Today our family watched the movie, "Joseph: King of Dreams," a film about the life of Joseph from the Old Testament. At first I wasn't sure I would like it, because I was expecting something on the grand scale of "The Prince of Egypt." However, I found myself actually crying towards the end as I watched the struggles Joseph had with his brothers. One part that caught my attention was seeing Pharaoh's dream about the seven fat cows and seven skinny cows, and the seven good ears of corn and seven skinny ears.
Joseph interpreted the dreams and said they were one, and that there would be seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. Then Joseph advised Pharaoh to store a fifth or 20% of the harvest (grain) during the years of plenty to prepare for the famine. We have not been counseled to put aside a seven year's supply of food, but we have been counseled to get ourselves out of debt, and put aside money for emergencies.
After the movie, my husband and I listened again to the talk President Gordon B. Hinckley gave in 2008 (nearly four years ago!) entitled, "To the Men, and Boys." Learning to manage our finances applies to women and girls as well, especially when women account for 70-80% of consumer spending in the United States.
I hope you will take time to listen to this powerful talk and catch the vision of self-reliance. The beginning of the talk is to the boys, but the end of the talk is about temporal or financial matters, and Pharaoh's dream.
As we listened, my husband and I looked at each other and decided right then and there to make some changes. I know that as we choose to be obedient and get our financial houses in order, we will be blessed. I absolutely know that!
A few key phrases with bold added:
"Now, brethren, I want to make it very clear that I am not prophesying, that I am not predicting years of famine in the future. But I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order. So many of our people are living on the very edge of their incomes. In fact, some are living on borrowings."
"There is a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed."
"I recognize that it may be necessary to borrow to get a home, of course. But let us buy a home that we can afford and thus ease the payments which will constantly hang over our heads without mercy or respite for as long as 30 years."
"No one knows when emergencies will strike."
"We are carrying a message of self-reliance throughout the Church. Self-reliance cannot obtain when there is serious debt hanging over a household. One has neither independence nor freedom from bondage when he is obligated to others."
"In managing the affairs of the Church, we have tried to set an example. We have, as a matter of policy, stringently followed the practice of setting aside each year a percentage of the income of the Church against a possible day of need. I am grateful to be able to say that the Church in all its operations, in all its undertakings, in all of its departments, is able to function without borrowed money. If we cannot get along, we will curtail our programs. We will shrink expenditures to fit the income. We will not borrow."
"I urge you, brethren, to look to the condition of your finances. I urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt to the extent possible. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from bondage."
"If you have paid your debts, if you have a reserve, even though it be small, then should storms howl about your head, you will have shelter for your wives and children and peace in your hearts."