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David Bokovoy

The Sermon on the Mount and the LofC

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...Private property exists under the United Order taught by Joseph Smith. Private ownership does not. Instead of owners, those who hold property are identified as stewards.

Hope that helps.

Ezra Taft Bensen:

The bishop then deeds back to the consecrator by legal instrument the amount of personal property required by the individual for the support of himself and his family, as the Lord declares, "according to his circumstances and his wants and needs" (D&C 51:3). This becomes the private, personal property of the individual to develop as he sees fit.

Does the united order eliminate private ownership of property? No. "The fundamental principle of this system [is] the private ownership of property

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Again, in historical context, Christ

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Its a distinction without any appreciable difference. All property already belongs to the Lord. We do not need to be living in a fully functioning UO to comprehend and live this principle. We already do and already are, if we are living as faithful, valiant Latter Day Saints.

I think your contrast here between private property and private ownership is a bit of a semantic quibble. All the core principles of the LofC that will apply in the UO already apply now. And yet, if you come onto my property at night and siphon gas out of my car, and I see you do it, I will call the police and you will go to jail.

For what? For theft David. You will be charged and held accountable for trespassing upon private property that I own because I legally transferred some of my property (money) to someone else for title to some other real property (my house and land). In a legal and moral sense, I "own" the property in the same sense we can be "married" to someone in mortality even though the contract has no legal force when we are "out of the world". The Lord respects and accepts the binding bonds, contracts and obligations we make here, but they are all stewardships and only relatively binding in an eternal context.

The reality is that "stewardship" is nothing more than a kind of private rental of what is ultimately God's. But renting is a form of ownership, differing from outright ownership only in that a rental is understood from the outset to be both impermanent and conditioned. The property itself always belongs to the renter, who is the final and ultimate owner, but this in no way detracts from the privileges and rights of ownership that attach to a rental.

Mortal ownership of private property does not logically foreclose or negate God's ultimate ownership. I see no reason to believe that the earthly legal and moral concept of "ownership" must necessitate conflict with God's eternal and underlying ownership. He allows us to own (to have and dispose of by earthly legal title, or by our application of labor to something), his property as a kind of mortal lease. We are accountable to him for the manner in which we use and maintain that property, as all of it ultimately belongs to him and transcends our brief connection to it.

We can own privately here on earth, but all things can still ultimately belong to God, just as we can be married here on earth, but not sealed.

In reality, there is an enormous difference between stewardship and ownership. And I have discussed this in great detail. I invite you to reread my posts on this subject. The Law of sacrifice requires that we give up everything we own unto God. The Law of Consecration requires that we consecrate or make holy those gifts which God gives us to use as his steward. As documented throughout this thread, one of the fundamental ways the Saints of God will make holy their stewardship is to eradicate poverty.

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Ezra Taft Bensen:

Good thing we have the standard works to correct this view. Without them, you might be able to provide a quote from a Church leader that convinces some readers that Adam is God.

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Again, in historical context, Christ

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Good thing we have the standard works to correct this view. Without them, you might be able to provide a quote from a Church leader that convinces some readers that Adam is God.

So you are equating ETB talk to BY Adam/God theory? I just want to make sure I understand your perfectly.

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In today's imperfect world where sources of help are uncertain and undependable (even the Church has its limits at this point in time), it is wisdom to 'fear' and prepare for the storms likely to come to a certain extent.

Is there any reason for such fear in a Zion society?

I am not sure about reasons to fear, but since the Zion Society will, or perhaps has been, in the lone and dreary and imperfect world, there may be wisdom in that society making preparations for the possible "storms". Certainly, there would have been wisdom in my having done so while imperfectly attempting to live a Zion life over the last several decades.

However, truth be told, my current state of near impoverishment (as to the things of this world) wasn't so much a function of "storms" as it was my unwisely failing to provide an adequate means to fill the well of substance from which I was freely drawing and giving to others. I was so busy freely distributing my "wealth" that I neglected to continue creating more wealth that could sustainably be tapped.

Some of my generous neighbors, on the other hand, have more wisely withheld some of their substance, and put it to good use in generating wealth, and consequently they are, and have been, in a far better position tham me to continually offer assistance to the needy. I plan to learn from their more functional example--as I believe God would like for me to do. :P

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Good thing we have the standard works to correct this view. Without them, you might be able to provide a quote from a Church leader that convinces some readers that Adam is God.

Well, I see you're on the run now David, so I think, as I'm a bit exhausted by this whole ordeal, I'll back out for while and just watch the debate develop from my armchair here.

I'd like to see what other perspectives can be brought to the table on this.

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So you are equating ETB talk to BY Adam/God theory? I just want to make sure I understand your perfectly.

I'm making an important point. Latter-day Saints do not hold their leaders nor their words up as infallible. Hence, I see no reason that I should accept as "true" an isolated statement from a former Church leader that is in direct conflict with the standard works. That's why I have repeatedly asked those wishing to present an alternative perspective to do so using the scriptures. I have shown that in reference to property under the United Order, Ezra Taft Benson's reference to "private ownership" is incorrect. He made a mistake. No big deal. If someone disagrees, and believes he was right, deal with my arguments by showing my errors from the scriptures.

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Well, I see you're on the run now David, so I think, as I'm a bit exhausted by this whole ordeal, I'll back out for while and just watch the debate develop from my armchair here.

I'd like to see what other perspectives can be brought to the table on this.

I am simply going to retire for a few days. I have a head ache. Not necessarily from this thread. I have bad allergies.

Every one have a good Thanks Giving.

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Um..... Yeah.

Yes...very interesting, but utterly irrelevant to the Law of Consecration in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times.

Lazer fine scholarly exactitude in the analysis of arcane, peripheral historical issues regarding ancient Near Eastern cultural norms don't make his case relating to the UO any more compelling.

Indeed, it makes him look as if he's wielding his scholarly abilities as an octopus wields its ink sac (though I do believe he is doing it in all sincerity and with the best of conscious motives).

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I'm making an important point. Latter-day Saints do not hold their leaders nor their words up as infallible. Hence, I see no reason that I should accept as "true" an isolated statement from a former Church leader that is in direct conflict with the standard works. That's why I have repeatedly asked those wishing to present an alternative perspective to do so using the scriptures. I have shown that Ezra Taft Benson's comment that "private ownership" is incorrect. He made a mistake. No big deal. If someone disagrees, and believes he was right, deal with my arguments by showing my errors from the scriptures.

Thanks for making it clearer. What the problem is for me is that if I recall BY really did not offer any scriptural support for his Adam God Theory among other issues with his talk.

ETB offered his interpretaion of scirpture that he quoted. What I get from you is your interpretation of scripture as well as some historical insights. For the most part I think you are largly correct in what you are talking about. I think how ever that you have a few issues in some of your views. When it comes down to an interpretaion I will choose the prophets. None of the Prophets today are talking about Liberation Theology or how Capitalism is that antithesis of the gospel. Any way I guess most of the disagreements seems to be a quibble over words.

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I'm making an important point. Latter-day Saints do not hold their leaders nor their words up as infallible. Hence, I see no reason that I should accept as "true" an isolated statement from a former Church leader that is in direct conflict with the standard works. That's why I have repeatedly asked those wishing to present an alternative perspective to do so using the scriptures.

Does the statement in boldface above include all "Saints", or just Latter Day Saints? If it includes all former day Saints as well as those in the present dispensation, then David has just claimed, regarding all of the standard works, that we need not pay too much attention to them, as all of them, especially in an ancient context, were, at one time or another, "isolated statements of former Church leaders".

Secondly, David's remarks here are a bit hypocritical and frivolous, as he has based virtually his entire body of claims on this issue, when using sources outside the scriptures, on the isolated and, not infrequently, obscure statements of former Church leaders.

Many post-Boomer members of the Church have probably never heard of Glen Pace, and far fewer, of any living generation, have read, or are very concerned with what Orson Pratt said in the Journal of Discourses, which is, for most members, about as obscure, isolated, and questionable as to its fallibility as its going to get.

Nor do most members of which I have had any acquaintance take Hugh Nibley's near comic views of economics and politics seriously.

Nor was Dr. Nibley ever an apostle, let along 2nd counselor to the Presiding Bishopric.

There is no need, in any case, for David to play Glen Pace off against President Benson (and the talk was not "isolated", within the Mormon world. It was given as a keynote speech at a BYU devotional in 1977 and is published online on the official website of the Church), as the comments of Elder Pace are completely normative and unremarkable, in an LDS sense, and do not support David's specific idiosyncratic claims.

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Thanks for making it clearer. What the problem is for me is that if I recall BY really did not offer any scriptural support for his Adam God Theory among other issues with his talk.

Brigham Young's teachings regarding Adam as God were not presented in a talk. There were multiple sermons on this matter and considerable scriptural debate between Brigham and Orson. For an analysis, see the book Conflict in the Quorum

When it comes down to an interpretaion I will choose the prophets.

And so will I. But when an isolated statement proves inconsistent with the standard works, I'll stick with the majority.

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Brigham Young's teachings regarding Adam as God were not presented in a talk. There were multiple sermons on this matter and considerable scriptural debate between Brigham and Orson. For an analysis, see the book Conflict in the Quorum

And so will I. But when an isolated statement proves inconsistent with the standard works, I'll stick with the majority.

Thanks for the link to the book. I am not a book worm but this one might be worht looking into. I would personally like to look into more of the Adam God theory. It is an intreging past of Mormon history.

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Ezra Taft Bensen:

The bishop then deeds back to the consecrator by legal instrument the amount of personal property required by the individual for the support of himself and his family, as the Lord declares, "according to his circumstances and his wants and needs" (D&C 51:3). This becomes the private, personal property of the individual to develop as he sees fit.
Does the united order eliminate private ownership of property? No. "The fundamental principle of this system [is] the private ownership of property

I know you posted the whole thing a few pages back, but just so it doesn't get lost in the fray, here it is again:

The bishop then deeds back to the consecrator by legal instrument the amount of personal property required by the individual for the support of himself and his family, as the Lord declares, "according to his circumstances and his wants and needs" (D&C 51:3). This becomes the private, personal property of the individual to develop as he sees fit. It is his stewardship. When an individual produces a profit or surplus more than is needful for the support of himself and his family, the surplus is then placed in the bishops storehouse to administer to the poor and the needy. Under the united order, idleness has no place, and greed, selfishness, and covetousness are condemned. The united order may therefore operate with only a righteous people.

The underlined, italicized, and bolded bits are interesting.

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I'd like to see what other perspectives can be brought to the table on this.

Hi, Droopy.

I rarely do this, as I hope not to give offense, but I'd like to share my perspective as a spectator. I enjoy threads where people are passionate about their beliefs because I love hearing what others have to say. But I confess that I often find your delivery a little overbearing. Rhetoric like this

Why was the great Dr. Nibley's hands over his ears when this was spoken? Why does David turn away, hands clapped tightly over ears and eyes wide shut? What aspect of this is so tortuously difficult to understand?

. . . does little to further the conversation in good faith. Simply make your case without characterizing the other participants in this way. I also found it unfortunate that you would query mercyngrace about how she was or was not contributing to how you viewed the evolution of your discussion with David. I find her posts on this topic to be some of the best I've ever read in a while. Let others post. React or don't react to them, but let them post.

Lastly, I'd love to see you engage the OP more. Do the Beatitudes and Isaiah 61 have any reference to poverty and social justice? You made a great start not so long ago:

In spiritual context, the salient texts relevant to this aspect of his mission has illusion to the entire fallen, mortal condition of human beings and the overcoming of "the World, the flesh, and the Devil". Isolating poverty here is your own hobby horse David, not the core focus of the gospel, or even, I think a good argument can be made, of the texts in question.

Other then the unfortunate reference to "hobby horse," this gets us back to the OP very nicely. Can you expound on this? What is your analysis of these passages in the spiritual context you mention? Was there no literal social context at all or are you merely claiming that if there is it is ancillary and tangential? I've thrown in my two cents about recent scholarship that does indeed place Palestinian macarisms into the context of "poverty" Jewish sects like the Essenes. (See, e.g, 5QBeatitudes.)

All of this, though, with the awareness that all of us are impoverished brothers in Christ.

Regards

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The underlined, italicized, and bolded bits are interesting.

Indeed.

All surplus goes right back to the storehouse. Kind of resolves that "accumulation of wealth" question, doesn't it? How do you accumulate when you are giving back all your surplus?

And while equality of distribution doesn't exist, everyone's needs being different, equality of result does exist because everyone gets exactly what they need.

So whether we call it a stewardship or private property (and then-Elder Benson uses both terms), they are functionally the same in that the laborer in Zion labors for Zion.

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Also, how do we reconcile this:

Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just (say, because of his laziness)

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Public praise and thanks, my friend Joey. I appreciate your effort to help this conversation stay focused on the opening issues and fully agree with you on the value of Mercyngrace's posts, both in this thread, and in every other one she's participated in. I have learned a lot from her important contributions.

Happy Thanksgiving, my Brother. He won't remember me, but say hello to your Dad for me. One of the best teachers I've ever had. Very sorry I only one class from him my senior year.

Best,

--DB

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David Bokovoy-

I'm making an important point. Latter-day Saints do not hold their leaders nor their words up as infallible. Hence, I see no reason that I should accept as "true" an isolated statement from a former Church leader that is in direct conflict with the standard works. That's why I have repeatedly asked those wishing to present an alternative perspective to do so using the scriptures. I have shown that in reference to property under the United Order, Ezra Taft Benson's reference to "private ownership" is incorrect. He made a mistake. No big deal. If someone disagrees, and believes he was right, deal with my arguments by showing my errors from the scriptures.

Forgive me if I've somehow misunderstood the thrust of your arguments on this thread, but do I perceive correctly that you are suggesting that there is currently a fundamental misunderstanding at all levels of Mormonism concerning the meaning and scripturally-mandated function of the Law of Consecration?

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It goes to show that a common goal or ideal is just as important as any competitive bidding in a dynamic, varied free market for labor. That is the secret to successfuly living the LoC.

This is a very important point, I think. As I mentioned before, Daniel H. Pink's Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (Riverhead Books, 2009) notes that, generally speaking, individuals are motivated by three things: (1) autonomy, (2) mastery, & (3) purpose. Autonomy because individuals want to be self-directed in their own lives; free to make their own decisions and act on them. Mastery because individuals like to develop skills and overcome challenges ("becoming better" is satisfying). Purpose because individuals want to be part of something that is bigger than them. I've always said that one of the main things that separates LoC from secular capitalism or socialism is a moral binding via voluntary covenant on the people; a covenant that brings an eternal purpose to their actions. Another difference would be that God is the "central planner," not man. The latter is impossible in principle and is just asking for trouble. See F.A. Hayek, "The Use of Knowledge in Society," American Economic Review 35:4 (1945) and The Road to Serfdom (University of Chicago Press, 1944).

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And a sidenote, I greatly appreciate the comments in this thread, especially David's. I don't always agree with some of your modern applications and economic implications, but your insights are certainly thought-provoking and eye-opening. For that, I truly grateful. The same goes for others on this board (Brade, J Green, etc.)

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