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Monday, February 7, 2011

Mormons & Materialism: Part 11: Consecration & Conclusion


The following quotes all come from this web page
"If . . . we were spiritually ready for the law of consecration, there would be no poor among us." (D&C 49:20.)(Neal A. Maxwell, The Neal A. Maxwell Quote Book [1997], 348).
"Consecration is the only surrender which is also a victory. It brings release from the raucous, overpopulated cell block of selfishness and emancipation from the dark prison of pride" (Neal A. Maxwell, "Settle This in Your Hearts," Ensign, Nov. 1992, 66).
"For now, consecration may not require giving up worldly possessions so much as being less possessed by them" (Neal A. Maxwell, "Settle This in Your Hearts," Ensign, Nov. 1992, 67).

"Consecration is the giving of one's time, talents, and means to care for those in need—whether spiritually or temporally—and in building the Lord's kingdom.(Spencer W. Kimball, in Conference Report, Oct. 1977, 124).
"For Zion can only be built up by the law that God revealed for that purpose, which is the law of consecration—not the law of tithing. . . . If the law of consecration were observed, the Lord would have plenty in His storehouse and could accomplish a vast deal more, and none would lack. All the energies and power of the people would be concentrated in the direction He chose, the people giving all their labor, talent and possessions, if required, for the accomplishment of the purposes of God" (Joseph F. Smith, Millennial Star, June 18, 1894, 386).
Consecration is a Celestial law. It is where we voluntarily give up everything we have to the Lord. And everything we do would be to accomplish His purposes not our own. The only society that has ever met this standard is the city of Enoch.

According to Professor Russell Fox at a recent Mormon Theological Seminar, every other attempt to set up this sort of utopia has failed.

Fox suggested that political approaches to achieving perfect equality in society are flawed, as proven by the legacy of totalitarian regimes. He said that the community of Saints was called to live a higher law, supporting one another, living together in love (D&C 42:45), treating one another as equals and with respect, and not having social power over others.
In a consecrated society, social power would be shared by individuals, he said. The end result would be a system that granted both personal dignity and equal social status.
At this same seminar, Professor Robert Couch argues:
. . . that if taking care of the poor is pursued as an end in itself, then the whole point of the law of consecration will be missed. That is, if ending poverty is pursued too zealously, as a political agenda rather than a sacred part of a consecrated life, then caring for the poor risks becoming merely one more act reinforcing the power that economics wields in the modern age.
Recent guidance on this topic comes from Elder Elder D. Todd Christofferson in his recent Conference address entitled, "Reflections on a Consecrated Life":
. . . our life on earth is a stewardship of time and choices granted by our Creator. The word stewardship calls to mind the Lord’s law of consecration (see, for example, D&C 42:32, 53), which has an economic role but, more than that, is an application of celestial law to life here and now (see D&C 105:5). To consecrate is to set apart or dedicate something as sacred, devoted to holy purposes. True success in this life comes in consecrating our lives—that is, our time and choices—to God’s purposes (see John 17:1, 4; D&C 19:19). In so doing, we permit Him to raise us to our highest destiny.
Materialism is the antithesis of consecration. Most of us go through life manacled with stuff as heavily as Jacob Marley's ghost. These chains are of our own making and design. Few can shed them. John Tanner was one who succeeded.


I will close this series with my favorite quote on materialism. It is found in Moby Dick by Herman Melville:
The urbane activity with which a man receives money is really marvellous, considering that we so earnestly believe money to be the root of all earthly ills, and that on no account can a monied man enter heaven. Ah! how cheerfully we consign ourselves to perdition!
One of the most potent weapons against materialism has not yet penetrated every aspect of our society but is simply nipping at the edges promising a devastation we can only imagine -- bed bugs.


I shall watch with interest as things develop. . . 


Series: Mormons & Materialism Series
Part 1 We Can't Take it With Us or Even Use it Here
Part 2 Stuff & Nonsense
Part 3 Out of Purgatory or Into Heaven
Part 4 What We Consume Ends Up Consuming Us
Part 5 Affluence or the Appearance of It
Part 6 Titles, Labels and Lemon Juice
Part 7 Power and Other Addictions
Part 8 Summer Cottages in Babylon
Part 9 Valuing Based on Utility
Part 10 Get Rid of It!
Part 11: Consecration & Conclusion

1 comment:

  1. Well, that was just a supreme delight, Krista. I read the whole thing nodding and have to say, "AGREE COMPLETELY!" Thank you for posting this out here. I've added your blog to my reader, because I don't want to miss out on the musings of such a practical, grounded soul. God bless.

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