Tithing = Fire Insurance

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JAC
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Tithing = Fire Insurance

Post by JAC » 15 Sep 2015, 09:14

For many years I have cringed when people call tithing "fire insurance". Those that tote this concept cite the following scripture:

D&C 64:23 - Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.

This scripture has led many to believe that if you don't pay tithing that you will be burned during the second coming. I believed this when I was a kid and I suppose it was part of my motivation for paying tithing for many years. As I've grown up my motivation has changed and I now reject the idea that God wants us paying tithing under duress.

Does anyone know of any good teachings out there on this subject? I'd love to pull out some good material to refute this idea the next time someone calls tithing "fire insurance".

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LookingHard
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Re: Tithing = Fire Insurance

Post by LookingHard » 15 Sep 2015, 10:01

I guess the church isn't paying its tithing as I know of a few chapels have burned down, not to mention the Provo tabernacle, the top of the St. George temple, etc.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Tithing = Fire Insurance

Post by Curt Sunshine » 15 Sep 2015, 10:45

Nope. I don't look at it that way. Might or might not be accurate (no way to know), but that is not at all a reason why I pay tithing.

For a fuller description:

http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/2011 ... -dont.html
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Roy
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Re: Tithing = Fire Insurance

Post by Roy » 15 Sep 2015, 11:30

Part of my faith crisis was that I felt entitled to blessings because of tithing, church service, honorably holding the priesthood etc.

I felt very disillusioned when my family suffered a terrible loss. I then metaphorically read the small print and found that the "blessings" are vague, general, and not time specific.

I think that most of the extreme claims about tithing blessings come from individual members and not from official sources. Unfortunately, I was disappointed to find the following in True to the Faith (part of the missionary reference library) and LDS.org.
The law of tithing requires sacrifice, but your obedience to the law brings blessings that are far greater than anything you ever give up.[snip]

These blessings come to all who pay a full ten percent of their income, even if that amount is very small. As you obey this law, the Lord will bless you both spiritually and temporally.[snip]

If you have not yet established a pattern of consistent tithe paying, you may have difficulty believing that you can afford to give up one-tenth of your income. But faithful tithe payers learn that they cannot afford not to pay tithing. In a very literal and wonderful way, the windows of heaven are opened and blessings are poured out upon them.
I am very troubled that this seems to make the claim that if you pay tithing you will receive temporal blessings and that the temporal blessings will be a net gain for your family - that you will get more than your 10% back. I believe this is stated both by saying that "the law brings blessings that are far greater than anything you ever give up" and that "faithful tithe payers learn that they cannot afford not to pay tithing." What does that even mean?!?! That people who suddenly stop paying tithing are also inexplicably unable to make ends meet?!?!?

The blessings referred to are described as "literal" and "temporal" - precluding receipt of those blessings in the next life or in spiritual realms.

I know of no statement where the church distances itself from the fire-insurance rhetoric.
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Minyan Man
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Re: Tithing = Fire Insurance

Post by Minyan Man » 15 Sep 2015, 12:06

What Roy said:
Part of my faith crisis was that I felt entitled to blessings because of tithing, church service, honorably holding the priesthood etc.

I felt very disillusioned when my family suffered a terrible loss. I then metaphorically read the small print and found that the "blessings" are vague, general, and not time specific.
This is the reason I became disillusioned & became inactive. Now I'm beginning to look at it differently.
For me, I'm beginning to look at this as an element of my Pride. For me, I reacted as a 2 year old who didn't get what he
thought he deserved & threw a tantrum. I am beginning to understand that God reveals himself when & how we need to receive
the answer or inspiration. We are tried by life not God. Because we are members of the LDS church doesn't mean that I have a special pass or privilege to receive God's inspiration. This is all new for me. I haven't thought it through completely. I don't try to judge anyone else because they feel differently.

Does this make any sense to anyone? I guess no.
Last edited by Minyan Man on 17 Sep 2015, 08:12, edited 1 time in total.

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LookingHard
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Re: Tithing = Fire Insurance

Post by LookingHard » 15 Sep 2015, 12:23

Even with all my grumpiness as of late, I kind of agree with Jon Huntsman Sr. that said
My philanthropy is not borne out of my faith,” he told Forbes. “They require 10 percent tithing. I don’t consider that to be philanthropy and I don’t consider it to be part of my philanthropic giving. I consider it as club dues.
I do think I shouldn't expect to pay nothing and me and my family are using the BB Court at times, having a wedding reception, attending church services, and having social gatherings there. But I do think the 10% dues are a bit high if you ask me.

Roadrunner
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Re: Tithing = Fire Insurance

Post by Roadrunner » 15 Sep 2015, 14:56

Tithing = Fire Insurance makes me cringe. Just like the idea that we should purposefully "bind the Lord" by obeying his commandments because we want a particular blessing. I envision Christ bound to a stake and it just doesn't do it for me.

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Heber13
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Re: Tithing = Fire Insurance

Post by Heber13 » 15 Sep 2015, 14:59

JAC wrote:Does anyone know of any good teachings out there on this subject? I'd love to pull out some good material to refute this idea the next time someone calls tithing "fire insurance".
I believe that is the shallow or primary version of the principle. I think if you talk with your bishop or anyone intelligent in the church about the principles for tithing, you could have a very good discussion on what the true teachings are around the commandments for tithing.

In other words, I don't believe the church teaches it as "fire insurance". I think some members do as they fumble around trying to express teachings, and the church is there to help people raise their understanding of such principles to a higher level.

As Roy and others have pointed out, if a testimony is built on that teaching, it doesn't hold up when the winds and storms of life hit us. There are enough storms in life for us to eventually find this out for ourselves, and gain a true testimony of what tithing is and isn't.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Grudunza
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Re: Tithing = Fire Insurance

Post by Grudunza » 15 Sep 2015, 23:49

I've thought of it a similar way as Huntsman, akin to club dues. Tithing in the scriptures is pretty straightforward as money needed to pay the debts of the presidency and to help maintain church buildings and programs and such. I think we give it an unintended and unrealistic power when we turn it into something that implies faith and an expectation of blessings.

To me, it is like the annual fee you pay to belong to a gym. Merely paying the fee does nothing for you but allow you access to the facility and equipment. Where you get the blessings of it is when you apply yourself and actually exercise and use the equipment regularly. That is demonstrating faith and service and effort and should indeed show results over time. So sure, paying tithing is important to help that gym remain open and its equipment available and maintained, and it's part of your agreement to be part of that gym, but the mere paying of it is not going to bless you, necessarily. It can give you the impetus to want to work out, though, knowing that you're paying for the right to use the gym. But then again, a lot of people pay to belong to gyms and never really go.

One thing we are told repeatedly to do in the scriptures, with a direct promise of blessings, is to be charitable and give to the poor. So I feel like we should be more matter-of-fact about paying tithing, and more zealous and encouraging of charitable giving.
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Ann
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Re: Tithing = Fire Insurance

Post by Ann » 16 Sep 2015, 07:57

Grudunza wrote:
To me, it is like the annual fee you pay to belong to a gym. Merely paying the fee does nothing for you but allow you access to the facility and equipment. Where you get the blessings of it is when you apply yourself and actually exercise and use the equipment regularly. That is demonstrating faith and service and effort and should indeed show results over time. So sure, paying tithing is important to help that gym remain open and its equipment available and maintained, and it's part of your agreement to be part of that gym, but the mere paying of it is not going to bless you, necessarily. It can give you the impetus to want to work out, though, knowing that you're paying for the right to use the gym. But then again, a lot of people pay to belong to gyms and never really go.
That is such an interesting take on it. Thank you. What comes to my mind next is that going to the gym religiously doesn't mean you won't get cancer, either. But it means you have a clean, functioning, friendly place to go to make your body the strongest and healthiest it can be under the circumstances.
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