Modern Teachings On
by Rex Jensen

When they bow down to worship the Lord, they acknowledge that the earth is his, and the cattle upon a thousand hills; and tell the Lord there is no sacrifice they are not willing to make for the sake of the religion of Jesus Christ. The people were crying this continually among the churches when the Book of Mormon came forth, and the Lord spoke through Joseph, revealing the law of consecration, to see whether they were willing to do as they said in their prayers. Discourses of Brigham Young, p.178 - p.179

Consecration will prepare us for Zion. The law of consecration, which is in advance of the law of tithing,... is a principle which, as sure as I am speaking, you and I will one day have to conform to. When that day comes we will be prepared to go to Zion.

Consecration is a celestial law. This persecution and expulsion [from Missouri] never would have occurred had the people observed the law which the Lord required. That law was simply the law of consecration -- a law of the celestial kingdom. It was a law which, if observed, would have made the people the richest and wealthiest of any people in the world. There would not have been a poor Latter-day Saint in their midst. Every man would have had all he needed to make him happy and comfortable, so far as financial matters were concerned.

Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p.163-164

We read in the Pearl of Great Price how Enoch was called to cry repentance, and through his diligent labors be gathered together those who were willing to make covenant to serve the Lord. These made covenant to obey the celestial law, or the law of consecration, for this is a celestial law, and the celestial kingdom is governed by it. They were willing to give all that they had, even their lives to the kingdom of God. The result was that they became so righteous that they walked with God, and "he dwelt in the midst of Zion. (Moses 7:69.)

In the stead of this higher law, the Lord gave to the saints a schoolmaster, as he did ancient Israel to teach them and bring them to the fullness of the Gospel of Christ. This is the law of tithing. But it should be understood that the law of consecration has never been abrogated or set aside, which is that we shall love him above all else. That law is just as binding upon members of the Church today as when first uttered by Christ in the days of his ministry.

Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., The Way to Perfection, p.273-276

We covenant to live the law of consecration. This law is that we consecrate our time, talents, strength, property, and money for the upbuilding of the kingdom of God on this earth and the establishment of Zion.

Until one abides by the laws of obedience, sacrifice, the gospel, and chastity, he cannot abide the law of consecration, which is the law pertaining to the celestial kingdom. "For if you will that I give you place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you" (D&C 78:7).

"Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom" (D&C 105:5). Much has been written about this law and its attempted implementation in the early history of the Church; and much deception has taken root, even among some of our members, because of misinformed opinion or misguided interpretations. Some view it as merely an economic alternative to capitalism or the free enterprise system, others as an outgrowth of early communal experiments in America. Such a view is not only shortsighted but tends to diminish in importance a binding requirement for entrance into the celestial kingdom. The law of consecration is a celestial law, not an economic experiment.

Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.121

The vehicle for implementing the law of consecration is the united order. The basic principle underlying the united order is that everything we have belongs to the Lord; and, therefore, the Lord may call upon us for any and all of our property, because it belongs to Him.

The law of consecration is a law for an inheritance in the celestial kingdom. God, the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and all holy beings abide by this law. It is an eternal law. It is a revelation by God to His Church in this dispensation. Though not in full operation today, it will be mandatory for all Saints to live the law in its fulness to receive celestial inheritance.

Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.130

The truths of the gospel, or things as they really are, confront

not just the Korihors, but all of us. The lazy individual meets, head on, truths about the essentialness of work. The selfish and idle rich meet, head on, the truths about our need to share: they must also ponder the need to accept, one day, the law of consecration. The selfish and idle poor collide with the harsh truths about covetousness and envy. The salacious must come to grips with the truths about the need to avoid both actual and mental sexual immorality. The "eat, drink, and be merry" crowd is confronted with the truths about personal accountability and the inevitable judgment.

Neal A. Maxwell, Things As They Really Are, p.8

Are spiritual highs followed by bad days? Indeed. The day of Pentecost, a historical high, was apparently followed shortly thereafter by circumstances in which some members of the Church of Christ began to hedge as far as living the law of consecration was Those who desire to make the greatest demands of the Church are usually those who make the fewest demands of themselves in terms of their discipleship.

Neal A. Maxwell, Wherefore Ye Must Press Forward, p.68 - p.69

When his sermon was ended, Jesus instructed Peter: "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught." This Peter did, though he had toiled all night and caught nothing. Immediately, miraculously, the nets were so full that they broke. Those who live by the law of consecration have their just needs and wants supplied, by divine power if need be.

Bruce R. McConkie, The Mortal Messiah, Vol.2, p.33 - p.34

Payment of an honest tithing is essential to the attainment of those great blessings which the Lord has in store for his faithful saints. Indeed, the law of consecration itself is the celestial law of property and money, and to gain the celestial world man must be able to abide this higher law, to say nothing of the lesser law of tithing. (D. & C. 88:21-22; 105:5.)

Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p.797 TITHING

Nibley's comments are not to be misconstrued as a call to reinstitute formally the law of consecration. Nibley explains that it does remain the privilege of individuals to live the law in their personal lives, as they so covenant regularly in the temple--to seek first the kingdom of God, and to share freely one's various resources with those who may have less. In time the law will be reinstituted; in the meantime, Nibley sets forth lucidly the principles that enable us to live that law in face of the feeble realities of the present. The ideal is before us, and nothing prevents us as individuals from living that law, thus enjoying its blessings and preparing ourselves for its renewal.

Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol.9, Foreword, p.xi

In "How Firm a Foundation! What Makes It So?" (1979), Nibley summarizes the "secure" foundation laid by Joseph Smith--an "arresting, original, satisfying" scenario: a prodigality of gifts, a gospel that is not culturally conditioned, the ideas of revelation and restoration, charismatic gifts, priesthood and authority, the ordinances, the temple rituals, a third-dimensional gospel, individual testimony, and the gift of prophecy. Superseding all these gifts is the concept of Zion--the law of consecration.

Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol.9, Foreword, p.xiv

God recognizes only one justification for seeking wealth, and that is with the express intent of helping the poor (Jacob 2:19). One of the disturbing things about Zion is that its appeal, according to the scriptures, is all to the poor: "The Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in it" (Isaiah 14:32). Of course, once in Zion, no one suffers from poverty, for they dwell in righteousness and there are no poor among them (Moses 7:18). The law of consecration is a minimal requirement, for "if my people observe not this law, . . . it shall not be a land of Zion unto you" (D&C 119:6). Here our rhetoric engages in a neat bit of sophistry that has always been popular:

Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol.9, Ch.2, p.52

Perhaps the most pernicious aspect of today's state of things is that it permits us only a very limited choice of ladders, nay, it forces us to choose between business and law, the alternative being starvation. (A man must become a sharp operator, as Isaiah observes bitterly, purely in self-defense: if you do not learn to take others you will get taken; Isaiah 59:15.) Of course, the choice of ladders is actually as wide as ever, but our young people are thoroughly intimidated. Satan wants to get us in that position where we are paralyzed to oppose him: "If I leave his employ, what will become of me?" This is a terrifying thought from the chairman of the board to the one working on the assembly line. The answer is very reassuring: "Hear the teachings of the gospel along with the rest of the human race--and follow them, and you will not have to worry about Satan's hold on the economy, for then you will observe and keep the law of consecration."

Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol.9, Ch.5, p.145

This law, the consummation of the laws of obedience and sacrifice, is the threshold of the celestial kingdom, the last and hardest requirement made of men in this life. It is much harder to keep than the rules of chastity and sobriety, for those temptations subside with advancing age, while desire for the security and status of wealth only increases and grows through the years. Yet none may escape the law of consecration, none are exempt from it in the Church (D&C 42:70-73; 70:10); none may outlive it, for it is "a permanent and everlasting" law (D&C 78:4; 72:3), a "covenant and a deed which cannot be broken" (D&C 42:30), even by transgression--there is no escaping it (D&C 78:10-11). It cannot be put off until more favorable circumstances offer (D&C 70:16); it was given to the Saints because the time was ripe for them. One cannot move into it gradually to ease the shock (D&C 78:3), or observe it partially (D&C 42:78), or even grudgingly (D&C 70:14). It is so fundamental that the early leaders of the Church (Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, Parley P. Pratt, and others) declared that their first impulse after being baptized was to give away all their property to the poor and trust the hand of God to supply their wants in the mission field, for in any case they could take no money with them. Let us recall the case of the righteous young man who had kept every point of the law and asked to become a disciple of Christ: "Yet lackest thou one thing," the Lord told him (Luke 18:22), "if thou wilt be perfect" (Matthew 19:21). There was yet one thing--the law of consecration, which crowns all the others. But the young man could not take that one step because he was very rich, and for that the Lord turned him away sorrowing: he did not call him back to suggest easier terms but turned to his disciples and pointed out to them by this example how hard it is for a rich man to enter heaven--only a special miracle could do it, he explained; it is as impossible to enter the celestial kingdom without accepting the celestial law as it is for a camel to get through the eye of a needle (Matthew 19:24). The disciples marveled greatly at this, for they had never heard of that convenient postern gate, invented by an obliging nineteenth-century minister for the comfort of his well-heeled congregation--the ancient sources knew nothing of that gate, and neither did the baffled apostles. (That is another "para-scripture.") If I keep all the other commandments, says Amulek, and ease up on this one, my prayers are vain, and I am a hypocrite (see Alma 34:28). Tithing is merely a substitute--a very different thing; once we start making concessions and explanations, the whole thing becomes a farce. The free-wheeling interpretation of "stewardship" offers no way out, for example, piously announcing that the stuff is only mine during this lifetime (a generous concession indeed!), or admission that I must dispose of it in a responsible way (as if others had no such responsibility). One does not begin by holding back what he thinks he will need, but by consecrating everything the Lord has given him so far to the Church; then he in return receives back from the bishop by consecration whatever he needs.

Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol.9, Ch.6, p.168

To "consecrate," says the dictionary, means "to make or declare sacred or holy; to set apart, dedicate, devote to the service or worship of God; to deliver up or give over often with or as if with due solemnity, dedication, or devotion." God is going to "organize my kingdom upon the consecrated land" (D&C 103:35), the land "which I have consecrated to be the land of Zion" (D&C 103:24), for a consecrated people. The word appears more than 140 times in the Doctrine and Covenants. It was when some of the brethren began trading in this holy land that the Prophet denounced them, telling them in the name of Israel's God that Zion could never be built up in such a way. The foundation of the Holy City was to be nothing other than the law of consecration (D&C 48:6).

Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol.9, Ch.6, p.170

But while attempts to implement it come and go, the covenant remains, and those who have entered it must live by it or be cursed (D&C 104:3-5), for in this matter God is not to be mocked (D&C 104:6). I am in a perfectly viable position at this moment to observe and keep it, as I have promised, independently of any other party. I do not have to wait for permission from any other person or group to act; I do not have to join any body of protesters who feel that others are not on the right track before I can keep the rules of chastity or sobriety, nor do I have to join a club or splinter group in order to keep the Ten Commandments. The essence of the law of consecration is charity, without which, as Paul and Moroni tell us, all the other laws and observances become null and void. Love is not selective, and charity knows no bounds "I want you to understand," said Heber C. Kimball, "that you make covenants with God, and not with us. We were present and committed those covenants to you, and you made them with God, and we were witnesses." Paul recognizes this in his lucid statements about the law of consecration in his letters to Timothy, which should be studied carefully. And he is talking about the foundation of the Church, which rests on the personal contract between God and the individual:

Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol.9, Ch.6, p.172

What is there to stop me from observing and keeping the law of consecration at this very day as I have already covenanted and promised to do without reservation? Is the foundation too broad for us to build on? We are in the position of one who has inherited a number of fabulously rich and varied franchises. Only two or three of the enterprises really appeal to him, and so he devotes all his attention to them and neglects all the others. How often have we heard, even from outsiders--if the Latter-day Saints only realized what riches they possess! Well, there is a clause in the will stating that if the heir neglects any of the franchises, he will forfeit them all. What am I doing with genealogy, temple work, Sunday School, priesthood, home teaching, scripture study, and all my meetings? I simply can't do them all; I cannot begin to do justice to them. Why not? Because I am, as my grandfather used to say and not entirely in jest, too taken up with the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches, by which he meant business. But must you spend so much time at it? Don't you know that if you lived by the law of consecration you would have time enough for all of it? But that is out of the question; our way of life demands the other. Which is exactly why God has always commanded his people to give up that way of life, come out of the world, and follow his special instructions. The main purpose of the Doctrine and Covenants, you will find, is to implement the law of consecration.

Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol.9, Ch.7, p.180

The first thing the Israelites are to do when they have settled in their new land is to fill a basket with firstfruits, the first gifts of the land, and bring it to the priest, who sets it before the altar; then they are to recite these verses: "A Syrian ready to perish was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous: and the Egyptians evil entreated us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage. We called upon the Lord . . . and he heard us. . . . He brought us forth out of the land of Egypt . . .with signs and wonders, and he brought us to this place and gave us the land, a land flowing with milk and honey" (Deuteronomy 26:5-9). Why a Syrian or Aramaean? Why was he also called "Abraham the Hebrew"? All of those words denote a displaced person, a vagabond, a starving wanderer, a homeless outcast moving among wicked and haughty people. It was from such a condition, "ready to perish," that God raised them up. The great gathering and feasts, whose strict observance makes up such an important part of the old law, all have the same purpose, to remind the Israelites that everything they had was a free gift from God. In holding these solemn conferences, "you and yours--sons, daughters, servants, . . . strangers, orphans, widows must all come together and rejoice and be happy," as one big happy family. That is the spirit in which this must be done, and that is the spirit of the law of consecration and the United Order. "Remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt"--if some are slaves, all are slaves. This is to show where we stand with each other and the Lord. Thus in the Feast of the Tabernacles at the harvest, all must share, all rejoice together as one family, "thou and thy son and thy daughter, and thy manservant and thy maidservant, and the Levite, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow that are within thy gates," for seven days in the appointed place. Three times a year, all males come together before Jehovah at an appointed place for the feasts of (1) unleavened bread, (2) weeks, and (3) tabernacles. And they must never come empty-handed: "Every man shall give as he is able, [that is,] according to the blessing of the Lord thy God, which he hath given thee" (Deuteronomy 16:11-17).

Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol.9, Ch.6, p.173