Mormon United Order Equals Leveling the Playing Field, "New World Order"


Mormon 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.

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

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

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

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:

" 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, projects...farmed for the
benefit of the poor....

" 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

(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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