Orson Scott Card’s Short Story on the Law of Consecration

Orson Scott Card, 16 February 2008. Photo from Nihonjoe.

Orson Scott Card, 16 February 2008. Photo from Nihonjoe.

I don’t know how I missed this until now. Orson Scott Card published a fantastic short story/essay on the law of consecration back in 1993 entitled “Consecration: A Law We Can Live With.” In it he eloquently writes a parable of a man who envisions some scriptures as a Book of Mormon figure might have written them if they had lived in our day, together with the man’s own life experiences in consecrating. It is a well written, unique and profound piece, one that gets to the heart of what consecration should mean to us today.

Too often I perceive we think that once our 10% of tithing is paid, and perhaps some token offerings, the rest is ours to keep. We’ve done our duty. Indeed, we can personally take in our millions, as long as 10% is skimmed off the top like cream off milk. What’s left, however, is a fat-free diet of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which doesn’t nourish the soul, nor feed the spirit. Ten percent is a far cry from consecration, of any amount. As Elder Neal A. Maxwell taught:

God seeks to have us become more consecrated by giving everything. Then, when we come home to Him, He will generously give us ‘all that [He] hath’ (D&C 84:38). (“Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father,” emphasis added.)

Of course we can, and should, consecrate much more than our monetary means. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland echoed Elder Maxwell’s thoughts:

We must be willing to place all that we have—not just our possessions (they may be the easiest things of all to give up), but also our ambition and pride and stubbornness and vanity—we must place it all on the altar of God, kneel there in silent submission, and willingly walk away. (“The Will of the Father in All Things,” emphasis added.)

And Hugh Nibley was never at a loss of words on this topic:

There is quite a difference between consecrating 10 percent of your net gain to the building up of the kingdom and consecrating your time, talents, and everything you have been blessed with up to this time to the building up of the kingdom of God. (“Law of Consecration,” emphasis added.)

2 Comments

  1. Posted March 24, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    My favorite part of that parable is the practical implications for me and my family. There is nothing preventing me from consecrating my excess possessions to the Lord, via the bishop. The example of the car is perfect—if I have an extra vehicle that’s functioning, instead of selling it, why couldn’t I first consider giving it to the bishop to then give to whomever he judges is in greatest need of it? It seems so simple, I’m amazed I’d never thought of it. The fact that we don’t have a united order or United Firm within the Church structure nowadays doesn’t prevent me from consecrating my increase through the existing Church structure.

  2. aeon
    Posted May 13, 2013 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    “In conclusion, the submission of one’s will is really the only uniquely personal thing we have to place on God’s altar. The many other things we “give,” brothers and sisters, are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us.”(“Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father,”)

    President Boyd K. Packer
    “Perhaps the greatest discovery of my life, without question the greatest commitment, came when finally I had the confidence in God that I would loan or yield my agency to him— without compulsion or pressure, without any duress, as a single individual alone, by myself, no counterfeiting, nothing expected other than the privilege. In a sense, speaking figuratively, to take one’s agency, that precious gift which the scriptures make plain is essential to life itself, and say, ‘I will do as you direct,’ is afterward to learn that in so doing you possess it all the more” (Obedience, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [Dec. 7, 1971], 4).

    The only “thing” that is truly ours, is our free will. This is why the plan of Lucifer was so wrong.
    Christ was perfect because He followed that doctrine and did the will of the Father in all things.

    Are we willing to consecrate our agency ?

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