There are 10 thoughts on “Consecration Brings Forth Zion, Not Just Disaster Relief: An Examination of Scholarly and Prophetic Statements on the Law of Consecration”.

  1. I did not follow Huff’s arguments very well. He relied too much on the Journal of Discourses. It is true that the Church respects private ownership, however, there is a difference between the United Order and known capitalism. Leonard J. Arrington wrote that although the property people owned was theirs, the capital was not (Building the Kingdom of God, pp. 16-25) All capital investments were controlled by directing bishops. I think he was correct because even today, the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes controls where business investments go and approves of financial policies. Huff is too capitalistic, arguing that inequality was necessary, when the Order was meant to actually reduce it’s effects, and it can’t be be done by the bankers on Wall Street. Their interest is only self-interest, therefore it makes sense for the First Presidency to take ownership of the capital than let it be in the general membership’s hands.

  2. “Active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints covenant to obey the law of consecration”

    When the Lord pronounced the church to be under condemnation for taking the commandments they had been given lightly, they were then told that-

    “they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them”

    That admonition was followed with this prophetic caveat:

    “not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written—” D&C 84:57

    Lip service is simply not adequate. One must live the law as given, or live under condemnation.

    • There are four times in the Doctrine and Covenants where the Lord decrees the awful punishment of being “delivered over to the buffetings of Satan.” Once it is for breaking the covenant of Eternal Marriage (D&C 132:26). The other 3 times it is for breaking the covenant of Consecration (D&C 78:12; 82:21; 104:9-10). This is an indication as to the importance and sacredness of this covenant. It is the Law of the Celestial Kingdom (D&C 88:23-23; 104:4-5). If one cannot live this law one cannot live there.

  3. Richard, I just finished the article and applaud you for a job well done and agree with most of your analysis and understandings regarding the Law of Consecration and Stewardship.

    In 1972 and 1973 I had the opportunity to live with my wife and four young children on Kibbutz Sde Boker in Israel and experience having all things in common. It was one of the greatest experiences of our lives. It is not communism nor socialism where a central government is redistributing wealth. It is an independent organization which we joined voluntarily and enjoyed more free time with our children than we did after we returned to America and rejoined the rat race. Think of it as a corporation in which everyone who works for it is an equal shareholder in it and also enjoys the same standard of living no matter what their calling. Think of it as an LDS ward where everyone receives a calling, only in temporal affairs. The callings rotate as everyone wants to have new challenges and responsibilities. New businesses are started and operated. Some are teachers, doctors, lawyers, college professors and in other professions, who sometimes worked elsewhere but pooled their income into the common fund and received back according to their needs. Sound familiar? It is not complicated. It was my desire at the time to organize an LDS kibbutz in Israel, but President Lee and President Tanner informed me that the Church was not ready for that yet. I don’t think we are any more ready now than we were then.

  4. Richard, I’m just getting into your article, which I’m sure I will enjoy. Near the beginning you wrote, “the organized method of consecration carried out under Joseph Smith — preserves freedom and private ownership…”

    Freedom for sure, but I believe that it is “stewardship” rather than private ownership.

    “For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures. I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine. And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.” (D& C 104:13-15)

    “… for according to the law every man that cometh up to Zion must lay all things before the bishop in ion.” (D&C 72:15)

    Orson Pratt commented on this:

    “What was [the commandment]? That all people who should gather to Jackson County… should consecrate all their property, everything they had—they were to withhold nothing. Their gold and silver, their bedding, household furniture, their wearing apparel and everything they possessed was to be consecrated.” (JD 17:28)

    He also said, “In consecrating property, we must, in the first place, remember that it is not ours. Why, because the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof…Then in consecrating what we have been in the habit of calling our own, we are only returning to the Lord His own property.” (JD 2:99)

    “And again, a commandment I give unto you concerning your stewardship which I have appointed unto you. Behold, all these properties are mine, or else your faith is vain, and ye are found hypocrites, and the covenants which ye have made unto me are broken; And if the properties are mine, then ye are stewards; otherwise ye are no stewards. But, verily I say unto you, I have appointed unto you to be stewards over mine house, even stewards indeed. (D&C 104:54-57)

    “A steward is a person who manages another’s property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another or others” (Dictionary.com). If we are stewards we do not own the property of our stewardship. Under the Law of Consecration and Stewardship we are stewards over the Lord’s property. We do not have private ownership of it.

    • You are of course technically correct; I mentioned private ownership in two senses. First, legally (according to the laws of the USA, for example) the stewardship would be considered “owned” by the person even though religiously we consider it a stewardship. Second, personal items such as clothes and especially toothbrushes (for example), although they may technically be part of a stewardship, wouldn’t need to be shared except under extreme conditions. So the type of communal ownership that existed in “The Family” in Kirtland, where people just took each other’s stuff, wouldn’t happen. So I’m trying to distinguish this from Joseph Smith’s plan. Anyway, thank you for your comment and your interest in the article.

      • When something is your stewardship others do not have the right to interfere with it. If my stewardship is to teach the gospel doctrine class someone else does not have the right to show up at class and announce that they are going to teach the lesson. So it is with a temporal stewardship. Another basic principle of consecration is that “all things must be done in order and by common consent” (D&C 26:2; 28:13, 104:71-72, 85).

        • Here are a few verses that may pertain to the above conversation: D&C 53:4. “when he shall appoint a man his portion, give unto him a writing that shall secure unto him his portion, that he shall hold it, even this right and this inheritance in the church…”D&C 42:32 “every man shall be made accountable unto me, a steward over his own property, or that which he has received by consecration”.
          In this sense, even now we are stewards of our own property, notwithstanding we haven’t received that property via consecration, but own it “according to the laws of the USA.” It’s true that all things belong to God, yet He has given us stewardship via legal ownership. It appears to me that when we receive what property we will by consecration it will become ours legally and privately owned. And as illustrated in the analogy of the gospel doctrine teacher, “someone else does not have the right to show up and announce that they are going to” do something else with that property or stewardship because it is privately owned.

          • According to the revelations, the Church retains title or legal ownership of all consecrated properties. As the Church is legally a private institution it remains private property in that sense. (D&C 42:32) The property over which a person is made steward (by writing or deed) will be almost as if he were owner, but he is not. The Lord is the owner. He retains ownership.

            “Behold, all these properties are mine, or else your faith is vain, and ye are found hypocrites, and the covenants which ye have made unto me are broken; And if the properties are mine, then ye are stewards; otherwise ye are no stewards. (D&C 104:55-56)

            If I have two cars in my stewardship and my bishop tells me that one of them is needed for widow Jones, widow Jones is going to get one of the cars. Both cars belong to the Lord and his representative may distribute them as he sees fit. However, the bishop still needs my consent. I suppose I could refuse, just as I can refuse a calling, but I had better have a good reason to explain to my bishop, or I might have to take it up directly with the Lord.

          • This goes directly to one of the reasons that Oliver Cowdery was excommunicated. After entering into the full covenant of the Law of Consecration and Stewardship, Oliver declared that he would not be governed by any ecclesiastical authority in his temporal affairs and sold the lands that he was steward over and kept the money. (“Minute Book 2,” p. 118-119, The Joseph Smith Papers, http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/minute-book-2/122)

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