C hu r ch O r d e r 33 The novitiate is an opportunity for novices to deepen their life of faith. Through prayer and through intellectual and physical work they are to seek the will of God together with us. Like members, they must dedicate their talents and working strength to the church community, having no right to and receiving no remuneration for their labor or forgone income. Neither do they have any right to the return of any property they may contribute. Until accepted into membership, they retain ownership of any property not expressly contributed, but they must disclose their temporal affairs and must make arrangements with the community for how these are to be managed during their novitiate. 37 Novices who have become certain of their calling, have received believer’s baptism, and are twenty-one or older may declare to the church community their request to take lifelong vows of membership. Before taking vows, candidates must first settle all their worldly affairs. They must give away all their ­property in obedience to the gospel, so that at the time of taking vows they own absolutely nothing: “…for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need.” Our concern is not money or goods, but God-fearing hearts. Membership in any other church or denomination must be terminated. In ­addition, they must fully disclose their personal history, including Matt 7:7–11 Luke 12:32–34; 18:22–30 Acts 4:34–35 Heb 12:28–29