16 Comments

  1. Oh, I listen to Bro. Nibley almost every night on my ipod when I can’t sleep. I re-read his books as well, and am always learning something new. Thanks for the great quotes, often I hear some I want to capture on paper and then I have to search it out — these are a few of them — love this one:
    “The Lord won’t let you starve. Satan puts that fear into us, which is the opposite of Faith.”
    This one too stood out — “If the Lord wishes an individual to have more than a sufficiency for the basic needs, he will so provide”

    thanks!

  2. Alece

    I do, remember, however, that every time the Nephites, etc., were righteous the Lord blessed them with riches; and so I don’t think he wants us to not have lovely things, and wealth, etc. (As earthly parents, we certainly want our children to be well taken care of.)

    Unfortunately, when the Nephites, etc., were so blessed, they usually then became selfish, hoarded what they were given, and refused to share, which brought calamity upon them.

    Thus, it obviously takes balance (and spiritual wisdom) to have just enough that you are satisfied and yet, still feel like you can share with others!

  3. Absolutely. I guess the question is if we are using our riches to provide for the poor and needy, to do missionary work and build up the kingdom, or if we are stockpiling them to puff ourselves up. The Lord blesses us with riches so that we can do good with them:

    “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—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted” (Jacob 2:19).

    Remember Christ’s parable of the barns, and him who stockpiled his possessions – Luke 12:15–21.

    We only really need what is sufficient for our needs, and some wants. A significant part of the United Order, when it was in practice, was the consecration of all surpluses to the Church and bishop’s storehouse. President Marion G. Romney once taught:

    While we await the redemption of Zion and the earth and the establishment of the United Order, we … should live strictly by the principles of the United Order insofar as they are embraced in present church practices such as the fast offering, tithing and the welfare activities. Through these practices we could as individuals, if we wished to do so, implement in our own lives all the basic principles of the United Order…. What prohibits us from giving as much in fast offerings as we would have given in surpluses under the United Order? Nothing but our own limitations. (Improvement Era, June 1966, p. 537.)

    And so it falls back to us, as it always has, to voluntarily live the law of consecration, if we are of the mind and spirit to do so. Let’s remember that Zion is where the people are of one heart and one mind, and there is no poor among them (Moses 7:18). But we can only arrive at such by sanctifying ourselves and voluntarily consecrating.

  4. I came across this quote today from President Benson that might apply to this subject:

    “We must respond by saying that all is not well in Zion. As Moroni counseled, we must cleanse the inner vessel (see Alma 60:23), beginning first with ourselves, then with our families, and finally with the Church.

    “A prophet of God stated, ‘Ye shall clear away the bad according as the good shall grow … until the good shall overcome the bad.’ (Jacob 5:66.) It takes a Zion people to make a Zion society, and we must prepare for that. . . . My beloved brethren and sisters, as we cleanse the inner vessel, there will have to be changes made in our own personal lives, in our families, and in the Church. The proud do not change to improve, but defend their position by rationalizing. Repentance means change, and it takes a humble person to change. But we can do it” (“Cleansing the Inner Vessel,” Ensign, May 1986, 4 -7 ).

  5. Chad Merrill

    Any thoughts on “saving for retirement?” Or would that be considered “stockpiling them to puff ourselves up?” The wisdom to not run faster than we have strength should always be in our heart and mind when considering these things, but I’m finding it is a delicate and sometimes difficult balance.

  6. That’s an excellent question, Chad, and one that I’ve struggled to answer for myself. I think wherein living prophets have counseled us to save and live providently, we are safe. But it is certainly a delicate and difficult balance to determine how much to save. Some would save every penny of surplus for themselves; there are an endless number of socks to stuff these days, if we get right down to it – stocks, bonds, ETFs, real estate, time shares, 401k’s, IRAs, other retirement accounts, future vacations, emergency funds (how big?), food storage (how much?), bigger homes, better cars, better clothing (or apparel), the next best gadgets, etc. At the end of the day, is there anything left for consecration, for giving to the poor and needy, for helping the sick and afflicted? For being our brother’s keeper? For being a neighbor (Luke 10:25–37)? At what point does it turn into pride and hoarding? Does saving come before or after consecration? What constitutes a surplus? How does that work? I perceive that in these things each individual must study it out, pray, and determine the Lord’s will for themselves. I think if we are in tune with the Spirit, we will know in our heart what we should do. Some insights might be gleaned by how the Saints lived during the practice of the United Order.

    One recent example I might share. I know a person, let’s call him John, who was going through an extremely difficult time in his life, perhaps unsurpassed by previous experience. John was very needy, indeed completely broke, and going through tremendous spiritual and emotional trauma. Some of his family members, both siblings and parents, had spoken with John and ask him directly if there was “anything they could do for him.” John said he didn’t know, to which was replied, “Well please let us know if we can help.” I’m reminded of Elder Rasband’s perceptive teachings in this last April’s Conference, while perhaps hard for us to hear, I believe reflect what a genuine spirit of consecration might entail:

    If you come upon a person who is drowning, would you ask if they need help—or would it be better to just jump in and save them from the deepening waters? The offer, while well meaning and often given, “Let me know if I can help” is really no help at all. (Elder Ronald A. Rasband, “Special Lessons,” April 2012 General Conference.)

    A more thorough discussion of the many facets of this point is something I’ve considered writing about in a future post.

  7. Catherine

    How do you juxtapose Nibley’s writings, and more importantly the prophecies in the Book of Mormon, with the Church building an ostentatiously extravagant mall, right next to Temple Square?

  8. I see the Church’s building the mall as an effort to revitalize, reinvigorate, and beautify downtown Salt Lake City, which I think is an important mission considering the visibility of Salt Lake City and the worldwide image it gives of the Church which is so intricately tied to downtown. The Church spares no expense in these sorts of efforts, hence the very nice mall. But to be sure, the mall was built entirely from business investments and funds, and not a drop of tithing, welfare, or ecclesiastical funds.

  9. That’s a good point Bryce, Brigham Young encouraged the saints to beautify their homes. I often reflect on how money means very little to the Lord. He sees all time at one time, yet he had Joseph build the Nauvoo Temple at great expense, only to see it burn and be destroyed. All that money and time up in smoke. It may be necessary for the church to accumulate wealth for God’s purposes here on earth. We really can’t see the whole picture.

    I like that one example when Nibley wanted the name of his book changed, because he didn’t like the title. (it’s in the Faith of an Observer video) Truman Madsen wanted to call it the Nibley Legacy, and thought Nibley would go along with that name since it was already on every page and it would cost money to change. Nibley said change it, and take it out of his royalty. Now you might think that was not a good choice of spending money, but the money didn’t matter –

  10. TrueBeliever

    Actually, our temple endowment has replaced the original law of consecration.

    In the holy temple we promise all we have to the cause of Zion. This promise enables us to fulfill the law of Zion without actually having to give up our own personal income and resources.

    The problem with some of Nibley’s quotes is that they take the scriptures more literally than the current temple endowment and the current teachings of the brethren.

    All we need to do is follow the current brethren and put our trust in the current temple endowment and we are guaranteed exaltation without having to have a literal gathering or to literally consecrate our temporal substance.

  11. TrueBeliever, The Church’s responsibility is to teach entry level gospel principals. Faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the spirit, are seemingly entry level concepts; nevertheless, even within these initial gospel concepts, there are greater depths of knowledge available, especially with regard to water-baptism (that we perform–with authority) which is ostensibly followed at some future time by the Baptism of the Spirit, wherein the Lord says, “I Baptise you with Fire and the Holy Spirit.” Its our job, as individuals and families, to go beyond the basic instruction; its not up to the church to shout these doctrines from the housetops. Nothing is hidden; its all available to those who seriously seek greater light and knowledge (Adam, what are you doing?) The temple covenant requires that we live the law of consecration–as individuals, not as a collective organization. (It’s not the united order.) Granted, many people make the oath and covenant, but don’t personally hear the admonition; they also don’t hear that this is a telestial kingdom and grasp the consequences of that teaching. In any event, there’s nothing stoping members form living the higher law. There’s nothing stopping you. “We are free to go as far as we want,” to quote the Nib. Its a private thing; you really can’t say what level someone else is living. For example, a good Bishop certainly consecrates a lot of time…

  12. DAS

    My love for Hugh Nibley comes from my time working in the Dean’s office in the College of Religion at BYU. I adored him not only because he helped clarify the gospel and encouraged all to learn the complete gospel, but he was real and good and humorous and never took himself too seriously. He couldn’t find his class because his class schedule was three years old, entered speaking one language and left speaking another, make quips about the weight of holding the priesthood, etc. He was also so kind. Before my employment my sister was his personal secretary and many stories came from that relationship. I had all the time in the world to ask him salient questions but did I? Oh, the regrets. Thanks, post author–doing a great job here.

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