What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
While searching for a quote by Brigham Young, I ran across this page on LDSLiving by Ted Gibbons, who just so happens to be my current Old Testament Institute instructor. Small world.
The article talks about the Law of Consecration. I particularly like the third section, titled “WE CAN CONSECRATE OUR LIVES UNTO THE LORD NOW”. Its contents follow:
The revelations make it clear that we must be prepared to live this law if we want to share the world with the Lord when he comes in his glory. We must be willing to lay all we have on the altar of our love for the Lord and devote ourselves to the welfare of others. There are at least three steps we must take in preparation to live this law in its fulness.
1) We must acknowledge and believe that in reality everything we have belongs to the Lord, and that we are his stewards. (See D&C 104:17; Psalm 24:1) Bishop Victor L. Brown, Presiding Bishop of the Church, taught of this matter. He said:
“Until we feel in total harmony with this, 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.” (Bishop Victor L. Brown, The Law of Consecration, fireside, Brigham Young University Marriott Center, November 7, 1976.)
The Lord gave a warning to Martin Harris about this in D&C 19:26.
“And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God—”
Brigham young spoke of the danger of covetousness. He said:
“I am more afraid of covetousness in our Elders than I am of the hordes of hell. Have we men out now of that class? I believe so. I am afraid of such spirits; for they are more powerful and injurious to this people than all hell outside of our borders. All our enemies in the United States or in the world, and all hell with them marshalled against us, could not do us the injury that covetousness in the hearts of this people could do us; for it is idolatry.” (Brigham Young, JD Vol. 5, p. 353)
What is there about covetousness, even with regard to personal property, that would be injurious to those who desire to live in a Zion society? Do you have possessions of such value to you that you would be unable or reluctant to lay them on the altar if asked to do so by the Lord or his servants?
2) We must be willing to offer those things that are required of us at the present time. Those who are unable to make the sacrifices required by the church now my encounter substantial difficulty in making the greater ones required by the law of consecration. Full time missionary work, for example, is a sacrifice related to the law of consecration. Elder Robert D. Hales taught that
“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. He will be close to you and will strengthen you.” (Elder Robert D. Hales, April, 1996, CR, p. 50)
Elder Stephen L. Richards spoke of the relationship between tithing and consecration:
“There is no higher evidence of that consecration than this giving which has been enjoined upon us by the Lord . . . So the law of tithing is the epitome of the Gospel. It is genuine worship and true recognition of the sovereignty of God. It is real consecration, the giving of the muscle and energy of life to the cause: and it begets the abundant life of love and service for which the Christ came.” (Stephen L Richards, Conference Report, April 1929, p.53)
How does the process of paying our tithes and offerings prepare us for the higher law we will live in Zion and in the Celestial Kingdom ? We must recognize that the amount or extent of our contributions is of no consequence at all. It is the spirit and attitude with which we pay that makes all the difference as we prepare for the higher law.
“. . . in lieu of residues and surpluses which were accumulated and built up under the United Order, we, today, have our fast offerings, our Welfare donations, and our tithing all of which may be devoted to the care of the poor, as well as for the carrying on of the activities and business of the Church.
“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.” (C.R., April 1966, p. 100)
3) We must learn to love our neighbor as ourselves, “every man seeking the interest of his neighbor . . .” (D&C 82:19) What counsel does the Lord give about this in Jacob 2:17? Reflect on experiences when others have gone out of their ways and sacrificed to help you in a time of need. Review the following story and consider what it tells you about the preparation of Grandfather Condie to live this law in its fulness.
“Old Bob came into our lives in an interesting way. He was a widower in his eighties when the house in which he was living was to be demolished. I heard him tell my grandfather his plight at the three of us sat on the old front porch swing. . . He said . . . ‘Mr. Condie, I don’t know what to do. I have no family, no place to go. I have no money.’ I wondered how grandfather would answer. Slowly grandfather reached into his pocket and took from it [an] old leather purse . . . He removed a key and handed it to Old Bob. Tenderly he said, ‘bob, here is the key to that house I own next door. Take it. Move in your things. Stay as long as you like. There will be no rent to pay and nobody will ever put you out again.'” (Elder Thomas Monson, C.R., April 1981, p. 66)
This love of neighbor and of the Lord is the true foundation of the law of consecration. As we grow in love, our ability to live this law will also grow. President Marion G. Romney taught:
“When we reach the state of having the “pure love of Christ,” our desire to serve one another will have grown to the point where we will be living fully the law of consecration.” (Pres. Marion G. Romney, Oct. 1981 C.R. pp 132)