- Are we our brothers’ keepers? In other words, are we responsible to look after the well-being of our neighbors as we seek to earn our daily bread? The Savior’s Golden Rule says we are. Satan says we are not.
We are expected as members of the church to live the highest standards. To do this, we must be committed to live the Golden Rule.
- Members of the Church of Jesus Christ have a higher standard. President Harold B. Lee said, “The standard … in the Church must be visibly higher than the standard … in the world.” We are commanded to live the Golden Rule.
Living a higher standard is not easy and will require us to stretch our souls.
- To follow in the footsteps of the only perfect person who ever lived, we must expect to stretch our souls.
Concerning interactions in the business world, President Oaks says that our decisions should reflect our Christian beliefs. We need to do business in a way that would allow the Spirit to be with us continually.
- Followers of Christ have the moral responsibility of earning their livings and conducting their financial transactions in ways that are consistent with the principles of the gospel and the teachings of the Savior. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should not be involved in employment or other activities upon which they cannot conscientiously ask the blessings of the Lord.
He speaks about observance of the sabbath and how we are damaging others by making them work on Sunday.
- To cite another kind of example, an owner who keeps his business open on Sunday prevents his employees from attending worship services and being with their families on the Sabbath. Modern-day prophets have encouraged us not to shop on Sunday (see, for example, Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 6). Those of us who shop on the Sabbath cannot escape responsibility for encouraging businesses to remain open on that day. Essential services must be provided, but most Sabbath transactions could be avoided if merchants and customers were determined to avoid doing business on the Lord’s day.
He shares that the Golden Rule applies to each of us in the business world.
- The Golden Rule applies to our earning activities. We are our brother’s keeper, even in the marketplace.
President Oaks realizes that living the higher standards is difficult and probably can't be changed overnight. But he encourages us to be striving to make these changes now.
- I am aware that this is a high standard which cannot be met overnight. But it is important to recognize our responsibility and begin to work toward it. And we should do so joyfully. The gospel is the good news. Commandments lead to blessings.
As an employee, partner, or business associate, we are not held accountable for those things we cannot control. President Oaks makes it clear that if we don't have the ability to change the practices of the business, we are not responsible for the way the business is ran.
- We should also remember that the principle that the Golden Rule governs our earning activities is difficult to apply in practice. We should not consider employees responsible for policies they regret but cannot control. A decision that is made by the owner of a market should not inflict feelings of guilt on a conscientious but powerless Christian who runs the checkout stand. Similarly, a part-owner does not have freedom to impose his standards on business policies if he has partners who do not share his moral concerns. An incorporated business may be controlled by stockholders who have no concern for the destructive human effects of a profitable product or policy.
President Oaks concludes by asking each of us to reflect on our personal lives and choices and to prayerfully consider what we can do to look after our brothers.
- We must rely on teaching correct principles, which each member should personally apply to govern his or her own circumstances. To that end, each of us should give thoughtful and prayerful consideration to whether we are looking after the well-being of our neighbors in the way we earn our daily bread.
- What a beautiful and happy world this would be if all of us would strive to live these principles to the fullest. Our efforts and influence would affect millions. Examples improve society more than sermons. Most people would rather see a sermon than hear one.
I love President Oaks comment that most people would rather see a sermon than hear one. What an awesome way of saving that we should live the gospel by our actions and not just our words. Being in the business world in my regular job, I find it refreshing to hear such clear instruction on how we should behave. We can all do better but President Oaks invitation is that we start now to make the changes we need to make. We will find blessings beyond our understanding and become a blessing to those that work for us in the business world.