Marion G. Romney, Socialism and the United Order

The United Order, the Lord’s program for eliminated inequalities among men, is based upon the underlying concept that the earth, and all things therein belong to the Lord, and that men hold earthly possessions as stewards accountable to God.

In this way there were two cardinal principles. One of them was consecration, and the other was stewardship. To enter the United Order, one consecrated all his possessions to the church. This he did by a ‘deed’ in the words of the revelation, which cannot be broken. That is, he completely divested himself of all of his property by conveying it to the church. Having thus voluntarily divested himself of title to his property, the consecrator received from the church, a stewardship by a like conveyance. This stewardship could be more or less than his original consecration. The object being to make every man equal, according to his family, and according to his circumstances, and his wants and his needs. This procedure preserved in every man the right to private ownership and management of property. At his own option he could alienate his own property, he could keep it and operate it, and it could be passed on to his heirs. The intent, however, was for him to operate his property so as to produce a living for himself, for his family, and for other dependents. So long as he remained in the order, he consecrated to the church, the surplus he produced above the needs and wants of his family. This surplus went into a storehouse, from which stewardships were given to others, and from which the needs of the poor were supplied. These divine principles are very simple and easily understood.

Similarities of Socialism and the United Order:

1)     Both socialism and the United Order deal with the production and distribution of goods.

2)     Both aim to promote the well being of men by eliminating their economic inequalities.

3)     Both envision the elimination of the selfish motives in our private capitalistic industrial system.

Now the differences:

1) The cornerstone of the United Order is belief in God and acceptance of him as Lord of the earth and the author of the United Order. Socialism is wholly materialistic. It’s founded in the wisdom of men, and not of God. Although all socialists may not be atheists, none of them, in theory or in practice, seek the Lord to establish his righteousness.

2) The United Order is implemented by the voluntary free will actions of men. This is evidenced by the consecration of all the property to the church of God. Socialism is implemented by external force, the force of the state.

3) As to property, in harmony with the church belief set forth in the doctrine and covenants, that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held in violate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience and the right and control of property. The United Order is operated on the principle of private property and ownership and individual management, socialism on the principle of collective or governmental ownership and management. Thus in both implementation and ownership and management of property, the United Order preserves to men their God given agency while socialism deprives them of it.

4) The United Order is wholly non-political. Socialism is wholly political, both in theory and in practice. It is thus exposed to and riddled by the corruption which plagues and finally destroys all political governments which undertake to abridge men’s agency.

5) A righteous people is a prerequisite to the United Order. Socialism argues that it as a system will eliminate the evils of the profit motive. The United Order exalts the poor and humbles the rich. In the process, both are sanctified. The poor are released from the bondage and humiliating limitations of poverty, are enabled as free men to rise to their full potential both temporally and spiritually. Of the rich, by consecration, and by imparting of their surplus, for the benefit of the poor, not by constraint, but willingly as an act of free will, evidence that charity for their fellow man characterized by Mormon as the pure love of Christ.

Socialism is not the United Order. Distinguishing between these two systems need be no more difficult than solving the problem of the farmer who couldn’t tell one of his horses from the other. They weighed the same, they pulled the same load, they ran at the same speed. By the looks of their teeth, they both were the same age. Finally as a last resort, he measured them, and sure enough the white horse was 6 hands higher than the black horse.

He [U.S. President of 1966] is quoted as saying, “We are going to take all of the money we see is being unnecessarily spent, and take it from the haves and give it to the have nots.” That’s the spirit of socialism. We’re going to take. It isn’t the spirit of we’re going to give.

…as for the fruits of the United Order, if we had time we could review the history, what little we know about Zion in the days of Enoch and about the principle of what happened in those first two centuries following the time of the Savior among the Nephites. I suggest that you read them.

…the United Order can never function under socialism or a welfare state, for the good and sufficient reason that the principles upon which socialism and the United Order are conceived and operated are inimical. In the meantime, while we await the redemption of Zion and the establishment of the United Order, we as latter day saints should live strictly by the principles of the United Order insofar as they are embodied in present church practices, such as the fast offering, tithing and the welfare activities. Through these practices, we could, as individuals, if we were of a mind to, implement in our own lives, all of the basic principles of the United Order.

Marion G. Romney, (March 01, 1966) Socialism and the United Order

http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=480

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