Friday, May 30, 2008

Principles as I see them

I wanted to do a new post about all the principles that I see taught during my regular study. The first one that popped up in my reading was "Exchange Creates Wealth." I just had two good conversation where this principle was relevant. First, at a family reunion over the weekend, I spoke with a family member who had recently returned from Iraq. I asked him how things were going and he said, "If you want my honest opinion, not a whole lot is happening and it's pretty disappointing over there." As I asked him to clarify he said,"Five years ago when we entered the country, we started out handing out things to the people such as food, supplies, clothing etc. and nothing was asked for in return. Now after five years of these "feeding a man a fish" actions, the Iraqi people have become dependent on the "hand-outs" of the Americans rather than learning how to create value on their own. Fighting unprincipled behavior with more unprincipled behavior only compounds the problem.
Another conversation that I just had with a fellow employee also illustrated this point. She has a family member who has had health problems over the past few years and the family has kindly chipped in to help out. Her family member is now to the point that he can physically help himself, but because he is so dependent on family help, he is unwilling to help himself and is still looking for the "hand outs" that the family can offer.
In both cases, we see that the principle of Exchange Creates Wealth has been violated, in that one party was not gaining more than they were trading. Any time this happens on of the parties comes into bondage to the other and this is where tyranny and oppression occur.
I saw this quote about Joseph Smith that seems to fit in perfectly. It comes from a trial where Martin Harris was testifying in the behalf of Joseph Smith who had been accused of swindling money from his followers.

"I can swear that Joseph Smith never got one dollar from me by persuasion, since God made me. I did once, of my own free will and accord, put fifty dollars into his hands in the presence of many witnesses, for the purpose of doing the work of the Lord. This I can pointedly prove; and I can tell you, furthermore, that I have never seen in Joseph Smith a disposition to take any man's money without giving him a reasonable compensation for the same in return. And as to the plates that he professes to have, gentlemen, if you do not believe it, but continue to resist the truth, it will one day be the means of damning your souls."


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