tempted but by how faithfully we respond.” Love that quote. So true for me. The only way that I can overcome the things that tempt me the most is to remember the words of prophets and the scriptures and act in faith upon those promises and counsel.

    4. “As we counsel and work together in family councils, we can help each other become provident providers and teach our children to live providently as well.” Like all gospel principles, provident living has to be a family affair if it’s going to be successful.

    This is really a great talk and is about so much more than just finances. It’s about abandoning the natural man and our appetites and turning our lives and our faith over to the Savior. It was a great reminder.

  5. I remember really liking this talk. After many years of financial struggle through my husband’s med school and residency, it was quite a shock to start receiving a doctor’s pay. I really appreciated that he spoke to people in my husband & my situation as well. “We can afford it, but we don’t need it- and we really don’t even want it.” I always did well on a budget when every penny was counted, but have struggled now that the pressure is off a little bit.

    When I read this talk I remembered how that quote gave me a new perspective on the way we spend our money. Just because we can afford it, doesn’t mean we should spend it. At the same time, I suppose I shouldn’t live life so frugal that I am not “joyfully living within [my] means.” It has been four years and I am still trying to find the right balance in our budget. I appreciated his advice on how to strike that balance: “is the benefit temporary, or will it have eternal value and significance?”

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