Many members of the church have made a covenant to obey the Law of Consecration as given in the Doctrine and Covenants. In order to understand what our duties are in obeying this law we must look to the revelations contained in the Doctrine and Covenants.
Here I have cited the main references to consecration in the Doctrine and Covenants. For the sake of brevity I have summarized the references. But do not stop at my summaries. They are only my words and NOT the Word of God. Go to each scriptural reference and read the entire revelation for yourself.
Doctrine and Covenants 42:30-35
Consecration is to help the poor. But it must be done after the proper manner. All property is to be given to the bishop. What is needed for the individual is given back to him as a stewardship. The rest of the consecrated property is to be used for: “administer[ing] to the poor and the needy,...for the purpose of purchasing lands...and building houses of worship, and building up of the New Jerusalem.”
Doctrine and Covenants 51:2-14
Unless we are organized according to God's laws we will be cut off. The bishop is to appoint stewardships unto every man equally according to their families, wants, and needs. A writing will be given to the person that secures their portion to them. If a person transgresses and is not counted worthy to belong to the church, then he cannot draw on the properties consecrated to the bishop, but he does retain the property he received. Branches of the church should not take money from each other. But if they do borrow money from another branch of the church it should be payed back as they agree. The bishop should have claim on a portion of that which is consecrated for his own support.
Doctrine and Covenants 70:7-14
Anyone who receives more than is needful for their needs and wants is to give that excess to the Bishop. This excess is to be consecrated to the inhabitants of Zion. The Lord requires this of all who have a stewardship. No one who belongs to the church is exempt from this. If we are not all equal in temporal things then Spiritual manifestations will be withheld from us.
Doctrine and Covenants 83
Women have claim upon their husband and children have claim upon their father for their support. When children come of age they have claim upon the Lord's strorehouse; along with widows, orphans, and the poor. The storehouse holds those excess properties which were consecrated to the Bishop.
Doctrine and Covenants 84:104
Missionaries who receive money from people, if they don't have a family to support, should send that money to Zion so it may be consecrated for bringing forth the revelations and printing them, and for establishing Zion.
Doctrine and Covenants 85:1-7
The Lord's clerk will keep a history and record of those who consecrate properties and who receive an inheritance. A record is to be kept of people to become apostate after receiving their inheritances. Those who do not receive an inheritance by consecration should not have their names enrolled with the people of God, neither is their genealogy to be kept. God will send One Mighty and Strong to set the church in order, and arrange by lot the inheritances of the Saints. An inheritance is a plot of land that is given to the member who consecrates their property. It is literally the land of their inheritance.
Doctrine and Covenants 105:29
The lands which are to become Zion and the Stakes of Zion are to be possessed according to the laws of consecration.
Doctrine and Covenants 124:21
One of the duties of bishop is to receive consecrated property.
Another part of consecration involves those lands that the Lord has consecrated for our use. Lands such as Kirtland, Far West, Zion(Interdependence Missouri), etc. There are many scriptures stating that the Lord has consecrated these lands for us.
Some posters have brought up the difference between the United Order and the Law of Consecration. They are correct in that there is a difference. But I believe this difference has been largely misrepresented.
The Law of Consecration as given in the Doctrine and Covenants deals with individual duties in how properties are to be consecrated to the Lord and from the Lord back to the people. The United Order however is the actual society wherein the Law of Consecration and other covenants relationships are put into practice.
The revelation detailing the United Order is contained in section 104, I suggest reading it.
Lastly there seems to be some belief that the revelation contained in Section 119 institutes as “lesser” law because people were not able to live the Law of Consecration.
I would like to reproduce the revelation contained in Section 119 here and examine it.
Doctrine and Covenants 119
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 statutes 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.
In verse one we read that the Lord requires all surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop. Surplus property is to be understood in the context of the previous consecration revelations. Meaning everything that is beyond that which is needed for the people who possess the property.
In verse two we read the purposes of those properties are to be used for. These purposes are for the building of the Lord's house(the temple), laying the foundation of Zion, for the priesthood, and for the debts of the Presidency of the Church.
Verse three tell us that this initial consecration of surplus property is the beginning of tithing.
Verse four tells us that those who have made this initial consecration should “pay one-tenth of their interest annually.” In the 1828 Webster dictionary one definition of the word interest is;
Here we again see the word surplus. Interest, therefor can be understood to mean the surplus that is left over after the need s of the person has been met. In a person needs $10,000 to provide for his family and he makes $15,000. Then $5,000 is his surplus/interest. It is our of this interest that the one-tenth is commanded to be payed. Therefor his tithing would be $500. Tithing is to be collected annually because it is only after one year that many people can truly see what their total expenses vs income is.
Verse four continues by stating that this is to be a standing law forever and that the one-tenth of the interest is for use of the Priesthood
Verse five states that all those who gather to the land of Zion are to be tithed according to this law or else they will not be found worthy to live there.
Verse six tells us that unless we keep this law then the land will not be the land of Zion unto us.
Verse seven tell is that this is to be an example to all the stakes of Zion. To understand this we must remember that “stakes of Zion” has a very specific meaning. Stakes of Zion are distinct from Zion, and stakes scattered abroad. This verse is telling us that even though this revelation speaks concerning Zion. It is to be and example to all the stakes of Zion as well.
In reading through this I would like to point out that nowhere does it state that consecration or the United Order are done away with. Rather I would like to list these reasons why I personally believe that tithing is not a “lesser law” and can only be lived, as commanded, if we are living the Law of Consecration as contained in the Doctrine and Covenants:
- The revelation never refutes consecration.
- Verse 3 states that the initial consecration of surplus is the BEGINNING of tithing. If tithing was a “lesser law” why would a “higher law” be used as a beginning to establish a “lesser law”?
- Verse 4 states that only those people who have made the initial consecration are to pay one-tenth of their interest.
- Verse 4 also states that this law of tithing is to be a standing law unto us forever. Why would a lesser law be established “forever” as opposed to until the people can get their act together and live consecration?
- Verses 5-7 states that this law is top be used to establish Zion.
Ultimately what the revelation in section 119 institutes is procedure wherein a small portion of the annually consecrated property is reserved for the use of the priesthood.
I have not been able to find a revelation where consecration or the United Order was commanded to be stopped. If there is one someone please send it to me or link to it. Additionally since members still covenant to obey the Law of Consecration as contained in the Doctrine and Covenants. The only conclusion I can come to is that neither the Law of Consecration nor the United Order were done away by God's command, but rather we simply stopped practicing them.
But again that's just my personal opinion. Search the scriptures and come to your own conclusion.