To consecrate means to dedicate to a sacred purpose. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, consecration has two applications. Members believe they are under covenant to consecrate both a portion of their possessions and themselves to building and strengthening the kingdom of God.
Consecration of One’s Possessions
Throughout the history of the earth, the Lord’s people have sought to be “of one heart and one mind, . . . with no poor among them” (Moses 7:18). Therefore, they gave of their possessions to the Church and its purposes. The people of the city of Enoch (Moses 7:17–18) and some of the early Christians are examples of members of the Lord’s Church who sought to care for each other:
- And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. . . . Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. (Acts 4:32, 34–35)
The Book of Mormon tells of an ancient American civilization that enjoyed a period of time when “the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift” (4 Nephi 1:2–3).
- Thou wilt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support that which thou has to impart unto them, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken. And inasmuch as ye impart of your substance unto the poor, ye will do it unto me; and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church. (Doctrine and Covenants 42:30–31)
Although in the early days of the Church, members of the Lord’s Church consecrated all they possessed and were allotted a portion to be fully owned by them to meet the needs and wants of their families, they now consecrate only a part of their total substance. The underlying principles of the law of consecration are still binding upon the Church and its members, which include paying a full tithe, becoming self-reliant, caring for the poor and needy, giving service, and building the kingdom of God.
Consecration of Oneself
Consecration also includes dedicating oneself—one’s time and talents, one’s heart and mind—to the sacred purposes of the Lord and His church.
- As we live the law of consecration, we are willing not only to offer anything and everything we possess for the sake of the gospel, but we also promise to develop and devote our best selves—our time, talents, and strength to the building of the kingdom of God on the earth. Our pledge is: I will give me and all that I can become, and I will live for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Consecration is a day-to-day process of obediently following the example of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- We can assume that true conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ will have outward manifestations in the actions of members of the Church. That is to say, those who have received a spiritual witness resulting in a strong testimony normally desire to live gospel principles to the fullest. They will be found doing whatever is necessary to magnify their callings, pay a full tithe and generous fast offering, keep the Sabbath day holy, hold family home evening, study the scriptures, and so on. All of these worthy acts, along with almost countless others, constitute personal efforts by those who are consecrated members of the Church.
Living a consecrated life is ultimately preparing for the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and for the ability to live in His presence eternally.
- Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons [and daughters] of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him (Moroni 7:48).
- See Doctrine and Covenants 64:34.