Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

Quorum of the Twelve

Men have both earthly and heavenly debts and should be honest in their attempts to repay.

Covetousness is "one of the great afflictions of the latter days. It creates greed and resentment. Often, it leads to bondage, heartbreak and crushing, grinding debt." Such debt is a "financial termite" that can lead to problems in marriage, sickness, depression and even premature death.

Church leaders have advised strongly to avoid debt. "May I offer five key steps to financial freedom?"

• Pay an honest tithing "and leave the outcome in the hands of the Lord."

• Spend less than you earn." All too often, a family's spending is governed more by yearning than by earning."

• Learn to save as a hedge against the uncertainties of life.

• Honor financial obligations. "We are a people of integrity. We believe in honoring our debts and being honest in our dealings with our fellow men."

• Teach your children by example. "Teach them they cannot have something merely because they want it. Teach them the principles of frugality and saving."

Heavenly debts may be more difficult to repay and some, including the atoning sacrifice of the Savior, are beyond our ability to ever repay. "He paid a debt he did not owe to free us from a debt we can never repay."

Humble acceptance of that gift and prudent, faithful living, paying honor and respect to parents, ancestors and church leaders are ways to show gratitude.

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