Subject: Tithing Settlement Time!
Date: Nov 25 13:33
Author: Sarony

Many here should get a clue I still pay tithing . . . or should I call it "tribute to ravening wolves"? Right now, it is cheaper for me to pay tithing and support one household, than not pay and support two households; mine and my future ex-wife's. Hence, as long as I am a victim of extortion I will probably pay something.

Anyway, I thought I would review the last three Genreral Conference talks on tithing. I am sorry for the long post, but Mormonism is a ten billion words in a hundred million little packages of polished and sanitized history and doctrine. It sometimes has to be dealt with in this manner.

For those of you who are in my boat, here is ammunition to pay less than 10 percent of gross. Just don't get into a big discussion over it. You will win the discussion if you use my little essay, but you may also lose more.

If the essay is too long, just read the five section headings.

The Scriptural and Official Meaning of Tithing Sarony

1. Introduction – It is Not 10% of Gross
2. The Scriptural Meaning of “Interest” is Excess and Surplus Income
3. The Official Meaning is 10% of Excess; found in “I Have a Question”, “A Statement of the First Presidency”, and “The General Handbook”
4. Harmony of the Scriptural and Official Meanings in Light of Holland's, Tingey's, and Hales's Messages
5. Conclusion - It is an Individual Matter How Much to Pay

1. The last three General Conferences of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have included speeches dedicated to tithing. Jeffery R. Holland delivered a speech in the October, 2001 Conference. Earl C. Tingey delivered a speech in the April, 2002 Conference. And Robert D. Hales delivered a speech in the October, 2002 Conference.

Each of them, on an escalating scale, may have influenced Mormons to think they must pay a tithe on their gross incomes. They don’t.

All inspired latter-day pronouncements on the amount to be tithed, must be in harmony with each other. Otherwise, there is no inspiration.

In sections 2 and 3 of this essay, I will discuss official Mormon scripture and policy, respectively. In section 4, I will review pertinent statements by Holland, Tingey, and Hales, respectively, in view of official Mormon scripture and policy.

What they said, in light of official Mormon scripture and policy may appear deceptive.

1a. Various historical tithing schemes have been discussed in scholarly works. All inspired latter-day pronouncements regarding what exactly is tithed, must be in harmony with each other. Otherwise, they are not inspired. The scope of this essay is directed to official LDS scriptural passages and current official pronouncements from the church.

2. The meaning of what is tithed can be ascertained from Mormon scripture.

2a. The oldest known Mormon expression of tithing is in the Book of Mormon. In Alma (1828-1829) it appears that Abraham paid “tithes of one-tenth part of all he possessed.” Joseph Smith would shed more light and knowledge on this passage later, to clarify that Abraham paid a one-tenth part of his excess (see paragraph 2b). In 3 Nephi 24, Malachi 3 is quoted. There is no definition of tithing in this passage.

2b. Apparently, the first scriptural definition of what exactly is tithed, was given by Smith in his inspired translation (“Joseph Smith Translation” or “JST”) of Genesis 14 (about 1830, see D&C 37:1), which included new verses. Verse 39 states:

“Wherefore Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him MORE THAN HE HAD NEED.” (Emphasis added.)

One could make the argument that Abram paid tithes of all he had, period. But that conclusion is not in harmony with other modern-day passages. (See paragraphs 2d and 2e, and paragraph 4, Comment 6). One could also make the argument that the phrase "more than he had need" is an incidental reference to God's abundant blessings to Abram, and not a reference to a tithe of the amount more than he had need. But that interpretation requires semantic gymnastics that takes out of context, the phrase "more than he had need".

The passage in Genesis 14 therefore refers to a tithe on excess. The passage can be found in the Quadruple Combination, on page 798, after the Bible Dictionary, in the section JOSEPH SMITH TRANSLATION. Although the church avoids several of Smith's translations in the JOSEPH SMITH TRANSLATION, the church has included this one in its official and current book of scripture as authoritative commentary.

The passage in Alma can be harmonized with the passage in Genesis, only if the one-tenth part is one tenth of the amount “more than [Abram] had need.”

2c. Several passages were produced in the Doctrine & Covenants (D&C). But they did not provide a definition of what is tithed. They are D&C 64:23 (1831), 85:3 (1832), and 97:11-12 (1833).

2d. Finally, a definition for the modern church was produced. In D&C 119:3-4 (1838), it states:

“And after that, those who have been thus tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their INTEREST annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord.” (Emphasis added.)

To emphasize what is to be tithed, verse 5 speaks to the Saints who were gathering, “all those who gather to the land of Zion shall be tithed of all their SURPLUS properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide. . . .” (Ibid. Emphasis added.)

For verses 4 and 5 to be harmonious, INTEREST and SURPLUS must have common meaning.

2e. A review of pertinent dictionary definitions for INTEREST include (1) right, title, or legal SHARE in something, (2) the PROFIT in goods or money that is made on invested capital, and (3) an EXCESS or bonus beyond what is expected or due.

All three definitions of INTEREST are in harmony with the passage describing Abram: “all the riches which he possessed (legal SHARE), which God had given him more than he had need” (PROFIT, EXCESS). (Genesis 14:39 JST). Therefore, the D&C 119 expression of a tithe on INTEREST or a tithe on SURPLUS, as defined, is in harmony with what Smith meant when he wrote Genesis 14:39, supra.

3a. In the April 1974 Ensign, Bishop Victor L. Brown repeated a 1970 Statement of the First Presidency. The meaning of tithing on excess has not changed if one reads this statement in light of Smith’s two scriptural definitions, set forth in paragraphs 2b and 2d, supra. Here is an extract of Brown’s “I Have A Question”:

”My wife and I want to fully obey the Lord’s commandment to pay tithing, but we are confused as to what figure we should base our tithing on. Can you help us?

Bishop Victor L. Brown, Presiding Bishop of the Church.

Since we learn in the Book of Mormon that Abraham paid his tithing to Melchizedek, we know the law of tithing was lived in ancient times. This law was reestablished in the Church in this dispensation through a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith at Far West, Missouri, on July 18, 1838, as recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 119, verses 3-4:

“And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people.
“And after that, those who have been thus tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord.” D&C 119:3-4.

”On March 19, 1970, the First Presidency sent the following letter to presidents of stakes and missions, bishops of wards, and presidents of branches in answer to the question,
“What is a proper tithe?”
“For your guidance in this matter, please be advised that we have uniformly replied that the simplest statement we know of is that statement of the Lord himself that the members of the Church should pay one-tenth of all their INTEREST annually, which is understood to mean income. NO ONE IS JUSTIFIED IN MAKING ANY OTHER STATEMENT THAN THIS. We feel that every member of the Church should be ENTITLED TO MAKE HIS OWN DECISION as to what he thinks he owes the Lord, and to make payment accordingly.” (End of quote from the March 19, 1970 letter.)

”At the close of each year, each member of the Church has the responsibility of attending tithing settlement with his bishop. At this time, each member has the opportunity to declare whether he is a full, part, or non-tithe payer. The payment of tithing is A MATTER BETWEEN THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE LORD. The bishop is merely the Lord’s servant who receives and accounts for the contribution.
The Lord has promised that he will open the windows of heaven to those who pay their tithes and offerings. (Quotation of Malachi: 3:8-10).

“When one has been completely honest with the Lord, a feeling of peace and tranquility enters his heart and he knows that he is a full tithe payer.
Pay your tithing on the basis on which you wish to be blessed." (End of Victor Brown Quote. Emphases added.)

If “every member of the Church should be entitled to make his own decision as to what he thinks he owes the Lord, and to make payment accordingly” (March 19, 1970 First Presidency Letter), how can every member do that if Holland, Tingey, and Hales told the faithful to pay 10 percent of their gross, or their net for that matter?

3b. The General Handbook of Instructions quotes from the March 19, 1970 letter from the First Presidency as its definition of what is tithed. Here is a portion of the General Handbook of Instructions from that section:

Definition of Tithing
The First Presidency has written: “The simplest statement we know of is the statement of the Lord himself, namely, that the members of the Church should pay ‘one-tenth of all their interest annually, which is understood to mean income. No one is justified in making any other statement than this.’ ” (First Presidency letter, 19 Mar. 1970; see also D&C 119:4).

Because the General Handbook of Instructions quotes the 1970 letter from the First Presidency, the 1970 letter remains the official written policy on tithing.

But even the First Presidency statement fails to define "INCOME". Hence, one must look to the scriptures for a definition. They state INTEREST income (D&C 119:4), which means excess or SURPLUS income (D&C 119:5) MORE THAN [THE TITHE PAYER] HAS NEED (Genesis 14:39, JST).

4. In view of the fact that a proper tithe is based upon surplus, it may come as a surprise that the speeches of Holland, Tingey, and Hales message may have been legally correct. However, because they did not volunteer pertinent information, it could have been misunderstood.

4a. JEFFREY R. HOLLAND'S SPEECH

When Holland told his audience that tithing is 10 percent of income, he quoted from the deceased Apostle James E. Talmage.

Holland's lengthy quotation of Talmage is so riddled with ellipses and square brackets, one wonders what Talmage actually wrote.

I checked.

Holland's "quotation" is not what Talmage meant, particularly regarding what should be tithed.

The amount to be tithed is and remains one tenth of a person's increase after needs are met. (Genesis 14:39, Joseph Smith Translation, D&C 119:3-5). The First Presidency letter dated March 19, 1970 states in part, " We feel that every member of the Church should be entitled to make his own decision as to what he thinks he owes the Lord, and to make payment accordingly." (Supra.)

Talmage's writing supports current official policy, and the two scriptures cited above. Holland's "quotation" of Talmage changes the meaning Talmage wrote.

Below is a full text, alternating-paragraph quotation of both Talmage and Holland.
I have highlighted differences with ALL CAPS.
(Comments are set forth in parenthesis).

(1)TALMAGE: "You have need of many things in this world-food, clothing, and shelter for your family AND YOURSELF, the common comforts of life, AND THE THINGS THAT SHALL BE CONDUCIVE TO REFINEMENT, TO DEVELOPMENT, TO RIGHTEOUS ENJOYMENT. YOU DESIRE MATERIAL POSSESSIONS TO USE FOR THE ASSISTANCE OF OTHERS AND THEREBY GAIN GREATER BLESSINGS FOR YOURSELF AND YOURS.

(1)HOLLAND: ‘You have need of many things in this world—food, clothing, and shelter for your family … , the common comforts of life. …

(COMMENT 1: Holland leaves the individual out: "YOURSELF", and the following needs: "THE THINGS THAT SHALL BE CONDUCIVE TO REFINEMENT, TO DEVELOPMENT, TO RIGHTEOUS ENJOYMENT". Talmage taught these are legitimate needs. But lest Holland give a hint that tithing should be calculated after needs are met, he has dropped these lines.)

(2)TALMAGE: Now, you shall have the means of acquiring these things; but remember they are mine, and I require of you the payment of a rental upon that which I give into your hands. However, your life will not be one of uniform increase IN SUBSTANCE AND POSSESSIONS; YOU WILL HAVE YOUR LOSSES, AS WELL AS YOUR GAIN; YOU WILL HAVE YOUR PERIODS OF TROUBLE AS WELL AS YOUR TIMES OF PEACE. SOME YEARS WILL BE YEARS OF PLENTY UNTO YOU, AND OTHERS WILL BE YEARS OF SCARCITY.
(2)HOLLAND: You shall have the means of acquiring these things; but remember they are mine, and I require of you the payment of a rental upon that which I give into your hands. However, your life will not be one of uniform increase …
(COMMENT 2: Holland truncates the phrase "increase in substance and possessions" probably because it fleshes out the meaning of an increase, that tithing should be paid after a calculation of "surplus properties" (D&C 119:5.) )
(3) TALMAGE: AND, NOW, instead of doing as mortal landlords do-require you to CONTRACT WITH THEM to pay in advance, whatever your fortunes or your prospects may be-you shall pay me NOT IN ADVANCE, BUT when you have received; and you shall pay me in accordance with what you receive. If it so be that in one year your income is abundant, then YOU CAN AFFORD TO PAY ME a little more; and if it be so that the next year is one of distress and your income is not what it was, then YOU SHALL PAY ME LESS; AND SHOULD IT BE THAT YOU ARE REDUCED TO THE UTMOST PENURY SO THAT YOU HAVE NOTHING COMING IN, YOU WILL PAY ME NOTHING."
(3) HOLLAND: [so] instead of doing as mortal landlords do—requir[ing] you to … pay in advance, whatever your fortunes or … prospects may be—you shall pay me … [only] when you have received; and you shall pay me in accordance with what you receive. If it so be that in one year your income is abundant, then … [YOUR 10 PERCENT will be a] little more; and if it be so that the next year is one of distress and your income is not what it was, then … [YOUR 10 PERCENT will be] less. … [WHATEVER YOUR CIRCUMSTANCE, THE TITHE WILL BE FAIR.]’

(COMMENT 3:
FIRST, Holland deletes the phrase "not in advance" since that contradicts current declarations to "pay the Lord first" or even as Hinckley suggested to pay even in the face of disaster; the story of the woman who needed to pay her tuition, but paid tithing instead.
SECOND, Holland inserts "YOUR 10 PERCENT" where Talmage clearly did not say "ten percent". Rather, Talmage's statement is in harmony with the First Presidency letter dated March 19, 1970 states in part, " We feel that every member of the Church should be entitled to make his own decision as to what he thinks he owes the Lord, and to make payment accordingly."
THIRD, like a white rabbit from a hat, Holland pulls the following "quotation" out of thin air: "whatever your circumstance, the tithe will be fair".
FOURTH, Holland drops the phrase, "you shall pay me nothing." The reason is this would have destroyed the guilt-inspiring story of Mary Fielding Smith in his message. Because, to quote Talmage, she was "reduced to the utmost penury so that you have nothing coming in".)

(4) TALMAGE: Have you ever found a landlord of earth who was willing to make that kind of a contract with you? When I consider the liberality of it all, and the consideration that my Lord has had for me, I feel in my heart that I could scarcely raise my countenance to his heaven above if I tried to defraud him out of that just rental.

(4) HOLLAND: “Have you ever found a landlord on earth who was willing to make that kind of [EQUITABLE] contract with you?” Elder Talmage asks. “When I consider the liberality of it all,” he says, “… I feel in my heart that I could scarcely raise my countenance to … Heaven … if I tried to defraud [GOD] out of that [WHICH IS RIGHTFULLY HIS].”

(COMMENT 4: Holland's insertion of "EQUITALE", "GOD", and "WHICH IS RIGHTFULLY HIS" may inspire awe and guilt. It also minimizes the thought that one might have an indifferent or even unfair "landlord".)

Summary. Talmage did not mean what Holland said when Holland "quoted" Talmage.

4b. EARL C. TINGEY'S SPPECH

Tingey showed from his first childhood journal, that he had earned $7.00 gross, and that he paid a $0.70 tithe.

But Tingey owed no taxes. Although it appeared he was paying a tithe on his gross, he was actually paying a tithe on his net since they were the same.

But Tingey was also paying a tithe on his excess beyond his needs. Tingey was a legal minor according to Mormon scripture, and his parents were obligated to meet his needs; the obligation was to his "parents for [his] maintenance until [he became] of age." (D&C 83:4). Tingey’s talk, although misleading, was also consistent with the original meaning in Genesis 14:39 where Abram paid a tithe on “that which God had given him, more than that which he had need.”

It is remarkable that Tingey’s $0.70 from a gross of $7.00 was a tithe on his gross, his net, and his excess!

4c. ROBERT D. HALES'S SPEECH

Let us review Hales's pertinent statements regarding tithing. They are listed as Hales 1 through Hales 7:
Hales 1: "In the Old Testament, Abraham proved his faith by paying tithes to the great high priest Melchizedek." (See Genesis 14:20.)
Comment 1: The amount Abraham paid is not clear, and this statement oversimplifies that Abraham paid tithes of his excess. See JST Genesis 14:39)

Hales 2: Abraham's grandson Jacob vowed to the Lord, "Of all thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee." Genesis 28:22.
Comment 2: This verse indicates Jacob paid a tenth. But to harmonize this with Joseph Smith's inspired translation of the Bible, since it is clear Abraham paid a tenth of his excess, Genesis 14:39 JST, what Jacob vowed to pay was individual to Jacob. If Jacob was paying what Abraham paid, it was a tenth of his excess.
Hales 3: The strict observance of the law of tithing not only qualifies us to receive the higher, saving ordinances of the temple, it allows us to receive them on behalf of our ancestors. When asked whether members of the Church could be baptized for the dead if they had not paid their tithing, President John Taylor, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, answered: "A man who has not paid his tithing is unfit to be baptized for his dead. . . . If a man has not faith enough to attend to these little things, he has not faith enough to save himself and his friends." (History of the Church, 7:292–93.)
Comment 3: This paragraph is targeted to the youth who are being taken to the temple almost monthly nowadays.
Hales 4: The law of consecration was then withdrawn. In its place the Lord revealed the law of tithing for the whole Church. (See historical introduction to D&C 119.) On July 8, 1838, He declared:
"And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people.
" . . . Those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever." (D&C 119:3-4).
Comment 4: This passage has been dealt with, supra. The scriptural meaning of "interest" is increase or excess or surplus. Just read the next verse, 5:
"Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties . . . "
Could "tithed of their surplus properties" mean all of their surplus properties? Just look at what Hales does with his next statement, and then, for a surprise, read what the reference actually says.

Hales 5: The law of tithing prepares us to live the higher law of consecration—to dedicate and give all our time, talents, and resources to the work of the Lord. Until the day when we are required to live this higher law, we are commanded to live the law of the tithe, which is to freely give one-tenth of our income annually. (See Church History and Modern Revelation (third series, 1946), 120.)

Comment 5: There are two significant problems with the statement and the reference.
First, the 1970 letter of the First Presidency, as a newer pronouncement from an authoritative source, supercedes a 1946 book such as Church History and Modern Revelation.
To repeat, the 1970 First Presidency letter states:

"We feel that every member of the Church should be ENTITLED TO MAKE HIS OWN DECISION as to what he thinks he owes the Lord, and to make payment accordingly.”

Second, even the book Church History and Modern Revelation, indicates a tithing is a tenth of the surplus:

"In more recent times the Church has not called upon the members to give all their SURPLUS property to the Church, but it has been the requirement according to the covenant, that they pay the tenth." (Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 3: 120., emphasis added.)

"[P]ay the tenth", ibid., is clearly referring to less than "all their surplus". Since Elder Hales's talk does not quote from the 1946 book, rather it only lists a citation to it, it is not clear what he was referring to on page 120. No clear statement was found, "to freely give one-tenth of our income annually". But this statement was found:

"We call it a free-will offering, and so it is, for everything in the Gospel is by free will, but nevertheless it is a law of God which to us is everlasting. (Ibid. pp. 120-121).
In Hales's statement, his footnote follows the word "freely". This is a well-placed footnote regarding a "free-will offering", supra, not a definition of what is to be tithed.
Hales 6: Members who freely give a full 10 percent of their annual income receive all of the promised blessings of tithing, whether the amount is a widow's mite or a king's ransom.
Comment 6: This essay and even Hales's cited reference in the book, Church History and Modern Revelation, make it clear a proper tithe is scripturally defined as a tenth of surplus. Therefore, members who freely give a tenth of their surplus will also receive all of the promised blessings of tithing.
In defense of Hales's statement, the question must be posed, "Why pay a full 10 percent of one's annual income if that is more than what is required?" Perhaps Hales is repeating Bishop Brown's suggestion: "Pay your tithing on the basis on which you wish to be blessed." (Victor Brown Quote, supra.)
Hales 7: When a friend of President George Albert Smith asked him what he thought of his friend's personal plan to take what would have been tithing and donate his tenth in charitable donations of his own choice, President Smith's counsel was:
"I think you are a very generous man with someone else's property. . . .
" . . . You have told me what you have done with the Lord's money but you have not told me that you have given anyone a penny of your own. He is the best partner you have in the world. He gives you everything you have, even the air you breathe. He has said you should take one-tenth of what comes to you and give it to the Church as directed by the Lord. You haven't done that; you have taken your best partner's money, and have given it away." (Sharing the Gospel With Others, sel. Preston Nibley (1948), 46; see also 44–47.)
Comment 7: This is an interesting anecdote, but since it is not controlling authority over the scripture: " . . . when you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God", Mosiah 2:17, the issue must be considered that one is not taking the tithing money away from God by tithing outside of church channels.
In any event, the following is attributed to Jesus of Nazareth. Regarding a man who did good works in the name of Jesus, but the man would not follow his apostles when commanded to by the Apostle John. Jesus said, "Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us." (Luke 9:49).

5. Despite the impressions Holland, Tingey, and Hales may have given,
5a. the official interpretation of tithing remains “one-tenth of all their interest annually”. "Interest" is an increased amount or "surplus" (D&C 119:4-5) of income “more than [one] has need.” (Genesis 14:39, JST.), and
5b. "every member of the Church should be entitled to make his own decision as to what he thinks he owes the Lord, and to make payment accordingly." (On March 19, 1970 letter from the First Presidency.)


Subject: Re: Tithing Settlement Time!
Date: Nov 25 14:48
Author: Missing one thing...

Sarony quotes the following FP statement:

The First Presidency has written: “The simplest statement we know of is the statement of the Lord himself, namely, that the members of the Church should pay ‘one-tenth of all their interest annually, which is understood to mean income. No one is justified in making any other statement than this.’ ” (First Presidency letter, 19 Mar. 1970; see also D&C 119:4).

I'm missing something though. I read the rest of the post and didn't see where the word "income" was shown to mean something other than either your gross or net take home pay.

I don't want to say that you passed over that word because I may not have read your synopsis with enough care, but on first pass I didn't feel that you made your case to override that part of the statement.

Not that I believe that tithing should be paid to mormonism anyway mind you, but I'm trying to follow the logical argument.

OPEN MY EYES THAT I MAY SEE!

 

Subject: You have hit the nail on the head by missing the point
Date: Nov 25 15:31
Author: Sarony

Sorry for the mixed metaphor, but your question reveals the "hide the ball" game the GAs play with their members, and not just on tithing.

You missed it because it was not there. Show me where the GAs explicitly wrote the amount to tithe was on one's gross or one's net. You may have missed the statement where it does NOT mean on gross or net, but I missed the statement where it does mean it on gross or net. If you find one, it will contradict the statement of the First Presidency that states every member of the church is "ENTITLED TO MAKE HIS OWN DECISION". If it is clearly on gross or net, the above statement from the First Presidency is meaningless.

The point is the GAs have left it intentionally vague modernly to maximize income. The earlier pronouncements were clearly based on a tithe of surplus. If they were to come right out and say, "pay on your gross" they would contradict Mormon scripture and official policy.

Talmage enumerated several legitimate human needs that came before calculating a tithing on the remainder. His statement eliminated a tithe on gross or net:

"You have need of many things in this world-food, clothing, and shelter for your family AND YOURSELF, the common comforts of life, AND THE THINGS THAT SHALL BE CONDUCIVE TO REFINEMENT, TO DEVELOPMENT, TO RIGHTEOUS ENJOYMENT."

Hales cited to a book that says
"In more recent times the Church has not called upon the members to give all their SURPLUS property to the Church, but it has been the requirement according to the covenant, that they pay the tenth." (Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 3: 120., emphasis added.)"

Let me insert the word "income" into the First Presidency statement. " . . . the members of the Church should pay one-tenth of all their income annually."
Did they define income for you? No.
Does it mean gross income? Show me an explicit statement from an authoritative source that says it.
Does it mean net income? Show me an explicit statement from an authoritative source that says it.
Does it mean excess, surplus, or income more than one has need? Yes. There are authoritative statements that support a tithe on surplus. I think these are the only explicit statements on what is to be tithed.

 

Subject: Clear as the mud they want it to be...

 

Subject: Why do MoMos deduct their tithing on their taxes?.
Date: Nov 25 20:56
Author: spencer

Seems to me that if you are GIVING your money to THE church,that you should be doing so without the thought of reward.

I doubt very much that AS many would tithe if they could not deduct it from their taxes.

How does one say HORSESHIT!!!!!

 

Subject: Re: Why do MoMos deduct their tithing on their taxes?.
Date: Nov 25 21:16
Author: Sarony

You are right. My TBM DW is always disgusted when I deduct tithing from taxes. I am disgusted too, but for the waste, not for the fact that Jehovah is up there with his calculator, scaling my "blessings" back in a prorated amount, relative to the value I get back on my taxes.

Sheesh!


Subject: Re: Why do MoMos deduct their tithing on their taxes?.
Date: Nov 25 21:35
Author: spencer

But Jehovah knows that you are getting some of the money back that you say you gave. So in fact you are not giving as much as you say you are. They call that lying but that in itself is such a MoMo trait anyway.


Subject: Re: "new "concept of charitable giving
Date: Nov 25 19:17
Author: quixotequest

Your essay is pretty spot on. I stopped pay a "full tithe" a few years ago. I'm quite comfortable with the periodic "guilting" that comes with the reaffirmation from the pulpit of the "official" statement on tithing because I have developed a much more fulfilling attitude toward charitable giving. Surprisingly, my bishops, privately, have not tried to "guilt" me at all when I explain my position.

It made me really mad for a while because the "10% of the gross" statement is pretty grossly inaccurate. You are correct: not only is LDS doctrine resoundingly unclear, but while tithing is definitely a historical and scriptural practice, there are arguable, valid interpretations that differ from the LDS one.

But when I learned how dismally low the LDS Church's charitable contributions are compared to other organizations, I just decided not to pay tithing anymore. I wanted to feel my money was going more good--or at least benefiting the causes I care about.

The fact was, for a while, I decided to define myself as "someone who doesn't pay tithing." Defined by the negative, rather than affirmative. Not very fulfilling a self-imposed definition.

But then a little while later I read an article by Claude Rosenberg (www.newtithing.org) about how he asserts that anyone can be a philanthropist, and how fulfilled that can make one's life. He made me rethink how nice it can be to choose causes/organizations one feels strongly about and to make philanthropic contributions. Claude also has some very practical calculations so that someone can use to analyze what a good amount of charitable contribution is good. Some can afford way more than 10% comfortably. And some can't. The point is that's its not only okay, but much more enriching, to take control of how one donates their money. And, how much one donates should be well considered--not an arbitrary amount.

I now define myself as someone who pays "tithing," just not a Mormon tithe.

It bugged me how I developed a bit of a "I gave at the office" mentality when I paid a Mormon tithe. And it bugs me that many LDS have a similar attitude. Many really aren't as charitable as their tax deduction claims. Many aren't personally fulfilled because they are just paying their Mormon Tax. Many LDS might feel perfectly "blessed" and fulfilled for paying their tithing, but many would have a happier life taking more ownership for how they "spend" their money on donations. They ought to realize that the road to defining one's own plan of "tithing" (read: a charitable life) isn't that difficult, nor is it with that much penalty (assuming not attending temple isn't considered a bad thing. *smile*) from local LDS leadership. (I've found most bishops are just filling the role of the tax collector and would rather be doing something else, anyway.) When one takes as affirmative, philanthropic role like Mr. Rosenberg advocates, bishops really have little foundation to complain about it. (And none of my 3 bishops who know this about me have ever tried to make me feel guilty .)


Subject: Thanks for the quote
Date: Nov 25 21:10
Author: Sarony

about how each can be a philanthropist.

I think some money would be much more effectively applied if I could do something for someone I knew up close. It would sometimes need to be done without the recipient knowing the source. But I could monitor the result and make adjustment accordingly. With the CoJCoLDS administering tithes by central planning, it may be applied as ineffectively as the former Soviet Union.

This may seem weird to some of you, but I have nieces on missions whose parents could use some relief. I could easily support them, and still have a huge chunk of change in lieu of giving it all to the tithing fund. Although I think my nieces are being captured by the Morg like so many of us were, they are still my family, and I could help my brother and sister-in-law.

 


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