Going From “You Owe Me” to “Money”


The history of money:

Standard economic theory is that once upon a time all transactions were exclusively barter:  e.g., 20 chickens for your cow, a basket of corn for your basket of wheat, 3 animal furs for your spear.  Then inconveniences arose when your neighbor didn’t need that many chickens right now but you still needed his cow – so then money was invented as an arbitrary medium of exchange that you both could agree had value.

However, anthropologists have never found places where everyday transactions look like Adam Smith’s theory of the exclusive barter system – the place where everybody in the community does business via on-the-spot trades.  What anthropologists do observe among primitive communities is an exchange system more like:  “Take the cow and now you owe me one.”  If these communities are tribal [e.g., Native Americans], there is often no exchange at all – rather things are shared commonly or allocated by a tribal council, etc.

In other words – the story doesn’t go:

barter –> money –> debt

rather, it goes the other way:

debt –> money –> barter

There was never a community of on-the-spot traders that sought out a medium of exchange, that then became money.  There was a “Just take it and now you owe me one” system of tribal-sharing that turned into a system of measured obligation [called debt – where money is the unit of measure].  And then on-the-spot trading and bartering systems only appear among people in money-based systems where the currency has collapsed.

The role of the state:

What made the “Just take it and now you own me one” turn into a system of measured obligation and money?  For millions of years humans organized themselves according to their tribe and their tribe’s land – and nothing else.

Advancements such as monoculture and city-states created large groups of largely unrelated persons living together – humans began “bonding” through commerce or business or information.  While civilization has undoubtedly caused great benefits for the human species, having larger communities bound by principles other than kinship created a greater potential for war [leading to plunder and slaves to be divided up] and a greater interest in taxation.

We observe complex financial systems of measured credit and debt at the beginning of recorded history.  Meaning, by the time historical records began to be written, humans had already come to a point past the tribal-sharing model, and were full-swing into a monetary-based system such as:  “just compensation shall be 20 heifers of the finest quality, if not he shall be put to death.”

In Egypt, a strong centralized state excised taxes from everyone else.  In Mesopotamia, the state emerged rather unevenly – beginning first with large temple-districts [e.g., Gobekli Tepe], and then later palace-complexes.  In any event, the state is where money begins as a unit of measure – used to allocate resources within these new systems of human organization.

Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

There three ways to understand this scripture:

  • Nothing belongs to Caesar because all things are God’s.  So render nothing.
  • Some things do belong to Caesar, but the United States is not under a “Caesar”, but is a representative democracy.  “We the People” are “Caesar”.  So you don’t have to render, but you can/should.
  • Money belongs entirely to Caesar and God has nothing to do with it.  Render it all.

Now show me some tribute money — and what is the image and superscription you find?  All money pertains to Caesar.  There aren’t legitimate parts of the state that have claim on some of our money and illegitimate parts that do not.  Legal tender belongs to the state alone and those who want to be free of its control can’t be half in Caesar’s game and half out.

Meaning you can’t charge money for your labor, spend money to buy the fruits of another’s labor, and lay-up your money for a rainy day, etc. — and not expect to fall under the jurisdiction of Caesar who wants his due rendered to him.  Caesar’s is a money-based community.  God’s is a money-free community.

Once you convert something of real value [e.g., your time or your labor] into something of no value [like dollars] – it is lost forever.  The only way to retain the value is to stay in Caesar’s game.  Find someone else who plays and trade with them.

Dollars are like inches. They are only a unit of measure [dollars = value, inches = length].  We know we don’t carry around inches in our pocket – yet many actually believe dollars to be something.  And money falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the state.  As such, once you work for dollars, the thing of value disappears and is replaced by the thing of no-value.  The only way to get back value is to find someone who plays the same game and do a value-for-no-value trade with them – perpetuating the whole thing.

The role of the gospel:

Jesus’ ministry cost very little – a couple taxes paid via miraculous means.  God finances His operation in His own way.  However, the Gentile LDS church has not been able to recreate this.  We instead maintain a significant financial operation – making it obvious to any outside observers that it’s the power of money [not of the priesthood] that carries the work forward in these latter-days.  We have sufficient for our needs and invest the difference.

To be poor and join the church — one will be immediately confronted with the image of a wealthy group with certain expectations.  It is a wealthy church with a self-perpetuating financial arm that is able to use interest profited off of tithing contributions to fund for-profit ventures that “fund the work of the Lord”.

While it could be argued that, practically-speaking, currency is just simply required to “spread the gospel” and that leaders are just being “good stewards” — I don’t think anything about the gospel reads as being “practically-minded”.

The corporation that carries the trademarked name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is, like any other business, dependent on money.  It must play Caesar’s game.  No operation playing that game can sustain itself without engaging in at least a bit of for-profit venturing, shrewd investing, and fund-raising here-and-there.  And I would not expect them too.  I do not fault that corporation for it’s handling of and dealings with money – I find fault for the claim that it is the same organization that existed in the primitive church, but not doing it.

One can never be free while still playing Caesar’s game:

Jesus and the kingdom have no use for money.  Jesus taught His disciples to live contrary to the principles of surplus economics and instead rely alone on God to provide [not self-reliance and provident living].

There is a reason Jesus sent missionaries out without purse or scrip – commanding them to take no thought for food, drink, or clothing – to freely give miraculous works to any who receive them – to rely on the mercies of the world to provide for their needs.  It is because only the poor are intended to teach and preach the gospel.

And only the poor [who are meek] will inherit the abundance of spiritual manifestations and the Earth.  Zion is to be a money-free community where all members live together and have all things common – where all mine are thine and we are glorified together.

When humans lived in the Edenic state of multihusband-multiwife tribes – money did not exist.  The idea of “having any money” was foreign to Adam, who only kept the tokens associated with his priesthood.  Any return to such a paradisaical lifestyle will only be associated with complimentary return to the manner of connectedness and cooperation humans shared before statism, monogamous family-units, and monetary-based systems of exchange.

Want to start a real revolution this new year?  It takes a revelation…give it a try

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Zion will not be Established by Unrelated Persons


My text for this post is Acts 2:37-47

37 Now when the people heard Peter preach the word of God, they were pricked in their hearts and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?

38 Then Peter said unto them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  39 For this promise is to you, and to your children, and to all the Gentiles, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”  40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, “Save yourselves from this perverse generation!

41 Then those who gladly received the word were baptized:  adding 3,000 believers that day.

42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ teaching, in fellowship with each other, in breaking of bread, and in prayers.  43 And fear came upon every one of them:  and also many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.  44 And all that believed gathered together and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and imparted them to all, according to anyone had need.   46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread at every house, they did share their meals with gladness and simplicity of heart,  47 all while praising God and having favor with all the people.

And the Lord was adding those being saved to their assembly daily.

After preaching a scriptural exposition along with an eyewitness declaration of the risen Christ, Peter instructs converted hearers [those with the softened, or “pricked”, hearts]:

  • Repent
  • Be baptized in the name of Jesus
  • Receive the gift of the Holy Ghost

Those who, with gladness received the word of God as delivered by an eyewitness were baptized.

Now what?

Once the heart had been softened, repentance had come, baptism had been performed, and the gift of the Holy Ghost had been received — these believers formed a community.  This group was characterized by:

This group of believers didn’t see things in terms of an institution and meetings — but as one family under God.  In the LDS context, we’d refer to this type of community as “Zion“.  Among these believers, open wonders and signs were commonplace and worship services and prayer were joyful experiences that were operated according to the best gifts of the Spirit.

This abundance of spiritual manifestations was seen because this group of believers was equal in the bonds of all things — earthly first, and then heavenly:

Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld.

and

That you may be equal in the bonds of heavenly things, yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things.  For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things;

They did not see property as something exclusive to themselves alone, but as something for all to have equal claim on to meet their needs.  In such a community:

all children are alike unto [the members]; wherefore, [they] love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike [unto them].

When property rights are a concern, paternity is frantically ascertained and protected because when people own property as individuals in a money-based system — they want to project those rights for their future seed through inheritance.  This is the reason why polyandry is almost always a no-go for most people [LDS or not].  Disgust for even the idea of polyandry is the one place where Mormon monogamists and Mormon polygynists will find complete agreement.  Once women are allowed polyandrous marriage covenants — only maternity can be truly known, whereas paternity will always unknown.  And the heart of patriarchal societies is insecurity over paternity.

Zion:

The heart of a Zion society, by contrast, is charity.  Zion takes the “equal in the bonds of earthly things” principle to apply not only to money-free communities — but even further to include the bonds of matrimony, applying it to multihusband-multiwife communities.

Zion requires great intimacy and connection among the members.  The church lacks this intimacy and connection because we are all still strangers.  The only way to achieve Zion, or even a Zion-like atmosphere at church, is for the men and women to all be connected to each other through covenants.  As it stands, we are connected to Christ through covenants, but not to each other.  As long as we remain unfettered by covenant relationships with each other, we will never achieve Zion and our conversations [and actions] will never approach the level of intimacy and sharing required of that ideal.

Kinship ties:

The type of community described in Acts 2 [which is Zion] is not established by groups of unrelated people.  Without kinship ties, community will only be maintained by sheer effort of will.  When things get difficult, people will defend family first.  Most non-related groups of LDS that go off to form their own Zion community run into failure because, no matter how pure the intentions up front, when things get stressful or tough we align with family, which causes division.

The same thing is seen among other Christians who want to “get away” from the institutional church experience by starting a home church.  These attempts to “do church” more scripturally just end up being slightly less controlled replications of the same dynamic that they were trying to get away from.

This is all because a sense of familial love must exist prior to gathering — it does not come as a result of gathering.  Without charity pervading, such communities will only have joy in their works for a season.

The “church” are the called-out ones.  It is the assembly of justified believers in Christ — and it comes as a manifestation of the communal feelings generated by virtue of their relationship as one family under God.  Think about your own family.  You meet together — but you don’t have meetings.  You meet because of the feelings that being “family” produces — the feelings of family are not produced by your meetings.

In the church today, we invert the whole thing:

  • Instead of our congregations being a natural outflow of the connectivity we share — we try to have “church” be the precondition to creating it.
  • Instead of leaders who habitually serve the members, submitting to the will of the people — we have leaders who are used to being habitually obeyed by members.
  • Instead of the ministry bringing a miracle and then requesting a meal — we have leaders who demand support first, the blessings to follow.

If the church actually wanted Zion, then I think most would be surprised over the number of non-LDS who would be ready to sign on for it — if it meant living for a higher purpose.  But they don’t.  Marching orders are to get as much education as you can, so you can make as much income as you can, so you can pay more tithes and offerings.  It’s to live as normal of a life as you can — with just a bit of Mormon flare to it [e.g., serve a two-year mission, civilly marry in a temple, pay 10% of your paycheck to the church, abstain from the parts of the word of wisdom most important to Heber Grant, do hometeaching, etc.]

The current focus is on keeping many small, separate nuclear families [many small, separate Zions].  The tribal model takes this and connects the dots.  It says, establish Zion by connecting the already existing separate nuclear families into a bone fide tribe of Israel.  Connectivity is the key.

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Money-free Communities


Many are wary of priestcraft among us.  I am one of them.  I heard an author being interviewed on the radio a few weeks back.  He wrote a compilation of all of the statements Jesus made in the New Testament, organized under about 200 topics.  He spoke about how important it is for “Christians to have access to the words of Christ,” and how “no one can have eternal life without abiding in His words.”

I immediately thought of the post I linked to above when I began searching for the author’s material — only to find everything leading me to a place to buy his book.  One would think that if a person complied such an important index of the saving “words of Christ” — that they would want any believer to have free access to it [Just as Jesus offered free access to his words when he spoke them].

At the author’s Amazon page, I learned that the book he had written previous to the one I was interested in outlines the story of how he flunked out of every job he held in his first six years after college.  But then, upon studying Solomon [“the richest man alive“], he found a way to “achieve greater success and happiness than he had ever known — thus making him a millionaire many times over.”

The book discusses each of Solomon’s insights and strategies into attaining wealth with anecdotes about the author’s personal successes and failures — as well as those of  Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Steven Spielberg.

That was all I needed to know about this man.

Money is a key of discernment:

A true key for discerning a part of Lucifer’s Babylonian control system is the requirement of money.  Nothing in Babylon is given as it is sought after or desired — but only as a person has earned it or has the means to purchase it.  In contrast, the gifts and powers of God come only thru asking and thru agency.  They are freely given and can only be freely distributed.

But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.

The idea of a community having a money-free system is often criticized as being “utopian” [as is also said of tribal marriage systems, anarcho-primitivism, and anarchy in general].  I have been told by many that:

Your theories are very romantic and idealistic.  And like all those other great idealistic theories are confounded by the fact that men and women are sinners, we rarely live up to our own ideals, and our incredible powers of rationalization most often outweigh true justice and equality.

Given our flawed natures, biblically-based political theories aren’t particularly realistic to put forth.  I can’t help but think that the realistic scenario of your theories would be a decentralized tyranny of very pompous, self-righteous men exercising self-righteous dominion over their families.  I’m not sure I would trade that for a centralized church leadership’s more mild tyranny.

Such criticism is likewise leveled at the concept of establishing money-free systems.  However, one will find that humans are prepared to work for nothing — given the condition that they can partake for nothing.  Or, as Jesus described it:

…freely ye have received, freely give.

For example, this website contains the work of several contributes — all readable for free.  Other examples include:  filesharing sites, open source programs, Wikipedia, community/volunteer events, church programs, apprenticeships, etc.

Why you won’t hear more about money-free systems:

If any community within a state were to adopt a money-free system, then tax revenues will start to decline.  Further, any monetary penalties designed to encourage or discourage certain behaviors [taxes, penalties, duties, fees, etc.] will become largely ineffective methods of control.  Such a community will decrease the power of the state and centralized banking interests as a result of increasing personal freedom and independence.

Tribalism is the key to opening up money-free systems:

Typically, even the mention of money will increase the competitiveness in people.  Therefore, were a community to develop on the basis of a money-free economy — it would be more likely to engender cooperative behavior.  In a money-free community, leaders must find other incentives to encourage members to do tasks they wouldn’t otherwise do for “free” — a task that would require leaders who are willing to serve [instead of rule] and are willing to govern with persuasion, patience, gentleness, kindness, meekness, genuine love, etc.

This makes the priesthood the best organizing force  — and tribal plural marriages the best organizing structure — for a money-free [or Zion-like] community.  Priesthood holders accept, by covenant, an obligation to selflessly serve and unconditionally love all who are the concerns of their stewardship.

Zion will be money-free:

A money-free community would need great intimacy and connection among the members.  LDS Anarchy commented [at a site I do not recommend commenting at]:

The church is lacking in intimacy and connection because we are all still strangers.   The only way to achieve Zion, or even a Zion-like atmosphere at church is for the men and women to all be connected to each other through covenants.  As it stands, we are connected to Christ through covenants, but not to each other.   As long as we remain unfettered by covenant relationships with each other, we will never achieve Zion and our conversations (and actions) will never approach the level of intimacy and sharing required of that ideal.

Only thru the increasing the covenant bonds that connect humans together can  Zion begin to emerge as a mode of human organization.

When humans lived in the Edenic state of hunter-gatherer, multihusband-multiwife tribes — currency did not exist.  The idea of “having any money” was foreign to Adam — who only kept the tokens associated with his priesthood.

However, the 10,000 year explosion, the dawn of sedentary agriculture, and the associated appearance of states necessitated a commodity that was easy to store and handle in order to facilitate trade among the growing communities of largely un-connected members.

Any return to such a paradisaical lifestyle will only be associated with complimentary return to the manner of connectedness and cooperation humans shared before statism, monogamous family-units, and monetary-based systems of exchange.

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