For those who have been following the series on the 23 High Priests and the Holy Order, the third part of the series is now posted on a different blog site.
One of the Mormon Myths that has been perpetuated in this dispensation is the belief that section 119 of the Doctrine and Covenants represents the official institution of the lesser law of tithing. In other words, some people interpret that revelation to mean that after the failure of the Saints to live the law of consecration in Kirtland and Jackson county, now, in Far West, the Lord is revoking the law of consecration and giving the lesser law of tithing which is to simply pay one tenth of ones increase annually.
A close review of the revelation makes it obvious that such is not the case. Virtually all of the Saints that had migrated to Far West had already covenanted to live consecration previously and the Lord was simply explaining to them how to recommit to the law now that they were in a new geographical setting.
NEPT has already provided a great explanation regarding the proper interpretation of this revelation on a post at another blogsite so I won't beat a dead horse.
However, the following passages from the diary of John D Lee were sent to me by a friend I used to work with. It provides an amazing historical context to section 119.
This provides historical evidence that 119 was not the introduction of a lesser law but rather a re-commitment to the existing law of consecration.
I love the prophecy by Sidney Ridgon who warned the Saints;
"if they did not come up as true Saints and consecrate their property to the Lord by laying it down at the feet of the apostles they would in a short time be compelled to consecrate and yield it up to the Gentiles."
Of course that prophecy came true!
One of the observations I make in the series I am doing on the 23 high priests is that the apostolic priesthood can administer the law of consecration, but apparently it takes the Melchizedek priesthood to establish Zion. The statement by Lee seems to confirm that.
Here is the portion of the remarks that my friend sent me;
"It may be well for purposes of explanation to refer back to the celebration of the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July 1838 at Far West That day Joseph Smith made known to the people the substance of a revelation he had before received from God It was to the effect that all the Saints throughout the land were required to sell their possessions gather all their money together and send an agent to buy up all the land in the region round about Far West and get a patent for the land from the Government then deed it over to the Church then every man should come up there to the land of their promised inheritance and consecrate what they had to the Lord In return the Prophet would set apart a tract of land for each Saint the amount to correspond with the number of the Saint's family and this land should be for each Saint an everlasting inheritance.
In this way the people could in time redeem Zion Jackson County without the shedding of blood It was also revealed that unless this was done in accordance with God's demand as required by Him in the Revelation then given to the people through his Prophet Joseph Smith the Saints would be driven from State to State from city to city from one abiding place to another until the members would die and waste away leaving but a remnant of the Saints to return and receive their inheritance in Zion Jackson County in the Last Days.
Sidney Rigdon was then the mouth piece of Joseph Smith as Aaron was of Moses in olden time Rigdon told the Saints that day that if they did not come up as true Saints and consecrate their property to the Lord by laying it down at the feet of the apostles they would in a short time be compelled to consecrate and yield it up to the Gentiles.
That if the Saints would be united as one man in this consecration of their entire wealth to the God of Heaven by giving it up to the control of the Apostolic Priesthood then there would be no further danger to the Saints they would no more be driven from their homes on account of their faith and holy works for the Lord had revealed to Joseph Smith that He would then fight the battles of His children and save them from all their enemies .
That the Mormon people would never be accepted as the children of God unless they were united as one man in temporal as well as spiritual affairs for Jesus had said unless ye are one ye are not mine that oneness must exist to make the Saints the accepted children of God That if the Saints would yield obedience to the commands of the Lord all would be well for the Lord had confirmed these promises by a revelation which He had given to Joseph Smith in which it was said I the Lord will fight the battles of my people and if your enemies shall come up against you..
…and if they shall come up against you again then shall ye spurt them also even unto the third time shall ye spare them but if they come up against you the fourth time I the Lord will deliver them into your hands to do with them as seemeth good unto you but if you will then spare them it shall be accounted unto you for righteousness.
The words of the apostle and the promises of God as then revealed to me made a deep impression on my mind as it did upon all who heard the same.
We that had given up all else for the sake of the gospel felt willing to do anything on earth that it was possible to do to obtain the protection of God and have and receive His smile of approbation Those who like me had full faith in the teachings of God as revealed by Joseph Smith His Prophet were willing to comply with every order and to obey every wish of the priesthood The majority of the people felt like Ananias and Sapphira they dare not trust all to God and His Prophet They felt that their money was as safe in their own possession as it was when held by the Church authorities.
A vote of the people was then had to determine the question whether they would consecrate their wealth to the Church or not.
The vote was taken and was unanimous for the consecration I soon found out that the people had voted as I have often known them to do in Mormon meetings since then they vote to please the priesthood then act to suit themselves.
I never thought that was right or honest men should vote their sentiments but they do not at all times do so I have been the victim of such hyprocrites as the sequel will show
The vote as I said was taken It was done by a show of hands but not a show of hearts By the readiness with which all hands went up in favor of consecration it was declared that the people were of a truth.." God's children and as such would be protected by him"
Lee goes on to tell that many of the Saints were just hypocrites that voted to accept the law of consecration because they knew the prophet and Sidney wanted them to vote that way but had no intention of handing their goods over to the apostles.