Saturday, September 6, 2008

Prosper in the Land


When I think back on my growing up years, the first thought that comes to me is that nothing went right. It seems that trials and tribulations were all my family encountered at every turn. My mother had undulant fever. My father contracted encephalitis from a mosquito bite and almost died. Our house burned down. Dad started several businesses and problems plagued every one of them. Dad had blood clots in his lungs. Financial problems hung over us like a storm that wouldn't abate. I could go on, but this is enough to give you a feel for the things that plagued us.

Despite all of this, my parents were always faithful in the Church. They paid a full tithe. They studied the scriptures. They attended the temple often. They taught us. They served in the Church and were always very active. The problem with all of this is that I kept hearing and reading verses of scriptures such as that found in 2 Nephi 1:20; "Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land." I saw that my parents were diligently trying to keep the commandments, but they weren't prospering. This bothered me a lot and challenged my testimony.

It took years of study and gospel scrutiny for me to finally realize what the Lord means when he says "prosper in the land." I should have caught on from the very verse I just quoted. The rest of that verse says, "But inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence." I was always so caught up in the "prosper" part that I didn't see that the opposite of prospering has nothing to do with wealth. The opposite is to be cut off from the Lord. This led me to the realization that this earth is one day going to be the celestial kingdom. So to prosper in the land means to stay here—to be part of the celestial kingdom. This is explained in Proverbs 2:21-22, "For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it."

While it is true that righteous people often acquire more earthly prosperity, it doesn't always happen. There are many righteous people who struggle financially and many wicked people who don't. But righteous people will always acquire faith and will "prosper in the land" in that they will receive a celestial inheritance in this land.

When I think back on my growing up years, my second thought is that everything went exactly as it was supposed to. My parents had faith. What more could I ask for?

4 comments:

Knowles Family said...

Thank you Sherrie for once again helping me see things in a different light. I really appreciate your blog and thoughts so much. Thank you!

Connie said...

You do have a knack for pointing out things that I should have noticed but did not think of! Thanks!

Eric Poulin said...

You point out an interesting nuance to the promise "thou shalt prosper in the land". However, "prosper" as used in the scriptures DOES also refer to monetary gain. See the below as an example:

"Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches."(Old Testament | Psalms 73:12)

My take on "prosper" is a growth or ain in your goals. So you can prosper by gaining lands, wealth, converts, etc... and if you are keeping the commandments, your goals will be righteous ones.

A further example:

"And it came to pass that they began to prosper by degrees in the land, and began to raise grain more abundantly, and flocks, and herds, that they did not suffer with hunger" (Book of Mormon | Mosiah 21:16)

This is clearly talking about wealth, in terms of their farming lifestyle - an increase in their crops and animals. No doubt it was a spiritual blessing to them, but wealth is definitely part of the equation.

True, we are not all blessed with wealth, but perhaps your parents spiritual needs were not to be met with wealth. The Lord knows that we need.

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righteousness.
19 And it came to pass that they began to prosper exceedingly in the land; and they called the land aHelam.

(Book of Mormon | Mosiah 23:19)

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And it came to pass that they did multiply and prosper exceedingly in the land of Helam; and they built a

(Book of Mormon | Mosiah 23:20)

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church; and they began again to have peace and to prosper exceedingly in the affairs of the church, walking circumspectly before

(Book of Mormon | Mosiah 26:37)

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of the land.
7 And the Lord did avisit them and bprosper them, and they became a large and wealthy people.
8 Now

(Book of Mormon | Mosiah 27:7)

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to those who stood in need.
31 And thus they did aprosper and become far more wealthy than those who did not

(Book of Mormon | Alma 1:31)

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that: aInasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land? And again it is said that: Inasmuch

(Book of Mormon | Alma 9:13)

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him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them.
25 Cry over the flocks of your fields, that

(Book of Mormon | Alma 34:24)

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as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land.
2 I would that ye should do as

(Book of Mormon | Alma 36:1)

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as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall bprosper in the land; and ye ought to know also, that

(Book of Mormon | Alma 36:30)

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he said: bIf ye will keep my commandments ye shall cprosper in the land—but if ye keep not his commandments

(Book of Mormon | Alma 37:13)

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this compass (now these things were temporal) they did not prosper; even so it is with things which are spiritual.
44 For

(Book of Mormon | Alma 37:43)

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as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land; and cinasmuch as ye will not keep

(Book of Mormon | Alma 38:1)

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said unto him: Blessed art thou; and the Lord shall aprosper thee in this land.
9 But behold, I have somewhat to

(Book of Mormon | Alma 45:8)

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this was their afaith, that by so doing God would bprosper them in the land, or in other words, if they

(Book of Mormon | Alma 48:15)

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faithful in keeping the commandments of God that he would prosper them in the land; yea, warn them to flee, or

(Book of Mormon | Alma 48:15)

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Lord was, if they should keep his commandments they should aprosper in the land.

49 CHAPTER 49

The invading Lamanites are unable

(Book of Mormon | Alma 48:25)

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the judges over the people of Nephi.
18 And they did prosper aexceedingly, and they became exceedingly rich; yea, and they did

(Book of Mormon | Alma 50:18)

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blessed, inasmuch as they shall keep my acommandments they shall prosper in the land. But remember, inasmuch as they will not

(Book of Mormon | Alma 50:20)

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judges were chosen.
48 And the people of Nephi began to aprosper again in the land, and began to multiply and to

(Book of Mormon | Alma 62:48)

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to his word, so that they did wax strong and aprosper in the land.
52 And it came to pass that all

(Book of Mormon | Alma 62:51)

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after the ways of his father, insomuch that he did prosper in the land.
21 And it came to pass that he

(Book of Mormon | Helaman 3:20)

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came to pass that the work of the Lord did prosper unto the baptizing and uniting to the church of God,

(Book of Mormon | Helaman 3:26)

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were left in their own strength; therefore they did not prosper, but were afflicted and smitten, and driven before the Lamanites,

(Book of Mormon | Helaman 4:13)

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and inasmuch as they did repent they did begin to prosper.
16 For when Moronihah saw that they did repent he did

(Book of Mormon | Helaman 4:15)

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The righteous Lamanites preach to the wicked Nephites—Both peoples prosper during an era of peace and plenty—Lucifer, the author

(Book of Mormon | Helaman 6:Heading)

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come to pass that the people of Nephi began to prosper again in the land, and began to build up their

(Book of Mormon | Helaman 11:20)

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the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and aprosper those who put their btrust in him.
2 Yea, and we

(Book of Mormon | Helaman 12:1)

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we may see at the very atime when he doth bprosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their

(Book of Mormon | Helaman 12:2)

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liveth so shall it be. Amen.

6 CHAPTER 6

The Nephites prosper—Pride, wealth, and class distinctions arise—The Church is rent

(Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 6:Heading)

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peace in all the land.
4 And they began again to prosper and to wax great; and the twenty and sixth and

(Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 6:4)

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to destroy.
17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall revile against thee in judgment

(Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 22:17)

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Christ—They have all things in common, work miracles, and prosper in the land—After two centuries divisions, evils, false churches,

(Book of Mormon | 4 Nephi 1:Heading)

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and nine years had passed away.
7 And the Lord did prosper them exceedingly in the land; yea, insomuch that they did

(Book of Mormon | 4 Nephi 1:7)

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And he began to reign, and the people began to aprosper; and they became exceedingly rich.
29 And it came to pass

(Book of Mormon | Ether 6:28)

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who were under the reign of Shule the king did prosper exceedingly and wax great.
20 And the country was adivided; and

(Book of Mormon | Ether 7:19)

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idolatries the Lord did spare them, and they began to prosper again in the land. And it came to pass that

(Book of Mormon | Ether 7:26)

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from off the land, and the house of Emer did prosper exceedingly under the reign of Emer; and in the space

(Book of Mormon | Ether 9:16)

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in the sight of the Lord; and the people did prosper in the land; and he did live to a good

(Book of Mormon | Ether 10:16)

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this thing which I have commanded you, and you shall aprosper. Be faithful, and yield to no btemptation.
14 Stand fast in

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 9:13)

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so doing I will bless him, otherwise he shall not prosper.
5 Thus saith the Lord; for I am God, and have

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 49:4)

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there is no aweapon that is formed against you shall prosper;
10 And if any man lift his voice against you he

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 71:9)

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And, now, behold, if Zion do these things she shall aprosper, and spread herself and become very glorious, very great, and

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 97:18)

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and for eternity;
25 That no weapon aformed against them shall prosper; that he who diggeth a bpit for them shall fall

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 109:25)

Sherrie Mills Johnson said...

Eric, Thank you for your comment. I love comments! And tou are absolutely right; the Lord does often increase our wealth, but most of us already know that. I was just trying to point out that there are also other ways this promise is fulfilled.