Trickle-Sideways Mormonomics and Consecration’s Legacy

March 28, 2008
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“Elders are agreed on the way and manner necessary to obtain celestial glory, but they quarrel about a dollar. When principles of eternal life are brought before them—God and the things pertaining to God and godliness—they apparently care not half so much about them as they do about five cents. Instead of reflecting upon and searching for hidden things of greatest value to them, [the Latter-day Saints] rather wish to learn how to secure their way through the world as easily and as comfortably as possible. The reflections, what they are here for, who produced them, and where they are from, fro too seldom enter their minds.” – So said Brigham Young.

When one contemplates the sanctifying effects of true Christian behavior, after hope and faith, charity is the greatest of these. Yet can we dissemble charity from normative and theological economics and economic behavior? I think how we see macro-economic philosophy as well as how we behave with our own personal economics ties greatly into how we implement charity.

In Working Toward Zion, James W. Lucas and Warner P. Woodworth examine economic philosophy according to scripture and modern prophetic teachings, and surprise-surprise, it isn’t modern capitalism. D&C 77:2 states “that which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal; and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual.” In other words, how we conduct our temporal (economic) affairs directly relates to our spiritual well-being. David O. McKay also offered that “The betterment of the individual is only one aim of the Church. The complete ideal of Mormonism is to make upright citizens in an ideal society.”

Woodworth offers that 28 percent of the Doctrine and Covenants relates to economics activities. The theology of Mormon economics is based upon concepts of consecration, stewardship, care for the poor, equality, and work and self reliance and they also respect the idea of the free market. Thus, it would be incorrect to label it as socialism (it may be a sort of proto-socialism) but it does not conceive of state-controlled or planned economies. In the 19th century, various attempts to implement these laws culminated in different types of “United Orders,” some of which were more successful than others. Many of the early united orders failed because of the failure in temporal duties because of the perceived imminence of the Second Coming. Others failed to understand the concept of surplus thinking as Brigham Young mused, that members thought surplus was a cow that “was of a class that would kick a person’s hat off, or eyes out, or the wolves had eaten off their teats.”

Nauvoo implemented many of the ideals of united orders, but didn’t institutionalize the united order. The most successful attempts at consecration and a form of united orders took place in the 1870’s in the form of co-ops. Lorenzo Snow organized all of the businesses in Brigham City in to cooperatives in 1874. Another example was Zion Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI) where all common stock was held by LDS merchants who provided the goods. The First Presidency in 1875 spread the stock even further among many of the members so that stock wasn’t concentrated in the hands of a few. Rural communes such as Orderville instituted united orders in such a way that even items like clothing and food were created and distributed in common in a closed economy.

Ultimately, all successful united orders and many co-ops were disbanded as a result of an agreement with the United States of America in exchange for statehood. The US government felt that these united orders were a threat to its current capitalist economic order. Elder Widstoe wrote that the united order “as a mode of life . . . is in abeyance.” It will only be reestablished by revelation. Until them we were to follow the law of tithing as preparatory to the law of consecration. There are many parallels to this and the Manfesto. In fact, the confusion of consecration, Marxism, and socialism were evident. Politicians saw the Communard, the Fabians, and the French anarchists at the end of 19th Century and began to fear Mormon economics as another form of potential socialist economic turmoil.

All was not lost, however. In fact, elements of consecration were implemented in the 1930’s during the Welfare Programs instituted by J. Reuben Clark and Heber J. Grant. This is one formal representation of the consecration progressing into a new path after it was dismantled in the 1890’s. Other modern progressions to a type of consecration is the Church budget system implemented in the 1980’s and the recent Perpetual Education Fund on a limited basis. But there were some bottlenecks that arose at the end of WWII the curtailed movement towards forwarding consecration. The rise of Karl Marx, totalitarian socialism in Germany and Russia brought a major backlash against any economic experiment that was not modern enterprise capitalism. In the anti-Communist hysteria, even Mormons fell prey to embracing enterprise capitalism as a boomerang effect in order to curtail the erasing of freedom seen in the Red Menace. The freedom aspects of enterprise capitalism overshadowed all over failures of the system that consecration was supposed to correct.

So they have embraced MLM’s, real estate speculation, bankruptcy, and get-rich-quick schemes. Many Mormons have endeavored to become their own little Carnegies in direct opposition to consecration, something they covenant in the temple. They have been doing what Brigham Young lamented about in the hyper extreme—securing their way through the world as “comfortably and as easily as possible”.

But what can we do? There are some suggestions, especially for those of us with means.

  1. Actually donate your surplus in ways that help the world and make sense to the spirit of charity. This is done by understanding sufficiency in personal utility and not maximization of utility.
  2. Start by donating beyond regular tithes to fast offerings, humanitarian funds, PEF, missionary, and other funds.
  3. Also donate to other not-for-profits like the Red Cross, CARE, and international organizations that help the poor through micro-credit loans and eliminations of disease.
  4. Consecrate your time if you are a professional in doing pro bono work for those that cannot afford it.
  5. Formulate your own family-based consecration-based economic order. Families can share profits and property, hold common stock, make revolving loans, etc. This not only implements consecration principles, but also strengthens family ties.
  6. If you are wealthy, do as Jon Hunstman Sr, is doing, using all of your personal wealth to solve a problem such as cancer. Hunstman vows to cure cancer or die poor.

This is all something Mormonism can work on, and it would be in our best interest, creating a spirit of Zion so that we can be ready for its full implementation in the future. I will end with Brigham Young again, stating: “When all concede the point that when this mortality falls off, and with its cares, anxieties, love of self, love of wealth, love of power, and all the conflicting interests which pertain to the flesh, that then, when our spirits have returned to the God that gave them, we will be subject to every requirement that He may make of us, that we shall then live as one great family; our interest will be a general, a common interest. Why can we not so live in this world?”

I would not be surprised as the economy falters and that which has padded the pants of Mormonism in the past 50 years – capitalist entrepreneurship – falters if we enter a second type of depression, that the Church harks back to its economic legacy and implements again elements of consecration, the economics which trickles sideways in the benefit of all equally.

  • http://www.burningbosom.com Andrew Ainsworth

    I enjoyed this post, Peter.

    I’d add to the list of “surplus” items we can consecrate a good chunk of our free time. There’s a lot of good volunteer work that can be done if we are willing to cut down, or cut out, our TV time.

  • http://www.thediaryofananarchist.com/ Stephen Wellington

    Peter….WOW!!! I loved it! My favourite post yet I must say.

    Your essay wants to make me read “Working Towards Zion”…its o0n my shelf but I just have not had time.

    I loved your suggestions and your thorough scholarship. Thank you again. I think the internet is a great place to implements charitiable elements of co-operativism and I am going to get in touch with you for some advice.

  • Just for Quix

    I like your angle that distills “Mormononims” down to the personal level of provident, generous and frugal living. It’s the only level at which I can reconcile usefulness. As a system of societal economics it will never work, nor ever has. Even Brigham Young, for all his high-falutin’ criticism of members who failed to live up to the standard, was one of the Mormon elite class who, himself, never lived up to it either. At least many of the peasants tried, while, as per what history teaches us, the landowners prospered.

  • hawkgrrrl

    Very thoughtful post.

    With the economy as it is, I have been giving this a lot of thought this week. The United Order is said to have failed because people weren’t “ready” to live it. Did the United Order fail because of human weakness or did it fail because it fosters human weakness? I can’t quite come to terms with it, to be honest, and here are a few sticking points for me.

    “The theology of Mormon economics is based upon concepts of consecration, stewardship, care for the poor, equality, and work and self reliance and they also respect the idea of the free market.”

    Several of these concepts inherently conflict with each other or at least in reality don’t play out this way:

    Consecration – time, talents, etc. are the Lord’s, so we owe Him whatever we have.

    Stewardship – we are responsible for the care of what the Lord has entrusted to us. Do we all define “care” the same way? Are our standards equal?

    Care for the Poor – (sticking point) Why are they poor? This is a critical question that needs exploration. Are they poor because their contribution to society is less than what they need to receive from society? If so, is it due to lack of motivation, lack of skills or intelligence or a physical or mental disability? Or a combination of these factors?

    Equality – (sticking point) this conflicts with “care for the poor”; if they are in the United Order, they are no longer ‘poor’ or unable to care for themselves (theoretically) because of the surplus they receive to live on. If “the poor” are outside the United Order, then OK I guess. To paraphrase Ayn Rand: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” only works if all have similar abilities or agree that needs are more important than abilities. Otherwise, it is an enslavement of people with ability by the people whose needs outweigh their ability.

    Work – (sticking point) Some work is more valuable than other work to the society, and some work is less valuable. There has to be some valuation of the output of the work.

    Self-reliance – Taking personal accountability to ensure your own and your dependents’ needs are met, provided all in the United Order agree as to what “needs” are and that those of greater ability are content to live with only their barest needs being met.

    “Formulate your own family-based consecration-based economic order. . . This not only implements consecration principles, but also strengthens family ties.” Well, I have to disagree there. Sharing money between family members seems a sure way to weaken family ties in my experience. Many families are split apart over money (inheritence, loan, living under one roof), for all the reasons I listed above.

  • Gina

    hawkgrrrl #4
    Regarding the Ayn Rand quote, I would say that one of the results of living the Gospel is that we do in fact “enslave” ourselves to others. Heavenly Father is in every possible way of greater ability, stature, power, et cetera than any one of us, yet he is, amazingly, always ready to love, honor, help, and bless us. We ourselves are asked to “enslave” ourselves to children, spouses, those we visit and/or home teach, the members we serve through our callings, et cetera. That this is so difficult for us to do makes me very grateful for the structure of the church and the way it gently encourages us to become our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.

  • Hawkgrrrl

    Gina – ya know, you have a great point. But I still have a hard time getting my head around it in practice. I’m sure you are just a better person than I am.

    First of all, my bad for quoting Ayn Rand–it’s impossible to quote Rand and not sound like a total jerk. She clearly didn’t take into account in her objectivist viewpoint the very real issue that some are born without the ability to care for themselves (a stark example). But, coming from an economic viewpoint, the inequity of ability is still problematic in a shared resource structure. It’s like group projects in college. One ends up doing more work than the rest because the others may be 1) lazy, 2) stupid, or 3) less motivated to get a good grade.

    Here’s another hypothetical example. Should you take an expensive family vacation, or should you use that money to pay off your brother’s credit card debt because he and his family racked it up by living beyond their means? You’ll certainly be blessed by the Lord for being charitable. Should you still do it if he’s just going to turn around and rack up more credit card debt? Are you really doing him a favor or just fostering moral weakness by bailing him out?

  • Gina

    Hawkgrrrl, I am only acutely aware of how much we are asked to do because it is so completely against my nature! I wouldn’t have guessed how genuinely selfish I was if I hadn’t been asked to do so many things for other people and if it hadn’t been so hard for me to do it (well, at least try to do at least some of it). I am totally with you on the difficulty of implementing the ideas. And you are right, Ayn Rand is sort of a loaded reference :)

    And there are no easy answers to your hypotheticals, of course. In a non-monetary way probably every ward faces these problems all the time. The five completely needy, unlikely-to-ever-not-be-needy families who could suck all the lifeblood of every other member and still be in pretty much the same situation. Not taking a really expensive family vacation, however, might be a good place to start when we think of using our resources to bless others. Paying off your brothers’ irresponsible credit card debt might not be the most important way to use those resources instead, however.

    I am pretty sure we’re all failing to live up to the ideal of a consecrated life in our own ways, I certainly am. But I do think that our understanding of the gospel really does have implications for how we need to think about our economic systems and even more so how we individually manage our resources, however big or small. In particular, I think there are many things we should be willing to give up as individuals for the betterment of the communities we are a part of. This doesn’t always mean giving away our money, it might mean spending our money in ways that promote good jobs in our community or sustainable practices. It also might mean earning less money ourselves because we work fewer hours so we have time to spend building our community (starting with our family and working out).

  • Gina

    I really enjoyed this post, btw. Thank you!

  • http://ethesis.blogspot.com/ Stephen Marsh

    Enablement vs. succor … a good point Hawkgrrrl.

    I don’t know.

    But I like the main point.

  • Peter Brown

    (3) “As a system of societal economics it will never work, nor ever has. Even Brigham Young, for all his high-falutin’ criticism of members who failed to live up to the standard, was one of the Mormon elite class who, himself, never lived up to it either.”

    That’s the typical response I get from many Latter-day Saints. Turth be told, it DID work at some degree, but people like to pooh-pooh it as impossible because we are too addicted to capital. We change people’s hearts and minds, it can work. It work for the Amana colony that is still practicing, as well as severel technologically-based Kibbutzes in Israel, among many Amish, as well as fundamentalist Mormons. Throwing Brigham Young under the bus because he had a big house and fancy things is bit ignorant of consecration, frankly. I don’t mean to be terse, but I get this reponse over and over again–that it’s hopeless. It isn’t.

    (4) “Did the United Order fail because of human weakness or did it fail because it fosters human weakness?” First of all, there were several united orders. All of the early ones failed, the 1870′s ones were shut down by Federal compromise.

    “Care for the Poor – (sticking point) Why are they poor? This is a critical question that needs exploration. Are they poor because their contribution to society is less than what they need to receive from society? If so, is it due to lack of motivation, lack of skills or intelligence or a physical or mental disability? Or a combination of these factors?”

    You know, consecration also factors in storehouses, where surpluses were kept. The bishop was the judge in things both temporally and spiritually. On a micro level that’s the only way you can judge where a need is justified by a true deficiency, not just laziness.

    “Work – (sticking point) Some work is more valuable than other work to the society, and some work is less valuable. There has to be some valuation of the output of the work.”

    With work, the free market values its imput. The market awards us according to our fruits. Consecration operates more as a law of ipitmal normative consumption. You can earn all the money in the world, but you would value equality and charity, so you consecrate your surplus.

    “Well, I have to disagree there. Sharing money between family members seems a sure way to weaken family ties in my experience.”

    Is it the money, or is it the sins of our fathers that we value it as ours. Many societies live in perfect harmony sharing resources (Japanese, Mexicans, Polynesians). What you point out is an American problem, a human problem, but one that is culture and ought to be overcome in our quest to be more Christlike.

    ” “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need””

    Um, wasn’t that Karl Marx?

  • Cicero

    While I enjoy the general thrust of this article, I must admit I am always a little annoyed by the inexactness with which Capitialism is thrown around.

    Often it is conflated with the free market- which you avoid here.

    Often it is conflated with the current profit driven corporations of today, which you do not avoid here.

    Combined these confusions lead to one of two concepts- the first is that socialism is consistent with the gospel because current profit driven corporations are not, the second is that the gospel is consistent with profit driven corporations because it respects the free market. Both of these are in error.

    In a general sense capitalism is simply about the accumulation of capital to increase productive. The current favored method of corporation formation is just one of many possible methods. For example, while the distribution in a Zion society of consumer goods might be driven by people’s needs, the distribution of productive goods would be driven by the ability to produce. Obviously you would want productive capital to be given to the person who can make the most use out of it.

  • hawkgrrrl

    #10 Peter Brown – you are right that Karl Marx said that, btw, but it is the premise Rand’s anti-communist writings are all designed to refute and she quotes it liberally. I should have been more clear. I was paraphrasing her criticism of communism in that statement.

    While we’re on the value of work and a “united order” society, another problem (I see it as a problem, but not all would agree) with any economy based on “need” is that the work that is most valued is “need-based.” So, innovation is essentially squelched or limited. New technologies, which are always expensive to develop would not be pursued vigorously in a needs-based economy. Perhaps some will see this as Utopian anyway, but it seems pretty back-woods to me. Jobs that would emerge in a needs-based economy are things like farming, carpentry, medicine, and prostitution (I’m only half kidding on that last one). There would be no development of non-needs-based technology: no personal computers, no space program, no cell phones, no art.

  • Peter Brown

    (11) “Often it is conflated with the current profit driven corporations of today, which you do not avoid here”

    You’re right. I just have one question. Do you think profit-driven corporations (corporate enterprise, if you will) will be around in the Millennium? By that I mean a system where shareholders are wealthy owners of capital that are only concerned with profit. Profit motivations aren’t perfect, for example, they focus on the short-run of a coporation, not the long-run. You can change many of the errors in corporatism by allowing labor to own the capital; companies such as Proctor & Gamble do this. That way, profit, but livelihood, as wall as stability and fairness are other outputs of the enterprise besides profit.

    Capitalism by definition is the acquisition of capital. I believe that people can pull up their bootstraps and own capital, but the cuvature for owning it is very large. Capitalists who already own capital or have inherited it have the advantage of leveraging to make more capital. Renters of capital (most of us) do NOT have the luxury. It takes years of blood, sweat, and determiniation to own from scratch a mere half million. And then only a few have the natural capacity to do so at the initial stages. There is a much smaller learning curve to make capital when you already own that capital. Thus, the other half million is easier to make, and so on and so on. I would like to see a society where people of their own free will distribute the capital because they don’t need it, plain and simple, and they want to help others grow their own capital. You still want to increase capital, you just feel that there should be a fair distribution, as the early days of ZCMI showcased.

  • susan

    Great post. As far as Huntsman donating all his money to cure cancer – well, I suppose this is a good effort – however, he would get a LOT more bang for his buck by supporting getting clean water accessible for all, malaria and parasite treatment, and HIV prevention around the world. Cancer is (largely) a disease of older folks (I am not discounting childhood cancers, it is just that they are not the big killers of children – malaria, parasites, TB, malnutrition and HIV – plus wars, motor vehicle accidents, etc. ARE the big killers of the youth). I am more in the area of let’s spend more money on child and infant mortality, and less on prolonging life indefinitely for the older folks (not that I am against long life – I just think we should prioritize a little better). BTW, I am a 58 year old physician who volunteers in Honduras, and have a non-profit organization to improve health care and community infrastructure/economics in a small Garifuna community there. The needs are INCREDIBLE. It is just heart rending to see babies dying of malnutrition and malaria, and children with leg amputations due to preventable infections – which I see every time I am there.

  • hawkgrrrl

    susan – I like your point about the needs in 3rd world countries, which is why we sponsor charitable contributions in Honduras. However, I have read in Time that the charitable contributions in Africa are one thing that has inadvertently held the country back economically. When the government is corrupt or has been overthrown, or where the infrastructure is crumbling due to lack of government, the article said that monetary donations from other countries only exacerbates the problems. What is your experience?

  • http://adventures-in-mormonism.com bfwebster

    A great post. Here’s a couple of additional thoughts.

    I was teaching Seminary (with the course of study being the D&C) back in 1990 when the Church eliminated ward budget assessment and started apportioning money to wards based on sacrament attendance. One of the immediate consequences of this was the halting of most YM/YW ‘super activities’ that were typically funded via special ward budget assessments — which meant that they typically only happened in ‘wealthier’ wards. It was interesting to see how many of my students were upset about this change (often reflecting what they heard from their parents at home). When I pointed out that this was a step towards the law of consecration, some grasped that but the rest remained resentful.

    A few years back, when Sandra and I were living in DC, a member of our branch/ward who was working in (IIRC) the US Treasury Department — with a focus on international development — gave a fascinating talk about us being modern day pioneers. He said that our calling and sacrifice was not to cross the plains and build a new society; our calling and sacrifice was to find how to lift the standard of living of the Saints abroad, particularly in third world countries. This was after the Church had announced the Perpetual Education Fund, and he suggested that we may well see additional programs that seek to achieve that goal. ..bruce..

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  • http://ldsanarchy.wordpress.com/ LDS Anarchist

    “I would not be surprised as the economy falters and that which has padded the pants of Mormonism in the past 50 years – capitalist entrepreneurship – falters if we enter a second type of depression, that the Church harks back to its economic legacy and implements again elements of consecration, the economics which trickles sideways in the benefit of all equally.”

    I believe this is inevitable. LEAP/E2020 have been predicting and giving the play-by-play for years now what they term as the “Global Systemic Crisis” on the international scene and the “Very Great US Depression” on the home front, both happening simultaneously, Sept. 2008 marking a new “tipping point.” The re-appearance of full-blown consecration (not just “elements”) will be one of the three house-cleaning measures that the church will undergo prior to the Second Coming, in my estimation.

  • Derek P. Moore

    Hackers are the first modern group to establish a truly successful and unstoppable consecrated order. I speak of the free/libre open source software culture. The resultant products of this behavior are known as Linux, GNU, and the various BSD/MIT licensed products, etc.; all are fine examples of consecrated intellectual property. (Got that IRI?)

    The modern world and the modern web could not have been enabled without this revolution in thinking, development, and economics. This practice costs the software industry an estimated $60 billion a year in unrealized software sales revenue, but it generates billions and billions more for said industry by enabling the rapid evolution of common platforms with the benefit of increased quality, and massive and diverse contributions from all self-interested parties.

    As a free software and open source programmer, and as my life’s work is dedicated to the real application of those principles which I so earnestly believe (the law of consecration), I can tell you that the economics of consecration really do work in a modern society, and they work TODAY.

    You can thank the true spirit of consecration among the hacker community next time you click the “Submit” button.

    It is a logical inevitability: the GPL will rule all! (Even Novell realizes this.)

  • UFO Skeptic

    Derek,

    There is only one problem with your theory. Us programmers that have to make a living that use Micro$haft products like C#/.net, etc., can’t sell anything that integrates GPL software libraries because our product by integrating it, automatically becomes GPL as well. And you can’t have that when you are writing a commercial product for a company. So everybody that needs to make a living off software loses out by GPL. So there. You can’t have consecration in a capitalist world without unintended consequences.

  • Derek P. Moore

    UFO Skeptic said, “Us programmers … can’t sell anything that integrates GPL software libraries because our product by integrating it, automatically becomes GPL as well. And you can’t have that when you are writing a commercial product for a company.

    I didn’t say that the inevitable conclusion of the GPL wouldn’t take time. But that time is coming sooner than one might expect. ;P

    The LGPL exists to help make an easy transition to an all-GPL environment for those client libraries where you want to make this kind of link-level exemption for proprietary vendors.

    And if you own all copyrights to the GPL’d code, you can give yourself, and to sell others, an exemption to the GPL; thus this one license possesses a “best of both worlds” proprietary model which the BSD/MIT licenses lack. (BSD/MIT certainly have their benefits within certain domains.)

    Many programmers and most system administrators make their living through the creation of GPL’d and BSD’d software, and my coworkers and I on the Eclipse Voice Tools Project are among them.

    Aside from that, many of my contributions to other free software products have been incidental to my work at employers.

    If I have yet to earn a penny from my contributions to Inkscape or the Horde Groupware Project, then I have still benefited through the betterment of these products and the improvement of my skills and abilities.

    I am currently working on the GUI front-end portion of a telephony client/server application (switch/PBX vendor-abstracted soft phone and media channel button panel) in C# using the .NET System.Windows.Forms APIs.

    I feel your pain if you have to make your living using such horrid standard libraries (and I thought Java Swing was bad). If only I could use Gtk# to implement the interface, I would happy (and it would be legal in our proprietary product thanks to the LGPL).

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  • John Wilson

    It seems to me that one aspect of the word of wisdom is teaching the law of consecration.
    Prohibition of alcohol, tea and tobacco is relevant to living the law of consecration.
    These products are marketed at over inflated prices with very high taxes. Most other things we spend our money on have some relationship between cost of production and selling price. These prohibited substances seem to be priced on other factors(for example, how drunk you can get by quantity). Knowingly allowing ourselves to be ripped off is not consecrating our money. When we allow our income to be poured into paying for our addictions, we rip off ourselves, our families and all others that we might otherwise have been able to help.

    D&C 89: “6 And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.”
    This guideline prevents being ripped off and gives assurance that the product is not tainted, watered down or otherwise inferior, and would be sufficient if alcohol was not also addictive.

    Zech. 9: 15, 17…corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.
    Drunkenness leads to unbecoming conduct, takes away our free agency and damages our health.

    The Boston Tea Party occurred not long before the word of wisdom was revealed. It was a protest against the inflated price of tea which was highly taxed at the time. The high price of tea and coffee also lead unscrupulous merchants to “cut” the products with sawdust and other contaminants to increase their profits at the risk to the health of their customers, just as drug-dealers do today.

    The saints often didn’t have surpluses of money and resources, so buying unnecessary drinks at exorbitant prices meant that this money so spent could no longer be spent on more important things.
    Perhaps the difference in price between tea and a fairly priced beverage could be put to better use, e.g. fast offering, education, family, etc.

    Tobacco is clearly and obviously bad for one’s health in any quantity. Alcohol is bad in excess as is tea and coffee. Other persons who suffer indirectly as a result of the actions of one consuming alcohol can be described as the victims of “passive drinking” (as we also refer to “passive smoking”). This could include victims of beating, road accidents, rape, impoverished families, foetal alcohol syndrome and much more. They are all suffering the effects of “passive drinking”.

    Tea and coffee are grown in third world countries as a cash crop by and at the instigation of large corporations for profit, to the detriment of the locals who go hungry because all the good land has been taken for the non-nutritive crops. Supporting this is not living the law of consecration.

    Those of us who have covenanted regarding the law of consecration should meditate on the meaning of consecration (in a world where only a few are required to live it). This is a principal that goes beyond a simple thou shalt do x or thou shall not do y.
    When using money, we should ask ourselves;
    Am I getting value for money?
    Is this thing a needed thing or righteous want?
    Are there other alternatives to (buying) this thing.
    Do I have other higher priorities?
    Have I planned goals and priorities for my spending (a budget)?

  • Luckeyeth

    Good sentiment.  In terms of historical accuracy, I encourage the author to read Leonard J. Arrington’s “Building the City of God: Community and Cooperation Among the Mormons” to get a clear view of the Brigham Young United Order as, indeed, a centrally planned economy put into widespread (albeit ultimately unsuccessful) practice.  Cooperatives, especially ZCMI, were not as egalitarian or strengthening in most cases as Brigham Young wanted, in part because wealthy capitalists generally held the majority shares of the larger enterprises.  Interestingly, the Missouri phase of the United Order involved less central planning and more redistribution of wealth, socialism for the exact opposite reasons under Joseph Smith as under Brigham Young.  Of course, Orderville and the other smashing successes of the Order were both centrally planned and egalitarian.

    • Luckeyeth

      (I did about a 12 page report on the subject for my Economic Development of the United States class about a year ago)