Permission to Enter…At Your Own Risk


Visa-” A document showing that a person is authorized to enter the territory for which it was issued.”

We live in a world that is constantly communicating to us that we “need” so many things, when in reality, those “needs” are mostly wants. I can’t help but think that dissatisfaction, greed and avarice are encouraged when a small child sees all the “material” thinks of this world placed before his or her eyes via the television, movies, and Internet on a daily basis. And the impact on the entire social structure is pretty much the same. It doesn’t just affect the poor, but also the middle class and the rich. Everyone is being raised to feel “unsatisfied” because everyone else seems to have it all, and we don’t. Thus, the tempting bait is placed and the trap is set.

Years ago when I got my first credit card I felt I had become an adult. Wow, a card that had “my” name of it. A piece of plastic called a “Visa”, that authorized me to enter into territories that I never thought I could get into. Stores and things that were out of my reach were now dangled before my eyes. It also provided me with the ability to have a safety net, if used properly. Unexpected expenses seem to come up and “Visa” was there to solve my problems, for a “small” fee! But over the years, for many, “Visa” has “become” the problem. I say “Visa” but what I really mean is debt. And that is what “Visa”, and others authorize us to do; go into debt, to them. A real Visa is issued to persons giving them authority to legally enter in and out of countries or territories. The credit card “Visa”, gives us permission to enter the territory of debt. And while the price of entering in is usually delayed, the day of reckoning comes and we find that the cost is a lot higher than we expected.

I bring this up because the prophets have been warning us for years, perhaps decades against excessive debt.  Several years ago Elder Robert  Hales had this to say:

“Today I speak to all whose freedom to choose has been diminished by the effects of ill-advised choices of the past. I speak specifically of choices that have led to excessive debt…Of course some debt incurred for education, a modest home, or a basic automobile may be necessary to provide for a family. Unfortunately however, additional debt is incurred when we cannot control our wants and addictive impulses. And for both debt and addiction, the hopeful solution is the same—we must turn to the Lord and follow His commandments. We must want more than anything else to change our lives so that we can break the cycle of debt and our uncontrolled wants”. (“Becoming Provident Providers Temporally and Spiritually,” , (April 4, 2009)

The easy availability of credit, even to college students without jobs, is a way for powerful companies to enslave us. And for many they have! Each of us must make the determination, for ourselves, what is excessive debt. But I believe that most of us, if we are honest with ourselves, spend too much on things of little worth and long-term value. We are swayed by the “mad men” advertising that flood our lives and we succumb to our desires. Of course, there is nothing wrong with having things, as long as we can afford them. But even then, we need to be prudent. Unexpected storms have been known to rain on even the most prepared home. In a household, it is hard to follow the wise counsel of our leaders when the house is divided. “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand”. (Mark 3:25). It is hard to follow the prophets on this matter without the support of the entire family.

There is a tremendous amount of pressure on today’s families to spend what they don’t have. Let us be careful and wise in how we chose to spend our resources.  Listening to our leaders on this matter will definitely profit our lives.

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