TR, Goals, & Tithing

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Roy
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TR, Goals, & Tithing

Post by Roy » 17 Mar 2021, 16:10

I have not paid tithing nor held a TR since the stillbirth of our third child more than a decade ago. I attend tithing settlement yearly to declare as a non-tithe payer (I first go in alone and then bring in my family for their declarations).

10 days ago in our Stake Conference the SP announced that the stake goal was for all church members to get 2 (TWO) TR's. He explained that this meant that each member would make sure to get a TR for themselves and then look around to see who else they could help in getting a TR.

Yesterday I was asked in for a meeting with the Bishop. The topic was how we can get me a TR because the bishop has been thinking about me for an administrative calling that requires a TR (I did some checking and ward clerk or executive secretary would fit the description [DW laughed at the suggestion - those callings would not fit my skill sets]). Bishop said that he generally understands that it is only tithing that prevents me from having a TR at this time.

He "challenged" me and asked if I would start to pay tithing and I responded that I would try, going to full tithing is a big leap but I will see what I can do.

Bishop asked to meet again in a month and we can review my progress. I agreed.

This is problematic. Tithing is a deal breaker for me. I didn't make any commitments in order to buy some additional time and plan out my response.

I am thinking that I will need to let my bishop know that I am not ready to pay tithing at this time and that I understand and accept that this might limit what callings I am able to fulfill. Thoughts and perspectives are welcome. Having a looming deadline has me rather uneasy.
"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

Minyan Man
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Re: TR, Goals, & Tithing

Post by Minyan Man » 17 Mar 2021, 20:39

Roy wrote:
17 Mar 2021, 16:10
Bishop asked to meet again in a month and we can review my progress. I agreed.

This is problematic. Tithing is a deal breaker for me. I didn't make any commitments in order to buy some additional time and plan out my response.

I am thinking that I will need to let my bishop know that I am not ready to pay tithing at this time and that I understand and accept that this might limit what callings I am able to fulfill. Thoughts and perspectives are welcome. Having a looming deadline has me rather uneasy.
Roy, have you told the Bishop how you feel using these exact words? If yes, how can he accept any other response, decision or outcome?

Since we became active again, I personally decided that I need & want to financially support the church. This is similar to a gym membership
for me. If I go to the gym, I expect to pay a fee for attending. My only stipulation is: I decide what a tithe is & how it's calculated. I feel
justified because there is no official church definition for what constitutes a full tithe. If there is a definition, someone please tell me.
If someone in an interview asks me if I'm a full tithe payer, I say yes & don't explain it any further.

This view isn't for everyone I know.

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nibbler
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Re: TR, Goals, & Tithing

Post by nibbler » 18 Mar 2021, 05:40

Roy wrote:
17 Mar 2021, 16:10
I am thinking that I will need to let my bishop know that I am not ready to pay tithing at this time and that I understand and accept that this might limit what callings I am able to fulfill.
That sounds like a plan. If it were me I'd go the, "I'm not interested in having a temple recommend at this time" route and leave it at that.

It's unfortunate that they know your specific reason for not having a current recommend; it doesn't afford you any wiggle room. Since they're dialed in to the issue being tithing they'll almost certainly go behind you to verify that you've paid tithing.

Switching gears. Do you want a TR? If so you'll probably have to pay tithing, whatever that means to you.
Roy wrote:
17 Mar 2021, 16:10
10 days ago in our Stake Conference the SP announced that the stake goal was for all church members to get 2 (TWO) TR's. He explained that this meant that each member would make sure to get a TR for themselves and then look around to see who else they could help in getting a TR.
Ugh. I've said it before, the church needs me to have a TR more than I feel the need to have one. I think back to Rasband's talk from the October 2020 conference where he urged people to have a current temple recommend even though the temples were closed due to covid. I know it's a symbol that provides comfort for many but I feel we miss the mark when the TR itself becomes the focus.

Again, ugh. Your stake has just created a few thousand busy-bodies. :(
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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DarkJedi
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Re: TR, Goals, & Tithing

Post by DarkJedi » 18 Mar 2021, 07:16

I feel for you Roy and I have been in similar situations in the past. And like you ward clerk or executive secretary is not something I'm excited about. Interestingly, financial clerk is currently open and I've had the feeling I'm on the list. I was actually considering renewing my TR that expired last summer now that I am vaccinated (I was using the excuse that I didn't want to do a video interview). But when I realized the clerk position opened I decided to wait and maybe I won't have to refuse.

I agree going from no tithing to full is a big leap. I pay for pretty much the same reason MM gave - "dues" - although I think the dues are pretty steep (for me much more than a gym membership). I don't pay on gross and I've talked to people who run the gambit of paying on gross to paying on what's left after bills/expenses. I was just commenting to a friend that I haven't heard from the "gross" people how they also pay on stimulus (although that was apparently a topic in priesthood once - I don't go). Anyway, is there something you feel somewhere on that spectrum you could be comfortable paying?

The other whole aspect to this is related to what Nibbler said - there are now a whole bunch of new "projects" in your stake. Nobody wants to be a project. In my inactive years I made that very clear.

In the end it looks like you have to do a cost/benefit analysis. I know you have the consideration of wanting to be part of "church milestones" in your children's lives. That's the only reason I "want" a TR. Is the cost (literal and figurative) worth the benefit for you?
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."

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Roy
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Re: TR, Goals, & Tithing

Post by Roy » 18 Mar 2021, 16:15

Thank you for the support everyone.
Minyan Man wrote:
17 Mar 2021, 20:39
Roy, have you told the Bishop how you feel using these exact words? If yes, how can he accept any other response, decision or outcome?
No I have not. I have felt that I stood the best chance of being permitted to participate in my children's milestone/rite of passage events if I portrayed myself as a struggling believer that would like to go the temple some day. I do feel I have some responsibility in this situation. Bishop probably feels that he is doing a favor in prodding me to move out of my comfort zone.
Minyan Man wrote:
17 Mar 2021, 20:39
Since we became active again, I personally decided that I need & want to financially support the church. This is similar to a gym membership
for me. If I go to the gym, I expect to pay a fee for attending.
Yeah, I personally feel that I have already contributed plenty to the church and that I am still contributing in non-financial ways. Tithing always has been a struggle for me. For me, my StayLDS strategy involves attempting to balance the benefits and costs of continued association with the LDS church. Tithing payment would significantly alter this balance for me.
nibbler wrote:
18 Mar 2021, 05:40
Switching gears. Do you want a TR? If so you'll probably have to pay tithing, whatever that means to you.
I do not want a TR but I do not object to having one either. I do not feel a need to go to the temple (even if they were open) but it wouldn't hurt to have one for potential temple sealings of nieces and nephews coming up shortly. I am particularly unmotivated to pay tithing with the expectation that I then receive a calling that I would not enjoy or be particularly good at. I have considered that I may make an effort to get a TR if one of my children were getting temple sealed and I speculate that I would have to start paying tithing at that time.
DarkJedi wrote:
18 Mar 2021, 07:16
Anyway, is there something you feel somewhere on that spectrum you could be comfortable paying?
I do think that there is something, somewhere on the spectrum that I would feel comfortable paying. $10 per month - sure. $20 per month - yup. I might even go as high as $25. Unfortunately, the amount that I would feel comfortable paying is so low I worry that it would be insulting. I do not envision this fixing the problem necessarily - I would just be moving from a non-tithe payer to a partial tithe payer. I probably have an unhealthy attachment to money and the feeling of security that it brings. When I did pay tithing, I did so in the belief that I was buying a form of insurance policy from God and that He would step in to divert the worst tragedies from our household. I felt that I was receiving a form of security for my tithing. I find it much harder to part with the money now that this teaching has been disillusioned for me.

Going back to the analogy of the gym membership. What do I do if the gym membership fee feels exorbitantly high? What do I do if the services provided by the gym seem pretty lackluster? What if there are other gyms that seem to offer more for less? What if I feel that I can substitute gym memberships with home/personal workouts?
DarkJedi wrote:
18 Mar 2021, 07:16
In the end it looks like you have to do a cost/benefit analysis. I know you have the consideration of wanting to be part of "church milestones" in your children's lives. That's the only reason I "want" a TR. Is the cost (literal and figurative) worth the benefit for you?

Yes, that is probably the cleanest way to look at it. The church is the gatekeeper of milestone experiences that I want to share with my children. How much am I willing to contribute financially and non-financially in order to gain access to those experiences without building resentment?
"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

Roy
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Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: TR, Goals, & Tithing

Post by Roy » 29 Mar 2021, 15:31

In the intervening time since I last spoke to the bishop, I have had the opportunity to know my own mind and feel at peace.
I am thankful for the time to conduct some introspection and I am thankful that I did not give a commitment one way or the other to the bishop when I met with him. I am a firm believer in taking at least a day to think/sleep/pray on it.
I am solidly in the camp that I am not ready to pay tithing. I understand and accept that this will mean that I cannot hold a TR for now and that I will not be able to be considered for certain church callings.

Today I received a call from a church brother asking if I could receive ward/stake church leadership representatives into my home this week. I was able to ascertain that there is a list of 12 families that are all being visited on the same night. It seems that there will be a number of church leaders participating (8 or more) and they will split off into groups of 2 in order to visit all the families that consented.

At this point I do not know if my recent interview with the bishop is connected to the newly announced stake goal of having every member of the stake have 2 (two) temple recommends and I do not know if the requested visit to take place this week has anything to do with either the interview or the stake goal. I am trying not to assume too much into it.

In talking to DW, she reminded me of a similar visit from the bishop and a member of the stake president that we had received some (maybe 5) years ago. At that visit, I seem to recall that they came in. The SP member asked us why we did not currently hold a TR. We shared our story about the stillbirth of our third child and how that shook the tithing=blessings assumption. The SP member bore his testimony and invited us to make changes in order to again hold a TR and then they left.
"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

Roy
Posts: 6268
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: TR, Goals, & Tithing

Post by Roy » 29 Mar 2021, 15:56

I did some looking through my old posts to see if I could find anything about that similar years ago visit from the bishop and SP member. While not exactly what I was looking for, I did find the following:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4587&hilit=challenge

It details my visits with the bishop prior to the baptism of my children. The first post was 8 years ago in 2013. It seems strange that 8 years later I am still in largely the same boat. I am still in a position of gently deflecting some probing questions. I am still in the position of being gently non-committal to invitations and challenges.

It feels somewhat like being stuck in between two worlds and I'm not sure that there is ever an end to it. Eventually my kids will grow up and get married and then I suppose I can be more direct without fear of a loss of goodwill jeopardizing possible future ordinance participation. There will probably always be a new round of bishops, SP's, EQ presidents etc. making the rounds. There will always be a new stake goal or "rescue" operation.

I suppose it is a mixed bag. On one hand, it seems frustrating that we are going around in circles yet again (I imagine the bishop is equally frustrated by any lack of "progress"). OTOH, I have successfully navigated the stayLDS tightrope for a decade. I have been able to raise my children with some of the excellent social supports provided in the ward family. I have also been able to help them stay connected to the faith and culture of our ancestors and extended family. I have been able to support DW in her church participation and remain physically present each step along the way. These are not small accomplishments. :thumbup:
"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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nibbler
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Re: TR, Goals, & Tithing

Post by nibbler » 29 Mar 2021, 15:59

Sounds like you're a project. :(

I saw a post on the bloggernacle where someone replied thusly:
Yes, I'm familiar with the drill. I consider you and [redacted] close friends so maybe I can share some candid feedback. I know that card-carrying, active members don't get these visits. I spent enough time in leadership positions to know what they are.

I love President [redacted] and think the world of him. I'd love to grab lunch and catch up sometime as two good friends but I'm not interested in being on the pre-Conference list of special projects so I'll pass on the Zoom meeting.

I'm not upset, just trying to pass along some constructive feedback from someone on the other side.
Another way to interpret things... they care. They think you're a lost sheep that's worthy of going after. While I personally wouldn't welcome that type of attention, it is nice knowing that people care enough to think about you. Silver lining perhaps.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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DarkJedi
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Re: TR, Goals, & Tithing

Post by DarkJedi » 30 Mar 2021, 09:54

Roy wrote:
29 Mar 2021, 15:31
Today I received a call from a church brother asking if I could receive ward/stake church leadership representatives into my home this week. I was able to ascertain that there is a list of 12 families that are all being visited on the same night. It seems that there will be a number of church leaders participating (8 or more) and they will split off into groups of 2 in order to visit all the families that consented.
Our stake leadership did this a few years ago, exactly as you describe. Project to be sure.
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

Roy
Posts: 6268
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: TR, Goals, & Tithing

Post by Roy » 30 Mar 2021, 10:43

nibbler wrote:
29 Mar 2021, 15:59
pre-Conference list of special projects so I'll pass on the Zoom meeting.
Is there a reason that these visits happen before conference? Is it so that the visitors can invite the families to watch conference?

Where on the bloggernacle can I find this post? I am interested in learning more about who will be coming over and what their goal will be.
"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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