Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Terrible Plight of Wealthy North America / Lloyd

 Having seen great poverty in other countries, I understand that in comparison the majority of men and women in this country are unbelievably wealthy -- no matter what we ourselves think.

Thus this scripture potentially applies nationwide:  

16 Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation, and of judgment, and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved! (Doctrine & Covenants 56:16)

The Consecration and Stewardship of Property is dramatically documented in the New Testament. First, consider this account of the Rich Ruler in Luke 18:18-26:

18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? . . .

20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.
21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?
Second, I recently recognized that the account of the Rich Ruler was preface, or foreshadowing, and the key to understanding “voluntarily having all things in common” as administered by the Apostles in the primitive Church of Jesus Christ. The importance of authentic and honest, voluntary agency is dramatically illustrated in this account of the Apostle Peter, Ananias, and Sapphira (Acts: 1-11). Entrance into covenants with God is voluntary. But once under covenant, He holds us accountable, and penalties apply.
1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.
5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.
6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.
7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.
9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.
10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.
Finally, compare these New Testament accounts of having all things in common with the Doctrine and Covenants.  Living the Law of Consecration and stewardship of property was attempted in the Church but temporarily modified until we increase in love for others and in faith and love for Jesus Christ to fully live the law of the Zion and of the Celestial Kingdom:
29 If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments.
30 And behold, thou wilt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support that which thou hast to impart unto them, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken.
31 And inasmuch as ye impart of your substance unto the poor, ye will do it unto me; and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church and his counselors, two of the elders, or high priests, such as he shall appoint or has appointed and set apart for that purpose.
32 And it shall come to pass, that after they are laid before the bishop of my church, and after that he has received these testimonies concerning the consecration of the properties of my church, that they cannot be taken from the church, agreeable to my commandments, every man shall be made accountable unto me, a steward over his own property, or that which he has received by consecration, as much as is sufficient for himself and family.
33 And again, if there shall be properties in the hands of the church, or any individuals of it, more than is necessary for their support after this first consecration, which is a residue to be consecrated unto the bishop, it shall be kept to administer to those who have not, from time to time, that every man who has need may be amply supplied and receive according to his wants.
34 Therefore, the residue shall be kept in my storehouse, to administer to the poor and the needy, as shall be appointed by the high council of the church, and the bishop and his council; (D&C 42: 29-34)
When we consider the current enmity towards war refugees and toward undocumented families in our country, we're reminded of an incident when the United States refused protection and succor to Jewish refugees fleeing the Third Reich.  
“On 13 May 1939, more than 900 Jews fled Germany aboard a luxury cruise liner, the SS St Louis. They hoped to reach Cuba and then travel to the US - but were turned away in Havana.
“The captain then steered the St Louis towards the Florida coast, but the US authorities also refused it the right to dock, despite direct appeals to President Franklin Roosevelt. Granston thinks he too was worried about the potential flood of migrants.
“They were forced to return to Europe, where more than 250 were killed by the Nazis.” (https://goo.gl/lNqOA7)

“Wo unto [us], rich men, that [judge unrighteous judgement and] will not give our substance to [those in desperate need], for our riches will canker our souls; and this shall be our lamentation in the day of visitation, and of judgment, and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved!”

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