LDS Fraud Case: Voluntary Tithing and Mis-Informed Consent, Part 1

LDS Fraud Case: Voluntary Tithing and Mis-Informed Consent, Part 1

(Note: This original article has been divided into 2 parts for readability. Part 2 here)

I had not planned on doing another post on tithing, however an argument has been coming up repeatedly in various threads discussing the recent fraud case as well as my prior posts on tithing which deserves some dedicated treatment. The argument is this:

“Tithing in the Mormon church is completely voluntary! No one forces you to pay tithing and you determine whether or not you are a full tithe payer yourself – between you and God.”
(any one of several of random Mormon internet commentators)

The intention of this argument is usually to demonstrate that there is no coercion or inducement to pay tithing in the Mormon Church – every one does so in a completely voluntary manner.

What does the church officially have to say about whether tithing is voluntary? One of the most recent statements on the matter was published in a March 2013 Ensign article by President Howard W. Hunter:

“The tithe is God’s law for His children, yet the payment is entirely voluntary. In this respect it does not differ from the law of the Sabbath or from any other of His laws. We may refuse to obey any or all of them. Our obedience is voluntary, but our refusal to pay does not abrogate or repeal the law.”
(“Our Law of Tithing” Howard W Hunter, March 2013 Ensign, lds.org)

It is the unambiguous position of the church that tithing is voluntary. In the above quote, President hunter states that the voluntary nature of the law of tithing is no different than how others of God’s laws are voluntary.

What else is voluntary?

If you accept that tithing is voluntary, what else may be considered voluntary? Would you consider the payment of taxes to be voluntary or mandatory? Hear what Senator Harry Reid has to say about this issue when asked:

Tithing is given as a law, just a taxes are given as a law. One may choose to pay taxes or tithing and thus reap the benefits – the blessings of God in the case of tithing, and the blessings of the state and continued “freedom” in the case of taxes. One may also voluntarily choose not to pay tax or tithing. What, then, would be the result? On such consequences, the church teaches the following:

“While you are free to choose your course of action, you are not free to choose the consequences.”
(“For the Strength of Youth” lds.org)

In the case of not paying taxes, those consequences would include loss of freedom and imprisonment in this life. In the case of tithing, it is loss of blessings, Celestial glory, eternal family in the eternities, not to mention combustibility at the 2nd coming of Christ. In each case you are free to choose to  comply with the law or disobey. They are voluntary. This is something that defenders of the fraud case must concede.

The Madoff deception

Bernie Madhoff - his victims volunteered their money

Bernie Madhoff – his victims volunteered their money

One real world example to demonstrate that even when someone pays money to a third party voluntarily, they may still be victim of a crime is seen in the investors of Bernie Madoff. Bernie Madoff was a stockbroker, investment advisor, and financier with impeccable credentials who was successful in convincing thousands of high value investors to entrust him with their savings. His investment securities business was, in fact, a Ponzi scheme which resulted in the largest fraud in American history – amounting to billions of dollars. Each and every one of his investors had voluntarily given him their money, and yet when all of the facts of his deception were made known, they were clearly all victims of fraud.

When deception is employed, the person who voluntarily pays is the victim of a crime.

A Study in Sherlock

In my prior article on LDS Tithing: Cheer vs Fear, I described how the threat of loss of celestial glory, eternal families and burning at Christ’s return are employed in warning members of the dangers of non-payment of tithing. If such threatening negative consequences are employed, can the payment of tithing still be considered voluntary? A recent story in the popular BBC drama Sherlock may be illustrative.

Sherlock is a modern retelling of the classic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle character’s adventures. (Spoilers follow, so if you haven’t seen it yet – you might skip this section.)  In the episode “A Study in Pink” a series of murders take place in London with no apparent connection or sign of struggle. After much investigation, Sherlock is ultimately lured by the murderer into  an empty building where he confronts Sherlock with a dilemma.

Sherlock faces off with the murderer

Sherlock faces off with the murderer

The murderer presents each of his victims with 2 pill bottles, each containing a tablet. One of the tablets is a poison which will kill them peacefully, and the other is an inert tablet that has no effect. The murderer states that his victim gets to choose which tablet they will take.

Choices, choices...

Choices, choices…

Upon further analysis & deduction, Sherlock decides that his best course of action is to use his free agency and not play the game at all. To this suggestion, the murderer introduces what the resulting consequences would be by introducing a gun to Sherlocks face.

You can choose to disobey, but you cannot choose the consequences.

You can choose to disobey, but you cannot choose the consequences.

At this point Sherlock still has, by the standard of the Church and Harry Reid, his free agency and his decision to take one of the pills  is completely voluntary. He could choose to take a pill and risk life or death – or he could choose not to play and receive immediate certain death by a bullet. It is still Sherlock’s choice. I will not reveal the resolution of this dilemma for those that read-on despite the spoiler warning. (Sherlock is an excellent series – definitely watch it!)

Threats change everything

While some may still define Sherlock’s scenario as voluntary, it strains credibility when evaluating notions of free agency. When a gun is in the room, free will goes out the window. This is why people carry guns – to compel other to comply with their will against their targets own agency. A gun is an effective tool in this manner only if the victim recognizes the gun, has the experience and knowledge to understand its danger and believes that the aggressor will use it in the manner threatened.

Temporal vs spiritual threats

A gun threatens a persons existence in this life. What if the murderer in Sherlock didn’t pull out a gun, but instead said that if Sherlock did not choose one of the pills, he would lose God’s blessings and risk being burned at Christ’s return? This threat would not be effective because Sherlock has no reason to believe that the murderer has any authority to make such a claim.

Isn't free agency fun?

Isn’t free agency fun?

Now lets change the scenario. Suppose Sherlock is not a genius savant, but instead a lowly church member and suppose he is in an interview with his Bishop. Because his personal testimony has bound him to the church, He believes that the Bishop, and the doctrine and church authority which grant him that title, are real. The bishop tells him that he must pay his tithing, or else he will lose God’s blessings, Celestial glory, his eternal family, and risks burning at Christ’s return. The very real threat of eternal consequences would then be just as effective in the mind of our victim as a gun, though delayed in it’s effect. This is because they acknowledge the consequences and believe the Bishop, church and doctrine to be authoritative in describing them. The persons decision to pay tithing can still be said to be voluntary in exactly the same manner as Sherlock’s dilemma – the threats are simply displaced into the afterlife rather than in the temporal world.

Coercion vs sincerity

To the extent that the payment of tithing is done because of fear of the negative consequences, it may be said to be the result of coercion.  By definition, such payment is not a sincere expression of a cheerful giving heart, because if the threats were not there – the member would not pay. While those who no longer view the church as a legitimate authority for spiritual matters may look back to their tithe paying days and only see a system of coercion, most members would likely state that they do not pay tithing primarily because of those negative consequences (softer term for threats). They would state that their obedience to the Law of Tithing is a sincere expression of their love and devotion to God and would do it despite any positive or negative promises. The mere fact that it is God’s Law is sufficient for them to comply.

At this point it is important to examine just how people come to the knowledge that tithing is in fact God’s law. If a person chooses to obey such a law it is because they have been informed of it from a source that they trust. Their compliance with that law is then a voluntary action made out of informed consent. What exactly are the components of such informed consent and how does this concept relate to the payment of tithing?

This question is explored in Part 2 of Voluntary Tithing and Mis-Informed Consent.

  • http://gravatar.com/shelligus PathlessTruth

    Brilliant!

  • https://plus.google.com/107646212105344266329 Kay Burningham

    Very good information, especially with re: informed consent. (I have handled many med. mal. cases and Jon is correct). Though usually only raised as a defense (the lack of) in negligence or assault cases (as opposed to fraud), the rationale behind the doctrine was presented very well.

    In negligence cases there must first be a duty to use some degree of care. In ordinary negligence, it is the ‘reasonable man’ standard of care. However, in professional negligence cases, as the author knows, a professional (here a physician, but also atttorneys and some other professionals) has a fiduciary duty toward his patient/client, and that duty requires among other things full disclosure.

    I have argued in “An American Fraud,” that the LDS Church leaders should also be charged with a fidicuary duty toward church members, requiring full disclosure of accurate church history. Indeed, even without the imposition of a fiducial relationship, sellers of real property are charged with full diclosure of latent defects to potential buyers.

    Often one’s spirtual life-course and attendant important decisions (marriage, decisions about children, education, etc.) depend on one’s choice of differing religions (or none). It would seem then, at minimum, that the secular law should mandate that clergy, even “lay clergy,” avoid gross misrepresentation, if not fully disclose material facts in the course of teaching their members/potential members about that religion’s history.

    • Bob Wilkinson

      Dear Kay,
      The fiduciary obligation which occurs in civil and commercial transactional relationships cannot be compared with a voluntary donation to a church. There is no contract for services in the exchange. If one doesn’t make a donation one is not prohibited from participation. Even attending the LDS temples is acquired via an interview where one is asked questions completely on your honor. You can lie and go to the temple if that is what you wish to do– if you are a member of course. And who are these angels you wish to administer a secular law over clergy when attendance is completely voluntary. Don’t go, don’t participate, don’t join. Go your way in peace and be happy. I don’t care if the Catholic Church preached that you cow jumped over the moon each night you went to sleep. It is voluntary to be involved. All is taken on faith. The doctrine is not material fact. The manner in which Joseph Smith produced the textual information is not material fact. It is immaterial fact. He claims to have received it of heaven. The printing and publishing and distributing of those works are material fact. The state, the secular law being involved in faith based belief systems will spell disaster for freedom of conscience and faith. There are no trustworthy angels in secular law.

      • JediMormon

        Good one, Bob. Too many former LDS, or soon-to-be former LDS seem to have forgotten the spiritual side of what tithing is about: blessings from the Lord for obeying that law and paying. When members begin worrying about what the church does with the money, or dictating themselves what the church should be doing with it, that is a sure sign of potential apostasy.

        I fully expect to be labeled as “brain-washed” for stating my opinion, but that’s okay. I’ll keep paying tithing anyway while enjoying the blessings I have received, and will continue receive, through paying it.

        • JediMormon

          Apologies for the size of the portrait on my posts. I’ll try to fix it.

        • Jennifer

          Give your money to me, and God will bless you. Don’t worry about how I use that money. Once I have your money it is the same as if the Lord has it, so worrying about what I do with the money would be second guessing the Lord. So, who is going to start giving me their money? Remember — You’ll get blessings!

      • Thinker of Thoughts

        Bob – by your standard of logic here, then groups such as heaven’s gate and Jonestown cannot be said to have created victims of it’s adherents. not all controlling organizations end in mass suicide, but they use similar techniques of information milieu control. It is at least unethical and at worst completely fraudulent if not dangerous.

      • C

        I think some people value integrity more than others. Lying for some is not an option. To simply say, “If you don’t like it, then leave”, seems a bit un-empathetic. Why can’t we seek to build something great out of something we love, and has been a huge part of our lives? I have been a tithe paying Mormon my whole life, but I support this push for more disclosure. To break this down in simple black and white terms is very tempting, and really helps fight against it, yet to me it seems disingenuous.

        I want to believe, I want to have faith. But when you find out that you have been told half-truths, and have been purposely withheld information your entire life you feel a bit of a sting. Sure I could ‘just leave’, but at what cost? Should I fake it till I make it? Should I just ignore some of the contradictions? I don’t want to have to do any of those things. I value integrity, an attribute that has been instilled in me by the church/church culture. Why can’t we work for more disclosure? Why not work for more informed consent? And why not try to snuff-out mis-informed consent? To tell me simply to leave seem quite unloving. To tell me to keep my head down and do what I’m ‘supposed to’, seems dishonest.

        I just want to know about this cause I’m putting my time, effort, money, and faith into. Not because I’m cynically minded, but because I value integrity and honesty. If I’m running a charity and I am asking for donations, I will give as much information as I can, and will gladly answer any and all questions I am asked, to the best of my ability. I do this because I value right action over right belief.

        I am sorry to say, if you were a follower of the hypothetical ‘Lunology’ religion, described in part 2 of this post, you would be saying that it is the pinky-less people should just leave if they don’t like it/don’t believe it. The only problem is, those people will never get their pinkys back… They made a choice, yes, but to say that they are completely at fault–that is where it gets un-empathetic–especially for those who were conditioned to believe that model of reality to be true.

        I, in no way, want President Monson to get into any trouble, but I can see how this is perceived as fraud. Even though I am not too concerned myself, I cannot, at all, blame someone who is upset that they are now pinky-less.

        We should seek for understanding and empathy rather than choosing a side, throwing on a jersey, and representing our ‘team’. I can see both sides, and I do not want to put a jersey on.

  • Miss Alger

    There’s no available analogy to anything based on lies and known deception . If you are a perpetrator of such action , you are committing gross fraud .

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  • Lance M.

    I loved the commentary and analogy. One huge point I think was missed though, what about all the temporal consequences for not paying your “voluntary” tithe? Sure it’s voluntary but if a member doesn’t pay it, you can’t get a temple recommend, which means you can’t have any leadership callings, you can’t go on temple youth trips (which makes you look like a bad example in their eyes), you’re treated as “unworthy”, lower-class, not as faithful as those who have recommends. No, the coercion doesn’t stop with being denied blessings in the afterlife. There’s horrible, earthly consequences for not paying your “voluntary” tithing contribution.

    • Bob Wilkinson

      This church thing is voluntary. If you don’t see the important of tithing then the temple “privileges” mean nothing too. What importance can the temple have to you if you are not willing to help pay for it. You are not making any sense. Now in commercial sense– if I don’t pay my insurance license fee I cannot sell insurance. If I don’t pay the club fee I cannot enter the club. If I am a member of many organizations where I don’t pay the relevant fees I cannot participate. Why should it be any different. If you don’t believe but still want something from this organization you lack personal integrity and honesty. It is theft if you think you shouldn’t have to donate and still get the privileges. You have got to read what is stated in the book of Malachi. And as far as anybody being shunned or treated differently in a communal sense for not paying tithing– I don’t know who pays and who does not pay. That is confidential. The only ones that know who pays and who doesn’t is the Bishopric in a congregation and I haven’t seen them treat anyone differently. All of you who think that you should get the rewards and privileges without “sacrificing” or contributing– you are dishonest and need to do some introspection. Again, if you don’t like an organizations practices, do some serious thinking about whether you belong there or if you simply need to be more honest.

      • Lance M.

        Bob, your insurance example is a perfect example of this blog post and goes right to the point about what’s wrong with the church. Please let me pontificate:

        You pay a “license fee” to sell insurance. This fee is voluntary, yet mandatory. Why do you choose to represent that particular insurance company? What if someone came and solicited you to work for that company? What if that person said they’re AAA+ rated, 200 years old, with over $500 billion in assets and a trillion dollars under management? What if they said you’ll make a good income through your working years, and when you retire, you’ll NEVER want for anything again! What if they say they’re the best company with the best products that fit EVERYONE’S needs and only a few people get to work there out of the thousands of different insurance companies in the world with several million competing employees. You better get in on the ground floor before it’s too late.

        One small piece of fine print…their annual license fees are five times higher then any competition. “No problem,” you say, “it’s well worth all the benefits you’ve solicited me with….sign me up!”

        After paying the “club” fees you get to work calling all your family and friends to tell them you’ve got the most wonderful opportunity they’ll ever have in there lives. You spend countless hours and pay your own expenses to regurgitate the exact same message the original employee told you about, feeling so confident that you’re providing a chance of a lifetime for your family and friends….all the time, happily paying your licensing fees.

        As time goes by you start to hear inklings that the company really doesn’t have that high of ratings, their assets-to-debit ratio is much higher then you’ve been told, and the investment products you’ve been putting all your family members into have huge strings attached and many penalties. At first you brush this off but then a family member comes to you with direct information that’s contrary to what you’ve been told within the company.

        To get to the bottom of it, you go to the CEO and simply ask to see the financials for the insurance company. “No, he says. We don’t make any of our records public.” You wonder, how can this be? So, you start to do some research and, come to find out, the company hasn’t released financials for decades. You find out they’re not AAA+ rated but, in fact, C- rated and on the brink of failure. You read the prospectus for all the products your family is in and you realize they have huge annual fees and penalties. You dig deeper and you find hundreds of lies, cover-ups, misdeeds, and changing policies.

        You realize if this information gets out to all your family and friends it would be a disaster…fortunes lost and the end of your career.

        At this point you have a few choices:
        1). You aide the cover-up. You rationalize all the good the company has done for you and your fellow employees. You get rid of all evidence that could hurt you or the company. You put you head down and push forward, villainizing anyone with a dissenting view. Obfuscating the truth, perpetuating fraud, and speaking outright lies.

        2) You throw all your personal items in a box and walk away to suffer the guilt and shame of being so credulous. Promising to never let someone dupe you like that again.

        3) You realize you’ve been outright lied to and have been defrauded out of your money, time, and dedication. You immediately go to the insurance commissioner and file charges. Yes, the licensing fees are voluntary but you would have NEVER joined that company if they would have provided you with the truth. And you certainly wouldn’t have EVER gotten all your family and friends involved with this company if you had know the truth up front.

        “When an honest man realizes he’s been mistaken, he either ceases to be mistaken or he ceases to be honest.” Anonymous

  • Lance M.

    I just want to repeat a post I made about this conversation on Facebook (sorry for the length):

    To relate a personal story…We own our own small business. It’s very hard, frustrating, risky work. At the end of 2012 we were behind somewhat with tithing and December is always a slow month in our business. In order to stay as a member in “good standing”, and keep our temple recommends, we had to come up with $2,500 before the 31st. We wrote the check and it made a huge hole in our cash flow that really set us back in January.

    Here’s the rub; in addition to our tithing paid during 2012, we had given over $8,000 to a local charity through our business. NONE of this money gets to be counted “for the Lord.” If it doesn’t go to the LDS church it’s, evidently, not Christ’s money.

    Fast forward to 2013. As so many thousands of others have done, we found out the true history of the church and resigned. During 2013 we gave about $12,000 to charity through our business. If we had been members, would the church recognize that donated money as tithing?…NO WAY! We still would’ve had to give ANOTHER five figures to the church in order to keep a temple recommend.

    As an active member, I never gave a second thought about the requirement of tithing. I mean, how else would the church get meeting houses, temples, pay all the bills, etc? But now that I’m not so naive, I absolutely see the sound business practice of FORCING members to be full tithe payers in order to get a temple recommend.

    Everyone is saying, “The church doesn’t FORCE anyone to pay tithing.”

    Step back and think about what the temple means to you as a true believing, active Mormon. Tithing is a strict commandment in Mormonism. For those of you who currently hold a temple recommend, how would you feel to have to turn your recommend into the bishop because you were only a part-tithe payer? Even if you could answer all the other recommend questions in the affirmative. There are many people who have had to do this exact thing…including myself. Many years ago our business was struggling so bad that I couldn’t come up with enough funds to be a full-tithe payer. Therefore, I was now considered UNWORTHY to hold a recommend. I vowed to never be a part-tithe payer again.

    What does it mean to be an active, every week attending, member of the church…and not have a temple recommend? Without it:

    * you can’t hold any type of leadership callings
    * you can’t go on youth temple trips to help with baptisms for the dead
    * you can’t take out your endowments to go to the celestial kingdom, meaning you will not live with your family or God for all ETERNITY
    * you can’t see you own children get married in the temple
    * as a young adult, you can’t go on a mission (nor can you go through the temple with your missionary son or daughter)
    * you’re treated as “unworthy” to all those higher up in the caste system of the church
    * you can’t be sealed to your spouse, meaning your family will be lost for all ETERNITY

    There’s an inherit, coerced, unwarranted stigmatism placed on members who aren’t worthy enough to hold a temple recommend. Tithing is not just between you and God. Many members of your ward know if you don’t hold a recommend. A person could be the “salt of the earth;” humble, charitable, loving, etc but if they’re not a full-tithe paying member, they’re part of the lower class of the church. It’s a “shaming” tactic that has netted the church billions upon billions of dollars.

    I’m grateful for people like Tom Phillips, Steven Bloor and Christopher Ralph who are fighting to get clear answers from the leadership of the church.

    • http://gravatar.com/delthatcher Del T

      Exactly right Lance! I tip my hat to you. It’s not hard to understand…why are believing members unable to see this, I wonder.

    • Bob Wilkinson

      First and foremost you are the steward of your family support. You need to make wise financial decisions. The Lord would rather you do that then worry about tithing. Maybe you should consider that “charity begins at home” and build up your stewardship so that it can support your family and then you can pay generous amounts to your charitable desires. In the mean time take advantage of all of the privileges still offered because aren’t those still valuable? It won’t help being negative or dissatisfied with your church or your God. That alone can prevent life success. As far as being stigmatized — I haven’t seen it. I have gone a year without temple attendance. No, I don’t see it in my realm. Now, it could happen to you, but members and leaders are not perfect people. If this is God’s church are you really going to let anyone else determine your relationship? As far as shaming to get billions of dollars— that has to be your personal interpretation. I just don’t see it. Yes, strong and vocal encouragement is given, but still not as vocal and persistent as political money solicitors on the phone. As far as fighting to get clear answers– I don’t think church leaders respond out of publicly induced intimidation. Are they honestly trying to get personal answers or simply plying personal intellectual power– to get their own way– to make the church change through embarrassment and intimidation? It seems the latter.

      • Lance M.

        Bob said, “I have gone a year without temple attendance.”

        Bob, having a temple recommend and simply not attending the temple is MUCH different than not being able to have a recommend because you’re deemed “not worthy.”

        Many people have a recommend who almost never go to the temple. It’s not *attending* that counts, it’s having that little piece of paper in your wallet. Please don’t not tell me that not having a recommend is only between you and you bishop. I’ve been in too many leadership callings, in too many PEC, WC, and welfare meetings, to know better.

      • C

        Hi again Bob,

        I have been reading your comments, and as a member of the LDS Church, I am sorry to say, that people such as yourself, are probably the people who doing the stigmatizing of former members. Or at least, the way you come off is making individuals feel stigmatized.

        You seem to be stuck in this black-and-white paradigm, and, in my experience, at least, people who function within that type of paradigm tend to be less empathetic than someone that doesn’t have a sense of ‘rightness’ to them.

        I look at reality and I realize that there are far too many variables to factor in when coming to a decision or position about something. Since there are too many variables to factor in, the mind creates a model of reality, which is simply an abstraction of reality.

        The real problem is, you are working with a different model than Lance is. You perceive a different reality, with different abstractions of reality than he does. This, along with many other factors (e.g. personality, up-bringing, genetics, experiences, mood, etc), creates a positionality.

        The positionality contains an un-told number of biases and prejudices, that you are likely unaware of. It is easy to have your model of reality, and then read Lance’s ideas/thought/comments, and create a model of what he is trying to say, and then compare it to your model (which to you is reality), and you think “Nope, this is not right”. How can you possibly say that unless you are Lance?

        Most people I talk to seem to think that empathy is ‘putting yourself in someone else’s shoes’, when in fact, true empathy is actually, being THEM in their shoes.

        Could it be possible that both you and Lance are just working from different models, which are made up of different variables, and that neither one of you is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’? You are both abstracting from reality, why should you have to agree on the abstractions? Maybe the different abstractions can help us get a better view of this thing that we are trying to understand. Perhaps both of you are just describing different aspects of the same thing.

        I, for one, have to be humble enough to admit that I do not know the answers to these questions. I am glad that there are people on both sides of it. It seems that the root cause of these types of issues never truly gets resolved. That is why I think we need to seek for understanding and empathy on both sides. I empathize with both sides of this issue, and I am glad that there are people out there who try to change things. I feel we need both the ‘right’ and ‘left’ wings or sides to balance each other out. I don’t feel it has to be an either or thing. We shouldn’t have to ‘pick a side’.

        What if everyone were to work together to build a bridge of understanding, that goes both ways. We can make something really great rather than simply having to be for or against any one thing. I also don’t feel that anyone should have to leave, or ‘get out’, if they don’t like it. If they choose to leave, or stay, then we should love them just the same (or as much as humanly possible…at least strive to get to a loving point, if one cannot simply love unconditionally)..

    • JediMormon

      “Many members of your ward know if you don’t hold a recommend.”

      Not true. The bishop does not announce who holds a recommend and who doesn’t. And, contrary to what some may have you believe, non-recommend holders are not looked down upon or treated as second-class members–not in my ward, any way.

      • Jennifer

        I have lived in a ward where persons whose temple recommend had lapsed were openly and directly threatened that their names would be read over the pulpit. And, why was this seen as a valid threat? Because in Mormon culture having a temple recommend communicates “worthiness”, and “worthiness” is required to hold callings, be viewed as an upstanding member of the community, and participate in ordinances and/or observe ordinances in the temple. Someone can have a valid concern about tithing and also have the belief that “worthiness” is paramount. The two are not mutually exclusive. And, it is false to claim that “worthiness” is not considered extremely important in the LDS church both in teaching and culture.

  • http://gravatar.com/dbundy dbundy
  • http://gravatar.com/dbundy dbundy

    The whole argument that tithing is required by the Church, in order to escape the judgment of God, is cunning. However, it is easy to see that the argument is based on substituting the care taker of the house for the landlord, with whom the tenant has a contract.

    The non-tithe payer has robbed the landlord, not the care taker. The broken contract deprives the delinquent tenant of rights to tenancy, as is only just.

    Nevertheless, the landlord pleads with the tenant to tithe, as per the contract, promising him blessings overflowing, if he does so.

    But let’s prosecute the care taker, instead of hearkening to the landlord, whose arm is extended to us all the day long.

    • Thinker of Thoughts

      Doug,

      Church leaders have called tithing God’s Law. Not paying tithing is by definition a violation of God’s Law, thus it is a sin. Those who are unrepentant in their sin cannot escape the judgement of God. That is not cunning – that is fact according to mormon theology.

      That is not the point that I am making in this post, however.

      The point of this post is to demonstrate how it is fine for the church to require tithing, but only if they do not act to deliberately shield members from pertinent information which speaks directly to the trustworthiness of the founder and leaders of the church and the validity of the scriptures that they brought forward.

      If the church was open about those things and people still choose to join and pay tithing, then they can be said to have chosen to do so with informed consent.

      In your analogy, it is akin to the tenant requiring the land-lord to provide sufficient evidence that they are infact the owner of the property with the rights to enter into a rental contract. If the person claiming to be the land-lord has a history of defrauding other people with land-lord schemes, then that is pertinent information for a potential tenant to have. If the landlord says “well I have been found guilty of defrauding other people before using similar tactics – but this time the contract is real” and the potential tenant decides to go ahead and enter into the contract, then that is fine. If the land-lord conceals that fact – its fraud.

      • http://gravatar.com/dbundy dbundy

        LoL — What is always left out of your arguments, and Tom’s case, is that people receive the witness that Jesus blamed Nicodemus for not receiving. This witness cannot be seen any more than the wind can, but it is the spirit of truth, and, when people receive it, the chance of their being deceived is zero, by definition.

        • Lance M.

          “…but it is the spirit of truth, and, when people receive it, the chance of their being deceived is zero, by definition.”

          Are you seriously saying that when someone has a really, really, really good feeling about something, then that must be the spirit of truth…and, therefore, they can’t be deceived…ever…not even once?

          What am I missing here?

          • C

            ..I believe that is what he is saying..

          • http://gravatar.com/dbundy dbundy

            You are missing what most people are missing: The Holy Spirit is not “a good feeling.”

        • C

          Psychologically speaking, certitude is an emotion; and like all emotions/feelings, certitude can function independently of reality.

          • http://gravatar.com/dbundy dbundy

            That’s why we don’ speak psychologically.

          • C

            Well, ‘we’ don’t if it hurts our case.

            But maybe you don’t ‘believe’ in the conformation bias, or psychology in general..

  • Thirsting for knowledge

    “To make our repentance complete we must keep the commandments of the Lord (see D&C 1:32). We are not fully repentant if we do not pay tithes or keep the Sabbath day holy or obey the Word of Wisdom. We are not repentant if we do not sustain the authorities of the Church and do not love the Lord and our fellowmen. If we do not pray and are unkind to others, we are surely not repentant. When we repent, our life changes.”

    That is from the gospel principles manual

    So in other words you can’t even recieve forgiveness for your sins without paying a full tithe. It takes a full tithe to qualify for Jesus’s Grace. How can people not see the problem with this? I used to be a member, but I woke up. I read the New Testament with open eyes and the Real gospel of Jesus Christ was opened up to me. The book of Galatians could have been written for the Mormon Church. It was a real eye opener for me.
    Paying tithes to complete repentance kinda seems to conflict with Mormon 8:32

    • http://gravatar.com/dbundy dbundy

      Who is the Lord who said return to me and I will return to thee, and the way he specified that his people should return to him is to bring their tithes and offerings to his storehouse? Who are the people he cursed? Why did he curse them?

      Was his name Allah? Or Buddah? Or Confusius?

      No, his name is Jehovah. He came to redeem his own, and his own received him not, but now his hand is extended all the day long to all people. Come to him and be saved:

      50 Come, my brethren, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.

      51 Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness.

      52 Behold, my beloved brethren, remember the words of your God; pray unto him continually by day, and give thanks unto his holy name by night. Let your hearts rejoice.

      53 And behold how great the covenants of the Lord, and how great his condescensions unto the children of men; and because of his greatness, and his grace and mercy, he has promised unto us that our seed shall not utterly be destroyed, according to the flesh, but that he would preserve them; and in future generations they shall become a righteous branch unto the house of Israel. (Ne 9)

  • Thirsting for knowledge

    Galatians Ch2
    16 Knowing that a man is not ajustified by the works of the blaw, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the cfaith of Christ, and not by the dworks of the elaw: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be fjustified.

    17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.

    18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.

    19 For I through the law am adead to the law, that I might blive unto God.

    20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but aChrist bliveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the cfaith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

    21 I do not frustrate the agrace of God: for if righteousness come by the blaw, then Christ is dead in vain.

    Ephesians Ch2
    8 For by agrace are ye bsaved through cfaith; and that not of yourselves: it is the dgift of God:

    9 Not of works, lest any man should aboast.

    Tithing is not a requirment to gain Eternal Life. Faith in Jesus Christ is what is required. Oh and please don’t quote James Ch2 unless your ready to discuss what the law of liberty is and which Works James is talking about. Keep in mind I totally agree with James. True faith produces works, but it is not the works that save us. Works are fruits of true faith. I’ll give you a hint, the works he is talking about are not Temple works or works of the Law. You can find the answers in Galatians Ch 5.

  • Thirsting for knowledge

    Galatians Ch5
    1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

    2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

    3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

    4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

    5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

    6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

    You see in James Ch2 Verse 10 he is talking about what a mistress the Law is. He then later gives encouragment to live the Law of Liberty. In Galatians Ch5 Paul gives a good comparison of the two laws. He then goes on to say what works true Faith produces. These are works of Love. Not works of the Law. Think about all the wasted time in the Temple that could be spent serving living people just as Christ would have done. Take the time to Read Hebrews and see what temples were actually used for and why they are no longer neccesary. Why do you think the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom the very moment Jesus Died? What do you think the significance of this was?

    • ROSE

      I think all American Law specialists should check out British law. Things are different here. The fact that equivalent to 60 million dollars of UK tax payers money is included in this totally changes the implications. The British public view Mormonism as a religious sect and not a healthy one. The biggest problem is that LDS members seem to be totally un self aware of how the religion is viewed from the outside. It is this arrogant attitude that seriously gets to non Mormons. Remember empires fall. I once had Mormonism described as a sugar coated version of Scientology. Sugar coated because in their words ‘Jesus is thrown in there too.’ The British public that I have spoken to (many) all support the action against the LDS church. It is that support that will stop the CPS from simply throwing the case out – added to the fact that treasury money is included in the claim. Religion and the law don’t mix. As the LDS church is listed as a Corporation here it will be treated as such. This is far more serious than you think. It is simply arrogance and pride that stops LDS members from viewing it as such..

      • Jennifer

        The inclusion of British government money in the payments to the LDS church corporation is most likely what would keep the case from being thrown out – I agree. This isn’t the same as what happens in the United States. In GB the government matches a certain percentage of charitable contributions by taxpayers from what I understand. Defrauding those taxpayers could also become a case of defrauding the GB government.

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  • Laurence

    You are absolutely right Lance. My bishop refused me my temple recommend because I cannot pay full Tithing. It made me nervous because in 2006 I have paid a full tithing on my mother’s heritage ans then nobody could refuse me anithing in the Church! Now, I have problems to pay, so I’m not worthy! I realize it is just a money racket, nothing more. I feel myself very bad and anger too.

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