According to a recent article by Peggy Fletcher Stack in the SLTrib (1 Jan 2011):
Through the ages, the idea that God materially rewards the righteous has appealed to certain kinds of Christians. Mormons are no exception. A Harper’s Magazine article even asserted that Mormon beliefs were like the prosperity gospel “on steroids.”
That may be an overstatement, says BYU’s [Warner] Woodworth [professor of organizational behavior], but it contains an element of truth.
Mormons may not call it the “prosperity gospel,” says Woodworth, who spends most of his time working with students and nonprofit groups focused on Third World poverty, “but many definitely believe that the more righteous they are, the more money God will give them because He wants them to be successful.”
Stack’s discussion of the Mormon “prosperity gospel” concludes:
It has led to multilevel marketing schemes and scams, to overspending and under-giving, to conspicuous consumption and to a disregard for the poor, Woodworth says. “A lot of U.S. Mormons in business try to pay their employees as little as possible.”
And though many claim they will help those in the Third World after they have secured their first million, Woodworth says, few ever get there.
“It always feels to me that there’s a spiritual bifurcation. When they’re in the dog-eat-dog world, they’ve got one mind-set and one perspective, which is all about becoming the biggest, the richest and the greatest,” he says. “But when they go to church or serve in their calling as a mission president or whatever, it’s all about love and reaching out and we’re all the same and all equal.”