Sunday, March 29, 2009

When Is Cash King?

It was another great lesson in the Gospel Principles class I attended.  I jokingly refer to the class as Mormonism for Dummies because it is meant to be a very basic treatment of basic gospel beliefs.  But the core class attendees have been going to the class for more than a year now and there are no investigators or recent converts in the class.  In fact, most people in the class are lifelong members.  We seem to know each other pretty well by now and we each have sort of carved out our turf when it comes to discussing the gospel.  It is an uncommonly open and inquisitive class and I have enjoyed it as much as any class I have ever attended in Church.

Today the lesson was about prophets.  We discussed how Mormons see prophets and what prophets are expected to do.  There were a variety of opinions as to what the role of a prophet is and how a prophet’s humanness (is that a word?) plays into our expectations and their behavior.

We also talked about what it means to prophesy. One member of the class mentioned that she had recently read a talk given by President Hinckley 10 years ago in which he told people to get out of debt.  She said that had those prophetic words been headed, some of today’s economic problems might have been avoided.  The teacher, who is commercial and residential real estate developer, somewhat jokingly responded that if we had paid off debt and not leveraged out 10 years ago, we would not have participated in the economic boom that preceding the downturn.  I think he made a pretty good point. 

I talked to the developer after class about his comment.  I know that he has had a great deal of turmoil as a result of the downturn but he seems to keep his sense of humor in spite of it.  I told him I wasn’t sure that I considered President Hinckley’s debt advice to be prophetic.  I thought it great advice but not really prophesy.  He concurred and we both jokingly agreed that a really helpful bit of prophesy would have been to expand 10 years ago but to go to cash 2 years ago. 

In retrospect, I’m not sure that I think the Lord would have a prophet say specific things that would help us avoid financial problems or conversely aid in getting ahead.  I’m just not sure financial matters help or hinder the Lords ways.