Tithing and the Law of Consecration

Steven Harper points out that one of things the Revelations in Context series was designed to do was to encourage study of the history and doctrine of the LDS Church in order to get past the folk doctrines we’ve invented.

One of the misunderstandings that has developed over time is the relationship between the law of consecration and tithing.

The law of the Lord is given in D&C 42, and it is to love God and love your neighbor. We are encouraged to give of our time and temporal means to relieve the suffering of others.

It is not a law governing ownership but one that asks us what we are willing to do with what we have.

Tithing didn’t replace the law of consecration but rather is one way in which we practice it. The law is eternal and does not change but the way we practice it does.

In the early days of the LDS Church, any freewill offering was considered tithing. This has changed over time.

The law is about agency, accountability, and stewardship.

Listen in on this fascinating discussion between Steven C. Harper and Nick Galieti of LDS Perspectives Podcast as they delve into the meat of the law of consecration.

Art in Sacred Space

Rita Wright is the curator for the Springville Museum of Art. Formerly she taught art at Brigham Young University and was the curator for the LDS Church History Museum. Currently she sits on the worldwide committee for art selection for the LDS Church.

She joins Laura Harris Hales of LDS Perspectives Podcast to discuss the function of art in sacred space beginning with the first Christians. Together they discuss the beginning of art in the catacombs, through the dark ages, enduring symbols, and overlooked and creative use of art to create a sacred atmosphere.

Through her years of teaching, Rita realized that sometimes members of the LDS Church have difficulty understanding the art of other religions because of bias and ignorance of the meaning of iconography. She walks us through some common symbols and architectural styles and how they strive to create a feeling of sacredness.

While cathedrals may sometimes come off as garish and colorful to some, members can gain better understanding about these places if they learn more about them and their purpose.

The initial cathedrals were built as Bibles for the poor because the commoners had no access to Bibles and could not read.

Rita shares some insights on how we can appreciate sacred art on a theological, social, and psychological level.

LDS Women Speaking Up and Speaking Out

Editors Jenny Reeder and Kate Holbrook, respectively 19th- and 20th-century women’s historians, discuss their multi-year project to bring LDS women’s speeches together in At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women in this episode of the LDS Perspectives Podcast.

This is the second book to come out of the Church Historian’s Press in as many years with the goal of making LDS women’s experiences, history, and discourses available to the mainstream membership.

Before the reader even opens the book, the nostalgic cover art of At the Pulpit brings to mind its two opposing themes: change and familiarity. One glance at the over-sized corsage adorning Belle Spafford’s tailored dress may spawn a flood of memories. When was it that they stopped having women wear corsages at conference anyway? The scene is as familiar and comforting as it is foreign.

Because women didn’t typically speak in conference settings before the mid-20th century, the definition of “discourse” is stretched a bit for this anthology. To Reeder and Holbrook’s credit, this makes the book seem less like a collection of discourses than treasured glimpses into the relationship LDS women have had to their God over the last 185 years.

It is less a collection of talks than a creative medium for teaching about how attitudes toward the roles of women at home and in the LDS Church have changed and in some ways remained the same.

Many may find the introductions to each discourse the most enjoyable portions of the book. In these brief overviews, readers not only receive context for the discourse but also context for the time in which it is given.

Overall this is a welcome addition to the fine work coming out of the Church History Department and to the library of anyone wishing to entertain a more nuanced view on the amplitude of women’s voices in LDS discourse over the years.