Our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson, passed away last night. While we are saddened by the loss of this amazing and powerful man, we are happy that he can finally reunite with his beloved wife, Frances, once again.
With President Monson on all of our minds today, I can’t help but remember the many wonderful lessons he taught us throughout his life. He taught us to be happy and to serve others. He also taught us to avoid debt and be wise with our finances. Here are a few lessons President Monson taught us about finances throughout his ministry.
1. Avoid debt
President Monson taught us that we must separate need from greed:
Concerning greed, the counsel from Ecclesiastes speaks caution: ‘He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase.’
Jesus counseled, ‘Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.’ We must learn to separate need from greed.1
He also cautioned us to consider how debt can destroy financial security:
Many enter into long-term debt only to find that changes occur: people become ill or incapacitated, companies fail or downsize, jobs are lost, natural disasters befall us. For many reasons, payments on large amounts of debt can no longer be made. Our debt becomes Damocles sword hanging over our heads and threatening to destroy us.2
2. Live within your means
President Monson taught us that living within our means is crucial to avoiding crippling debt:
We must not allow our yearnings to exceed our earnings.1
That a life free from debt is a happier life free from bondage:
I urge you to live within your means. One cannot spend more than one earns and remain solvent. I promise you that you will then be happier than you would be if you were constantly worrying about how to make the next payment on nonessential debt. In the Doctrine and Covenants we read: ‘Pay the debt thou has contracted… Release thyself from bondage.’2
And that it’s important to reconsider your definition of “necessity”:
Avoid the philosophy and excuse that yesterday’s luxuries have become today’s necessities. They aren’t necessities unless we ourselves make them such. Many of our young couples today want to begin with multiple cars and the type of home Mother and Dad worked a lifetime to obtain.
Consequently, they enter into long-term debt on the basis of two salaries. Perhaps too late they find that changes do come, women have children, sickness stalks some families, jobs are lost, natural disasters and other situations occur, and no longer can the mortgage payment, based on the income from two salaries, be made.
It is essential for us to live within our means.3
3. Prepare for emergencies
President Monson taught us to prepare for uncertainties because when the time for decision arrives, the time for preparation is past:
We urge all Latter-day Saints to be prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living, and to avoid excessive or unnecessary debt. Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had a supply of food and clothing and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse. They have a supply of debt and are food-free.5
4. Pay tithing
President Monson taught us that the honest payment of tithing provides a person the inner strength and commitment to comply with the other commandments:
All of us can afford to pay tithing. In reality, none of us can afford not to pay tithing. The Lord will strengthen our resolve. He will open a way to comply.4
President Monson set a perfect example of how to serve God and enjoy life to the fullest. And we can strive to preserve his memory by applying his teachings in our lives and becoming more Christlike in thought, actions, and deeds.
Thank you, President Monson, for your many years of service and love. We will never forget you.
- Thomas S. Monson “Peace, Be Still” General Conference October 2002
- Thomas S. Monson “True to the Faith” General Conference April 2006
- Thomas S. Monson “Constant Truth for Changing Times” General Conference April 2005
- Thomas S. Monson “Be Thou an Example” General Conference April 2005
- Thomas S. Monson “Are We Prepared?” Ensign, September 2014