LDS who go to the temple covenant to live the law of consecration. They promise to give their heart, might, mind, and strength to the building of the kingdom of God. In my late 20’s, I was commuting from Provo to Salt Lake, raising a young family, serving in a church calling that required 10-20 hrs a week, and received an additional calling. I was called in by a stake leader and invited to serve as a temple worker for a six hour shift once a week for three months. This was really tough, given my schedule. Even more tough because I am a huge BYU football fan, it was the start of football season, and the shift was every Saturday! I accepted the calling due to my commitment to living the law of consecration. One could argue that more balance is essential, and I should have been more wise, but I felt good about my sacrifice. As a literal believing LDS, it was pretty black and white to me what the right thing to do was.
Jesus has so much to offer, but he asks a lot from his followers.
Mark 10 17-22:
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.
19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ ”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Joseph Smith on this topic:
Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.
This is another way of saying “you get out what you put in.” You’re not going to get much out of religion if you don’t invest yourself in it.
The great question. Does the Sacramental Paradigm approach require the sacrifice to produce that kind of faith?
This is the question I’ve wrestled with for a few years. At first, this kind of approach felt wishy-washy. But as I’ve given an experiment on the word as Alma would suggest, I see that the fruit is good.
The LDS religion asks a lot of its members. Tithing, Word of Wisdom, full time missions for youth, Law of Chastity, Sabbath Day observance, not to mention the law of consecration, which is actually more of a metaphorically applied commandment. The literal approach makes it easier to commit to this. I do it because I have to. I do it to get the reward. I do it because I know God commands it.
Shifting to a sacramental paradigm, those motivations dissipate. We don’t do it because God commands. We don’t view commandments as being from God. We view commandments as being from man as an offering to God. The motivation will come from understanding the blessings of committing this deeply to a religion.
This is the purpose of the section LDS Beauty on this site. Living a life according to LDS teachings and principles brings numerous blessings and enables us to live life more abundantly. If we can see how valuable this religion is, how much it offers us, then it can produce the faith and commitment to attain those blessings in our lives.