RS/MP Lesson 27: “Work and Personal Responsibility” (Gospel Principles Manual)

I have tortured feelings about this lesson. In many ways it seems quite dated, something perhaps indicated by one small—but obviously necessary—change made to the manual for the new edition. The paragraph on page 157 that reads “A prophet of God has said, ‘Work is to be reenthroned as the ruling principle of the lives of our Church membership’ (Heber J. Grant, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant [2002], 115)” used to be introduced with the three words “In this century, . . . .”

More troubling for me, though, is the removal from this lesson of a beautiful statement by President Kimball: “I feel strongly that men who accept wages or salary and do not give . . . [fair] time, energy, devotion, and service are receiving money that is not clean.” The quotation went on to describe filthy lucre as including money obtained through “oppression of the poor” and “exploitation,” and clean money as that received as “fair profit from the sale of goods, commodities, or service.” All this has disappeared from the lesson, and I worry that its non-presence is a lost opportunity. I have many concerns about our collective wealthy self-satisfaction in Mormon culture, and I’d love to see a direct word calling it into question.

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