Tithing on surplus?

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NightSG
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Re: Tithing on surplus?

Post by NightSG » 18 May 2016, 10:30

DarkJedi wrote:Perhaps. See the good feeling response above. Also, I think there s a real question whether or not the church administers the "lord's funds." I don't think God needs any money, and if He did I don't think the church has a monopoly on it. Locally the Catholic diocese runs an ad about the "year of mercy." The ad specifically says what the money is used for, which is relieving the suffering of others. I have seriously considered donating to the cause in lieu of LDS donations. The ad is quite powerful.
This is one of my key objections to the "10% to the Church" interpretation; if I directly help someone in need, that money (or time) is doing the Lord's work without any administrative overhead.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Tithing on surplus?

Post by SilentDawning » 18 May 2016, 11:18

I don't feel any better asking for help (if I ever had to ask for it -- not necessary yet) knowing that I paid tithing all those years. I wouldn't feel even a little better asking for it even if I was a full tithe payer right now.

This is because as a priesthood leader, I saw how elderly people who had paid their whole lives had to really jump through hoops to get church assistance. I was touched when one old man said "Isn't there a provision where, if you paid tithing all your life, you don't have to do it anymore? So I can just meet all my expenses without having to go to the church?".

I had his expenses in front of myself, and they were getting by on very little as it was.

I had to say 'no' pay your tithing and we will give you a food order or pay your utilties. It felt so wrong to me, to rob a man of his independence like that. He had enough to make ends meet if he didnt have to pay out that $250 a month in tithing. And had he NOT paid tithing his whole life, would he not have been better off financially in his old age? Would he not have had to go through the embarrassment and hassle of convincing the priesthood leader and Bishop to give him the money he needed for necessities?

I have also learned that even if you are serving really hard, the church leaders don't seem to give you much deference when you need help with certain things (non-financial things). There does not seem to be the interpersonal reciprocity that I think one would expect.

Results may vary. But that has been my experience. So, even having paid it for most of my life, or even being a full tithe payer at the time I might ever need to ask for assistance (hopefully never) would not make feel any better asking for help.
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Roy
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Re: Tithing on surplus?

Post by Roy » 18 May 2016, 13:09

I see faith as believing in religious concepts and acting on that belief.

I believe that if your rationale for payment of tithing includes God then it is based in faith because we cannot see God or prove his existence.
Heber13 wrote:Is it faith if I pay tithing with literal expectations of "fire insurance" or the electric bill will be paid by a mysterious envelope on my doorstep?
Yes, this meets my definition above.
Heber13 wrote:Is it faith if I pay tithing with the expectation I can answer "Yes" in a TR interview?
No, As SD said this is almost a transaction with the organization and says nothing about your level of belief in the religion as a divine organization. However, if you saw the temple as a place where one receives spiritual/divine blessings or essential saving ordinances and you paid tithing in order to gain access to those divine ordinances ... Or if I saw the church as a divine organization and my membership in good standing was important for the afterlife ... Or if I saw the TR interview as some sort of preliminary final judgment - All of these would qualify for my definition of faith.
Heber13 wrote:Is it faith if I pay so I feel good about myself for being kind and generous?
No. However, if you believe that God commanded the paying of tithing and you do so with/or without a hope of some sort of reciprocating blessing then I would call that faith.
Heber13 wrote:Is it faith if I pay so I don't upset my spouse, but I don't believe in God?
No.
Heber13 wrote:Is it faith if I pay to an outside organization, not the LDS church?
Yes, if the person making the payment is motivated by a religious belief. If the person believes that their payment is pleasing to God and that desire to please God is a motivator then yes it would meet my definition of faith.
Heber13 wrote:Is it faith if I don't pay?
It could be - again depending on the motivation. Sometimes inaction can be an act of faith. Suppose I entered into a vow of silence or a vow to let my hair grow. If I did so as a demonstration of my religious beliefs (rather than some sort of publicity stunt) then my inaction would be an act of faith. Suppose that I am TBM and love paying tithing, however my spouse has had a crisis of faith and no longer wants to pay. If I believe that God's commandment to be one with my spouse supersedes the commandment to pay tithing - then it is possible that I can not pay tithing as a demonstration of devotion to God and my spouse. In that situation, I believe that not paying tithing could be an act of faith.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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DBMormon
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Re: Tithing on surplus?

Post by DBMormon » 21 May 2016, 11:28

1.) “The celestial law requires one-tenth part of all a man’s substance which he possesses at the time he comes into the church (See D&C 119:1), and one-tenth part of his annual increase ever after(See D&C 119:4). IF IT REQUIRES ALL MAN CAN EARN TO SUPPORT HIMSELF AND HIS FAMILY, HE IS NOT TITHED AT ALL. The celestial law does not take the mother’s and children’s bread, neither ought else which they really need for their comfort. The poor that have not of this world’s good to spare, but serve and honor God according to the best of their abilities in every other way, shall have a celestial crown in the Eternal Kingdom of our Father.” (The Millenial Star, 1847. Orson Hyde, editor) – quotes comes post end of consecration and after law of tithing is revealed

2.) section 119 refers to surplus

3.) Encyclopedia of Mormonism on tithing as it refers to section 119 as the Lord’s new law of tithing and not consecration and speaks directly of surplus.

4.) JST of Genesis 14 – “Wherefore Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him more than that which he had need.” JST Genesis 14:39. (Emphasis added.)

5.) The actual words Lorenzo Snow used when he went to St. George to deliver his address on tithing – (“Gen Conf. 1899) “I pray that every man, woman, and child [who has means] shall pay one tenth of their income astithing.” – When net or gross are used everyone has means with almost no exception

6.) The church’s Doctrine – “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.”

– while not supporting surplus as the right conclusion it certainly doesn’t exclude it. It also begs the question why the Church officially chooses not to define tithing beyond this if Surplus is a pernicious lie.

7.) the handbook – “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 theirinterest annually,’ which is understood to mean income. No one is justified in making any other statement than this.” (First Presidency letter, 19 Mar. 1970;see also D&C 119:4)

same as number 6

8.) “The Lord’s Tenth, Pamphlet, 1968”

THE TITHE AS A RENTAL

As the matter presents itself to my mind, it is as though there had been a

contract made between myself and the Lord, and that in effect He had said to me: “You have need of many things in this world — food, clothing, and shelter for your family and yourself, the common comforts of life, and the things that shall be conducive to refinement, to development, to righteous enjoyment. You desire material possessions to use for the assistance of others, and thereby gain greater blessings for yourself and yours. Now, you shall have the means of acquiring these things; but remember they are mine, and I require of you the payment of a rental upon that which I give into your hands. However, your life will not be one of uniform increase in substance and possessions; you will have your losses, as well as your gains; you will have your periods of trouble as

well as your times of peace. Some years, will be years of plenty unto you, and others will be years of scarcity, And, now, instead of doing as mortal landlords do — require you to contract with them to pay in advance, whatever your fortunes or your prospects may be — you shall pay me not in advance, but when you have received; and you shall pay me in accordance with what you receive. If it so be that in one year your income is abundant, then you can afford to pay me a little more; and if it be so that the next year is one of distress and your income is not what it was, then you shall pay me less; and should it be that you are reduced to the utmost penury so that/you have nothing coming in, you will pay me nothing.”

Talmadge can be seen as defending all three and while some may see Gross as the conclusion here I post it anyway as there are phrases used that seem to indicate other options such as net or surplus as well as Talmadge first speaks of one’s needs and then speaks of not paying in advance but only once one knows whether one has an abundance or a scarcity. (which contradicts some modern leaders)

I admit #8 is the weakest of the quotes but share it here for others to read

9.) “In more recent times the Church has not called upon the members to give all their SURPLUS property to the Church, but it has been the requirement according to the covenant, that they PAY THE TENTH.” (Emphases added. Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 3: 120.). Without adding tenth of Gross, any person listening to this originally or reading it is left to assume tenth of one’s surplus. (the original law was to give one tenth of one’s surplus properties and then a tenth of one’s surplus ever after… it seems most reasonable that as the Church got into better financial shape it simply removed the first part of one’s surplus properties when one entered and members were now only required to pay the tenth (which was surplus based on D&C 119

10.) Heb 7:4 – “Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.”

11.) the 1970 FP letter. It is a bit of a sleight of hand. The Lord never mentions the word “income” in the revelation(119), but only surplus and interest. “Income” is mans addition. The FP letter should read, “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 by us without any formal revelation as income.

12.) In discussing consecration, the Lord defines surplus as giving “more then is necessary for their support” (D&C 42:33). This was always curious to me. If tithing is a lesser law, why does it demand more of your money (if using the gross or net model) than does consecration (surplus). It seems like if consecration is the goal, surplus, and tithing is a lesser law, tithing should be 10% of surplus, not gross or net, which could be much more than a persons surplus.

13.) There is also the famous three words removed from the Lorenzo Snow quote in the church manual, “who has means”

“I plead with you in the name of the Lord, and I pray that every man, woman and child … shall pay one-tenth of their income as a tithing.”

14.) In a Letter from Heber C. Kimball to his wife Vilate and subsequently reprinted in Elders’ Journal (Oct 1837) pp.4-7 detailing the early work and organisation of the church in the Lanchashire area, 1837:

Preston, Lancashire, England, September 2, 1837

My Dear Companion [Vilate Kimball],

“….We have to live quite short but the brethren are very kind to us. They are willing to divide with us the last they have. They are quite ignorant; many of them cannot read a word and it needs great care to teach them the gospel so that they can understand. The people here are bound down under priestcraft in a manner I never saw before. They have to pay tithes to the priests of every tenth they raise, so that they cannot lay up one cent. They are in the same situation the children of Israel were in Egypt. They have their taskmasters over them to bind them down. It will be as great a miracle to deliver this people as it was the children of Israel.

There are a great many believing in Preston; we are baptizing almost every day.”

Heber is suggesting those priests who are skimming off the top are practicing priestcraft.

15.) In “A Companion to your Study of the Doctrine & Covenants” written by Ludlow, 1978, in the section marked 119 you will read the following:

“I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop” Let us consider for a moment this word ‘SURPLUS.’ What does it mean when applied to a man and his property?

SURPLUS CANNOT MEAN THAT WHICH IS INDISPENSABLY NECESSARY FOR ANY GIVEN PURPOSE, BUT WHAT REMAINS AFTER SUPPLYING WHAT IS NEEDED FOR THAT PURPOSE. Is not the first and most necessary use of a man’s property that he feed, clothe and provide a home for himself and family! . . . WAS NOT ‘SURPLUS PROPERTY,’ THAT WHICH WAS OVER AND ABOVE A COMFORTABLE AND NECESSARY SUBSTANCE?

In the light of what had transpired and of subsequent events, what else could it mean? CAN WE TAKE ANY OTHER VIEW OF IT WHEN WE CONSIDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH IT WAS GIVEN IN FAR WEST, IN JULY, 1838? “I have been unable in studying this subject to find any other definition of the term ‘SURPLUS,’ as used in this revelation, than the one I have just given. I find that it was so understood and recorded by the Bishops and people in those days, AS WELL AS BY THE PROPHET JOSEPH HIMSELF, WHO WAS UNQUESTIONABLY THE ABLEST AND BEST EXPONENT OF THIS REVELATION.”

(Emphasis added, Franklin D. Richards, Nov. 6, 1882. JD 23:313.)

16.) President David O. McKay has this explanation of D&C 119:

The law of tithing as now understood and practiced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was given by revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith in response to a prayer in which the Prophet sought the Lord to know “how much he required of the properties of the people for a tithing.” The Lord answered saying, the “beginning” of tithing consisted first of “all the surplus property,” and named the specific purposes for which this “surplus property” should be used. “After that” tithing consists “of one-tenth of all the interest annually; and this,” he continued, “shall be a standing law unto them forever.” (See D. & C. 119.)

reference should actually be “David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p.197.”



17.) “If a man is worth a $1000, the interest on that would be $60, and one/10. of the interest will be of course $6.— thus you see the plan.” Bishop Partridge



18.) Howard W. Hunter

Burton, ed., We Believe, Tithing

The law is simply stated as “one-tenth of all their interest.” Interest means profit, compensation, increase. It is the wage of one employed, the profit from the operation of a business, the increase of one who grows or produces, or the income to a person from any other source. The Lord said it is a standing law “forever” as has been in the past. CR1964Apr:35

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Tithing on surplus?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 21 May 2016, 13:48

The accepted definition of tithing has been fluid throughout time. It has changed multiple times. Getting hung up on needing one eternal definition is pointless. I MUCH prefer the open situation we currently have, where I can define it according to the dictates of my own cnscience.
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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.

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On Own Now
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Re: Tithing on surplus?

Post by On Own Now » 22 May 2016, 09:32

DBMormon wrote:(the original law was to give one tenth of one’s surplus properties and then a tenth of one’s surplus ever after…
DB, I appreciate the research you have done. However, I must tell you that I think you have completely misinterpreted the role of "surplus" in tithing as laid out by the Church. The "original law" absolutely did not say to give one tenth of one's surplus and then one tenth of one's surplus ever after.

I am not advocating any conclusion about how much a person should pay (I pay nothing, myself). I'm simply pointing out that you are drawing conclusions that don't match the history.

In Sec 119, to be "tithed of surplus" meant to give 100% of surplus, not 10%. In fact, tithing in this section is a clear two-parter: 1) to be tithed of surplus (give ALL surplus) and 2) a standing LAW of 10% of annual interest. You can see the two parts in verse 4 talking about those already in Zion and verse 5 regarding those coming to Zion.

For completeness, here is the entire section 119 so that everyone can see it. I've bolded and otherwise highlighted key parts, but have left it fully intact:
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord, I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop of my church in Zion,

2 For the building of mine house, and for the laying of the foundation of Zion and for the priesthood, and for the debts of the Presidency of my Church.

3 And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people.

4 And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord.

5 Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you.

6 And I say unto you, if my people observe not this law, to keep it holy, and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me, that my statutes and my judgments may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy, behold, verily I say unto you, it shall not be a land of Zion unto you.

7 And this shall be an ensample unto all the stakes of Zion. Even so. Amen.
The Church has never said "10% of annual surplus". You are arriving at that by conflating several different past elements of tithing. The Church, at various times has said that at the beginning, the member should either give all surplus or 10% of net worth, and has followed that by requiring 10% of interest or increase annually. Fortunately, these archaic definitions have gone away. Since late 19th century, the Church has dropped the initial payment and gone with "10% of income" annually. No matter how much we might like a different definition of tithing, the logic that says tithing in the eyes of the Church should or could be 10% of annual surplus is nothing more than wishful thinking.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

NightSG
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Re: Tithing on surplus?

Post by NightSG » 22 May 2016, 11:42

On Own Now wrote:In Sec 119, to be "tithed of surplus" meant to give 100% of surplus, not 10%.
Which implies that the Lord Himself couldn't speak English. I have a bit of trouble believing that.

"Tithe" comes from the Old English "teotha" meaning "tenth." Giving anything other than a tenth, is, by definition, not a tithe.

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On Own Now
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Re: Tithing on surplus?

Post by On Own Now » 22 May 2016, 12:41

NightSG wrote:
On Own Now wrote:In Sec 119, to be "tithed of surplus" meant to give 100% of surplus, not 10%.
Which implies that the Lord Himself couldn't speak English. I have a bit of trouble believing that.

"Tithe" comes from the Old English "teotha" meaning "tenth." Giving anything other than a tenth, is, by definition, not a tithe.
D&C 119: "I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop of my church"
Whether the Lord understands the etymology of the word or not, I'm just glad we are NOT using 'surplus' as a basis for tithing today.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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dtrom34
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Re: Tithing on surplus?

Post by dtrom34 » 22 May 2016, 13:04

I've been paying 10 percent of my gross until last year. This would actually come out to be about 100 percent of my surplus. I'm done paying 100% of my surplus. If I'm allowed to have a nuanced view of the history of the church, then I feel I'm allowed to have a nuanced understanding of tithing. . . In other words, worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of my conscience.

My new understanding of tithing has allowed me to donate not only to the church but also to various organizations I believe in.

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Re: Tithing on surplus?

Post by Roy » 22 May 2016, 15:43

dtrom34 wrote: I feel I'm allowed to have a nuanced understanding of tithing. . . In other words, worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of my conscience.
Strangely enough, that is the official church position on the subject. That how to calculate the 10% of interest is between the individual and the Lord.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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