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The Economics of Zion


3DOP

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I have followed with detached interest the debate between Latter-day Saints here in comparison with similar debates between Catholics. There is a tradition in Catholicism that emphasizes the value of holy poverty, however this can only be embraced by those who have chosen a celibate lifestyle, which is clearly incompatible with the married life which is standard from Mormons and still one of the seven sacraments and therefore highly esteemed among Catholics.

The Catholic Church notes that there have been many religious and political movements that attempt to solve problems associated with involuntary poverty and widely variant distribution of wealth. However these problems should be solved, the Church has officially taught that private property is a natural right of man that must be maintained. The very fact that one of the commandments requires that we cannot steal implies a revealed recognition that God approves of property rights. For where there is no right of private property, how does one define theft?

But even apart from inspired revelation, Pope St. Pius X taught in a Motu Proprio of Dec. 1903, that the natural law teaches us the right of private property:

(1) "Unlike the beast, man has on earth not only the right of use, but a permanent right of ownership; and this is true not only of those things which are consumed in their use, but also of those which are not consumed by their use"; (2) "Private property is under all circumstances, be it the fruit of labour or acquired by conveyance or donation, a natural right, and everybody may make such reasonable disposal of it as he thinks fit."
---The Catholic Encyclopedia http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12462a.htm

The Encyclopedia gives the further reasons why the Church says private property is not merely a right, but a necessity of human existence:

The necessity of private ownership arises partly from the external conditions of life under which the human race actually exists, partly and especially from human nature as we know it by experience, with all its needs and faculties, inclinations both good and bad, which the average man reveals at all times and in all places. This theory does not assert that there should be nothing else than private property, much less that there should be private property of individuals only. Families, private corporations, communities, and states, as well as the Church, may own property. Its distribution is not something settled by nature uniformly and immutably for all times and circumstances, but full play is given to human liberty. Generally speaking, what is necessary is that private property should also exist. The boundaries between private and public property may vary from age to age; but, as a rule, private ownership becomes the more necessary and the more prevalent the farther the civilization of a people progresses.

I don't care enough to argue much about this. Many Mormons are already making my points precisely as I would make them anyway. If some Latter-day Saints see in "Zion" a change in "the external conditions of life under which the human race actually exists" that might render private property unnecessary, it appears that others don't see it that way. The Catholic position only theorizes about this life, not eternity. I don't know about heaven. I kind of wanted to weigh in on the side of those who are maintaining the necessity of private property in this life, before heaven, and this seemed like a better way than butting in with Catholic stuff on the thread about the "United Firm". And I thought you might be interested to know that the question has been raised among us too, although it has been pretty much put to rest by official statements.

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Heh.

I knew I'd get zero replies...Why did I even look? There isn't really anything to say. To get a reasoned reply would be most likely to get the thread closed anyhow. Thanks for the 19 views though!!!

God bless.

3DOP

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I thought you might be interested to know that the question has been raised among us too, although it has been pretty much put to rest by official statements.

Yet, as I recall, there are many priests and bishops who oppose the official position and preach the gospel of social justice*. This is especially true in Africa, South America, and Asia, although it happens in USmerica's inner cities, as well.

* This "gospel" is the idea that men have the right to other's property on the basis of the erroneous fact that "they don't deserve it and I do", otherwise known in scripture as "coveting".

Lehi

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I have followed with detached interest the debate between Latter-day Saints here in comparison with similar debates between Catholics. There is a tradition in Catholicism that emphasizes the value of holy poverty, however this can only be embraced by those who have chosen a celibate lifestyle, which is clearly incompatible with the married life which is standard from Mormons and still one of the seven sacraments and therefore highly esteemed among Catholics.

The Catholic Church notes that there have been many religious and political movements that attempt to solve problems associated with involuntary poverty and widely variant distribution of wealth. However these problems should be solved, the Church has officially taught that private property is a natural right of man that must be maintained. The very fact that one of the commandments requires that we cannot steal implies a revealed recognition that God approves of property rights. For where there is no right of private property, how does one define theft?

But even apart from inspired revelation, Pope St. Pius X taught in a Motu Proprio of Dec. 1903, that the natural law teaches us the right of private property: ---The Catholic Encyclopedia http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12462a.htm

The Encyclopedia gives the further reasons why the Church says private property is not merely a right, but a necessity of human existence:

I don't care enough to argue much about this. Many Mormons are already making my points precisely as I would make them anyway. If some Latter-day Saints see in "Zion" a change in "the external conditions of life under which the human race actually exists" that might render private property unnecessary, it appears that others don't see it that way. The Catholic position only theorizes about this life, not eternity. I don't know about heaven. I kind of wanted to weigh in on the side of those who are maintaining the necessity of private property in this life, before heaven, and this seemed like a better way than butting in with Catholic stuff on the thread about the "United Firm". And I thought you might be interested to know that the question has been raised among us too, although it has been pretty much put to rest by official statements.

Ok what about the millenium where we are to live in our homes and have our own gardens with our families and non other shall steal or take from us..... is the thousand yearts of peace on this earth considered a heavenly exsistance and or a part of heaven? :P

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Ok what about the millenium where we are to live in our homes and have our own gardens with our families and non other shall steal or take from us..... is the thousand yearts of peace on this earth considered a heavenly exsistance and or a part of heaven? :P

Thanks jadams.

Catholics aren't necessarily convinced there will be such a period, but what you describe would be to my understanding an earthly existence that would still necessitate private property.

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Hey, you only posted it an hour ago and it's a Saturday. :P You make great points. You couldn't call it stealing if everything belonged to everyone. And you can't covet something that belongs to you.

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Yet, as I recall, there are many priests and bishops who oppose the official position and preach the gospel of social justice*. This is especially true in Africa, South America, and Asia, although it happens in USmerica's inner cities, as well.

* This "gospel" is the idea that men have the right to other's property on the basis of the erroneous fact that "they don't deserve it and I do", otherwise known in scripture as "coveting".

Lehi

Hi Lehi. Thanks for your response.

Yes, it seems to me that you are right about what I think has come to be called "liberation theology". I stop short of labelling these priests and bishops as heretical for this particular belief, because while official, in my opinion, the necessity/right to private property has never been definitively settled. (I would be very open to an argument that shows how the question is closed.) However those who believe in what is essentially a political agenda, also seem to gravitate to views which diminish the supernatural. Maybe misplaced passion about what they perceive as justice in this world blinds them to what is really essential to the Gospel and the necessities of the next world?

Heh. I am mostly in agreement with your cynical assessment of the source of their doctrine too.

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Hey, you only posted it an hour ago and it's a Saturday. :P You make great points. You couldn't call it stealing if everything belonged to everyone. And you can't covet something that belongs to you.

I wasn't complaining Morning Star...I was just thinking that everyone had said everything already in the other thread. I really thought mine would probably just disappear quickly and it would have been okay. Anyway...thanks for your vote of confidence in regards to some of the points raised.

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Heh.

Actually, your OP is pretty intriguing.

But it is going to take me some time to digest the implications of what you're actually saying here. Since it's framed from a perspective I might not be used to hearing.

I intend on commenting on your OP tomorrow.

Good stuff.

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I have followed with detached interest the debate between Latter-day Saints here in comparison with similar debates between Catholics. There is a tradition in Catholicism that emphasizes the value of holy poverty, however this can only be embraced by those who have chosen a celibate lifestyle, which is clearly incompatible with the married life which is standard from Mormons and still one of the seven sacraments and therefore highly esteemed among Catholics.

The Catholic Church notes that there have been many religious and political movements that attempt to solve problems associated with involuntary poverty and widely variant distribution of wealth. However these problems should be solved, the Church has officially taught that private property is a natural right of man that must be maintained. The very fact that one of the commandments requires that we cannot steal implies a revealed recognition that God approves of property rights. For where there is no right of private property, how does one define theft?

But even apart from inspired revelation, Pope St. Pius X taught in a Motu Proprio of Dec. 1903, that the natural law teaches us the right of private property: ---The Catholic Encyclopedia http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12462a.htm

The Encyclopedia gives the further reasons why the Church says private property is not merely a right, but a necessity of human existence:

I don't care enough to argue much about this. Many Mormons are already making my points precisely as I would make them anyway. If some Latter-day Saints see in "Zion" a change in "the external conditions of life under which the human race actually exists" that might render private property unnecessary, it appears that others don't see it that way. The Catholic position only theorizes about this life, not eternity. I don't know about heaven. I kind of wanted to weigh in on the side of those who are maintaining the necessity of private property in this life, before heaven, and this seemed like a better way than butting in with Catholic stuff on the thread about the "United Firm". And I thought you might be interested to know that the question has been raised among us too, although it has been pretty much put to rest by official statements.

IMNSHO and after many years of consideration the idea of private property is alive and well and true. First, all of this is God's private property. Second he has and will continue to appoint to us a stewardship over part of his property thus extending private property to us. Part of that stewardship is to take care of the less fortunate as he would. This does not mean we will all have the same things or even things of equal value but that all needs (not wants) are to be met. The dreamed of utopia where you go and load up anything you want is not accurate or real. The idler shall not eat the bread of the laborer.

3DOP I don't think the official Catholic concept and LDS concept are very far apart. But as you have seen there are those in both faiths that do not have a grasp of the truth of that concept.

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..the Church has officially taught that private property is a natural right of man that must be maintained. The very fact that one of the commandments requires that we cannot steal implies a revealed recognition that God approves of property rights. For where there is no right of private property, how does one define theft?

While I respect your right to base a social construct upon the Old Testament, for my purposes,

I'm not convinced that every principle in the OT is sure foundation for a New Covenant approach.

Centuries later...Christ taught that if a man asks something of us, we are to give him not only what he asked, but something more. Does that suggest a more fluid approach to "things"? Or only towards certain things?

I don't care enough to argue much about this.

And I admittedly haven't thought about it sufficiently to have much of an argument.

I might have more to contribute after I've finished reading/reflecting on this book:

41G004AZMJL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

I've had the book for some time - and I suppose this summer would be a good time to dust it off and finish reading it.

Has anyone here read it...or anything similar?

If so, thoughts?

Any gleanings related to the concept of a voluntary state of sharing?

Or anything relevant there to the perpetual immigration fund, or the modern "perpetual education fund"?

If some Latter-day Saints see in "Zion" a change in "the external conditions of life under which the human race actually exists" that might render private property unnecessary, it appears that others don't see it that way.

Whether an internal change will lead to a change in external conditions of life...or the other way around remains to be seen. I suspect it is an internal change that will drive the creation of the external. But based on 3rd Nephi, it could even be something like dramatic shifts in geopolitical affairs that creates blank-slate conditions favorable to allowing people to have such a broad paradigm shift. Dunno.

There. I said it. The dreaded "p" word. (Politics is merely the process of people working to arrive at a group decision.)

I may be wrong, but I'm not yet convinced people in a pure-in-heart Zion state will care much about most possessions.

For a number of reasons, I suspect it may be more like the innocence of a little boy who cheerfully gives away a toy...that was never really his in the first place.

Thoughts?

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Heh.

I knew I'd get zero replies...Why did I even look?

I just saw this thread and found it interesting. It is nice to know that we LDS are not alone in being internally divided on this issue.

I like the point that was made regarding the commandments against theft and covet as evidence of private ownership. And, while those commandments were instituted during OT times, I doubt that they are any less pertinent today than are the commandments to not kill and to honor our parents. I view such commandments as timeless.

I don't know if Catholics, like LDS, believe in the principle of "stewartship", but I agree with Will's suggestion in the other thread that the distinction between "stewarship" and "private ownership" may merely be semantic. So, maybe the divide isn't as wide as it may sometimes seem.

Whatever the case, I suppose there is some value in men wrestling with these divergent opinions and conjecturing about the future. It is comforting to know, though, that God will some day step in and settle the question for us. :P

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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There. I said it. The dreaded "p" word. (Politics is merely the process of people working to arrive at a group decision.)

You are correct. The problem is that politics is almost always associated with government, and government is the jealously guarded monopoly on the use of lethal force. So, when one group wins, their opponents lose. And that often brings resentment, it can result in slavery, and sometimes death. (Government is the leading cause of violent death in the world.)

I may be wrong, but I'm not yet convinced people in a pure-in-heart Zion state will care much about most possessions.

The issue is not exclusively about "possessions", it also encompasses how, and what, we will eat, wear, labor, relax, and generally live with regard to the environment. As long as things (any things) are scarce, there will be, by necessity, some mechanism to allocate them. In our experience, the free market has always provided the most effective means of doing so.

So, while we may imagine a world where no one covets anything, unless Father institutes a greatly superior process of allocating resources, or makes all things plentiful (a vision of which is outside my knowledge for the Millennium/Zion/United Firm/etc.), we will have to rely on the best available option, and that is, as I said above, the free market with its bidding mechanism: good ol' Supply'n'Demand.

For a number of reasons, I suspect it may be more like the innocence of a little boy who cheerfully gives away a toy...that was never really his in the first place.

The implication of this is in error.

We acknowledge that the ultimate ownership of all the earth is the Lord's. However, by tradition, by scripture (ancient and modern), by modern revelation, and by necessity, the stewardship the Lord grants us is complete and subject solely to examination by Him, and then only beyond this life. So, if the child gives away a toy, it is his to give away by the Law of Stewardship. (Which is intimately and inseparably connected to the Law of Consecration.)

Lehi

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hagoth 7

While I respect your right to base a social construct upon the Old Testament, for my purposes,

I'm not convinced that every principle in the OT is sure foundation for a New Covenant approach.

Centuries later...Christ taught that if a man asks something of us, we are to give him not only what he asked, but something more. Does that suggest a more fluid approach to "things"? Or only towards certain things?

3DOP

So if it could only be shown that the Ten Commandments remain as lawful and valid principles that extend into the New Covenant, you would agree that the principle of private property is established?

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However these problems should be solved, the Church has officially taught that private property is a natural right of man that must be maintained. The very fact that one of the commandments requires that we cannot steal implies a revealed recognition that God approves of property rights. For where there is no right of private property, how does one define theft?

A good point. The LDS Church teaches that private property is fundamental to living the law of consecration. See the manual section I link to in my siggy for a concise explaination of the LDS version of Zion's economics. Bottom line, it's the free market all the way and there is no equalization as any communalist would define it.

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The LoC has everything to do with capitalism as there is agency, private property, no command economy, and no price controls. Capitalism and the free market are just neutral vehicles in which agency operates. The LoC cannot work under any other economic system. Notice how the Church repudiates any notion of it being a communal system and the notion of "all things in common" meaning an equality of property, assests, and possessions. I daresay that the LoC failed in these latter-days because it became more and more communal which destroys the foundational principles upon which the LoC was founded, namely agency and private property (see the link in my siggy).

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So if it could only be shown that the Ten Commandments remain as lawful and valid principles that extend into the New Covenant, you would agree that the principle of private property is established?

Yes.

And now I'll qualify that yes.

Just as Catholic teaching allows for at least two broadly divergent views about possessions...I also allow for at least the same when discussing the concept of a millennial peace. As in...consider the lilies.

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Anarchy ain't no fun either.

I have never advocated "anarchy". My position is the Constitution.

Your version of laissez faire economics is anathema to the Gospel.

Sez who? You? I'd much rather apply the words of the Lord's servants who say that there is far graver danger in too much government than in that defined by the USmerican Constitution. The words of big-state liberals accusing me of fighting against the Gospel of Jesus Christ is, if not pathetic, very close to it. I strongly suggest you read Doc&Cov 134, especially the first half-dozen verses, which I quote here for your convenience:

1 We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.

2 We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.

3 We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice* should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people if a republic, or the will of the sovereign.

4 We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.

5 We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience.

6 We believe that every man should be honored in his station, rulers and magistrates as such, being placed for the protection of the innocent and the punishment of the guilty; and that to the laws all men show respect and deference, as without them peace and harmony would be supplanted by anarchy and terror; human laws being instituted for the express purpose of regulating our interests as individuals and nations, between man and man; and divine laws given of heaven, prescribing rules on spiritual concerns, for faith and worship, both to be answered by man to his Maker.

*
Ex 23:3

(ASV) neither shalt thou favor a poor man in his cause.

(Jewish Publication Society) neither shalt thou favour a poor man in his cause.

(AV) Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause.

(Young's Literal Translation) and a poor man thou dost not honour in his strife.

You have a knee-jerk reaction to anyone who doesn't toe your socialist line and it gets tedious, especially given that you never support your charges with anything like a fact.

Lehi

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For where there is no right of private property, how does one define theft?

Theft is to take something without the consent of the owner(s), and if there is no limit to how many people can own the very same thing, that would mean this whole planet could be owned by every one of us with each of the inhabitants having an equal right of ownership of this planet.

A more interesting question, I think, is what makes any one of us think we own anything on this planet when considering the fact that all things belong to God, and as a follow-up question to that one, does the fact that we really believe we own something mean we truly do?

As I see things, we either own nothing, or we own everything, or we own only what God has given to us while not giving that same right of ownership to some others of us concerning that very same thing, and if we think God has shared his ownership rights with us, or some of us, what makes us think that, and how do we know we are right in thinking he has?

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