The Acts of the Mormons

by Andrew McLeod The economy has been this election’s overarching theme, but neither Democrats nor Republicans really address the core issue that perpetuates and expands poverty and strife: the concentration of wealth and power. Ultimately, the electoral struggle is to control an imperial power that has much in common with biblical Rome. Christian candidates’ ambitions are thus ultimately in conflict with Jesus’ central teachings and the practices of his first followers, who took inspiration from earlier Jewish struggles as they grappled with how to live within a wicked system. Most remarkably, they did this by sharing resources amongst themselves in the spirit of the Jubilee. Ironically, Mitt Romney’s background as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provides a fascinating case study for how to build an economy of faith. His position at the doorway to great power provides a chance for all of us to reflect on this history. Mormons spent most of the 19th Century building their own economy based on radical sharing of resources, first in the Midwest and later in Utah. Although the results were mixed and Babylon ultimately regained control of the Mormon Zion, the Saints’ attempt to create Christ’s commonwealth are worth some attention. It was modeled after the biblical book of Acts and went well beyond anything described...

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