Capitalism and Consecration

March 12, 2015    By: Jeff G @ 12:45 pm   Category: Ethics,Money and getting gain,orthodox

Most Mormons in this country vote conservative and there is a good reason for the harmony between these two stances.  I’m not saying that these good reasons are the actual reasons why most Mormons vote the way they do.  I can’t help but agree with the many criticisms and suspicions from left-leaning Mormons bring against this strong correlation.  While I do not wish to reduce all the political differences between each side to economic issues, the case of private property makes for a very generalize-able example.

I have no doubt that, in practice, many right-wing Mormons do indeed vote Republican because they are against the redistribution of wealth.  I have no doubt that there is some selfishness at play here.  I’m also convinced that many right-wing Mormons are against it because they honestly believe that a free market wherein the individual rights to private property are strongly enforced are either better for society overall, or simply the morally right social arrangement.  None of these reasons account for the harmony that I see between conservatism and Mormonism.

The reason why Mormons ought to be against the compensation of property by the state for the sake of redistribution is because that property belongs to the Lord and His kingdom to which we have consecrated it.  Right-wing Mormons want to limit the secular state as much as possible since that state is not the sovereign in which they have placed their faith.  It is the church and not the state that Mormons think ought to redistribute property.  In other words, right-wing Mormons ought not to privilege their individual rights, but those of the Lord and His kingdom over the state.

While this is clearly a criticism of some left-wing claims, I think this also functions as a badly needed criticism of many right-wing claims from within the church membership.  To the extent that they presuppose and endorse the individualism of capitalism and classical liberalism they also depart from the collectivism of Mormonism to that same extent.  Of course the individualism of capitalism, while not ideal, is still much more harmonious with the voluntary collectivism of the church than the compulsory collectivism of the state ever could be, practically speaking.



  1. That is a much better argument for Mormon theocracy than for capitalism or conservatism.

    Comment by Stan Beale — March 12, 2015 @ 1:40 pm

  2. Isn’t that what the law of consecration just is?

    Comment by Jeff G — March 12, 2015 @ 1:53 pm

  3. I have often wondered about how my libertarian-leaning principles of property and individual rights would fare in the Millennium or if we were to try to initiate having “all things in common.” It would be a hard thing to do as an American.

    God supports individual rights and libertarian free will. I think that conservatives have a leg-up on their opponents when they quote the Declaration in saying that certain rights come from God rather than from man. And while this kind of rhetoric is limited on the right (and even less applied), it is completely absent on the left. That’s a red flag to me.

    You touched on it in your last paragraph, but in order for one to be able to truly be in a position to give of themselves or their property, they need to be in control of those things to begin with. I don’t think you can really live in a consecration-style community if most of your money or property goes to the government. Part of the problem with socialsm/communism or even high taxation is that the individual misses out on the benefits of giving. We need to be in as much control of our property as possible in order to actually be selfless. Having a big government that takes from you doesn’t even give you the choice to be selfish or not, nor does it make you a selfless person. There is no nobility, no life lessons involved–and historically it has failed. So it is understandable to stay as far from that as possible. This wasn’t much of a question in JS’s time, where libertarian free will was more of a given and people relied more on their relationships to other huamns than to an amorphous government.

    The Republican party is a lesser of two evils, in my view. Quite frankly, I’m surprised that more LDS aren’t Libertarians, but there is a lot of political philosophy involved that doesn’t have as much to do with religion and challenges how we’ve been doing things.

    Comment by Pierce — March 12, 2015 @ 3:31 pm

  4. I think we should also note that conservatism is itself a coalition. No one on the left thinks there’s unanimity there. Why the right gets tarred with the idea of being a single solitary view escapes me.

    One of the better known conservative thinkers of the 20th century was, after all, Milton Friedman. He had no trouble with certain kinds of redistribution. He had the great idea of getting rid of the mess of welfare laws and benefits and simply having a single negative tax to redistribute wealth. I favor that myself. There are other views as well.

    There are of course conservatives who reject all redistribution although in practice few conservatives advocate getting rid of social security, medicare and related programs.

    Comment by Clark — March 12, 2015 @ 3:51 pm

  5. Pierce,

    I think you’re missing a bit part of the argument. The point is that the morals and values of libertarianism are NOT those of the gospel. To be sure, as a politics for interacting and compromising with a social world filled with other religions and beliefs that are not those of the gospel it is just fine. But liberalism is just that – a practical compromise.

    This should not distract from the idea that the morality upon which individualistic private property is based is totally contrary to the law of consecration. The united order was one in which people signed over their property to the church. Furthermore, just because we no longer do this does not means that it is God and not the individual that decides how private your property ought to be within various historical contexts. This is NOT what libertarianism says at all.

    Of course God will not force you to do the right thing in signing over your property or do anything you refuse to do….. but that does not change the logic of the morality which we are being held to. The logic of the morality of the gospel is NOT that of libertarianism.

    What is most important is that consecration is NOT an isolated issue. The values of the church are all collectivist in nature, even if their enforcement is not compulsory. Thus, all the non-economic social values and morals that are based in individualism are not those of the gospel.

    Comment by Jeff G — March 12, 2015 @ 4:41 pm

  6. How do you think this ties into the failure/collapse of the United Order?

    Comment by Kim Siever — March 12, 2015 @ 5:49 pm

  7. “…it is God and not the individual that decides how private your property ought to be within various historical contexts. This is NOT what libertarianism says at all.”

    What secular political philosophy would ever accept that? It’s unrealistic to think that one should or does. So instead we have to identify which one will allow US to best promote that very idea you propose.

    “This should not distract from the idea that the morality upon which individualistic private property is based is totally contrary to the law of consecration.”

    I don’t think I missed your argument because one needs to actually have property (or a substantial amount of property) as well as freedom to be ABLE to live consecration. The morality of libertarianism is freedom and the right to reap what you sow. The morality of consecration is to freely give of your reaping to others and have that be a blessing to the giver and the receiver. You can’t really have one without the other, in my view, which is why I think that individualism plays a big part in the gospel. Libertarianism doesn’t tell you what you are supposed to do with your property, or that you can’t be a collectivist. But it does give more freedom and means to actually be a collectivist if you so wish it. Could we not substitute individualism in a political sense for agency in a gospel sense and find a similar set of values?

    Comment by Pierce — March 12, 2015 @ 6:15 pm

  8. Kim (6) Remember there wasn’t a United Order. Rather there were various united order experiments ranging from ZCMI to Orderville. I think projects like Orderville failed simply because people don’t like to be in poverty and when they see people who aren’t they want out. Likewise I think there were inherent problems with free rider problems and so forth. The more co-operative corporations weren’t failures at all but I think were pretty good successes. As to why we don’t have more of those, I don’t know. I personally was sad to see so many shut down and transformed into regular businesses.

    Pierce (7) My problem with Libertarianism (as opposed to more generic conservatism) is that often in practice property rights are placed higher than other rights. Often when there is a conflict property rights are privileged in a way I never see good justification for. I also find that Libertarianism doesn’t really have a good explanation of how to deal with injustice with the use of property or free rider issues.

    Don’t get me wrong. Often I think that property rights resolves a lot of injustice and so forth. So for example I think a big reason there are so many problems with water is because many (conservative and liberal) don’t want people to pay the fair price for water. Ditto for fishing rights and so forth. Often setting up ownership leads to a better situation than attempts though regulation to micromanage things.

    On the other hand it’s easy to hide “harms” with property rights. Pollution being an obvious example. But there are lots of free rider problems where the problems are obscured via property.

    Comment by Clark — March 12, 2015 @ 6:27 pm

  9. It is the church and not the state that Mormons think ought to redistribute property.

    Interesting view Jeff G! You know after thinking about it and letting it sink in, I agree with this statement. But I doubt many LDS see this clearly being paired, rather I think they oppose state distribution based on either selfishness or due to the obvious abuse it brings or both and separately they believe (almost whatever) the church teaches. So to me your article consciously integrates two separate subconsciously held beliefs or biases.

    Comment by Howard — March 13, 2015 @ 10:32 am

  10. I think that you’re (unfortunately) right, Howard.

    Comment by Jeff G — March 13, 2015 @ 11:13 am

  11. To expand a bit, I think a lot of those member think that it is up to them as individuals how and to whom they are to redistribute wealth and property, whereas the law of consecration tells us that it is up to the Lord and His church to do this. These are two very different moralities and right-wing members too often confuse the two.

    Comment by Jeff G — March 13, 2015 @ 11:26 am

  12. Clark,

    I’ll be honest with you and say that I am no economist and really just view Libertarianism on a micro rather than macro level. In my opinion, those issues you mentioned should be able to be addressed by a government in a libertarian view, but I don’t know enough about it to get into it.

    I was mostly contesting against the idea that having a strong sense of conservatism or classical liberalism is at odds with Mormon collectivism. It is necessary for Mormon collectivism to flourish. To live consecration, individuals need to be able to freely make the choice to donate their resources, and capitalism provides the best way to acquire resources. Look at how Pol Pot tried to do collectivism in a place that had no resources.

    Admittedly though, this ideology may indeed be the reason that we live by a law of tithing rather than consecration. After all, big government wasn’t really the issue in Joseph’s time.

    Comment by Pierce — March 13, 2015 @ 2:48 pm

  13. Jeff,

    Here’s how you might be completely right though:

    How many Mormons are willing, right now, to scale down their living style and actually give the excess to other poor LDS families to the point that the other families would be on a similar socio-economic footing as them?

    Probably none.

    Comment by Pierce — March 13, 2015 @ 2:50 pm

  14. Wow, this is the most shallow defense of right-wing economics I have seen in ages (and that’s saying something). We do, in fact, live in a modern society. We do have a responsibility to take care of the poor and disadvantaged, and the combined charities (including all churches) do not have the wherewithal to do so. This is one reason why we have governments.

    It is, therefore, not confiscation (I think that’s the word you were after, not compensation) when the government taxes us in order to create some sort of minimum level of suffering in society as well as provide all the things we think government ought to do (streets, libraries, police, etc.) It is simply the price of living in a modern society.

    The hyperidealistic delusion of libertarians that we still live in the wild west where rugged individualism reigns and everybody is able to make it on his or her own is a utopia that never existed and never will.

    Consider please that even the city of Enoch had a government and required certain things of its citizens.

    Comment by Lew Scannon — March 13, 2015 @ 3:24 pm

  15. Jeff, my understanding of the United Order is a bit different; so please let me know if I’m wrong. But as I understand it:

    1. The United Order *did* entail private property–you deeded your property to the Church on entry but then had a stewardship–often the same land/house you’d consecrated–deeded right back to you.

    2. Periodic contributions of “surplus” to one’s ecclesiastical leader were not based on an assessment from a bishop who arbitrarily decreed that one “had enough”; but by mutual consent between the member and the bishop. The ability to improve your lot in life over last year provided continuing incentive for work even after one’s own basic needs were met–an incentive that altruism alone doesn’t have a great track record of providing.

    3. If you look up the D&C passages regarding “idlers”, they are actually quite harsh. I don’t know that the United Order would have completely cut such people loose and leave them to their own devices for sustenance, as many libertarians seem willing to do; but I think that (with the possible exception of medical care) they’d be afforded a standard of living somewhat below what can be had through American government assistance programs (and far below what can be had through similar programs in western Europe).

    There are most likely conservatives who use libertarian theory as a crutch to justify personal stinginess (as King Benjamin himself noted); but I don’t think conservativism/libertarianism is uniquely uncharitable. Both sides essentially provide a theoretical “other” who should do my alms for me–“the taxpayers” (a group that, statistically, has a 53% chance of *not* including me) in the case of the left, and “private charities” (a group that includes me only if I want it to) in the case of the right.

    Comment by JimD — March 13, 2015 @ 3:51 pm

  16. Lew,

    I can say without qualification that you missed the point. My post was, if any thing, an attack on right-wing, free-market economics. The very fact that Pierce is trying to argue against me in defense of libertarianism should have clued you in.


    If you deeded your land over to the church, then it is not private property any more, by very definition. Collectivist philosophies such as socialism are very much pro-work and pro-stewardship.


    The point is that each political position uses moral language and thus portrays itself as a moral system with rights and duties. The rights and duties spoken of within individualistic libertarianism are NOT those of the gospel. Thus, Mormons are committed too the idea that individualism and free markets are NOT the the right way of organizing society. It might be a second-best compromise with world and the realities of power that exist within it, but such a compromise can only makes sense in terms of the ideal (the collectivism of the gospel) that is being compromised. Thus, I’m not necessarily arguing against libertarianism politics, only an uncritical acceptance of the morality that is entailed by such a politics.

    Comment by Jeff G — March 13, 2015 @ 5:07 pm

  17. Jeff,

    You may not have wanted to reduce differences to economic ones, but it sure turned out that way…

    From my experience, there are many Mormons who are conservative mostly for the moral issues, such as abortion or over gay marriage. When you combine these issues with the economic ones, there are even more reason for the correlation.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — March 13, 2015 @ 7:33 pm

  18. I think the idea that the third paragraph is a sub-conscious reason for conservative Mormons to be against the government redistribution of wealth is false. My discussions with Mormons on this subject (as a conservative myself) brings this in the clear open as a reason. Its the other top paragraph reasonings that is a sub-set of the Church as true right of redistribution. After all, before “big government” there was family, friends, and most especially Churches responding to the community needs at a far more personal level. For a conservative, taxes should be minimally collected for roads, schools, military, and very basic structural needs.

    The social needs for tax collection are considered outside the rights given to the government by the Constitution. Those are (or should be) left to States as the communities vote to include. Ideally, even the States should be working with private organizations, or leaving it entirely up to them or individuals. If there is a sub-conscious conservative Mormon reason, its that the government is in direct conflict with Lord. That the laws and leaders are so far beyond the Constitutional enumerated powers given is evidence for holding this view.

    Leading to the idea that conservative Mormons are patriotic for a very different reason than other conservatives, but that could be a subject beyond the scope of this discussion.

    Comment by Jettboy — March 13, 2015 @ 8:50 pm

  19. Jeff, my point was that once you made the initial consecration on entering the United Order, whatever stewardship you got back was yours to keep, free and clear, even if you thereafter left the church.

    I get that other collective enterprises are also theoretically pro-work; but with guaranteed identical standards of living for all and without any practical link between individual effort and individual prosperity, you end up with an economic death spiral where, as the old Soviet joke went, “we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us”.

    Comment by JimD — March 14, 2015 @ 11:55 am

  20. Jim,

    “with guaranteed identical standards of living for all and without any practical link between individual effort and individual prosperity,”

    This is a huge misrepresentation of socialism. Marx’s definition of socialism was “from each according to his ability, to each according to his work” in contrast to his definition of communism in which the word “work” was changed to “need”.

    Either way, the point is that I am contrasting the individualistic morality of capitalism and the collectivist morality of the gospel. Whether you get to keep your previously consecrated land or not is irrelevant. It should also kept in mind that there is nothing in principle about collectivism that entails complusion such that freedom is the exclusive possession of capitalism.

    Comment by Jeff G — March 14, 2015 @ 12:14 pm

  21. Jeff, even if you grant that all collectivist enterprises allocate resources according to work rather than need; as I understand Marx (and I could certainly be wrong, in which case I welcome correction) all labor is supposedly of equal value. An hour of a surgeon’s labor theoretically has the same value as an hour of a baker’s labor. Individuals would then naturally start asking why they should bother with the extra education and training required to become a surgeon, and what you end up with is a shortage of surgeons. That, as I understand it, is a big part of why many socialist/communist states have healthy propaganda ministries with ubiquitous statues, posters, and rallies/parades to whip up nationalist sentiment and repeatedly harp on the value of work.

    I do agree that there’s tension between the collectivist facets of the Gospel and the dog-eat-dog facets of capitalism; but to keep things in perspective–the United Order did allow for private ownership of property; and it sought to harness, not eradicate, the profit motive. And collectivism, while theoretically feasible in a free population that is sincerely and ideologically committed to its success, has in practice managed to sustain itself over decades only by severely curtailing the individual liberties of dissenters.

    Comment by JimD — March 14, 2015 @ 1:30 pm

  22. Your understanding of collectivism seems quite skewed. Why should that idea that people ought to pursue the good of the group over their individual good entail any such thing about the value of labor?

    “it sought to harness, not eradicate, the profit motive”

    I seriously question this. After all, *whose* profit was the real motive, that of the individual or the church?

    The fact of the matter is that historically speaking, individualism is the exception rather than the rule. Individualism was invented around the 17th and 18th centuries and was based in the idea that the pursuit of private goods was actually the best way of achieving the public good. The slogan was that private vices contribute to public goods in that the selfish desire of people and their pursuit of individual profit was good for the larger society. The gospel teaches the exact opposite of this.

    Thus gospel teaches 1) we are not suppose focus on our individual interests, and 2) a society in which people do so is NOT what is best for society. This is why I claimed that many right-wing members do vote the way they do for selfish reasons and that other right-wing members think that the freedom to pursue personal profit really is best for society. The gospel says that BOTH of these kinds of members are wrong.

    Yes, we can still vote republican as a second best compromise within this imperfect world, but we are NOT supposed to teach that (1) or (2) are true. The gospel gives us practical but not principled reasons for vote for free market politics.

    Comment by Jeff G — March 15, 2015 @ 7:24 pm

  23. Thus gospel teaches 1) we are not suppose focus on our individual interests, and 2) a society in which people do so is NOT what is best for society.

    I wonder about this. The gospel teaches we are not supposed to focus on self-interest. But of course not focusing on self needn’t entail collectivism. Merely a focus on others. But that focus on others may well (and arguably should) be focusing on the needs of other individuals. One could well argue that collectivism doesn’t do this. Of course it may also be that there are ethical demands made on us both by individuals and groups and that we err making the nominalist reduction of the group to merely a collection of individuals. (This is one critique of utilitarianism – that it reduces the individual good to the good in aggregate to the most)

    I’d say that the gospel tends to lead us to something like a virtue ethics even if our virtue and the demands of others upon us ethically may lead us to try collectivist enterprises. But it may not as well. The question is what the ethical demand is and how to fulfill it.

    Where I part company with libertarians and certain subsets of conservatives is that it may well be that to fulfill our ethical demand may mean petitioning the government to act. After all if the ethical demand of groups and individuals entails the government actions of police and military to protect, why can’t it similarly lead to other types of government protections? The libertarian response that this is inappropriate role of government must itself be defended the same way that government police must.

    It seems to me the strongest argument for small government doesn’t entail no redistribution or the like. It wants minimal government because of efficiency or abuse. (This would apply to police as well which we’ve seen often abuses its power whether intentionally or not)

    If a defense of police and military is tied to property rights, then it’s not at all clear to me why a Mormon should say redistribution is tied to money being the Lord’s but police isn’t tied the same way. There’s a fundamental step here missing.

    Comment by Clark — March 16, 2015 @ 2:38 pm

  24. I think a relevant question is how to acquire goods. The gospel doesn’t tell us how to acquire goods in an economic sense–only what to do with them once we have them. Capitalism, on the other hand, teaches how best to acquire goods, but not how to use them. So I don’t think one can merely separate the two and say that adopting capitalist doctrine doesn’t follow the gospel, since the gospel doesn’t deal with acquiring goods, and capitalism doesn’t tell you what to do with the goods. The gospel merely picks up at the point of “once you have goods, you need to impart it to the poor and live for the good of the group.”

    There’s no doubt that most members are selfish (how many of us live on what we need and donate the rest?) and that can be reflected in our politics (how can we get more for ourselves?), but that really has more to do with acquirED goods rather than acquirING goods. I still think individualism plays a crucial role in gospel/church instituted collectivism.

    Especially with libertarianism, the mantra regarding collectivism is: individuals can do it better than a corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy. So the more we retain (from the government, not necessarily for ourselves), the better it will be for everyone.

    Comment by Pierce — March 16, 2015 @ 2:59 pm

  25. Clark,

    Regarding police, it is not the same. Libertarian doctrine would say that we have a right to band together as a society and hire a police service. Goods are being exchanged for a service that we already have a right to: to protect ourselves. Government redistribution is different. The government merely takes property from one person and gives it to another. Two key differences are this: 1. you don’t have a right to another’s property and 2. no services were exchanged.

    Comment by Pierce — March 16, 2015 @ 3:14 pm

  26. “But of course not focusing on self needn’t entail collectivism.”

    I have been assuming the the law of consecration that we today covenant to follow is a central part of the gospel, and this law most definitely does entail collectivism.

    Comment by Jeff G — March 16, 2015 @ 9:14 pm

  27. The question is why Libertarians justify banding together and forming a police service. I’m not sure hire is quite sufficient to explain what happens since there’s an implied view of authority and monopoly on use of force. Further the police has to be funded for the common good. But once you allow that funding to take place, why can’t it be used in other ways?

    To say government redistribution is different seems wrong if in both cases the government takes property to give to the benefit of all. I don’t see why you say redistribution is different from paying police officers to protect someone. Why the distinction between service and funds – especially in libertarian grounds?

    But even if one goes that way, it would seem to justify other services such as free housing, free medical care etc. which are just as much services as a police force.

    Comment by Clark — March 17, 2015 @ 10:10 am

  28. Your understanding of collectivism seems quite skewed.

    Quite possibly. I was a bit confused by your citation of Marx, who–as I understand it–was very much into value-of-labor theory. But, to go back on topic: does “collectivism” allow for private ownership of property, or doesn’t it? Because the United Order did allow for such.

    I seriously question this. After all, *whose* profit was the real motive, that of the individual or the church?

    I don’t quite follow you here. The point of the United Order, I would suggest, was to get individuals to provide for both themselves and the needy who were incapable of doing the same, by contributing their “surplus” to a bigger pot for redistribution while still allowing workers to retain some portion of the proceeds of their labor for their own betterment.

    The fact of the matter is that historically speaking, individualism is the exception rather than the rule. Individualism was invented around the 17th and 18th centuries and was based in the idea that the pursuit of private goods was actually the best way of achieving the public good.

    I can’t speak for the formal philosophical development of individualism; but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a caveman who killed a mammoth without planning to eat part of the spoils and who wouldn’t have gotten pretty cranky if another clan, having had no part in the kill, had happened upon the scene and demanded a portion of the meat.

    The butcher, brewer, and baker didn’t suddenly become self-interested just because they read Adam Smith. But once Smith and other authors started openly talking about ways to harness that self-interest for the common good, some really interesting things did start happening in terms of commercial, agricultural, and technological development.

    Thus gospel teaches 1) we are not suppose focus on our individual interests, and 2) a society in which people do so is NOT what is best for society.

    With regard to your first point, I agree that the gospel is very much about seeing oneself as a part of a greater whole. On the other hand, the gospel is also very big on self-sufficiency–in other words, looking out for oneself. I am not aware of any form of the United Order in which a person, on an ongoing basis, immediately endorsed one’s paycheck over to one’s bishop and then simply hoped that whatever the bishop gave him back would be enough to live on. Rather, the individual was given a stewardship and then expected to make that stewardship grow, whilst consecrating generously of the surplus.

    Re your second point: “What is best for society” is an awfully loaded term. Certainly, there are moral drawbacks to anarchy; and I think lots of libertarians would agree that capitalism only works with full disclosure and a “level playing field” (whatever that means). But, then again: you allege that individualism is a 17th-century idea. Would you want to try to eradicate poverty using a 17th-century economy?

    The gospel gives us practical but not principled reasons for vote for free market politics.

    I agree with this. The right’s trap is assuming that things will work in the Millennium the way they work now. The left’s trap is assuming things can work now, the way they will in the Millennium.

    Comment by JimD — March 17, 2015 @ 11:13 am

  29. Jim,

    You’re right, Marx was a big proponent of value-theory of labor, just like Adam Smith. Thus, there is no correlation between it and collectivism.

    “The point of the United Order, I would suggest, was to get individuals to provide for both themselves and the needy who were incapable of doing the same, by contributing their “surplus” to a bigger pot for redistribution while still allowing workers to retain some portion of the proceeds of their labor for their own betterment.”

    I clearer description of socialism could not be imagined! This is exactly the utopia envisioned by all the socialists. The only difference I can see between the church and the state is that the former does not physically coerce compliance with the moral law, but it is the same moral law either way. The question I have is what happened to those who did not contribute their surplus within the united order? I’m sure there must have been some kind of punishment. (You seem to know much more about this than I.)

    “The butcher, brewer, and baker didn’t suddenly become self-interested just because they read Adam Smith.”

    Nobody is denying that. The whole point of individualism was the transitions to accepting that people OUGHT to seek primarily their own good and that in so doing they would also inadvertently and unintendedly benefit society as a whole. (Private vices equal public virtues.) This is what individualism is. It is not a mere description of how people act, but a moral prescription for how people OUGHT to act. And as such it is totally at odds with the gospel.

    “the gospel is also very big on self-sufficiency”

    Socialism is strongly in favor of self-sufficiency. Why would you think otherwise?

    Comment by Jeff G — March 17, 2015 @ 1:42 pm

  30. I’m not sure there’s no coercion within church with a united order. It had its own courts for instance. Yes you could be expelled or leave, but you wouldn’t get your stuff when you left. Thus it’s hard to call threatening expulsion from a collective wherein one had consecrated all ones stuff as non-coercive. After all you might have a family and being threatened with the loss of your shelter, job, and material possessions. That’s pretty coercive even if it’s a different sort of coercing than the state does. Perhaps it’s an acceptable type to some but let’s at least call a spade a spade.

    Of course one could argue that the United Order need not be implemented in that way – but then we’re stuck with the question of what exactly we mean by voluntary collectivism within the United Order.

    Comment by Clark — March 18, 2015 @ 11:58 am

  31. That’s exactly what I suspected, Clark. Thanks for the clarfiication.

    Comment by Jeff G — March 18, 2015 @ 1:19 pm

  32. People who were excommunicated from the church under the United Order did not give up their possessions. In fact, members maintained legal title to their non-surplus property throughout. D&C 83:3 states, for example:

    “And if they are not faithful they shall not have fellowship in the church; yet they may remain upon their inheritances according to the laws of the land.”

    Comment by Mark D. — March 22, 2015 @ 10:31 pm

  33. I loved this post and the comments even more. I have written my thoughts and comments here.

    Reference the following commenters: Pierce, Jeff G, Lew Scannon, JimD

    Comment by Rich Alger — March 28, 2015 @ 6:58 am

  34. Holy Toledo, that’s a link to a legitimate thing.

    Comment by Pierce — April 1, 2015 @ 4:20 pm