Sunday, December 20, 2009

How About A Bit More On Tithing

I was visiting a friend and happen to glance at the most current copy of the Ensign. Naturally, there is an article all about tithing and what a blessing it is. Naturally, if 14 million people gave me 10% of their income, and I could write it off tax-free, then I would consider it a blessing too!

Here it is right from the horses mouth: Why Tithing Settlement?

Quotes from the article and my thoughts on them:

"Those who have seen the fulfillment of this promise can testify that the blessings are often more spiritual than financial..."

This is referring to Malachi 3:8-12 which promises great blessing for your money. Oh, so now the truth comes out! Spiritual blessings. You mean brownie points for the afterlife!

"Tithing is an important test of our personal righteousness. President Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918) said: 'By this principle it shall be known who is for the kingdom of God and who is against it. … By it shall be known whether we are faithful or unfaithful.'"

Yea, that's right! Tithing separates out those who are for and against the kingdom! Further, only the faithful pay tithing. Amazing! Is that prophetic advice... or pathetic advice? Is he actually saying that faith equals tithing? It sure sounds like it.

"A time to show our commitment. Tithing settlement allows all members the chance to demonstrate their obedience to the principle of tithing. Parents can use it as a teaching time. Children who hear their parents’ declaration learn that paying tithing and fast offerings is important to their parents and to the Lord."

Doesn't god know the thoughts and intents of our hearts? We have to prove our commitment with money? Oh yea, that's just great. Bring the whole family to tithing settlement (especially those little future tithe payers). Make sure they get indoctrinated nice and young!

"It is our privilege to exercise our accountability by declaring to him our own tithing status."

They have the gall to preach "accountability" when they can't even come clean about their own history. They have to whitewash their past and/or outright lie in order to make themselves and their perverted founder look spotless.

"If you are not a full-tithe payer or if you haven’t paid any tithes or offerings, the interview with the bishop can be the beginning of repentance, a time to commit to begin or to do better."

So now, tithing is not only a way to show our faith and commitment, but it is a sin to not pay? If I haven't paid then I need to repent? It's getting pretty obvious that the church places a lot of emphasis on this "law". Make them feel faithless if they don't pay. Make them feel uncommited if they don't pay. And most importantly, make them feel guilty if they don't pay.

"Great blessings come to those who faithfully pay tithing and to those who faithfully attend tithing settlement."

Like what? Oh yea, "spiritual" blessings. That is their fancy way of saying, "If you end up getting nothing for it, you're still getting something!"

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I have no problem with anyone donating money to any church of their choice. But when the guilt is piled on thick and deep, when the member is made to feel like shit, when the person is threatened with damnation for not paying, then I have a huge problem with it.

LD$, Inc. will never get another penny from me!

9 comments:

Ammon said...

I don't pay tithing 'in hopes of future blessings'. I did initially, but it doesn't take long for God to bless his children. He wants to bless us now, not at some future time.

By the way, it seems that for someone who was a member for so long, you REALLY miss the point on tithing. I'll chalk that up to the fact that you are really upset with the church for some reason though, not that you never understood the true meaning of tithing.

Mormon411 said...

Ammon,

Assuming that the church is true, then, yes, I am missing the point. But if the church is a fraud and they just want your money, then it is you who are missing the point.

Why do churches want your money if it is the root of all evil?

Just something for you to think about. Remember that both the Bible and Book of Mormon state that the gospel is free.

The LDS church is really a business and they are selling salvation. Tithing is not a test of your faith, but a bunch of suits taking advantage of your desire to please god.

I'm sorry to have to say this, but you are being scammed, my friend.

Ammon said...

In one of your earlier posts you mentioned that you didn't want to live by faith but by real things.

Here's the deal for me. I'm either really lucky or blessed by God when I keep commandments like tithing.

You can't really believe that your life is governed by luck any more than you can think it's faith. If I was just a lucky person, then when I wasn't keeping commandments good things would happen equally to the times when I do keep the commandments.

If I was lucky then McDonalds wouldn't have so much of my money during 'monopoly days'. lol The most I've won is a small drink!!

So when good things happen to me it's either because I'm lucky or because I'm obedient to higher laws of the universe. New career paths (as one example) didn't open up to me because the 'suits taking my money' opened them up to me, but because God blessed me...or I'm really lucky and you should be jealous of how luck I am :) jk

The gospel of Jesus Christ IS free. Entrance to the Temple is also free. You simply have to abide by certain guidelines to go to the temple or heaven. You can't stand in front of God on judgement day and say "I thought all this was free, why did you want my money on earth?" any more than you can say "why can't I steal or murder and still be allowed to walk around in a free society?"

It's really simple, keep commandments and see if your life is better, if it is, then God lives. If not, then you have your answer and I'm good with your decision. It's just my job to try to help people at least find out. (not necessarily with you since I presume that you did live the gospel while you were a member and you didn't see the blessings and so you left.)

Mormon411 said...

I've written posts before about that very thing. Hell, if paying tithing actually did yield a 1000% return, then I would pay with a huge smile on my face.

But I can honestly tell you that since leaving the church, my life is no better or worse. I got flat tires as a believer; I get them as an unbeliever.

I've given your test a chance and I'm sorry to say that someone failed. I'm not cursed; I'm not running around with a stupor of thought. In all honesty, nothing is different except a 10% raise and a longer weekend.

Ammon said...

I guess you and I value the 'return on our investment' differently. I also still have flat tires (I have one now in fact), I need 4 new tires and can't afford it at the moment. But God continues to bless me in other areas of my life, I'm not going to pick and choose which commandments I keep based on my needs, I'm going to do my best to keep all of God's commandments simply because He say's so and have faith that He will continue to meet all of my needs on His timetable.

Mormon411 said...

Well, Ammon, if that works for you then I'm glad it does.

I, however, am done doing anything just because someone "says so" and requires me to have faith about it.

When I read your last comment, I hear you basically saying: "I'll do everything I'm told and accept life however it comes."

As I have tried to demonstrate, life comes at you, whether you believe or not. If you accept life the way "god" sends it to you, then how is that any different than accepting life the way it comes naturally?

I see life as just coming naturally. You see it as some god pulling the strings to make things happen.

According to Okham's Razor, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

So which explanation is more simple: that life just happens, OR there is a supernatural god up in heaven who knows everything and cares so much about you and his 10 billion other children that he specifically sends you the trials and experiences that you personally need? And he does it for all 10 billion children whether they believe in him or not?

Ammon said...

You bring up some good points. Let me clarify my position and beliefs for you.

I don't do "anything because someone says so". I don't even automatically do what my priesthood leaders say. I consider what they say, think about it, even pray about it sometimes. Then I do what I think is right. I have yet to come across a major difference between what they say and what I believe.

I don't believe that God is micromanaging my life or anyone else's life. The scriptures teach us that blessings are predicated upon the commandments which they are tied to. I think of it in terms of an internet or computer 'script'. Something must be running automatically, keep certain commandments, receive certain blessings. God is the one who set up that script so He is the one to be grateful to for the blessings.

The simple answer for me is that I'm blessed when I keep the commandments. Like I said before, it's either that or I'm just lucky to have certain things turn out they way they have over the course of many years.

Is it easier for you to believe that we're one big cosmic accident? You claim that you don't use faith in your life only follow 'real' things. You cannot KNOW that we're an accident, you are simply exercising faith that there is no God. I would recommend you place your faith back in Jesus Christ.

Mormon411 said...

As far as atheists are concerned, the origin of the universe doesn't really matter. It's okay to not know. We are not afraid of the unknown.

I can't state that I KNOW there is no god any more than you can state that you know you do.

But what I can state, and this is where our experiences differ, is that life as a believer vs. a non-believer has been exactly the same. I haven't been any more or any less "blessed".

In fact, life is better because now I don't have the church looking down my non-garment underwear every chance they get.

Faith is something you believe that has no evidence. Therefore, how can I have faith in something that I don't believe? That doesn't make any sense.

Ammon said...

You believe that there is no God. I think that's faith, since you don't 'know', unless we have a different understanding of the word faith. Faith is damaging to us when it is placed behind incorrect eternal principles.

You say that atheists aren't afraid of the unknown, neither are religious people. (well, that's a generalization on my part, some might be afraid).

If it turns out I'm wrong, that there is no God or afterlife, I'll never know it, but I will have lived a fulfilling and hopefully 'service-to-others' filled life.

On the other hand, you run the risk of standing in front of God on judgement day and saying, 'hmm, I guess I was wrong.'.

I don't mean to imply that you don't try to serve others, but my religious understanding drives me and motivates me to help more than I otherwise would on my own. It also provides me with more opportunities to serve others through HT, callings, etc.

Perhaps you are living your life now the same as you did as a believer. That would explain the non-change in blessings. For example, every commandment that is kept, whether you are a believer of a particular religion or not, will bring blessings. Not stealing for example, whether you're a religious person or not, honesty is rewarded by God.

I know people from other religions who pay tithing and they feel blessed for it. That was a surprise to me initially, but as I contemplated the matter, it doesn't surprise me that God would bless anyone who kept any commandment.