The Mormon Law of Consecration

What does this mean for how contemporary Mormons should understand the law of consecration? Joe's summary is excellent:

[T]he canonical law of consecration and stewardship is still in force. Captured within the frame of a "system," it looks something like this: To obey the law is to remain the technical or legal owner of one's property while (1) deeding away all excess (everything more than is "sufficient" for an appropriate stewardship) in order to outfit the poor Saints, (2) maintaining what remains in one's possession as a stewardship for which one is responsible to God and for God's stated purposes, and (3) giving whatever excess accrues subsequently through wise use of one's stewardship either (a) to benefit the poor directly or (b) to ensure that the institutional Church has the resources to do other work necessary for furthering God's purposes.

Tithing doesn't replace this law. It supplements it. And that makes the law of consecration even more frightening than the story of the sheep and the goats.

I've seen Joe accused of a kind of quietism of thought, but this book proves that charge untrue. For he shows that the law of consecration has remained, from beginning to now, a matter of providing an inheritance for the poor of the Church, and he argues quite firmly that the law has not been rescinded, not even temporarily.

Zion may always be in transition and always under revision. Perhaps that is what it means to be human beings always in need of continuing revelation. But whatever its form, Zion has as its goal that we will have "all things in common among [us]; therefore there [are] not rich and poor, bond and free, but [we are] all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift" (4 Nephi 1:3).

12/2/2022 9:09:22 PM
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  • James Faulconer
    About James Faulconer
    James Faulconer is a Richard L. Evans Professor of Religious Understanding at Brigham Young University, where he has taught philosophy since 1975.