Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Early Mormonism on the "Evils" of Wealth (Glenn Beck's Head is About to Explode)

So it has been a long while since I posted anything.  Perhaps this will be a way to ease back into it.


The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (1875)
THE EXPERIENCE OF MANKIND has shown that the people of communities and nations among whom wealth is the most equally distributed, enjoy the largest degree of liberty, are the least exposed to tyranny and oppression and
suffer the least from luxurious habits which beget vice. Under such a system, carefully maintained there could be no great aggregations of either real or personal property in the hands of a few; especially so while the
laws, forbidding the taking of usury or interest for money or property loaned, continued in force.
ONE OF THE GREAT EVILS with which our own nation is menaced at the present  time is the wonderful growth of wealth in the hands of a comparatively few individuals. The very liberties for which our fathers contended so
steadfastly and courageously, and which they bequeathed to us as a priceless legacy, are endangered by the monstrous power which this accumulation of wealth gives to a few individuals and a few powerful corporations. By its
seductive influence results are accomplished which, were it more equally distributed, would be impossible under our form of government. It threatens to give shape to the legislation, both State, and National, of the entire
country. If this evil should not be checked, and measures not taken to prevent the continued enormous growth of riches among the class already rich, and the painful increase of destitution and want among the poor, the
nation is likely to be overtaken by disaster; for, according to history, such a tendency among nations once powerful was the sure precursor of ruin.
YEARS AGO IT WAS PERCEIVED that we Latter-day Saints were open to the same dangers as those which beset the rest of the world. A condition of affairs existed among us which was favorable to the growth of riches in the hands of a few at the expense of many. A wealthy class was being rapidly formed in our midst whose interests in the course of time, were likely to be diverse from those of the rest of the community. The growth of such a class was dangerous to our union; and, of all people, we stand most in need of union and to have our interests identical. Then it was that the Saints were counseled to enter into co-operation. In the absence of the necessary faith to enter upon a more perfect order revealed by the Lord unto the Church, this was felt to be the best means of drawing us together and making us one.
A UNION OF INTERESTS was sought to be attained. At the time co-operation was entered upon the Latter-day Saints were acting in utter disregard of the principles of self-preservation. They were encouraging the growth of evils
in their own midst which they condemned as the worst features of the systems from which they had been gathered. Large profits were being consecrated in comparatively few hands, instead of being generally distributed among the
people. As a consequence, the community was being rapidly divided into classes, and the hateful and unhappy distinctions which the possession and lack of wealth give rise to, were becoming painfully apparent. When the
proposition to organize Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution was broached, it was hoped that the community at large would become stockholders; for if a few individuals only were to own its stock, the
advantages to the community would be limited. The people, therefore, were urged to take shares, and large numbers responded to the appeal. As we have shown, the business proved to be as successful as its most sanguine friends
anticipated. But the distribution of profits among the community was not the only benefit conferred by the organization of co-operation among us.
CO-OPERATION has submitted in silence to a great many attacks. Its friends have been content to let it endure the ordeal. But it is now time to speak. The Latter-day Saints should understand that it is our duty to sustain
co-operation and to do all in our power to make it a success. The local co-operative stores should have the cordial support of the Latter-day Saints. Does not all our history impress upon us the great truth that in
union is strength? Without it, what power would the Latter-day Saints have? But it is not our doctrines alone that we should be united, but in practice and especially in our business affairs.
Your Brethren:
Brigham Young, Daniel H. Wells, Wilford Woodruff, Orson Pratt, Lorenzo Snow,
Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young Jr., George A. Smith, John taylor, Orson
Hyde, Charles C,. Rich, Erastus Snow, George Q. Cannon, Albert Carrington


Tom Van Dyke said...

THE EXPERIENCE OF MANKIND has shown that the people of communities and nations among whom wealth is the most equally distributed, enjoy the largest degree of liberty, are the least exposed to tyranny and oppression and suffer the least from luxurious habits which beget vice.

Well, this was written before communism, which sucks.

Welcome back, bro. ;-)

jimmiraybob said...

Well, this was written before communism, which sucks.

Well, I'm not saying there's a connection but........

Karl Marx: The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Capital (1867–1894)

Of course the sentiment is as old as the ancients.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I wish we could get Beck's reaction or response to it!

Tom Van Dyke said...

Then again, there's human nature;

In 1874, Young launched the United Order movement, his final attempt to revive communalism. Resources were pooled through the revived principle of consecration, but private property was not abolished. Individuals received cash returns based on their contributions and labor. The only settlement that abolished private property was Orderville, a community of poor folks in southern Utah that achieved, according to the novelist Wallace Stegner, a rare “communism of goods.” But most Mormons were no more willing to commit to consecration in the 1870s than they had been decades earlier. Nor was Young himself willing to consecrate his own substantial holdings, which included a textile factory in Provo and more than ten thousand acres of farmland.

Boldface mine.

very comprehensive article here: