Being Equal in Earthly and Heavenly Power

The Idea of Stewardship in the United Order



This essay is about a central feature of what Mormons have come to call the United Order. It is a feature that is seen within Latter-day Saint scripture as being fundamental both to the temporal and eternal purposes of that order. In fact, Mormon scriptures describe this feature as being modeled after the order of heaven for the express purpose of preparing members for eternal life. The features to which I am referring concerns the peculiar system of power that should characterize the organization of man’s temporal affairs. The relations of power in the United Order are to be uniquely nonhierarchical and nonauthoritarian, so that no man rules over another even in a benevolent way. Modern scripture refers to these relations as a system of “equal power.” This essay presents an analysis of this peculiar system in light of its eternal purposes and the order of heaven after which it is modeled.


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