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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mormons & Materialism: Part 5 Affluence or the Appearance of It

We don't actually have to be affluent in this world to achieve the appearance of it. Credit can help us overreach to where we are so deep we can never dig our way out.

I'm not going to condemn using credit cards because you can use them and benefit from the legal protections they provide, while paying them off without incurring any service charges.

However, ANY debt suggests that we are living beyond our means.

Gospel teaching suggests we should avoid debt. It seems though that most conversation in the Church suggests everybody is already in debt and we need advice on how to get out of it.

Are we assisting or enabling others into debt? Even if we are debt free ourselves are we somehow encouraging others to go into debt to acquire things? Are we exerting peer pressure to encourage debt? I suspect many of us probably are, at least subconsciously.
I really like this video clip. But, the second lesson it doesn't cover is also a crucial point:
The second lesson was learned several years later when we were more financially secure. Our wedding anniversary was approaching, and I wanted to buy Mary a fancy coat to show my love and appreciation for our many happy years together. When I asked what she thought of the coat I had in mind, she replied with words that again penetrated my heart and mind. “Where would I wear it?” she asked. (At the time she was a ward Relief Society president helping to minister to needy families.)

Then she taught me an unforgettable lesson. She looked me in the eyes and sweetly asked, “Are you buying this for me or for you?” In other words, she was asking, “Is the purpose of this gift to show your love for me or to show me that you are a good provider or to prove something to the world?”
Take a good hard look at your motives for acquiring things whether you are currently rich, middle-class or poor. If you are basing your decisions on whether you NEED something your motives should not be any different regardless of which socio-economic classification you currently fit into.

Again from Elder Hales address:


When faced with the choice to buy, consume, or engage in worldly things and activities, we all need to learn to say to one another, “We can’t afford it, even though we want it!” or “We can afford it, but we don’t need it—and we really don’t even want it!”
Whether or not you need something should come before you decide whether or not you can afford it and certainly before you decide you want it.


Even if we can afford it shouldn't we only acquire what we need? Does anybody really need the worldly trappings of affluence even if they are affluent?


Whether we are affluent or have just the appearance of it aren't we a piece of charcoal wrapped as a diamond?


Series: Mormons & Materialism Series
Part 1 We Can't Take it With Us or Even Use it Here
Part 2 Stuff & Nonsense
Part 3 Out of Purgatory or Into Heaven
Part 4 What We Consume Ends Up Consuming Us
Part 5 Affluence or the Appearance of It
Part 6 Titles, Labels and Lemon Juice
Part 7 Power and Other Addictions
Part 8 Summer Cottages in Babylon
Part 9 Valuing Based on Utility
Part 10 Get Rid of It!
Part 11: Consecration & Conclusion

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