The Law of Consecration and Stewardship, Part 1 Lesson 30: Sections 78-82

Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide: Religion 324-325, (1981), 59–60


A covenant order or organization was established to build up the kingdom of God and to prepare for Zion.

Theme Analysis

  • A.

    A Church unit (stake) was organized as a covenant order for those who accepted the law of consecration.

    1. 1.

      The objective of the order was to develop temporal and spiritual unity.

    2. 2.

      Another purpose was to develop the kingdom so that it would stand “independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world” (D&C 78:14).

  • B.

    Participants in the order were bound by solemn covenant to build the kingdom and advance the cause of Zion.

    1. 1.

      The covenant was prescribed and only wilful rebellion or sin would break it.

    2. 2.

      Those who broke the covenant were to be cut off from their office and standing in the order and kingdom.

    3. 3.

      Every covenant member was to seek to build the kingdom and to bless his neighbor in the improvement of his talent and stewardship.

Study Sources

Student Manual

Sections 78-82; Enrichment B, “Establishing Zion”; Enrichment L, “The Law of Consecration and Stewardship”

Use material from Historical Background and Notes and Commentary to teach each revelation in its historical context.

Standard Works

  • D&C 78-82. Keeping in mind the theme of this lesson, read and ponder these sections.

  • D&C 78:3-4. For what purposes did the Lord direct the establishment of the covenant order?

  • D&C 78:5-7. The Lord desired that the covenant members would share equally in the blessings. Was this to be only temporally or spiritually or both? (See the section in the student manual, Enrichment L, on the united order.)

  • D&C 78:11-12. How was full participation in the order possible? What were the consequences of breaking the covenant?

  • D&C 78:14. What was to be the relationship of the kingdom, or Church, to the world?

  • D&C 82:10. How does this familar citation relate to the law of consecration?

  • D&C 82:19-20. What were covenant members to seek for? For additional references see topical guide, s.v. “Covenants.”

Basic Library

  • Teachings, p. 183. Are great temporal blessings possible through individual effort? Teachings, p. 174. What are some of the blessings of unity?

  • Teachings, p. 231. How did the Prophet Joseph define common?

  • Discourses, p. 178. What quality is essential for those who would enter the covenant order?

  • Discourses, pp. 285-89. The principles of unity and the application of the term equal are discussed.

  • DS, 1:245-46. Applying the blessings of unity.

  • Bruce R. McConkie, in CR, Apr. 1979, pp. 130-33. Why does the Lord expect us to “stand independent above all other creatures”?

Additional Sources

  • J. Reuben Clark, Jr., “The United Order and Law of Consecration as Set out in the Revelations of the Lord” (see the Appendix for the complete article). One of the most comprehensive treatments of the law of consecration.

  • J. Reuben Clark, Jr., in CR, Apr., 1944, pp. 110-16. Discusses the principles of unity (oneness) and order in the kingdom.

  • David O. McKay, in CR, Oct. 1967, pp. 4-11. Excellent counsel on the importance and power of unity.

Some Suggestions for Presentation

(Ideas Other Teachers Have Used)

The teacher should note that lesson 18, “True Disciples and Faithful Stewards,” and lesson 31, “The Law of Consecration and Stewardship, Part 2,” cover similar material. Lessons 10, 22, and 40 deal with Zion.

“All Things Common” and “Equal” (Scripture Analysis)

Use the scriptural citations on the united order listed in the section of Enrichment L (in student manual) to evaluate the above expressions—historically and in principle-as taught in the scriptures. President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., explains these concepts in his article which is contained in the Appendix of this manual.

The United Order (Chalkboard Illustration)

Using the materials found in Enrichment L of the student manual and President Clark’s talk found in the Appendix, outline briefly how the order functioned, how a person entered the order, and so on. The following is a suggested way for this to be done.

Note: The next lesson, “The Law of Consecration and Stewardship, Part 2,” also discusses this subject, so you could have an extended lesson.

  • I.

    Two Basic Ideas

    “A Mormon did not enter [the United Order] to become good, but because he was good … Men must first organize their own lives; then they might be united into a more perfect social and economic order.” (As cited in Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord, [Melchizedek Priesthood Study Guide 1978-79], p. 95).

  • II.

    Four Supporting Concepts

  • III.

    How the Order Works

    • A.

      One enters the order by solemn covenant (see D&C 78:11-12; 82:11, 21; 104:5-10).

    • B.

      All property is legally given to the Church by deed (see D&C 42:30-32; 72:15; History of the Church, 1:363).

      1. 1.

        Husband and wife have to sign (see History of the Church, 1:364).

      2. 2.

        Included are only major items of property such as real estate, buildings, and businesses; personal items such as clothing and furnishings are not included.

    • C.

      An equal stewardship is given to each family (see D&C 42:32-33).

      1. 1.

        These are called portions (see D&C 51:4-6), inheritances (see D&C 83:3), or stewardships (see D&C 104:11-12).

      2. 2.

        They are deeded to the person as his legal property.

      3. 3.

        Equality is defined as each family’s circumstances, wants, and needs being equally met (see D&C 51:3; 82:17).

      4. 4.

        The bishop and the family head jointly determine these needs (see History of the Church, 1:364-65).

      5. 5.

        The stewardship is to “amply” supply his wants and needs (D&C 42:33).

    • D.

      Surplus property, also called residue, goes to the bishop’s storehouse (see D&C 42:34-36).

    • E.

      The family operates their stewardship on a free enterprise basis motivated by love for God and fellowmen.

    • F.

      Those found unworthy are expelled from the order, but they keep their inheritances or portions (see D&C 51:5).