“When the lives of the people are in harmony with the Lord’s will, all of the essential factors that produce the blessings God deigns to give to his children seem to come into line. Love and harmony prevail. Even the weather, the climate, and the elements seem to respond. Peace and tranquility endure. Industry and progress mark the lives of the people.” -Dean L. Larsen, Quorum of the Seventy
You probably won’t encounter any new specific teachings in this book. We haven’t dug up obscure talks with startling revelations different than anything else you’ve heard and/or read from prophets.
What you will find, however, is the placement of all prophetic financial counsel into a unified, cyclical model. The model emerged in our research, and the more we researched, the clearer it became.
We don’t claim that this specific model format is authoritative. However, it has been profoundly useful to us. Seeing these basic, common sense truths within the context of this model puts them all into perspective and gives one a macro view, with an understanding of how individual parts fit into a greater whole.
Also, it is built upon and comprised of specific, authoritative teachings, which are explained in detail in subsequent chapters.
The model is built using six distinct phases, or concepts, each of which builds upon the other. The sequential order is critical — each step follows the other and dangers arise when the process is pursued out of order.
The sequence was arrived at by studying the emphasis placed by the prophets and apostles on each, as well as the frequency with which each have been taught.
This is not to say that we can’t work on different components simultaneously; we must simply understand that there are definite degrees of importance placed on each, and so our efforts should reflect that order as much as possible.
The six phases are Ideals, Preparation/Protection, Management, Career, Productivity, and Blessings.
Ideals are the righteous purposes behind wealth creation. They represent our motivations for acquiring wealth — or at least what they should be.
Preparation/protection consists of basic steps to protect our wealth, such as insurance, savings, food storage, and tax and estate planning.
Management is our ongoing actions and habits that determine what we do with our cash flow and spending.
Once we have started out with the right ideals, properly prepared and protected, and have learned to manage our finances appropriately, the next step is to choose the right career. This choice comes with specific guidelines.
With this step in place, the next phase is to increase our productivity as much as possible. And all of the phases working together lead us to promised blessings.
Once we identified these distinct phases, the following model emerged:
There are two noteworthy aspects of this model. First, ideals are commonly thought of as things to shoot for or look up to, either metaphysically or in the future. In this case, the ideals are the foundation, the key that unlocks the entire process.
Without these as a foundation, everything else gets messed up along the way. Also, the ideals are something to connect with constantly.
Secondly, the model is cyclical in nature. As we obey the prescribed laws and follow each step, we receive blessings. Then, as blessings are received, we reconnect with the ideals, but at a higher level. We have more resources with which to apply the ideals. And the more times we go through the cycle, the more we prove to God that we are worthy of prosperity.
“When this people are prepared to properly use the riches of this world for the building up of the Kingdom of God, He is ready and willing to bestow them upon us. I like to see men get rich by their industry, prudence, management and economy, and then devote it to the building up of the Kingdom of God upon the earth.” -President Brigham Young
The gap between blessings and ideals is critical, as this is where people typically get derailed. This is the Book of Mormon pride cycle deviation, where increased prosperity (blessings) lead to pride, then disobedience, then conflict, then destruction, then humility. After being humbled, people usually then get back into the righteous-prosperity cycle.
But what if we could stay on the prosperity cycle? What would happen within our families, our communities, our nation, and ultimately the world if enough people became prosperous for the right reasons, then continually reconnected with those reasons the more righteous they became? How much hunger, suffering, and poverty could be alleviated?
The City of Enoch provides one vivid example of such a society. In this sense, a more complete model is a corkscrew, or spiral model, representing a prosperous people continually getting closer to God the more wealth they create and the more wisely they apply it.
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