More Discussion of LDS & Christian Tithing


#1

I'm starting this thread so we wouldn't continue to derail the thread about Glenn Beck's video on the Vatican. We went off topic about LDS tithing, so I wanted to move that discussion to a separate thread. There were several posts before and after these where things got offtrack, but this is where I jumped into the fray. I'll start with my response to this first one in my next post, followed by a response to another poster.

[quote="Telstar, post:51, topic:280133"]
It almost seems like JS created himself an elite men's club, the "temple of the celestial kingdom", that only the richest of men can afford to join without going broke. How they can get away with charging such a high 'membership fee' to be allowed to worship as a full member of any 'church' is beyond me. Charity isn't something that should be mandated, especially not if it's required before any member is allowed to enter the "temple". It should be a voluntary gift from the heart.

Since no one really knows for sure if any of that money is even used for charitable purposes, because the church refuses to divulge to anyone how the money is used, it makes it even more incredible. I have to ask one question. Are the members contributions to the church tax deductible? If they are, does the church also expect to get another 10% of those tax refunds, too? :shrug:

[/quote]

[quote="LivingWaters7, post:57, topic:280133"]
Latter-day Saints believe that tithing is a principle instituted by God. We of course see the Biblical basis for tithing (Gen 14:20, Gen 28:22, Num 18:26, Deut 12:6, 2 Chr 31:15, Luke 18:12, etc), and believe that it is one way to offer sacrifice to God. We believe that to enter the Lord's holy house, the temple, one should be striving to follow the Lord's commandments. Essentially, to enter the Lord's house, one should believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, have faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, believe in the restoration of the Gospel and the Lord's Church, sustain the inspired leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ, and follow commandments and teachings such as the law of chastity, the word of wisdom, and tithing. I see nothing about "only the richest of men can afford without going broke". Giving 10% of our income also teaches us to live more frugally and to manage our income better, to try to not go into debt, and also to rely on the Lord to provide us with what we need. Also, if one does not have any income at all, then obviously 10% of nothing is nothing. They will not be "barred" from the temple, and I know that when I was a student with no income, I certainly was not restricted from attending the Lord's house, and even now I am still not "the richest of men", nor are the vast majority of temple patrons. We believe that following the Lord's commandments, including tithing, brings blessings (both temporal and spiritual) into our lives, and I and many others have seen this, which is why we strive to follow Christ's commandments.

[/quote]


#2

[quote="LivingWaters7, post:57, topic:280133"]
Latter-day Saints believe that tithing is a principle instituted by God. We of course see the Biblical basis for tithing (Gen 14:20, Gen 28:22, Num 18:26, Deut 12:6, 2 Chr 31:15, Luke 18:12, etc), and believe that it is one way to offer sacrifice to God.

[/quote]

The Old Testament Law was fulfilled by Jesus. He established the New Covenant, based on the love and mercy of God. So, the strict tithing requirements of the Old Covenant are not the same in the New Covenant. Although 10% is suggested for tithing, it's not explicitly required as a strict rule in the Catholic Church. Catholics make offerings according to their own conscience and means. There's no 'minimum requirement' for anyone to be able to attend Mass or participate in any other Church activities. The churches are always open to anyone that wants to go in to pray, Catholic or not. Some are open 24/7.

It's very sad to me that any church expects it's poor members to give, even when they can't afford it. It's hard to make ends meet, even if they're frugal. Supporting a family is hard enough without adding a burden that causes them even more hardship. If they can't afford to pay a full 10%, they're ostracized and judged to somehow be unworthy to worship God in the temple, or perform any of the other requirements to be considered a "good Mormon". IMHO, it should be the church's responsibility to support the poor, not add to their burden and embarrassment by refusing to let them enter the temple.

I doubt Jesus would approve of anyone being turned away from His house because they're too poor and can't afford to pay the dues required by the leaders of the church. I'm reminded of a Utah Phillips song, "Room for the Poor".

Regarding Luke, let's look at it in context:[10] Two men went up into the temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

[11] The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican. [12] I fast twice in a week: I give tithes of all that I possess. [13] And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven; but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner. [14] I say to you, this man went down into his house justified rather than the other: because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.
The one that was bragging about paying his full tithe was the Pharisee. Jesus said that the publican was more justified than him, because he humbled himself and asked God to forgive him because he was a sinner. The Pharisee thought he was doing God's will, but he was only doing those things for his own vainglory.

[quote="LivingWaters7, post:57, topic:280133"]
We believe that to enter the Lord's holy house, the temple, one should be striving to follow the Lord's commandments. Essentially, to enter the Lord's house, one should believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, have faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, believe in the restoration of the Gospel and the Lord's Church, sustain the inspired leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ, and follow commandments and teachings such as the law of chastity, the word of wisdom, and tithing. I see nothing about "only the richest of men can afford without going broke".

[/quote]

God never excluded anyone from entering His Holy Temple because they didn't pay their tithe, nor did He exclude sinners from entering the Temple. It was a holy place for men to go to worship God, and ask forgiveness of their sins. They made offerings to burn on the altar for their sins, but those depended on the condition of the person making them. The poor could offer less expensive items (turtle doves) to not hinder them from being able to be forgiven, but the rich were expected to offer things that were more affordable to them (rams, goats).

[quote="LivingWaters7, post:57, topic:280133"]
Giving 10% of our income also teaches us to live more frugally and to manage our income better, to try to not go into debt, and also to rely on the Lord to provide us with what we need. Also, if one does not have any income at all, then obviously 10% of nothing is nothing. They will not be "barred" from the temple, and I know that when I was a student with no income, I certainly was not restricted from attending the Lord's house, and even now I am still not "the richest of men", nor are the vast majority of temple patrons. We believe that following the Lord's commandments, including tithing, brings blessings (both temporal and spiritual) into our lives, and I and many others have seen this, which is why we strive to follow Christ's commandments.

[/quote]

I'm glad to know that those who have no income are still allowed in the temple, but that doesn't change the fact that Mormons are required to show their bishops proof of their income, so they'll know how much they should donate, to keep their "temple recommend". My objection to having a minimum requirement is that it's contrary to what Jesus taught. He never said that those who followed Him had to pay their 'dues' according to the value of their worldly goods. His requirement was that we follow Him out of our love of God. He's more interested in our building up spiritual 'treasures' in Heaven, than possessing material wealth. He was never concerned about money in the least, and taught His followers not to be concerned about it, either. The Gospels are filled with examples of Him teaching that the poor were much better off spiritually than the rich.
"[Matthew 19:] [23] Then Jesus said to his disciples: Amen, I say to you, that **a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. [24] And again I say to you: **It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.**"


#3

Thanks , Lori. This is going to be an interesting thread.

I would appreciate any corrections. This is only the information I have been able to accumulate.

Ten percent of minimal subsistence is too much. Isn't it better to send your kids to college than to participate in temple rituals? It is still a deep cut into the John Brown family income, as compared to the Mitt Romney family income.

The temple Recommend is a PURCHASE, because it is dependent on paying tithes, which is defined as 10% of one's income. The money spent on that purchase should therefore be considered taxable. The LDS church, further, should be taxed for income on the sale of the Temple Recommends. That money is sent to SLC, and then filtered back to the local LDS community-- as a tax dodge, because it is considered a "gift" to the local LDS.

Most churches also give of their excess for charity. This does not happen with the LDS church. That comes from fast-offerings, above the ten percent. Originally, tithes, as stated in the D&C, were to be used to help the poor members, but this was forgotten long ago.

Other churches, as a rule, consider any offerings to be free will. And any preacher who reminds congregants of their responsibility generally does so to the whole congregation. Only in a crisis would he go to the most wealthy members to ask for donations for something like repairing a leaky roof.


#4

Being raised LDS, we were taught that the only way you would ever have enough money to cover what needed to be covered is if you tithed, then God would bless you with whatever you fall short of.

To this day, my family has ALWAYS been short of money; to the point that they've had to take out loans to cover the shortfalls of paycheck-to-paycheck living. As a child, there were several weeks, possibly even months at a time where we lived off of rice and beans so my parents could pay their tithing. Tithing was one of the first things that I stopped when I had some autonomy over my money.


#5

Thank you SpeSalvi, for your reflections from experience. :thumbsup:


#6

[quote="SpeSalvi, post:4, topic:280426"]
Tithing was one of the first things that I stopped when I had some autonomy over my money.

[/quote]

In my almost 18 years as a member of the LDS church I always felt a bit extorted when they gave tithing talks. So a month or two ago I got a 10% raise when I stopped paying it. I think it's funny that Mormons look down on other Christians who pass the plate, basket, etc but have no problem tromping up onto the stand before church so everyone sees them hand their envelope to the Bishop. Disgraceful!


#7

[quote="SpeSalvi, post:4, topic:280426"]
Being raised LDS, we were taught that the only way you would ever have enough money to cover what needed to be covered is if you tithed, then God would bless you with whatever you fall short of.

To this day, my family has ALWAYS been short of money; to the point that they've had to take out loans to cover the shortfalls of paycheck-to-paycheck living. As a child, there were several weeks, possibly even months at a time where we lived off of rice and beans so my parents could pay their tithing. Tithing was one of the first things that I stopped when I had some autonomy over my money.

[/quote]

That's exactly the kind of thing that should never happen to anyone. When people that are already strapped for cash are told that the only way they would ever have enough money is to give 10% of it to the church, that's just putting an unnecessary burden on the poorest of the poor. IMHO, it's absolutely criminal to put that kind of guilt trip on anyone, especially when they're told that their tithes are required if they ever expect to be able to gain God's favor in this life, or obtain salvation in the next. That kind of mandate is blatantly putting a dollar value on salvation, and it should never happen. God doesn't respond to those who want to purchase His favor with money. All He wants from any of us, is our true love for Him. There aren't any special vending machines where anyone can buy grace from God.


#8

newadvent.org/cathen/14001a.htm


#9

"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (Mal 3:10)

Who could doubt the Lord's word when he promises a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it? Tithing is not a burden but a marvelous blessing. It blesses the lives of those with faith enough to see beyond the coin in their pocket.

While I was growing up my father struggled to pay tithing. We likewise struggled to make ends meet. However, I have paid tithing faithfully my entire life and I promise you I have been blessed beyond measure. These blessings are not limited to monetary means. Those are perhaps the least of the blessings.

Tithing is a measure a faith. The temple is a place of covenant making and keeping. The Lord blesses and expects more of those who make such covenants, just as he does with people who are baptized. To ensure those who enter are spiritually prepared they are asked if they are a full tithe payer (earning statements are not shown it is a simple "yes" or "no" question). It is not to prevent the poor from entering. Any person claiming such is judging motive without understanding.


#10

[quote="Janderich, post:9, topic:280426"]
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (Mal 3:10)

Who could doubt the Lord's word when he promises a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it? Tithing is not a burden but a marvelous blessing. It blesses the lives of those with faith enough to see beyond the coin in their pocket.

While I was growing up my father struggled to pay tithing. We likewise struggled to make ends meet. However, I have paid tithing faithfully my entire life and I promise you I have been blessed beyond measure. These blessings are not limited to monetary means. Those are perhaps the least of the blessings.

Tithing is a measure a faith. The temple is a place of covenant making and keeping. The Lord blesses and expects more of those who make such covenants, just as he does with people who are baptized. To ensure those who enter are spiritually prepared they are asked if they are a full tithe payer (earning statements are not shown it is a simple "yes" or "no" question). It is not to prevent the poor from entering. Any person claiming such is judging motive without understanding.

[/quote]

But, Matthew 6:4 says: That your alms may be in secret: and your Father who sees in secret himself shall reward you openly.

No mention of a tithing settlement there, quite the opposite in fact.

Then neat thing about the Catholic Church, and most protestant churches is, we don't have to pay in order to come into a Holy building. i.e. Cathedral, Church, Basilica.

Nobody asks, or pays attention whether or not you put anything in the collection basket, and yet, blessings abound.

Go figure. :shrug:


#11

"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." 2 Cor. 9:7(KJV) Mormon tithing is not done cheerfully. It's a show. And it's shame for those who can't make regular payments. I've been to a "tithing settlement" It was anything but pleasant.


#12

On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. - (1 Cor 16:2)

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. - (2 Cor 9:7)

That is the proper New Testament teaching on tithing. Not the law - the Holy Spirit.

I am always suspicious of religions that need to go back to the OT for their positions on doctrines and disciplines that are clearly expounded in the NT. :shrug:

Paul (formerly LDS, now happily Catholic)


#13

[quote="PaulDupre, post:12, topic:280426"]
That is the proper New Testament teaching on tithing. Not the law - the Holy Spirit.

I am always suspicious of religions that need to go back to the OT for their positions on doctrines and disciplines that are clearly expounded in the NT. :shrug:

Paul (formerly LDS, now happily Catholic)

[/quote]

Hi Paul,
We need not go back to the New Testament but forward to the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. When Christ came to America to visit the people there he quoted again the chapters in Malachi. Additionally the Lord spoke to Joseph Smith and renewed the Law of Tithing (D&C 119).

Now that being said, I do believe there is a higher law, however, it requires more, not less of us. As we read in Acts:

And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common... Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. (Acts 4: 32, 34-35)

The saints in Joseph's day could not live this Law and so were again given the Law of Tithing. We continue to live the Law of Tithing until such a day that the Lord again institutes the Law of Consecration. If someone lives the higher law the lesser law should be simple. Thus I still don't agree with the argument.


#14

Didn't the early LDS church try the law of consecration at one point in time and failed? I don't remember that clearly, but I'm sure they talked about it in one of The Work and The Glory novels ;)

That reminds me of something...

In Seminary, we had "nicknames" for every scripture mastery and D&C 64:23 was jokingly titled "Pay or Burn". For anyone unfamiliar with the scripture:

23 Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.

This scripture was given several years before the official "10%" tithing rule came about, but that didn't keep the LDS church from using it on us in seminary. On every scripture mastery card, they had the scripture on one side and some facts/the context on the other side. The one for this scripture reads:

Doctrine and Covenants 64:23

Historical Setting
Joseph Smith was preparing to move to
Hiram, Ohio, to resume his translation
of the Bible.

Doctrinal Teaching
Those who pay an honest tithing and
keep the commandments will not be
burned at the Lord’s Second Coming.

Missionary Application
Testify to a friend about the blessings of
paying a full tithing.

Personal Application
Make a commitment now that you will
always pay a full tithe.

Source: seminary.lds.org/content/scripture-mastery/scripture-mastery-dc.pdf

So there's always that added element of, you know, being burned alive to keep people paying tithes as well ;) Especially since in LDS tradition (if not doctrine), the Second Coming will happen within MY lifetime.


#15

Didn't the early LDS church try the law of consecration at one point in time and failed? I don't remember that clearly, but I'm sure they talked about it in one of The Work and The Glory novels

The whole story is told in the D&C!! ;) They cannot deny it, as Janderich's post illustrates.

And still, in the temple vows they dedicate all that they have to the Church. So therefore, the church has the right to ask for anything they have. BY invoked that a number of times.

I am glad that there were no challenges to my statements. I need to flesh it out with scripture. In this respect, tax law and Christian scripture and Catholic doctrine are congruent. Especially when a church blatantly practices simony.


#16

[quote="PaulDupre, post:12, topic:280426"]
That is the proper New Testament teaching on tithing. Not the law - the Holy Spirit.

I am always suspicious of religions that need to go back to the OT for their positions on doctrines and disciplines that are clearly expounded in the NT. :shrug:

Paul (formerly LDS, now happily Catholic)

[/quote]

The problem with Mormon tithing is that it is extorted from all of the, "ever so happy to part with all of that money", Mormons. Tithing in Mormonism is a form of extortion because you can't enter the temples unless you are a full tithe payer. If you aren't "endowed" and attend the temple regularly you can't enter the Celestial kingdom, the top level of the Mormons Heaven. So, no pay, no Heaven. The real interesting thing is that with all of that money given, and with the churches vast real estate and financial holdings, there is no feeling among the faithful that the church should give an accounting of where it all goes. Does that sound like a cult or what?

This is an example of why I left the Mormon Church.

In 1970, the LDS first presidency gave this official statement on LDS tithing that continues in use to this day:

"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 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."

In the LDS handbook of instruction that every LDS leader recieves, this statement on LDS tithing is included with one important exception. The last line that I have put in bold is missing. I wonder why? This kind of deception and all of the lies to cover up their dubious history and un-Biblical doctrine is why I left.

Gary (formerly Mormon and now very happily Catholic):signofcross:


#17

[quote="Jerusha, post:15, topic:280426"]
And still, in the temple vows they dedicate all that they have to the Church. So therefore, the church has the right to ask for anything they have. BY invoked that a number of times.

[/quote]

Yes and this is the reason why voters should take a lot longer, critical look at Mitt Romney and his religious beliefs. I know with the baptism for the dead issue some of the more unknown doctrines of the church have been brought into the light. The Law of Consecration needs to be one of them. The American public needs to decide with full disclosure whether they want to vote for someone for the highest office in the land who has promised everything is owns, MAY own and all of his time and talents to his church.

Charles


#18

[quote="twopekinguys, post:10, topic:280426"]
But, Matthew 6:4 says: That your alms may be in secret: and your Father who sees in secret himself shall reward you openly.

No mention of a tithing settlement there, quite the opposite in fact.

Then neat thing about the Catholic Church, and most protestant churches is, we don't have to pay in order to come into a Holy building. i.e. Cathedral, Church, Basilica.

Nobody asks, or pays attention whether or not you put anything in the collection basket, and yet, blessings abound.

Go figure. :shrug:

[/quote]

Yes and in the Catholic Church you can give your money secretly. I never use envelopes, I just put cash in the basket. It's up to you and your conscience of how much you want to give. God sees all.


#19

[quote="Janderich, post:13, topic:280426"]
Hi Paul,
We need not go back to the New Testament but forward to the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. When Christ came to America to visit the people there he quoted again the chapters in Malachi. Additionally the Lord spoke to Joseph Smith and renewed the Law of Tithing (D&C 119)

[/quote]

Of course, none of us accepts those Joseph Smith-produced books as scripture, but rather as the machinations of a con-man and his accomplices.

If I were going to start my own religion to gain wealth and power, I would also declare myself a prophet and institute a compulsory 10% tithe.

Paul (formerly LDS, now happily Catholic)


#20

[quote="garyo49, post:16, topic:280426"]
The problem with Mormon tithing is that it is extorted from all of the, "ever so happy to part with all of that money", Mormons. Tithing in Mormonism is a form of extortion because you can't enter the temples unless you are a full tithe payer. If you aren't "endowed" and attend the temple regularly you can't enter the Celestial kingdom, the top level of the Mormons Heaven. So, no pay, no Heaven. The real interesting thing is that with all of that money given, and with the churches vast real estate and financial holdings, there is no feeling among the faithful that the church should give an accounting of where it all goes. Does that sound like a cult or what?

This is an example of why I left the Mormon Church.

In 1970, the LDS first presidency gave this official statement on LDS tithing that continues in use to this day:

"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 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."

In the LDS handbook of instruction that every LDS leader recieves, this statement on LDS tithing is included with one important exception. The last line that I have put in bold is missing. I wonder why? This kind of deception and all of the lies to cover up their dubious history and un-Biblical doctrine is why I left.

Gary (formerly Mormon and now very happily Catholic):signofcross:

[/quote]

Welcome home, Gary! Isn't it grand?


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