Comments about ‘In the Village: Grateful for hard times? Wealth is not the reward for righteousness’

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Published: Thursday, Nov. 17 2011 5:00 a.m. MST

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Mom of 8
Hyrum, UT

Brother Card, wonderful and timely as usual!

This will sound self-centered, but I do believe you wrote this specifically for me.

Thank you for writing what most of us hope/fear!

Brigham City, UT

"His prophets warn us, for instance, that affluence is usually no friend of spirituality, and, oh, how we hope that teaching is not true--and, oh, how our teeth chatter when the chills of experience tell us it is true!"

Neal Maxwell "A Time to Choose" page 33.

Bountiful, Utah

"This attitude is often expressed in a "doctrine" that is utterly false and yet extremely widespread in the church: that if you are righteous, you will make money."

This is so true. And for many, if they don't have real wealth, they will use credit cards and other forms of credit to establish a showing of wealth. In particular the young adults are doing this -- they seem to think that they need to have a showing of wealth at a young age. Many of them are in quite a bit of trouble in today's economy. Divorces are resulting from the consequences of this behavior. Children's lives are being ripped apart as their parents begin residing in two different households. Its terrible to watch this.

Centerville, UT

Since I live in the middle of "the more righteous you are the more you're blessed with" - Amen. When I get discouraged about the "blessings" I'm not getting, I start counting the blessing I do have and try to remember that sometimes a "bad" thing that happens is really a good thing. Like the time our car broke down in Reno on vacation. The blessing was that there was a shop that could fix it that day. The hotel we were at had a room for us and if our car had broken down in our destination it would have been much harder and taken longer to get things dealt with. At the time it didn't seem good, but looking back I can see it now.

Provo, UT

It seems the people who are preaching the virtues of poverty and the evils of wealth are themselves free from concerns over money - for instance, Brother Card has no problems with money; the Church leaders are not poverty stricken and never will be. They do not have the same concers as do those of us who have lost our jobs and could lose our jobs again any day.

I have lived in many Wards/Stakes in many different parts of the country, and I have NEVER seen a Stake President who was not relatively RICH. Never. In over 30 years.

When the Church calls only the wealthy to positions of leadership, and continues to allow the false rhetoric that callings correspond to superior righteousness, too, then it is hard to argue what Brother Card is trying to argue. The truth is, in the Church, the operations of the Church itself reinforces the idea that righteousness, wealth, and position all go hand in hand.

Bountiful, Utah

@I M LDS 2 - there is a lot of truth to what you say. It is difficult hearing a pretty wealthy general authority telling us how spiritually dangerous it can be to be wealthy. But I'd like to give another perspective about callings corresponding to superior righteousness. I once had a Stake leader who truly believed that most calling within the stake and ward levels were given by the Lord because the person receiving the calling had something to learn. Sometimes I repeat that story when I see people puffing up about the callings they have. Ask them what they think they needed to learn when they received their calling -- sometimes you will see a pretty shocked look on the face of the one you are asking!!!

penny 4 thoughts

I once asked someone why only the comfortably off (wealthy) are called to the higher positions such as bishop, stake president, mission president, etc. He denied that this was happening in the church.
I have also been told that in order for these people to fulfill these callings, they need a certain amount of wealth in order to devote so much time to their callings. I find this a poor excuse. Poor people and those who fall in the middle of the 'wealth curve' can serve and be great bishops etc. without being wealth if it is true that these callings are based on spiritual promptings.

South Jordan, Utah

Neither poverty or wealth is a virtue,but there will always be poor among us until the majority of us all lead virtuos lives and act on virtuous principles.

Brigham City, UT

A message that we need to hear--wealthy or poor. I've always believed that the reason the Book of Mormon so often reiterates the "pride cycle" is because we absolutely have need of that message over and over again. I've spent my life on the "less affluent" end of things, and have myself, from time to time, mistakenly questioned why we weren't more prosperous like our neighbors. I've witnessed my mother having to deal with evening "walking groups" of more affluent members of our ward gossiping amongst themselves--not realizing their voices were carrying through our open windows--saying things like "If it weren't for these two homes here [referring to our home by our family name and our neighbor's home], we'd have a perfect neighborhood." Our home and yard were always kept neat and clean; it was just smaller than other homes on the block. I also heard a high-councilman speaking about how his attention to the commandments made it possible for him to afford his Dodge Ram, while old school friends "drove the same clunkers they had in high-school". He missed a key principle that, unfortunately, made the rest of his talk irrelevant.


My current Stake President is a High School teacher. One before that was a farmer. A past Bishop was a plumber. My current Bishop owns a motorcycle dealership. All incredibly spiritual men whom I have learned so much from.

Sometimes the "wealth" comes from a lifetime of wise choices, sacrifice, unselfishness, and living by the advice of the Church (avoid debt, pay tithing, etc.). I believe it is this obedience that leads to those members being called to higher Church office - not their material wealth.

Remember, the City of Enoch was translated because they obeyed God and "there were no poor among them". Those who have been given much are expected to use it to bless others, and will be accountable for their stewardships.

Old Jake
Salt Lake City, UT

Yep, Money Doesn't Matter at All!!! But I'm going to just hold on to mine.

Sorry, Can't help you.

Until that changes we are heading down the wrong path.

penny 4 thoughts

I have heard so often in testimony meeting in my ward (especially from one member)how grateful he is for his boat, or how blessed they are to be able to travel to Europe, etc.and then expounding on the virtues of having nice things (that many of us will never be able to afford). Not only is he (and the others) missing the point, I find it astoundingly insensitive to the have-nots.

Spanish Fork, UT

I have a question, and maybe some of you can answer it. We have a decent income (around 100K), but we always have lived below our means. We have a food storage and just recently paid off our house. Our vacations are a camping trip in the mountains nearby. We have no boat, camper or cabin in the mountains but we have two cars, both 12 years old. I have 5K in the bank. I also have a daughter, who has had 2 kidney transplants. I've had cancer, and because of us living below our means, we had the money to cover our bills. I would like to build up my savings more so that we can be prepared for other emergencies. I tutor students for free, I help at the cannery and I donate a reasonable fast offering. But this article makes me feel so guilty, because it tells me that I should be doing more. When do I do enough?

penny 4 thoughts

"Sometimes the "wealth" comes from a lifetime of wise choices, sacrifice, unselfishness, and living by the advice of the Church (avoid debt, pay tithing, etc.). I believe it is this obedience that leads to those members being called to higher Church office - not their material wealth."

For many, it isn't that easy. Even with extensive medical bills that have plagued us our entire married life, we pay tithing, try to make wise choices, don't live beyond our means and give all we can give to help others out. I try to be righteous, but I am judged by others because medical-induced bankruptcy changed our lives forever. We are not aspiring to be called to higher positions, but I know that despite doing all that Red Wings said these people do to make them more righteous than the rest of us, I will never be 'good enough' for many people/callings.

Eugene, OR

I was converted though the kind missionary actions of a wonderful LDS family - led by a humble, faithful father, the stake clerk. (Yes, his employer had more money and was the stake president - but neither was he the most wealthy in the stake.)
I was not converted by the worldly success of that man or his family. But my interest was indeed captured by their obedience, sacrifice and faithful service.
It was not the size of their home that impressed me, but the size of their hearts.
Many years later, my wife and I were privileged to join the this entire large family and their spouses at a restaurant dinner as part of the celebration of the father and mother's golden wedding anniversary.
We were all well enough off to pay for that dinner, but no one at the table could be termed wealthy. The father tearfully told his children he was sorry he had not accumulated more (worldly) wealth to someday leave to them.
The shock and disagreement around the table was swift and sure. His children rose up to call themselves, their parents and all of us, blessed beyond measure.
They were his great wealth and accomplishment.

Bountiful, Utah

@ipr, I'm not sure we can really ever do enough. But if you have an honest heartfelt feeling that you are doing what you should, then just keep on that road. Don't feel guilty unless you have a personal reason to feel guilty. Don't measure yourself against anyone else. Do not buy into the mormon culture that oftentimes accompanies our faith. Whether you are doing enough is between you and the Lord. That's about the only answer I can give.

Taylorsville, UT

To all concerned:

My current Stake President is not wealthy, neither is my current Bishop or any of my past Bishops in the last 20 years. I live in the heart of the Salt Lake Valley. I don't know of any of the Bishops in my stake currently that someone would consider to be wealthy. All have regular jobs or are self-employed and all are in my estimate quite spiritual. My Stake covers an area of both poor people and many with very nice homes. The Lord is calling those who will serve him well.

One of Vai's Cousins
DC, Washington

Excellent message! And many good points made in the comments.

The Gospel is what Brother Card explained - The Atonement and love and service. Period. EVERYTHING else is just window dressing. Too many of us focus out time, efforts and energy on the window dressing.

Orem, UT

well spoken.
And my Stake President doesn't seem particularly wealthy--perhaps you should move to my stake?

Nampa, ID

Everybody on here is absolutely right (blind men and the elephant effect?).

An additional perspective - wealth is relative. We lived in a stake of millionaires -- some of them had more money than sense. But by and large they were generous to a fault (helping families pay off homes, pay for college tuition... and those were just the things I knew about). We were the poorest of the poor in that stake (we were the subject of service projects several times - which were great blessings in times of need).

We moved west a few miles, and with some savings bought a couple acres of pasture, goats, chickens and ducks. And a dog. My salary has not changed. And we are considered exceedingly wealthy (when I was Bishop I even had someone tell me I didn't know what it meant to be poor - chuckle). Compared to the vast population of the earth, my land, full refrigerator, warm clothing and non-leaking roof make me one of the wealthiest men on the planet.

Perspective is a blessing as well.

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