Do you ever wonder when someone is doing the level-best to live a good life, a life of giving to others, of sacrificing their means for a good cause, that some around them prosper beyond imagination when apparently they are not so dedicated to high ideals?
Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously? (Jeremiah 12:1.)
If you ever have felt this way, then you are in good company. This quote from a 1952 conference address by Joseph Fielding Smith really helped me. I hope it helps you, too.
Brother Kimball in his remarks this morning spoke of a man who could not quite understand when he paid his tithing and kept the Word of Wisdom, was prayerful, and tried to be obedient to all the commandments the Lord had given him, and yet he had to struggle to make a living; while his neighbor violated the Sabbath day, I suppose he smoked and drank; he had what the world would call a good time, he paid no attention to the teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and yet he prospered.
You know, we have a great many members of the Church that ponder that over in their hearts and wonder why. Why this man seems to be blessed with all the good things of the earth—incidentally, many of the bad things that he thinks are good—and yet so many members of the Church are struggling, laboring diligently to try to make their way through the world.
The answer is a simple thing. If I sometimes, and once in a while I do, go to a football game or a baseball game or some other place of amusement, invariably I will be surrounded by men and women who are puffing on cigarets or cigars or dirty pipes. It gets very annoying, and I get a little disturbed. I will turn to Sister Smith, and I will say something to her, and she will say, “Well, now, you know what you have taught me. You are in their world. This is their world.” And that sort of brings me back to my senses. Yes, we are in their world, but we do not have to be of it.
So, as this is their world we are living in, they prosper, but, my good brethren and sisters, their world is coming to its end. It will not be many years. I can say that. I do not know how many years, but Elijah said when he bestowed his keys: “… by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors,” (D. & C. 110:16) I am sure that over a hundred years later I can say that the end of this world is drawing to its end.
The day will come when we will not have this world. It will be changed. We will get a better world. We will get one that is righteous, because when Christ comes, he will cleanse the earth.
Read what is written in our scriptures. Read what he himself has said. When he comes, he will cleanse this earth from all its wickedness, and, speaking of the Church, he has said that he would send his angels and they would gather out of his kingdom, which is the Church, all things that offend. Then we are going to have a new earth, a new heaven. The earth will be renewed for a thousand years, and there shall be peace, and Christ, whose right it is, shall reign. Afterwards will come the death of the earth, its resurrection, its glorification, as the abode of the righteous or they who belong to the celestial kingdom, and they only shall dwell upon the face of it.
Let us be true and faithful, keep our covenants, be true to every obligation the Lord has given us. I humbly pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. (Joseph Fielding Smith, in Conference Report, Apr. 1952, 28.)