Embracing the Law of Consecration
By Larry Barkdull
The Law of Consecration permeates every gospel principle and defines a Zion person. Only by living this law can we hope to obtain an inheritance in the celestial kingdom.
What is Consecration?
To consecrate something is to sanctify, purify and set it apart for a sacred use. Latter-day Saints make a covenant to consecrate our lives, including everything with which the Lord has blessed or will bless us, to the building of the Kingdom of God.
Lived properly, the covenant of consecration lays the foundation for the establishment of Zion in a righteous person's life.
This was no small task. Zion is the celestial order of things, for both individuals and societies.
Some descriptions of consecrated Zion people include:
• their not seeking for worldly riches
• their belief that all things belong to God and that they are stewards who are accountable to the Lord for the discharge of their stewardships
• their being unified by esteeming other people as themselves
• their full retention and exercise of personal free agency
• their setting aside selfishness and, according to their wants, needs and family situations, consecrating their time, talents, strength, properties, and monies for the Lord's work
• Their exercising reciprocal love - loving one another and becoming of one heart and one mind
Quoting the Church Welfare Plan, Bruce R. McConkie wrote,
“The practice of the Law of Consecration is inextricably intertwined with . . . the attributes of godliness in this life and the attainment of eternal life in the world to come.
‘The law pertaining to material aid is so formulated that [exercising it] necessitates practices calculated to root out human traits not in harmony with the celestial kingdom.
We are free to choose our destiny: Zion, to our salvation, or Babylon, to our condemnation. Having chosen Zion and thus having overcome Babylon, Zion people enjoy the highest degree of moral agency and its resulting freedom. Agency and freedom flourish in Zion
A Zion person who lives the covenant makes a conscious choice to become a steward of the Lord's property. His approach to ownership is “the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof….”
We are expressly forbidden to hoard property or claim it as our own: “I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine own property….” (D&C 19:26) Property must be consecrated for the building up of the Kingdom of God and the establishment of Zion , which provides that no poor should exist among us. Ultimately we will be held accountable for the discharge of our stewardship.
A Zion person's stewardship, sometimes referred to as “portion,” or “inheritance,” is to be freely used to support his own family, and then any surplus is conveyed back to the Lord's storehouse for the poor. (D&C 42:33-34, 55; 70:7-10).
The Lord said, “…every man shall be . . . accountable unto me, a steward over his own property….” (D&C 42:32)
“…it is required of the Lord, at the hand of every steward, to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity. For he who is faithful and wise in time is accounted worthy to inherit the mansions prepared for him of my Father.” (D&C 72:3-4) Clearly, our performance will determine the trusts and stewardships given to us in eternity.
Work, like other principles, exists in degrees ranging from telestial to celestial.
Adam was commanded to work to support his family, which is a celestial endeavor, but he was not commanded to set his sights on empire building, plundering, extorting, leveraging, competing, augmenting his balance sheet or amassing personal wealth on the backs of the poor, all of which are telestial.
Nephi worked to establish Zion. He had his people work together for the benefit of all. They worked in unity to raise crops, smelt ore to create weapons for defense, and fashion objects of beauty. Together, they built buildings and a temple. Because of their celestial level of labor they were blessed with prosperity and familial strength: “And it came to pass that we began to prosper exceedingly, and to multiply in the land.”
Things began to fall apart when the Nephites became selfish and began to work on a telestial level. Jacob chastised them for searching “for gold, and for silver, and for all manner of precious ores” for the purpose of obtaining riches “more abundantly than that of your brethren,” causing the errant one to be “lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and …suppose that ye are better than they.” (Jacob 2:12-14) This kind of labor is not justified in Zion ; it is condemned.
President Kimball said, “As I understand these matters, Zion can be established only by those who are pure in heart, and who labor for Zion , for the ‘laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion.’”
Jacob taught the celestial law of labor and its underlying motivation:
“Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you. But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God . And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good.” (Jacob 2:17-19)
Clearly, we must work, but what we work for determines if the work is telestial or celestial.
The Law of Consecration is the law of the Celestial Kingdom revealed to us in this telestial setting for our salvation and exaltation.
We must learn all we can about this law then live it, otherwise we cannot expect to obtain an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom. This is the law by which hearts are purified, and by which we are ushered into the presence of God.
Only upon the Law of Consecration can we become one in our marriages, families, wards, stakes, the Church, and one with the Father and the Son.
(edited by David Van Alstyne)
For Latter-day Saints