Set the spirit for this lesson by listening to this musical medley:
The Law of Consecration: Then and Now
When Joseph Smith visited Latter-day Saints who had gathered in Independence, Missouri in April 1832, he received this revelation about caring for vulnerable people through the law of consecration, which reiterated a similar revelation about the law of consecration received in Kirtland in February 1831.
The Utopian experiments of Latter-day Saints in these communities eventually failed, as did many similar experiments among other faith communities and groups of the time. However, the principles of consecration still apply.
—Lesson 14: The Law of Consecration, Doctrine and Covenants and Church History: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, 1999
Behold, here is wisdom also in me for your good.
And you are to be equal, or in other words, you are to have equal claims on the properties, for the benefit of managing the concerns of your stewardships, every man according to his wants and his needs, inasmuch as his wants are just—
And all this for the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold, to be cast into the Lord’s storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church—
Every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.
- What principles described in these verses still apply?
- How do we exercise these principles today?
“You are to be equal”
Joseph Smith encountered Phebe Peck and Anna Rogers, widows with children, during his visit to Missouri. In Missouri in the 1830s, state laws gave widows limited rights to their deceased husbands’ property.
—Doctrine and Covenants for Individuals and Families 81–83: Where “Much Is Given Much Is Required”
And the storehouse shall be kept by the consecrations of the church; and widows and orphans shall be provided for, as also the poor. Amen.
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
- How can we protect the vulnerable among us?
- Who is still vulnerable and/or unequal among us today?
- How can we work toward equality for all?
Amy Brown Lyman, former General Relief Society President and founder of LDS Family Services, taught:
No work could be more important and satisfying than that of helping to raise human life to its highest level …[by providing] relief of existing distress [and] prevention of new distress.
—In Retrospect: Autobiography of Amy Brown Lyman,1945
- What does it mean to raise a human life to its highest level?
- What are some ways we can relieve existing distress? Prevent new distress?
“Every man [or woman] according to his [or her] wants and his needs”
In addition to more practical items, Bishop’s Storehouses offer items like hot chocolate and ice cream.
- Why do you think that is?
- Why should we provide for “wants” of those in need, as well as “needs”?
“Every man [or woman] may improve upon his [or her] talent”
The Lord has established a way for his Saints to care for the poor and needy and thereby bring blessings into their own lives. Providing for the poor and needy in the Lord’s way means that the giver helps those who are less fortunate by giving according to what he has received from God. He gives freely and with a true spirit of love, recognizing that his Heavenly Father is the source of all his blessings and that he is responsible to use those blessings in the service of others. The receiver accepts the offered help with gratitude. He uses it to release himself from the bondage and limitations of his need and become more able to rise to his full potential, both temporally and spiritually. He then reaches out to help others. Providing in the Lord’s way humbles the rich, exalts the poor, and sanctifies both.
—Providing in the Lord’s Way: A Leader’s Guide to Welfare
- How can welfare build character and sanctify both givers and receivers?
- How do receivers become givers in the welfare cycle?
The Lord’s storehouse includes the time, talents, skills, compassion, consecrated material, and financial means of faithful Church members.
—Thomas S. Monson, Guiding Principles of Personal and Family Welfare, 1986
- How can we can we use non-financial resources such as time, talents, skills and compassion to bless others?
- What does it mean to use our talents “with an eye single to the glory of God”?
- How can living the principles of consecration help us improve upon our talents and gain other talents?
“Every man [or woman] seeking the interest of his [or her] neighbor”
Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.
- What are some ways a person can be “weak”? What does it mean to “succor” those who are weak?
- What might cause a person’s hands to figuratively “hang down”? How can we “lift up” those hands?
- What might the phrase “feeble knees” mean? How can we “strengthen” those with feeble knees?
- Does anyone have a personal experience when you felt “weak” in some way and someone lifted or strengthened you?
Watch one or both of these two videos about service.
- How can we be instruments in the hands of God?
- How can we recognize the needs of others?
- How can we reach out to others in need?