At first glance, the Law of Consecration and Socialism might seem similar. A google search gives us a simple definition of Socialism as follows: 1. any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods. 2. a system of society or group living in which there is no private property.
With the government operating everything and maintaining social classes as one equal body, it sounds like it could be a good thing in a perfect world. However, in the kingdom where our enemy rules, it is hardly ideal. We only need to look at Venezuela’s sad condition.
A recent news NBC news article discussed Chávez’s 21st Century Socialism agenda which was based upon sharing the revenue from the sale of oil with its citizens. With the crash in sales, Venezuela was left in a bad state. 1
The idea of socialism is that everyone is on equal status but under any ruler of this world, I would be terribly uncomfortable.
The Lord’s ideal known as the Law of Consecration has some similarities. There is to be equality according to each family’s circumstances. President J. Reuben Clark said, “The basic principle of all the revelation on the united order is that everything we have belongs to the Lord; therefore, the Lord may call upon us for any and all of the property which we have, because it belongs to Him. This, I repeat, is the basic principle… That revelation affirms that every man is to be “equal according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs.” Obviously, this is not a case of “dead-level” equality. It is “equality” that will vary as much as the man’s circumstances, his family, his wants and needs, may vary.” [Conference Report, October 1942, p. 55] 2
The Lord taught that the idler would not wear the garments of the laborer. People living the law of consecration are stewards over their own property and must continue to work for what they have. Those receiving help must also be willing to work in some way. With socialism, many people have the option of working but only to cash their check and then stand in line. They must then wait for what meager supplies the government has for them, which in Venezuela is not sufficient in the least.
The Lord teaches us to work for our own good and then share with others of the abundance. Socialism teaches us that we own nothing and take whatever portion is given by the government. Knowing that the Law of Consecration holds the donations sacred so that they are properly distributed is a great comfort to me. The owner of all the consecrated goods is just and chooses to care for His people this way. We are even expected to donate our time, talents and abilities to the building of His kingdom.
President Clark continues in his address, “Communism and all other similar -isms bear no relationship whatever to the united order. They are merely the clumsy counterfeits which Satan always devises of the gospel plan. Communism debases the individual and makes him the enslaved tool of the state to whom he must look for sustenance and religion; the united order exalts the individual, leaves him his property, “according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and his needs,” (D&C 51:3) and provides a system by which he helps care for his less fortunate brethren; the united order leaves every man free to choose his own religion as his conscience directs. Communism destroys man’s God-given free agency; the united order glorifies it. Latter-day Saints cannot be true to their faith and lend aid, encouragement, or sympathy to any of these false philosophies. They will prove snares to their feet. [Conference Report, April 1942, p. 90] 2
May we treasure the principles upon which our country is founded and be willing to defend it with all that we have and all that we are as we prepare to welcome our Lord and live according to His ways.
- BYU Speeches, “The Law of Consecration”, Victor L. Brown, November 7, 1976 https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/victor-l-brown/law-consecration/