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The LDS Daily WOOL© Archive - Covetousness

"Is not covetousness—that dishonest, cankering evil—the root of most of the world's sorrows? For what a tawdry price men of avarice barter their lives!... Good men, well-intentioned men of great capacity, trade character for trinkets that turn to wax before their eyes and dreams that become only haunting nightmares." — Gordon B. Hinckley, An Honest Man—God's Noblest Work, General Conference, April 1976

"By focusing on oneself,.... It is easier to steal, because what one wants prevails. It is easier to covet, since the selfish conclude that nothing should be denied them." — Neal A. Maxwell, Put Off The Natural Man, And Come Off Conqueror, General Conference, October 1990

"The most sobering questions are often also the most brief, as when the Lord asked, 'What is property unto me?' (D&C 117:4.) Can we become men and women of Christ if property means too much to us? The Lord continued with yet another question involving perspective: '[Why] covet that which is but the drop, and neglect the more weighty matters?' (D&C 117:8.) Oh, how we need this precious perspective!" — Neal A. Maxwell, Men and Women of Christ, p.114

"Covetousness on the part of the saints in the early days of this dispensation was one of the reasons the Lord permitted persecutions to come upon them. (D. & C. 98:20; 101:6; 104:4, 52-53.) The covetous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9-11; Eph. 5:5.)" — Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 168

"I have heard this many times from friends and relatives, but it is hokum. What they are saying is, 'If God will give me a million dollars, I will let him have a generous cut of it.' And so they pray and speculate and expect the Lord to come through for them. He won't do it: 'And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine own property' (D&C 19:26). 'Let them repent of all their sins, and of all their covetous desires, before me, saith the Lord; for what is property unto me? saith the Lord' (D&C 117:4). He does not need our property or our help." — Hugh Nibley, Approaching Zion, 53

"Brothers and sisters, beware of covetousness. It is one of the great afflictions of these latter days. It creates greed and resentment. Often it leads to bondage, heartbreak, and crushing, grinding debt." - Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Earthly Debts, Heavenly Debts," General Conference, April 2004

"’Thou shalt not covet . . . any thing that is thy neighbour's.’ (Exodus 20:17.) The observance of this law would rid the world of most of its strife. Out of a fairly long experience in dealing with the disputations of men, and the causes, I am persuaded that most of them arise out of a covetous desire to obtain some material thing or to reap some advantage to which the contender is not entitled. If everybody wanted to do what he knew was right—deal justly, man to man, and would be content to have what he justly could claim—there wouldn't be much litigation or strife. If applied to the conduct of nations, there would be no war. War results when one nation covets what another nation has or seeks dominion over it. The victim does not want to give up either its possession or its independence. The designing one says, ‘I am bigger than you,’ or ‘I have a bigger or better equipped army so I shall take what I want by force.’ The other resists, and we have war." - Albert E. Bowen, “Conference Report,” October 1948, Afternoon Meeting, p.86

I have learned that selfishness has more to do with how we feel about our possessions than how much we have. The poet Wordsworth said, “The world is too much with us; late and soon, / Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.”  A poor man can be selfish and a rich man generous, but a person obsessed only with getting will have a hard time finding peace in this life. - James E. Faust, "What's in It for Me?" Ensign (CR) November 2002

One observer has written: “In a world that constantly compares people, ranking them as more or less intelligent, more or less attractive, more or less successful, it is not easy to really believe in a [divine] love that does not do the same. When I hear someone praised,” he says, “it is hard not to think of myself as less praiseworthy; when I read about the goodness and kindness of other people, it is hard not to wonder whether I myself am as good and kind as they; and when I see trophies, rewards, and prizes being handed out to special people, I cannot avoid asking myself why that didn’t happen to me.” If left unresisted, we can see how this inclination so embellished by the world will ultimately bring a resentful, demeaning view of God and a terribly destructive view of ourselves. Most “thou shalt not” commandments are meant to keep us from hurting others, but I am convinced the commandment not to covet is meant to keep us from hurting ourselves. - Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Other Prodigal,” Ensign (CR) May 2002

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