Jacob implored people to follow Lord, shun love of riches and pride

Speaking in the April 1987 general conference, Elder L. Tom Perry spoke of Jacob's denunciation of his people's love of riches and of their pride. He said Jacob implored them to turn their hearts again to the Lord, beginning with these words:

" And the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches; and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they."And now, my brethren, do ye suppose that God justifieth you in this thing? Behold, I say unto you, Nay. But he condemneth you, and if ye persist in these things his judgments must speedily come unto you.' " (Jacob 2:13-14.)

Elder Perry said: "Now, we see that often this turning away from the Lord comes with prosperity. Those who are more prosperous can become filled with pride, and they look down on their brothers and sisters who have less, thinking them inferior. Although Jacob does not say it, this process can also work the other way. Those who are less fortunate begin to feel deprived. They become consumed by what they do not have, blaming others for their predicament and blaming the Lord. They, also, turn their hearts away from Him. . . .

"Jacob further counsels, " `Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you.' (Jacob 2:17.)

"Here we see a direct application of the second great commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. Jacob tells his people not to discriminate against their brothers and sisters who have less than they do, but to share what they have with them.

" `But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.

" `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.' " (Jacob 2:18-19.)

"So often it is the order of things that is fundamental in the Lord's instructions to us. The Lord is not telling us that we should not be prosperous. This would be inconsistent with the many records we have of Him blessing His people with prosperity. But He is telling us that we should seek prosperity only after we have sought and found Him. Then, because our hearts are right, because we love Him first and foremost, we will choose to invest the riches we obtain in building His kingdom."

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