Nelson in Africa

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mom3
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by mom3 » 17 Apr 2018, 20:34

For me, if we paid tithing on surplice, like D & C states and as Church History states, then fine - add it to the equation, but we don't. And he is not asking them to either.

Or if he had listed tithing as the 13th thing in a list of 20 things then I would be okay. Tithing is scriptural. I love the concept of tithing as a way to Thank or show homage to God. But I don't think our 10% off the top fits the bill.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by Curt Sunshine » 17 Apr 2018, 23:14

I just want to echo what the last few commenters have said.

Like lots of things, this is not nearly as simple as it seems on the surface.
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

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On Own Now
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by On Own Now » 18 Apr 2018, 07:36

For me, if we paid tithing on surplice, like D & C states and as Church History states, then fine
Just a quick historical note. We never did pay tithing "on" surplus. We paid tithing "of" surplus. The differences is massive. Original tithing called for giving all your surplus at the beginning and then paying 10% of increase thereafter. D&C 119:1-5. Thankfully, we don't follow that model anymore.

Tithing was adjusted several times throughout history to arrive at what we have today, which is 10% of income annually, and let the reader decide what is meant by 'income'.

Disclaimer: I don't personally pay tithing anymore, having achieved lifetime status in the past.
"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

Roy
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by Roy » 18 Apr 2018, 08:07

mom3 wrote:
17 Apr 2018, 16:01
Tithing is not a be all end all answer.
Beefster wrote:
17 Apr 2018, 16:04
I just don't like it when tithing is presented as a financial panacea. It isn't. To suggest that it is tithing that brings people out of poverty is not something I see empirical evidence to support. The faith-promoting stories shared over the pulpit are anecdotal evidence and are not representative of the whole.
Yes, I agree. "Tithing blessings" was one of the unstable pillars of my former belief system. I also agree that how it is worded implies the common assumption that God will magically step in to fix the problems of the faithful (or at least tip the scales). Tithing is no Panacea.

But I also feel that tithing can be a membership fee and that membership in the church with all it's teachings, focus, and connections can help bring people out of poverty. (The Perpetual Education Fund seems like an awesome real world example)

I also feel that tithing can function like a forced insurance plan/emergency fund for some people. When something bad happens and the family is in dire straits, the church can sometimes be counted on to help (either through aid from the bishop or from compassionate service etc.)

Finally, the fantastical claims about tithing just seem like "par for the course" for me. The church (both local membership and global leadership) makes oversimplified and hyperbolic claims all the time.
Curt Sunshine wrote:
17 Apr 2018, 23:14
Like lots of things, this is not nearly as simple as it seems on the surface.
Yes, I agree. I am not saying that I loved the speech. Just that it was a mixed bag of both positive and negative for me. It certainly wasn't anything that would solidify my perceptions of RMN. I am willing to give him some space and not write him off in his first few months in office.
"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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mom3
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by mom3 » 18 Apr 2018, 09:04

On Own - Maybe I have read it wrong. On a quick cheat I grabbed the wikipedia defintion for the LDS tithing. It seems different to me than how you see it. This isn't tit for tat - It's a learning question.
Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery made a covenant on November 29, 1834, in which they promised to give a tenth of all that they received to the poor in the church.[1] However, during the early history of the Church of Christ, most Latter Day Saints understood the scriptural word "tithing" as any amount of consecrated goods or money.[2] For example, in 1837, the Presiding Bishop Edward Partridge and his counselors defined "tithing" as two percent of a household's annual net worth.[2][3]:18

While in Far West, Missouri, Smith received a revelation commanding his followers to build up a holy city Zion and construct another temple. Faced with the future financial burden that this commandment would create, Smith gathered several church leaders on July 8, 1838, and prayed to know how much property God required for tithing.[2] The answer that Smith received is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants,[4] which describes three types of tithing, including "all their surplus property", "all those who gather unto ... Zion shall be tithed", and "one tenth of all their interest annually."[5][6]

The revelation states that the original purpose of the surplus property was "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." Additionally, it warned that "if my people observe not this law, to keep it holy... behold, verily I say unto you, it shall not be a land of Zion unto you."[5]

After Smith received this revelation on tithing, he assigned Brigham Young to collect the Saints' "surplus property". Smith did not define the phrase "surplus property", instead allowing the people to judge for themselves.[2] In November 1841, the Quorum of the Twelve stated that "surplus property" would mean "one-tenth." Modern scholars disagree on whether this original provision was only applicable under the law of consecration.[6]:53–54 After Joseph Smith's death and the resulting succession crisis, various factions of the Latter Day Saint movement developed their own tithing practices.
Roy - I have an affinity to tithing, both as scripture and resource for churches. Whether it's for structural costs, Perpetual Education Funds, etc. Where I gripe is the 10% mandate, and the attached worthiness. I guess my version of a loving God is more flexible and understanding. If as a church we taught, "Give a Portion to God" and "Let men govern themselves" on the amount I would feel better. Especially in light of an impoverished society. These people don't have adequate water, lighting, etc. Let them take care of themselves and families first - then we can build buildings of worship.

OK - I am going to take a break. This is way winding me up. I knew it would. Thanks for listening.

For the record I do appreciate that Pres. Nelson stated he gets revelation like everyone else and that we all can have it. That's my plus take away from this - and I am happy that church members far away get to see the leaders up close. That to me is a good thing. I liked when David O McKay and Gordon B. Hinckley did it, too.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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On Own Now
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by On Own Now » 18 Apr 2018, 10:36

mom3, This is a very interesting topic. The way it has been handled and continues to be handled is a great example of how to confuse. As pointed out in the (incomplete) wiki article, to "be tithed" was not a definite amount. There was a continuous tug-of-war in the first 50 years of the Church between whether a person was tithed on their net worth or was tithed of their surplus, so even the basis was in question. When it was surplus, it was always 100% of surplus, when it was net worth, it was a varying percentage, though 10% became the norm. I believe these were both trying to arrive at the same basic idea: that some percentage of your net worth was surplus. If you look at D&C 119, here's what is in there:
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.
All surplus. All. What was surplus? That was up to interpretation, but the instruction was "all surplus" (v1).

According to v3, this is only the first step. There's another to follow.
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.
Notice here that those who gave all their surplus in v1 are now said to have "thus been tithed". In other words, tithing of surplus in this revelation means to give all surplus.

After that first step, then 10% on interest annually is a separate law. This is really where we get the "Law of Tithing". Notice that this portion of the revelation, the law, is not 10% of surplus.

Then the revelation addresses the issue of those who will come to zion later:
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.
"Be tithed of their surplus" means to give all their surplus (see v1 and v4). "Observe this law" refers to then paying 10% of their interest annually.

I know that there are people who are trying to promote the idea that 10% of surplus was the original law, but that's simply not accurate. It relies on the misapplication of the term in v5 "shall be tithed of their surplus", but in this context, it clearly meant something much different.

There was a thread a while back that introduced the idea of 10% of surplus along with my more detailed post of the history of the calculation.

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=7224&hilit=surplus

The bottom line for me is that if anyone wants to pay 10% of their surplus, that will be more than I am paying, so good for them. Just understand that there is no historical or theological precedence for it; the Church has never seen it that way or taught it that way. The Church has been all over the map on how to calculate tithing, but that is a stop they've never made.
"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

longbottom
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by longbottom » 18 Apr 2018, 18:35

Wow this is a really interesting and thought provoking thread! I get so excited that I have a place to go where people of differing beliefs and opinions are embraced. How's that for being different?

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mom3
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by mom3 » 18 Apr 2018, 20:55

On Own - Thank you. Likely it is all the iterations after the basic 10% that we now do. Maybe that's why I am defensive for a group of people I barely know. Can't we just start by accepting what they can give? He did call them pioneers. Can't we let them mature naturally in this area?

Part of my overall frustration comes from secular training of the needy. Years of working with needy have brought an awareness to the forefront of caring for those with less. "Meet them where they are at." In place of making goals beyond their reach or expecting them to understand how the rest of life works, you move your understanding down to theirs. Yes it's longer and frustrating, but in the end it is reaping more success than previous models.

I feel that the people of Africa might like that. Where are they at - poverty. Ok, lets ask them to set aside an amount for God/tithing. No dictation on the amount or percentage. Just what they can. As they begin to work with that model and find success in it, then suggest a growth process.

I think an offering is a better step, but they never call.

For those who think, "Well that's not fair. Why make it different for them?" - Many things in the church are different. Take temple sealings. They differ from country to country. Somehow that's ok.

My tithing model should be for converts, too.

Guess we see why I won't be in charge.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

nibbler
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by nibbler » 19 Apr 2018, 04:16

mom3 wrote:
18 Apr 2018, 20:55
Maybe that's why I am defensive for a group of people I barely know. Can't we just start by accepting what they can give? He did call them pioneers. Can't we let them mature naturally in this area?
We've talked about a similar philosophy as it pertains to the WoW.

WoW
How established saints got where we are today: Gave people 90 years to wean themselves off things prohibited by the WoW.
What we expect converts to do: Cold turkey to get baptized/be considered "worthy."

Gramps struggled with his chaw, he never could give it up. Pops also acquired the habit because of the example of his old man but he could abstain for several months at a time. The grand kid avoided chaw altogether. It took 60 years, but now the family is on the right path... or you know, we could prevent gramps from ever joining or create a culture where he doesn't feel comfortable attending. Now the grand kid has his chaw too because he's never even heard of the church. Or maybe he laid off the chaw but he's never heard of the church because gramps never ended up going and now because of our unyielding stance the grand kid has to wait for someone to do his temple work after he's gone. Generations go by because of our hard line approach.

Tithing
How established saints got to where we are today: nothing, 2% on net worth, all surplus then 10% of your increase, not required to enter the temple, required to enter the temple, 10% on gross, 10% on increase (which leaders interpret to mean income).
What we expect converts to do: That last one.

So why not let a convert and their posterity wander through a period of fumbling around for a more perfect definition of tithing for a few hundred years? At least they're in the church and enjoy a little self esteem while they are on the ride. We say it's between you and the lord but there's a very strong cultural interpretation of what the lord finds acceptable.Why not give everyone some breathing room and truly give people the space to make it a matter between them and the Lord? Give them generations to grow into a principle.

- - - -

I'm not terribly concerned with people that decide that tithing means 10% of their surplus, where surplus is what is left over after all necessities are paid for. I don't even mind that they rely on an improper interpretation of church history to justify that decision. "Improper interpretation of church history to justify..." is what modern day Mormonism is all about. People may need to tell themselves that at one point in history tithing was on surplus in order to have a little self confidence in "their" definition of tithing.

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On Own Now
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Re: Nelson in Africa

Post by On Own Now » 19 Apr 2018, 05:31

nibbler wrote:
19 Apr 2018, 04:16
So why not let a convert and their posterity wander through a period of fumbling around for a more perfect definition of [insert priciple]?
Yeah, wouldn't that be nice! I think it's downright bizarre that a new believer can't even join the Church without committing to live the WoW (and I think even demonstrating that they have left their habits behind). Yet it is said that Jesus freely forgave sins and even associated with the socially unacceptable.
nibbler wrote:
19 Apr 2018, 04:16
I'm not terribly concerned with people that decide that tithing means 10% of their surplus, where surplus is what is left over after all necessities are paid for. I don't even mind that they rely on an improper interpretation of church history to justify that decision.
I'm just trying to set the record straight... Apologists often play fast and loose with the facts... I just think it's useful not to take on that same approach when it works in our favor. I'd rather not pay and admit it than to try to make it look like I'm paying and I wouldn't mind it if the Church took that same approach about several topics. Beyond that, of course, it doesn't matter to me how anyone else decides to go about their tithing payments. I myself pay 0% of my net worth, 0% of my surplus, 0% of my gross income and 0% of my net income. That way, I have all my bases covered equally and don't have to worry about whether I'm interpreting the law incorrectly.
"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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