And behold, thou will remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support that which thou has to impart unto them, and a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken. (D&C 42:30)
Verily I say unto you, my friends, I give unto you counsel, and a commandment, concerning all the properties which belong to the order which I commanded to be organized and established, to be a united order, and an everlasting order for the benefit of my church, and for the salvation of men until I come— (D&C 104:1)
And the bishop, Newel K. Whitney, also should travel round about and among all the churches, searching after the poor to administer to their wants by humbling the rich and the proud. (D&C 84:112)
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)
But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin. (D&C 49:20)
5 That you may be equal in the bonds of heavenly things, yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things.
6 For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things;
7 For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you. (D&C 78:5-7)
Brethren, we are gathered to this buitiful [sic] land, to build up Zion….But since I have been here I perceive the spirit of selfishness, Covetousness, exists in the hearts of the Saints…Here are those who begin to spread out buying up all the land they are able to do, to the exclusion of the poorer ones who are not so much blessed with this worlds goods, thinking to lay foundation for themselves only, looking to their own individual familys and those who are to follow them…Now I want to tell you that Zion cannot be built up in any such way….I see signs put out, Beer signs, speculative schemes are being introduced[.] [T]his is the ways [sic] of the world—Babylon indeed, and I tell you in the name of the God of Israel, if there is no repentance…..and a turning from such ungodliness, covetousness and self will, you will be broken up and scattered from this choice land to the four winds of Heaven. (The life and history of Elder Edward Stevenson, 40-41; Approaching Zion, Nibley, p. 347-348, Caps added)
God recognizes only one justification for seeking wealth, and that is with the express intent of helping the poor (Jacob 2:19). One of the disturbing things about Zion is that its appeal, according to the scriptures, is all to the poor: “The Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in it” (Isaiah 14:32). Of course, once in Zion, no one suffers from poverty, for they dwell in righteousness and there are no poor among them (Moses 7:18). The law of consecration is a minimal requirement, for “if my people observe not this law, . . . it shall not be a land of Zion unto you” (D&C 119:6). Here our rhetoric engages in a neat bit of sophistry that has always been popular:
Elders of Israel are greedy after the things of this world. If you ask them if they are ready to build up the kingdom of God, their answer is prompt—”Why, to be sure we are, with our whole souls; but we want first to get so much gold, speculate and get rich, and then we can help the church considerably. We will go to California and get gold, go and buy goods and get rich, trade with the emigrants, build a mill, make a farm, get a large herd of cattle, and then we can do a great deal for Israel.”
I have heard this many times from friends and relatives, but it is hokum. What they are saying is, “If God will give me a million dollars, I will let him have a generous cut of it.” And so they pray and speculate and expect the Lord to come through for them. He won’t do it: “And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine own property” (D&C 19:26). “Let them repent of all their sins, and of all their covetous desires, before me, saith the Lord; for what is property unto me? saith the Lord” (D&C 117:4). He does not need our property or our help. (Hugh Nibley, Approaching Zion, p. 52)
We talk sometimes about the United Order. I do not propose to read to you on this occasion from any of the revelations bearing on this subject, but will quote to you in substance from one of them. The Lord has told us that those who would not comply with the requirements connected with this order should have their names erased from the book of the law of God, and their genealogies must not be found on any church records or history, their names shall not be found nor the names of the fathers, nor the names of the children written in the book of the Law of God. These words are to us, Latter-day Saints; they are true and are binding upon us. Another thing; what did we do when President Young was among us, urging these things upon us? Did we not enter into covenant by re-baptism to be subject to the Priesthood in temporal as well as spiritual things, when we took upon ourselves the obligations of the United Order? Let me ask you, what do we mean by doing this? Is it a mere form, a farce, or do we intend to carry out the covenants we made? I tell you in the name of Israel’s God they will be carried out, and no man can plow around these things, for God has decreed that they shall be accomplished; and any man who sets himself in opposition to these principles which God has established, he will root him out; but the principle itself will not be rooted out, for God will see that it is accomplished. And in the name of Israel’s God we will help him to do it; and all who feel to do it, say amen. (The large congregation responded with a loud, “Amen.”) (John Taylor, 9 April 1979, JD 21:29)
1 Verily thus saith the Lord, I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop of my church in Zion,
2 For the building of mine house, and for the laying of the foundation of Zion and for the priesthood, and for the debts of the Presidency of my Church.
3 And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people.
4 And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord.
5 Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you.
6 And I say unto you, if my people observe not this law, to keep it holy, and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me, that my statues and my judgments may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy, behold, verily I say unto you, it shall not be a land of Zion unto you.
7 And this shall be an ensample unto all the stakes of Zion. Even so. Amen. (D&C Section 119)