“The Law of Consecration”

Lesson 14 - D&C 42: 30-42; 51; 78; 82; 104:11-18   Our Heritage pg. 26

 

The Lord revealed the law of consecration to the Saints

In February 1831, just after the Saints commenced gathering in Kirtland, Ohio, the law of consecration was revealed and Saints were commanded to begin living the law. D&C 42:30.

 

Consecration: The setting apart or dedication of something to the Lord’s service.

Law of Consecration: The Lord’s way of having individuals consecrate their time, talents, and possessions to the building up of the kingdom and the service of His children. 

 

While this law was observed incompletely and unsuccessfully at various times in Ohio, Missouri, and Utah, it is now in suspense, awaiting a future time when it will be restored.  The Church as an entity failed in the effort to live in harmony with the doctrine, so the Lord suspended the practice for now.  Provisions of the law include:

§        D&C 42:30 Consecration of possessions: Under the law, Church members voluntarily consecrated their possessions to the Church via a legal deed. See D&C 42:30.

§        D&C 42:32; 51:3. Receiving a stewardship:  Upon deeding their possessions to the Church, members received a stewardship grant from their bishop.  This stewardship was granted from the total consecrated property and the size of it was based on the family’s circumstances and needs as determined by the bishop after consultation with the head of the receiving family.

§        D&C 42:33; 51:13; 42:34-35. Surpluses: Under the law, if the family had more than they really needed, any and all surpluses produced from the stewardship were to be turned over to the bishop for the bishop’s storehouse so that resources would be available when needed for those whose production did not meet their needs.  In addition, the bishop used those resources to build houses of worship and fund other worthy causes.

§        D&C 78:3; 92:1; 104.  The United Order:  The Lord revealed in early 1832 that there must be an organization—the “united order”—to regulate and administer the law of consecration among the people.  Various revelations gave specific instructions.

 

Purposes of the law of consecration included:

§        D&C 42:30 – care of the poor and needy (verses 31-34 provide elaboration)

§        D&C 42:35 – to purchase lands, build houses of worship, and build the New Jerusalem

§        D&C 42:40 – to help His people overcome and avoid pride

§        D&C 42:42 – to help His people be industrious and avoid idleness

§        D&C 51:9 – to help the Lord’s people develop unity and be one

§        D&C 78:3-7 – to help us be equal in earthly things and prepare for the celestial kingdom

§        D&C 78:14 – to help the Church “stand independent above all other creatures”

§        D&C 82:17-19 – to help members develop talents for the good of all, seek the interest of their neighbor, and do all things with an eye single to God’s glory.

Clearly, this law is not just a worthy economic program or demanding temporal commandment—it is designed to prepare a people for living celestial laws and growing spiritually. D&C 29:34-35.

 

The law of consecration is an eternal law

Accounts of the Lord’s people living the law of consecration are found in the Pearl of Great Price (Moses 7:18), the New Testament (Acts 4:32,34-35), and the Book of Mormon (4 Nephi 1:1-3,15).

 

We can consecrate our lives to the Lord now

Although living the law of consecration is not now required, we do not have to wait until it is required to learn to live the law.  If we learn to obey this spiritual and temporal law now, we will be prepared to live it fully when the Lord asks us to live it in the future.  We can choose to:

D&C 104:13-14; D&C 51:19; 78:22 teach ownership, responsibility, and reward.

Bishop Victor L. Brown said that until we “feel in total harmony” that everything we have belongs to the Lord, “it will be difficult, if not impossible, for us to accept the law of consecration.  As we prepare to live this law, we will look forward with great anticipation to the day when the call will come.  If, on the other hand, we hope it can be delayed so we can have the pleasure of accumulating material things, we are on the wrong path” (1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year [1977], 439)

Be willing to sacrifice your time, talents, and possessions now so that you will not encounter difficulties later when the Lord implements the full requirements of the law of consecration.  How do we do that?

§        Pay tithing, fast offerings, and give generously in other ways to those in need.  Elder Marion G. Romney asked: “ What prohibits us from giving as much in fast offerings as we would have given in surpluses under the United Order?  Nothing but our own limitations.” (Improvement Era, 1966, 537)

§        Serve willingly in the Church. D&C 107:99.  We should fulfill the callings we receive to the best of our ability, share the gospel with others, do our family history and temple work, and assist those who are new converts or those members who may have weak testimonies to strengthen them.

§        Serve a fulltime mission.  Elder Robert D. Hales taught: “Going on a mission teaches you to live the law of consecration. It may be the only time in your life when you can give to the Lord all your time, talents, and resources. In return the Lord will bless you with His Spirit to be with you. He will be close to you and strengthen you.” (Ensign, May 1996, 36)

D&C 82:19 and Jacob 2:17 teach how we are to show our love for others.  Developing that love for others is essential to living the law of consecration—it is the foundation of that law. Elder Thomas S. Monson tells a story of his youth when his mother would have him deliver Sunday dinner to an elderly neighbor—old Bob.  He wondered why he couldn’t eat first and take Bob’s plate later, but his mother would insist that it be delivered first.  Elder Monson remembers how grateful the elderly man was each week for Sis. Monson’s compassionate service.  He remembers strongly how much better Sunday dinner tasted after he had completed his delivery to the old man. (Ensign, Feb. 1992, 4)     

Elder Neal A. Maxwell said: “We tend to think of consecration only in terms of property and money. But there are so many more ways of keeping back part” (Ensign, Nov 1992, 66)

D&C 64:34 and these examples give us an idea of how we might fall short of the goal:

Ø     An unwillingness to be completely submissive to the Lord’s will. Elder Maxwell said: “The submission of one’s will is the really the only uniquely personal thing that we have to place on God’s altar. …The many other things we ‘give’ …are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us.  However, when you and I finally submit ourselves, by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God’s will, then we really give something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give!” (Ensign, Nov 1995, 24)

Ø     An unwillingness to give up selfish things—our roles, our preeminence, our possessions.

Ø     Letting hobbies or other diversions become too consuming

Ø     Giving commendable civic service but becoming strangers to the temple and the scriptures

Ø     Being dutiful in family responsibilities, but not being gentle and Christlike with some family members

Ø     Building up ourselves first before the kingdom of God

Ø     Being privately prideful while sharing talents publicly

Ø     Accepting a church calling while our hearts are more set on things of the world

 

We should examine our lives carefully to see how we can consecrate ourselves more fully.

 

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