If you're feeling worried about the US economy after hearing the results of last night's election, I have some words of comfort for you. But first, let me give you some background.
When we were in Las Vegas a few months ago, we visited a local ward there, and heard an amazing talk. The speaker was in the stake Young Women's leadership, and was employed in the financial industry (for a bank, I believe). The topic she spoke about? Following the prophet. She described sitting in the conference center for the October 2001 General Conference, and hearing a talk from President Hinckley (read the full talk here). This talk was a response to the attack on the United States on September 11, 2001.
President Hinckley said the following:
The economy is particularly vulnerable. We have been counseled again and again concerning self-reliance, concerning debt, concerning thrift. So many of our people are heavily in debt for things that are not entirely necessary. When I was a young man, my father counseled me to build a modest home, sufficient for the needs of my family, and make it beautiful and attractive and pleasant and secure. He counseled me to pay off the mortgage as quickly as I could so that, come what may, there would be a roof over the heads of my wife and children. I was reared on that kind of doctrine. I urge you as members of this Church to get free of debt where possible and to have a little laid aside against a rainy day.
President Hinckley went on to talk about the Old Testament story of Pharaoh's dream, with the 7 fat cows and 7 skinny cows, and the 7 good and 7 bad ears of corn.
Now let me tell you more about the woman that spoke in Las Vegas. In her talk, she said that after that October Conference, 7 years of good economic times followed. Especially in Las Vegas, real estate values continued to go up and up, and the people generally prospered. And 7 years after President HInckley spoke those words, admonishing us all to get out of debt, to pay off our mortgages, the economy and real estate market crashed. As an employee in the financial industry, the speaker attended a conference where a nationally-renowned economist spoke. He said that according to his projections, the economy would likely take 7 years to recover from the crash.
Coincidence? I think not. It has been four years. Don't be surprised when it takes another three for the economy to fully recover.
Now, for some more words of comfort from President Hinckley's talk in 2001:
"Peace may be denied for a season. Some of our liberties may be curtailed. We may be inconvenienced. We may even be called on to suffer in one way or another. But God our Eternal Father will watch over this nation and all of the civilized world who look to Him."
"Are these perilous times? They are. But there is no need to fear. We can have peace in our hearts and peace in our homes. We can be an influence for good in this world, every one of us."
He was addressing the panic, fear, and grief that followed the 9-11 attacks in these quotes, but his words ring true today. I'm not among the group that feels that President Obama's reelection is "the beginning of the end," but I hope that those who find themselves worrying about the next four years will take comfort in these words, and have faith that things will be alright. And, on the bright side, the economy is going to get better in three years!