Gospel Principles Lesson 27: Work and Personal Responsibility

“We all worked very hard to make a living for such a large family,” wrote Hannah Romney of her pioneer life, “but work is what keeps the world moving and the people living and progressing, expanding our minds so that we will be more able to cope with the bigger things in life.”

Hannah and her husband, Miles, and their nine children understood the value of work and enjoyed the results of their industry. Their lifestyle and work ethic were typical of many Latter-day Saint pioneers. Married in 1862 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, the Romneys settled in St. George in southern Utah in 1867, St. Johns in east-central Arizona in 1881, and the Latter-day Saint colonies in northwestern Mexico in 1886. Each new settlement required commitment and hard work as these settlers not only built houses, plowed unbroken fields, and planted gardens, but as they also built churches, stores, and roads.

“We began our first housekeeping with a great deal of pleasure although we were poor,” Hannah wrote of their Salt Lake City home. “We bought a piece of land … and my husband began to build us a house. I moved into it before it was finished. My husband worked in the shop all day, came home, ate his supper, then worked on our house for several hours before going to bed; then got up and went to work at six in the morning. … We enjoyed [our house] for we built it together and thanked our Heavenly Father that we had health and strength to work.”

This was the first of six houses that Miles and Hannah built during the course of their marriage. “I sewed carpet rags and carried my warp and rags five blocks to the weavers to have it woven,” said Hannah of her house in St. George. “After it was done I went after dark and carried it home. When I got home I was exhausted. The next morning I washed and dressed my little children and gave them breakfast, then sewed my carpet, tacked it on the floor, cleaned the furniture, pictures and curtains and arranged them to suit my taste, as I was very particular about my house and took great pains in having everything in ‘apple pie’ order.”1

Like the Romneys, we too can find satisfaction as we incorporate a strong work ethic into our lives. Whether at church or at home, in the workplace or in the community, we find purpose, progress, and fulfillment as we shun idleness and direct our energies toward worthwhile pursuits. In this way we can accomplish much good while “improv[ing] our time in this life” (Alma 34:33; see also Alma 34:32).

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