Consecration 

Summary

The dedicating of money, lands, goods, or one’s own life for sacred purposes.1 Both the New Testament and Book of Mormon referred to some groups having “all things common” economically; the Book of Mormon also referred to individuals who consecrated or dedicated themselves to God’s service.2 In February 1831, JS dictated the “Laws of the Church of Christ,” which mandated community-based economic arrangements to provide for the poor and contribute to the building up of the “New Jerusalem.”3 The revelation explained that individuals were to donate their money, goods, and land to the church, after which they would receive back an inheritance, or stewardship, based on their circumstances, needs, and wants.4 Bishops were to administer the law of consecration by receiving consecrated properties, determining stewardships, and managing the surplus property in church storehouses.5 After the initial consecration of property, Saints were expected to consecrate their yearly surplus to the storehouse, from which the needy could be supported.6 Not all features of consecration were implemented, and many members of the church were never invited to practice consecration as outlined in the scriptures.7 Though the ideal remained, the practice was largely abandoned by 1834.8 An 8 July 1838 revelation eliminated the requirement of an initial consecration of property but instructed church members to give all “their surplus property” to the bishop and then a “tenth of all their interest annually” thereafter.9 In 1841, as church leaders sought funds to build the Nauvoo temple and Nauvoo House, Saints were asked to tithe a tenth of their personal property and a tenth of their increase.10 Men were also invited to donate a tenth of their time in labor for temple construction.11 JS, as trustee-in-trust of the church, had oversight of donations to the temple and distribution of surplus property and goods to the poor.12 The system was thus significantly adjusted during JS’s ministry, but the principles continued to guide church efforts to cooperatively share resources to build up communities and the church.13 See also “Zion,” “Inheritance,” and “Steward.”