“They Had All Things Common Among Them”

Brant Gardner

The establishment of the gospel community in the New World mirrored the social construction of the earliest Christian communities in the Old World: “And all that believed were together, and had all things common” (Acts 2:44). Still, Nephite economic and social conditions were different. The early Christians in Jerusalem were a small community of urban egalitarians within a larger, hierarchical society.

The Nephites were an agriculturally based society, so holding all things in common was simpler because there was less that was not in common in the first place. Furthermore, social equality had long been the Nephite ideal. I see the Nephites as beginning to live well the principles that they had long espoused, rather than investing a completely new institution.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 5