United Order

In the Latter Day Saint movement, the United Order (also called the United Order of Enoch) was one of several 19th century church collectivist programs. Early versions of the Order beginning in 1831 attempted to implement the Law of Consecration, a form of Christian communism, modeled after the New Testament church which had "all things in common". These early versions ended after a few years. Later versions within Mormonism, primarily in the Utah Territory, implemented less-ambitious cooperative programs, many of which were very successful. The Order's full name invoked the city of Enoch, described in Latter Day Saint scripture as having such a virtuous and pure-hearted people that God had taken it to heaven. The United Order established egalitarian communities designed to achieve income equality, eliminate poverty, and increase group self-sufficiency. The movement had much in common with other communalist utopian societies formed in the United States and Europe during the Second Great Awakening which sought to govern aspects of people's lives through precepts of faith and community organization. However, the Latter Day Saint United Order was more family and property oriented than the utopian experiments at Brook Farm and the Oneida Community.

Membership in the United Order was voluntary, although during a period in the 1830s it was a requirement of continued church membership. Participants would deed (consecrate) all their property to the United Order, which would in turn deed back an "inheritance" (or "stewardship") which allowed members to control the property; private property was not eradicated but was rather a fundamental principle of this system. At the end of each year, any excess that the family produced from their stewardship was voluntarily given back to the Order. The Order in each community was operated by the local Bishop.

The United Order is not practiced within mainstream Mormonism today; however, a number of groups of Mormon fundamentalists, such as the Apostolic United Brethren, have revived the practice. The United Order was also practiced by a liberal Mormon sect called the United Order Family of Christ.

Read more about United Order:  Under Joseph Smith, Jr., Under Brigham Young, Communalism, Relation To Marxist Communism

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