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|Eye of the Needle–Re-post|
Oct. 24th, 2006 at 10:18 am
This was accidentally deleted in what will hopefully be a learning experience for Mormon Mentality. With a little help from danithew, I am going to try to re-post my thoughts, but, unfortunately, I can’t remember the comments (thank you for those comments, by the way) that had already been made to re-post those.
My wife and I live in a pretty affluent part of the country, and we both have advanced professional degrees that may potentially give us lucrative jobs at some point. As I’ve been thinking about what direction I want my career to take, I’ve been reflecting on some of the successful Latter-Day Saints that I know, and, although there are some notable exceptions, quite a few of the successful Latter-Day Saints I know are wealthy. I don’t mean to demean any of these people because these are some of the best people I know. Many of them are kind, generous, and charitable. All of this brought to mind the well-known scripture in Mark 10:25:
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
Do we really believe this?
We seem to have the idea in the Church that financial prosperity is a natural result of righteous living. I say this in part because so many of our churchwide and local church leaders are quite wealthy. Even mission presidents, for the most part, can only afford to serve as mission presidents because of at least some wealth. Part of this view also undoubtedly comes from the Book of Mormon and the prosperity of the Nephites when they were righteous, but it still seems difficult to square the principle of Mark 10:25 with financial success, often through significant personal sacrifice, of some church members. Obviously, the Lord blesses the righteous, and many people are able to earn very good salaries without sacrificing spiritual nourishment, charity, and building family relationships whether through innate ability, blessings from the Lord, or other sources.
I recently met a member of the bishopric of a neighboring ward. This man has been quite successful financially and had received some fairly important callings in the church. He also is the father of several children. As we were talking, one of my friends asked this man if his career success had been worth the huge amount of time he had had to spend to be successful. He replied that “the jury is still out” on it. I definitely don’t know the whole story, but his response struck me because it seems strange that a person who presumeably believes that it is very difficult for a rich man to get into heaven would jeopardize his home life in the pursuit of financial success, particularly when President McKay has famously said that no success can compensate for failure in the home.
So I ask, do we really believe that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God?