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'Where much is given, much is expected'

In 1831, Joseph Smith received the revelation on the law of consecration. Though Church members do not live this law in its fullness, its principles and mandates have not been set aside by the Lord.

General Tithing Storehouse, shown about turn of 20th century, housed in-kind contributions of the members.
General Tithing Storehouse, shown about turn of 20th century, housed in-kind contributions of the members. Photo: Photo courtesy LDS Church

In his April 1975 general conference address, Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve quoted Doctrine and Covenants 88:22 and commented on this verse: " 'He who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.' The law of sacrifice is a celestial law; so also is the law of consecration. Thus to gain that celestial reward which we so devoutly desire, we must be able to live these two laws.

"Sacrifice and consecration are inseparably intertwined. The law of consecration is that we consecrate our time, our talents and our money and property to the cause of the Church; such are to be available to the extent they are needed to further the Lord's interests on earth.

"We are not always called upon to live the whole law of consecration and give all of our time, talents and means to the building up of the Lord's earthly kingdom. Few of us are called upon to sacrifice much of what we possess, and at the moment there is only an occasional martyr in the cause of revealed religion.

"But what the scriptural account means is that to gain celestial salvation we must be able to live these laws to the full if we are called upon to do so. Implicit in this is the reality that we must in fact live them to the extent we are called upon so to do.

"How, for instance, can we establish our ability to live the full law of consecration if we do not in fact pay an honest tithing? Or how can we prove our willingness to sacrifice all things, if need be, if we do not make the small sacrifices of time and toil, or of money and means, that we are now asked to make?

General Tithing Storehouse as it appeared when first used in mid-19th century.
General Tithing Storehouse as it appeared when first used in mid-19th century. Photo: Photo courtesy LDS Church

"When it costs us but little to give, the treasure laid up in heaven is a small one. The widow's mite, given in sacrifice, weighs more heavily in the eternal scales than the bulging granaries of the rich man.

"Now I think it is perfectly clear that the Lord expects far more of us than we sometimes render in response. We are not as other men. We are the saints of God and have the revelations of heaven. Where much is given much is expected. We are to put first in our lives the things of His kingdom.

"We are commanded to live in harmony with the Lord's laws, to keep all His commandments, to sacrifice all things if need be for His name's sake, to conform to the terms and conditions of the law of consecration. We have made covenant so to do — solemn, sacred, holy covenants, pledging ourselves before gods and angels.

"We are under covenant to live the law of obedience. We are under covenant to live the law of sacrifice. We are under covenant to live the law of consecration.

"With this in mind, hear this word from the Lord: '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 and required of you.' " (Doctrine and Covenants 78:7.)

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