Role of money

May 2, 2008 at 12:30 am (Words of wisdom)

Let us consider a few wise words written by Br. Hugh W. Nibley, an intellectual giant among Latter-day Saints (italics, capitals, et cetera in original):

In our limited time here, what are we going to think about? That is the all-important question. We’ve been assured that it is not too early to start thinking about things of the eternities. In fact, Latter-day Saints should be taking rapid strides toward setting up that eternal celestial order which the Church must embody to be acceptable to God. Also, we are repeatedly instructed regarding things we should not think about. I would pass by this negative thing lightly, but the scriptures are explicit, outspoken, and emphatic in this matter; and whenever anyone begins to talk about serious matters at the BYU, inevitably someone says, “I would like to spend my time thinking about such things and studying them, but I cannot afford the luxury. I have to think about the really important business of life, which is making a living.” This is the withering effect of the intimidating challenge thrown out to all of us from childhood: “Do you have any money?” with its absolute declaration of policy and principle: “You can have anything in this world for money!” and its paralyzing corollary: “Without it, you can have NOTHING!” I do not have to tell you where that philosophy came from. Somebody is out to “decoy…[our] minds,” to use Brigham Young’s expression, from the things we should be thinking about to those we should not care about at all.

(Hugh Nibley. “Zeal Without Knowledge.” Approaching Zion (ed. Don E. Norton). Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1989, p. 76.)

Earning a living is a good thing indeed. And we need to in order to provide for our families. Indeed, it is written: “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 do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted” (Jacon 2:19).

But: “For the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10a).

The key issue is a matter of priority and goals. Money for its sake should never be pursued, only to do good. And in any case it should not detract us from our spiritual responsibilities or our spiritual potential.

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1 Comment

  1. dicentra said,

    Good to see you’re reading “Huge” Nibley. All his stuff is worth reading. One of my favorite essays is “Patriarchy and Matriarchy”

    http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=transcripts&id=151

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