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Do the GAs live the law of consecration?

November 30, 2007

First of all, I must apologize for being a slacker and not posting here for the past few weeks. I wish I could promise a more substantive post today, but as finals are approaching at a frightening pace and my Chinese Politics research paper is still unfinished, I’ll have to be brief.

For today, I’m going to merely pose a question: Do the General Authorities live the law of consecration? I recall being taught that they do live this “higher law,” and I always revered them for doing it. But I’ve never heard a GA claim that he or his peers can be said to live the law of consecration. So what say ye?

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13 comments

  1. I’d say that any member can (and temple goers should) live this law. The law of consecration does not stipulate that I deed all of my belongings to the Church; rather, it demands that all of my time, talents, money, etc. be used to build the kingdom of God. I am still in control of my wallet, but what I do with my money must be decided based upon whether I am furthering God’s work or my own (or someone else’s).

    If a GA claimed to be living this law I would take it the same way as if he claimed to be living the law of chastity, or obedience, or honesty, or any other commandment—namely, that it would sound self-righteous.


  2. There is a discussion on bycommonconsent.com about the pay that GAs receive. Apparently they earn more than most middle-class Americans. If they were living the Law of Consecration, would they just turn around and give back to the church that which was just given to them by the church? Some GAs are (were) extremely wealthy. A mission companion of mine was friends with Elder Hales. Apparently he lives in a huge house with an enormous plot of land. Not sure how that figures in with the Law of Consecration.

    So my answer to your question is no… Unless you appeal to some watered down and somewhat vacuous version of the Law of Consecration proposed by others.


  3. narrator: what would Elder Hales (since you use him as an example) have to do with his plot of land and house in order to meet your definition of the law of consecration?


  4. sell it. buy a modest home/apt/condo and give the money saved to the poor.


  5. I’ve interacted at the corners with some of GAs and they seemed to be living fairly modestly. Sure, they bought suits at ZCMI, but I was struck by Elder Ashton and his scriptures (he owned the economy set) or deJager and his two kids who were living pretty frugally at BYU.


  6. I think that it’s a rumor that gets started from the idea that the GA’s basically spend all their time on the church. As The Narrator said, if they were truly living the law of consecration to the extent that most people think of when they hear that term, they would give all their assets, pension, deeds to lands, etc. to the church, and receive back an allowance according to their needs.


  7. I wonder if those who are truly living this law are also those who have had their calling and election made sure. If this were true, we wouldn’t know about either reality.


  8. who have had their calling and election made sure.

    What is that anyways? Is it merely the second anointing, or is it one of those speculative things that missionaries love to talk about?


  9. It’s on my brain because our teacher discussed it in SS. Sorry. It’s not speculative, really. It was even in the SS manual. 🙂

    From the manual: “The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands), … then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 150).”

    What I was thinking is that to me, the law of consecration is about serving God at all hazards, regardless of persecution or temptation. But maybe I’m wrongly conflating the two. But hey, it’s a discussion, and so sometimes we throw crazy ideas out, right? 🙂


  10. I guess that would include all GAs by your logic in these posting since all of them have received their second endowments and anointings hence all must live the law of consecration and nobody knows about it.

    I once had a Seventy tell me that members don’t understand that the reason they get about 50k a year is to use in the service of their callings. For example they may negotiate for millions of dollars in paper for church publications. They pay for the business meeting luncheon at the Lion House or other suitable dining establishment with cash to impress the business people which psychologically might get them a better deal. They go all over the world eating out on weekends on assignments. It cost money. I am sure they even give a few bucks to people they meet around the world like President Kimball did in India while visiting. They might be interrupted by a different assignment and have to pay for a hotel or get a rental car when a member doesn’t show up to meet them because of an emergency and or pay to get a tire fixed or for gas or a snack etc. Normally you can argue they use Murdock Travel or book from the Church church travel agent but not always. They might have to buy a ticket at the counter and come home early because of a meeting at Church Administration Building. A more interesting thing to find out is do they have emergency ViSA or MC and what is the limit. I think they have it down to a fine art after so many years on what is a modest salary. I can’t prove this but they probably even factor in inflation.

    I am sure they keep it reasonable so as not to be priest crafters. We like to proclaim we are a lay ministry. Some of these men do give their worldly fortunes to the church others made a few bucks on the side before being called and keep a portion of it. I am glad I don’t have to sort out this mess but leave it in the hands of the Lord who knows. I think eventually most give their money to the church. My former mission president M. Russell Ballard took care of his kids then gave a large portion to the Church once they were set up. I have heard him discuss it for years at mission reunions when he finally divested himself of his automobile dealerships, food franchises, and Promised Valley Playhouse. It would have made me cry if I had a ton of money and then had to live on progressively 35k, 45k, or even 50k a year.

    I think it is like tithing the giver makes the call in consultation with leaders and the Lord. I’m glad I’m not a GA since you would discuss my measly little retirement fund of $150,000. Why did Dr. B. give it to his eight kids in college? Shouldn’t he have given it to the church then begged them to pay his kid’s tuition if they didn’t go anywhere other than BYU, BYU-I, or BYU-H who may or may not have a graduate program. It is fun to speculate isn’t it.


  11. LastBoyScout—what you propose sounds like the United Order, not the law of consecration; i.e. you confuse the application with the law.

    Narrator—thanks for answering.


  12. I guess that would include all GAs by your logic in these posting since all of them have received their second endowments and anointings hence all must live the law of consecration and nobody knows about it.

    Wait, what? Do we know that the GAs receive their second anointings? It wouldn’t surprise me if that were the case, but I’ve never heard a definitive statement either way.


  13. the second anointing includes a covenant not to reveal that you had received the ordinance. so unless we are invited to the club, we’ll never know.



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