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IS SOCIALISM THE UNITED ORDER?

Elder Marion G. Romney
Of the Council of the Twelve Apostles

April Conference 1966

	What I am going to give you is a statement I have prepared in
answer to the question, "Is Socialism the United Order?"  Some of you
may have already heard it.  This is the first time I have ever attempted
to give a talk a second time.  My excuse is that the Brethren have asked 
me to give this talk here tonight.

	I suppose the best way to start a comparison of socialism and 
the United Order is with a definition of the terms.  Webster defines 
socialism as:

	"A political and economical theory of social organization based 
on collective or governmental ownership and democratic management of 
the essential means for the production and distribution of goods; also, 
a policy or practice based on this theory."  (Webster's New Inter-
national Dictionary, 2nd ed. unabridged, 1951.)

	George Bernard Shaw, the noted Fabian Socialist, said that:

	"Socialism, reduced to its simplest legal and practical 
expression, means the complete discarding of the institution of private 
property by transforming it into public property and the division of 
the resultant income equally and indiscriminately among the entire 
population."  (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1946 ed., Vol. 20, P. 895.)

	George Douglas Howard Cole, M.A. noted author and university
leader in economics at Oxford, who treats socialism for the Encyclopedia
Britannica, says that because of the shifting sense in which the word
has been used, "a short and comprehensive definition is impossible.  We
can only say," he concludes, "that Socialism is essentially a doctrine 
and a movement aiming at the collective organization of the community 
in the interest of the mass of the people by means of the common owner-
ship and collective control of the means of production and exchange." 
(Ibid., p. 888.)

	Socialism arose "out of the economic division in society."  
During the nineteenth century its growth was accelerated as a protest 
against "the appalling conditions prevailing in the workshops and 
factories and the unchristian spirit of the spreading industrial 
system."

	The "Communist Manifesto" drafted by Karl Mark and Friedrich
Engels for the Communist League in 1848 is generally regarded as the
starting point of modern socialism.  (Ibid., p. 890.)

	The distinction between socialism, as represented by the 
various Socialist and Labor parties of Europe and the New World, and
Communism, as represented by the Russians, is one of tactics and
strategy rather than of objective.  Communism is indeed only socialism
pursued by revolutionary means and making its revolutionary method a
canon of faith.  Communists like other socialists, (1) believe in the
collective control and ownership of the vital means of production and  
(2) seek to achieve through state action the coordinated control of the
economic forces of society.  They (the Communists) differ from other
socialists in believing that this control can be secured, and its use 
in the interests of the workers ensured, only by revolutionary action 
leading to the dictatorship of the proletariat and the creation of a 
new proletarian state as the instrument of change. (Ibid.)

	German Socialism

	A major rift between so-called orthodox socialism and communist
socialism occurred in 1875 when the German Social Democratic party
set forth its objective or winning power by taking over control of the
bourgeois state, rather than by overthrowing it.  In effect, the German
Social Democratic party became a parliamentary party, aiming at the
assumption of political power by constitutional means.

	Fabian Society

	In the 1880's a small group of intellectuals set up in England 
the Fabian Society, which has had a major influence on the development 
of modern orthodox socialism.  Fabianism stands "for the evolutionary
conception of socialism...endeavoring by progressive reforms and the
nationalization of industries, to turn the existing state into a 'welfare
state.'"  Somewhat on the  order of the German Social Democrats,
Fabians aim "at permeating the existing parties with socialistic ideas
[rather] that at creating a definitely socialistic party."  They appeal 
"to the electorate not as revolutionaries but as constitutional reformers 
seeking a peaceful transformation of the system."  (Ibid.)

	The differences in forms and policies of socialism occur
principally in the manner in which they seek to implement their theories.

	They all advocate:
	(1)  That private ownership of the vital means of production be
abolished and that all such property "pass under some form of
coordinated public control."
	(2)  That the power of the state be used to achieve their aims.
	(3)  "That with a change in the control of industry will go a
change in the motives which operate in the industrial system...."  
(Ibid.)
	
So much for the definition of socialism.  I have given you these 
statements in the words of socialists and scholars, not my words, 
so they have had their hearing.

	The United Order

	Now as to the United Order, and here I will give the words of 
the Lord and not my words.
	The United Order, the Lord's program for eliminating the
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.

	On January 2, 1831, the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph
Smith that the Church was under obligation to care for the poor.  (See
D&C 38.)  Later he said:

	"I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth,
...and all things therein are mine.  And it is my purpose to provide 
for my saints, for all things are mine.  But it must needs be done in 
mine own way...." (D&C 104:14-16.)

	On February 9, 1831, the Lord revealed to the Prophet what his
way was.  (see D&C 42.)  In his way there were two cardinal principles:
 (1) consecration and  (2) stewardship.

	To enter the United Order, when it was being tried,  one
consecrated all his possessions to the Church by a "covenant and a
deed which" could not "be broken."  (D&C 42:30.)  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 all 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, according to his circumstances and his wants 
and needs."  (D&C 51:3.)

	This procedure preserved in every man the right to private
ownership and management of his property.  At his own option he could
alienate it or keep and operate it and pass it on to his heirs.

	The intent was, however, for him to so operate his property as 
to produce a living for himself and his 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 stewardship's were given to others and from
which the needs of the poor were supplied.

	These divine principles are very simple and easily understood.  
A comparison of them with the underlying principles of socialism reveal
similarities and basic differences.

	The following are similarities:  Both (1) deal with production 
and distribution of goods;  (2) aim to promote the well-being of men 
by eliminating their economic inequalities;  (3) envision the elimination 
of the selfish motives in 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, wholly materialistic, is founded in the wisdom of 
men and not of God.  Although all socialists may not be atheists, none 
of them in theory or practice seek the Lord to establish his righteous-
ness.
	(2)  The United Order is implemented by the voluntary free-will
actions of men, evidenced by a consecration of all their property to the
Church of God.

	One time the Prophet Joseph Smith asked a question by the
brethren about the inventories they were taking.  His answer was to the
effect, "You don't need to be concerned about the inventories.  Unless 
a man is willing to consecrate everything he has, he doesn't come into 
the United Order." (Documentary History of the Church. Vol 7,pp.412-413.) 
On the other hand, socialism is implemented by external force, the power
of the state.

	(3)  In harmony with church belief, as set forth in the Doctrine 
and Covenants, "that no government can exist in peace, except such laws
are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free
exercise of conscience, the right and control of property" (D&C 134:2),
the United Order is operated upon the principle of private ownership and
individual 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 non-political.   Socialism is political, 
both in theory and practice.  It is thus exposed to, and riddled by, 
the corruption that plagues and finally destroys all political 
governments that undertake to abridge man'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, released from the bondage and
humiliating limitations of poverty, are enabled as free men to rise to 
their full potential, both temporally and spiritually.  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 fellowmen characterized by Mormon as "the pure 
love of Christ."  (Moro. 7:47.)

	No, brethren, socialism is not the United Order.  However,
notwithstanding my abhorrence of it, I am persuaded that socialism is 
the wave of the present and of the foreseeable future.  It has already 
taken over or is contending for control in most nations.

	"At the end of the year [1964] parties affiliated with the 
[Socialist] International were in control of the governments of Great 
Britain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Israel, and the Malagasy Republic.  
They had representatives in coalition cabinets in Austria, Belgium, 
Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, constituted the chief 
opposition in France, India, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand and 
West Germany; and were significant political forces in numerous other
countries.  Many parties dominant in governments in Africa, Asia, and 
Latin America announced that their aim was a socialist society." 
(Encyclopedia Britannica, 1965 Book of the Year, p. 736.)

	We here in the United States, in converting our government into 
a social welfare state, have ourselves adopted much of socialism. 
Specifically, we have to an alarming degree adopted the use of the
power of the state in the control and distribution of the fruits of 
industry.  We are on notice according to the words of he President, 
that we are going much further, for his is quoted as saying:

	"We're going to take all the money we think is unnecessarily 
being spent and take it from the 'haves' and give it to the 'have nots.'"
(1964 Congressional Record, p.6124, Remarks for the President to a 
Group of Leaders of Organizations of Senior Citizens in the Fish Room, 
March 24, 1964.)

	Socialism takes:  United Order gives

	That is the spirit of socialism: We're going to take.  The spirit 
of the United Order is:  We're going to give.

	We have also gone a long way on the road to public ownership
and management of the vital means of production.  In both of these 
areas the free agency of Americans have been greatly abridged.  Some 
argue that we have voluntarily surrendered this power to government.  
Be this as it may, the fact remains that the loss of freedom with the 
consent of the enslaved, or even at their request, is nonetheless 
slavery.

	As to the fruits of socialism, we all have our own opinions.  I
myself have watched its growth in our own country and observed it in
operation in many other lands.  But I have yet to see or hear of its 
freeing the hearts of men of selfishness and greed or of its bringing 
peace, plenty, or freedom.  These things it will never bring, nor will 
it do away with idleness and promote "industry, thrift and self-respect,"
for it is founded, in theory and in practice, on force, the principle 
of the evil one.

	As to the fruits of the United Order I suggest you read Moses
7:16-18 and 4 Nephi 2-3, 15-16.  If we had time we could review the
history, what little we know, of Zion in the days of Enoch and about
what happened among the Nephites under those principles of the United
Order in the first two centuries following the time of the Savior.

	As I recently reminded my wife of the moratorium on the United
Order, which the Lord placed in 1834 (D&C 105:34), that socialism is
taking over in the nations and that its expressed aims will surely fail, 
she spiritedly put to me the question:  "Well, then, what would you 
suggest, that we just sit on our hands in despair and do nothing?"  
Perhaps similar questions have occurred to you.  The answer is, "No, by 
no means!"  We have much to do, and fortunately for us the Lord has 
definitely prescribed the course we should follow with respect to 
socialism and the United Order.

	He has told us that in preparation for the restoration of the 
gospel, he himself established the Constitution of the United States, 
and he has plainly told us why he established it.  I hope I can get 
this point over to you.  He said he established the Constitution to 
preserve to men their free agency, because the whole gospel of Jesus 
Christ presupposes man's untrammeled exercise of free agency.  Man is 
in the earth to be tested.  The issue as to whether he succeeds or 
fails will be determined by how he uses his agency.  His whole future, 
through all eternity, is at stake.  Abridge man's agency, and the whole 
purpose of his mortality is thwarted.  Without it, the Lord says, there 
is no existence. (See D&C 93:30.)  The Lord so valued our agency that 
he designed and dictated "the laws and constitution" required to guarantee 
it.  This he explained in the revelation in which he instructed the 
Prophet Joseph Smith to appeal for help.

	"According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I
have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights
and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;

	"That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining 
to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, 
that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.

	"And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of 
this land by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very
purpose...."  (D&C 101:77-78, 80.)

	Previously he had said:

	"And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land,
it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever 
I command them.
	"And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting 
that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs 
to all mankind and is justifiable before me.
	"Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my
church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the 
land [the test of its constitutionality in the words of the Lord here 
is whether it preserves man's agency];
	"And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less
than this cometh of evil.
	"I, the Lord God, make you free therefore ye are free indeed; 
and the law [that is, constitutional law] also maketh you free.

	"Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.
	"Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for
diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold;
otherwise whatsoever is less cometh of evil."   (D&C 98: 4-10

	These scriptures declare the Constitution to be a divine 
document.  They tell us that "according to just and holy principles," 
the Constitution and the law of the land which supports the "Principle 
of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, 
and is justifiable before" God; that, "as pertaining to [the] law of man 
whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil."  They remind us 
that the Lord has made us free and that laws that are constitutional 
will also make us free.

	Right at this point, almost as if he were warning us against 
what is happening today, the Lord said: "Nevertheless, when the wicked 
rule the people mourn."  Then, that we might know with certainty what 
we should do about it", he concluded: "Wherefor, honest men and wise 
men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should
observe to uphold...."

	In this context this instruction, according to my interpretation, 
can only mean that we should seek diligently for and support men to
represent us in government who are "wise" enough to understand
freedom -- as provided for in the Constitution and as implemented in the
United Order -- and who are honest enough and good enough to fight to
preserve it.

	"...if we are to live as a Church, and progress, and have the 
right to worship as we are worshipping here today, we must have the 
great guarantees that are set up by our Constitution.  There is no other 
way in which we can secure these guarantees." (Conference Report, October
1942, pp. 58-59.)

	Now, not forgetting our duty to eschew socialism and support the
just and holy principles of the Constitution, as directed by the Lord, 
I shall conclude these remarks with a few comments concerning what we
should be do about the United Order.

	The final words of the Lord in suspending the order were:  "And
let those commandments which I have given concerning Zion and her
law be executed and fulfilled, after her redemption."   (D&C 105:34.)

	Further implementation of the order must therefore await the
redemption of Zion.  Here Zion means Jackson County, Missouri.  When
Zion is redeemed, as it most certainly shall be, it will be redeemed 
under a government and by a people strictly observing those "just and 
holy principles" of the Constitution that accord men their God-given 
right to private property.  If, in the meantime, socialism takes over 
in America, it will have to be displaced, if need by, by the power of 
God, because the United Order can never function under socialism or 
"the 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
earth and the establishment of the United Order, we as bears of the
priesthood should 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 do so, implement in our 
own lives all the basic principles of the United Order.

	As you will recall, the principles underlying the United Order 
are consecration and stewardships and then the contribution of surpluses
into the bishop's storehouse.  When the law of tithing was instituted 
four years after the United Order experiment was suspended, the Lord
required the people to put "all their surplus property...into the hands 
of the bishop"  (D&C 119:4.)  This law, still in force, implements to a 
degree at least the United Order principle of stewardships, for it 
leaves in the hands of each person the ownership and management of the 
property from which he produces the needs of himself and family.  
Furthermore to use again the words of President Clark:

	"...in lieu of residue and surplus which were accumulated and
built up under the United Order, we, today, have our fast offerings, 
our Welfare donations, and our tithing all of which may be devoted to 
the care of the poor, as well as for the carrying on of the activities 
and business of the Church."

	"What prohibits us from giving as much in fast offerings as we
would have given in surpluses under the United Order?  Nothing but our
own limitations.

	"Furthermore, we had under the United Order a bishop's
storehouse in which were collected the materials from which to supply
the needs and the wants of the poor.  We have a bishop's storehouse
under the Welfare Plan, used for the same purpose....

	"We have now under the Welfare Plan all over the Church,...land
projects...farmed for the benefit of the poor....

	"Thus...in many of its great essentials, we have, [in] the 
Welfare Plan...the broad essentials of the United Order.  Furthermore, 
having in mind the assistance which is being given from time to time...
to help set people up in business or in farming, we have a plan which 
is not essentially unlike that which was in the United Order when the 
poor were given portions from the common fund."

	It is apparent that when the principles of tithing and the fast 
are properly observed and the Welfare Plan gets fully developed and 
wholly into operation, "we shall not be so very far from carrying out 
the great fundamentals of the United Order." (Conference Report, October 
1942, pp. 51-58.)

	The only limitation on you and me is within ourselves.


	A Prayer:

	And now in line with these remarks, for three things I pray:

	(1)  That the Lord will somehow quicken our understanding of the
difference between socialism and the United Order and give us a vivid
awareness of the awful portent of those differences.

	(2)  The we will develop the understanding, the desire, and the
courage born of the Spirit, to eschew socialism and to support and
sustain, in the manner revealed and as interpreted by the Lord, those 
just and holy principles embodied in the Constitution of the United States 
for the protection of all flesh, in the exercise of their God-given agency.

	(3)	That through faithful observance of the principles of
tithing, the fast, and the welfare program, we will prepare ourselves to
redeem Zion and ultimately live the United Order, in the name of Jesus
Christ.  Amen.




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