Photo courtesy of Utah Valley 360
On Tuesday, Russell M. Nelson was ordained as the seventeenth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He will serve alongside his counselors, Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring, rounding out the first presidency.
As they bore their testimonies at the press conference yesterday, I felt the spirit strongly testify that President Nelson is truly a prophet of God. I am grateful for the many years of service these men have offered and the many years ahead of them.
These men each have prominent backgrounds as well as strong testimonies of Jesus Christ. They’ve taught us how to live the gospel by word and deed. With their diverse backgrounds, each of these men has a unique perspective on finances.
Here are just a few of my favorites.
Russell M. Nelson
President Nelson underwent extensive schooling to become a world-renown orthopedic surgeon. His research helped develop the first successful heart-lung machine. He also performed the first open-heart surgery in Utah.
President Nelson has taught himself how to speak Mandarin, French, Russian, and Spanish. His philosophy on finances is that you can’t put a price on knowledge or priesthood power:
Please consider how different our relationships with our wife, children, and associates at work would be if we were as concerned about gaining priesthood power as we are in progressing at work and increasing the balance in our bank account. If we will humbly present ourselves before the Lord and ask Him to teach us, He will show us how to increase our access to His power.
Dallin H. Oaks
President Oaks is widely known for speaking frankly about challenging issues. He has touched on sensitive topics like traditional family, dating, pornography, and threats to religious liberty.
And as a former justice of the Utah Supreme Court, his fairness and diplomacy in handling disciplinary action won admiration from the community.
As in everything he talks about, President Oaks has addressed hard topics on finances as well:
The deceitfulness of riches can choke out the fruits of the gospel in many ways. A person who covets the wealth of another will suffer spiritually. A person who has wealth and then loses it and becomes embittered and hateful is also a victim of the deceitfulness of riches…
The possession of wealth or the acquisition of significant income is not a mark of heavenly favor, and their absence is not evidence of heavenly disfavor. Riches can be among the blessings that follow right behavior – such as the payment of tithing (Malachi 3:9-12) – but riches can also be acquired through the luck of a prospector or as the fruits of dishonesty.
Henry B. Eyring
President Eyring always seems to have a smile on his face. I feel like he’s the grandpa we all wish we had – just happy, loving, and thinks you’re amazing at everything you do. I can’t even imagine him raising his voice at anyone. As president of Ricks College, he focused on lifting and strengthening others:
The Lord sent help in that same way to the humble poor in Alma 34 who had responded to the teaching and testimony of His servants. Once they had repented and were converted, they were still poor. But He sent them to do for others what they might reasonably have thought was beyond them and which they still needed. They were to give others what they would have hoped He would give them.
Through His servant, the Lord gave these poor converts this hard task: ‘After ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and availeth you nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith.’
We can learn so much from these amazing men in our new first presidency. We can learn to focus more on the power of faith than the power of our bank accounts, cease from coveting other’s wealth, and to serve those in need. In following these financial principles, I believe we’ll be able to strengthen our faith as well.
Do you believe your career and life experiences have shaped your financial principles? What are some principles you’ve learned from the new first presidency?