Excerpts from the Apostolic Circular on the Economy (1875)

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Excerpts from the Apostolic Circular on the Economy 1875

The First Presidency
and Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of
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 more 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 co-operation 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 which the possession and lack of wealth give rise to, 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 only 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 co-operation among us.

CO-OPERATION has submitted in silence to a great many attacks. Its friends have been content to let it endure the ordeal. But it is now time to speak. The Latter-day Saints should understand that it is our duty to sustain co-operation and to do all in our power to make it a success. The local co-operative stores should have the cordial support of the Latter-day Saints. Does not all our history impress upon us the great truth that in union is strength? Without it, what power would the Latter-day Saints have? But it is not our doctrines alone that we should be united, but in practice and especially in our business affairs. 

Your Brethren:

Brigham Young, Daniel H. Wells, Wilford Woodruff, Orson Pratt, Lorenzo Snow, Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young Jr., George A. Smith, John taylor, Orson Hyde, Charles C,. Rich, Erastus Snow, George Q. Cannon, Albert Carrington

1875

Excerpted from the Apostolic Circular of July 1875. The complete text can be found in Edward Jones Allen, The Second United Order Among the Mormons (New York: Columbia University Press, 1936).

Please Note: In regards to Orson Scott Card's words on this excerpt and it's original title as "A Proclamation on th Economy". This title and excerpt, were taken from BYU Professor Warner P. Woodworth's website at the following web address:
http://marriottschool.byu.edu/emp/WPW/generalmanagement.cfm

The current format that was used to resemble the Proclamation on the Economy was first found in the 3rd issue of The Mormon Worker on the back page which was taken from Professor Woodworth's website.

In all of these issues and websites there was no intention to deliberately or maliciously mislead. I assume that Professor Woodworth intended it as a bit of fun and we then ran with it.

If Orson Scott Card had emailed us and then asked us to change it on the grounds of positive improvements that could be made then he may not have come over so unpleasant. We would have been, and still are, happy to make any improvements on this site that can make the message more valid and well known. But I realize that he has to find something to write about every so often that people will actually read, and controversial columns seem to generate the most hype. Though his suggestions for improvement are appreciated his method of going about them wasn't.