You Can Accumulate Wealth And Be Righteous At The Same Time
You Can Have Money And Prosperity And Not Be Corrupted By It
Money and finances are a major source of conflict in marriages. Experts say money problems are a significant cause of divorce. Having a good grasp on this will help in marriage and family. The Book of Mormon talks about prosperity multiple times. It is also makes it clear that prosperity can be dangerous if you let pride get in the way.
S. Michael Wilcox wrote an excellent book about the gospel perspective on money and finances. The book is called What The Scriptures Teach Us About Prosperity.
One of the main ideas behind this book is the following quote by Elder Melvin J. Ballard in General Conference in 1929 just before the Great Depression. He said,
"We are in the age of self-indulgence. It is not peculiar to this Church; it is in the world. The spirit of it is rampant everywhere. It beats upon our shores from all points. It enters into the midst of the people. It is a deadly siege in an attempt to destroy that which persecution, mob violence, privation and hardship failed to destroy,- the integrity of this people. I am not a pessimist either. While I recognize the storms that are raging against our standards, I am as sure as that I live that the promises of the Lord will be fulfilled, and that this work shall not fail, nor shall it be given to another people. I recognize however, with my brethren, that the sorest trials that have ever come to the Church in any age of the world are the trials of peace and prosperity. But we are to do a new thing, a thing that never has before been done- We are to take the Church of Christ not only through the age of persecution and mob violence, but through the age of peace and prosperity. For we must learn to endure faithfully even in peace and prosperity.
"I am not praying for the return of persecution and poverty; I am praying for peace and prosperity; but above all things for the strength and power to endure this test. For it was not the design and the intention of the Lord to have this people always in suffering in bondage and distress. They shall come to peace and prosperity, but it is the sorest trial that will come to them."
S. Michael Wilcox talked about the pride cycle in the Book of Mormon. When the people were humble and kept the commandments, God blessed them and they prospered both financially and spiritually. When they became prideful, their hearts became hard and stopped providing for the needy. Wealth was a major factor for their pride.
Some Book of Mormon generations were successful at being both humble and wealthy at the same time. They prospered and remained righteous at the same time for the long term. Repentance and a love of God and man kept them humble enough with a soft heart to handle their wealth righteously.
S. Michael Wilcox feels this quote by Elder Melvin J. Ballard is a call for prosperity in our time without entering into the pride cycle and do so in the long term.
S. Michael Wilcox also said that nowhere in the standard works are we commanded to seek after riches and wealth. Wilcox also says Christ didn't teach that people should be poor and live in poverty. There are some definite dangers with chasing after money.
Heavenly Father considers gaining truth and gaining eternal life more than acquiring wealth and money. Pursuing wealth can distract you from seeking after God and His kingdom. Gospel truths will bless you more than money can. When it is all said and done, you will not take anything with you when you die.
With that said, wealth can be a righteous desire IF it is used for righteous purposes and you are able to remain meek and humble in the process of seeking after it.
Mathew 19: 24: "And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."
S. Michael Wilcox's book was about how to be wealthy and prosperous while at the same time being righteous and humble. He also said in the book that the Lord desires us to pass through the needles eye. He gave several points on how to pass through the eye of the needle.
Money is not the source of happiness. Money may make life easier in many respects. True happiness, the ultimate level of happiness is seeking after Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and knowing them. happiness.
How To Pass Through The Needles Eye
- Recognize and accept that every individual alive is of great worth to God.
- Do not judge anyone according to their status or classification in life.
- Study and follow the scriptures.
- Do not feel you should be first because you have more money than someone else does.
- Don't compare yourself to others and don't compare others to you.
- Give money and inheritances to your children wisely. You could corrupt your children by giving them all they want without working for it.
- Receive and seek after the non-financial gifts and blessings that God intends to give.
- Do not seek after the luxuries of life.
- Certainly avoid going into debt for luxuries. Know the difference between wants and needs.
- Become united with those around you.
- Take care of the needs of the poor. My personal opinion is it is not government's job to provide for the poor. Government's job is not to be our brother's keeper. Government should inspire each individual to care for each other on our own initiative.
- Never underestimate the powerful temptations of wealth.
- Develop the gift of gratitude.
- Recognize that everything you are and have God gave it to you. He is the one who blessed you with the talents, skills, knowledge, graces, power to acquire what you have. Accept that you cannot and could not do it on your own strength.
- Realize that money can't buy happiness.
- Overcome pride.
- Realize that god is no respecter of persons. He desires to bless everyone the same. Have a deep burning desire to help others.
- Become like Abraham.
Further Elaboration On These Points
Record every prideful thought you have in a notebook. Every time you have a thought that you are better than someone else in any way record it. At the end of each day review, your tick marks in prayer and ask for help to overcome your pride. Overcoming pride is probably the greatest obstacle in passing through the needles eye. I feel strongly that pride was the reason for complete destruction of the Nephite civilization in the Book of Mormon. Wealth and war were not the reason for their destruction.
Become Like Abraham
I do not remember S. Michael Wilcox talk about Abraham from the Old Testament in his book but Abraham's life applies here. Abraham is a man who knew how to pass through the eye of a needle. An extremely influential book that I am reading which will certainly be on my top 10 book list is The Blessings Of Abraham; Becoming A Zion People by E. Douglas Clark.
Abraham was extremely wealthy and all he cared about was building up the kingdom of God. He had the pure love of Christ. He loved everyone equally. He accepted everyone at his residence and turned no one away. Maybe he built his own resort or hotel, I don't know.
Abraham was a man who used all his wealth for righteous purposes. I feel strongly that anyone who has a heart like Abraham and who has a righteous desire to acquire wealth to bless the world should pursue it. His wealth gave him opportunities that he otherwise wouldn't have.
S. Michael Wilcox gave a good analogy about giving. Your ability to earn and become wealthy does not come from your own skill or intellect. Heavenly Father blessed you with your skills and abilities to acquire your wealth.
Study And Follow The Scriptures
The scriptures are an absolute key to remaining humble enough to be righteous and wealthy. As far as I can figure, there are two ways to humble yourself;
- The word of God, or
- Experiences (environmental influences).
Becoming humble through experiences are often the painful experiences. Better to let the word of God humble you naturally without enduring unnecessary pain and suffering.
Drinking daily from the scriptures will bring the spirit in and the Holy Ghost will teach how best to use your wealth for good. Without the Holy Ghost to guide you, it will be impossible to be wealthy and righteous at the same time.
The Book of Mormon has a lot to say about prosperity and what it takes to become prosperous. The message is repeated so often that it is not a random thought made in obscure passages. All the below verses say essentially the same promise, which is if you keep the commandments you will prosper.
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- 1 Nephi 2:20
- 1 Nephi 4:14
- 1 Nephi 17:13
- 1 Nephi 17:3
- 2 Nephi 1:9
- 2 Nephi 1:20
- 2 Nephi 1:31
- 2 Nephi 4:4
- Jarom 1:9
- Mosiah 1:7
- Mosiah 2:22
- Mosiah 2:31
- Mosiah 2:36
- Mosiah 2:41
- Mosiah 25:24
- Mosiah 26:37
- Alma 9:13
- Alma 9:22
- Alma 36:1
- Alma 36:30
- Alma 37:13
- Alma 38:1
- Alma 44:6-8
- Alma 45:8
- Alma 48:15
- Alma 48:25
- Alma 50:18
- Alma 50:20
- Alma 62:48-51
- Helaman 3:20
- Helaman 12:1
- 3 Nephi 6:4-5
- 4 Nephi 1:7
- 4 Nephi 1:23
- Ether 9:16
- Ether 10:16
- Ether 10:28
Here are some other scriptures relating to the pursuit of wealth in a righteous manner. One could misread verse 17 and think this means socialism or communism, which is not true. God wants you to give a lot more than you receive.
Jacob 2:17 - 19
17 Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you.
18 But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.
19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to ado good-to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.