Tuesday, December 23, 2003

The Spirit of the Law

I’ve been thinking about the Law of Consecration a lot lately, and the United Order.

For those of you that might not have heard of those words in LDS parlance, it’s kind of like a utopian dream that mormons have. A dream of a perfect society, where there’s a perfect blend of collective unity and individuality. A place where economics are driven by compassion and kindness rather than competition and greed.

It’s where communism wanted to go, but couldn’t even get close to. It’s where capitalism becomes pure and freedom expands explosively. It’s also called Zion, the pure in heart, and it’s what the City of Enoch had that got them transported up to heaven.

Of course to make that happen, we’ve got to make some big changes and some MAJOR paradigm shifts here in the real world.

I’ve been noticing what some of those shifts need to be, and they’re scary. I don’t know if I can make them. No, actually I do know. And I don’t think I’m ready.

--Want what you have

A big shift that will have to happen is that we’ll all need to get out of our “stuff” mindset. We gotta shake that feeling that life will be wonderful, or even just a tich nicer if we had this or that “thing”. I look at my house right now, and it’s so cluttered with so much “stuff” that I hope I never have to move.

I’ve got to start thinking more and more that it’s not a question of having what I want, but wanting what I have already. And suddenly, I’ll realize that so much of what I have are really things that I don’t especially want, anyway.

How am I going to be able to share what I have if I feel like I have to hoard it?

--One equals one

We have to shake the idea that one person’s efforts to help society is more valuable that someone else’s. The notion that a doctor’s contribution, or a musician’s contribution is somehow more important than a garbage collector’s, or a basketball player’s has to be left behind. Hour to hour, one must equal one. The doctor, the farmer, the IT technician, the artist should all put in an eight-hour day, and should be able to make a living at it. That one profession should be compensated more than another, or even be respected more than another is detrimental.

And for that to happen, we need to stop looking at it as money for work exchange. It needs to be looked at like “I am contributing to the whole, and I have what I need.” I give and I receive. One equals one.

--My wants are less important than your needs

I’ve got a lot of nerve.

I go and I fritter much of my pay away on silly things, gadgets, computer stuff, music stuff, and there are people in my own neighborhood who are behind in their mortgages and are weeks away from living on the street.

I buy toys for my kids for Christmas, and I buy fast food, and there are people who wonder where their next meal will be coming from.

And this doesn’t even include all the people living in abject poverty half-way around the world. These are people in my own neighborhood.

The church says that I should give 10% of my income and the cost of two meals a month. That seems pretty paltry when you think of it. But I’m not even all that diligent on those requests. What’ll it be like if I have to share all with someone that’s worse off than me?

--What’s it all mean?

For now, I’m just thinking of what needs to change. It’ll be a long and difficult effort to change my outlook, but it will be something I’ll be working on.

Mark Hansen

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