As I return to D&C 42, I am struck that the part about the “law of consecration” seems to be simply a direction on how to remember the poor – which is not exactly a new commandment! The process outlined in D&C 42 seems to me to be a smoothing off of our rough edges as a people so we can see clearly that we don’t need all we have and can let go of it. The directions elsewhere in scripture – I’m thinking of Jacob’s speech to the Nephites in Jacob 2 right now – also say the same things. Seek first to bless the poor. Use what you gain to take care of them. These are not new ideas!! We have in D&C 42 a specific way in which the Lord wanted his people to maneuver this exchange of property etc at that particular time, but the commandment is a general command throughout scripture. In the law of Moses, you had to leave some of the grain in the field for the poor and for the animals. It was the law! This is nothing new really, it’s just that the mechanics of it are specific here in section 42.
Which is why, I think, that we can have this law of consecration still for us right now but with other specific directions. Just because we don’t have fields and fruit to leave for poor passerbys, doesn’t mean we don’t have to take care of the poor! Just because we don’t have a city of Zion doesn’t mean we can’t find people to help, all around us! Or as our direction of consecration goes – which I won’t quote directly – just because we are in the year 2010 doesn’t mean we don’t have a church to build up, with our talents, means, and time to give to callings and so forth. The methods may have changed, but the command to use what we have to bless others has never changed. That is what I’m most struck with today as I read D&C 42.