16) PROSPERITY: Is it possible to prosper without righteousness? How is righteousness a deterrent for poverty?

Prophetic Statements

Harold B. Lee

We have heard much said about keeping out of debt and avoiding speculation. From the inspired lips of the late President Anthony W. Ivins [of the First Presidency] came these words (and they should be something of a condemnation to those who disregarded his words and should be something of a blessing to those who listened to and kept that counsel), referring to and warning against borrowing and going into debt:

I fear this, that under existing conditions we are gradually drifting toward a paternal government, a government which will so intrench itself that the people will become powerless to disrupt it, in which the lives and liberties of the people at large may be jeopardized. They are pouring millions of dollars in this time of need into sources for the benefit of the people…but it is going to result in this—I am going to make this statement—that if the present policy is continued it will not be long until the government will be in the banking business, it will be in the farming business, it will be in the cattle and sheep business, for many of these debts will never be paid. That will mean the appointment of innumerable agencies. The government now is overloaded with commissions and agencies, some of them administering the very laws that Congress itself has enacted. Someone else should be administering those laws. If you want to save yourself from the bondage of debt and political influences which are not of your own choosing, I ask you to think of what I have said. 1

Now, my brethren and sisters, we have men today who have told us repeatedly and also warned against the evil and vice…in our midst. We have been told that we must patronize and foster home industry, avoid speculation, and make savings in food and clothing for at least a year. We have had our leaders plead with us to pursue a course that would tend to keep us out of war. I admonish you in all sobriety and seriousness to listen and heed before it is too late.

Oh, may we not be those of whom the Lord complained: “In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me.” (D&C 101:8.) Remember that the Lord said: “For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you.” (D&C 78:7.) 2


Mosiah 2: 31
And now, my brethren, I would that ye should do as ye have hitherto done. As ye have kept my commandments, and also the commandments of my father, and have prospered, and have been kept from falling into the hands of your enemies, even so if ye shall keep the commandments of my son, or the commandments of God which shall be delivered unto you by him, ye shall prosper in the land, and your enemies shall have no power over you.

Mosiah 2: 41
And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it.

Alma 1: 29
And now, because of the steadiness of the church they began to be exceedingly rich, having abundance of all things whatsoever they stood in need—an abundance of flocks and herds, and fatlings of every kind, and also abundance of grain, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious things, and abundance of silk and fine-twined linen, and all manner of good homely cloth.

Supporting Statements

George Q. Cannon

We believe that God has revealed himself to man again, for his own purpose, to accomplish his own design and to prepare a people for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. For we believe he will come that he will reign upon the earth and to establish righteousness and uproot iniquity, and carry out the doctrine I have read in your hearing; and establish an order of society that shall have for its basis eternal truth, some of the principles of which I have read to you. We believe he is coming for this purpose and to destroy all those man-made systems, and this inequality, and this fraud, and all wickedness that prevails. He will do it, better than Kearney, better than Labor Unions or Workingmen’s Leagues. He will do it better than any man-made institution. In fact the whole of them will be overturned by him; and he will introduce a plan by which every man will recognize the value of his brother man, a plan by which the poor can rejoice and which will prevent the oppressor and the evil-doer and the strong hand of Wealth from controlling and governing the earth, as is the case to-day. And it is for this purpose that the Gospel has been restored; and we have commenced to practice some of the principles calculated to bring about this condition of affairs. Imperfectly we admit, very imperfectly; but nevertheless the principles themselves are true and are perfect, however imperfectly they may be believed in and carried out by those professing to be the followers of them, and, as I have said, the Lord has restored the ordinances in their ancient power and in their ancient purity; and the results we see before us to-day, to a certain extent, in this Territory. I praise him every day of my life that my lot is cast among this people and that I am counted worthy to be a member of this Church. . . .

This Gospel to which I have referred, if taught and believed in and practiced by the inhabitants of the earth, would revolutionize the face of society; it would change the affairs of the earth, as we witness them. Instead of one man lauding it over his fellowman, as though he were made of better clay, as though he were made of porcelain, while his neighbor was made of common stuff, and thinking himself entitled to better board and bed and finer clothes, and to live in greater ease, instead of feeling that way, when the principles of the Gospel are practiced by us in their entirety, we will get rid entirely of these feelings, and we will seek to carry out that which he has commanded his servants, namely to love your neighbor as yourselves; and not to profess to do it; but do it. And when we trade with our neighbor, instead of taking advantage of him and of his ignorance and necessities, trade with him as we would want him to trade with us under similar circumstances, and mete out to him evenhanded justice, as we would wish him to do to us were our positions reversed. These are lessons required of us in the Gospel. 3

  1. Conference Report, October 1932, pp. 111-12.
  2. Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye in Holy Places, 284-285.
  3. George Q. Cannon, Journal of Discourses 20:94-95.
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