(September 8, 2015)
In our modern society, we seem to equate progress with righteousness. When technology increases, or we acquire a peace (meaning a cessation of open hostilities), we think that this must be because we are more righteous than those who came before.
Likewise, in our personal lives, we may ascribe to this same conceit. We believe that because we have a big house and a good job, we must be righteous. We think that so long as our financial, educational, or social situation is improving, then we likewise must be improving.
Of course, there is no evidence of this from the scriptures. If anything, the scriptures directly contradict this conceit. For example, the Lamanites (through the influence of the Amulonites) progressed in trade and prosperity. The acquired a measure of peace. They increased in riches, and waxed great. Yet Mormon specifically tells us that they did this without any corresponding increase in righteousness – they did not learn of the Lord, or the words of Moses, or the words of Abinidi. They actually delighted in wickedness, even as they increased in prosperity.