Tithing on surplus?

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
Bear
Posts: 171
Joined: 30 Jul 2012, 08:04

Tithing on surplus?

Post by Bear » 13 May 2016, 00:52

Hi everyone!
I am a member of the church and after careful thought, i have come to the conlcusion that i'm agnostic about many things in the LDS church. All the historical problems that add up really makes it hard to take things literally. I really value the community, the tribe and I have a deep belief in God. That belief has only gotten deeper since i stepped away from seeing/believing/reading/understanding everything literally. But thats another story:)

Im just writing the above, so you understand where i am coming form. I have discussed this in other threads here, but i'll just leave it at that, since this post isnt about a faith journey so much.


I have been wondering a lot about thithing lately. I am married with two kids. Boys.
We are not rich by any stretch, and live in an appartment. But we have found a small house that we might be able to pay the monthly morgages on. Probably.
Right now i pay net tithe. (My wife is not active LDS and pays no tithing) And i'm really contemplating doing surplus tithing instead. I would love to give my two boys the space to be boys, and really enjoy a garden and ALL the positive things that come from that. I know this seems like small deal to some, but i believe that growing up as a normal active boy in an appartment vs a house with a garden, really allows for different ways of playing/expressing oneself. I dont know if you know what i mean here:)

Basically i would love to know how you came to your conlcusion regarding paying tithing on surplus or if you didnt. I would love to know your thought process, and your spiritual process.

I am on the fence, and will start praying and thinking about the matter. To see my kids grow up in a small house with a small garden in a small but lovely town, would make me so happy. I really believe this specific house and location (the countryside) would be such a blessing to them! I see the value as something more than a fancy new car or whatever. This could be something that i really believe could feed their soul to some extent. Its a great neighbourhood with other kids. Cats running around in the streets, close to fields etc. Just a great place for kids to be, and its a cheap house (and not big). Its not an excess thing in my book.

If i decide to pay on surplus, i expect to get a call from the bishop at some point. Im not really ready for that yet. Or is what you pay a completely personal thing? Will the bishop or anyone higher up ever see what you pay?



Thanks:)

User avatar
LookingHard
Posts: 2895
Joined: 20 Oct 2014, 12:11

Re: Tithing on surplus?

Post by LookingHard » 13 May 2016, 03:33

I have read the bishop's/Stake Presidents handbook of instruction and it does not go into this detail. In fact Bishops are asked not to dive down into these questions as the church leaves it up to you. I would be very surprised if you ever would have a bishop ask you about gross vs. net. In my ward I have a friend that has held most every calling someone can have and is as gung ho about the gospel as could be.

In high priests group last month we had a lesson on tithing and the clear conclusion was that each person has to decide for themselves and it is between him and the Lord. There was disagreement with the "well do you want to have gross or net blessings?" as seeing paying tithing equivalent to playing a slot machine and expecting and times to get a big payback.

I also look at your motives for even considering moving to gross and they are motivated by a loving parent wanting to provide a better environment for his children, not someone that is greedy and wants more money.

It does not matter what I say as this is between you and the Lord, but I say, "Enjoy your house!"

Bear
Posts: 171
Joined: 30 Jul 2012, 08:04

Re: Tithing on surplus?

Post by Bear » 13 May 2016, 03:37

Hehe. Thanks!;)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 6529
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Tithing on surplus?

Post by DarkJedi » 13 May 2016, 05:10

I say whatever feels right for you. I have enjoyed our children growing up in our house with our garden.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

Minyan Man
Posts: 1610
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Tithing on surplus?

Post by Minyan Man » 13 May 2016, 05:31

There was a discussion about the TR questions in 2012. One of the topics had to do with the tithing question (10a)
Go to this link: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6117

This discussion really helped me to move through this issue & others.
My suggestion is to make a decision, pray about it, ask for guidance & move ahead with your decision.
Thanks again to: wayfarer.

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16464
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Tithing on surplus?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 13 May 2016, 06:28

Your choice. No need to explain to anyone or justify your choice.

The specific thread about tithing in the post to which Minyan Man linked was a great disucussion. The link is:

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3390
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

User avatar
nibbler
Posts: 4043
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Tithing on surplus?

Post by nibbler » 13 May 2016, 06:48

Bear wrote:I would love to know your thought process, and your spiritual process.
My spiritual process? As time went on I wanted a more personal relationship with god. I realized that I had many intermediaries between me and god. In my quest for a personal relationship I tried to remove the intermediaries until the relationship became one on one. Everything was between me and god, tithing came as a part of that package deal.
The simplest statement we know of is the statement of the Lord himself, namely, that the members of the Church should pay ‘one-tenth of all their interest annually,’ which is understood to mean income. No one is justified in making any other statement than this.
Is still in the handbook with relation to tithing. It's between us and the lord.
LookingHard wrote:There was disagreement with the "well do you want to have gross or net blessings?" as seeing paying tithing equivalent to playing a slot machine and expecting and times to get a big payback.
The ole net vs. gross blessings. You know what... "surplus blessings" sounds pretty good to me. ;)
It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words, "And this too, shall pass away." How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!
― Abraham Lincoln

User avatar
LookingHard
Posts: 2895
Joined: 20 Oct 2014, 12:11

Re: Tithing on surplus?

Post by LookingHard » 13 May 2016, 07:22

nibbler wrote:
LookingHard wrote:There was disagreement with the "well do you want to have gross or net blessings?" as seeing paying tithing equivalent to playing a slot machine and expecting and times to get a big payback.
The ole net vs. gross blessings. You know what... "surplus blessings" sounds pretty good to me. ;)
Well we could look at it as making sure we don't obligate the Lord for blessings we don't even have room to receive. Or maybe I should up my tithing percentage above 10% and get a bigger house and storage shed so that I DO have room to receive all the blessings.

Bear - if you don't know me well you might not realize I am being quite sarcastic and hoping that you chuckle a bit when reading this.

Bear
Posts: 171
Joined: 30 Jul 2012, 08:04

Re: Tithing on surplus?

Post by Bear » 13 May 2016, 07:54

Really???? ;)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

User avatar
SilentDawning
Posts: 7182
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Tithing on surplus?

Post by SilentDawning » 13 May 2016, 10:12

I decided surplus tithing was viable for a few reasons.

1. D. Michael Quinn, in his book "Extensions of Power" traced the history of tithing, from the definition of 10% of "increase" [according to the 19th century definition] to a variety of other methods, to the current cultural norm of 10% of gross, of which net has become culturally acceptable -- tied to the temple recommend.

I saw how the definition of tithing changed as leaders ran into financial difficulties in the funding of the church. It showed me how 10% of gross or net was less of a firm, inspired commandment, and more "policy" by managers who sought better and better ways to fund church operations.

The current method/definition worked, and I believe it has generated strong surpluses for the church, they are not willing to give up by a relaxed tithing policy.

Anyway, after you take "divinity" out of the definition, it becomes easy to use a definition that fits your own conception of what tithing should be.

[Note: Michael Quinn is a former member of the church who I think was excommunicated as part of the September 6 purge of intellectuals, but he did present credible, scholarly research. The fact that he is no longer a member of the church didn't change the quality of his reasons and facts he shared.]

2. I compared the emphasis on self-reliance in the church, with the mandate to pay tithing even if it makes you short of basic necessities like food, shelter, etcetera, making up the difference on church welfare.

That seemed incredibly wrong to me -- that self-reliance is important, but only if it doesn't interfere with paying your tithing. Given my own belief that the church tends to love itself more than its individual members, it seemed easy to tithing on the amount you have left over after you pay for the basics in your life. And its up to you, to decide what those basics are.

We all know you put your own mask on before you put the oxygen mask on your child.

3. I saw families who would pay tithing all their life, run into financial difficulties later in their lives, and then go to the church for help. Our Bishop wold ask them to cut their cable, and other minimal comforts. They would expect them to do chapel cleaning and other things. It just seemed wrong that members are expected to give up so much for their whole life, but as soon as members need help financially, there are strings attached to the church help.

4. I tried to get access to church counseling over a church-inspired trauma in my life. And they were booked. No places available. Yet they own 5% of the state of Florida. Should not these tithing funds, and even funds held by church business interests be used to help provide members with the services they need for inner peace and spirituality? Should they not be be used to make the members lives better? In general, I have found the church rather tight-fisted..

5. Although some Bishops can reason out what your tithing should be based on market rates for jobs like yours, or things you tell them, they don't know income. So, there is a certain amount of conscience involved in paying tithing.
6.
Check out the FP letter from the 1970's regarding tithing. In church books they conveniently leave out the last sentence, but it belongs in any interpretation of tithing as far as I can see:
For your guidance in this matter, please be advised that we have uniformly replied that the simplest statement we know of is that statement of the Lord himself that the members of the Church should pay one-tenth of all their interest annually, which is understood to mean income. No one is justified in making any other statement than this. We feel that every member of the Church should be entitled to make his own decision as to what he thinks he owes the Lord, and to make payment accordingly.
Income has different meanings, but in my understanding of business, it is sales-expenses= operating income. Operating income minus taxes = net income. That to me, means surplus.

I could go on, but these things make it very easy for me to adopt a version of tithing that I think is appropriate for me.

And ultimately, whether I pay at all is my choice.
Last edited by SilentDawning on 13 May 2016, 13:17, edited 1 time in total.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

Post Reply