Selected Teachings on
The Trial of Prosperity, Peace, and Ease

Helaman 12:1-2 (Mormon)

And thus we can behold how false, and also the unsteadiness of the hearts of the children of men; yea, we can see that the Lord in his great infinite goodness doth bless and prosper those who put their trust in him.

Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people, yea, in the increase of their fields, their flocks and their herds, and in gold, and in silver, and in all manner of precious things of every kind and art; sparing their lives, and delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; softening the hearts of their enemies that they should not declare wars against them; yea, and in fine, doing all things for the welfare and happiness of his people; yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God, and do trample under their feet the Holy One—yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity.

Henry B. Eyring (Quorum of the Twelve)

The real trial of your faith is anything that would divert you from doing what God would have you do....

[T]here will be times when things go very badly, and there will be times when you think things are going wonderfully well. (If you'll remember my definition of a trial, you'll want to be careful about the times when things seem to be going well.) (To Draw Closer to God, p.83-84)

Brigham Young (President)

This will become the great highway of the nations. Kings and emperors and the noble and wise of the earth will visit us here, while the wicked and ungodly will envy us our comfortable homes and possessions....

The worst fear that I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and his people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and be true. But my greater fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth; and yet they have to be tried with riches, for they will become the richest people on this earth. (Brigham Young: The Man and His Work, 4th ed., p.126-129)


Let any people enjoy peace and quietness, unmolested, undisturbed,—never be persecuted for their religion, and they are very likely to neglect their duty, to become cold and indifferent, and lose their faith. (Journal of Discourses, 7:42)

Gordon B. Hinckley (President)

I would like to say that we are a very rich and blessed people....

Brigham Young’s prophecy has been fulfilled. This is now a great and beautiful and fertile area. It has become the Crossroads of the West. Thousands and tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands pass this way constantly. We in the Office of the First Presidency are called upon day after day and week after week to meet the great of the earth. ("These Noble Pioneers," Brigham Young University, 2 February 1997)


My heart goes out to those [pioneers] who were cold and hungry that winter of 1849. I am confident there was much of grumbling and criticism, and understandably so. But how marvelous when a man looked beyond the winter and spoke as a prophet, under the power of the Holy Spirit, of better days to come. Those days have come. This has become one of the great highways of the nations. Millions come to Temple Square. There are hundreds of flights daily in and out of here. Kings and emperors and the noble and wise of the earth visit us here. There’s scarcely a week when we do not have some prominent world figure call on us.

Brigham Young went on to say on that occasion:

It is our duty to preach the gospel, gather Israel, pay our tithing, and build temples. The worst fear that I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and his people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and be true. But my greater fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth; and yet they have to be tried with riches, for they will become the richest people on this earth. [Nibley,Brigham Young, p. 128]

To which I can hear many of you say, “Hasten the day.”

I believe it is here. I believe that day, spoken of by Brigham Young with a voice of prophecy that rose above the voices of defeat and criticism, has come. We have been blessed with the bounties of heaven and the bounties of earth. Oh, how magnificently and munificently we have been blessed! Now, with gratitude in our hearts, let us not dwell upon the few problems we have. Let us rather count our blessings and in a great spirit of gratitude, motivated by a great faith, go forth to build the kingdom of God in the earth. ("The Lord is At the Helm," Brigham Young University, 6 March 1994)

David A. Bednar (Quorum of the Twelve)

The leaders of the Lord’s Church clearly have identified some of the collective or generational tests we can expect to encounter in our day and generation....

Consider, brothers and sisters, that affluence, prosperity, and ease can be tests in our day equal to or greater in intensity than the persecution and physical hardships endured by the Saints who volunteered to march in Zion’s Camp....

Now is the time to show that we are watching and preparing to withstand the latter-day trials of prosperity and pride, of affluence and ease, and of hard hearts and forgetting the Lord our God.  Now is the time to show that we will be true at all times in whatsoever things we are entrusted by our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son—and that we will keep the commandments of God and walk uprightly before Him (see Alma 53:20-21). (BYU-Idaho Education Week Devotional, July 30, 2010)  

Ezra Taft Benson (President)

Every generation has its tests and its chance to stand and prove itself.  Would you like to know of one of our toughest tests?  Hear the warning words of President Brigham Young, "The worst fear I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and His people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell.  This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution and be true.  But my greatest fear is that they cannot stand wealth."

Ours then seems to be the toughest test of all for the evils are more subtle, more clever.  It all seems less menacing and it is harder to detect.  While every test of righteousness represents a struggle, this particular test seems like no test at all, no struggle and so could be the most deceiving of all tests.

Do you know what peace and prosperity can do to a people—It can put them to sleep.  The Book of Mormon warned us of how [Satan], in the last days, would lead us away carefully down to hell.  The Lord has on the earth some potential spiritual giants whom He saved for some six thousand years to help bear off the Kingdom triumphantly, and the devil is trying to put them to sleep.  The [adversary] knows that he probably won’t be too successful in getting them to commit many great and malignant sins of commission.  So he puts them into a deep sleep, like Gulliver, while he strands them with little sins of omission.  And what good is a sleepy, neutralized, lukewarm giant as a leader?

We have too many potential spiritual giants who should be more vigorously lifting their homes, the kingdom, and the country.  We have many who feel they are good men [and women], but they need to be good for something—stronger patriarchs, courageous missionaries, valiant [family history and] temple workers, dedicated patriots, devoted quorum members.  In short, we must be shaken and awakened from a spiritual snooze. ("Our Obligation and Challenge" [address delivered at regional representatives seminar] Sept. 30, 1977, 2-3; quoted by Elder David A. Bednar in BYU-Idaho Education Week Devotional, July 30, 2010)

Harold B. Lee (President)

We are tested, we are tried, we are going through some of the severest tests today and we don’t realize perhaps the severity of the tests we are going through.  In those days [the pioneer days] there were murderings, there were mobbings, there were drivings.  They were driven out into the desert, they were starving and they were unclad, they were cold.  They came here to this favored land.  We are the inheritors of what they gave to us.  But what are we doing with it?  Today we are basking in the lap of luxury, the like of which we’ve never seen before in the history of the world.  It would seem that probably this is the most severe test of any test that we’ve ever had in the history of this Church.  (“Christmas address to Church employees,” Dec. 13, 1973, 4-5; unpublished transcript; quoted by Elder David A. Bednar in BYU-Idaho Education Week Devotional, July 30, 2010)


During the early days of the Church we passed through a period of slander and misrepresentation, and we came through. It drove us together because of enemies from the outside. And we survived it. We passed through a period of mobbing and driving, when lives were taken and blood was shed, and somehow the place of the martyr gave us strength. We passed through poverty, and we gained strength from the test of it. Then we passed through an age of what we might call apostasy, or betrayal from the inside—one of the severest tests through which we have passed.... But today we are being tested and tried by another kind of test that I might call the "test of gold"—the test of plenty, affluence, ease—more than perhaps the youth of any generation have passed through, at least in this church.

May the Latter-day Saint youth, youth of the noble birthright, whose parents have passed through the rigors of trial and testing, consider now the trials through which they are passing today—ease and luxury and perhaps too easy ways to learning and education. Theirs may be the most severe test of any age. God grant that they will not fail, that they will develop the faith that can keep them true when they are in the darkness and humble when they are in the spotlight. (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams, p.329)


Today are we suffering the greatest of all the tests and temptations that have ever been given? The test of gold and affluence and ease, the like of which no people of any generation have ever experienced. We are going through that today. Is it necessary for us to be warned more than the Lord has warned the people in times past? that people who are so slow to listen to the counsels of wisdom will have to be tried by pestilence, by famine, by earthquakes, and all sorts of destruction before they'll be humble enough to listen to the words of God? (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams, p.329)

Joseph F. Smith (First Presidency)

It seems to me that today, or I may say this present moment is a moment of trial for this people. I have often heard the President say, in relation to our having been driven from our homes, hated and mistreated by our enemies and the enemies of truth, that we were not then particularly tried. I believe it. I believe that then we were more happy and better alive to the work we are engaged in than many are today. I believe, of the two, take the period when the Saints were driven from the State of Missouri, or subsequently, when we were driven from the State of Illinois, and compare it with the present day, that today is the day of trial for this people. When you go along the street, and meet a man or a woman, do you know whether he or she is a Latter-day Saint or not? There was a time when we could walk up and down the streets and tell by the very countenances of men whether they were Latter-day Saints, or not; but can you do it now? You cannot, unless you have greater discernment and more of the Spirit and power of God than I have. Why? Because many are trying as hard as they can to transform themselves into the very shape, character, and spirit of the world. Elders in Israel, young men, mothers and daughters in Israel are conforming to the world's fashions until their very countenances indicate its spirit and character. This course is to the shame and disgrace of those who are so unwise. It is not so much in the settlements, but go where you will in this city and you can see some of these foolish ones. And when the line is drawn and the choice made, there are many, who we think today are in fellowship with the Lord, that will be left without the pale. Yet they are now going smoothly along, and we meet, shake hands and call each other brother. We meet here in this Tabernacle and partake of the Holy Sacrament together as brethren in the bonds of the covenant, and go smoothly along together; but it is not all gold that glitters. It is not all as it appears; the surface is deceptive, and while many think that it is no harm to pattern after the foolish, wicked, nonsensical notions and fashions of the world and the character of worldlings, taking them into our homes and making them our companions, and think that we are just as good Saints with as without them, by and by we will wake up to the astounding fact that we have been deceived and misled. (Journal of Discourses, 11:310)