In the first e-mails, I am more building off of common ground. He pretty much told me his whole desire is to be a billionaire by the time he is 40. He gave me as the reason for doing so is that he could have independence and security. Building off of that theme, I gave the following paragraph. I completely agree with your statements that that is not our whole purpose. I hope I defined that more clearly in some of the other e-mails that came later, if not in the same one.
“I do not laugh at your hope of retiring early. I believe it is a noble thing to have prepared so you can spend your live doing something more productive than the pursuit of money. I completely agree with you on this point. I hope to be financially independent so I can turn my focus onto other things, more important things. I see nothing wrong with this desire. I am sorry if other people find it foolish.”
I certainly think you should do your job with full faithfulness and not just with the end to get money. You should enjoy your job and find its meaning and opportunity for you. I completely agree that it is more than just supporting the family.
“There are a couple of thoughts I will throw at you. I am not to elude that you are caught in these thought patterns, but a caution in case you may have forgotten. You referenced financial freedom and security. I am not personally aware of any promises in the gospel that we will be given security or a large degree of freedom. Agency, yes; the ability to act, definitely; but beware of the thought process that at some point you will have reached a point to where you are excluded from pain, sorrow, or suffering. “
You quoted D&C 70 in relation to this comment. The Lord there promises us blessings and great blessings. But I do not read that these promises are necessarily for temporal blessings and temporal security. Remember, this is one of the reasons why the Saints were so terribly upset in Kirtland and in Jackson. The Kirtland anti-Banking Society was established and many people fully thought the Lord was going to make them rich. After all, they were in the process of gathering and of building Zion (literally) and that led to their downfall. In Jackson the Saints were sure that they would be protected temporally because of some of these commandments. Well, we know what happened there as well.
To me, when the Lord promises comfort, security, blessings, and freedom, these are all first and foremost spiritually and in the conscious. I do believe they lead to the physical. That is one of the messages I get from the New Testament is that Saints will be able to call anyplace, even the pits of hell, home and make it a Zion. Wherever the Saints are, there cannot be hell. Remember the Lectures of Faith, those who have a certain knowledge can take spoiling of the goods and even the taking of their lives with joy and a certain knowledge that they have a future and know their place in eternity. If I remember right, I don’t have the book yet, but the quote of idolatry by President Kimball includes the comforts of family, cars, and houses.
I guess is what I am saying, Saints were had in Kirtland and Missouri even though they were in hell. They had comfort and freedom and independence and security despite what they were going through physically. Many counted it a blessing to come across the plains, even the quote from the old man in the Martin Handcart Company, that it was the place they came to know God and would not trade it for anything.
It seems to me a twist of the scriptures to believe we are promised physical security and freedom.
Your quotes from the Book of Mormon go along with what I have already talked about. Free forever, certainly is more than this mortal probation (2 Ne 2:26). The Lord promised the Israelites freedom in Egypt, but they still had to sit there for 400 years. (I wonder how many lost their faith because they were not given their freedom in their lifetimes?) Out of darkness into the light, out of captivity to freedom (2 Ne 3:5) seems to be speaking the same. Under no other head are you made free (Mosiah 5:8) I view death and a resurrection as a freedom from the fallen world too. Moroni’s inspiration to be freed from bondage (Alma 43:48) is still very much on the Lord’s timetable. Wandering in the wilderness for 40 years is certainly freedom considered under what they had left with Pharaoh, but still it was very taxing, and they had no real comforts or even security. They had serpents and all sorts else to worry about. Hearing the Lord and following him will make us free (D&C 38:22) is very true, but what about all those Saints who wasted away with the same promise in eastern Germany and Soviet provinces. Hundreds never saw freedom in their life according to what you are arguing here, but certainly did in the spiritual way. Even Brigham Young has quotes where the strangling of the US government was diminishing the Saints freedoms. His views were of the freedom of polygamy, and (don’t know if I would argue for it) we still don’t have the complete freedom of our religion in this country.
As for the quote about the Constitution and our liberty to make us free. That is one of the big things Joseph Smith taught. Our constitution gave us the freedom of thought, to act as we please (despite its tightening under Brigham) and freedom of conscience. You know this.
If we are righteous, the promise is that we shall have our needs met. Even that our cup will run over and with tithing that we cannot receive them all. But that certainly never applied to riches as far as I have ever seen. My bank account certainly could receive more and I could too. So it doesn’t have to do with money. But in spiritual blessings, from which the physical manifests itself, I certainly believe we can be therewith content with what the Lord has allotted us. Even if that is a prison cell in the freezing of winter in 1837 called Liberty. Isn’t that what the Lord told Joseph and later. Receive ALL things with thankfulness and you shall be made glorious (again, not necessarily physically).
“I know you are not saving up money to become rich. It is your desire to be able to be more free to do things which are of more worth with your time to your family and for others. I certainly think that is a worthwhile pursuit. Just be careful not to be driven too much by money rather than your worthwhile pursuits. “
This was another building off the common ground concept. Start at common ground, build off of it, and then you can help them see where you vary and then they are left with the choice. Isn’t this much of the Socratic method. But you have to start somewhere to where they can agree with you.
This was one of the main reasons why he wanted to gain riches. I do think it is a noble thing for you to be able to do more with your family and time for the benefit of others. I admit, no matter how much I like my job, I have to do it a certain amount and detract away from time that could be used with family, teaching, or even in service. Honestly, you can love your job and want to spend all your time there, but in the end, whether you love your job or not is not going to get you into heavens quadrants. Your family, your service and stewardship will count much more.
There are a score of great blessings that do come from work. I don’t doubt that. But I am sure you could learn many of those same ethics and work from other meaningful service too. Our jobs are a required part of life. Someone has to clean the sewers, someone has to move the trash, someone has to do crime scene investigating, someone has to be the mortician. I certainly hope those people don’t hate their jobs. I do believe, in the vein above, that you have to have that inside conviction, freedom, and security and the outside will change. Hell will in fact become heaven. If you hate your job, first you should probably change your heart and mind, then look again at the job and consider if a change needs to be made.
I completely agree with the Luke 3:14, 1 Tim 6:8, Heb 13:5 (what would that say if I didn’t agree?) that one should be content with wages, have godliness and contentment, and to avoid covetousness. I am sorry if I led you to believe I supported these things.
Anyhow, I hope as you read later of the forwards, that I corrected or explained my position more fully.
This is a great little study for both of us. We must be as wise as serpents but as harmless as doves. We must think these things through, even we must plan financially but far too many people let it consume their lives. I really liked your line, “…I can see how it will take over if you are not careful. But now I know, I need to be wise, but not worry, be prepared, but not obsessed!”
Thanks again, I enjoy our little banters.