Am I my Brother Keeper when it comes to Debt?
Posted by kirkcaudle on December 29, 2009
One subject that we always hear from the leadership of the church is to stay out of debt. I think we seem to be hearing more about it now than ever. There are exceptions to this to be sure, (education, house, etc.) but I think most of us understand that. In 1998, President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “I urge you to be modest in your expenditures; discipline yourselves in your purchases to avoid debt to the extent possible. Pay off debt as quickly as you can, and free yourselves from bondage … If you have paid your debts, if you have a reserve, even though it be small, then should storms howl about your head, you will have shelter for your wives and children and peace in your hearts” (Ensign, Nov. 1998, 54). Again, I am sure most of us would agree with President Hinckley’s remarks.
We have then been told, “Debt can take its worst toll on our marriage relationships” (Rulon T. Burton, “The Dangers of Debt in Marriage,” Ensign, Sept. 1984, 49). And Spencer W. Kimball said, “All my life from childhood I have heard the Brethren saying, ‘get out of debt and stay out of debt.’ ” (In Conference Report, April 1975, p. 166.). Now it is easy to find quotes about staying out of debt from church leaders, they are abundant. However, that brings me to my question:
Do we have any responsibility in assuring those around us stay out of debt?
For example, imagine I am the Bishop of my ward, I stand up in sacrament meeting and give a talk about living within your meanings, and not taking on unnecessary debt, I might even use the above quotes. Then let us say I have a job at Best Buy (no offense to Best Buy workers) as a salesman. That Monday someone in my ward walks in the door, and I do everything I can to sell them a TV for $3,000 dollars. Knowing they cannot pay for it, I recommend the credit card. I feel this is ok because it is “my job” and “not personal.” This analogy can work with any employment that consistently pushes unnecessary debt as a way to stay in business, and prey on the weakness of others. Other good examples would be working for a payday loan business, or even Visa themselves.
In D&C 52:40 it states, “And remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple.”
Could we say that those who willingly, and with full knowledge, land others in debt “doeth not these things” and thus are not true “disciples?” Or is that saying too much? After all, debt does more to destroy marriage than almost anything. After all, President Hinckley did say to “free [our]selves from bondage,” so why not free others, or better yet, why not make sure they do not get trapped in the first place?
Is there a difference if I make a living on tempting people to break the word of wisdom and tempting them to live beyond their means, even if I keep both commandments myself?
So I guess my main question is, do we have an ethical responsibility as church members to assure those around us stay out of debt, as we have a responsibility to stay out of debt ourselves?
This entry was posted on December 29, 2009 at 6:38 am and is filed under Misc., On studying, Scripture topics. Tagged: brother's keeper, cain, debt. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
54 Responses to “Am I my Brother Keeper when it comes to Debt?”
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.