"[M]any LDS and non-LDS business professionals today identify with the views of economists such as Milton Friedman, who advance a very narrow view of corporate concerns. In his Capitalism and Freedom, he claims that the sole responsibility of the corporation is to maximize profits, thereby supposedly benefitting society indirectly. Such logic, however, was not the view of most great corporate leaders. Decades ago, Owen Young, General Electric's chairman, declared, 'The old notion . . . that the heads of business are the paid attorneys for stockholders, to exploit labor and the public in the stockholder's interest is gone--I hope forever." Likewise,Forbes magazine put forth the view that "the business of modern business is service.' LDS businessman Ray Noorda, the former head of Novell, advocated a hierarchy of priorities that put customers first, employees second, and shareholders third--and built one of the most important software companies in the world . . . ."
"What is required by the Lord is 'fair dealing in business matters, in selling, in buying, and in general representations,' in contrast to the world capitalist dictum of caveat emptor--'let the buyer beware.'"
-Working Toward Zion, 258; 259
"The growth of wealth in the hands of a few individuals threaten[s] us with greater danger today than anything that can be done by outsiders.... God does not design that there should be classes among us, one class lifted above another, one class separated from the rest of the people. . . . Men are more disposed to compromise principle who have great monied interests at stake . . . . The time must come when the talent of men of business shall be used to benefit the whole people . . . not for individual benefit alone, not for individual aggrandizement alone, but for the benefit of the whole people, to uplift the masses, to rescue them from their poverty. That is one of the objects in establishing Zion, and anything short of that is not Zion."
-- George Q. Cannon, Counselor in the First Presidency
"Since the beginning of time, our Heavenly Father has spoken with great clarity on this subject: from the gentle plea, “If thou lovest me … thou wilt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support”; to the direct command, “Remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple”; to the forceful warning, “If any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.”
--President Uchtdorf, "Providing in the Lord's Way"
"A system of unity in temporal matters has been revealed to the Church in this day; such is currently known as the Order of Enoch, or the United Order, and is founded on the law of consecration. As already stated, in the early days of the latter-day Church the people demonstrated their inability to abide this law in its fulness, and, in consequence, the lesser law of tithing was given; but the saints confidently await the day in which they will devote not merely a tithe of their substance but all that they have and all that they are, to the service of their God; a day in which no man will speak of mine and thine, but all things shall be the Lord’s and theirs.
James E. Talmage, in Articles of Faith. pp. 439–440.
"The law of consecration is a law of the celestial kingdom, requiring that all members of the Church shall consecrate their property (including time, talents, and material wealth) to the Church for the building of the kingdom of God and the establishment of Zion. The legal administrative agency for carrying out the law is the united order. This organization receives consecrated properties, gives stewardships to donors, and regulates the use of surplus commodities. The law of consecration is the commandment; the united order is the revealed economic system."
"Under the united order everyone was alike in that they were independent and had full opportunity to use their gifts and talents in building the kingdom of God. They were also alike in that all had equal opportunity to benefit from whatever talents and abilities existed in the community. The idea that everyone was alike in goods possessed or income received is in error. The order was united in love, purpose, and commitment, but unity does not mean sameness. A couple with seven children has needs different from one just beginning married life."
"Concerning the future, Zion can be redeemed only by obedience to the law of consecration. At the proper time, the Lord's leaders will implement the program. While it is not clear what procedures will be revealed, Latter-day Saints anticipate that the principles of stewardship, equality, agency, and accountability will eventually be subscribed to by all participants and that the goals originally envisioned will be reached"
The following are excerpts from an apostolic circular addressed to the Latter-day Saints:
"The experience of mankind has shown that the people of communities and nations among whom wealth is the most equally distributed, enjoy the largest degree of liberty, are the least exposed to tyranny and oppression and suffer the least from luxurious habits which beget vice... Under such a system, carefully maintained, there could be no great aggregations of either real or personal property in the hands of a few; especially so while the laws, forbidding the taking of usury or interest for money or property loaned, continued in force."
"One of the great evils with which our own nation is menaced at the present time is the wonderful growth of wealth in the hands of a comparatively few individuals. The very liberties for which our fathers contended so steadfastly and courageously, and which they bequeathed to us as a priceless legacy, are endangered by the monstrous power which this accumulation of wealth gives to a few individuals and a few powerful corporations. By its seductive influence results are accomplished which, were it equally distributed, would be impossible under our form of government. It threatens to give shape to the legislation, both state and national, of the entire country. If this evil should not be checked, and measures not taken to prevent the continued enormous growth of riches among the class already rich, and the painful increase of destitution and want among the poor, the nation is likely to be overtaken by disaster; for, according to history, such a tendency among nations once powerful was the sure precursor of ruin."
"Years ago, it was perceived that we Latter-day Saints were open to the same dangers as those which beset the rest of the world. A condition of affairs existed among us, which was favorable to the growth of riches in the hands of a few at the expense of many. A wealthy class was being rapidly formed in our midst whose interests in the course of time, were likely to be diverse from those of the rest of the community. The growth of such a class was dangerous to our union; and, of all people, we stand most in need of union and to have our interests identical. Then it was that the Saints were counseled to enter into co-operation. In the absence of the necessary faith to enter upon a more perfect order revealed by the Lord unto the Church, this was felt to be the best means of drawing us together and making us one."
"A union of interests was sought to be attained. At the time cooperation was entered upon, the Latter-day Saints were acting in utter disregard of the principles of self-preservation. They were encouraging the growth of evils in their own midst which they condemned as the worst features of the systems from which they had been gathered. Large profits were being consecrated in comparatively few hands, instead of being generally distributed among the people. As a consequence, the community was being rapidly divided into classes, and the hateful and unhappy distinctions to which the possession and lack of wealth give rise were becoming painfully apparent. When the proposition to organize Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution was broached, it was hoped that the community at large would become stockholders; for if a few individuals were to own its stock, the advantages to the community would be limited. The people, therefore, were urged to take shares, and large numbers responded to the appeal. As we have shown, the business proved to be as successful as its most sanguine friends anticipated. But the distribution of profits among the community was not the only benefit conferred by the organization of cooperation among us."
"Cooperation has submitted in silence to a great many attacks. Its friends have been content to let it endure the ordeal. But now it is time to speak. The Latter-day Saints should understand that it is our duty to sustain cooperation and to do all in our power to make it a success... the local cooperative stores should have the cordial support of the Latter-day Saints. Does not all our history impress upon us the great truth that union is strength? Without it, what power would the Latter-day Saints have? But it is in not our doctrines alone that we should be united, but in practice and especially in our business affairs.
Brigham Young, George A Smith, Daniel H Wells, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, Charles C Rich, Lorenzo Snow, Erastus Snow, Franklin D Richards, George Q Cannon, Brigham Young Jr, Albert Carrington
Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, July 10th 1875"
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