Materialism In LDS Culture

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BlackMormon
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Materialism In LDS Culture

Post by BlackMormon » Thu May 16, 2019 7:02 pm

When I was younger, I remember being taught that material success had a lot to do with spiritual success/obedience/faith, etc. I don't hear this being taught anymore - along with many other things that today would be politically incorrect. I still think that many faithful LDS still believe that God opens the heavenly bank accounts to them because they pay tithing and attend church? Do you agree? One recent news on KSL depicts how over 1,000 women signed up to marry an alleged millionaire. http://bit.ly/2Yv4L7m KSL quickly disables comments on these types of news so that it doesn't flare up. What many don't say is that most non-Christ believers make a ton of money. Many atheists make a ton of money. So is the Devil blessing them?
I find this entire concept of financial success tied to religion or to faithfulness as hog wash. What makes people make great money is their professional skills, the business they run or their efforts in a particular enterprise. I highly doubt HF is up there deciding who makes more money than others. That seems so ridiculous to me, even though I realize that there are some scriptures that seem to substantiate the concept. As for women wanting to marry an LDS Millionaire, that's nothing new. I am surprised that is even news.
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Not Buying It
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Re: Materialism In LDS Culture

Post by Not Buying It » Thu May 16, 2019 8:02 pm

BlackMormon wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:02 pm
When I was younger, I remember being taught that material success had a lot to do with spiritual success/obedience/faith, etc. I don't hear this being taught anymore - along with many other things that today would be politically incorrect. I still think that many faithful LDS still believe that God opens the heavenly bank accounts to them because they pay tithing and attend church? Do you agree? One recent news on KSL depicts how over 1,000 women signed up to marry an alleged millionaire. http://bit.ly/2Yv4L7m KSL quickly disables comments on these types of news so that it doesn't flare up. What many don't say is that most non-Christ believers make a ton of money. Many atheists make a ton of money. So is the Devil blessing them?
I find this entire concept of financial success tied to religion or to faithfulness as hog wash. What makes people make great money is their professional skills, the business they run or their efforts in a particular enterprise. I highly doubt HF is up there deciding who makes more money than others. That seems so ridiculous to me, even though I realize that there are some scriptures that seem to substantiate the concept. As for women wanting to marry an LDS Millionaire, that's nothing new. I am surprised that is even news.
I agree completely that equating wealth with righteousness or spirituality is ridiculous, and the exact opposite of what Jesus taught. While Mormons aren’t the only ones susceptible to Prosperity Gospel, I have always thought that the fact that the founder of their Church established it as a money making scheme, and the fact that Brother Brigham further used the Church to enrich himself, plays some role in the materialism of many Mormons. Money grubbing was baked into the organization from the very beginning.
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

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Palerider
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Re: Materialism In LDS Culture

Post by Palerider » Fri May 17, 2019 6:54 am

I think this issue is one of the main reasons the book of Job was written.

Job had more than just wealth. He had a great family, good fortune and health. All of his friends regarded him as favored by God because of his righteousness.

When he lost everything, the automatic assumption by his friends was that he must have committed some unseen sin.

Job teaches us that misfortune can come to anyone, righteous or not. A fact that is lost on many Mormons because of the doctrine taught in the BofM that righteousness always brings prosperity. Therefore prosperity indicates righteousness.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

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Just This Guy
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Re: Materialism In LDS Culture

Post by Just This Guy » Fri May 17, 2019 7:26 am

The problem is that Mormons have Jacob 2.
18 But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.
19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.
So that is giving them permission to go get rich. The problem is that they always stop reading after "if ye seek them."
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Corsair
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Re: Materialism In LDS Culture

Post by Corsair » Fri May 17, 2019 10:11 am

There is a very "don't ask, don't tell" attitude towards the Prosperity Gospel in the LDS church. Mormons want the Prosperity Gospel to work in their lives, but they will not draw any conclusions to how their lives actually proceed after paying a full tithe and generous fast offering. This is compounded by the "heads I win, tails you lose" philosophy of being seeing blessings in people's lives:
  1. Faithful Mormon having prosperity: Blessed by God!
  2. Faithful Mormon having problems: Being tested! Satan is angry because you are righteous!
  3. Apostate having prosperity: Not currently being tormented by Satan, but soon enough...
  4. Apostate having problems: Clearly Satan is destroying your life!
There is no way to win unless you are lucky enough to actually win and then you are on the short list of candidates for a high-profile, time-consuming calling like Bishop or Relief Society President.

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Rob4Hope
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Re: Materialism In LDS Culture

Post by Rob4Hope » Fri May 17, 2019 12:19 pm

It's one of the major tenets of the BoM. If you keep the commandments of God, you will be prospered in the land. The book says it over and over.

I think the LDS church can move away from it, but they can't discount this idea as fundamental in their theology, just as they can't discount the curse of dark skin to make someone ugly being taught in the BoM as well.

They are trapped by their theology and the 19th-century narcissist JS who formulated it.

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Rob4Hope
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Re: Materialism In LDS Culture

Post by Rob4Hope » Fri May 17, 2019 12:29 pm

Corsair wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 10:11 am
This is compounded by the "heads I win, tails you lose" philosophy of being seeing blessings in people's lives:
I couldn't agree with you more. The outcome is fixed by perspective. I've noticed this, and it drives be nucking-futs!....

Take priesthood blessings. Someone gets blessed. No healing. Well, its because they didn't have enough faith...or as Bednar twists it, its because they had enough faith NOT to be healed.

Take WoW. Someone follows it exactly and ends up with cancer. Well, its because Satan is testing them (like your example above), or its just a 'thorn in the flesh' that God gave to them because they needed to learn from 'hard doctrine' as Neal A Maxwell twisted it.

Guys like Maxwell and his book "All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience"....Bednar and his book "Increase in Learning"...Kimball and his book "Miracle of Forgiveness"...etc. They all put a twist on it. They all explain away WHY THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST DOESNT WORK, as it pertains to materialism, health, sexuality, spirituality, weather control, market shifts, scientific discovery, cosmology, physics, ancient Egyptian documents, not so ancient metal plates, non-existent historical experiences,...etc.

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hiding in plain sight
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Re: Materialism In LDS Culture

Post by hiding in plain sight » Fri May 17, 2019 3:17 pm

When I lived in the seattle area. One of the wards in the stake taught a sunday school lesson and used the symbol of dollars raining down from heaven as a sign of their righteousness.

I was just dumbfounded how blatant they were in calling out their righteousness through their wealth. But that is a clear teaching in the BOM.

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Angel
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Re: Materialism In LDS Culture

Post by Angel » Fri May 17, 2019 3:26 pm

I thought this was going to be a thread on minimalism vs. materialism - with their year's supply and preppster mindset, Mormons are not minimalists...

I just received a group txt of someone showing off their new living room (whoops, did not mean to send it to this group, sorry - but so happy you liked it!!) Mormon women's jobs are to paint the walls, re-arrange the furniture, and make more and more elaborate table decorations...

I have a real job, my house is not perfect... one of the many reasons I do not fit in.
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thoughtful
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Re: Materialism In LDS Culture

Post by Thoughtful » Fri May 17, 2019 3:54 pm

An 11% raise means my retirement is funded and I have more toys.

I also don't have to feel guilty about materialism, I can be materialistic if I want.

I also don't have to go into debt or hide my problems so people don't assume I should be ashamed of my wickedness.

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John G.
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Re: Materialism In LDS Culture

Post by John G. » Sat May 18, 2019 8:59 am

Great discussion thread!

I grew up in Utah in the 80’s and the TBM mindset then was very much the prosperity gospel. With the caveats for adversity mentioned in previous posts for those TBMs who were considered worhy. Mostly though, sin explained why someone experienced adversity. (Back then, in the 70’s and 80’s, the Curse of Cain was very much doctrine and explained why black people had less economic success).

After my self collapsed, I drifted for awhile until I learned about the stoic philosophers and secular budaism from Mormon Stories. It’s been a great life philosophy replacement after leaving the church!

What I like best about the stoics is that they have an adequate explanation for failure and adversity. The stoics basically say to accept what should be obvious: which is that there is random chance in the world and so some people get lucky and some are unlucky. The stoics say you should do the best with what you can control.

The stoic view is far more realistic than the magical TBM thinking. i.e. -Pay tithing and lord will open the windows of heaven. Get a priesthood blessing and you will be healed (unless your not and that is because you looked at porn).

As we learned in conference:
I know of a great man who held his dead son in his arms, and said, “In the name of Jesus Christ and by the power and authority of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood, I command you to live.” And the dead boy opened up his eyes.

This great brother could not have possibly done that had he been looking at a pornographic piece of material a few nights before or if he had been involved in any other transgression of that kind. The priesthood has to have a pure conduit to operate.


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1smartdodog
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Re: Materialism In LDS Culture

Post by 1smartdodog » Mon May 20, 2019 11:15 am

It’s an American church based on American capitalism. It is a mindset that benefits the more wealthy to make them feel good about their positions as opposed to those who have little.


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RubinHighlander
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Re: Materialism In LDS Culture

Post by RubinHighlander » Mon May 20, 2019 3:33 pm

Boy howdy! I dealt with this my whole TBM life. Here's a case study:

Grew up behind the zion curtain in an upper middle class white neighborhood - two car garage, modest 1800 Sq Ft home. All four kids with 2-4 years of college that was self paid for, missions were paid for by dad. No boats, big vacations or other recreational toys, but we did have ski passes growing up. As an adult the pressure was on to career and home ownership and by the time I was in my mid 30's I had my own 1800 ft with a two car garage. I switched from net to gross on tithing, feeling extra zealous. An investment in a typical Utah ponzi scheme brought extra money for a bigger house in an upper class white neighborhood - 1/2 acre 3 car garage. Then it all came tumbling down with a divorce and the ponzi scheme blowout, resulting in bankruptcy and basically starting from scratch financially.

Living in the upper class wards brought new stress to succeed. My tech sector job could not keep up with doctors and lawyers. With the failed marriage and financial disaster behind me I started rebuilding with a new marriage. But supporting two households with child support and alimony meant zero savings for many years. Then we made some headway again with the sale of a business and back in a nice house in the upper class again. Then unemployment for over a year nearly wiped out the saving again. No loss of house or bankruptcy, but heading into my 50's, retirement resources suck.

All of this LDS white upper class culture of the American Dream and the blessings of tithing to get there eluded me. I was a 2nd class citizen in the neighborhoods I lived in, both as a melded family and the income. It took a heavy emotional toll on me all those years, feeling guilty for not being good enough at holding the first family unit together or being a better bread winner. So many decisions would have been different, if not for the influence of the rich white culture of the church around me and the guilt and fear of performing adequately. I would have been much more conservative, but for the drive of my peers and my first wife who wanted to keep up with the Nelsons.

Now that I'm out of that culture, but still living among it, I don't have to buy into it and I think I've done pretty damn well through all the thick and thin. I see so many others struggling way more than me and I can see that a lot of that is circumstantial, not tied to any performance of lack thereof in TSCC. Now I see in retirement in the next 10ish years, I can live happily in a much more minimalist way, away from the Zion Curtain; maybe a small town out in a Nevada or Colorado desert or just go mobile.

There's so much irony in the materialism of so many TBMs, doing the mental gymnastics to make our lifestyles justified, living the American Dream while the biggest percentage of the world will never make it into that segment. It's certainly not sustainable for the planet. Everyone in the world cannot have a three car garage big house and live in excess. But thanks to tribalism and the "We are a few super special chosen people." narrative, a few humans justify privilege through their hard work(s) and just and loving God. Tender mercies indeed!
“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
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