Pure Motives for Paying Tithing

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SilentDawning
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Pure Motives for Paying Tithing

Post by SilentDawning » 12 May 2011, 14:26

I had a conversation with someone in my Ward recently. They are having trouble with a local leader. I won't go into the details, but this TBM is having trouble sustaining this person because he's lied a few times and everyone knows it. Plus, he's not well-liked. So, this good, faithful member doesn't feel he can sustain the leader, and is letting the TR expire rather than have to say "Yes" to the sustaining local leaders question. Doesn't feel he can report it to the appropriate authority either as this would be complaining about local leaders, which is not consistent with inspired leadership and the need to speak well of leaders.

So, he's going to let the TR expire. I asked about tithing -- would he continue to pay it? The answer was "No" -- why pay it if I don't have a temple recommend?

As I've been developing my personal articles of faith, I have been wording a section on tithing, and I'm debating the question about motives for paying tithing. Why do we pay tithing? What is the right motive for paying tithing?
Last edited by SilentDawning on 12 May 2011, 15:02, edited 3 times in total.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- 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."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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Tom Haws
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Re: Pure Motives for Paying Tithing

Post by Tom Haws » 12 May 2011, 14:45

For me, the right motive, on one level, is simply to let go. Beyond that, we could probably list "pure motives" at several levels. I'll give it a first try:
  • God demands it. He will bless you if you pay and curse you if you don't.
  • Do it as a means of sacrifice to bring the blessings of heaven.
  • Do it because you owe dues as a member of a church.
  • Do it because you believe in ungrasping and simplicity.
  • Do it because it will give you a better attitude about money.
  • Do it to affirm you can live on less.
  • Do it to force yourself to rely on the mercies of Heaven and the World.
  • Do it to weaken your reliance on false supports and hasten your awakening.
I think any of these motives could be pure.
Tom (aka Justin Martyr/Justin Morning/Jacob Marley/Kupord Maizzed)
Higley and Guadalupe
Gilbert, Arizona
----
Sure, any religion would do. But I'm LDS.
"There are no academic issues. Everything is emotional to somebody." Ray Degraw at www.StayLDS.com

Brown
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Re: Pure Motives for Paying Tithing

Post by Brown » 12 May 2011, 18:03

Membership fees.

i'd actually be more happy about paying a membership fee than paying "fire insurance" as it is often portrayed.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Pure Motives for Paying Tithing

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 May 2011, 20:59

To help others have the kind of amenities I have had (primarily, in this case, meetinghouses, temples, colleges, etc.) - and those things all are really important to me.
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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SilentDawning
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Re: Pure Motives for Paying Tithing

Post by SilentDawning » 12 May 2011, 21:14

Ray Degraw wrote:To help others have the kind of amenities I have had (primarily, in this case, meetinghouses, temples, colleges, etc.) - and those things all are really important to me.
Ray, do you believe a person can pay their tithing to organizations other than the Church, and still be right in the eyes of God as far as tithing goes? (Assume holding a TR is incidental to the person; they are not doing it for the TR).
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- 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."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Pure Motives for Paying Tithing

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 May 2011, 21:26

The command is to tithe to help others - in essence, to participate in his work and his glory at the most practical level. I believe in the principle and symbolism of tithing, so I believe in tithing.

In the Old Testament, it essentially was the equivalent of our modern fast offerings; now, it primarily funds the physical expansion of the "structural church". I'm OK with that, as the structural church is important to me and many others. Also, a temple recommend actually is important to me, for lots of simple AND complicated reasons, so I pay tithing to the LDS Church - and I believe my motives are "pure".

If someone else doesn't believe in the purposes which tithing accomplishes (if the dictates of their own consciences don't direct their tithing to the LDS Church), I'm not about to condemn them for directing their tithing elsehwhere in a way that does good and helps others. I believe that certainly fulfills the spirit of the law, even if it doesn't fulfill the letter of the LDS application.

I absolutely would prefer that someone tithe for a good cause than that they not tithe at all - and I think someone who stops paying a tithe (or making some sort of significant, sacrificial donation) just because they no longer feel like supporting the LDS Church financially probably practiced the program of tithing without ever understanding and embracing and internalizing the principle and symbolism of tithing.
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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SilentDawning
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Re: Pure Motives for Paying Tithing

Post by SilentDawning » 12 May 2011, 21:55

Ray Degraw wrote: I absolutely would prefer that someone tithe for a good cause than that they not tithe at all - and I think someone who stops paying a tithe (or making some sort of significant, sacrificial donation) just because they no longer feel like supporting the LDS Church financially probably practiced the program of tithing without ever understanding and embracing and internalizing the principle and symbolism of tithing.
I'm having trouble accepting the old line that we do it out of obedience. And I'm having trouble being motivated to pay tithing for the sake of the recommend. This thought hit me like a ton of bricks when the person I referred to in the OP indicated that if he's not holding a TR, why bother paying tithing.

I'm feeling that intrinsic reasons for paying it is to see that it benefits others in some significant ways. And also, with that, comes a responsibility to believe, with reasonable certainty, that the funds will be used responsibly and relatively transparently.

Although I don't always like the strings that are attached to our welfare program, I do think our Church Welfare program is a highly efficient program given its partial execution by unpaid ministry. So, I'm thinking of donating it all to the fast offering fund. This would preclude me fom having a TR.....however, I'm starting to feel OK with that idea for the time being. Strange, but true. I think it meets the Spirit of the law admirably. I also think it would be an interesting conversation with a priesthood leader if he ever tries to talk me into having a TR again; not that that is an intrinsic reason, but an interesting bi-product of a decision like this. My TR expired a couple months ago, and I haven't renewed it because I didn't know how I felt about it.

I feel much better knowing my funds are going to help the poor, rather than the structural expansion for the time being. And its consistent with the belief I'm forming that tithing is to be paid for the good of others; and its up to me to define what I believe is good.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- 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."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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Tom Haws
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Re: Pure Motives for Paying Tithing

Post by Tom Haws » 13 May 2011, 05:19

Ray Degraw wrote:...I believe in tithing.

I absolutely would prefer that someone tithe for a good cause than that they not tithe at all - and I think someone who stops paying a tithe (or making some sort of significant, sacrificial donation) just because they no longer feel like supporting the LDS Church financially probably practiced the program of tithing without ever understanding and embracing and internalizing the principle and symbolism of tithing.
Ray, I agree with these sentiments about tithing. Obviously, I don't have quite the appreciation you do for the "structural church", but that's okay too.
SilentDawning wrote:This would preclude me fom having a TR..
SD, I'm not sure why you feel that way, but I do believe it's important to act with integrity. I continue to pay a generous tithe that is mostly directed away from the LDS Church. I share your admiration for the LDS welfare program efficiencies and your ambivalence about the strings that are attached. Sometimes LDS people (and people in general) have a hard time with "live and let live" or trusting the motives of others or "letting go and letting God." The whole point is to get rid of the money, not to "maximize benefit" or to "help" others. So if somebody says he needs his rent paid, and I have 40,000 in savings, if I draw down my retirement fund to pay his rent, the kingdom of heaven is mine. Any time I draw down my retirement fund and give alms, the kingdom of Heaven is mine. That's how it really works. That's why, for me, the "structural church" has less value; it's something that by nature resists being drawn down and given away.
Tom (aka Justin Martyr/Justin Morning/Jacob Marley/Kupord Maizzed)
Higley and Guadalupe
Gilbert, Arizona
----
Sure, any religion would do. But I'm LDS.
"There are no academic issues. Everything is emotional to somebody." Ray Degraw at www.StayLDS.com

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SilentDawning
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Re: Pure Motives for Paying Tithing

Post by SilentDawning » 13 May 2011, 05:36

Tom Haws wrote:[quote="Ray Degraw
SilentDawning wrote:This would preclude me fom having a TR..
SD, I'm not sure why you feel that way, but I do believe it's important to act with integrity.
The reason I feel that way is practical. If I give 10% of my increase as a fast offering, there is nothing left over to pay tithing. So, I can't answer the question about tithing in the TR interview correctly. Simple as that.
Sometimes LDS people (and people in general) have a hard time with "live and let live" or trusting the motives of others or "letting go and letting God." The whole point is to get rid of the money, not to "maximize benefit" or to "help" others.
I don't see it this way. Part of my developing philosophy indicates that one must be a "righteous steward" of one's resources. And that means making sure the money is put to a good use. The same is true of my time. I think latently, I have ALWAYS believed that, and that is one reason I have found it so hard to put my time and money in certain places over the years. Tom, how does getting rid of the money for the sake of getting rid of the money produce happiness? Wouldn't getting rid of the money for the sake of self-actualization (being a selfless person) AND knowing your funds are being put to a productive use that is meaningful to you accomplish the same thing, but on an even grander scale? (By the way, I ask this question simply to understand your perspective, not to challenge it).
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- 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."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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Re: Pure Motives for Paying Tithing

Post by doubtingthomas » 13 May 2011, 06:12

I pay tithing because I want to. I don't know, and probably will never know where the money goes that the Church collects from it's faithful each year, but I have faith that it is used for good, in one way or another.

"Most New Testament discussion promotes giving and does not mention tithing. 2 Corinthians 9:7 talks about giving cheerfully; 2 Corinthians 8:3 encourages giving what you can afford; 1 Corinthians 16:2 discusses giving weekly (although this is a saved amount for Jerusalem); 1 Timothy 5:18 exhorts supporting the financial needs of Christian workers; Acts 11:29 promotes feeding the hungry wherever they may be; and James 1:27 states that pure religion is to help widows and orphans." - This according to Wikipedia.

I agree. I believe this is what we do as a Church, with perhaps the exception of giving what you can afford. 10% is just the going rate, and the Church considers tithing a commandment even for the destitute (as I read in an Ensign article).
"Look, maybe us Mormons do believe in crazy stories that make absolutely no sense, and maybe Joseph Smith did make it all up, but I have a great life, and a great family, and I have the Book of Mormon to thank for that. The truth is, I don't care if Joseph Smith made it all up, because what the church teaches now is loving your family, being nice and helping people. And even though people in this town might think that's stupid, I still choose to believe in it." Gary

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