Tithing

Posted by: Andee / Category: ,

As a Mormon, you are expected to pay 10% if your money to the Church. Every month, you go by the bishop's office and pick up a tithing slip, fill it out, and put in a check for your tithing. At the end of the year, you have what is called a tithing settlement. The bishop has a private meeting with you and asks questions to make sure you are being faithful by giving a true 10%. If he feels you are not, he has the right to ask you for more money.

If you don't pay tithing, or enough tithing, you are not "in good standing" with the Church. You would not be able to go to the temple for ceremonies like weddings or sealings. You have to wait outside the temple with the other "non-worthy" people and wait for the ceremony to be over and for the family to exit the temple.

Below are a few stories from Mormons on how tithing affected their lives.

My dad is hard working, honest, blue-collar guy. The world hasn't always been to kind to him. He found himself out of a job many times as I was a child. You could say we grew up poor. We qualified for welfare and free school lunch, but my dad had too much dignity and pride to accept the freebies. He busted his ass and made every penny count.

By the time I was in high school things were working out for my dad and he had stable work with benefits. Our lives improved, but it wasn't like we were rolling in cash. We had moved out of poverty status into the lower middle class status. Money was still tight.

A Mormon Temple Recommend

I was never one of those kids who saved for a mission because honestly I never considered it until I was a SR in HS. My dad was proud when I decided to serve; I was the first in my family to serve a mission. The mission would cost $365 a month. My Dad's monthly tithing was about $365 a month. If he paid for both it would be over $700 a month and he just couldn't afford to do that.

My dad decided to skip out on tithing and fund my mish. The Bishop chastised him for this and told him tithing always came first. He should pay his tithing no matter what, and the ward would pay for my mission. My Dad had too much dignity to do that. Also, my Dad reasoned that it was sixes. He tithes $365, and the church turned around and gave him $365 back to pay for my mission. How is that any different than skipping tithing and just paying for my mission?

2 years later I arrived home, and a month after I got home, my brother left on his mission. So basically, my dad did not pay tithing for 4 yrs because he was funding missions.

About a year into my brother's mission I got engaged. I was going to be sealed in the temple. My dad's Temple Recommend had lapsed, so he went to get it renewed a couple of days before the wedding. Of course, he hadn't been paying tithing for 3 years because he was funding missions. The Bishop knew this and told him he had to at least pay a years worth of back tithing before he would renew the recommend. This came to roughly $4000. My dad went out and got a loan and paid the money. I was pissed at the whole situation. My dad just said: "It was worth it to be able to attend my son's wedding." The sad thing is; in any other situation, no one would have to pay 4 g's to be able to attend their kid's wedding.

I want everyone who is teeter-tottering on whether the LDS church is for them or not to understand this story.

Forget JS marrying a bunch of teens, forget about the uneasy history of Mormonism, forget about DNA and the Book Of Mormon, and the contradicting doctrines. All churches have these things in common to some degree.

The most f*cked up thing about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the way it treats it's own members and families. It claims to be pro family, but it splits up families and screws with people's lives. It makes them pay large sums of money in order to see a loved one's wedding. It takes, and takes, and takes. Whether it is your time, money, or sanity. It sucks you dry and does not give back anything of value except some pipe dream of a perfect afterlife. An afterlife which the church makes you feel is impossible to obtain, and uses this to heap unnecessary guilt upon it's members.

It's not the doctrine that makes the church a damaging cult. It's the way they screw their members over. Such as not letting a father attend his child's wedding unless he pays $4000.
It's an amazing story, and it's absolutely true. It sure makes you think, doesn't it? Shouldn't money given to a church be donations on what you can afford? Why would a church tell you that you can't see your own child be married if you didn't pay enough tithing? Because it's all about the money, thats why.

The transcripts of General Conference talks are usually made available some time after the speeches are given. This is the title of a talk from a conference talk given on a Saturday afternoon by Lynn Robbins who says:
Among those who do not sacrifice there are two extremes: one is the rich, gluttonous man who won't and the other is the poor, destitute man who believes he can't. But how can you ask someone who is starving to eat less? Is there a level of poverty so low that sacrifice should not be expected or a family so destitute that paying tithing should cease to be required?

One reason the Lord illustrates doctrines with the most extreme circumstances is to eliminate excuses. If the Lord expects even the poorest widow to pay her mite, where does that leave all others who find that it is not convenient or easy to sacrifice?

No bishop, no missionary should ever hesitate or lack the faith to teach the law of tithing to the poor. The sentiment of "They can't afford to" needs to be replaced with "They can't afford not to."

One of the first things a bishop must do to help the needy is ask them to pay their tithing. Like the widow, if a destitute family is faced with the decision of paying their tithing or eating, they should pay their tithing.
What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you read that? Anger? Sadness? These people are made to feel like they are not being good people if they don't pay their tithing. They are told they will receive more blessings if they pay their tithing.

I was thinking about this while I was taking a shower this morning. My dad has always been fanatical about paying tithing. He has always paid on his gross income, and without fail. I figure that he paid at least $200 a month during my childhood to the church while we kids did without:
  • medical care: I fractured my wrist in a skating accident in 3rd grade. I didn't go to the doctor. My teacher was upset because I was going around with a homemade sling on my arm made of ace bandages. As an adult, I had to have surgery to fix the damage.
  • dental care: I had a cavity that hurt for weeks. Finally my dad took me to a dentist he found who had agreed to charge a minimal rate in exchange for a no-frills filling. It was incredibly painful. I thought no novacaine (or very little) had been used.
  • food: I recall opening the fridge once, and all we had were condiments, a loaf of bread and a pitcher of water. Sometimes the RS Pres would bring us food. Other times not.
  • clothes that fit: If only I had a dollar for every time I heard "expecting rain today?"... Luckily we didn't eat much, so I was able to button up pants that were two sizes too small. I also didn't have a warm winter coat. When the military moved us to Hawaii, my dad was thrilled because the wardrobe needs were even less - Hanes t-shirts, shorts, and keds (not real Keds, knock-offs from Woolworths) year round.
  • school field trips: yep, I was the kid who either had to sit alone at school in the classroom or rely on the generosity of teachers.
Temple Grounds in Oakland, California.

Of course the list could go on from basic necessities to wants, but you get the picture. I think my childhood life experience taught me "there is never enough", and I can see how that affects me today. I have an inordinate anxiety about money and about ensuring that all of my family's needs and reasonable wants are taken care of.
This person had to deal without necessities as a child just because the church was asking for the 10% of his father's paycheck.

My father passed away in 1998, and my Mom started going back to church right after. She received annuity from my Dad's life insurance and social security. My father was the sole bread-winner for the family, and we relied on that money to make ends meet. The church asked my Mom to pay tithing on that annuity.

What does the church do with this money? They claim give money to numerous charity organizations, and I am sure that they do... but how much? There is no way you would ever get the Mormon Church to confess how much money they had, or where that money is going.

Temples are being built all around the world. These structures cost millions at a time, and the grounds are immaculate, year round. Who does the work? Who cleans inside the temple? No, the church doesn't hire special cleaning crews or maintenance workers... the Mormon faithful clean the temples for free. The money isn't going there...

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is now building a 2 Billion dollar mall in Salt Lake City. Where did this two billion dollars come from? Why does a Church need a mall? Who will get the proceeds from the mall? How much will that be?

All questions you will never get the answers for...


2 comments:

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Cool blog. Very insightful.

  1. Sydney Says:

    Thanks, I appreciate the compliment! Take care.