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David Bokovoy

Mormonism and the United Firm

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What plagues discussion and research regarding the economic system of the Law of Consecration is, frankly, political biases. I have heard Mormon conservatives read into the Book of Mormon some kind of American capitalistic democracy that just isn't there. They are mortified by the fact that the Law of Consecration does involve a redistribution of wealth. However, on the flip side, many liberal-leaning Mormons tend to think that all redistributions of wealth are created equal, which simply isn't the case. To better rid ourselves of such biases in our studies, we need to recognize that all current human economic institutions are flawed. What they all lack are God at its head and a covenant that is unifying and morally binding on the people. Having God as the central authority replaces the fallible human authorities that cause the pitfalls of economic collectivism (Hayek pointed out that no human central planner has all knowledge available to him. God, however, would have all available knowledge). The binding adherance to divine covenant would begin to eliminate the selfishness and greed often associated with capitalist systems.

This is very simplistic, but I think it expresses the gist of my view on the matter.

I completely agree! This is completely apolitical to me.

In my mind, this is a personal moral imperative, not something that can be created outside of the individual pursuit of godliness. It is the individual that makes the covenant and is bound by it. It is a collection of individuals that create Zion because we are united (one) in the purpose of consecrating all we have to the work of God, temporally and spiritually. Ultimately, because of the goodness of that society, others seek citizenship among the saints. And thus is Zion built and all nations flow unto her.

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Do you believe that Zion is imposed by God? If so, then we have a fundamental difference of opinion. It is my understanding that we create Zion because of who we are and how we treat each other. We are to become a Zion people, that is how the society of heaven is established.

From Bishop Keith B. McMullin Pres. Bishopric Oct 2002 GC:

I believe this also speaks to MSRS's issue about the timing.

Perhaps we are just talking past each other. I have repeatley stated that I have no issues with what you have brought up. It is my understanding that we might be under a covenant to obey the LoC, but that we currently don't live it, fully.

nackhadlow

sums it up nicely.

We are currently under covenant to obey the Law of Consecration, and our time, talents, and substance which we have are, for all intents and purposes, made record of and placed in the Lord's Storehouse. Our Bishops have the stewardship and authority to come to us to make withdraws from that storehouse as the need is made available.

I should point out that the deed to my car is in my name. Am I currently required (today) to give that deed to the church? Do I need to give the church my 6 guitars that I own? No. That is what I mean that we are not commanded to live it. We should try to live it and have the intent to live it and live it when called upon top live it but it is not a commandment right this second. We have covenated to live it. And when we are called upon to live, we will. That time is not right now.

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I completely agree! This is completely apolitical to me.

In my mind, this is a personal moral imperative, not something that can be created outside of the individual pursuit of godliness. It is the individual that makes the covenant and is bound by it. It is a collection of individuals that create Zion because we are united (one) in the purpose of consecrating all we have to the work of God, temporally and spiritually. Ultimately, because of the goodness of that society, others seek citizenship among the saints. And thus is Zion built and all nations flow unto her.

These two posts very much crystalize how I think about the issue.

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I should point out that the deed to my car is in my name. Am I currently required (today) to give that deed to the church? Do I need to give the church my 6 guitars that I own? No. That is what I mean that we are not commanded to live it.

But what if the Bishop called upon you to sell some of them specifically to assist in a particular cause? Would you do it?

We should try to live it and have the intent to live it and live it when called upon top live it but it is not a commandment right this second. We have covenated to live it. And when we are called upon to live, we will. That time is not right now.

Actually, for some it is. I have had the Bishop come to me and ask me to give additional specific resources. I know Bishops (and others) have gone to others with such a surplus, and have asked similar things of them (For example, "You travel a lot, and accumulate a lot of Frequent Flyer Miles. May we call on you to use those to purchase tickets on occasion for so-and-so to visit their spouse who currently works in another state?") - this is the Bishop going to the Lord's Storehouse and making a withdrawal. The individual being asked can choose whether or not to live in accordance with their Covenant or not. This sort of thing often happens today. For many, the time is right now.

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Perhaps we are just talking past each other. I have repeatley stated that I have no issues with what you have brought up. It is my understanding that we might be under a covenant to obey the LoC, but that we currently don't live it, fully.

Maybe so. I thought your CFR was pretty straightforward as were the references I provided.

I should point out that the deed to my car is in my name. Am I currently required (today) to give that deed to the church? Do I need to give the church my 6 guitars that I own? No.

If it is asked of you, yes. I know people who've been brought into the bishop's office and specifically asked to give beyond tithes and offerings to help meet specific needs of other families in the stake. I know people with certain resources who are regularly asked to donate those for church use. Transferring a deed isn't all that necessary for a righteous steward :P

edit: nackhadlow commented just before I did and said it better. For some the time is now. For those who are ready and willing.

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What plagues discussion and research regarding the economic system of the Law of Consecration is, frankly, political biases. I have heard Mormon conservatives read into the Book of Mormon some kind of American capitalistic democracy that just isn't there. They are mortified by the fact that the Law of Consecration does involve a redistribution of wealth. However, on the flip side, many liberal-leaning Mormons tend to think that all redistributions of wealth are created equal, which simply isn't the case. To better rid ourselves of such biases in our studies, we need to recognize that all current human economic institutions are flawed. What they all lack are God at its head and a covenant that is unifying and morally binding on the people. Having God as the central authority replaces the fallible human authorities that cause the pitfalls of economic collectivism (Hayek pointed out that no human central planner has all knowledge available to him. God, however, would have all available knowledge). The binding adherance to divine covenant would begin to eliminate the selfishness and greed often associated with capitalist systems.

This is very simplistic, but I think it expresses the gist of my view on the matter.

I will simply say that I agree, and that I spent way to much time trying to say what you just said.

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But what if the Bishop called upon you to sell some of them specifically to assist in a particular cause? Would you do it?

If you have even been reading my post you wouldn't even need to ask this.

Actually, for some it is. I have had the Bishop come to me and ask me to give additional specific resources. I know Bishops (and others) have gone to others with such a surplus, and have asked similar things of them (For example, "You travel a lot, and accumulate a lot of Frequent Flyer Miles. May we call on you to use those to purchase tickets on occasion for so-and-so to visit their spouse who currently works in another state?") - this is the Bishop going to the Lord's Storehouse and making a withdrawal. The individual being asked can choose whether or not to live in accordance with their Covenant or not. This sort of thing often happens today. For many, the time is right now.

Look, asking for extra money or extra resources is not the same as being asked to give it all to the church. That is the point I am trying to make. And that is what living the LoC fully, means (perhaps I misunderstand what the LoC is. I thought I knew what it means but you guys are making me doubt that). Currently we are not asked to live it fully. That is we are not asked (today) to give all we own (have stewardship of) to the church. Do you disagree?

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I know Bishops (and others) have gone to others with such a surplus, and have asked similar things of them (For example, "You travel a lot, and accumulate a lot of Frequent Flyer Miles. May we call on you to use those to purchase tickets on occasion for so-and-so to visit their spouse who currently works in another state?") - this is the Bishop going to the Lord's Storehouse and making a withdrawal. The individual being asked can choose whether or not to live in accordance with their Covenant or not. This sort of thing often happens today. For many, the time is right now.

And others have been asked to take in individuals, iow basically turn their house over to the Lord (though of course they get to stay in it as well).

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I have not read every post in the thread, but I have read quite a few of them, reviewing what the usual suspect have said. My only comment is this: A person who has lived their life firmly committed to the concepts embodied by capitalism may experience more discomfort converting to a lifestyle under the Law of Concecration than one who has embraced principles of socialism. But maybe not. Thanks for your analysis David. I found it very refreshing.

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My only comment is this: A person who has lived their life firmly committed to the concepts embodied by capitalism may experience more discomfort converting to a lifestyle under the Law of Concecration than one who has embraced principles of socialism.

When I read what the Church has to say on the matter, such as Enrichment L6 in the D&C institute manual, I get the totally opposite impression. Private property, profits, personal possessions, and the freedom to use them as one sees fit remain under the LoC.

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I have not read every post in the thread, but I have read quite a few of them, reviewing what the usual suspect have said. My only comment is this: A person who has lived their life firmly committed to the concepts embodied by capitalism may experience more discomfort converting to a lifestyle under the Law of Concecration than one who has embraced principles of socialism. But maybe not. Thanks for your analysis David. I found it very refreshing.

I would agree with this and would take it further by stating that a true saint can flourish under any economic or governmental system (in the sense of seeking and becoming more like the Father, not necessarily in being able to fully practice the outward expressions of sainthood). It is not the economic principle that will lead us to godly behaviour, but the Spirit and our willingness to abide by the Lord's command and put aside our own prejudices, preconceptions and preferences on how life should be 'run'.

There are systems that can encourage the outward behaviours of charity, etc. better than others, but in the long run just like children have to grow up and act on their own, we have to look inside ourselves and to God for our true motivation and not rest the responsibility in someone else's hands.

That is why the topic is apolitical for me as well, I am more concerned about learning the principles of the gospel and applying it to myself, my family and those I have immediate interaction with...with the hope---but not the necessity---that living the right way on the family and neighbourhood level will influence positively a wider circle, but that is not my concern at this point. I leave that up to God.

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David, you expressed some interest in the Andrus tapes

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I have not read every post in the thread, but I have read quite a few of them, reviewing what the usual suspect have said. My only comment is this: A person who has lived their life firmly committed to the concepts embodied by capitalism may experience more discomfort converting to a lifestyle under the Law of Concecration than one who has embraced principles of socialism. But maybe not. Thanks for your analysis David. I found it very refreshing.

Am I a "usual suspect"? Anyway, I fail to see why it matters what economic concept I embody, on how that would effect my living the gospel. It sounds as though you think that if I am for capitalism I must be greedy to the core. You know that greed is just as likley to happen under socialism as it does under capitalism. In fact greed is more pevelant in communisim then any other. AS most of the money or economics is controled by an elite class that rules with blood and horror. BTW could you have stirred the pot any more?

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Years and years ago I consulted with an attorney working on the Short Creek 1st Ward vs. Short Creek 2nd Ward folks. The present FLDS 'prophet' is the son of the guy in charge of the 1st Warders. Because the 2nd Warders were heretics, the 'prophet' issued and served eviction notices for all of the folks from their homes and farms in and around Short Creek. During the discovery phase of the case, the 1st Ward leadership and the 2nd Warders all agreed, when asked about their version of the Law of Consecration, that the provisions of the Doctrine & Covenants, Utah version, were the controlling provisions of the United Effort Plan Trust in which all of those homes and farms were held, with the 'prophet' as trustee.

Problem is, the 1st Ward leadership didn't get those provisions in which it states, following delivery of the Deed of Gift for the real estate and other stuff to the UEPT, that one would receive back a writing from the Bishop identifying which portion of the property, real or personal, would be the grantors' portion, and which would stay the UEPT's portion for the poor. They also ignored that, should somebody decide to opt out of the UEPT, he was free to do so at any time, and he would receive his portion from the Bishop, free and clear of the UEPT's claims, with the UEPT retaining that portion dedicated to the poor.

In practice during my GG-Grandfathers' and G-Grandfathers' days during the UEPT in Brigham City, folks were opting out of the Plan from the get-go (including my Smith GG-Grandfather in the 1860s), and others opted out later, on the understanding that they would donate in the form of tithing that amount reasonably necessary for the support of the poor, in cash or kind.

Everybody voted ultimately to get rid of the old UEP, though certain co-ops survived its dissolution. Unfortunate tales from that dissolution period come down to us descendants.

Bottom line, though: It was always intended to be voluntary. He who wished to opt out always was supposed to be able to. This lack of compunction is what distinguishes the Latter-Day UEPT from even the one in Peter's time, when the person who held back might even lose his life for his lack of commitment.

Peter blew it, IMO, in Acts: Ananias and his wife should have been allowed to opt out and tithe. "We have learned from sad experience . . .."

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And might I respectfully propose that perhaps you have missed the point? "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).

You're tilting at windmills.

Joseph Smith said that one was the ideal -- no private property. That is clearly expressed in the Book of Mormon and scattered throughout the statements of general authorities. But it seems system he put into place provided for private ownership of stewardships, something less than the Zionic ideal.

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There is no evidence of a "reconsecration" requirement which would indeed help to destroy the profit motive.

I

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I've been downloading them dear Brother! Thank you so much for making these available. I'm a huge fan of his work. To this day, Andrus' analysis on the doctrines of sanctification versus justification remain the most profound study on the topic I have ever read.

Really grateful for your efforts.

pm me a mailing address, I'll be burning DVD's and mailing likely Thurs. Offer open to all

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Peter blew it, IMO, in Acts: Ananias and his wife should have been allowed to opt out and tithe. "We have learned from sad experience . . .."

My reading of the scriptures was not that they were being forced to tithe the entire possession...though that was the SOP of the community according to the previous verses, but that they lied about how much it cost and therefore were misrepresenting the level of their commitment. IOW, the way Peter phrases it indicates to me they could have kept back part of the price and not suffered for it if they had been honest about it and not tried to get credit for full consecration for what they weren't willing to fully consecrate, whether because they wanted the credit for it out of pride or greed in that if they put on a show that they were giving all to the community, the community might give more back to them if they appeared to need it (while hiding some of their assets).

But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.... 8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. <a name="9"> 9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?

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Do you believe there will be private ownership in the celestial kingdom?

That depends upon whether the LoC exists in heaven. If it does, then I would think that private ownership would have to exist, elsewise how can we consecrate that which is not ours to consecrate.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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May I ask again whether the law of obedience (D&C 130:20-21) will still be enfource under the LoC?

And, may I add to this a related question of whether the parable of the talent will be enfource as well.

If you are wondering how these questions apply to econimics, it has to do with "earnings" or "wages", reaping what we sow. I am just trying to figure out how much of the Judeo/Christian work ethic might go the way of the world so to speak.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Here's another question: will there be a scarcity of resources under the LoC or in heaven?

If not, then wouldn't that pretty much eliminate the need for economic systems?

If so, then what is the LOC mechanism for allocation?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Here's another question: will there be a scarcity of resources under the LoC or in heaven?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Is there a scarcity of resources now?

For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.

Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.

Were these verses only applicable to those saints living the United Order in 1834?

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I have not read every post in the thread, but I have read quite a few of them, reviewing what the usual suspect have said. My only comment is this: A person who has lived their life firmly committed to the concepts embodied by capitalism may experience more discomfort converting to a lifestyle under the Law of Concecration than one who has embraced principles of socialism. But maybe not. Thanks for your analysis David. I found it very refreshing.

Perhaps in one aspect. However, being used to involuntary government redistribution is not the same as being accustomed to voluntary moral structure laid out by divine covenant.

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We are not asked to live this law as a people because we can't. Our hearts are set too much upon the things of this world.

But many of as individuals are asked to live it. But you are right, our hearts are set on the world too much.

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