Put Your Money Where Your Bible Is

Evangelicals are terrible givers.  It’s a well known fact in Evangelical churches that the vast majority of attenders are not giving regularly much less tithing.  My church confronted us with this cold hard fact two weeks after Easter.  So much for the afterglow of the Resurrection.

In my church only 18% of the members give “regularly”.  Regularly was defined as at least $20 a month for and a total of $1000 a year.  To make matters worse, the top 20% of “regular givers” donate 85% of the churches entire budget.

Quite powerfully the pastor asked one section of the sanctuary to stand up which was roughly 18% of the people in the room.  He stated, “would we think it odd if these people were the only people in the room singing? Would the rest of you think you are participating?”  Then he had all but 20% of that group sit down.  He pointed out that if those people had the same attitude toward giving that the rest of the room had, the church would not be running.

We’ve never “passed the plate” in our church.  Instead, giving boxes were placed at the back of the sanctuary. With all of the abuses in the Christian world it was quite refreshing to attend a church that didn’t make the offering front and center. But if only 20% of the congregation is being transformed to view their money as God’s first in any meager way, something clearly had to change.  Our teaching pastor said, “we’ve tried the subtle approach, we’ve tried the ‘freedom approach, we’ve tried the winsom approach, but none of it’s getting through, so this week we’re going to go with the full frontal assault.”  They also made it quite clear that our books are open but if you didn’t trust them to spend the money well, then they need to find a place to worship where you do trust them.”

Have a listen to one of the most powerful sermons I’ve heard on giving.

You can download the sermon directly from here.

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199 thoughts on “Put Your Money Where Your Bible Is

  1. $20 a month for a total of $1000 a year

    I think you mean $20 a week, Tim.

    No way, Jack. Tim’s blog is infallible. If he says 20 x 12 = 1000 then that’s right.

    Nice post, Tim. Reminds me of this time when a friend of mine took me up on an invitation to come to church with me. We had already talked a bit about religion; he was not a member of any church but believed in God, etc. His big hangup with religion, he said, was that the church he used to attend talked about tithing every week and he was sick of churches being so interested in money. Well, I don’t think that my church talks about tithing that often, and I told him so. Anyway, he decides to come to church with me, and—yep, you guessed it: the lesson was on tithing. What terrible timing!!

  2. I like paying tithing. It hurts sometimes, especially when we’re poor 🙂 — but it always feels good and reminds me that everything I have is God’s.

    Even if I decided not to be a Mormon sometime, I would still give a full 10% tithe.

  3. $20 a month for a total of $1000 a year

    I think you mean $20 a week, Tim.

    I think it was a minimum of $20 a month AND a total of $1000 a year. But you might be right. Either way, they were looking for people who give a $1000 a year.

  4. Brian ~ So Seth’s comments are infallible, Tim’s blog is infallible… what about Kelsey Grammar Sideshow Bob episodes of The Simpsons? Are those infallible?

    Your story reminds me of the time I took, like, 6 of my LDS roommates and friends to visit my church in Provo. I was hoping he would teach on something non-controversial, like God is love.

    Instead, he taught on the Trinity.

    They said they were okay with it, but I saw them passing notes about how the First Vision disproves the Trinity. RARR! HULK SMASH!

    But yeah… bad timing when bringing visitors to church is painful.

  5. Why are we still doing threaded comments? Didn’t we decide we hate them?

    My favorite cringe-inducing visitor experience was when my friend brought some non-Mos to church and the opening song was “In Our Lovely Deseret.”

    And they were like, “Tea and coffee and tobacco you despise? You drink no liquor and you eat but a very little meat?”

    And my friend was like, “Ummmm. Well….”

  6. Actually, I find “In Our Lovely Deseret” to be a refreshingly accurate portrayal of what American LDS services are about.

    Especially “Hark the children’s music!”

    You only have to look around a typical LDS family ward to know how true that is.

  7. Katie ~ Speaking of funny LDS hymns, after this comment at one of those TMI threads at fMh, I’m never going to be able to hear that hymn again without breaking down laughing.

    I shall try to resist clicking the wrong “reply” for ye olde comment threading.

  8. Jack: I knew you were a Shawshanker…. now that we know you have cred from the joint, we should mock with a little more respect..

    Tim: I applaud the totally open books stance…I never could get my mind around any church that had a tough time getting past this honesty hurdle.

    GERMIT

  9. Ouch. Our small church does not pass the plate either , and frankly after coming out of the LDS church that requires 10% , I am relieved. I have major issues about “tithing”… I don’t about “giving”. There is a difference. After 19 yrs of mandatory tithing in order to get a temple recommend, I find it refreshing that Christians churches do not require it, but it should be something that comes from the heart. God still has a way in this area to work with me as I am still traumatized by my LDS experience with tithing ( over 100k in 19 yr period of time– ouch. ) I want to see God’s money used in wonderful ways not to make the rich richer and more glamorous buildings……..
    This is an area that the lord, I suspect will be growing me in.

    God bless,
    gloria

  10. If people don’t want to do what is right out of love, I’ll settle for them doing it out of good old-fashioned fear.

  11. Gloria wrote:
    I have major issues about “tithing”… I don’t about “giving”. There is a difference.

    there is actually a huge difference biblically, and some similarities; I’ve only had time to listen to part of the sermon, which I’ll catch in its entirety over the weekend, so I dont’ know which direction he took.

    the NT is all about planned, generous, sacrificial, Spirit led giving. The only words about tithing that come to mind are from Jesus, and they are NOT generally complimentary. I’m looking forward to seeing how this is handled.

    there are multitudes of christians that are ignorant of the freedom they have in this area (freedom to be generous), and don’t know what Gloria knows….what a shame.

    GERmIT

  12. HI, seth. It’s always nice to run into you online. I think the fear of the Lord is a good thing, really I do. It’s the beginning of God’s knowledge ( wisdom).

    I just have my own “hang ups” about tithing….. it stems from all those years of tithing in the LDS church. I especially had issues with tithing settlement. Not only a non biblical practice, but just down right invasive. God knows our hearts, thank goodness!
    He knows I struggle in this area, and I know that He will deal with me in His time…. I actually really do hope that I can get to the point where I can be a “Cheerful” giver as the Bible points us to be.

    sincere regards,
    gloria

  13. Hi germit. I really do hope and pray that the Lord will help me in this area. I have such hang ups about tithing… literally start to shake and get all icky feeling inside. I know God’s grace is enough to help me …. my pastor being the wise man that he is, says to give it time. God will teach me in His time, and yes “giving” is so different than tithing. As with most things with the Lord it’s truly a ‘heart thing’.

    God bless,
    gloria

  14. Gloria: you’ve probably already figured this out, but there is also NO NT mandate to “give to the local church first” ; though my wife and I generally do. I’d welcome your take on that as well.

    GERmIT

  15. If people don’t want to do what is right out of love, I’ll settle for them doing it out of good old-fashioned fear.

    Seth, I always thought that doing the right things for the wrong reasons doesn’t get you very far with God.

    An exception I make is when people do the right things by other people out of fear. For example, my business partner may want to swindle me out of money, but if out of fear of jail he doesn’t, I’m okay with that.

    But something like tithing, where the main benefit goes to the person giving? I’d say you should do it willingly and out of a generous heart, or keep it. At least, that’s essentiall what God told Cain, wasn’t it?

    I’m never going to be able to hear that hymn again without breaking down laughing.

    LOL!! Hilarious.

  16. katie,
    That is a good example – cain — not giving the sacrifice from his heart …… that’s why at this point I am not giving to my local church,etc. Because in all honesty, my heart just isn’t in it, and God truly does see the heart. Why lie to God when He already knows what is there? And what is there? A flesh filled heart that struggles with sin on a daily basis and who is desperately in need of God’s grace each and every minute of each and every day.

    grace & peace,
    gloria

  17. Hey, germit I think it’s great that you are giving to the local church. The Bible does teach that it’s ok to pay or give funds to pastors. I just am struggling with this one as I mentioned. As with all things, God is working on this old flesh filled heart of mine…. one step at a time.
    So thankful for His grace,
    gloria

  18. What about pastors? NT does speak about supporting local pastors and did not Paul collect funds for the the poor in the jewish church?

    Regards,
    gloria

  19. Katie, in a very real sense, nothing we do gets us very far with God – no matter what motive.

    Just keep in mind Jesus story about the son who told his father he would do something and then didn’t, as compared to the son who told his father he wouldn’t, but then did it anyway.

    It’s not exactly the point I’m making, but I think it does display a certain pragmatism in the Gospel.

  20. Seth: I don’t mind the pragmatism of those verses: something DONE is worth a LOT more than something blathered about and never done …..eeek, like organizing my basement…..

    BUT: any argument for tithing based on JUST pragmatism is on very thin (legalistic) ice….you could make a zillion arguments for all kinds of things based purely on pragmatism…. Again: churches are useful and do great things and they need cash….but so do our poor , including our poor relatives (take a real close look at 1st tim 5:8 and tell me this is LESS of priority to GOD than tithing to the local church)

    Most of the arguments for tithing Ive heard are either
    1)based off of the OT law (LOTS of Malachi 3….with the curses USUALLY deleted…depends on how scarey the pastor wants to get)

    or 2)pragmatism of some sort.

    next to nobody interacts with what the NT actually says, with a few exceptions for Matt 23…ignoring the context that this is a list of WOES on the Pharisees….

    Gloria: yes it’s not only fine to pay a pastor, it’s a great way for the gospel to go forward (depending on the pastor, I guess); it’s also a great idea to support LOTS of different people that GOD is powerfully using in ministry. So doing ministry for pay is not at all unbiblical….you can send MY check to……

    GERMIT

  21. Yay, germit! Everyone’s favorite cupcake licker has found his way over here.

    I began training with a wide variety of handguns and assault rifles when I was 8. I’m a little out of practice but I could probably still pierce a nipple from half a block away. Or in other words, one should always mock me with respect.

    I have mixed feelings about the tithing thing. On the one hand, having your giving micro-managed like that sounds a little annoying. On the other hand, going to Protestant churches where regular calls and pleas for increases to giving have to be made just to pay the bills has been annoying. It’s kind of a lose-lose situation.

  22. My husband takes care of our tithing to our church, and I give to World Vision. I have eight sponsored children, and my husband has one. My goal in these difficult times is to keep all of my children sponsored, and so far we’ve been able to keep to it. I picked up a couple more kids last year. One from Haiti and one from Ecuador. When I found out that bread was so expensive in Haiti that they were making cookies out of mud and eating them, I had to take on another one, even as I wondered, “Am I stretching myself too thin?” I started out with one child in 1998, and picked up my next two in 2001. It just kind of grew with our circumstances. I miscarried and we picked up one in 2003. I had my baby, and I picked up another two in 2005. One was a baby that I chose deliberately because I wanted to help another young mother with a child around the same age as my daughter. The second I hadn’t planned on, she just looked too cute to pass up. And so it went. I will say this: I have never regretted any donation I’ve made. I’ve never wished for the money back. I write to all my children as much as possible, and that adds another dimension to our relationship. I treasure the little baby booties Gohar’s mother sent to us when Nadine was born. For our fifth wedding anniversary, my husband and I built a home for our child in Rwanda. That was a big deal for me. I’d never done anything like that before. I have never missed any of the money. I feel really blessed by God, and I feel like I have family all over the world. It’s been a real blessing to watch them grow up. One of my “girls” graduated from ninth grade last year, she’s studying in high school now. My daughter and I remember them all in our prayers regularly. Often, sponsored children will express the thought that they can’t believe someone who doesn’t know them would sponsor them. Last summer, I was in a hard place with my Dad. He was in the hospital, and the social workers were pressuring me to put him in a place that I knew was bad, but the social workers were not willing to help me, they just wanted his “case” off their books. They told me he didn’t qualify for the really good hospital that I wanted him in. I called that particular hospital and poured my heart out to the lady who answered the phone. Soon after, I got a call from their intake nurse, who said that they were going to admit my Dad after all. I was really in tears, because I was so thankful that someone I didn’t even know would be so kind and go out of her way to help me. Then I remembered my sponsored children. They took good care of him there, and he recovered very well, enough to get admitted into one of the finest assisted livings in our city, one that is only blocks from our home. I’m not a “prosperity gospel” person. I don’t believe in giving in order to get rich or anything. But I can tell you that if you help others, God will have your back when you need it the most.

  23. I’m a little out of practice but I could probably still pierce a nipple from a block away.

    Lucky you ….I’m not into that sort of thing…. you almost had to think of something more threatening…..

    as to the “lose-lose”: it would be SO much easier to give to the local church if the priorities looked a LOT more like LISA”s story (big shout out to LISA: your story is !st Cor 9 come to life..and then some: you have the BEST hedge fund ever growing…”)

    because GOD put me as steward (not owner) of the finances in our family, I will OWN my decisions, all of them, about how the $$ is spent, and I’ve spent major 1000’s on really silly stuff that I regret , and I’m just middle middle class. When I think about it, I’m floored by what GOD does NOT say about giving: HE doesn’t give us some kind of cookie cutter (read: TITHING) formula for giving, rather HE first of all shows us HE HIMSELF is a ridiculously generous giver and then invites us to join HIM….

    sounds like a great deal to me. (Seth, the fear thing, unless it’s fear of embarassment when we see HIM face to face, just doesn’t work for me at all)

    Most of the sermons I’ve heard on giving were presented by folks who THEMSELVES were only moderately good at giving, and I don’t mean just money. That’s a big fly in the ointment as well.

    I DO appreciate strong messages to GIVE, but please, leave out the exact amount that (allegedly) pleases GOD.

  24. Katie, in a very real sense, nothing we do gets us very far with God – no matter what motive.

    Seth, that’s a real good point.

    I have mixed feelings about the tithing thing. On the one hand, having your giving micro-managed like that sounds a little annoying. On the other hand, going to Protestant churches where regular calls and pleas for increases to giving have to be made just to pay the bills has been annoying. It’s kind of a lose-lose situation.

    I agree that having your finances micromanaged is annoying (and I always pay tithing on my net, BTW), but the idea of paying 10% is a Biblical concept, isn’t it?

    I don’t think you’re going to lose your salvation or end up in hell if you don’t pay tithing or anything, but I feel quite strongly that giving a generous offering on a regular basis is extremely good for you spiritually, emotionally, and financially.

  25. Katie wrote:

    I feel quite strongly that giving a generous offering on a regular basis is extremely good for you spiritually, emotionally, and financially

    absolutely, and biblical according to 2cd Corinthians 9 (NOTE: had the wrong book before, we want SECOND Cor)

    the problems come when Christian A wants to tell Christian B what is “generous” or what is the benchmark for giving. Again: the tithe thing was an OT directive carried over and IMPROVED on in the NT where the law we have is the law of LOVE, which does NOT mention (thankfully) a particular amount to give (as a command).

    you do well to give regularly and genously, GOD has a way of giving back (not always financially ) multiple times over.

    GERmIT

  26. you do well to give regularly and genously, GOD has a way of giving back (not always financially ) multiple times over.

    Yeah, I should clarify that when I say giving is good for you financially, that doesn’t necessarily mean that God makes you rich. It sure does wonders for your budgeting skills, though–and that’s a financial benefit to be sure. 🙂

    I think a good rule of thumb I heard is to give till it hurts at least a little bit. Depending on your station in life, it could mean very different things to very different people. The Widow’s Mite comes to mind.

  27. Katie Langston asked:

    but the idea of paying 10% is a Biblical concept, isn’t it?

    Well, yes and no.

  28. Um, I can’t speak for other folks, but my experience in tithing settlement has never been invasive. Basically, I went in, told the bishop if I was a full tithe payer or not, and that was it. No going over my tax records or anything. For that matter, the church is very deliberately vague regarding gross/net/whatever and it doesn’t ask questions. So, you can be more generous if you want, or not. You can probably lie your but off if you want. I just don’t find it to be as invasive as it is being portrayed here. For what it is worth.

  29. I think one thing we can surmise, while the the church handbook attempts to corelate LDS experience, bishops do vary.

  30. Lisa,
    I love, love, love what you are doing!! Now that is something I can definatley get excited about!! Taking care of the fatherless, the widow….. pure religion for sure. My family did sponsor orphans in China a few years back, that allowed them to be in foster care instead of an orphanage. It blessed our hearts to do it.
    I am going to talk about doing something like this again with my LDS husband. Currently neither of us are tithing to our churches, and it would be wonderful to take funds and choose an orginization or individual we could agree on for our support.
    Thanks for the great idea!

    Gloria

  31. Sure, Tim. But I’ve never had a bishop quiz me nor (prior to gloria) have I ever heard of such a thing. I believe that such a thing would go against the CHI (but I don’t have one and can’t be certain). Her description of her experience just strikes me as highly unusual.

  32. Gloria: I hope this interchange has been helpful to you . If I can leave you with one unsolicited warning (and knowing me, maybe more later) it’s this: if you want to give X percentage to the local church , that’s great, but do not let anyone tell you that you are settling for less than GOD’s best if your plannded giving is this much to Compassion International, this much to Samaritan’s Purse, and this much to where you go to church…..or even this much to a single mom in your family. WE are free to be generous, and the local church has a legitimate need. God is a talker and HE will tell us what is a pleasing use of HIS cash.

    May GOD make you overflow with the ability to bless others.
    GERMIT

  33. John,
    I call it ‘invasive’ because I do not believe that an LDS bishop ( or anyone else for that matter) should be “interveiwing” someone about how much of a donation they have made to their church. That is what I find as “invasive”. The whole concept of “tithing settlement” to me is invasive. Many years we skipped the whole process. God knows our hearts, we don’t need to sit before a man, who is also filled with sin to give some accounting….. our accounting is before the Lord. Where is the concept of tithing settlement with a bishop portrayed in the New Testament? There is not one written account of any such practice being held in the NT Church.
    As with many practices in the LDS faith, I find tithing settlement to be invasive of one’s privacy. A couple should be able to decide for themselves what they are doing with their funds.
    Just my .02,
    gloria

  34. John,
    Bishops ask the couple or person if they are a “full tithe payer”….. are you not asked the same? And what if a person says I give my tithing to other sources, such as compassion international or world vision or another ministry? Would that not be considered tithing? I beleieve that giving to a ministry of one’s choice is just as valid as giving to one’s local church. Can an LDS person give 5% to the mission fund and then 5% to the temple fund and call it “good”. I don’t think so……….That is what I think is invasive. People should be able to decide for themselves where they wish to gift and give.
    Sincere regards,
    gloria

  35. Hi, germit. Yes, I have enjoyed the exchange on tithing vs. giving. When the time is right, the Lord will work with me on this. I suspect like all things , it is a matter of the heart. The Lord wants us to be cheerful givers.
    You are right, no pastor or church should be dictating to us how much and where we should be giving.
    I am so thankful to be part of a church body that allows it’s congregrants to decide for themselves thru prayer how they should be giving. My pastor never ever calls it tithing. In fact he says that is an old testament term, ” jews tithe” christians “give”. He really has helped me to learn the difference, and as you have shared there is a big difference.

    Sincere regards,
    gloria

  36. Well the LDS church does send out a printed out sheet telling the member how much they have tithed, and it’s itemized by month and broken down by tithing and other donations. Is that not invasive? I guess they may do that for tax purposes for individual members’ taxes. I just think the whole sit down with a person who is also sin filled and have to give some accounting is ridiculous. Jesus alone is our judge – He will be the one to judge our hearts. I am sure thankful for that. 🙂

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  37. Gloria, I’ve been following your discussion with others about tithing. My husband and I could not do what we do and be LDS. If we had to tithe 10% to the Church in order to get a temple recommend, we would have to pull every last cent out of World Vision and give it to the Church. That would make me a very angry, resentful person. I was raised RLDS, so we don’t believe in the Temple ordinances anyway. RLDS traditionally only asked for 10% of your “increase” that is, your profits for the year. Even then, it’s not required and nowdays in the Community of Christ, no one makes a big deal about giving, it’s just whatever you want to give. (Although the CoC is experiencing financial trouble lately, like everyone else I guess)

  38. Gloria ~ And what if a person says I give my tithing to other sources, such as compassion international or world vision or another ministry?

    When I was 16, my family was pretty dirt poor. All I got for an allowance from my parents was $30 a month. I went to a Compassion International seminar where they were encouraging teenagers to sponsor kids, and I felt the Spirit tugging at my heart to sponsor one, the cost being $30 a month. I protested that $30 a month was all I got, and God said, don’t care, do it anyways. So I began sponsoring my girl.

    This was in July and I’d been trying since January of that year when I turned 16 to get a job, but seriously, not even McDonald’s was interested in hiring me. I finally got a part-time job not long after that. God really took care of it. So I counted my Compassion sponsorship as part of my tithe and never thought twice about it. I made $500-$600 a month at my part-time job, so it was $30 to my little girl and $20-$30 to my local church every month.

    When I began taking the LDS missionary discussions later that year, we got to the tithe part and the missionaries asked me if I pay tithe. I said yes and explained about my Compassion child sponsorship being part of my tithe. They said that was certainly a sacrifice, but it wasn’t a full tithe. I was easily offended back then, and I basically told them to back the hell off. I got the impression that if I joined the church, counting my Compassion sponsorship as part of my tithe would be a no-no.

    The way Paul and I always do our tithe is, regardless of whether one or both of us is working, we take 10% of that and split it in half, half goes to the LDS church and half to my church or whatever charitable contributions I’m involved in. When I first got married I was still sponsoring my Compassion child and I explained how I’d always counted that as part of my tithe, and he was perfectly fine with it. I don’t think he would ever count a charitable contribution as part of his LDS tithe, but he’s fine with letting me fulfill that covenant with God as the Spirit directs.

    Anyways, I agree that for evangelicals, a tithe doesn’t necessarily have to be to the local church, though the local church does need some kind of support and it’s only right to support the place where you’re being regularly fed.

    BTW, Lisa, I think it’s great that you have such a big heart for the kids in other countries.

  39. It would be easy , and foolish, to make the LDS outlook the “bad guy’ in Jack’s post, but the simple truth is that there are countless ev. churches that stumble into to the same ditch…..”well, giving to OUTSIDE groups is good AFTER you give your 10% off the gross to the local church..” there are about 3 or 4 errors in this way of thinking (as a HAVE TO). That’s what pains me: we’re supposed to be sitting on a better understanding of scripture, and we’ve fallen into the same damn hole.

    BTW: being greedy and boasting about it as “freedom” is probably an even BIGGER hole. JACK and LISA: THANKS for the reminder to remember the poor….something that GOD specifically says repeatedly to do. Also: hats off to JACK’s husband for allowing her to follow her conscience in this matter and for not playing the Holy Spirit for her (the big temptation for leaders of every stripe..)

  40. Hi, jack. Thanks for sharing your experience with sponsoring a child … that just really touches my heart. ( must be because I am adoptive mama to 5 central american children and kids pull on my heartstrings).
    I love the whole concept of being able to give to those that are needy and really truly in need of our support. There are so many wonderful ministries out there.

    I suspect that if an LDS went into tithing settlement and proceeded to tell their bishop that they are doing something creative and taking their tithing $$ and using it to bless the lives of impoverished children — they would not count that as a ‘full’ tithe .. even if the person was contributing 10% to said orginization. For LDS “tithing”= money must go to the corporation of the LD$ church. Anything creative will be viewed as “not” tithing, or just as the missionaries told you a sacrifice but not tithing.

    Interesting,
    gloria

  41. Pure and undefiled religion is to visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction……

    I love that passage of scripture from James.

    gloria

  42. Germit,
    If I attended a church that did that, I would pack my bags and head for the hills! 🙂

    Gloria

  43. I’m certainly not trying to make the LDS church “the bad guy” in this. I think a key difference is that the LDS church has it’s own charitable programs, and when you give your tithe is going to the money pool that supports those programs. When you tithe to a Protestant church, your money is going to support the needs of the local church: heating, light, water, staff salary, whatever. They probably have a giving commitment to certain charitable programs—for example, I remember the Presbyterian church I attended in high school gave me scholarships to BYU the first 2 years I was there, and Rock Canyon Assembly of God always had large numbers of missionaries around the world they were giving a fixed monthly contribution to—but for the most part, your money is directly supporting basic needs. So making part of your giving out to Compassion or another organization gives you more direct control that might not be seen as necessary in the LDS church.

    FWIW, when I was on the activities committee for my student ward at BYU, for a holiday activity I suggested participation in Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child, which is a completely evangelical organization and even missionary effort. We asked roommates to get together and put together a shoebox for a kid. A few people voiced concerns about that because they knew it was a Protestant outreach, but you know what? They did it. I think about 2/3 of the ward participated. I had a LOT of shoeboxes to load into a car and take to the drop-off.

    I think Mormons have a tremendous heart for giving on top of the tithing thing, and you’ll never catch me knocking them.

  44. I’d be curious to know how much Mormons and evangelicals give to charities and such outside their regular church giving. My guess is that the amounts would be comparable.

    Most of my non-tithing donations (and it’s not a lot, to be honest) I give to the church’s Humanitarian Fund, mostly because I’m confident that very little of it goes to overhead and because it’s probably the Church’s best ecumenical program.

  45. Jack,
    Actually the money the LDS tithe do not go to go run their charities or humanitarian efforts. Tithing in the LDS church is used exclusively for temple buildings, meetinghouses, electricity, up keep, etc. Not for other needs.
    Humanitarian aid is another area that an LDS can donate towards. Fast offering is used to run their bishop’s storehouses, etc. Tithing is not used to help a needy LDS family , for example. It comes from fast offerings. BTW, the LDS do not use fast offerings to feed the non LDS poor . Non LDS do not use the bishop’s store house, it is used exclusively by LDS only.
    My greatest issue I have with the LDS version of tithing is that it has strings attached — if you don’t tithe no temple recommend. God does not keep people out of His house because they do not give 10% of their income. I just find it extremely controlling. Thank God we know that God is not this way.
    I also have major issues that the LDS do not give a public accounting for “how” the money is being dispersed. Most churches will have a budget that is public, posted on their bulletins for congregrants . Why do the LDS not do this? Why no public accountability?
    Concerning to say the least,
    gloria

  46. Gloria ~ It doesn’t really matter to me too much if the tithe money goes to pay for buildings or whatnot because it’s still all going to the same organization. It’s fungible. (Jared is gonna be so proud of me for using that word!)

    The refusal to disclose how finances are used and temple recommend being attached to tithing, that I won’t try to defend.

  47. This might sound crazy, but I think the tithing being attached to the TR thing can be kind of useful if you don’t want/can’t get a TR, because you can always just tell people it’s because you have a hard time paying tithing.

    You get judged a lot less for having hard time with tithing than for having a hard time with chastity, WofW, or “testimony” issues, in my experience.

  48. gloria: “Tithing in the LDS church is used exclusively for temple buildings, meetinghouses, electricity, up keep, etc. Not for other needs.”

    Wrong. First, since you point out that the LDS Church does not make its finances public, you should be more careful what claims you make about them. Second, Elder Oaks said:

    [Tithing] funds are spent to build and maintain temples and houses of worship, to conduct our worldwide missionary work, to translate and publish scriptures, to provide resources to redeem the dead, to fund religious education, and to support other Church purposes….

  49. gloria: “Where is the concept of tithing settlement with a bishop portrayed in the New Testament? There is not one written account of any such practice being held in the NT Church.”

    Well, let’s see…there’s the “non-invasive” inquisition of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5…. {smile}

    More seriously, why should LDS care that it’s not in the NT? We do lots of things that we’re pretty certain were not in the NT: perpetual education fund, scouting program, Relief Society, Word of Wisdom, and more.

  50. You are right on about that Brian. The LDS do lots of things and teach things that are not biblical.

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  51. See here.

    Bottom line: in terms of giving to non-church charities, Mormons are on par with most other Christians. I don’t know who is included in “other protestants,” but I assume Evangelicals are…?

  52. Brian did you not read that I said “etc”…. I am fully aware that the LDS church uses tithing to run it’s programs, run it’s temples, CES, etc. that is why I stated “etc”. It does not use tithing for humanitarian needs such as ministries to reach the poor, house the homeless, house orphans, etc. That is what I was saying by “not other needs”.
    The bottom line is the LDS church defines “what” constitutes tithing. And if an LDS couple for example wish to use their tithing for a ministry of some sort, such as 10% for missionary fund, it is not deemed “tithing” … is that no so?
    Why no disclosures on how and where the money goes? Why not a spread sheet stating where every penny goes? Most churches do that, so why not the LDS?
    If some orginization is going to ask for 10% of my income, they better well have some accountability and show me where the money is going.
    Kind regards,
    gloria

  53. I always wondered about the scouting program… now how do the LDS claim that to be “inspired”… Lord Powell, the founder of scouting was not even LDS… so how does that work?

    My teenage son is thrilled he doesn’t have to scout anymore. 🙂

    I figure since Jesus wasn’t a scout, it’s really not that big of a deal. 🙂

    Regards,
    gloria

  54. BTW, the LDS do not use fast offerings to feed the non LDS poor . Non LDS do not use the bishop’s store house, it is used exclusively by LDS only.

    This is also preposterous. For example see here. My own experiences as a missionary, and also as one who volunteers at the local Bishops Storehouse regularly are the same as Tracy M.’s.

    And is really that horrible to ask that those who participate in the temple to help pay for it?

    And I don’t think it’s that big of a mystery why we don’t disclose the church accounts. The members don’t care and if you think the anti’s are breaking our balls now, wait til they see how much we pay to water the grass. For me it’s a free will offering, no strings attached, much like the change I give to a bum outside a 7-11. Sure, he may use it for something I disagree with, but I am happy to leave the judgement to God.

    My experience also tracks with the commenter above that those who complain the loudest about the lack of charitable giving are the ones who pay the least. We can always do more but we should always start with the question, “Lord, is it I?”

  55. I would love to see some data to back up your claims that non LDS use the bishop storehouse and get food orders. I served in RS various times… never saw it done. I also served a full time LDS mission .. never saw non LDS using the storehouse or getting orders. Where are you getting your info?
    Also, can I ask why isn’t there public accountability for tithing? Why not? What is there to hide?
    Most churches state what the bills are, why not the LDS. They could publish it weekly in their ward bulletins by ward and then at stake conference by stake. Why not be transparent?
    Kind of interesting when I called LDS headquarters and asked “why” they don’t do much for orphans in 3rd world countries and build orphanages or help run them like other ministies and churches the answer I received from LDS services was : there is not enough funds for that.
    What?!
    I flipped.
    Good grief, not enough funds?
    I doubt that.
    They have $$ to build multi million dollar temples but not enough to build and support the oprhans?
    They have $$ to build bronze statues and put in marble floors in the J.Smith memorial building but no money for orphan kids in africa to provide orphanages?
    Yeah, right.

    Regards,
    gloria

  56. Why do you consider boy scouts inspired?

    Are you serious????

    I am trying not to laugh right now.

    Regards,
    gloria

  57. What is the “religious orginization and charities” that the study states LDS give 5% of their income too? I would bet it would be the LDS church and it’s humanitarian projects. I am actually suprised as I would expect that the LDS give at least 10%, not 5%.

    Regards,
    gloria

  58. gloria: “did you not read that I said “etc””

    Yep, but since it followed a list of building expenses, I assumed you meant to continue that list. Oaks listed programs that have nothing to do with building expenses and therefore don’t fit into an “etc.”.

    “It does not use tithing for humanitarian needs….”

    And you know this…how?

    “The bottom line is the LDS church defines “what” constitutes tithing. And if an LDS couple for example wish to use their tithing for a ministry of some sort, such as 10% for missionary fund, it is not deemed “tithing” … is that no so?”

    Tru dat. We put 10% “of our increase” (which we are left to interpret individually) into the tithing fund, and any other contributions wherever we want.

    “Why no disclosures on how and where the money goes? Why not a spread sheet stating where every penny goes? Most churches do that, so why not the LDS?”

    Dunno. This bugs Tim a lot too—he’s mentioned it at least a few times on this blog. Why do other churches do that? Does the LDS Church have those same reasons?

    “If some orginization is going to ask for 10% of my income, they better well have some accountability and show me where the money is going.”

    Fair enough; it’s your money.

  59. “The LDS do lots of things and teach things that are not biblical.”

    Can I get an “amen!”? If we confined ourselves to the Bible, it’d be awfully silly of me to carry such a large scripture bag to church, not to mention all that time I wasted giving away Books of Mormon as a missionary….

  60. They have $$ to build multi million dollar temples but not enough to build and support the oprhans?
    They have $$ to build bronze statues and put in marble floors in the J.Smith memorial building but no money for orphan kids in africa to provide orphanages?

    Oh good grief! Are we really going to play this game? Okay, everyone reading this blog who went to bed the last night with an empty stomach raise your hand. What? no one? You stingy, selfish….

  61. Gloria,
    … ( over 100k in 19 yr period of time– ouch. )…

    Just had a thought as I read your comment. How do you know that you would have been blessed with a substantial income and all of the security and blessings that follow, had you NOT paid your tithing all those years? (100K is 10% of a good chunk of money it seems to me. Lucky you!) …and I will open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing and there won’t be room enough to receive it… or something like that. 🙂

    I have paid tithing off and on over the years, and I can definitely attest that more often than not, I am given divine assistance when I pay my tithing. I’m wondering now had I been more faithful and dilligent in tithing, perhaps I would have been blessed with more financial security over the years. (My average yearly income over the last decade is aprox. 10K. Now that is an ouch!)

    In any case, reading all of these comments is inspiring me keep on giving, and be grateful for every little thing I have, and continue to cast my “widows mite”.

  62. I find something highly unpleasant about the notion of me demanding accountability from something I’m giving for charity and as a personal religious offering.

    “Lord, I will give you this cash of mine, but only if you allow me to examine your record books and nitpick every dime and penny your servants spent on my behalf.”

    That doesn’t sound much like a tithe folks. It sounds more like how government welfare gives money. They’ll give you money alright, but only on condition that they are allowed to have a social worker sneer at you and make you dance to their tune.

    It’s not my money!

    I don’t know how to put it plainer than that.

    Let’s assume that all the anti-Mormon’s worst predictions about how the LDS Church spends its funds. Let’s assume they spend them for capitalistic money-grubbing ventures and that Thomas S. Monson built himself a secret fortress of solitude in the mountains of Utah where he dines on luscious caviar – ha-HA!

    Let’s assume the worst.

    I don’t care.

    Got that?

    I don’t care. It’s not my money. It’s God’s money. And if he has asked me to contribute his money to a corrupt organization like the Sanhedrin in Jesus times, then I will do so. And I will not question how many nice ties Boyd K. Packer has. And I will not demand accountability for whether the Provo temple lawns are watered at 1:00 in the morning, or 1:00 in the afternoon. And I will not bother with whether this mall project in downtown Salt Lake City is a nice community project, or whether it will turn a profit, or whether it is a massive financial boondoggle.

    I am not bothered whether my widow’s mite in the temple is going to the payment of some corrupt Sadducee or Pharisee. The widow didn’t care, Christ didn’t care, and I don’t care.

    Not my place. End of story.

    I pay my 10% like I am instructed by God to. And I don’t care three flying figs whether it’s going to a some orphan in Bangladesh, or to a stretch limo for the BYU President, or to paying for a new employee to review those stupid and ridiculous BYU Honor Code violations.

    If God’s Church is corrupt, it doesn’t make any difference for my obligations. The sin be on their heads.

    And yes gloria, they don’t require you to provide proof of membership at the Bishop’s Storehouse. We’re not like your local government welfare office that way.

  63. (Meta comment for Tim: if it were possible for you to change, ever so slightly, the text color of links on this blog that’d be great. It’s really hard to see them so they often get missed. For example, Mephibosheth, on May 16, 2009 at 3:55 pm placed a pretty funny link that unfortunately gloria apparently missed. That’s a tragedy, really. I mean, what if I missed one of Jack’s links? I don’t think I could ever recover….)

  64. Seth: I agree with you for the most part. Lately I’ve taken a bit of a different look at the “it’s not my money” approach though. Thing is, it is my money—if not, then I wouldn’t be giving it, I’d just be returning it like it was some $10 bill I found on the sidewalk.

    God has blessed me to have a job and make money—he “gave” me that money. It’s mine. I can think of all sorts of good things I’d like to do with every penny of it, but I deny myself (a little) and give away control over part of it.

  65. 5% vs. 10%: it’s an average of all members. So if you polled only 2 LDS and one was a full-tithe payer and the other gave nothing, you’d come away with “5%.”

    “I would bet it would be the LDS church and it’s humanitarian projects.” It’s explicitly not any other LDS project. The money in that category is strictly “non-church entities”—so it wouldn’t even count if Mormons were giving a ton of money to a Catholic charity.

  66. Sure Brian, if you want to look at it that way.

    I am just returning that money.

    If I really wish to give charitably, I’ll have to do that in addition to tithing.

  67. ” and yes gloria they don’t require you to provide proof of membership at the bishop’s storehouse”……..

    Seth,
    Isn’t it a fact though that you have to have an “order” to go to the bishop’s storehouse? And that order I believe is filled by the R.S. president or Bishop…
    I know you don’t have to prove membership , seth… but you do have to have an order right? Do you personally know of non LDS receiving LDS welfare in monies, food and housing?

    Regards,
    gloria

  68. Wow, Seth. My husband read your latest comment over my shoulder and I think he’s finally converted to Sethism, in spite of his reservations about the liberal Mormon blogosphere and all these polyandry ideas you put in his wife’s head.

    Brian, I don’t think Tim can change the color of the links at this blog without (a) picking a different blogging theme or (b) plunking down $15 for access to Cascading Style Sheet editing. Design modifications for free WordPress blogs are rather limited.

  69. Brian,
    Thanks for the laugh. In sincerity I say that. 🙂 I do recall the heavy load with my LDS scripture tote.. but things haven’t improved for me as I usually carry a few translations with me to church! So the load is still there.

    regards,
    gloria

  70. It’s not a game. It’s the truth. As an adoptive mom of children, orphans are near and dear to my heart. The Lord feels the same way — he always made provisions for orphans and widows. Read it, it’s in the Bible.

    The truth is pure religion is to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction. I think Christian churches should contribute to the care of the orphans and fatherless. Our church is hosting a bake sale at a local event and the proceeds are going to an orphanage.

    It deeply disturbed me when I was LDS that none of the tithing funds went to the orphans but yet there was $$ for big buildings. It makes no sense.

    Gloria

  71. gloria, You’re overlooking the hyperlinks in my posts. Click on the word “this” on my Boy Scouts comment and hopefully you’ll see that I was joking. Click on the word “here” on my above comment and you’ll read an example of a woman who was visiting the Bishops Storehouse, and while she was there a man not of our faith brought an order form that he obtained from an LDS bishop. On my mission we were able to teach the gospel to people who were receiving assistance the same way. Nonmembers frequenly come to pick up their orders from the local storehouse. I do not know why our experiences differ, perhaps it’s because I live in a major metropolitan area but there you go.

    But seriously, caring for the poor is like spitting in the ocean. If the church did run orphanages overseas, you would ask why didn’t they didn’t help out leper colonies in India. Or if they did you’d ask why don’t they pay for AIDS drugs in Africa? If they did, you’d ask, why don’t they help victims of land mines in Vietnam. Problem with that line of reasoning is it’s self-incriminating, why don’t you help victims of land mines in Vietnam, gloria? Surely you have some luxuries you could dispense with so some parapalegic Vietnamese guy doesn’t have to drag himself along the ground.

  72. Gloria,
    Your shrill put downs of the LDS church make a poor example of Christian behavior.

    Jesus said, “The poor you shall always have with you.” I trust in Jesus’ word.

  73. Brian,
    Ok, I didn’t see the hpyerlinks… it’s hard to tell because they are not a different color. I am glad to hear of the case of the man with 2 kids that was not LDS who had a food order. That is refreshing to hear!!!! It certainly was not the case I experienced on my mission in latin america, where most were so poor. We were told to ‘screen’ those who were hearing the charlas ( discussions) for purposes of church welfare vs. sincere interest.
    My sister lives in SLC, she has never been LDS. She talked about her work with a local food ministry that reaches the homeless and has asked me on many occasions why the LDS don’t have soup kitchens, and shelters in downtown SLC. I was alwsays embarrassed to answer her question.
    Isnt’ it the case also that those who do get orders are asked to do some kind of work for it? Like clean buildings, etc? That was the case years back not sure if it’s done today.
    As for the widows and orphans, well you see Brian it’s biblical. That is pure religion.
    The essence of it.
    The Lord has always been concerned about the most vulnerable, and the bible is full of counsel and admonitions to watch over these special souls.
    So I do see it as poor of any church that does not do it’s part by orphans and widows.
    Regards,
    gloria
    ps. I also can speak from the heart about this, as my husband and I have adopted 5 beautiful children from central america, spurred on by the deep conviction that as Christians we are not turn our backs on the needs of orphans.

  74. Yes, the poor we will always have with us.. but Jesus told us to *do* something about it.

    I was a hungered and you fed me.

    I was naked and you clothed me.

    I was thirsty and you gave me to drink.

    I was in prison and you visited me.

    We are to be doers of God’s words and not just hearers.

    I think even the LDS would agree with that . 🙂

    They called Jesus all kinds of names too, so hey I am in good company. 🙂

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  75. gloria, that is commendable that you have opened your home to so many orphans. God bless you. But what about the widows you mentioned? What do you do for them, huh, huh, HUH??? Consider yourself incriminated.

  76. Gloria, there are lots of organizations out there that try to help the poor. To an extent, the LDS Church is one of them. But I’m not going to feel guilty because the LDS Church spends money on temples and church buildings (which really aren’t all that extravagant considering their purpose).

    We have a sacred mission that currently no one else is performing – redeeming the dead. We are in the work of making sure that all Father’s children who so desire can return to live with him. Very few people devote much thought to the dead. The LDS Church is unique in its devotion to the departed. That is a function no one else on earth is filling, and I’m not going to feel one iota of regret that we spend quite a bit of money on it.

    The LDS Church’s primary concern is fulfilling the functions that only it can fulfill. We do help the poor. The LDS Church has been one of the first responders in almost every single major natural disaster we’ve had in the past decade. During Hurricane Katrina the LDS Church often showed up with aid before even the Red Cross!

    We’re doing plenty, and we’re doing it rather well. Maybe not as much as some, but we do a lot. And I’m not going to feel guilty relative to other churches out there. We hold our own in this regard.

    But our first commitments are to spreading the Restored Gospel, Redeeming the Dead and Perfecting the Saints. That is something only we can do and no one else.

    Maybe you’d like us to stop with these missions and devote all our energy to the poor.

    That’s understandable, because you, frankly, think our three-fold mission is theological bogus. So of course you’d like us to quit something you don’t believe in and spend it all on soup kitchens.

    But what we offer the poor (of every kind) is of infinitely more worth than any hot meal.

    This is God’s work. We believe in it and we are not going to come down from the walls of Jerusalem to argue with you (Nehemiah 6:3). We are doing a great work and cannot come down. Not even for poor people, not even for the Humane Society, not for Greenpeace, not for Primary Children’s Hospital. We are doing exactly what matters most for this Church to be doing.

  77. And sometimes, throwing more money at the poor is not what they most desire and need:

    “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” (Acts 3:6)

  78. Well since you asked, our church fellowship does visit the local nursing home on a monthly basis or so. We go and visit with the women, ( and a few men too) and we will have sing alongs were we sing hymns, etc.
    My family has “adopted” a few widows of our own. Precious women, who have been widowed for some time. Leatha, is 87 yrs old and lives on her own. The girls and I usually stop by once or week or so and spend time talking and chatting. She is a hoot! Then there is Virginia – poor thing is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. She is sweet, and we just smile as she repeats herself.
    I believe this is a Biblical mandate to care for and visit the widows. Our family takes it pretty seriously.
    It’s big on my heart.
    Along with care for the orphans….
    I know it’s on God’s heart too.
    Kind regards,
    gloria

  79. Seth, I hear what you’re saying and I agree with the sentiment behind it–that the money I have is really God’s money, and that it’s His to do with what He will–but you realize that wrapped up in your position is the assumption that the LDS Church is God’s Church with a capital “C.”

    And I agree, based on that assumption (which is the assumption of most tithe-paying, true believing Mormons), there is no reason to ask for accountability.

    But, looking at it from an outside perspective–like that of Tim or Gloria–it certainly makes sense that they would want an accounting of those funds. They don’t have the same confidence in the Church as God’s Church.

    It’s like, if I were contributing to a charity other than the church, I would want to make damn sure my contributions were going to help people and not feed corporate fat cats, for example. (I am NOT saying that’s what happens with LDS tithing funds; I’m simply saying that if I didn’t have confidence in an organization as God’s Organization, it does seem reasonable to want to know how the funds are being allocated.)

  80. I’ve thought the Church could do a better job at publicizing their account books. But it’s beside the point of whether I donate.

    Frankly, it’s none of Tim or gloria’s business how the LDS Church spends its money. If anyone has the right to complain about it, it’s the members of the LDS Church who pay so much. Outsiders really have no dog in this fight. If you don’t have skin in the game, you don’t get to say how we play.

  81. What, no “$$” for the widows??? Gosh, that’s a “poor” church that can’t spare anything for something so Biblically mandated. Surely there is some luxury you could go without to give them a hand.

  82. (Just reading through the comments quickly here and thought I might have seen a “dog pile on gloria” starting up. Let’s keep it friendly. I for one appreciate the care gloria is taking in reading each comment.)

  83. “plunking down $15”

    Now there’s a true charitable cause!

    (If only he could allow adds on just the Polygamous Jesus post—he’d be rich!)

  84. Mephibosheth is right.

    This whole – “you’re not doing enough for the poor” accusation is waay too easy, because no matter how much you do, it’s never enough. There’s always something else you could be doing – which will give critics reason to voice their condemnation once again, and endlessly.

    gloria,

    They were very wise not to extend the benefits to non-members in your situation. If they had offered it to anyone, word would have gotten out and the local Bishop’s storehouse would have been overrun. The food would have been gone, and it would have been a mere drop in the bucket of the poverty you were surrounded with. It would have made no difference really. It was entirely appropriate to restrict access.

    You’re going to have to wake up, and realize that sometimes you just can’t help everyone.

  85. Brian, I think gloria is getting the backlash of a lot of LDS who are sick of taking the incessant whining from other critics.

    gloria herself is a pretty nice gal generally, even if I disagree with her a lot. Hopefully she realizes this isn’t entirely directed at her personally.

    This criticism of of the LDS Church comes up a lot. I’m getting rather tired of listening to it.

  86. Gloria is still married to a Mormon and (I assume) at least part of their income is going to LDS tithe. I think she has the right to be concerned about where it’s being spent for that reason.

    I suppose that, for total outsiders, it’s none of their business. Me? I don’t like the church’s secrecy in the matter, but I don’t feel much inclination to complain about it. I knew what I was signing up for when I married my husband.

    The only time I get pissy about it is when Mormons throw the “but your pastor gets paid” argument at me. If the church isn’t going to officially publish how much the GAs get paid, people can mind their own business on how much my pastor gets paid.

  87. You’re right Jack. My wonderful husband is LDS. When I left the LDS, I told him that I had major issues with tithing to a church that was so $$ already. He didn’t make any issues about it and promptly stopped paying tithing. He does make an occasional fast offering. I have less issues with the fast offering than I do with the tithing btw. At least it goes to the LDS members who really are in need. I have no problems giving $$ to the needy, LDS or not LDS. If someone is in need, it pulls at my heartstrings.
    We have been talking lately about giving back to Guatemala , that is where our adopted kiddos are from. He wants to build a home for a widow and take my teenage son, which I think is a fabulous idea btw. We are just discussing things right now, but we both agree to take the funds and spend it on a truly needy individual(s) vs. a large church that is already wealthy.
    We do need to talk more about it, because it’s on our hearts and I believe God really does want us to share our resources.
    Regards,
    gloria

  88. Hi, seth. Thanks for watching my back. I am not offended in the least bit. When I entered the world of “online” religious discussion I learned pretty quick that I needed to be thick skinned in a major way. 🙂

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  89. I guess I just don’t get it Seth. I believe God still multiplies the loaves. I really do. I don’t believe in turning our back on anyone in need. I don’t believe that the LDS church would have run out of funds or the storehouse would go empty if they allowed anyone who needed to have. I beleive God will bless those efforts. Call me an idealist if you wish. I just have that much faith in God.

    I am awake, and I believe that with God all things are possible. I also believe in universal health care for everyone, and a host of other socialist programs that my LDS husband would probably gasp at! 🙂

    I believe that is what religion should be in the business of doing. After sharing the good news, they should be helping reduce the burdens, lift the poor, the needy and the sick. Churches that are more interested in growing and getting bigger, are just not of an interest to me. I guess that is why I attend a small country church on a dirt road that has no paid clergy ( yes, my pastor has a full time job) and is all about sharing the good news and taking care of people then one of those big mega churches that are all about growing and building a large buidling and having great programs. Been there and done that.

    I kind of like to think that if Jesus was walking the earth today, he would be wearing jeans, a t-shirt, sandals and hanging out in the streets of our big cities… feeding the hungry, the homeless and hanging out with prostitutes and drug addicts. Healing them and loving on them. No white shirts and silk ties and meetings.

    That’s the kind of Jesus I worship.

    Gloria

  90. Ah. I stand corrected on your family’s tithe-paying status, Gloria. 😉

    I think I still have the right to care, but most of the time, I don’t. We agreed on our tithe system before we got married and I see little reason to try to change it now. After all, he didn’t try to change the way I do things.

    I’m curious though: is your husband active? Have local leaders said anything to him about not paying tithing? Of course, you don’t have to say so here if you don’t want to; feel free to e-mail me at biblethumpingbigot (at) gmail dot com.

  91. Hey, brian. Thanks. It wouldn’t be the first time I was “dog piled on” and most likely not the last. 🙂

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  92. Pingback: Ye have the poor with you always … « Psychochemiker’s Blog

  93. Jack does that mean you revoke Gloria’s right to talk about tithing?

  94. In case any of ya’ll are afraid of the post, here’s the gist of it.

    I agree that Jesus taught that Christians should relieve suffering. We should feed the hungry, and cloth the naked, and that we should be doers of the word. I completely agree. I just neglected to read the portion where Jesus said you should judge and condemn others who don’t do it as well as you think they should. I do think Jesus had a word for that, though…
    I trust that Jesus wasn’t lying though, there will always be poor. Until His kingdom is established, there will always be poor. I am still obligated to help, but not the way other people tell me I have. I laud Jack’s obedience to spirit in supporting the group that she felt she should. I laud Tim’s obedience to the spirit he has in supporting what he believes is the work of God.

  95. Honestly PC, I don’t think Gloria should be hushed on the matter. She was an active LDS tithe-payer for a good portion of her life, and it was her concerns about tithing which caused her to ask her husband to stop paying it. I don’t know if the church’s tithe set-up contributed to her decision to leave the church, but I think people should hear out her concerns.

    I mean… are we saying somebody’s concerns about church finance secrecy are valid if they are an active tithe-paying member of the church, but if they leave the church over it their concerns no longer count? That seems silly to me.

    Come to think of it, I’m not a big fan of the “it’s not your church so STFU” mentality at large, but I can see where it comes into play with money. People get touchy about how their money is spent. That’s why I’ve generally only dived into the subject defensively.

  96. psychochemiker, I just saw the excerpt from your trackback, and I gotta say. gloria is not even remotely close to what I would call rabidly anti Mormon. People can disagree with you and disagree with things the church does–even strongly–and not be “anti” or a party of the fluffy bunny nice nice club.

    gloria’s got a definite point of view, but she’s always been very nice and respectful to everyone. I’m actually kind of offended by your caricature of her–which is funny, because I often disagree with her.

    And PS, who died and made Jack supreme ruler of the universe? (Not that I wouldn’t support her in such a campaign–as long as I get a prestigious spot in the cabinet.) But seriously, Jack doesn’t get to revoke gloria’s right to talk about tithing. We live in a free country. Gloria has every right to talk about tithing however the hell much she wants.

    (I can’t believe I just pulled out the “free country” line. I haven’t used that since 4th grade. Sorry all.)

  97. Jack,
    I of all people would never want anyone to be censored just because she has a unpopular viewpoint.
    I just thought that’s what you were trying to imply…

    Gloria is still married to a Mormon and (I assume) at least part of their income is going to LDS tithe. I think she has the right to be concerned about where it’s being spent for that reason.

    Quite frankly, the STfrikUp mentality is exactly what Craig Blomberg suggested. He really thinks you should correct your OWN faith tradiition and not someone elses. You can share your own faith tradition and invite, but put downs are not Christian, and not productive.

  98. Katie ~ who died and made Jack supreme ruler of the universe?

    Show of hands: who here at LDSTalk wants me as supreme rule of the universe?

    PC ~ Consider my position retconned. And I for one welcome criticism of evangelical Christianity so long as it’s respectful and meant to be constructive. As I see it, it can only make us better Christians.

  99. And sorry for escalating the gloria pile-on, all. This particular criticism just really irks me; I don’t know what it is.

  100. Jack, don’t you consider that an unnatural break of the divide between creator and creature? I think Jack’s far too imperfect to be made the supreme ruler of our Universe.

    I’m unfamiliar with “retconned” What is the meaning of this word? I didn’t interpret the comments as being either respectful or constructive. I agree that we can become better Christians by sharing our viewpoints of what is right. But as you pointed out, presentation matters.

    I’ll be more careful of how my trackbacks occur, I didn’t know it just takes the words right before the link.

  101. Jack, just to make sure I was clear, I didn’t mean to imply that I thought you were setting yourself up as supreme ruler of the universe (though as I stated previously, I would support your candidacy as long as you slip me a little somethin-somethin along the way). That comment was directed toward PC for asking if you would revoke gloria’s right to talk about tithing–since it implied you have that power and all.

    PC, I know you’re a nice guy, but sometimes you frustrate me in the way you attempt to control people’s opinions by labeling them anti and uncharitable–even when they’re not.

  102. Katie.
    Are you aware that the entire OP contained nothing about Mormonism, and yet the comments have revolved around Mormonism?
    Are you aware that the OP contained no references of Joseph Smith’s character and yet, immediately in the comments, his character is maligned?

    Me expressing my opinion is not an attempt to control. If they don’t want to be offensive, they shouldn’t be offensive. A little taste of their own medicine is only fair, no? I viewed gloria’s comments about the LDS church as uncharitable, and I’m obviously not the only one who thought so. The OP was about a problem Evangelicals may have, and yet, instead of confronting it, Gloria managed to twist it into an attack on LDS. There’s something seriously wrong when people find a way to turn EVERY post into an attack on Mormonism. I’m sorry, but putting the words “love” and “heart” in the title of your blog doesn’t justify unfair attacks. I thank Tim for his great post, and I regret the way it was twisted into an attack.

  103. PC ~ Are you aware that the OP contained no references of Joseph Smith’s character and yet, immediately in the comments, his character is maligned?

    I’m a little speechless, PC. My “Joseph Smith was a creep!” was a joke about how this blog has so often turned every post into attacks on Joseph Smith. I don’t think anyone on this thread has said anything about Joseph Smith since then, and certainly no one has been maligning him.

  104. Jack,
    I guess we just disagree about what kind of jokes are in good taste or not..but that’s not a fatal flaw.
    I recognized Tim’s comment was a joke, some of your jokes I just don’t find funny.

    That, 12 apostates, I don’t know, I just didn’t like it.

    Maybe I should be better about separating the intent of different posters.

    I don’t think I’m out of line, however, in pointing that some posters manage to make ANY post an Anti post. I mean, most actors hate to be type-cast, why are bloggers cool with it?

  105. Jack: that’s a good question: who gets to complain and who should butt out. An important distinction is between complaining versus criticizing—you can be critical of me for paying tithing and you can be critical of my church for not detailing how it is spent, but you have no business complaining about it (not saying that you, Jack, did any such thing). Certainly one’s degree of involvement is a factor.

  106. PC ~ I don’t know what to tell you about my jokes, PC. I think I can count the number of people who have complained about them on one hand. Plenty of people told me they thought the “Quorum of 12 Apostates” thing was hilarious, so I stuck with it. That’s the life of a humor writer though: sometimes jokes hit and sometimes they miss. The only way you know a joke has missed badly is when lots of people complain about it. If one or two people complain but everyone else thought it was funny, you stick with it.

    Well, okay, my husband has absolute veto power on my jokes. If 99.9% of the world thinks a joke is funny and he thinks it’s in poor taste, he wins and I retract it.

    I’m not a humor writer by any means, but I do try to inject humor into religious discussion from time to time. Life’s too short to be so darn SRS all the time.

    As for Gloria: the only blogs I’ve seen Gloria comment on are here, MarkCares and Jessica’s blog. This is only the third thread she’s ever commented on here, and her remarks on the other threads (here and here) were pretty unobjectionable. So Gloria certainly hasn’t been hanging out at LDSTalk turning every thread into an anti discussion. The threads at Jessica’s and Mark’s blogs are pretty critical of LDS thought to start out with, so Gloria is hardly converting threads to anti-Mormonism there, she’s just going along with them.

    Does every thread at LDSTalk turn into an anti-Mormon thread? I don’t know about that. How do the other Latter-day Saints feel? Because I feel like we get some pretty healthy discussion of both evangelical Christianity and Mormonism here, and sometimes we’re critical of one and sometimes we’re critical of the other.

    As far as this thread goes, I feel like there’s been good discussion of both giving systems. Gloria’s comments have probably been the most critical, but I think you have to appreciate that she’s an ex-Mormon who gave some of the best years of her life to Mormonism and still has deep immediate family ties to the church. You, Seth, Brian, and Jared can walk away from evangelical Christianity any time you want, any time we get too annoying for you. Gloria has to have Mormonism in her life every day, whether she wants it there or not, and I guess I’m sympathetic to that. It can be really hard to be in that situation and not complain about it.

    I’m not trying to chew you out, PC, you know that I like you and I appreciate your friendship. I guess I have a lot of thoughts on this subject.

    Brian ~ Good thoughts on the subject. But what exactly is the difference between complaining and criticizing?

    To me, attitude is a huge part of it. I remember a guy on another message board said something about how “there seems to be an inexplicable nasty streak that runs through evangelical Christianity” and how mean and ugly we all are. Now, any time I see this person’s posts, I honestly don’t care what he thinks. There isn’t anything he could say about evangelical Christianity that would make me give a damn; he’s just looking for stuff to complain about and there is no pleasing him.

    There’s also something to be said for trust. Most of the non-evangelical regulars here can get away with being quite harsh on evangelical Christianity if they want because I’ve been interacting with them long enough to know that their complaints are honest. For example, Seth has said some pretty harsh and condescending things about evangelical Christianity here and on other blogs. If that had been the nature of the first comments he ever left on my blog, I would have thought he was a jerk and trolled him away ASAP. Since he built up trust and respect first, when he says harsh things about evangelical Christianity I actually think about it.

    I have to use Seth as an example because I think he’s been harder on evangelical Christianity than you and Jared and Eric have.

    In the end, I feel like there’s very little about evangelical Christianity which you guys couldn’t criticize and I would at least give it some thought. I dunno. There’s my two cents on it all, give me back my change.

  107. Brian,

    The poll results you linked take into account all charitable giving, to the Church or otherwise. It’s not only giving to “non-church charities” that is included.

    I don’t know that I’d say “Mormons are on par with most other Christians.” The poll clearly shows that Mormons give more than most other Christians.

    The “other Protestants” category probably includes small denominations and non-denominational churches. It probably is mostly evangelical. But other categories qualify as evangelical too, including the Baptists and Pentecostals, and some of the Presbyterians.

    Best,

    -Chris

  108. While I think gloria has an axe to grind, I haven’t found her opinions here objectionable, just silly. If she feels like a tithing settlement is the same thing as an interrogation or if she feels like she knows how she would run church welfare, that is her right and she can express it. I’ll just show up, label it silly, and we’ll have to move on from there.

    I haven’t found this place to be an “anti-” site in the way that I love Mormons or Mormon Coffee is. Tim’s cool! He may, on occasion, cause offense, but that is more a matter of not understanding some aspects of Mormon culture than deliberate provocation (in the Aaron sense, for example). I also like Jack and germit. FWIW.

  109. Actually, “I Love Mormons” is one of the less objectionable sites I’ve visited. Jessica and Gloria strike me very similarly. Nice people who devoted a lot of their life to Mormonism and are now opposed to it, and not shy about saying so. But at least they’re willing to be fair and pleasant about it.

  110. Jack, I think you’re funny. Carry on. 🙂

    I agree with Seth that Jessica and Gloria both have a very distinct point of view and mission–that is, to win converts to Evangelicalism from Mormonism–but I have never felt anything but sincerity and genuine love from either of them. So while this blog is dedicated to more ecumenical discussion, and Jessica’s blog is definitely more proselytizing in nature, I don’t find either offensive because I think they’re both done out of genuine good will.

    If they were deliberately misleading or totally unreasonable about things, that would be one thing. But I’ve spent some time getting to know Jessica privately in email discussions, and she has a heart of gold. I’m sure the same could be said for Gloria.

    I think some of us are so accustomed to the hateful attacks from the counter-cult types that we are suspicious of all evangelicals who minister to Mormons–but they are not all cut from the same cloth. It is not offensive to me when someone criticizes or challenges the church, unless they are being deliberately obtuse or dishonest about it.

    I think we can all do a better job of giving people the benefit of the doubt.

  111. Hi, Jack. I tried to email you privately but it bounced. I’ll try again later. I stepped out on this “conversation” last night ( homemade strawberry shortcake was calling to me! 🙂 Wow. You guys have been busy!

    To answer your question, yes my husband remains active in his ward. He holds a calling and serves in the YM ( young men) orginization. I should be expecting him home from church soon. I get home earlier than he does from my services I attend.

    He has a really nice bishop that is fairly low key and I think that has been helpful. I am not sure “how” they view his not paying tithing. To be honest, I don’t pry. I really try to just be a loving and supportive wife and keep a low profile when it comes to religion. As you well know, being preachy get’s us no where.:)

    I hope you are enjoying a lovely sunday – the weather he is gorgeous!

    Gloria

  112. Jack,
    You mentioned if the LDS’ church tithe set up was a contributing factor to my resignation from the LDS. I would have to say, no. Really, the bottom line reason “why” I left is I really truly do believe it’s all about grace. You see I am so flawed, so miserably hopelessly flesh filled, and I knew I was never going to be perfect. I needed Jesus bad, and He in His grace and love and mercy basically grabbed me and pulled me out. It was nothing short of a miracle. I was not looking to leave. One Sunday after teaching RS, I came home and told my husband I was done. I knew I couldn’t do it anymore. I had been to a sunday school class and the lesson was on NT and the topic “grace”. The teacher asked the class what is different about grace for LDS vs. the christian view on grace…. I couldn’t help it… I raised my hand and I told the entire class that I really did believe I was saved solely by grace. That it wasn’t after “everythin I could do”. There was nothing I could do to merit eternal life. Jesus had done that for me. After I commented I was blasted. I knew I had to get out.
    Jesus completely wrecked my life …. He brought everything crumbling down…..
    That’s why I left,
    gloria

    ps. although the tithing set up really did bug me when I was LDS!

  113. Hi, katie. Thanks for your remarks. I have been called all kinds of names since leaving the LDS church. “anti” is actually pretty soft compared to what some have said.

    It’s ok, really it is.

    Jesus is everything.

    That’s all I care about. Pleasing Him and just licking the dust off His feet.

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  114. I can see how what I have shared here may be hard for you to swallow. Especially since I speak as one who spent a great portion of my life as a LDS. It’s hard to hear other say things about something you hold so dear to your heart. I can feel your sensitivity. It’s normal to respond as you have.

    With that said, I have not shared anything here that is a lie. Sometimes hearing the truth about something is not pleasant and yeah it even hurts.

    I really do try to seperate the mormon gospel from the people. I try to focus on teachings and doctrines and not on individual LDS. I think I have been able to do so thus far.

    Each time I come online I do pray and ask the Lord to just guide my words as I type. I am sure I screw up from time to time… no, I am sure I do. So please forgive if you felt I was directing anything personal towards you. I don’t think I directed any negative comments towards you but towards a practice/teaching in the LDS church that I am pretty familiar with.

    It’s hard to hear negative about things that are near and dear to your heart. I feel that way when my LDS loved ones make fun of my Jesus , saying that all I have do is “lip service” to gain eternal life….. ouch. It hurts.

    I’ll try to think of that when I post from here on out.

    Kind regards for a lovely day,
    gloria

  115. Thanks for the apology. In sincerity, I wasn’t offended. I know it must be hard for LDS to have a former mormon out here sharing her /his experiences. As I said to the other poster here, sometimes hearing the truth ( even if it’s negative) hurts.

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  116. Actually if you go back and read the topic was on tithing. I shared my struggles with tithing . I shared here how some of my struggles stems from 19 yrs of tithing as a Mormon. I burned out on it. Germit and a few others were kind enough to help me work thru some of this. I appreciated the exchange. But truly my tithing experience in the LDS church has led me to be a little “gun shy”.

    Hope that makes sense!

    gloria

  117. I am sorry you say my comments as an “attack”. I was merely sharing my personal experiences with the LDS system of tithing and how that has affected me in my views of “giving” now as a born again believer.

    These are my experiences. I take ownership of them, and yes they have affected me.

    If you see that as an “attack” on your faith, well you most definately can take that approach. Can’t someone have a different opinion? I have a blog and LDS leave comments on my blog that I don’t agree with, but I am not offended and I don’t see it as an “attack” but an exchange of views and experiences.

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  118. Well, I guess I am just damn grateful that we live in a nation where we are free to complain and yes even criticize. Hey don’t we all complain or criticize our govt or president? Come on, we all do this from time to time.
    It’s the American way, for goodness sakes. 🙂 At least I think it is, and man I am so thankful for it. My parents left a communist nation and came to America to have the freedom to do just that. Thank God.

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  119. Hey, jack thanks. Really. It is hard to live in a interfaith marriage, but by God’s grace we’re doing it. I have a wonderful husband and we love each other regardless of the religion factor.

    BTW, what is LDStalk? I am so clueless. 🙂

    Gloria

  120. Thanks seth, for the kind remarks. And you know you are always welcome to share your opinions on my blog and I promise to not be offended, ok?

    Hope you are enjoy a lovely day,
    gloria

  121. Katie,
    I appreciate your remarks and you are right about Jessica, she does have a heart of gold and a heart to win souls for the Lord.
    I do have to say one thing though about your comment, and I really need to say this…. my goal, my hope, my prayer is to see the LDS people come to a saving and redeeming relationship with Jesus. I don’t care one bit about “evangelicalism” or any other name or denomination…. it’s all about Jesus. I long to see my LDS husband and loved ones just completely sold out for the King of Kings — Jesus.
    That is my hope and my goal with my own blog and why I stop and share from time to time here and other sites.
    Also, my husband continues to stay LDS and I choose to not share with him my frustrations about the LDS teachings and doctrines and experiences because I know how hard it is for him, so in a way my sharing here is a bit selfish. 🙂 I sometimes need a place to share.

    Thanks for understanding,
    gloria

  122. Note that this comment isn’t threaded.

    BJM said:

    How do the other Latter-day Saints feel? Because I feel like we get some pretty healthy discussion of both evangelical Christianity and Mormonism here, and sometimes we’re critical of one and sometimes we’re critical of the other.

    Perhaps, but these discussions always end up being more critical of Mormonism than evangelicalism.

    I’m not saying that’s a bad thing necessarily. It’s probably inevitable. One reason is simply because evangelicalism in our culture is often seen as “standard” Christianity and Mormonism as a variation from that. Another is that the LDS church claims to be the true church in a way that evangelicals don’t and wouldn’t (even though some claim to have the only correct interpretation of the Bible). Another reason is that the spectrum of evangelicalism is extremely broad. I could criticize certain megachurches for having too-highly-paid pastors, for example, but then Gloria could come right back and say that her church doesn’t do that, that that isn’t what her church does at all (and she’d be right).

    And speaking of Gloria, since everyone else has, I haven’t found her to be offensive. I think it’s unfortunate that she had a negative experience with Mormonism, and certainly that colors her outlook. Hey, it happens, and I’d be the first to admit that I’ve seen segments of the church that forget what grace means; that’s possibly the biggest problem that the church faces. My experience hasn’t been like that, and I wish that Gloria and people like her could have attended my last stake conference with me — the focus of it was on grace and the atonement and following the example of Christ and all those things that have to do with what the gospel is truly about, not on all the expectations of behavior that sometimes become ends rather than means.

    I’ve had similar negative experiences to Gloria’s, but they happened to me when I was an evangelical. They can definitely have an impact with how one views life and God.

    KL said:

    I think we can all do a better job of giving people the benefit of the doubt.

    That’s a worthy goal for all of us.

  123. Since my name was thrown around a couple of times in relation to the LDS church’s lack of financial accountability, I’ll just say this:

    The LDS church isn’t accountable to me. Gordon Hinckley said that the books were open to members. He lied. But if the church wanted to open the books just to members I think it would be great. If they wanted to hand them over during a temple ceremony and make people promise a death oath not to reveal them to Aaron or Ed Decker, I’d say “great!”

    I absolutely agree with Seth that as a giver, you should trust the organization to spend the money where they think it is best spent. ALWAYS give to the general fund rather than a specific project if you have a choice.

    Financial accountability is for the sake of those managing the money rather than the donors. Light cleans all things. It helps the money handlers prove that they are righteous and it keeps them accountable if they are tempted.

  124. I just don’t get some of the controversy in the comments. A church has to have a financial basis to function, be it tithing, free will offering, whatever. What’s the big deal about a church reminding the parishioners of their obligation to fund the institution they are participating in?

    As far as the money being used most effectively, I give any church much leeway short of fraud, as the leaders of any church are not prefect and are as much in need of redemption as I am. Financial mistakes will be made and I accept that. Hey, about half my savings disappeared last year; who am I to judge?

    Gloria – Although I’m still active LDS, I like your blog and am happy you’ve found a spiritual community you’re more comfortable with. I will say I’m a bit more rebellious than most LDS and never go to year-end tithing settlement. Since the declaration sought is redundant to the TR interview, it’s an obvious shakedown that I refuse to participate in. Without that kind of rebellious bleed valve, I would have left long ago too.

  125. I’ll add in support of Gloria and her stated reason for leaving the LDS being all about grace, I know first hand how difficult it is after you’ve received a witness that you’re saved by faith alone in Christ alone. The difficulty is there’s an anti-grace folk religion that still dominates the LDS that has only begun to fade in the last generation. The 1990 reforms to the temple liturgy weren’t that long ago, etc. In the bloggernacle I can profess being an Evangelical Mormon and spout off about other problems in the church behind a handle. Gloria came out and so professed to her Ward class!

  126. Hi, steve. I appreciate your comments. Some people can do what you are doing and stay active in the LDS faith, some like me can’t do it anymore and leave. I have across many folks that leave for various reasons. If you can stay and make things a better place, then I sure wish you the best.

    I also want to say that I am certain that there are many other churches that could use an overhaul in their financial departments. I cringe when I read about the Joel Olsteen’s making so much money off God’s word. I know that this is not just a issue in the LDS faith.

    I appreciate the kind remarks from the LDS here, who have been kind and haven’t bashed this girl for making the choice to leave.

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  127. ” Fiancial accountability is for the sake of those managing the money rather than the donors. ”

    Tim,

    Well said and I agree. I think it would do the LDS leaders a world of good to make the financial purse of the LDS church public knowledge. If things are square and being spent on what they say it’s being spent on than there will be not problems what so ever. I also think it could be easily done at the ward level and stake level. Each week the budget could be posted in the ward bulletin, with how much tithing collected, how much the bills are and what expenses are coming up. The Stake could report at stake conference twice a year. Then the general church could report at general conference twice a year on expenses, tithings collected, expenditures.
    I truly believe transparency is the way to go.

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  128. Steve,
    Do you think this anti-grace sentiment or folk religion as you call it, in the LDS faith will change? If there are others out there in the LDS faith who also beleive grace alone saves, then why are not more speaking out? Not just in bloggernacle, but in their wards and homes?

    Kind regards,
    gloria

  129. I don’t think posting the ward budget for all to see would necessarily be a great idea.

    For me it would just distract from worship. And a lot of the items the Bishop expends money on, are for private help for struggling families. Posting the expenses would actually generate gossip and make people more uncomfortable about asking for help.

    Also, local ward bishops are already audited by the stake – which is then audited by higher levels of the Church.

    If there is anywhere the LDS Church needs to open up its accounting records – it’s at the macro level (where things can be safely depersonalized). Opening the records at the top levels would help quite a bit.

    The last thing our overworked and non-paid bishops need is some stupid crank in the High Priest’s group scrutinizing his every financial move, and complaining to everyone about how Primary spent too much money this year.

    The local membership has better things to worry about.

  130. Gloria ~ my husband continues to stay LDS and I choose to not share with him my frustrations about the LDS teachings and doctrines and experiences because I know how hard it is for him, so in a way my sharing here is a bit selfish. 🙂 I sometimes need a place to share.

    Man, do I know what that’s like.

    BTW, I noticed in your testimony on your web site that you grew up in the Seattle area, did your endowment at the Bellevue temple, etc. Is that where you’re still living now? If it is, we should hook up before I likely move to Chicago in August. I’d love to meet you.

    I’m not creepy in real life, I promise! Ask Brian.

    Eric ~ You’re probably correct about the tendency to criticize Mormonism here moreso than EV Christianity, and correct about the reason for it. I for one will do my best to discuss both sides when we want to though.

    If I’m being too much of a jackass, just send an e-mail to my complaints manager, she’ll take care of it . . .

  131. Hi, jack. Yes, I did take out my endowments in the Seattle ( actually it’s in bellevue) Temple. My husband and I were sealed there as well. We moved away from the area a few years back, and boy do I miss it! We were there a few weeks ago for a wedding and I sure miss the diversity and culture of the area. No good chinese food around these parts. ( I am in the mid west now, the land of meat and potatoes)

    God bless,
    gloria

  132. Ah, that’s too bad Gloria. Would have been fun to meet up.

    I’m about to ship my husband and daughter off to Iowa for the week. Is Iowa “mid-west”? My sense of US geography is borked because I lived in Alaska for 10 years and you were all just “the lower 48” to me.

    Which means I don’t have to be a wife or mother for a few days. HOORAY!

  133. You husband will be in my neck of the woods. 🙂 I have always wanted to see the northern lights… maybe one day.

    ‘night,
    gloria

  134. My ears must have been burning… 🙂

    Actually, “I Love Mormons” is one of the less objectionable sites I’ve visited. Jessica and Gloria strike me very similarly. Nice people who devoted a lot of their life to Mormonism and are now opposed to it, and not shy about saying so. But at least they’re willing to be fair and pleasant about it.

    Seth, While I have no objections to being compared with the lovely Gloria, I’ve actually never been a Mormon. Where have you been anyway? If my site is “less objectionable” you sure haven’t visited me in awhile.

  135. Well, at least it wasn’t an unfounded criticism. One out of two ain’t bad, I guess.

    I probably confused you with Darrell’s website – since Darrell participates on your blog occasionally and all that.

    Sometimes I think I visit too many websites. It’s tough to keep all the conversations straight sometimes.

  136. Wow: I was away doing chores and stuff , and look what I missed; MONEY really hits a nerve…must be sweeps week at bloggerdom…..

    Pschoguy: reread some of the earlier posts and you’ll note that we gave the EV’s a tough time for 1) not giving enough and being selfish (major themes in Tim’s OP) and GERMIT weighed in on how goofy tithing as a MANDATE is…meaning ANY church that pushes that…. the conversation diverged from there, I think this group can be cranky multi-directionally… maybe grow a thicker skin there , dude

    Brian: great point about “critical” vs. “complaining” ; like that, and , yes, BIG difference (to me at least)

    Seth: I’ll nit pick you a little: if you give a bum a $20 and he’s drunk or high 10 min later….maybe you DO have some accountability there; although giving the bum NOTHING is maybe no better. The “you can always do more” thing is a dodge…. GOD doesn’t ask us to EVERYTHING, but HE does require us to do SOMETHING… avoid the extremes, bro.

    interesting thread…. MONEY sure gets the blood going, eh??

    GERMIT

  137. Tim: did you mean “unwiselly” ???

    just wondering..

    Steve:

    What’s the big deal about a church reminding the parishioners of their obligation to fund the institution they are participating in?

    Reminding of an “obligation” is great, biblical, and needed. Filling in the x’s and o’s (for NT believers) is going farther than GOD goes (for those who accept the NT as their authority), so even though it makes a certain kind of pragmatic sense, it’s STILL just not a command (a particlular percentage) in the NT, and hence , a very bad idea to get hung up in the specifics, when GOD does not.

    As noted: there are a VARIETY of obligations for the believer, of which the local church is ONE; as GLORIA has commented, thank the Holy Spirity for directing giving (for those who have ears to hear, I suppose) where HE wills…..and guess what…where HE wills turns out to be (as I see it) NOT the cookie cutter profile that ev’s have been fed these last few decades.

    But, hey, if YOU don’t find the lds giving package over the top, or too secretive, or whatever, dig deep and knock yourself out… For me, paying large $$$ for what Salt Lake calls a big deal just would not work.

    GERmIT

  138. You know, there’s a story about C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. The two men were walking when they passed a bum on the street begging for money. C.S. Lewis turned and emptied his pockets of change for the bum. As they kept going, Tolkien asked Lewis, “What did you do that for? He’s just going to spend it on alcohol.” And Lewis replied, “If I’d kept it, I would have spent it on alcohol.”

    Just food for thought…

  139. Sometimes I think I visit too many websites. It’s tough to keep all the conversations straight sometimes.

    Oh, I thought blogging was your full-time job, Seth. No? 🙂

  140. Seth,
    Awesome, awkward correct English.

    BJM.
    Since I won’t spend the money on alcohol, that means I can keep the money, right?
    No, I’d rather take them to a diner and buy them a lunch, but I refuse to help them further an addiction like that. It’s the ones that turn me down that irk me, especially when they dress nicer than I do.

  141. psychochemiker,

    If I was a bum and you offered me dinner, I’d probably turn you down too.

    Strange guy approaches me on the street and offers to buy me dinner. That can’t mean anything good.

  142. PC ~ If you don’t care for some accountability on how the church is spending your money, why do you care how the bum spends your money?

    Seth ~ If I was a bum and you offered me dinner, I’d probably turn you down too.

    Which is what women told you all the time during your bachelor days.

  143. ” If you don’t care for some accountability on how the church is spending your money, why do you care how the bum spends your money?”

    Now that is something to think about.

    Gloria

  144. Shouldn’t you be studying for a certain upcoming exam? No moar Intarweb 4 u!!!

    Frank Abagnale, Jr. of Catch Me If You Can fame passed the bar exam without ever going to law school, so it should be a cakewalk for someone who actually went to lawyerin school.

  145. what I need to do, of course, is run into JACK AND Psychguy at the same time…then I get my burger AND an imported beer (or SAM ADAMS if it’s a tough week for her)…now where did I put that bum suit….?????

  146. Jack: I fell way behind but wanted to respond to your direct question: “But what exactly is the difference between complaining and criticizing?” Criticizing is pointing out where something is wrong and how it can be fixed; complaining is just pointing out how it’s wrong without any desire or effort to see it fixed.

  147. I should add that often a critic ends up just looking silly because they are trying to fix something that doesn’t need fixing. There’s a scene about this in Monte Python’s “Jabberwocky,” where a character notices some inefficiencies in the way a blacksmith (I think) and apprentice are working; without asking permission he moves some things around so the men won’t have to reach as much; this confuses one of the workers, who then gropes a bit for what was “misplaced” and ends up getting his hand smashed by the other worker. Point is: if it’s not your business, then it’s pretty hard to be an effective critic.

  148. Seth,

    If I was a bum and you offered me dinner, I’d probably turn you down too.

    It used to be there was a saying, “beggars can’t be choosers.” I guess we should thank FDR and his “NEW DEAL” that made the beggars feel that they should also be choosers. It caused the age of entitlement. Bailouts for Banks, GM, the New York Times, everyone’s entitled.

    I am opposed both to those who make a living off of bumming-and those who would use my money to feed their addiction. I am not opposed to helping people, but I won’t be guilted by bleeding hearts into fulfilling “their” conception of the right thing.

    I don’t feel it helps them, I don’t feel that God tells me to give them money to purchase alcohol, or drugs. I think the scriptures do tell me to help. I’ll feed someone. I was approached in a parking lot once, with a sob-story about a funeral visit, and a burst tire, and a hotel stay and they didn’t have any food.

    “Can I order you a pizza.” “No, they won’t deliver to a credit card where the person isn’t present.”

    “I don’t have any cash on me, but I’ll bring some groceries by and leave them at the front desk of your hotel.” “That’d be great.” He gave me the name, and his room-#. When I brought the canned soup, crackers, bananas, and cookies and showed up at the red roof in, Turns out there was no 300 level to the rooms, and no one of that name staying there. I will help, I will go out of my way to help, but I won’t be taken advantage of.

    Jack,
    As Tim pointed out, we don’t ask for accountability for
    those we trust. I have reason to trust the Leaders of my Church. I have no reason to trust anti-Mormons, or bums (strange sentence…) I do trust my roommate. If my roommate asked me for 20$, I would give it to him. If a bum asked me for 20$, I would not give it. I would buy him (her, bcz you’re all feminists) food, but I don’tever give money to panhandlers.

  149. psychochemiker,

    We have enough to argue about here without you channeling the Laura Ingram show. Stay on topic, I’m really not interested in another lame debate about politics.

    Any gift given manipulatively is not a gift.

    If you give a gift to a beggar manipulatively expecting him to “shape-up” or hew to your own judgmental notions of moral behavior, don’t be surprised when they throw it back in your face.

    Frankly, you deserve it.

    You can’t go through life only agreeing to help the “cuddly beggars.”

  150. Seth,
    You’re welcome to help people ruin their lives all they want. I’m not the one telling you what you should do. I’m telling all the self-righteous Evangelicals and Mormons to stop telling other people how they HAVE to act in order to be charitable. Quite frankly, it’s just not your place.

    People lying to me doesn’t hurt me. I can (and did) donate that food in a food drive. I know God blessed me for the effort. Sure it’s a lot easier to just hand out money. And if you think that’s the right thing to do, great. Just don’t throw stones from atop your rameumptum.

    Ensuring that money isn’t spent on drugs or alcohol is no more manipulative than the federal government restricting WIC to not pay for those items. Is your Uncle Dole really that manipulative? Is it not bleeding heart enough? I said nothing about only helping the “right type of beggar” but helping all in need in the right way. By rephrasing the argument, you’ve misunderstood, misquoted, and disrepespected me. Maybe the anti-Mormons are rubbing off on you.

    The point of that story wasn’t that he “threw it in my face”, the point was he was playing me, and I refused to get played. Similar to how you’re trying to play me by misstating my argument. Are you trying to understand Seth, or just trying to judge and put down others who don’t agree with you?

  151. Yeah. You were giving a gift with a hidden agenda. And that’s not really the way gifts are meant to be given.

    That much was plain from your language. You seemed awfully pleased with yourself for having found a way to reveal who the worthy bums were and who the undeserving were.

    It rubbed me totally wrong. Feel free to explain yourself though.

  152. Dear Seth R.
    I may be an anomaly here because I don’t accept you as infallible or omniscient, but I know my intents and beliefs much better than you do. My agenda was to give him food, what he was asking for, without giving him money that he could spend on whatever he wanted. You can determine how you want to give gifts, but I am allowed to determine how I will. You cannot read my mind (stop acting like an anti-Mormon).

    I think there is a difference between worthy bums and unworthy bums. I didn’t say that I’m the person to judge, and that’s why I’ve instituted a policy on how I spend the money I have stewardship over. The policy is the same for anyone I don’t know. As a fellow human being, I grant you the same priviledge. I was pleased with myself, I heard a plea for help, and I tried to help. It turned out I was being lied to, and I wasn’t swindled, because I was smart. But if anyone get’s to correct me Seth, it’ll be God, and not you. (Again,…). If I say something that bothers you, maybe you can follow the words of your “pseudo Messiah Obama” and lend me the benefit of the doubt instead of attacking (Again….).

  153. Nope, can’t read your mind.

    But I can, as it so happens, read English. You may want to review the tone you were pushing with yours.

  154. I don’t want to pile on you or anything, PC. You have a heart for giving and I’m not putting you down, and I’m the last person to knock someone else for being a cynic.

    My concern with your test and insistence on buying exactly what the person asked for is that sometimes a person has a genuine financial need, but the problem is too embarrassing or complicated to explain to a total stranger.

    Example: a person could be trying to put together money for a bus ticket home to another city. I imagine it’s much easier to ask total strangers for $5 a pop for food than it is to say, “I’m trying to put together $80 for a bus ticket home, could you chip in?” People are going to be more willing to pay for an immediate need like hunger.

    Or a homeless woman could need money for feminine hygiene products, but she sure as hell isn’t going to say that to a strange man, so she asks for money for food instead. (My apologies go out to the men of this blog, who just clicked away as fast as possible…) A man who insisted on buying her the food directly would not really be helping her out.

    I don’t blame you for not wanting to further drug and alcohol addictions; I just think it’s difficult to discern that for sure. I remember hearing a quote somewhere, something to the effect of, “I’d rather feed 99 wolves than let a single sheep go hungry.” I thought it was Joseph Smith, but I can’t find it, so I don’t know where it came from. I don’t think it’s a bad rule to live by though.

  155. Wow Kullervo. You’re a great Christian who’s example I want to follow.

  156. Jack, rest assured, if I ever see a women ask for 25 cents, for that very purpose I will give it no questions asked.

    I’ve re-read my comments, the tone I was using was.
    1) It is up to a persons conscience to determine how they’ll help someone else.
    2) I’ve not suggesting judging others in need.
    3) I have suggested that judgemental Mormons (Seth) and evangelicals (Kullervo) need to get over themselves and stop bashing others for having differing beliefs.
    4) I haven’t called anyone names for their beliefs.
    5) I did call the tactic of mind-reading anti-Mormon.

    Peace out, all.
    I’ll leave you to your judgementalism now.

  157. I can’t speak for everyone else here PC, I’m not trying to judge you though. Just expressing concern with your system.

    BTW, Kullervo’s an ex-Mormon and while he has sympathies to Christianity, he certainly isn’t an evangelical. I don’t even think he’d call himself a Christian; see this post here.

  158. I don’t have a dog in the fight over PC’s tone, but I think he’s giving wisely and appropriately. You should always ask a few probing questions or offer to go the extra mile before giving to a pan handler. There are plenty of services available for people in need, so if some one is pan handling, they may just need help finding those services OR they’re scam artist.

    Several times I’ve offered to do just a little bit more than the person is asking and by doing so it’s been obvious they were scamming me.

    My wife is an expert on poverty related issues and helping people out of poverty. I highly recommend her podcast http://www.povertyunlocked.com . The first 8 issues of her cast are about the best ways to help people.

    Kullervo is by no means a Christian. He wouldn’t want to be called one much less an Evangelical.

  159. I have nothing to judge by, but what you wrote. So that’s what I did.

    Since you can’t read my mind either, how about I clarify what I’m saying.

    I don’t question that PC’s motives in giving are primarily charitable. It’s just that his bare posts conveyed a certain sense of self-satisfied judgmentalism at having “caught” a few people in alleged hypocrisy (which, as Jack adequately pointed out, may not have been any such thing). That rubbed me wrong and I responded to it.

    My feeling is that if you are going to go about giving handouts on the street – whether you are being scammed should not be your first (or even second) concern. If you’re going to give a gift, give the damn gift.

    The end.

    For the record, I don’t typically give to people on the street. The local homeless shelters, food kitchen, and the battered women shelter are all underfunded and I figure my money could be well spent there instead. Our state legal aid providers are also underfunded and always have been. Plenty of places that could use help. So that’s where I spend when I can.

    But the idea of walking around trying to sift the motives of panhandlers just seems inherently distasteful to me. Either ditch your pride and accept that you’re going to get cheated on occasion, or don’t do it. Like I said – plenty of other places to spend a good dollar.

  160. Seriously, I am a straight-up polytheist pagan. My gods don’t mind if I swear at you for being a jerk.

    I am a Christianity groupie though.

  161. Oh, but generosity is a classical pagan virtue. The gods are angry at people who are not generous. Zeus in particular protects beggars, supplicants, and the homeless, and turning them away is a quick way to fall out of his favor.

    I give money to panhandlers if I have it, with very few exceptions. One time this guy told me the same “I’ve had such a terrible weekend” sob story twice, two months apart. He was just lying, and I would have gladly given him a buck if he had just said “hey, I need some money; can I have some.”

    Also, I generally prefer to give money to the panhandlers in my own neighborhood over the ones I run into elsewhere, if I have to choose who gets the change in my pocket.

    Also, I give money to buskers if I have it and I like what they’re playing.

  162. Dear Seth R.
    I may be an anomaly here because I don’t accept you as infallible or omniscient…

    This is my favorite quote from this blog ever. Except for everything Rick Hurd ever said, and everything on the
    Polygamist Jesus thread. Oh, and crazy Mel. Dang, I liked crazy Mel.

  163. Dang. I can’t stop reading blogs at all, can I? You guys have been busy!

    So, from reading (skimming?) the comments it looks like:
    1. The LDS members here are fine paying tithing to the LDS church.
    2. The non-LDS Christians here are fine not paying tithing to the LDS church.
    3. The LDS members who, due to marital circumstance, pay money to non-LDS as a part of tithing are generally okay with it.
    4. The non-LDS Christians who pay money to the LDS church due to marital circumstance are generally okay with it.
    5. Everyone thinks giving is good. (except my mom, who thinks I should keep my money and not pay tithing)
    6. Everyone thinks that the world could stand if people gave a little more.
    7. My husband managed to throw the first swear word (as usual).

    Sound about right? If so, I can start contributing. 😀

  164. I think you should take extra-special notice of the fact that Zeus thinks giving is good. Also, he is the god of lightning.

  165. Hey, thot we had Kullervo coverted there for a second….i was ready to paint that dawg a sand-wich board proclaiming the end times or something….complete with collection plate, of course.

    No comment on MC’s tone, but his style of giving has a lot going for it, GERMIT’s opinion.

    Happy, nappy, day after memorial day

  166. I haven’t read all the comments, but in case it hasn’t been brought up yet –

    The Church welfare system requires that anyone receiving welfare offer service in return – either on Church property or even in the community is my understanding.

    As far as I know, the Church will give to ANYONE that is willing to provide service. In fact, the bishop in my ward recently gave financial assistance to a non LDS man.

    My experience is that the panhandlers coming to the Church won’t do the service.

  167. Tom, When I have received church welfare, I don’t think that I provided service. However, I know that that has been the case for other people.

    I’m not sure why we didn’t; maybe the fact that at the time I was in the RS Presidency and Kullervo was the ward mission leader had something to do with it?

  168. Interesting, Katyjane. I can think of a few reasons.

    1) Your bishop considered your service in the RS Presidency as your service.

    2) Most bishops, I imagine, are more prone to give to people who faithfully pay tithes and offerings, which I’m assuming you had been doing. Again, it may have been viewed as a blessing given to you for service / sacrifice already rendered (and which you continued to render through the period of Church assistance).

    -the blogger formerly known as Tom

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