Brother Glenn! Joseph Smith called. He wants his socialism back.

Yeah, that’s a lame headline, but work with me.

Kyle at Right Wing Watch is reading a biography of Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — Glenn Beck’s church! — and found this:

The revelation put forward the arresting doctrine that the economies of earth and heaven must correspond: “If ye are not equal in earthly things, ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things.” The leveling of property introduced the Saints to the heavenly order. “For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you.”

One cannot tell if Joseph Smith understood how much he was asking of his followers in requiring the consecration of property. Question about self-interest and obstinacy were not ones he entertained. The revelation said everyone was entitled to draw on the storehouse of common property, that “every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold.” Afterwards, whatever surplus was acquired was to “be cast into the Lord’s storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church.” The Saints were to work hard for each other. That asked a lot of individualistic farmers and artisans in the expanding market economy of nineteenth-century America. Nothing was more sacrosanct in American ideology than the individual’s right to the fruits of his labor. Equalizing wealth required each person to be “seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.” Could they? The little band of Saints had no prior experience with equality of property. Equality had always meant equality of rank in political society and equality before the law. Not even the most radical voices in the Revolution had called for the leveling of wealth. Only a few utopians like the Shakers had experimented with the redistribution of property. Joseph expected people to sacrifice personal advantage for the good of the whole in a society long devoted to private gain.

I don’t know. That sounds like socialism to me.

Ooooh! Glenn Beck is in trou-ble!

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  1. I think Beck would argue what might be construed as “socialism” in Mormon scripture was describing benefits available to followers of that faith, just as many Christians would argue calls to social action which could be construed as “socialism” in their scripture, (Acts4:32-35 for example), was to benefit only subscribers of Christian faith.

    Also, Beck would probably argue the populist language found in Mormon scripture was a product of the times in which it originated and should be discounted, just as contemporary Mormons discount the overt racism found in their traditional scripture.

    1. Intersting, because that would mean Bro. Glenn has unhinged (I made another funny) from all sacred scriptures, which turns his world into the Wild West and he can make it up as he goes along! Cool!

  2. They have continuing revelations though. There are a bunch (well, more than three) LDS anarchist/socialists that believe in the United Order. A lot of the fundamentalist LDS groups do hold all things in common. LDS friends say that the church would rather you make your tithe and have the church pay for your mortgage rather than pay your mortgage and then give whatever percentage you could.

  3. Keep in mind the church is often selective about which revelations it chooses to keep. After all, the church disavowed polygamy so Utah could join the union.

  4. What Leftover said. Holding all things in common, as describe in The Acts of the Apostles, only works as a practical matter if everyone is a member of the same tribe or, in the Christian vernacular, in communion with each other. You can’t just have people coming and going–there has to be a commitment on everyone’s part.

    This is the argument that some people make against all forms of government action except for “providing for the common defense”00that everything else is, or should be, voluntary. They don’t realize that their commitment to the “tribe” of Americans began when their birth certificate was signed.

  5. Statement in Joseph Smiths Journal

    Wednesday, 13.–I attended a lecture at the Grove, by Mr. John Finch, a Socialist, from England, and said a few words in reply.

    Thursday, 14.–I attended a second lecture on Socialism, by Mr. Finch; and after he got through, I made a few remarks, alluding to Sidney Rigdon and Alexander Campbell getting up a community at Kirtland, and of the big fish there eating up all the little fish. I said I did not believe the doctrine. Mr. Finch replied in a few minutes, and said–”I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. I am the spiritual Prophet–Mr. Smith the temporal.” Elder John Taylor replied to the lecture at some length.

    Do your research. The United Order was NOT socialism. For one thing the United Order was based around the private ownership of property and the “consecration” of that property was voluntary. Believers gave up property but then received back a “stewardship” which included private property for them to use as they saw fit.

    Mormons also believe in the lesson Christ taught in the parable of the talents. Would that be socialism also??

  6. Read about Brigham Young – that giving of consecrated property was about as voluntary as taxes are. And you had dang well better give your BEST property. In many ways, its worse than taxes, because your place in Heaven,your eternal destiny (and those of the women married to you) hung on your giving to the United Order. I call that manipulation and coercion but of course I don’t have a testimony.

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