The adage, "it is not money which is the root of all evil, but the love of money which is the root of all evil" (see 1 Tim 6:10), applies perfectly to the Nephites. Their riches would not have been a problem had they not set their hearts upon them. This is the great lesson and warning for the latter-day saints.
"The sequence is a natural one: with easy wealth comes the feeling of superiority which makes people status-conscious; and with a feeling for status comes a desperate need to acquire the one thing that will give status; and with the recognition of the all-importance of that one thing, any scruples that may stand in the way of its acquisition are pushed aside, even murder being permissible as long as one is not found out." (Since Cumorah, p. 363)
Bruce R. McConkie
"One of the great purposes of this mortal probation is to allow men to choose between the riches of the world and the riches of eternity. Those who set their hearts on the things of this world lose their souls. 'Wo unto the rich, who are rich as to the things of the world. For because they are rich they despise the poor, and they persecute the meek, and their hearts are upon their treasures; wherefore, their treasure is their God. And behold, their treasure shall perish with them also.' (2 Ne. 9:30.) 'For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' (Mark 8:36-37.) Those who set their hearts on the things of the Spirit inherit eternal riches which consist of eternal life." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, vol. P. 94)
Dallin H. Oaks
"The message of the modern prophets is the same as the ancient ones: If we set our hearts upon riches, we have set a worldly god ahead of the eternal God of Israel.
"President Brigham Young feared that the Latter-day Saints would succumb to materialism. Less than two years after their arrival in the valley of the Great Salt Lake, he spoke these words to the people:
'The worst fear that I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and His people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and be true. But my greater fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth; and yet they have to be tried with riches, for they will become the richest people on this earth.'" (Pure in Heart, p. 81)