We seem to honor wealth and worldly success. The General Authorities are typically chosen from the ranks of doctors, lawyers, and business men. The president of the church is provided a multi-million dollar penthouse suite complete with driver and limousine. Even the local ranks of stake president and bishop are typically filled with professional people who are successful, live in the best areas and exhibit all the trappings of wealth and material abundance. The gospel of prosperity extends to the corporate church itself as the message of tithing, while filling the coffers of the church, is spread as a means for guaranteeing financial stability for the rank and file.

Is material success a prerequisite to spiritual administration?

Can God and mammon peacefully coexist?

Without the coins and special paper which carries the emblem of the state, we cannot buy nor sell. We are all entwined in Babylon and carry the marks of the beast with us ready for the opportunity to exchange his currency for the material things we desire.

We learn from the Bible that “the love of money is the root of all evil,” but there is more to the story from the writings of Timothy found in his first book, chapter six:

1 LET as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.

2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.

3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;

4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

What should be the linkage between personal material wealth and spiritual wealth?

In the passages from Timothy, we find servants counseled to serve their masters faithfully. We read that we are not to blend material success with the doctrines of the kingdom, even to the point of rejecting the use of material gain as a marker of the spiritual gain of those around us.

Must we be satisfied with only food and raiment in order to be free of the corruption that is imbued in our society? Can we strive for more than is required to feed and clothe us and still be counted among the righteous?

I see the emphasis on wealth within the church as yet another indication of the impending apostasy. The more ground we cede to Babylon, the less the righteous have room to stand. Many of us took an oath to consecrate our time, talents, and possessions to the building up of the kingdom of God, yet much of what we do to acquire possessions simply adds to the barrier between us and the righteous environment of the Zion community.

Would you be willing to give all you have to know God? Is the carnal commandment of tithing and its ten percent sufficient to position you one hundred percent in the kingdom of God?

What think ye?

12 Responses to “Supposing that Gain is Godliness”

  • Michael:

    Good post.

  • scw:

    I’m glad you pointed out the v. 5- I’ve just recently had a gospel doctrine teacher emphasize v. 10, that the love of money is the root of evil, not money per se, as if to justify seeking wealth in the Church generally.

  • SCW,

    Sometimes we see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear. Our selective perception can inhibit our ability to move beyond our own defined boundaries.

    There were many things in the scriptures that simply didn’t register until I tore down the walls that I, myself, had constructed. Your gospel doctrine teacher was working within the walls of his defined perception. I was there for a long time so I can somewhat understand why.

    Thanks for your comment.

  • Your perception is slightly flawed – there are many thousands of Bishops and Stake Presidents throughtout the LDS church, who do not own homes, only own one older model car, work strictly as employees for others and earn less than 70k a year with large families. In fact, I have friends as Stake Presidents and 70s, who are anything but wealthy.

    Wealth, to our Heavenly Father is simply a resource tool to be utilized effectively and disbursed liberally, as HE sees fit. As I have grown up and out of my childish perception that others have more and better, for a reason; it is really the luck of the draw that some children in certain families are born unto a wealthy existence – but it is clear that those individuals who grow up to have wealth as adults, have worked hard to earn that right – are wiser with their monetary assets, are influenced in correct paths and work hard at it to ensure that others gain a true understanding of the heavy responsibilities that come with wealth.

    Can you honestly say – that you deserve to be as wealthy as oh’ say the Prophet of the Mormon church? Could you honestly say that you would be very careful with the wealth you have earned?

    I am a writer, have 4 kids, been married to the same man for 28 years, believe in eternal marriage and upon occassion have earned has much as 250K a year – but there is a clear reason why I am not as wealthy as the church leaders and it is – I do not manage my money as well – I am not frugal – I do give 10%, but am not given to much more charity, beyond my time or talent – face it – I do not deserve lasting wealth, simply because I do not work as hard as most my brethern to earn it – and that is why other years all i pull in is $39K. Heavenly Father can not count upon me to be as supreme an example as they. In our home, it is sometimes feast and sometimes famine – I have had enough money to build a financial portfolio – but I bought toys and gadgets and sportscars – those scriptures refer to me and to others who do not govern their financial affairs as wisely as some of our church leaders do –
    It is not some impending apostasy that awaits us all – because a few good men are wealthy – the apostasy awaits for those of us who arent wealthy because of our own failings.

  • Diana,
    I believe the point you are trying to make is that we are only poor because we don’t use our income correctly. Is that correct? If so, I disagree. I think you missed the point of my post if that is the case which was that wealth and business acumen are apparently very important in selecting leadership in the church.

    I would be very interested in meeting your Stake Presidents and 70s who are poor. I have never, in my time in the church, been acquainted with any that fit that model. The current bishop in our small midwest town is an independent business man who has the most expensive home in the ward. The stake president is a corporate executive that is well off, also.

    As I pondered my own experience, I can’t find relate at all to your comment of ‘thousands of Bishops and Stake Presidents who do not own homes.” Perhaps outside of the US I could see that as a possibility but not here in ‘Zion.’

    Where in my post do I indicate that I felt I ‘deserve to be as wealthy’ as the president of the church? My response to your question would be the president of the church shouldn’t be living in a penthouse purchased by the church. King Benjamin made a point of taking care of his own needs, why is that not good enough for our current prophet?

    My answer to my own question is that the church is a corporation and rewards the top leadership as would any other large business would. I believe that practice inhibits our ability to achieve a ‘zion community,’ which should be our goal.

    Just as the cycle of pride, prosperity, apostasy, and calamity are rehearsed repeatedly in the Book of Mormon, so it will likely be for us.

    All is well in Zion. Isn’t that correct?

  • mdesignsfor6:

    Thanks for the great reading!

    I’ve had 2 bishops in my long membership who really stood out as being the most humble, sincere, and loving. They both happen to be considered poor of earthly possesions – both really hardworking, bluecollar laborers! Having them as bishops was far and above an experience compared to ALL the many other bishops I’ve had over the years. We currently have a really “poor” member of our california stake presiency. I think its a little difficult for him. I don’t think he would be worldy, but I’ve seen the struggle it is for him – he seems to need to try to keep up with the rest of the presidency (fancy brand cars, suits, experiences (vacations and such) and he and his famiy often lament that they have the smallest home compared to everyone else. I know that too many people equate wealth with faithfulness and since this man tries harder than anyone I know to fit that faithful mold, this probably bothers him.
    We now get to live in a really poor and humble ward and it is the best ward, by far, we’ve ever experienced. There is very little materialism, jelousy, or cliquish behavior. I really would have a hard time returning to a ward with wealthy residents!

  • M,
    As I read your post, a scripture came to mind from 2 Nephi 28:14 which reads:

    “They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and whoredoms, they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men.”

    What is a better example of ‘the precepts of men’ than the need to demonstrate the wealth of the world as a leader of a congregation?

    I have no doubt that there are wards out there who are able to get away from the magnetism of mammon, but they are few and far between.

  • “But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.” (D&C 49:17)

  • ‎”Not only are there apostates within our midst, but there are also apostate doctrines that are sometimes taught in our classes and from our pulpits and that appear in our publications. And these apostate precepts of men cause our people to stumble. As the Book of Mormon, speaking of our day, states: ‘They have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men’ (2 Nephi 28:14).” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Pg.89 90)

  • John,
    Two very important quotes/scriptures. President Benson was the last president to call the church to repent. Since then we have only heard what wonderful condition the church is in.

  • I’m not sure if you’ve read the section of the Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson I quoted from, but I found it very eye opening. Some of the precepts of men he talked about are alive and well in the church. I can only imagine how many more have crept in while he’s been gone.

  • I went back and re-read the apostasy section of the Teachings of E. T. Benson. Yes, there are signs that this similar problems that afflicted the church in the meridian of time is growing among those who call themselves saints.

    It was discouraging to me to hear the president of the church measure the condition of the church in terms of tithing, temple attendance, and temple construction – the works of men. We have wrapped ourselves in the vestments of Babylon and seek to receive acceptance from the same.

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