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"Behold, Here Are Six Onties of Silver," Alma 11:1-22

Alma 11:1-22

I finally arrive at chapter 11 of Alma. We have at the beginning of the chapter an explanation of the currency of the day among the Nephites. It is laid out as such:

Nephite Coinage Chart
limnahonti (vs.22)Equal to a senine, a seon, and a shum of gold combined, or equal to a senum, an amnor, and a ezrom of silver combined. (7 senines, 7 senums, or 7 days of work) (vs. 10, 13)
shumezrom2 seons (4 senines) or 2 amnors (4 senums) (vs. 9, 12)
seonamnor2 senines or 2 senums (vs. 8, 11)
antion3 shiblons, which means it should be 1½ senine (vs. 19)
seninesenumThis is the base measurement from which all other coins are valued. A day's wages for a judge. Also, the worth of a measure of barley and every other kind of grain.(vs. 3, 7)
shiblonhalf a senum, half a measure of barley (vs. 15)
shiblumhalf a shiblon (4 shiblums = a senum) (vs. 16)
leahhalf a shiblum (8 leahs = a senum) (vs. 17)

In verse 20, we learn that the motivation for the lawyers to come out in open opposition to the servants of God is for financial gain. "...Because they received their wages according to their employ, therefore, they did stir up the people to riotings, and all manner of disturbances and wickedness... that they might get money "

What I learn in this exchange that follows and other accounts of the Savior is that money is of no consequence or real value in the kingdom of God. Money has it purpose and significance as a instrument of measurement as to the value of physical work. Money doesn't affect the quantity or the quality of the administrations of the Kingdom of God. It is needed to manage basic needs. But it is of little value beyond that. Yet it cannot be used to replace the work that will heal humanity. Only love and service, which cannot be measured with financial instruments, can do that.

So much of wickedness is justified in this world on the premise of financial gain. "If it makes me money to sustain life, then it must be okay." It seems to be a hardline to cross between the need for financial gain, and the obligation of moral decency. How many of life's ills though, would be resolved, if our hearts and minds weren't so set on needing the next paycheck for survival?


  1. Forgive me if I disagree just a little bit with your statement that money is of no consequence or real value in the kingdom of God.
    Money is an innovation that allows one's labor to be converted into a medium that is easily exchangeable so that transactions are eased when bartering for what one needs or wants. It's an efficiency.
    As such it also becomes a means of storing work over time such that productivity in good times can be used during difficult times. (This assumes people are frugal enough to ensure they produce a surplus consistently). It's a system of saving and building surplus.

    Producing surplus also means that money becomes an important method of sacrificing and consecrating, which are important principles of the gospel.
    Having a finite amount of money and making choices about what to do with it are part of how we are "proved herewith" during morality, just as what we do with the finite time of mortality is how we are proved.

    One of the truths that we learn as part of natural law is that a big result requires much labor and a little result requires little labor. At bottom, prices are meant to reinforce this principle, although economics of scale and other principles may change how it plays out.

    I am interested in how the principle of charity and the principle of work and the law of the harvest will interact in an exalted society in the hereafter, but I can't see it being a society where efficient systems are completely scrapped just because a fallen society corrupted those efficiencies to evil use. Rather, I envision that an exalted society will be able to bring about much greater efficiencies that couldn't ever have been conceived of in a fallen world.

    It may be that I am misunderstanding what you mean when you say money "doesn't affect the quantity or the quality of the administrations of the Kingdom of God". Certainly it doesn't affect the spiritual aspect, but the material/temporal part is very much affected.

    1. Hey Michaela, great thoughts. My comment was exclusively in terms of the spiritual aspects of the work. I, for many seasons now, have been self-employed and dismally so. This means that I'm not very good with the money thing, but I continue to pursue the purposes for which I feel that I've been called to perform. It's been years like this for me.

      A year or so after I married (which was 15 years ago), I became acquainted with an individual, a member, caught up in a pyramid scheme. I remember his parting words to me were something to the effect of "Just think of the good you could do for the Church if you were financial independent." Those words had a chilling effect upon me and sent me running away from this type of philosophy.

      Subsequently, what I've also discovered is that by choosing to follow spiritual impressions instead of financial incentives, I have been placed in positions of economic constraint that then have afforded me opportunities for greater service in neighborhoods and among people that I would have never had the privilege of knowing had I had a more affluent and financially comfortable lifestyle.

      I have been amazed time and time again on what the Lord is able to do with a near empty tank of gas in terms of service and blessings to others. So when I say money doesn't affect the quantity or the quality of the administrations of the Kingdom of God, I think this is what I mean.

      Clearly, especially on a global level, money has been used to create beautiful temples, perform life-saving humanitarian projects, and build infrastructure to manage the growth of work of the Lord. So much of the important work that happens in the Church though is done without money. Arguably, if we were to quantify the amount of labor rendered in the church and assign a monetary value to those labors performed, it would dwarf the amount of revenue actually used to manage the resources of the Church. Those are my thoughts on the subject.


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