A precedent in Mormonism that seemed to offer a means of meeting these problems was Joseph Smith's Law of Consecration and Stewardship, which had been practiced in Missouri in 1831-33 as the Latter-day Saints began to settle the area they called "Zion," which was in Jackson County. Under the system, communicants consecrated all their possessions to the church in exchange for a "stewardship" -- a home and the resources needed to practice their chosen trade. They were then to use their initiative to manage and improve upon their stewardship. They accounted to the bishop once a year, consecrating at that time any surplus beyond family needs their efforts during the year had accrued. At the same time, Joseph Smith and other church leaders in Ohio began management of several manufacturing enterprises in behalf of the community, calling the collective management system at times the "United Order."
Consecration and Stewardship ended as the Latter-day Saints were driven from Jackson County in 1833, and only sporadic attempts were made to put its principles into operation during the rest of Joseph Smith's lifetime. The United Order in Ohio, part of the larger Consecration and Stewardship system, collapsed at the same time because of internal mismanagement and a generally unfavorable economic climate. Brigham Young, one of the first apostles chosen by Joseph Smith, was nonetheless greatly influenced by his memory of these communal endeavors under Smith. That memory helped persuade him in the 1870s to conclude that the time was right for the Saints to move in the direction of economic cooperation.