November 28, 2007

If you look at the four scriptural/historical examples of proposed Zion societies, which are found in Acts 4:31-35, 4 Nephi 1:2-6, 10-18, Moses 7:17-21, and D&C 42:18-36, the common elements is unity. Certainly, all four societies mentioned the breakdown of class distinctions (no rich or poor, no -ites), but this is simply another element of unity. We are to be one, or we are not the Lord’s.

For whatever its worth, I don’t really know what that means, but I know how the Lord defines it. When we seek his will, we are one with him. In all known Zion societies, the members of those societies sought the Lord’s will first. Thereby, they were able to set aside their own differences. Not set aside even, but rather eliminate. The scriptural record is clear is that consecration has never been about economics, it has always been about the individual’s desire to serve God first. If every individual (or most individuals) in a society live the law of consecration, you get a Zion society. It happens organically. Those people just care about each other and others in a manner which results in unity and a lack of want.

This means, of course, that the reason we don’t have Zion today, for which we are still asked to prepare, is that we don’t want it. We are not particularly interested in it. We think ourselves happier seeking our own will, instead of seeking God’s. The continued persistence of a lack of Zion is not proof that God has altered the program; it is proof of our refusal to comply. Think about it, when does God alter his commands? As far as I know, only when the people utterly fail to keep them. Tithing, Home Teaching, the PEF; these are our Laws of Moses, which we are reminded of whenever we go to an endowment session. God isn’t interested in our money; he wants our whole heart, mind, might, and strength. God doesn’t need our funds; he needs us. So long as we refuse to devote, to consecrate ourselves to his cause, he will ask for some of that about which we care (our moolah) to remind us that it should not be our goal.

If we are to be the Lord’s holy people, shouldn’t we actually attempt to be the Lord’s holy people?


  1. The scriptural record is clear is that consecration has never been about economics, it has always been about the individual’s desire to serve God first.

    I suppose I don’t have to write my piece tomorrow, because this is basically what I was going to say. Thank you for this.

  2. To what extent do you think economics is a factor in our apparent inability to consecrate? That is, how does our love of money and the things money buys contribute to our inability to create Zion?

    You cannot serve God and Mammon.

  3. Ann,
    Greatly. That is, I think, the primary reason why we are hung up on the financial aspects of the United Order and why we seem to think that tithing is a substitution. If we were more focussed on being one with God, all that stuff would take care of itself.

  4. Can you go the other way? Can you shed your “stuff” as a tool toward being one with God? “Stuff” is a direct obstacle to that oneness. Shedding the obstacles can make it easier to achieve that oneness.

    The cycle of humility & sharing/blessings/stuff/downfall that happens over and over and over again in the Book of Mormon would indicate that the stuff itself IS a problem.

  5. Is stuff always an obstacle? I think it’s the *love* of stuff, no?

  6. Is stuff always an obstacle? I think it’s the *love* of stuff, no?

    You say potato. I say potato.

    (I guess it doesn’t work in print).

    I don’t think it’s really stuff or the love of stuff that is the problem. It’s our failure to share the stuff that is the problem – the lack of unifying love that John was pointing out.

    I don’t think there is any problem with loving stuff – even riches. It is when that love prevents us from helping others that it becomes a problem. Is it wrong to love football? I don’t think so. But when my love for football comes in the way of helping out a neighbor, then it is a problem.

    The problem with wealth and luxuries is that if one has more than her needs, then she is necessarily withholding and neglecting the poor. If neglecting the poor is a sin, then in our society having luxuries is necessarily sinful as well.

    What does it even mean to ‘love stuff’ anyways? It seems that a definition of ‘loving stuff’ that is absolutely sinful would fall into some sort of Pharisaic realm, whereas Jesus’ view on this matter would not focus on the ‘lover of stuff’, but rather those whose despair could be alleviated with stuff.

  7. Once again, though, I think John brings up an important point. It usually isn’t just about giving up stuff to help others that will change our hearts. If one gives up one’s will and heart to God, it will follow that one will desire to serve and help others in every way — temporally, emotionally, spiritually, etc.

    I think Ann’s point is that for some people, some of what that heart-giving will include letting go of riches, but I doubt most of us are only holding onto that. There are many other ways we tend to hold back as well, all of which could hinder our ability and desire to serve and help and give to others.

  8. Sure, we all hold stuff back. And we shouldn’t. Setting aside some of our riches will help, but only if we realize that it isn’t just giving up our riches that is important. Um, I like where we are going on this thread, FWIW.

  9. letting go of riches

    It’s not about letting go of our riches. It’s about giving those riches to those who need it. Jesus didn’t tell the rich man to just set aside his possessions. He told the guy to sell what he had and give it to the poor.

    The Gospel isn’t about individualism. It’s about community. That is the body of Christ. That’s why the sacrament uses the language of the collective ‘we’ and is oft called communion. In response to some Christians saying that Mormons were going to go to hell, Joseph Smith replied, “That’s fine. We’ll all go to hell and make a heaven out of it.” What good is salvation alone? How did our perception of the gospel become so selfish and individualized? Me. Me. Me. Me. It’s the gospel of a bratty toddler. We need to do what Jesus did and see the gospel as a need to care and love the other. It’s about us and we. Do that, and the individual is just fine.

  10. We need to do what Jesus did and see the gospel as a need to care and love the other.

    I don’t think anyone disagrees with this at all, FWIW. When I said ‘letting go of riches’ I meant willingly giving them up to help others and help the Lord’s work move forward.

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