They Had Become Exceedingly Rich – 4 Nephi 1:23-26

23 And now I, Mormon, would that ye should know that the people had multiplied, insomuch that they were spread upon all the face of the land, and that they had become exceedingly rich, because of their prosperity in Christ.
24 And now, in this two hundred and first year there began to be among them those who were lifted up in pride, such as the wearing of costly apparel, and all manner of fine pearls, and of the fine things of the world.
25 And from that time forth they did have their goods and their substance no more common among them.
26 And they began to be divided into classes; and they began to build up churches unto themselves to get gain, and began to deny the true church of Christ.
(4 Nephi 1:23-26)

Mormon viewed income inequality as a serious issue. When it appeared among the Nephites, it was generally accompanied by pride, ostentatious clothing, contention, and erosion of faith. Mormon clearly saw it as a red flag and frequently highlighted a gap between rich and poor as a harbinger of perilous times.
Is it wrong to be rich? At the least, it’s extremely dangerous. After 200 years of peace and happiness, the people began to engage in behaviors which led to the collapse of the social order which had brought them so much collective happiness. The first stage in this deterioration, as Mormon tells us in the passage above, was that they became “exceedingly rich.” Ironically, having more made them less generous, less inclined to share, and less attuned to the needs of the people around them. Not long after, “they began to be divided into classes,” and the unity they had enjoyed for so long was gone.
Today I will be aware of the potentially corrupting influence of prosperity. I will remember that success in any endeavor has the potential to induce pride which can lead me away from happiness and righteousness. I will resist these worldly temptations and will pay attention to the needs of the people around me, recognizing that we are all children of God.

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