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Accountability Principles

7. Money will not make you happy or solve all your problems. My wife, Anne Dewey Sudweeks, reminds me, “If you are not happy without money, you will never be happy with it.”

The playwright Henrik Ibsen made a similar statement when he wrote:

Money may be the husk of many things, but not the kernel. It brings you food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; acquaintances, but not friends; servants, but not faithfulness; days of joy, but not peace or happiness” (quoted by James E. Faust, “Our Search for Happiness,” Ensign, Oct. 2000, 2).

Happiness is a state of mind, a decision you make. It is not a destination or a result of others’ actions. Richie Dayo Johnson, a noted speaker and academician, stated:

Money can buy you a house, but it can't buy you a home. Money can buy you insurance, but it can't buy you security. Money can buy you entertainment, but it can't buy you happiness. Money can buy you medicine, but it can't buy you good health. Money can buy you a bed, but it can't buy you sleep. Money can buy you companionship, but it can't buy you friendship. . . Money is called currency, because it is designed to flow through you. Wealth doesn’t change who you are; it only reveals you to yourself (Dayo Oloma, “Is Money Everything,” May 7, 2007).

Decide now to be happy regardless of your financial situation in life!

Just as money will not make you happy, neither will it solve all your problems. I believe there are essentially two types of problems in life: those we create through disobedience to the commandments, and those that come as part of everyday living. While money can solve some everyday problems, such as needing to pay the bills, there are many problems it cannot solve. In fact, money brings with it a host of problems that we must learn to deal with: greed, pride, and selfishness are just a few examples.

In the Book of Mormon, we read about the cycle of pride—frequently based at least in part on attitudes about wealth—that leads to the destruction of entire nations. An improper attitude toward wealth can lead to pride; pride then leads to wickedness, and wickedness often results in destruction.

Don’t seek for riches for their own sake. If you seek for riches, seek them for the good you can do, the lives you can bless, the missionaries you can support, the students you can help, and the example you can set for your children. Decide now that if you are blessed with riches, you will use them in the right ways, as the prophet Jacob specified. 

These principles about wealth have been important to me and my family throughout the years.  I hope they will become equally important to you as you develop your own understanding of another perspective on wealth.


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