In his Spring 2012 conference address, Elder M. Russell Ballard discussed the Mormon version of the “prosperity gospel” (aka righteousness brings material riches):
. . . Do some sectors of our society have stronger values and families because they are more educated and prosperous, or are they more educated and prosperous because they have values and a strong families? In this worldwide Church we know that it is the latter. When people make family and religious commitments to gospel principles, they begin to do better spiritually and often temporally as well.
The concept of the Lord materially rewarding the righteous has strong appeal to some Christian groups. And, as Elder Ballard exemplifies, Mormons are no exception. A Harper’s Magazine article even claimed that Mormon beliefs are like the prosperity gospel “on steroids.”
Mormons may not call it the “prosperity gospel,” explains BYU Professor Warner P. Woodworth, “but many definitely believe that the more righteous they are, the more money God will give them because he wants them to be successful.”
For me personally, the “prosperity gospel” (both Mormon and non-Mormon) is antithetical to Christ’s teachings. I would much prefer that the LDS Church continue with its strong emphasis on education (including continuing), and leave “prosperity” out of the equation. According Apostle John A. Widtsoe, “Among Latter-day Saints, education becomes a life-long process.” Hip, hip, horray.
What is prosperity anyway?