Notice: Undefined variable: xwq2ay in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(3) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 1

Notice: Undefined variable: xq9mar in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(3) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 2

Notice: Undefined variable: xb4jym in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(3) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 3

Notice: Undefined variable: xm0hy3 in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(3) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 4

Notice: Undefined variable: x6ow0w in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(6) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 1

Notice: Undefined variable: xee5jr in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(6) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 2

Notice: Undefined variable: xa3p7h in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(6) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 3

Notice: Undefined variable: xinn34 in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(6) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 4

Notice: Undefined variable: xbdf3c in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(9) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 1

Notice: Undefined variable: x8y1da in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(9) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 2

Notice: Undefined variable: xn37zs in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(9) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 3

Notice: Undefined variable: xquipf in /services17/webpages/util/r/c/rclifton.site.aplus.net/nine-moons.com/public/index.php(9) : regexp code(1) : eval()'d code on line 4
Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Realistic Idealism » Realistic Idealism

Realistic Idealism

Mo Mommy - October 28, 2008

Or, Our Eternal Household Argument Debate Discussion…

Is communism the Law of Consecration in action? Or, lacking national/worldwide conversion to the gospel and our belief system, is it simply forcing people to make good choices and do “the right thing”, mirroring in theory a certain plan put forth by a certain guy who didn’t get the job?

At what point do we stray from “esteeming our brother as ourselves”(D&C 38:24) and “being one” (D&C 38:27, Moses 7:18), and enter into “Satan’s counterfeit for the gospel plan….the greatest anti-Christ power in the world today”(President Marion G Romney, 1979)? President Ezra Taft Benson said there is no Utopia to be found “when capitalism and free enterprise are overthrown, private property abolished, the family as a social unit eliminated, all classes abolished, all governments overthrown, and a communal ownership of property in a classless, stateless society established”. So then which, if any, of those things could we institute to show service and compassion without endangering freedom and liberty?

We are counseled to work for all we receive, be self-reliant and independent, and give service. So what recourse would there be when one refuses to do those things but continues to benefit from the productivity of others? Should we allow families to suffer and perhaps die because they refuse to put their two bits in the kitty? What if there’s only one pair of gloves and every person is in need of them, how do you decide that one? Should people really be rewarded with more because they work harder or longer(actions), or should we leave it to a higher authority to decide what we earn based on the content of our character and our dedication(intents)? In a mortal world, who should that authority be? Does anyone else’s head hurt from thinking too much? Who wants a doughnut break? Chocolate or sprinkles?

37 Comments »

  1. Chocolate for me.

    Here’s how I imagine it: The Law of Consecration (as defined in the Temple) has more to do with serving others than with equality. One cannot serve in a temporal/physical manner when one does not have the goods which come about by self-reliance. Therefore, we work hard “for all we have” and then we give and serve with our hearts, lifting and helping. If we look to the Church’s welfare system, it’s not about just handing out a paycheck. They expect improvement (searching for jobs, doing all we can to lift ourselves out of the current situation, etc.) and then teach to “go and do likewise.” Helping and lifting each other in a capitalist system makes a lot of sense to me, really. But that’s also because I remember it is TEMPORARY. When every member of society can look to their neighbor (near and far) and desire to share all that they have to help, then the Law of Consecration will work –at least in the way Joseph Smith taught it (from the Lord). I’m thinking we have a ways to go before pride and selfishness is eradicated enough that this type of sharing is possible.

    And now, wondering if my thoughts made any sense, I think I need to take one with sprinkles, too!

    Comment by cheryl — October 28, 2008 @ 8:52 am

  2. Man, I’m clueless on this. If I run to KK and pick up a dozen, will it make more sense? No? Maybe I’ll try it anyway.

    Nice job, Mo.

    Comment by tracy m — October 28, 2008 @ 9:03 am

  3. So what recourse would there be when one refuses to do those things but continues to benefit from the productivity of others?

    More government. Seriously. The free rider problem only rears its ugly head when one has the freedom to opt out of paying one’s own way.

    Comment by Peter LLC — October 28, 2008 @ 9:03 am

  4. I’m definitely with cheryl on this one. Chocolate.

    Oh, and the other stuff, too.

    Seriously, I think we need to take down the bourgeoisie in the Church (you people on the hill in Linden and Mount Olympus? Yes, I’m talking about you) and distribute their water toys, sand rails and sport courts to the proletariat. Power to the United Order!

    No, really, what cheryl said.

    Comment by David T. — October 28, 2008 @ 9:46 am

  5. Really I think the main difference between the Law of Consecration and Satan’s idea is the freedom of choice. When the law of consecration is in play we follow it because we want to, not because someone else is forcing us to. In my mind it all comes down to agency, and when the L of C is in place it will be when everyone really is working for the greater good and honestly only taking what they need instead of what they feel they’ve “earned” and they will be more than happy to share because they know everyone else is doing the same and it is their choice.

    Comment by hairyshoefairy — October 28, 2008 @ 10:14 am

  6. Great talk by Pres. Ezra Taft Benson on Communism, Satan’s Counterfeit system.

    http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6162

    Comment by Mark B — October 28, 2008 @ 10:50 am

  7. “Ye have the poor always with you”

    Poverty can be alleviated when those, who have been more abundantly blessed, share with others. I agree that sharing needs to be voluntary.

    But is pure darwinism the ideal either? Without social justice (labor and anti-trust laws, public education etc.), the world would be literally a much poorer place. We would not be musing about this at our PC’s, we’d be too busy trying to survive, unless we happened to be born in the right circumstances. Of course, even now the same is true globally. Especially it seems that publicly financed education increases GDP and levels the playing field.

    “Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld.” (D&C 70:14)

    I think the question above is really hard to answer. I agree with #5 about Consecration. But I suspect that in the past few years some people have given away something that wasn’t theirs – and I mean those home equity fueled donations that were made to assuage the guilt from the excessive shopping sprees (on credit, of course, since real incomes have gone down for 8 years, except for a select few). You feel better about your SUV if you have also donated to charity. It would be fascinating to know if that model holds with statistics, but I haven’t seen any were donations would have been categorized by the indebtedness ratio of donors.

    And I still wonder about monopolistic capitalism during the Millennium. At least for now, the “invisible hand” seems to have been paralyzed, when some of the most celebrated heroes of capitalism have been exposed as houses of cards.

    Comment by Velska — October 28, 2008 @ 11:03 am

  8. Thanks for that link Mark B- it’s fantastic.

    Comment by tracy m — October 28, 2008 @ 12:17 pm

  9. I’ve often wondered this, too. For the couple of times in the Book of Mormon where we hear people lived like this, I can’t imagine that the governing leaders didn’t have a say in how it was done. It couldn’t have been 100% out of everyone’s own hearts and minds on how to care for one another, which would be the freedom of choice angle.

    Yet it still needs to be by choice on some level even with the leaders running it.

    My husband served his mission in a formerly communist country, and he could always see the difference, although I can’t articulate it. I wish we had a better explanation of how it worked when it really worked.

    Comment by Annette — October 28, 2008 @ 12:18 pm

  10. The biggest difference is Christ. One system follows him unequivocally as its leader and cornerstone. The other denies him. Guess which one works?

    Comment by MCQ — October 28, 2008 @ 1:45 pm

  11. Unless one thinks God is an anarchist, the claim that laws the coerce good behavior are Satan’s plan are totally bogus. I just posted on why here.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 29, 2008 @ 12:15 am

  12. Chocolate with sprinkles on top.

    Otherwise, I agree with what MCQ said.

    Comment by kadusey — October 29, 2008 @ 10:50 am

  13. I stumbled on this Wiki entry on Christian Communism. It kind of reminds me of George Carlin talking about jumbo shrimp.

    Comment by David T. — October 29, 2008 @ 10:56 am

  14. Excellent post and great question. I am not a doughnut fan, however I agree with MQC. Easy and to the point. It is the difference of not only those with Christ in their lives, but those who have Him in their hearts as well.

    Comment by Brooke — October 29, 2008 @ 1:46 pm

  15. Agree all around, esp. Cheryl, harryshoefairy, and above all what McQ said. The Perfect, Absolute Monarch will make ALL the difference!

    Check out Nibley’s “Approaching Zion” for some fascinating/intriguing study on the Law of Consecration. It being Nibley you have to take some of it with a grain of salt but he makes some very convincing arguments.

    Comment by Bret — October 29, 2008 @ 5:16 pm

  16. First of all, that was a trick question…everyone knows custard filled is the only way to go.
    I was hoping someone would bring up Christian Communism. Interesting how Communism begins with people attempting to do God’s work…and somehow ends up failing miserably.
    I don’t think the law of consecration dictates we all, be “equal”, just that we have our needs met. Read Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” and let me know.

    Comment by Mo Mommy — October 29, 2008 @ 5:59 pm

  17. I can see how people can look at communism (in theory) and think it sounds attractive (equality!), but communism is totalitarianism. If we as individuals are not free to decide how to use our own material goods, how can we build up the Kingdom of God? How can we practice true charity and sacrifice if what we have is taken from us to be distributed by the State? I think it’s no coincidence that every communist government that has existed has been atheistic and hostile to religion.

    Comment by E — October 29, 2008 @ 9:38 pm

  18. Mo Mommy (#16),

    Thanks for the Vonnegut suggestion– good stuff! I agree, obviously we haven’t all been given talents just to stunt them for the sake of staying equal with the lowest common denominator. I loved the comment the wife made when the news announcer failed to deliver the message:

    “That’s all right –” Hazel said of the announcer, “he tried. That’s the big thing. He tried to do the best he could with what God gave him. He should get a nice raise for trying so hard.”

    Just as life’s circumstance and heaven’s rewards will prove to be unequal, so it is with the Law of Consecration. It’s probably more like Brigham’s United Order of Enoch where the income was divided into shares based on the amount of property originally contributed.

    Comment by David T. — October 30, 2008 @ 10:36 am

  19. I agree with Cheryl and, surprisingly, MCQ, though probably not for the reasons one might suspect. I think charity and consecration are matters of the heart, not the political system under which one lives. I think one can be charitable and offer consecrated service in a purely capitalist, free-market society (as if one of those exists anywhere) or in a socialist democracy, like those found in Europe. I think the best way to achieve a safe healthy, just society is up for debate; but, I do not think that one society that decides to “share the wealth” (Oooo! Scary!) more than another is closer to Satan’s plan. The idea just rubs me the wrong way. I think equally close to Satan’s plan might be the society that smugly congratulates itself on protecting freedom while allowing millions of its people to live in the bondage of poverty.

    Comment by Martin Willey — October 30, 2008 @ 10:40 am

  20. I think you have to be careful not to equate economic freedom with political freedom. They have some similarities and maybe related, but they are not the same thing. There are plenty of soceities that allow freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, etc., but that make societal, economic decisions to equalize wealth. I, for one, am not uncomfortable with that – - the B of M, among other thigs, teaches that class distinction based upon wealth can be dangerous. I am, however, uncomfortable with systems that do not allow freedom of expression or religion.

    Comment by fifthgen — October 30, 2008 @ 1:50 pm

  21. I don’t think sharing the wealth is a problem, I think it’s when we begin to force people to “do the right thing” that it gets dicey. Telling people not to do things which harm others seems like a no-brainer, but who gets to be the deciding authority on what is the right thing? We hear so often about not being able to legislate morality when it comes to NOT allowing people to do things, isn’t the essence of communism basically imposing morality to MAKE people do something?
    If you have earned or created something, it’s yours to do with as you wish. You can give it away or keep it, your choice. But someone coming into your home and taking it from you because they think someone else needs it just doesn’t seem right.
    True charity isn’t encouraged in a society where it’s all about “looking out for number 1″, but I’m also of the opinion that taking a persons hard-earned possessions and forcing them to take care of others isn’t fostering a feeling of true charity either. It can’t possibly be so black and white, I’m just not sure where a workable grey area would be…

    Comment by Mo Mommy — October 30, 2008 @ 3:37 pm

  22. The Law of Consecration doesn’t force anyone to give up their possessions, per se, but it basically says that we all agree that our possessions don’t belong to us, they belong to God. We consecrate everything to God. No one forces you to do this, but once you agree to live that law, it’s not then an option to hold anything back. It all belongs to God and will be used as he sees fit. This is not a problem where we are ruled by Christ, but in a situation where imperfect or possibly corrupt men are involved, all kinds of problems can happen. The key ingredient is Christ.

    Comment by MCQ — October 30, 2008 @ 5:02 pm

  23. What’s wrong with your comments feature Rusty? My last comment isn’t showing up

    Comment by Geoff J — October 30, 2008 @ 10:39 pm

  24. Another try…

    Mo Mommy: I think it’s when we begin to force people to “do the right thing” that it gets dicey

    Like when we force people to abstain from rape, murder, child abuse, robbery, etc? All of our criminal laws are designed to force (or at least strongly encourage) people to do the right thing. A democratic society gets to decide which right things it will enforce.

    but who gets to be the deciding authority on what is the right thing?

    The majority gets to decide in a democracy. But as it turns out the majority often agrees with scriptures on what the right things are. In the case of wealth distribution they would be agreeing with scriptures as well. (The hardcore economic libertarian position was argued for in scriptures too. But Korihor made those arguments and we are told he was “anti-Christ”…)

    isn’t the essence of communism basically imposing morality to MAKE people do something?

    No. And moreover, we in the U/S. are in no real danger of suddenly living behind the Iron Curtain if we vote in universal health care or nothing. Don’t be fooled by the whack jobs who can’t tell the difference between a few more social programs and the USSR. It is fear mongering at its worst and the rhetoric ends up sounding surprisingly Korihor-like.

    but I’m also of the opinion that taking a persons hard-earned possessions and forcing them to take care of others isn’t fostering a feeling of true charity either

    If this were a real risk then there would be no real charity ever in countries that embrace more socialistic principles like Australia, the UK, etc. But it isn’t true — people in those countries can still be charitable and give of time and means to the poor.

    I’m just not sure where a workable grey area would be…

    Seems to me that if Mormons took scriptures more seriously we would be liberals on economic issues and conservatives in social issues (like Nibley reportedly was).

    Comment by Geoff J — October 30, 2008 @ 10:39 pm

  25. Mo Mommy: I think it’s when we begin to force people to “do the right thing” that it gets dicey

    Like when we force people to abstain from rape, murder, child abuse, robbery, etc? All of our criminal laws are designed to force (or at least strongly encourage) people to do the right thing. A democratic society gets to decide which right things it will enforce.

    but who gets to be the deciding authority on what is the right thing?

    The majority gets to decide in a democracy. But as it turns out the majority often agrees with scriptures on what the right things are. In the case of wealth distribution they would be agreeing with scriptures as well. (The hardcore economic libertarian position was argued for in scriptures too. But Korihor made those arguments and we are told he was “anti-Christ”…)

    Comment by Geoff J — October 30, 2008 @ 10:40 pm

  26. Seriously… what’s the deal with comments??

    I’m just not sure where a workable grey area would be…

    Seems to me that if Mormons took scriptures more seriously we would be liberals on economic issues and conservatives in social issues (like Nibley reportedly was).

    Comment by Geoff J — October 30, 2008 @ 10:42 pm

  27. Well put, Geoff! I’m stealing that.

    Comment by Bret — October 30, 2008 @ 11:24 pm

  28. I have to bring up that it took legislation to stop slavery, to make education available to all at least theoretically and such. Government intervention is not always bad.

    Now minimum wage may not be problem-free, but at least it is an effort to solve some of the worst exploitation situations. Of course, labor should be a resource that’s subject to competitive pricing… so in order to keep more jobs in Europe & America we should accept pay cuts (and many already have).

    Comment by Velska — October 31, 2008 @ 1:20 am

  29. o in order to keep more jobs in Europe & America we should accept pay cuts (and many already have)

    Or be willing to increase productivity.

    Comment by Peter LLC — October 31, 2008 @ 6:56 am

  30. I think causing physical harm to another person is on an entirely different level, as I said before. That goes far beyond the political and economic choices of a society.
    But that is a good point,since even though we discourage certain actions, they still run rampant. The mere fact that we have prisons, police officers and courts is proof that human beings still have choice. Yes, they are punished for certain choices, but they have the option to decide.
    In my understanding, Satan’s plan would have guaranteed we’d all do the right thing and get back to heaven. There’s no plan that could guarantee that without abolishing free will. Communism takes an individuals money and property from their possession without giving them the choice to donate freely, much more similar to that Satan’s plan, in my opinion, than the “incentive” plan we’ve got now.

    Comment by Mo Mommy — October 31, 2008 @ 9:11 am

  31. Mo Mommy: In my understanding, Satan’s plan would have guaranteed we’d all do the right thing and get back to heaven. There’s no plan that could guarantee that without abolishing free will.

    While this is a popular meme, I actually think this is theologically untenable speculation. God punishes wrong behavior and encourages right behavior and a good society would presumably do the same. None of our taxation laws remove free will — they simply attach rewards and punishments to compliance or lack thereof.

    Communism takes an individuals money and property from their possession without giving them the choice to donate freely, much more similar to that Satan’s plan, in my opinion, than the “incentive” plan we’ve got now.

    This is true of totalitarian communism. I don’t know how any same person could think this is a good comparison to the United Order or to taxpayer-funded social program in free societies.

    Comment by Geoff J — October 31, 2008 @ 10:50 am

  32. Make that “sane person”.

    Satan’s plan is also outlined in Alma 30 by the anti-Christ Korihor who told people:

    “every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime.”

    Comment by Geoff J — October 31, 2008 @ 10:54 am

  33. I think many of you need to review what the Law of Consecration entails. It’s not just possessions and money. And if we limit the Law to these material things only, it will not work. It cannot work.

    Comment by Tim J. — October 31, 2008 @ 10:57 am

  34. This is true of totalitarian communism. I don’t know how any same person could think this is a good comparison to the United Order or to taxpayer-funded social program in free societies.

    I don’t think they are at all the same, the differences are exactly what I was talking about. Like Tim J said, it can’t work if we make it just about money and possessions. I think the missing link in communism is all encompassing societal love and charity. Those things must be voluntary.

    Comment by Mo Mommy — October 31, 2008 @ 3:18 pm

  35. The whole point is that I DON’T know. The line between the two seems very fine but the differences are still quite large if one is Satan’s plan and the other is the Lord’s. It’s just hard to tell exactly where it crosses the line…

    Comment by Mo Mommy — October 31, 2008 @ 3:22 pm

  36. #30: For a variety of reasons it is untenable to maintain that Satan’s plan could have saved anyone.

    cf. 2 Ne 2:13, D&C 29:39.

    Comment by Mark D. — October 31, 2008 @ 9:55 pm

  37. Mo Mommy: My problem with the idea that we should all get to keep our hard earned possessions is that it betrays a very naive arrogance. I mean, we are talking, are we not, about all the stuff you earned through your hard work, after your public education, subsidized food, safe streets, and after driving to work on the public highways to work for the corporation that gets who-knows-how-many tax breaks and subsidies. We are all very connected and interdependent, and it is just silly to assume that we get what we get soley through or own effort. Since our society provides an incredibly helpful platform on which to stand, perhaps we should help maintain it, and help others get there, too.

    Comment by fifthgen — November 1, 2008 @ 7:05 am

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.
TrackBack URI