Produced a “perfect abortion”

As I mentioned in an earlier post (June 24, 2018), after the experiences in the early common-stock companies, and in community efforts in Kirtland, Ohio, Independence, and Far West, Missouri, Joseph Smith ended any attempts at consecration. In a council meeting on March 6, 1840 in Montrose, Iowa Territory, he announced to the church the Lord rescinded consecration:

“He said that the Law of consecration could not be kept here, & that it was the will of the Lord that we should desist from trying to keep it, & if persisted in it would produce a perfect abortion, & that he assumed the whole responsibility of not keeping it untill proposed by himself.” (JS Papers, Documents Vol. 7, p. 215, emphasis added, all spelling as in original.)

Despite this counsel, when the lumber mission in Black River Falls, Wisconsin was operated, the church members determined they would have all things in common. The purpose of their mission was to provide lumber for use in building the Nauvoo Temple and Nauvoo House. Their experience is described in a letter written February 15, 1844:

“Since we have been here lumbering we have had many difficulties to encounter, but the main hindrance to our Successful opperations was the feeding, clothing and transporting of a great many lazy, idle men who have not produced any thing by their pretended labor, and thus eating up all that the diligent and honest could produce by their unceasing application to labor & we have not yet got entirely clear of such like persons.” (JS Papers, Documents Vol. 14, p. 180, all spelling as in original.)

From a common-sense point of view, during Joseph Smith’s lifetime the believers never got beyond the early start-up steps of building a community. Never. Not in any of the communities established by those early believers.

That outcome is always inevitable because there are always losses with any start-up venture. Years of losses precede any “excess” being produced. When there are losses from beginning operations, it is extraordinarily unwise to increase losses by adding unproductive people whose needs exceed their ability to contribute to the already needy community. That adds to the likelihood of complete community collapse and failure.

Common sense would suggest that the early inevitable losses be incurred by those who can bear them, and that only after the community has succeeded in producing an excess can those who need assistance be helped with the produced excess.

The ultimate objective of the ‘pine mission’ was to produce a completed Nauvoo Temple and Nauvoo House. Neither were completed. There was an earlier promise for Zion in Jackson County, Missouri. That earlier promise was forfeited because the saints polluted the ground: “Behold, I say unto you, there were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them; therefore, by these things they polluted their inheritances.” (T&C 101:2.) Accordingly, their enemies were allowed power over them, and they were driven away, ultimately out of Missouri altogether.

The later promise made by the Lord in Nauvoo was that the Lord would not allow the Jackson County failure to be repeated. The Lord would intervene and prevent them from being driven out. But it was conditioned on their conduct: “But if they will not hearken to my voice, nor unto the voice of these men whom I have appointed, they shall not be blessed, because they pollute my holy grounds, and my holy ordinances and charters, and my holy words which I give unto them. And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfill the promises which you expect at my hands, says the Lord. For instead of blessings, you, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies and by all your abominations which you practice before me, says the Lord.” (T&C 141:14.)

Not only was the effort to build the Nauvoo Temple a ‘perfect abortion’ so too was the effort to bring the people back to God’s presence. Their abominations increased: lying, adultery, dishonesty, and false accusations directed at both Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum.

They were asked to “build a house unto my name for the Most High to dwell therein. For there is not place found on the earth that he may come and restore again that which was lost unto you, or which he has taken away, even the fullness of the Priesthood.” (T&C 141:10.) That return of the fullness didn’t happen. Hasn’t happened. And if we are given a commandment to build a temple for the Most High to dwell in, it will be a privilege not a burden. It should be greeted as an opportunity, not as an unwelcome responsibility.

For us, worrying about consecrating, and gathering, and some dreamy future filled with excess enjoyed by a group-effort is not only naive, it is a devilish mirage that omits the sacrifices, labor, grueling hard work to be done in a fallen world that will first be required to reclaim and redeem the land. Eden will not return until the effects on nature have been remedied by faithful husbandmen cultivating the earth. She “will yield [her] increase, and you will flourish upon the mountains and upon the hills,” (T&C 158:14) but only after she again “may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon [her] face.” (NC Gen. 4:20.) Righteousness upon the face of the earth will precede her ‘yielding her increase’ for the righteous. That will be up to those who are on the earth’s mountains and hills.

So far, the ‘perfect abortion’ of the early saints does not appear to be reversed. But it can be. We can, by our heed and diligence give place in our hearts to a kindly God asking us to incline our hearts toward Him, and allow His words to cleanse the inner man. We won’t have a redeemed earth until we first have redeemed people living upon her. THAT is the present work. It is internal to each of us.

Just like the earth in its fallen state, our hearts and minds are filled with briars, weeds, noxious plants, troubling insects, and predatory animals within. Cleansing the inner vessel comes first.