This from then-member of the Quorum of the Twelve Spencer W. Kimball in the October 1953 General Conference:
“Now, all money is not lucre—all money is not filthy. There is clean money—clean money with which to buy food, clothes, shelter, and other necessities and with which to make contributions toward the building of the kingdom of God.
Clean money is that compensation received for a full day’s honest work. It is that reasonable pay for faithful service. It is that fair profit from the sale of goods, commodities, or service. It is that income received from transactions where all parties profit.
Filthy lucre is blood money; that which is obtained through theft and robbery. . . .
Compromise money is filthy, graft money is unclean, profits and commissions derived from the sale of worthless stocks are contaminated as is the money derived from other deceptions, excessive charges, oppression to the poor and compensation which is not fully earned. I feel strongly that men who accept wages or salary and do not give commensurate time, energy, devotion, and service are receiving money that is not clean. Certainly those who deal in the forbidden are recipients of filthy lucre. . . . I am sure that money is unclean when it is obtained through oppression, fraud[,] bribery, or through misrepresentations. . . . He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want (Prov. 22:16). Much is said about the hirer and the hired in the scriptures, and about the employer and the employee:
Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth ( James 5:1-4). . . .
Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: At his day thou shalt give him his hire neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it… ( Deut. 24:14-15).
And to me that means, woe unto them who will rationalize, who will explain away their errors in these matters, who justify their oppressions. Farm hands, domestic help, and unprotected people are often oppressed, when economic circumstances place them in the position where they must accept what is offered or remain unemployed. And we sometimes justify ourselves in underpaying and even boast about it:
Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practice it, because it is in the power of their hand. And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage ( Micah 2:1-2).
And then there are those of us who require excessive compensation for services and who fail to give “value received” and who give no loyalty with their insufficient and inefficient service. . . . And as we look about, we see many who are greedy for excessive wealth, and especially that which comes with sharp practices and at the expense of strict honesty and complete integrity. It is hard to satisfy us. The more we have, the more we want. . . . Having food and raiment let us be therewith content. Why another farm, another herd of sheep, another bunch of cattle, another ranch? Why another hotel, another cafe, another store, another shop? Why another plant, another office, another service, another business? Why another of anything if one has that already which provides the necessities and reasonable luxuries? Why continue to expand and increase holdings, especially when those increased responsibilities draw one’s interests away from proper family and spiritual commitments, and from those things to which the Lord would have us give precedence in our lives? Why must we always be expanding to the point where our interests are divided and our attentions and thoughts are upon the things of the world? Certainly when one’s temporal possessions become great, it is very difficult for one to give proper attention to the spiritual things.”
I came upon this talk by accident looking for materials on 1 Timothy for my Sunday School lesson and I was surprised to the extent that this quotation reflected the sentiments of the Occupy movement and did not reflect the sentiments of (most of) the political conservatives that I encounter. Now, I am having a little fun with the title of the post; I suspect that President Kimball would be opposed to some of the methods, as well as the general aesthetic, of the Occupy movement. I’m not claiming he’d be out there, unshaven and unwashed, eating free pizza and trying to get arrested; I am suggesting that he is one of a long line of prophets to occupy something other than the ground from which the free market is worshiped.