Sunday, January 16, 2011

In God, I mean Greed, We Trust


We watched the new movie Wall Street last night. During one scene the camera panned in close on a dollar bill. It showed the phrase we are all familiar with on US currency "In God We Trust".

It struck me as ironic that we would place such a phrase on pieces of paper we use as a means of exchange with each other. The paper isn't valuable, and what's backing the value has changed quite a bit, and the value of the dollar can fluctuates more than the weather in Utah. Yet the slogan proclaims "In God We Trust". I find that very ironic. I wonder just to what degree Money has become America's God. You can buy pretty much anything with money. That God is trusted, respected, honored, sought after, borrowed against, used to gain respect and status. It has the power to both build up and destroy. Facts of life show marriages that end in divorce almost always identify money as a major contributing factor. Can't truly blame paper and coins, in essence it's our decisions that matter.

Christ says in 3rd Nephi 21: "And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds; And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers; Thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands; And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities."

Witchcrafts? Soothsayers? Who are they? The fortune tellers that advertise late at night on TV? Surely the scriptures are referring to things each of us are familiar with. If it were important enough for Christ to mention, it probably has wider application that what we think of at first glance.

Here is what the dictionary says:
Soothsaying–noun
1. The practice or art of foretelling events
2. A prediction or prophecy

I can only wonder how that applies to current economic practices, major upper level decisions that are made, Wall Street, how that applies to housing markets, interest rates, business in general, the weather forecasts. Maybe even religion? The definition of Soothsaying is very interesting. Fortunes are gained and lost daily based on predicting events, and the likelihood of them. Selling fear can make good money. But all those forecasters are smart and brilliant and trustworthy right? After all they study the stuff right? Other scriptures refer to this downfall: "Trusting in the arm of the flesh". (2 Nephi 28:31) If the scripture prophecy is correct, then trusting in the wrong source is something we should all think about. Ignorance isn't long term bliss.

I have found Christ's words are SO incredibly applicable to our lives it's crazy.

"In God we trust"? Really? Or do we trust in the economic forecasts, the housing market forecasts, the analysts, the predictions, the market trends and value of "money". I'm not saying don't learn and become aware of the facts. Not saying that at all. Being informed is wise, without correct data it's hard to make good decisions.

I personally believe the founders of our country and government trusted in God. But taking a step back for just a moment reveals how as a country and general population we have come to say we trust in God with our lips, we write it on our money, but is the statement true or false? Each person has to answer that question for themselves. Each person that uses money should answer that question. If "In God We trust" were written in our hearts, there would be no need to write in on our false God of money. President Obama last year declared on TV "We are no longer a Christen Nation". "In God We Trust" has become "In God We Trusted". Or maybe even "In Greed We Trust" like the movie Wall Street identified.

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