Friday, February 14, 2014

Bare Necessities: How To Calculate What You Owe In Tithing

Previously: The Book of Mormon Cultural Reading Project

Although it is well established in the Lord's Law of Tithing that He requires only ten percent of a person's increase as a tithe rather than ten percent of total wages as commonly assumed (see my post, "Are We Paying Too Much Tithing?"), some members of the church are still left with unanswered questions. If we are to tithe on the money we have left over after our basic expenses have been met, how do we figure out which expenses are proper to exclude before we pay our tithing? How do we adequately define "necessary living expenses"?

Since I wrote my piece on tithing back in December 2012, I still get inquiries from readers who tell me they wish Church leadership would provide some basic guidelines that would help them understand exactly what counts and what doesn't.

As Jonathan Streeter reveals in a recent post on his blog, Thoughts On Things And Stuff, "I
t turns out that the Church has made an explicit, clear, comprehensive and unambiguous statement on what constitutes necessary living expenses. They just don’t want the members to read it."

Brother Streeter just completed a remarkable four part series on tithing, and I asked him if I could present his final chapter here as a Guest Post. I hope you'll read all four parts in the series (they are linked in the article below); and I think once you read Part Four below, you will have all the answers you need to calculate a proper tithe to this Church.

One caveat: some information presented here has been excerpted from an official Church publication, and may not be suitable for all viewers.  If your testimony is anchored in the gospel of Jesus Christ as restored through the prophet Joseph Smith, you ought to get through this just fine; but if your testimony is centered on faith in the structural LDS Church and its leaders, you might find some excerpts from that publication that could challenge your testimony. Members in the latter category are encouraged to skip this article and go do something else.

That said, I present this month's guest post by Jonathan Streeter:


LDS Tithing – The Bare Necessities
(Originally posted by Jonathan Streeter at ThoughtsOnThingsAndStuff.com, Feb 11, 2014)

In prior articles discussing the issue of LDS tithing, I have covered how it is not a voluntary requirement for church members who wish to have good standing in the eternities, as well as how there is absolutely no accountability to the membership for how the tithes are spent. Additionally, I have gone back to the original revelation on tithing given to Joseph Smith in 1838 and through a careful study of the contemporary meaning and usage of the language in the revelations demonstrated that tithing was to be paid on net income, after other necessary expenses were paid.

Recall from my prior post that the meaning of the language of the revelation on tithing in 1830's American english, further supported by restored scripture and current policy as found in the official Church Handbook of Instruction, is the following:
“Tithing is 10% of income more than that which we have need.”
This statement begs a very important question – what is “that which we have need?” Many people might assume that net income just means the income that you receive after taxes have been withheld or taken into account, while others may consider essential household and living expenses should also be part of the net calculation. It is quite a quandary.



The Importance Of Getting It Right
Remember that church member's eternal families, celestial standings, and one's own combustibility at the second coming of Christ are at stake! Members have got to get it right. If you don’t pay the full amount owed – then you are not in compliance. There is no halfway into the celestial kingdom or getting just a little bit burned. President Joseph Fielding Smith, quoting Lorenzo Snow, confirmed this in a 1940 General Conference when he stated:
“How do you feel when you give a recommend to a person to come into our Temples who pays no tithing, who only pays half a tithing? How will you feel after this? You will feel that you are taking a sacred responsibility in doing that which God does not approve. He has said that the man who fails to pay his tithing shall have no place among the people of God. Yet here are these Temples erected by the sacrifice of the poor, and to give recommends to parties who pay little or no tithing, how can you feel to take this responsibility? I could not. Part of a tithing is not tithing at all in the eyes of the law that the Lord has revealed” (Joseph Fielding Smith quoting Lorenzo Snow, Conference Reports, April 1940, p. 97).
Clearly this is no trivial matter and getting it right can make all the difference in the eternities.

Vague Guidance
Is there a clear statement by the church as to what constitutes necessary living expenses? If so, then it would greatly remove the anxiety and uncertainty that members may feel when trying to live the law of tithing as we have seen it defined at it’s modern introduction.

On the question of what actually constitutes a necessary expense, Daniel Johnson of the Quorum of the Seventy taught in the 2006 October General Conference:
“There are many reasons that are used to not pay tithing, such as medical emergencies, debts, car or home repairs, educational expenses, and insurance. These reasons and others like them are very real and are lived and dealt with every day by many, if not most, of us. These tax our limited financial resources and, if we are not wise stewards of these resources, may result in the inability to meet our tithing obligation to the Lord.”
(“The Law of Tithing” Oct 2006 General Conference, lds.org)
While it is not specifically stated, the implication is that these bolded items would not qualify as necessary expenses. What one person feels is needed, another might consider a luxury. Should a person with a car payment on a spare luxury Porsche subtract that payment from tithed income the same as a family making payments on a humble used minivan which is their only vehicle? Maybe not, but medical emergencies and insurance are things that most would consider reasonable.

Vague statements like these may have the effect of inducing people to choose to exclude those items from their net calculation but allow the Brethren the ability to state that they never actually said that you should do so. When you consider the threat that you are under if you get it wrong, the pressure is on – it may be safer to overpay than to be found to have “robbed God.” Elder Johnson reinforces this point in his very next statement:
“A lack of compliance with this eternal law is not to be taken lightly and can not only seriously impair our spiritual growth and development, but it can also limit the physical and temporal blessings that we could otherwise enjoy.”
(“The Law of Tithing” Oct 2006 General Conference, lds.org)
With these vague statements and implied threats for noncompliance, what is a member to do? In the absence of a more definitive statement on what is actually a needed living expense – it is often thought safest to simply overpay.

Getting Specific-A Leak Appears
It turns out that the church has made an explicit, clear, comprehensive and unambiguous statement on what constitutes necessary living expenses. They just don’t want the members to read it.

It started with a Wikileaks style disclosure where a secret handbook given only to Mission Presidents was somehow released on the net and made available on archive.org. The author at MormonDisclosures first wrote about the handbook and it’s implications for potential tax evasion in early December of 2012. While there was still some question of authenticity of the manual as an official church document, all doubt was removed a few weeks later when archive.org received a letter from the Intellectual Property Officer of the church requesting removal of the document, thereby verifying it’s authenticity.

The document was promptly removed from archive.org. Like so many things on the internet, however, you cannot put toothpaste back into the tube.

It's Not Sacred-It's Secret
Most of the Mission President's Handbook involves the procedural details of managing a legion of young emissaries as they spread the Gospel of Mormonism abroad. There is, however, a very remarkable appendix at the end of the document which deals very specifically with family finance issues. It is appropriately named Appendix B – Family Finances.

The purpose of Appendix B is to outline the specifics of how the living expenses of the Mission President and his family will be provided for during the term of their service. The introduction states specifically that “the Church reimburses the necessary living expenses” for the mission president and family and then goes on to describe some of the expenses that fall under this category:

“Necessary living expenses” include, but are not limited to those underlined in red. (Mission President's Handbook, pg. 80)

Excellent! we are finally getting some specifics about exactly what constitutes necessary living expenses. Before proceeding it is important to remember where the money comes from that will be “reimbursed” to the mission presidents for these necessary expenses.

Tithes Are The Source
Keep in mind that tithing funds are what are directed towards the missionary efforts of the church – including providing the mission presidents with their needs. Elder Johnson made this clear in his previously mentioned talk:
“How is tithing used? Faithful members of the Church pay their tithing to a member of their branch presidency or ward bishopric. Under the direction of the Lord’s prophet, these funds are then gathered and used to fund the growth and development of the Church throughout the world. Examples of the use of tithing funds are the construction of temples, the financing of the worldwide missionary effort, the building and maintenance of meetinghouses, and other worthy purposes.”
(“The Law of Tithing” Oct 2006 General Conference, lds.org)
This should be no surprise to church members. They have long understood that tithes are directed towards the missionary efforts of the church.

Modest Gifts?
Now examine the above partial list of what falls into the initial category of “necessary living expenses” – no doubt you will find that many of those items concur with your own view. There is, however, the inclusion of modest gifts in this list with the examples of “Christmas, birthdays, or anniversary” gifts.

There are families that have deprived themselves of even modest gifts for these occasions so that they can pay tithing to the church. They consider these tithes sacred fulfillment of their commitment to God. They might find it odd that their sacrifice has been used to provide these mission presidents with the very “necessary” modest gifts that they had to forgo in order to pay tithes.

Would the family that faithfully paid tithes and yet is undergoing foreclosure of their home like to discover that the wife of a mission president received a modest necklace as an anniversary gift, paid for out of those tithing funds? Would the family that paid tithing, but had to forgo Christmas gift giving like to hear that the children of the Mission President received a bounteous Christmas morning full of modest gifts at the tithe-payers expense?

I myself had some very sparse birthdays growing up, as my family had many children and my father worked several jobs to provide for us, and it frequently was not enough. He always paid tithing on the gross. One year I really thought that I would get a surprise party and I wanted to make it easy for my family to make it happen. I asked to be able to spend the afternoon at the library. I thought that this would surely give them the time to set it all up. Upon being picked up and taken home I was asked how I liked my birthday. There was no party. My visit to the library was my gift. The children of mission presidents will never have that feeling. (that being said – libraries are awesome and my parents earnestly did the best they could and I have no complaints. I loved my childhood!)

More Necessary Living Expenses
The section in the Appendix B continues to list other “necessary living expenses” which are to be reimbursed:

(Mission President's Handbook pg. 80)

Here we see some other interesting items. Medical expenses are no surprise – most people would agree that they are necessary expenses. We will see later that these are expenses that are covered in addition to medical insurance coverage.

“Support for children serving full-time missions” – while this is only to be provided if requested, I find it very interesting that it is offered at all. When I was young I was taught that it was my duty to save up to pay for my own mission. Many young men would devote entire summers of work to putting money away so that they could fund their mission. In some cases, when the young man and his family fell short, members of the ward would pitch in by donating money specifically toward that young man’s mission. It was sacrifice on the part of all parties involved. Not necessarily so if you are the son of a mission president.

“Elementary and secondary school expenses” are an interesting category. Tuition and books are not charged in public schools and so tuition implies that the mission president's children will be attending private schools. This may not be surprising in foreign countries, however stateside mission presidents do not appear to be restricted from this benefit. Extracurricular activities are another notable item in this list. There are families which have a difficult time including their children in public school extracurricular activities, many of which require that the family pay into. Additional voice, dance, piano, fencing, horseback riding and other types of lessons can be costly over the years. Many of these are not a common part of the academic landscape of people who struggle to pay tithing. Their struggles appear to be subsidizing a lifestyle for the children of the mission presidents that their own children are being deprived of.

“Undergraduate tuition at an accredited college or university” is quite remarkable. This is the best type of scholarship that one could ask for! It is true that there are standards for what grades are maintained and tuition is only reimbursed up to the cost of and equivalent time at the church sponsored schools, but wow! There are families who spend the decades before their child is of age dutifully paying tithing while not having the money to set aside for their children’s college. This problem is compounded when you think of the number of children that Mormons are encouraged to have. It is simply an impossibility for some with large families of greater than 5 kids and normal levels of income. Sign me up!

Yet More Necessary Household Expenses
For the sake of brevity I will present the pertinent segments from the remainder of the Appendix which describe “necessary living expenses” which are reimbursed to the mission presidents with the notable items highlighted:

Necessary Home Expenses (Mission President's Handbook pg. 81)

Necessary transportation expenses (Mission President's Handbook pg. 81)

Necessary Babysitting (Mission President's Handbook Pg. 81)

Necessary Insurance Premiums are reimbursed (Mission President's Handbook pg. 82)

There are a few comments to be made from this selection of remarkable benefits.
First, the mission home expenses are handled differently and instead of being reimbursed to the mission president, the mission office pays these expenses directly. This does not alter the fact that these are necessary expenses to the maintenance of a home.

Second, it is notable that a “part-time housekeeper and cook” are in this list. I imagine that the many Mormon mothers who, after giving birth to upwards of 4-5+ children, could do with part-time help. The brutal reality is that the cost of so many children combined with the average income means that few if any of these moms will have that benefit. Yet they continue to dutifully pay tithing, believing that they are furthering the work of the Lord, when in fact it appears that they are in part subsidizing a lifestyle that they themselves have no hope of attaining. The high rates of depression among women in Utah may have many factors. I know from personal experience that the demands on a woman in maintaining a home with numerous kids on limited funds without any help can be devastating to their energy, minds and health over the long term. It is good to hear that mission president’s wives won’t risk these pitfalls.

Transportation Expenses” are no big surprise. Many mission areas are spread over a large area and the expenses are an expected and necessary part of the calling. It is notable that family can travel with the mission president and those costs will be reimbursed. If I was a mission president in Europe, Asia or any other exotic locale – you can bet that my family would come with me on any trips I took. Educational travel experience, plus totally reimbursed equals “yes please!” Sadly, many people who struggle to pay tithing have never known anything of traveling to see the world.

Cost of a babysitter” is a very reasonable thing to provide. After rigorous supervision of the part-time housekeeper and cook it really is necessary that the mission president's wife get a break from time to time to accompany her husband to activities. It would be a terrible burden for the mission president's family to provide that out of their own funds rather than the tithes that have been dutifully given for that purpose. This is, of course, sarcasm. I think that every mother who stays at home and does the primary rearing of the children should be given a break as frequently as possible and I don’t care where the funds come from. I imagine that tithing mothers who don’t get these sorts of breaks would rather that they not be the ones subsidizing them for the mission president's wives, but I may be doing them an injustice by saying so.

The Cost of Personal Health and Life Insurance”  - Forget Obamacare – I want LDS Tithing Care! Premium levels don’t matter – tithing will cover it. Deductibles don’t matter – remember that medical expenses not covered by insurance are reimbursed. Prescription medication fees? Who cares! The elderly member who may have stopped taking a needed medication because of the cost involved – yet is still a faithful tithe payer, is happy to make sure that the mission president gets his meds paid for (and his family's too).

Reimbursement
It is good to take a moment to think about the whole reimbursement arrangement for a moment. What does it practically mean?
  • The mission president is responsible to paying for the good or service.
  • The good or service is received
  • The Church reimburses the mission president the cost of the good or service.
  • The mission president now has his original money back, PLUS the benefit of the good or service.
Good to know.

What About Tithing?
Okay, it has been very revealing to examine all of the numerous benefits that the mission presidents receive from coffers that are filled with the tithes of members who sacrifice to do so. The question remains: do the mission presidents pay tithing on all this money they receive for these “necessary living expenses?”

Mission presidents do not pay tithing. (Mission President's Handbook, Pg. 83)
This should really not be surprising. Remember that tithing is paid on net income, which is income after all necessary expenses are paid. All the the reimbursed monies that the mission presidents receive fall under the heading of “necessary living expenses” and so, as I previously described, it is completely appropriate that no tithing be paid on these reimbursed funds.

Certainly, as the above guideline indicates, if the mission president has passive income from other investments, then those incomes are subject to tithing and should be paid as described.

Practical Implications
Now, the above observations are vitally important to any church member. They provide a hierarchy of needs and tithing. If tithing should only be paid out of funds left over after all of these necessary expenses – then if you haven’t put any money into these necessary expenses and you have money left over at the end of the month or year – you should put money into these first:
  • birthday, Christmas and anniversary gifts
  • college savings accounts
  • life insurance
  • health insurance
  • housekeeper and cook
  • babysitting
  • emergency medical expense savings account
  • Private school
  • Extracurricular activities for your children
Seriously. If you have money in your account that you are figuring out tithing for and you have not saved or put money into every single one of the above items (and any more that you can infer from the Mission President's Handbook), then you should put as much money into those things FIRST and then pay tithing on what is left over (if there is anything left over).

Keep in mind that most of these things are things the church has advocated that people be doing anyway. Saving for education, preparing for unexpected medical expenses, providing for the security of unforeseen events are all aspects of family management that the Church has advocated in the past. Housekeeper, cook, and babysitting may all fall under the heading of supporting and nurturing your wife and providing for her physical and mental well-being. Toss in the fact that you are providing employment for another party and it is a win-win-win.

These are responsible, reasonable things that should be a part of every household that can accommodate it and would benefit from it. The Church has taught you the importance of these things – they just didn’t bother to mention that you shouldn’t take tithes out of the funds used to do them. You’ve been doing that voluntarily the whole time out of ignorance which was intentionally inflicted upon you.

After seeing the last article and this one you are completely justified by revelation, scripture and church policy in doing so. If your spouse or bishop raises any objection – please direct them to this article so that they can start modifying their own tithing calculations. Go and spread the Good News!

And don’t forget – the next time you shake a mission president’s hand, ask him how his family likes the gifts that you have funded and how his kids are doing with the college courses that you have subsidized. Maybe check to make sure that he is happy with the life insurance policy that you are funding and ask if his housekeeper/cook is working out.

Why So Secret?
One thing that is remarkable about this handbook is that it is kept completely secret from the membership at large. I think that after the above analysis it is clear why. Many people looking at the example set by the necessary living expenses of the mission president will re-examine their own expenses in a new light and it will have significant impact on the amount of money left over to be subject to tithes. But just how secret is the manual and this arrangement of reimbursed benefits?

 (Mission President's Handbook pg. 80)

 (Mission President's Handbook pg. 82)
You see, the Church forbids the mission presidents from even discussing this benefits package with their own financial advisors or tax attorneys, much less other mission presidents or family members. This could even mean their own wives. Furthermore they are specifically told NOT to report the reimbursed funds for tax purposes. (See the above section on reimbursement.)

It is noted that while the church assures the mission presidents that all applicable tax laws allow this income to not be reported for tax purposes, not all countries have the same tax laws. If the fiduciary arrangement between the Church and the mission president is never revealed, as it apparently was not supposed to be, then no oversight and confirmation of it’s legality can be made.

There is rumor that this may become part of the recently announced case of fraud against the church put forth in the UK. Get the popcorn ready.

Mission President: The Gateway Calling
Keep in mind that the church describes this financial arrangement with mission presidents in the following terms:
“While the Church provides mission presidents with a minimal living allowance, the couples usually have the financial means to supplement that allowance with their own funds.”
(New Mission Presidents Blessed for Exercise of Faith” Church News, 1 July 2011, lds.org)
If you compare what is provided to mission presidents with what a majority of church members have to live with throughout the world, “minimal” is probably not the adjective that you would choose to employ. Perhaps it is considered only minimal compared to the affluence that mission presidents generally seem to come from. (Have you ever met a blue collar mission president?) The ability to accumulate and manage wealth may be a sign of a good administrator, which is part of the selection processes for Mission Presidents, I will concede.

It is interesting to note that four of the current twelve Apostles were mission presidents prior to becoming general authorities (Anderson, Ballard, Scott and Hales). The percentage of the Quorum of the Seventy who are mission presidents is not immediately known to me, but could be the subject of some investigation. It is not unreasonable to consider that since these mission presidents work under the supervision of area general authorities, their performance as mission presidents may have some bearing on whether they are recognized and promoted to General Authority status. If they perform poorly it could only hurt and if they perform superbly it would certainly help.

Most people might say that mission presidents are typically older, seasoned managers with deep scriptural knowledge and in the later years of their life so that they can focus on the work. At least one recent example of a 35 year old man would seem to buck that trend. Ignore the similarity between the last name of that individual and other past church authorities. They are unrelated. Okay, they might be related -but it doesn’t mean anything. Right?

Modest Living Stipends
When Church members hear about the compensation that general authorities receive it is usually called a “modest living stipend.”
“General Authorities give up their livelihoods to serve full-time, so they receive a modest living allowance—enough for them to support themselves and their families. This allowance comes from the Church’s corporate funds, not from tithing funds.”
( Lesson 75, D&C Church History Seminary Teachers Manual, lds.org)

A church itself does not create anything of marketable value. Any money it receives, it does so  predominantly as tithes. If those tithes are invested in the corporate holding of the church and the proceeds are used to pay the general authorities then saying that tithes aren’t used to pay the general authorities is just a matter of semantics. A distortion meant to deflect suspicion.

What would be wrong with paying a modest stipend to the general authorities from tithing? That is what most members assume it goes for anyway. Perhaps if the allowance is somewhat more than modest, it would soften the blow to have it come from a corporate ancillary if the numbers ever leaked out. This is speculation, of course.

If a lowly mission president's “minimal” living allowance includes all the various benefits listed in the Mission President's Handbook as above – I wonder what level of “modest” accommodation full general authorities receive. Could it be that “modest” has a different meaning to those in the Church hierarchy? That may have implications for the hemlines and necklines of the dear sisters as well.

If a mission president's allowance is "modest" then this makes sense as being modest.
Conclusion
The Mission Presidents handbook is one of the first real glimpses that members may have into the lifestyles of the Lord’s Anointed. It is certainly instructive in establishing perspective when it comes to prioritizing essential living expenses as they relate to tithing. But it also demonstrates the extent to which church leaders exist off the sacrifice and tithes of the members. Over the last series of posts I have laid out how tithing is instilled into the minds and hearts of members under threat of losing one's eternal family, burning at the second coming, and is undertaken with no accountability to the membership. It is perpetuated with vague definitions to encourage overpayment, and the very precise information that would be needed to prioritize living expenses is specifically kept hidden from the members.

If you are a faithful tithe payer, I applaud you. I have no doubt that you do so with a sincere belief in God and a firm conviction that paying money to the church is the same as paying money to God.

But I ask you to remember the words of Christ in the New Testament. Did he ask people to give him and his apostles money so that they could do good with it? Or did he tell people to help others directly?

Did Jesus tell his apostles to gather collections from the existing members so that they could spread the Gospel abroad? Or did he tell them to go "without purse or scrip,” trusting in the Lord to provide for their needs?

Much like Wikileaks, the Edward Snowden disclosures, and the Pentagon Papers – the Mission President's Handbook’s availability to the members has the potential of encouraging positive change in the administration which it reveals. “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.”

                                                                           *****

Important Announcement From Blogmaster Rock:
As announced in my last post, henceforth all comments posting on my blog only as "Anonymous" will be deleted.

I respect all reader's wishes to post anonymously, and you may continue to do so as long as at the beginning and/or end of your comment you use some type of unique identifier so that others can tell you from the hundreds of others posting as "Anonymous." With so many commenting under the name "Anonymous," the conversations have become increasingly difficult to follow.  It has also become obvious that some of those posting anonymously are often among the most uncivil; rather than engage in intelligent arguments, some of these people tend to get quarrelsome.  A civil argument advances the dialogue; petty and immature attacks on other's views do not.

Please note that if you are concerned about your privacy, the drop-down feature that reads "Name/URL" already keeps you completely anonymous. When you post using that method, I don't have the ability to track who you are (not that I would want to) and neither does anyone else. So it makes sense to use that feature if you wish to keep your true identity hidden. All you have to do is place whatever username you wish to go by in the "Name" box and ignore the URL part. Of course, if you want to further mislead others, you can put any link in the URL box you choose, such as Youtube.com, Amazon.com, or LDS.org

Those with Google, Yahoo, Wordpress, and other accounts can choose to post under those accounts, which helps to lead others to your own blog if you have one. But seriously, enough with all these people calling themselves "Anonymous." It's getting to be too much.


287 comments:

1 – 200 of 287   Newer›   Newest»
PNW_DPer said...

Thanks fosr reposting this. I did see his blog, from your link, but it's good of your to put it here, too.

PNW_PDer said...

I meant, Thanks for reposting this.

I hate it when people don't proofread before posting, don't you?

Fusion said...

I will stand firm in my belief, which is further bolstered by this article, that the reason the Gadiantons and sercret combinations were made such a big deal in the Book of Mormon, is for us to open our eyes to the same thing happening in our day!

The Gadiantons and secret combinations destroyed the Nephites by taking over the church and government as wolves in sheep's clothing. Moroni tells us solemnly to awaken to this fact so that it doesn't happen to us:

Ether 8:24
24 Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.

And yet, because the leaders/puppets are mainly cuddly old men who resemble most folks' grandfathers, it seems impossible for the mainstram Mormon to believe that the Gadiantons and sercret combinations are within the fold, and have been since Brigham, even before.

They have taken control of this 'corporate' church, and have indoctrinated each successive generation accordingly, to the point where questioning anything to do with the arms of flesh (leaders) is automatically imagined as putting your eternal life at stake. What utter nonsense.

As a former Catholic who stood up and walked out for the same reasons, I tell you that there is no difference between all these church/world leaders, who are just skinning the coffers and using vanity to puff them up whilst filling their own (offshore) bank accounts. As a Catholic I had my eyes opened by the Lord and I was primed to see these things in the LDS Church. 18 years after my encounter with the Book of Mormon, I am an even bigger believer in the incredible Book of Mormon, and the Jesus that it has rightfully presented to the world. This Book IS to lay the foundation for the upcoming Marvellous Work and a Wonder, when, as per Jacob 5 and D&C 101, the Servants return to finish the job.

Trust the Lord's message in the Book of Mormon. It is real. It has changed my countenance completely- though still a miserable sinner, I am astounded by the Doctrine of the Grace of Jesus Christ that the Book of Mormon provides. I adore His love and sacrifice for each of us. And, His warnings through REAL prophets, in the Book of Mormon. The template is therein, provided for us to open pur eyes and see!

You owe it to yourself. To hell with the Devil and his mighty shafts of wind that are sent to tell you that if only all is well in the LDS church, only then is it possible that it is true. No! That is contrary to what the Book of Mormon says. The true church template in the Book of Mormon says it best- that the modern day Gadiantons will form secret combinations with church and government, and will 'seek to get gain', thereby destroying the church.

The good news remains that a few true believers remains. And as one of my fave songs from my childhood rings out impassioned- '...I want to be, in that number, O when the Saints go marching in.'

Feed the faith, starve the doubt. The Gospel of our Lord and Saviour is TRUE. The LDS church is not to be confused with the Gospel- it is a corporation existing to lining the pockets of the Gadiantons that look, and smile, like the rest of us.

I say what I know in my heart, and I fear not what man can do (Mornoni 8:16)

God bless.
Fusion

Anonymous said...

Concerning general authorities who were also mission presidents: when I was young Boyd K Packard was mission president of the New England states Mission, also Paul H Dunn was pres of this same mission.

Anonymous said...

What this article spells out is almost-to the letter-what the Spirit has told me when I asked what the Lord expects financially of His Saints.
One further thought--I do not enjoy seeing the church play "monopoly" (i.e., buying property and building houses and hotels on those properties) with the money I donate in the form of tithes and offerings. My tithing now goes to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and care for the ill and infirm. WHEN THE CHURCH GETS AROUND TO "BUILDING UP THE KINGDOM OF GOD UPON THE EARTH AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ZION" then I will resume donating to the church.
I DEEPLY resent my tithing money financing such worldy ventures as City Creek Mall and the new monolith being constructed in downtown Philadelphia by the church. I have heard all the arguments that those projects are not funded from tithing money--which is a twist of the facts, or more correctly stated, a damn lie. Money from tithes and offerings is where the church derived its investments which in turn pay for those babylonian projects. Money has corrupted the corporate church and turned its leaders into liars. Thanks be to God that He is the real Leader of the church, and I say it is no wonder that He said what He did in D&C 112:24-26.
Thank you Rock--again.
JR

W said...

I'm not sure how they can claim that tithes are not being used. When someone gives money to help those in need, and it is instead parked (or,lent out for the purpose of making gain)for 3 years so that the church may make money off of it, and THEN released to be used as those who made sacrifice intended. Has it not been withheld from those in need? Have they not been through 3 years more hardship? Does this not grind the face of the poor? I have been in dire need of help and could have used it desperately. It should be dispensed to the widows and those in dire need right away. It grieves my heart to think of it. This is NOT what the Lord would do.

Aw said...

The mission president model is a bad example to use for how tithing deductions are calculated.

Mission presidents often leave their jobs and their livelihoods for a period of years to serve. The money they get from the church makes up for this loss of income. This cannot be directly compared to rank-and-file members that are gainfully employed.

The convoluted rules of the mission handbook appear to be an attempt to give these presidents a somewhat normal existence. Otherwise, the pool of potential mission presidents would be limited to the independently wealthy, and/or retired people.

Furthermore, on the one hand you have presidents that are being reimbursed for what are considered normal living expenses, while those that pay tithing are not being reimbursed for expenses, they are paying a tithe on their income.

Its like the IRS...you can deduct legitimate business expenses for travel and employment from your taxes, but you pay taxes on your income that is inevitably used for such mundane purposes such as paying for gifts, rent, dry cleaning etc. that are not job related. Arguably, everything a mission president does while serving full time is job related.

When a mission president is done with his term, he goes back to normal tithing rules.

This article would have one believe that the deductions allowed mission presidents should also be allowed tithe paying members. This is simply not the case. They are two completely different scenarios.

Frederick said...

Rock,

Thank you for sharing that awesome article. Though I must admit that I'm feeling dirty right now. I personally have witnessed the poorest of people, literally sacrificing all that they had to pay a 10% gross of their income to tithing.

I have witnessed a family of 6 living in a two bedroom apartment, who had none of life's luxuries sacrifice to pay a 10% gross to tithing.

My heart ached as I read this article because I could see the faces of these people. I truly know what the Lord meant when he said in 2 Nephi 13.

14 The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people and the princes thereof; for ye have eaten up the vineyard and the spoil of the poor in your houses.

15 What mean ye? Ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor, saith the Lord God of Hosts.

This scripture is fulfilled by the very Latter Day Saints who bear their testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.

My heart is seriously pained. This article was very personal.

Trevor said...

Aw at February 15, 2014 at 8:56 AM...

Your totally right. The article does bring some interesting things to light. However your comment cut to the core of why the logic doesn't add up very well on some points.

Thanks for that. It clarified my thinking on this subject.

LDSDPer said...

The part that 'hurts' is the part that says that these men (MPs) leave their 'livelihoods'--

to serve.

SO many men (and women) have their livelihoods leave them.

There are so many un or underemployed people in the church around the world--

they don't have a choice of leaving their livelihood(s).

I don't want to share personal things on here anymore (details about our financial circumstances)--

those who have hearts understand without needing those details; those who don't wouldn't even if details were shared.

But I do believe that there is much to be said for the Lord requiring witnesses; much is made throughout the scriptures of the judgement bar.

Those who have lived in dirty basement apartments and gone without food to pay tithing will be standing up as witnesses. There is much, much more, and it's overwhelming to think about it--

I agree with Fusion about hanging on to the Book of Mormon.

My husband and I have been discussing how the old folk saying of 'the best way to hide from the law is in the sheriff's office'--

applies to this. A group of people who do not want the truths in the Book of Mormon to be applied would not want to risk rejecting the book, for fear people would be MORE interested in it. So they hold it up and say it is part of the canon, but, in truth, it must not be applied.

I think many LDS feel secure that *we* have the Book of Mormon and, therefore, don't see the need to read it.



LDSDPer said...

When a mission president is done with his term, he goes back to normal tithing rules.


Yes, Aw, he goes back to normal tithing rules, because he does have a job--

and, generally, it is some kind of very lucrative profession.
Only in such professions can places be 'held'.

People who are struggling to stay in low-level jobs in companies that don't especially value them do not have such a luxury.

And the farmers. The small family farmers; so many are going.

THEY are the ones who provide food for everyone, even mission presidents--

and they have no such assurances. The very system that provides job security for high level employees or employers (partners, etc.)--

is the very same system that is destroying independent men and women who actually produce 'wealth' by the sweat of their brows.

Jonathan Streeter said...

AW,

I think that the aspect of this which allows even a less well to do, yet spiritually gifted man serve is highly laudable. That is a separate issue from the appropriateness of some of the types of things that are reimbursed, given the sacrifices that are made to pay into the tithing coffers. This argument usually is accompanied by further rationalizations of “you wouldn’t want the MP’s family to go without a particular thing because an MP is not otherwise employed and has no other income.” If tithe payers sometimes have to go without birthday or anniversary presents in order to pay tithes, why should those who draw from the well of those tithes benefit in that way?

Furthermore, the secrecy of hiding this manual from the members takes on the appearance of something shady, when there should be no reason for that. The additional secrecy of hiding this income from tax attorneys, CPA’s and financial planners is just plain alarming.

As far as the question of whether the leaders are actually getting any increase from the whole reimbursement scenario - look at the section on reimbursement:

1. The MP is responsible to paying for the good or service out of their account.
2. The good or service is received
3. The Church reimburses the MP the cost of the good or service back into their account.
4. The MP now has their original money PLUS the benefit of the good or service.

Ultimately this article is not designed to get the leaders to change anything, but it could provide members a framework for calculating their own tithing in a way that follows the example set by the leaders.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

AW,
As usual you have missed the point of the argument.

Whether or not mission presidents are privy to certain perks is not the main issue here. The main issue is that the corporate Church recognizes certain living expenses as being necessary and legitimate, and those basic expenses are (correctly, in my view)not subject to being tithed.

This is consistent with what the Law of Tithing expresses, which is that tithing is to be paid on our interest, or increase, or surplus; all words that were pretty much synonymous at the time that revelation was given.

But for some reason, the corporate Church has encouraged the members to tithe on their gross wages BEFORE allowing the members to provide for their families' basic needs. The Mission President's Handbook exposes that hyprocrisy, while confirming the suspicion that leaders even higher up in the hierarchy of the Church enjoy even greater benefits through an ongoing, lifetime of "service."

I don't really have a huge quarrel with the idea of reimbursing a mission president for taking time out to manage a mission. One could successfully argue that he should be financially supported in that role.

But then one would have to concede also that missionaries should be supported for the time they devote to their labors, and if that argue is put forth, We would have to confront the words of Jesus on this wise, as Jonathan has in his piece, regarding missionaries commanded to go without purse or scrip. In this church at least through the 1920's, missionaries went out into the world without purse or scrip, relying on those they encountered to provide them sustenance.

Is such a system feasible in our modern world? I would answer, did Christ ever rescind that commandment? If missionaries were motivated more by a true desire to bring people to Christ, wouldn't we have a better, more motivated grade of missionary, and wouldn't the local members sustain them, and where there are no members, wouldn't God provide through inspiring the locals as has occurred throughout history, both in this church and without? Did God somewhere modify his commandment to go in to all the world to include a supervising Mission President supported by the tithes of the people?

I find it quite curious that it was the apostles whom Jesus commanded to go out into all the world and spread the gospel, yet our modern apostles are relegated to administrative and supervisory duties at home, where (except at the approach of April and October General Conference, when they busy their staffs with preparing talks for them to deliver over a teleprompter)they are occupied primarily with managing the investments and business matters of the Church.

The other point you seem to have missed is that the tithes of members who are struggling to get by are often used for luxuries those very tithe payers have had to do without because the rank and file have been taught that their sacrifice is needed to "further the work."

If the corporation made its money through, say, the sale of produce from its vast orchards and ranches, and those profits were donated to the support of those in the field, that would be one thing. But it doesn't produce, it takes; just like the government takes.

Making sacrifices for the Lord is a noble thing, but there is something very disconcerting about seeing those at the top in the Church benefiting from the sacrifices of those at the bottom.

Strengthening Menbers Commitee said...

Aren't we all expected to sacrifice our time, money and talents in service to the Lord?..

I we should offer a "modest living expense" to those who truly needed it.

The "gift allowance" part bothers me. Is this a necessary living expense.

When I see the Church conference building with all of its ornate terracing and beautiful fountains.
I wonder if a couple million could not have been put to better use.

I wonder what Jesus would have used that money for?

If the church is having trouble finding people who are genuinely are in dire need of assistance, I would be more then willing to accept that calling. I would even do it full time for nothing.

Aw said...

This sums up my feelings about this blog:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Q7CxlxonbfJM1Q6UJykdg35tq9g177PfdvKzdTvZfG0/edit

Anonymous said...

I'm astonished at the Church's direction to MPs that they not reveal their financial "circumstances" to their financial advisors, attorneys or accountants! Any ethical legal advisor's head would explode if they knew the Church's Tax Division was interpreting US federal, state & local tax laws in such a reckless (even potentially fraudulent) way.

Fusion said...

Aw,

I'm wondering if you are at all a shill for LDS Inc. I have been wrong on this suspicion in the past, but you make a very convincing case for your role as one.

I am still waiting with hope- and I know I am not that important, and you have the agency to not cater to my request, but- I truly await your response (on Rock's previous post) to my questions.

A person like you that has all the answers, is of tremendous worth to one like myself, who has all the questions. I hope I don't come off like a smart aleck, but I am genuinely interested!

I look forward to your discourse.
Fusion

Inspire said...

Fusion and JR,
Great posts and points. May I suggest, however, that we needn't get upset about how the church handles its money and spends the tithing and donations. It is doing exactly what it was set up to do.

When the followers of Christ in Bountiful were going about sestablishing His church, they weren't sure what to call it. This was the Lord's reply:

Therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name; and ye shall call upon the Father in my name that he will bless the church for my sake. And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses’ name then it be Moses’ church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel. Verily I say unto you, that ye are built upon my gospel; therefore ye shall call whatsoever things ye do call, in my name; therefore if ye call upon the Father, for the church, if it be in my name the Father will hear you; And if it so be that the church is built upon my gospel then will the Father show forth his own works in it. But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return.

As it turns out, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not a church in the truest sense of the word. It is a trademark, held by a Sole Corporation. As such, it can deal in business ventures and make money. We should expect nothing less when looking at our fruits, or be grumpy about malls, property in Florida, etc. The institution is acting exactly how it was set up to act: as a corporation (which is led by a bunch of octogenarian businessmen).

----to be continued----

Inspire said...

---continued----



THE CORPORATION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS.
Christ tells us "if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man." I'm not saying that we are the church of Brigham Young, or anything like that. And while many may contend that this is being nitpicky about the whole “name” thing, it seems pretty obvious what is going on here. First and foremost, our organization is a “corporation.” The very first thing we do is get permission from the government to be organized. They (the government) know that they can pull the plug on us anytime they want (and have done so before; thus, the reason for being reformed as a corporate sole), so we are subject to and recognize the them as first in line to receiving our homage. Also associated with the designation as a corporation is the charter to “do business.” Whether it is “for profit” or “non-profit,” (both apply to us), the intrinsic purpose is to exchange and grow money, assets and “value.”

Also associated with corporations is the organizational structure, which is the second in line as part of our “name,” i.e., “President.” I would include the Board of Directors (12 apostles), VPs (General Authorities), middle management (Stake Presidents, Bishops) and then employees (“members.”) This explains why we have come to put so much emphasis on our CEO/President/Prophet and all the titles and priestly positions held in our church.

So why should we grumble about something working exactly how it is supposed to? Corporations need to move money around and to grow. They will have marketing, publication, polling, R&D, systems, maintenance, property, legal, copyright divisions etc. As Christ already told us, our works will follow us, and if we are built on the works of men, then we should expect nothing different than that as our fruit. Our name tells us exactly how we are structured. Jesus Christ is third in line. Now getting upset that a church was organized is such a way is another story, and this knowledge should probably shake us (it did me). But that a corporation wants to grow should not be surprising. The bottom line is the bottom line. It's about the numbers. There is little difference between money numbers and people numbers for a profitable corporation.

PS - Perhaps the "joy for a season" is coming to an end soon.

Aw said...

Fusion:

I don't have all the answers. I am not a shill. I haven't been to church in over 10 years.I am tired of being confronted by people that claim to be teachable, but are not.

Our place in the universe does not depend on having a computer or books to figure things out. Consider Henry David Thoreau:

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

Pure Mormonism is not digging a pit for the church to fall into. Pure Mormonism is realizing that we are small and insignificant creature, just like the man in Ecuador. Pure Mormonism is inner peace that comes from accepting the good that life has to offer and not caring one bit, or wasting one second focusing on the negative that we are powerless to change.

Fusion said...

Thanks for sharing the same logic I hold, Inspire.

No need to grumble about something so obvious. However, two things come to mind:

1. The warning from Moroni about the Gadiantons, as I have previously mentioned. It is evident that this is a warning to stand up against them before they destroy church (the real church, as per the Lord's definition, not just the corporate one). So long as LDS Inc. claims the rights and privileges of being the one true church of Jesus, and dispense and control His believers with His word in the BoM, then perhaps there is something that should be done about it.

2. D&C 123:

11 And also it is an imperative duty that we owe to all the rising generation, and to all the pure in heart—

12 For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they dknow not where to find it—

13 Therefore, that WE SHOULD WASTE AND WEAR OUR OUR LIVES IN BRINGING TO LIGHT ALL THE HIDDEN THINGS OF DARKNESS, WHEREIN WE KNOW THEM; and they are truly manifest from heaven—

14 These should then be attended to with GREAT earnestness.

(caps are mine)

Fusion

Inspire said...

^^^
Sorry about the grammatical mistakes. We need to be able to edit our comments!

Inspire said...

Fusion,
Right on. I think your words, my words, Rock's, Daymon's, Denver's, etc. are doing exactly what you say: bringing to light the hidden things of darkness.

I actually rejoice every time I hear about the church's latest "project." A tree can only bring forth fruit after its kind, so the more we partake of it, the more we will taste its bitterness.

I disagree with AW that discussing these things is "digging a pit for the church to fall into." The Book of Mormon tells us that the Great and Abominable Church will fall into its own pit that it dug for for others, that they might lead the souls of men down to hell. All we are doing here is shouting from the rooftops, helping people to see and think for themselves and then make a choice between "good and evil."

The church doesn't need any help in digging that pit. They are doing a great job on their own.

Aw said...

Inspire:

Many of the people at the time of Christ wanted to be removed from the yoke of Rome, and they expected the "Messiah" to perform this task. The church may likened unto Rome.

You are focused on destroying an oppressive regime that you assume has some power over you. The gospel is eternal, and it does not matter who is in charge.

The Lord put us on this earth to face adversity. You don't seem to understand that simple fact. Adversity cannot be destroyed, or otherwise conquered. The gospel lives on. Your salvation does not depend on external forces that you perceive to effect you.

None given said...

"...accepting the good that life has to offer and not caring one bit, or wasting one second focusing on the negative that we are powerless to change".

How is it then, that "we are powerless to change"?..

I think an individual should take some responsibillity and calculate a more appropriate amount to be given as tithing. They could then, take the remainder and give it directly to someone in need. Or even an organization that is a little better at distributing my money where I would like it to go.

I beleive that the church should grow through honest friendship and genuine charity. Not like a business re-investing it's profits to grow and build ever bigger and more beautiful buildings. I have been in dire need of help and it breaks my heart to look at the conference center. And I am imbarrased of what it says to the world about us while there are those who are hungry everywhere.

It disturbes me that 99% of my sacrifice is going to such things while only 1% goes to those in need.

I don't approve of this usage, I find it in contradiction to what I understand is the Lords teachings.

None given said...

continued...

Until all the worlds poor, hungry and neglected are taken care of. I consider it blasphemous to God to build such ornate buildings and consider it stealing from those who are in need.

If this does not speak to you then, please, do not let my opinion bother you. All truly is well in Zion.

Please, go back to sleep.

Inspire said...

AW,
I have no intention of "destroying an oppressive regime." I just got done saying that oppressive regimes end up destroying themselves. How is commentary about their fruits an attempt to destroy them? Are we now forbidden to even speak of such things?

And while it's true that neither the church or any institution has no more power than I give them, many are struggling right now, shackled to this corporation. Is suggesting that they can choose for themselves like unto seeking a Messiah to come down in vengeance and fury to remove Rome's yoke? I think we might be "violently agreeing," AW.

If I haven't been clear, let me be so now. I encourage all men to come to Christ and take on His yoke which is easy and light. There may be some shaking that goes on in this process, because the kingdom of the Devil must shake, and they who belong to it are either stirred up to anger or repentance. I am not angry. I don't advise it to anyone. In fact, if you look at my comments I promote peace with those who our culture calls "sinners," but also who we call "saints," or the Household of Faith.

Please do not insert an intent for me which was never expressed.

PS - How did you learn of Henry David Thoreau's walk into the forest? Methinks it was a book. Nature can teach us many things about living. We can teach EACH OTHER more.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Inspire,
As usual you have helped me to see things in a way I had not yet fully considered.

Absolutely right! In light of the Lord's admonition in 3rd Nephi, this present incarnation is not only NOT the CHURCH of Jesus Christ, it isn't even the CORPORATION of Jesus Christ.

It is named as the "corporation" of the "PRESIDENT," who happens to be a mere man presiding over what purports to be a "Church" called after his own name, not the name of Jesus Christ. This is in violation of the warning of Jesus in 3rd Nephi 27 that the church of Jesus Christ should be called after HIS name, and not after the name of a man.

It is very apparent from the legal designation of the organization that it is not the Church of Jesus Christ, but the Church of a man.

Folks can call it a church if they wish, but that is only due to long-standing tradition based on the church organized by Joseph Smith which was dissolved on May 19th, 1890.

If this is a Church, it's now the Church of the President. It says so right there in the papers that were drawn up and signed by Heber J. Grant on December 1, 1921 that created it to replace the one founded by Joseph Smith.

Aw said...

Inspire,

If you think your time is well spent in shouting from the rooftops, go for it. I really don't care what the church does...I have been sealed to my wife and my family for eternity. I am happy. The church can't make me unhappy. The behavior of church leaders is completely irrelevant in my life. When my kids get old enough, I will encourage them to get sealed in the temple so that they may know the joy that I know. Is there really any more to life than this? I think you and your friends are really over-complicating things, and are way too worried about "palace intrigue". Good luck with that.

I'm out

Alan Rock Waterman said...

AW,
I do indeed remember that letter from Mark Foree that you linked to above. Too bad you don't know the rest of the story.

As Mark surmised in his letter, "If we met in person, you'd see that I am just a likable person like I am sure that you are, and we could have some good conversation and we would probably part as friends."

Mark and I never met eye to eye, but we did have a pleasant and fruitful email exchange, and his opinion of me was tempered considerably after he learned that I am very much an advocate of serving others (one of his assumptions was that I only sat and grumbled and never "grabbed a shovel" and pitched in) and after he had read some of my other entries.

He admitted that his initial opinion had been formed by reading only a few of those posts that happened to rise into the Top Ten list. I explained to him that the blog platform automatically places the posts getting the most hits at the top of the list, and that they don't necessarily represent a complete picture of me or what I am about here.

I'm tempted to post that entire correspondence here for your own edification, AW. It might serve to give you a bigger picture than your presumptions so far have permitted. But it's a lengthy exchange, so I will resist that temptaion. Maybe I'll make the whole thing into a future post.

The main thing though, is that you have done Brother Foree a disservice by judging him by that one letter written in haste, since you have not seen how his later opinion of this blog evolved. I might suggest also that you refrain from judging me until you have allowed yourself time to get a wider exposure to my views here.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Aw,
The thing that makes your comments here continually intriguing(I'm trying to resist using the word "amusing") is that you constantly argue against facts not in evidence.

Example: your assertion above that Inspire is focused on "destroying an oppressive regime."

As he and I and others have made clear here countless times, the "regime" is irrelevant to those of us whose testimonies are anchored in the restored gospel. There is no need for anyone to feel he has to "steady the ark" as some critics like to put it. This particular ark has no power. It can and should be safely ignored by those to whom Christ is the only gatekeeper.

I was encouraged for you when I read your statement that "I really don't care what the church does." Good for you.

But at the same time I am baffled by your following statement: "When my kids get old enough, I will encourage them to get sealed in the temple so that they may know the joy that I know. Is there really any more to life than this?"

Yes, I think there is.

Tyson said...

Slightly off topic but you said,

"I still get inquiries from readers who tell me they wish Church leadership would provide some basic guidelines that would help them understand exactly what counts and what doesn't.
"

How sad is this statement right here? Its exactly what Joseph smith was teaching at least twice when he expounded upon Ezekial 14 and our dependence upon the prophet has caused our minds to be darkened. Why are people so "focused" on wanting everything spelled out... "he that is commanded in all things is a slothful servant". I wish we would learn to Govern ourselves and be guided by the holy spirit.

Seems we are no different than the time joseph tried to restore the holy order of the gospel. Great article thanks.

b0yd said...

I feel physically sick
What has become of this church.
Or was it always like that?

Tyson said...

Boyd,

I don't frequent this blog so sorry if this is a repeat or something you already know. This will answer answer that question.

http://www.amazon.com/Passing-Heavenly-Gift-Denver-Snuffer/dp/0615528961/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392513037&sr=8-1&keywords=passing+the+heavenly+gift

Lance said...

Rock,

Thank you for bringing this essay by Brother Streeter to the attention of your readers. The information in the Mission Presidents' Handbook is very revealing in how the Church leaders view themselves in relation to the faithful tithe payers who have sacrificed so much of their time and income to the Church.

Oh, the hypocrisy of Elder Bednar's last general conference talk where he spoke so reverently of the stewardship that the Church leaders have over the widow's mite. Yuck!

NachoLibre said...

If the church keeps it separate from charitable donations and compensates them to do this work from the money they make off of business investments. Why is it not regarded as pay and not a taxable income?..

NachoLibre said...

If they keep charitable donations separate from investment income.

BK said...

Thank you Rock for bringing more secret works of darkness to light, and for trying to wake & warn your neighbors that the fox is running the hen house.

It is beyond me how any church member can know this information and still continue to give money to such men and the Church, knowing it's leaders are living (comparatively) 'high on the hog' off the constant sacrifices, sufferings and labors of the fatherless.

God commands 'church leaders' to financially support the fatherless not for leaders to demand the fatherless support the leaders.

It is the height of evil for any church leader, or even any able-bodied man, to take or use money from the fatherless, those who are without a husband and who must do the work of 2 by themselves, who usually work and serve far longer hours each day than any leader I have ever known, and who go without many or most of said necessities that such MP and General Authorities shower on themselves.

I am utterly disgusted and outraged with this new knowledge.

I believe Moroni's warnings to Pahoran would also apply to Church leadership in relation to their neglect of the fatherless (See Alma 60).

"I say unto you, that the fatherless have suffered exceedingly great sufferings; yea, even hunger, thirst and fatigue, and all manner of afflictions of every kind.

And now we desire to know the cause of your exceedingly great neglect towards them; yea, we desire to know the cause of your thoughtless state.

Can you think to sit upon your thrones in a state of thoughtless stupor, while so many suffer exceedingly around you?

Yea, even they who have looked up to you for protection and care.

Ye have withheld your provisions and protections from them, ye have neglected them, insomuch that their sufferings shall come upon your heads; yea, for known unto God were all their cries, and all their sufferings.

Behold, could ye suppose that ye could sit upon your thrones, and because of the exceeding goodness of God ye could do nothing and he would deliver you? Behold, if ye have supposed this ye have supposed in vain.

Is it that ye have neglected the fatherless because ye are surrounded by security?

Have ye forgotten the commandments of the Lord your God?

Yea, will ye sit in idleness while ye are surrounded with thousands of the fatherless, yea, even tens of thousands, who are even now suffering and abused?

Do ye suppose that God will look upon you as guiltless while ye sit still and behold these things?
Behold I say unto you, Nay.

Repent of that which ye have done, and begin to be up and doing, and send forth relief and support and protection and defense of women and children.

Ye know that ye do transgress the laws of God, and trample them under your feet.

Annalea said...

Earlier today I was toying with the idea of an online poll somewhere, to gauge LDS preferences on tithing fund use. Something along these lines:

As a tithe-paying member of the LDS church, how would you wish your donations to be used?

~To alleviate the suffering of some 90,000 malnourished children of active, tithe-paying church members in South America, an average of 800 of which die every year from that malnutrition.

~To build apartment buildings, malls, and other commercial ventures.

~To provide sources of clean, free water in third world countries where water monopolies have come in and taken over the water supply, charging for access to the only safe, disease-free water for miles.

~To pay for housekeepers, secondary education and extracurricular activities for Mission presidents' families.

I wonder which answers would get the most votes.

BK said...

That's an awesome post Annalea.

The last line is so wrong that it sounds like a joke, but sadly it's reality. It's just incredible, that those leaders would take such money and that members would support it, despite everyone knowing what Christ taught.

Good thing everyone has the agency to pay tithing directly to whatever cause or person they choose, for Christ never gave any commandment to give our tithes to a 'Middle Man'.

For what 'Middle Man' was ever righteous and trustworthy enough to do with our tithing what we or God would want done with it?

We see in Rock's article what happens when we give men or leaders our sacred tithing, as Joseph Smith taught, they almost always do things like use it on themselves and their own ventures and to 'grow their Church' and not on the poor, and the needy and the fatherless who God commanded it to go to.

"It is the nature and disposition of almost all men/prophets/
church leaders, as soon as they get a little authority as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion."

Arch Stanton said...

Rock you said, "But then one would have to concede also that missionaries should be supported for the time they devote to their labors, and if that argue is put forth, We would have to confront the words of Jesus on this wise, as Jonathan has in his piece, regarding missionaries commanded to go without purse or scrip. In this church at least through the 1920's, missionaries went out into the world without purse or scrip, relying on those they encountered to provide them sustenance. "

Couldn't agree more. This is where it becomes hypocritical. I actually walked away from a business to serve a mission. In my youth (teens) I started a company, it was thriving and we had about a dozen employees. I walked away to serve a mission and paid my own way, during which the business went under in my absence. After getting back I elected to do school and the military. A few years ago I started another business and it's looking promising but we're still in the woods. I'm at a very different level than I was before my mission, and in a much more advanced field, but arguably I still haven't seen the same level of business success I had prior to my mission and that was over ten years ago.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not whining or at all bitter. I'm grateful for my mission experience, but I just want to point out that it's very fallacious for people to assume that the sacrifices of mission presidents are any more significant than the lowly missionaries. I could also talk about my trainer in the mission field. He was an older missionary, upper 20s, he walked away from a professional sports career to serve a mission after he converted to the church. Especially among the sisters I knew many missionaries that had either finished or were close to finishing undergraduate or graduate degrees. Out in the real world all full-time missionaries have various professional skills and their time is worth something. While it may be more rare, we can identify some missionaries who's time is worth more than the mission president's overseeing them.

Fusion said...

Annalea,

I'll be the first to vote.

With all my heart, I hope you do that inspired poll. Count me in to spread it around.

Regardless of what those who dig the status quo like to think, I care less about being intimidated by those who assume their false authority.

I do hope you do it!

Fusion

Calleen Bataiff said...

What about going to God and finding His mind on the subject. Aren't we suppose to rely on the arm of God? You know if we are persistent in our prayers He will answer us. I received an answer and I have no more questions on the subject. It's quite the load off my mind.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Arch Stanton,
In light of your comments above, you put me in mind of how I had been led to believe that by serving a mission, I would be blessed in my career when I got back. But when I returned, those in management who had mentored me were gone, and I had effectively lost my place in the corporate hierarchy. For some time I believed the Lord had not kept his end of the bargain; until I came to understand he had made no such bargain.

Now, admittedly "getting ahead in business" was not my sole motivation for serving a mission, but in the back of my head there was that presumption of future career rewards. I served with others who assumed likewise. One of my companions was a talented singer/songwriter who felt somehow that after his mission he would be on easy street with a record label and everything. There is a common understanding that when we do certain things like serving a mission for the Lord, the Lord will in turn provide blessings, and in my case I took that to mean he would grease the skids for me professionally when I returned, and that I would probably be able to leapfrog up the corporate ladder.

This didn't happen; because I had been gone for two years, I ended up on a lower rung, back to square one. The lesson I learned is that God doesn't work on the model of "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours."

We should serve only because we have the burning desire to serve, not because we expect some blessings in return. My mission turned out to have its own rewards unrelated to being given a prize at the end of my service.

But this lesson also extends to the commonly held assumption that paying tithing brings us blessings, and that paying extra tithing will result in extra blessings.

There is no promise of blessings, either material or otherwise, contained within the law of tithing in section 119. In a church that is actively striving to build Zion, the privilege of paying of tithes toward that end is a reward in itself. (Notice, incidentally, that I said "in a church that is actively striving to build Zion." This would not necessarily hold in a church that has been diverted from that goal.)

Likewise, the payment of alms to the needy only "works" when we have a strong desire to do good. Expecting a material reward in the form of nebulous "blessings" for doing what we came here to do is a path to disappointment.

Bman said...

Rock, first of all I want to say that I love your blog. You have helped me to break the shackles from my mind and showed me a path where I can follow my own conscience with an open and honest heart. I am so indebted to you for that.

Now, I have a few comments about this most recent post.

First, I think your readers who have been asking you to define what is a basic living expense are missing the point. It is in the process of defining that for ourselves that we come to know our own hearts and grow spiritually. Now, I do not object to transparency on how tithing is used by Mission Presidents and elsewhere, and we should be free to voice opinions and concerns with the use or misuse of our tithing funds. But that is a separate issue from our own wrestle with where we draw the line. Comparing notes with others is not that much different than taking a conference talk as our guide instead of taking advantage of direct revelation for ourselves from God.

Next comment - while I am grateful to Mr. Streeter for presenting these disturbing revelations, I have to say that I am really put off by the tone of his writing. He starts off pretending to be an honest inquirer, with much deference for that ridiculous conference talk by Daniel Johnson. By the end of his article, however, it is clear that Mr. Streeter never had any respect for that talk, and the whole thing comes off as disingenuous. Furthermore, there is a negativity unredeemed by the presentation of a better alternative that leaves the reader with a feeling that we should just give up on the whole thing. What I like about your writing Rock, is that you manage to point out all of the garbage going on in today's church without leaving me with a feeling of hopelessness. You advocate for a better ideal, and you make me believe that it is actually possible for us to get there, if not collectively, at least individually. Mr. Streeter only weakens his appeal to those seeking this better way by failing to acknowledge the good along with the bad.

Last point - as much as I've learned about what is wrong in the church today, I still cannot believe that any member of the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve is sitting in some dark room in the church office building rubbing his hands together with an evil cackle. Same thing for mission presidents. The two mission presidents that I know well are both excellent human beings. And so I conclude that these men (all the way to the top) are just as much victims of our culture as the rest of us are. Over years of slow and steady decline, they have been led along with the rest of us to believe that this is how things really should be. And of all members, it will be hardest for them to wake up to the reality of where we have gone off course. They feel a responsibility to help the church thrive, and I think they believe they are really doing that as best they can. So, the real dilemma is: how can we help them to wake up and see how far off course we have come? I think one great start would be for a large group of members to "agitate" about issues such as this one brought to light by Mr. Streeter.

John Waterman said...

Man writes the laws. if god wants money he can make it out of thin air! Or he can send in the IRS.
Bumpy

BK said...

Rock,

You bring up an interesting subject. I could say basically the same things, not about career, but other matters, after I returned from my mission, things I expected God was going to provide 'because' I served a mission.

But things didn't turn out the way I thought. 30 years later I believe that though I enjoyed my mission for the most part and loved the people and the work, and though I had incredible spiritual experiences and learned and grew so much, it was more because I was teaching people about Christ and serving others, not because I was bringing people into a true church, for that part of it I was doing people a disservice, for I now see I was leading people to support evil.

But God blessed me for my sincere desires and works, for at 22 it was more my parent's fault I was in a wrong religion then my own. I except that same responsibility now with my own children, it is my fault they are in the religion they are, because I didn't wake up sooner, it is my fault that I won't be able to see my son's upcoming wedding in the temple, because I didn't wake up and teach him the truth soon enough.

But I don't feel too bad for I know I did very good by waking up at all, for many/most never do. Someday I know all my children will wake up, everyone has to eventually, in this life or the next.

But my main point is, that I believe God does bless us if we do what is right, and a mission was probably not 'right' thus why things didn't work out like I expected, though God did bless me for the good things I did.

The scriptures seem to put a condition on having our prayers answered, saying that unless we relieve the afflictions of the needy and the fatherless then our prayers are in vain and won't be answered. That seems to be the main focus of whether our prayers are answered, by if we have charity, especially towards the needy.

Also, if we do become Christlike and gain Charity I believe it is made known to us by personal revelation, that we can have anything we want, if it's within God's power (for he can't thwart other person's agency to do wrong), and if our request is righteous. Some prophets have been given this promise and they/we must use it carefully, for it can be lost if used unrighteously.

So I do believe that righteousness does bring forth blessings, often immediately or within hours or days, though God cannot give us all blessings right away in this life, timing is an issue for many things, also because other's have agency that may affect what we would like.

But in the next life we will be blessed with all the righteous desires & wishes of our hearts, everything we want, even the saving of the souls of our errant loved ones, if we follow Christ and not man, and serve others, especially providing for and protecting the fatherless (women and children), that is the fastest way to have our prayers heard, even in this life. If we do this God will answer our prayers quickly, if he's able to, or if not now, then in the next life.

I know you are a very charitable man, just by how you run this blog, and the free speech you allow, unlike most other blogs, and by the way you love and care for your wife and others along the way and most importantly, the way you can see what is right, you are awake to the truth and have God's light in your soul, thus you will continue to learn all things until you and us all come to be perfect one day.

Calleen Bataiff said...

I would like to address just a few things I sincerely believe and have received understanding about. First of all, for those who need a sign there isn't a bigger one than this:

24 ¶ No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

(New Testament | Matthew 6:24)

What does this church put ahead of everything else? A few Sundays ago a prominent family came to church for a welcome home to returned missionaries. I thought that the majority of the congregation was going to hyperventilate and faint away at the visit of this family. One Lady looked around at me and said, "He is a lawyer and a banker!!!" It's not just the hierarchy that are lovers of money.

Here is another scripture I thought of in relation to these comments:
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

(New Testament | 2 Thessalonians 2:11)

I believe that this applies to the world as well as the LDS Church membership that are blindly following their mortal leadership.

Another scripture that occurred to me:
13 Wherefore, I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thrash the nations by the power of my Spirit;

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 35:13)

This doesn't apply to the church hierarchy. They are anything but the weak things of the world. They are all well educated, and successful businessmen.

Another scripture:
26 And after that he came men also were saved by faith in his name; and by faith, they become the sons of God. And as surely as Christ liveth he spake these words unto our fathers, saying: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you.

(Book of Mormon | Moroni 7:26)

When God says, "whatsoever thing ye ask for." That is exactly what He means spiritual as well as temporal, if you approach Him correctly, and when the blessings come, they aren't in any means in a small way. You're right when you say all the things of the earth belong to God and He will do with them as He pleases for the good of those who love Him. However, those who love Him put Him first and are completely reliant upon Him, wanting nothing more than to know and understand His mind and will, and have no other God before Him.

Sorry I get carried away sometimes. These are just the things that came to mind. I hope they may be a benefit.

Jack said...

Why LDS's so quick to equate ones worldly success with righteousness? This is a precept of man. It is for this reason that many of the poor among us have been judged, neglected and ignored.

By equating worldly success we become puffed up with a false confidence and pride in our own righteousness.

We are blind to our true condition. I believe their is no quicker, easier way to damn oneself then to judge your neighbor.

I have lost everything and experienced this myself, and like the story of the preacher disguised as a vagrant, it opens ones eyes to the sad condition we are in.

I have lost everything and experienced this myself, and like the story of the preacher disguised as a vagrant, it opens ones eyes to the sad condition we are in.

Be careful how you judge those who are poor, If they have faith and endure it well, they may be much closer to the lord then you.

BK said...

Bman,

I believe that the farther up the ladder of Church leadership one goes, the more they see and come to realize how corrupt the Church is and contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

One does not need to be a leader to see this corruption, it can be easily seen from any level, thus we are all accountable, but leaders have an especially good view of things.

I believe all leaders have to make a decision once they start to see these things, to either go back the other way and not obey such false doctrines and false leaders and thus probably lose their high callings because they will not be 'yes men', OR, they decide to reject the Spirit's warnings and reality and they move ahead and support leaders and their errors and evils and thus lose the Spirit and become filled with pride, convincing themselves how right and wonderful they are, though deep down they know the truth and that they are supporting wrong and evil.

I believe this decision usually happens at the 'Bishop' level, for even at that level men almost always see far too much evil going on around and above them to be ignorant and innocent.

Everyone knows when they do wrong. Everyone knows deep down if they are Christlike and Charitable or not and if they are following the Golden Rule. Everyone can tell truth from error and devils from saints, if they are righteous enough to have the 'right' Spirit with them.

That is why all members, and especially leaders, in the Church will be held accountable to God one day for supporting evil falsehoods and false prophets.

For Christ, Joseph Smith and numerous other ancient prophets have repeatedly taught us that we will lose our salvation if we support (even financially) and fall for false prophets and their false doctrines and churches.

We must make sure sacred tithes and offerings really make it to where the Lord has said it should go, which is 100% to the needy around us. Only when we give it to the needy directly are we sure they will really receive it.

If we give our tithes and offerings to leaders who use it on themselves or other things, then the sufferings of the poor will be partly answered on our own heads, for allowing ourselves to be deceived and letting the poor and the fatherless continue to be neglected and suffer.

I believe the Church is robbing God, as Malachi warned, for hording the tithes instead of using it all for the poor and fatherless, til there are no more poor among us. We must decide if we are going to support the robbers and their robbing of God.

Greg Amderson said...

Rock,
Thank you for the article. It has given me great clarity. With the announcement of a "City Creek" type multistory building being built next to the temple in Philadelphia, I can see how the Church will establish Zion. These large and spacious buildings will be built so that when a callout comes to establish Zion, the most righteous among us (mission presidents, and general authorities) they will be called to refuges in the large and spacious buildings and there will be no poor among them. How did I miss this interpretation of scripture before. You have given such clarity to how LDS scripture is to be interpreted based on the direction of leadership. I hope I can somehow climb the ranks so I can be apart of Zion. That thing about the poor, meek and humble establishing Zion must have been a mis-interpretation of scripture. Sarcasm aside, the insight is profound.
Greg

Anonymous said...

There is indeed a lot to question in the conduct of the LDS church these days. I submit that the real "Latter-day Saints" are the missionaries who go to all the world spreading the TRUTH of the Book of Mormon and the teachings of Joseph Smith. Many, or rather most, of those full-time missionaries go at their own expense, or at the expense of their parents, and thus qualify as giving generously of themselves.
The real mission of the church in this end time is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world. Inasmuch as they do that, they are fulfilling the command of the Father.
Unfortunately, the corporate church oversees and intervenes to impose on those young, impressionable missionaries the trappings of the babylonian corporate church and thus taints the pure message of faith, repentance, baptism by water, and baptism with fire and the Holy Ghost that is the true Doctrine of Christ with its "follow the prophet" dogma and all the rest of the mormon claptrap.
Jesus clearly spelled out who qualifies as His church (what church is that?) when He said, "Behold, this is my doctrine (the Doctrine of Christ)--whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church."
(D&C 10:67)
It is therefore, up to us to study, ponder, search, and pray to learn what He means by "repent" and "come unto me". There is a vast amount more to those two simple phrases than we commonly understand!
JR

Toni said...

Annalea, you should create that poll. Perhaps in a safe place on the FF.

(ARP)

Bman said...

BK,

Thank you for your thoughts. I really agree with you that we should think twice before we outsource our charity to a middle man. When we do, we are putting at risk our contribution to the poor, and I think we also lose something essential to our own humanity in the process, especially if we then turn away the beggar in front of us because "we have already done our part".

That said, I agree with Rock that tithing is not meant to be charity. It is meant to run the church, and I feel some responsibility for helping out with that. But I should know how my tithing is being used, and there should be an open forum where members can advocate for how it should be spent, and to voice concerns if it is being misused.

I can't get on board with your assessment that all (or most) church leaders "know when they do wrong". I agree that everyone can know by the spirit when they do wrong if they sincerely open themselves to the possibility. But it's not so black and white. Just one year ago, I was set in my mindset that the church was perfect. If I had died one year ago, would I be condemned for that? Maybe. But I like to think that God isn't so black and white about things either. People are complex. No one case is clear cut. There is a lot of gray area, and otherwise very good people can unwittingly do some very bad things. It was an extremely uncomfortable and scary process for me to crack my mind open to the idea that the church might, in fact, be off course.

Now, I grant that there may be moments of clarity when a high ranking church leader sees something out of place, and true moral courage would demand facing it and taking action. But even moments of clarity such as these are followed by doubt and uncertainty. Who am I to judge if a church leader takes the more comfortable path of writing off these flashes of insight to "a stupor of thought"? I like to hope that these men are capable of changing. I certainly wouldn't have believed that my views were changeable just a short few months ago.

BK said...

Bman,

I realize that it can be a very uncomfortable feeling at 1st to think the Church may not be true, that you have been lied to all your life, and that church history is not what you have been taught, but that feeling will quickly dissipate into understanding, peace and even joy as you continue to study, search and pray for real truth and true church history, with the help of the Spirit.

You must remember that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is one thing, the Church is quite another. The Gospel is always true, while all Churches and their leaders can and usually do become corrupted quickly. Christ should be our foundation, not very fallible men or a corruptable church. We must awake and realize how we have been deceived to believe church leaders can't be wrong or lead us astray, when they can and have, even since Joseph died.

I wish I could agree with you about leaders being more innocent, but I can't. Members yes, for it takes time to wake up if you are not in a situation to see many problems.

But I believe a Bishop or Stake Pres. or higher hears far too many cries from the fatherless and the needy to not see the problems. I believe leaders will wake up quickly if they are really righteous and have the Spirit and thus won't go along with many policies, precepts and practices of the Church.

Being deceived is usually a choice. For playing 'follow the leader' is far easier than having to discern truth from error on our own. Many members and leaders don't seem to want to see the truth even if you try to tell or show them, for it usually requires more responsibility or repentance then they want to take on.

Joseph Smith taught in D&C 76 and elsewhere, that even if good, honorable and kind church members are deceived to support or follow false prophets and false doctrines, they will lose their Celestial Standing.

For it takes more than just being good and honorable to achieve Exaltation, it takes having true charity to not be deceived, it takes becoming a prophet to know one.

I'm glad your views are beginning to change and you are seeing the truth, but will you be willing to come to see 'the whole truth' and stand for right and for Christ's pure doctrines, even though the Church doesn't preach or practice them?

Again, I believe leaders have far more than just flashes of clarity, I believe they know what paths they are choosing to take, based on if they are willing to give up the perks of their high callings or not. I have never known a leader who I believe was sincerely deceived, they all appear to know deep down that they are doing wrong. But like Korahor they deny it and I believe they try to convince themselves and everyone else that they are righteous, and most people seem to fall for them, at every level, from Bishops to the Prophet.

The more we study and live Christ's pure teachings in the New Testament, the more we see the stark difference between true and false prophets, leaders and churches.

And Christ never said to give prophets or churches money, it was men who came up with that idea, while Christ taught us to give 'all we have extra' directly to the poor. It does little good to build, or go to, churches, temples, missions, or malls, if we don't take care of the poor 1st and foremost, until there are no more poor among us. For the scriptures teach that our prayers and works are in vain if we neglect or ignore the needy.

If you were one of the poor or fatherless you would understand how none of the other things matter while there are those in need. The poor would rather have help then have a church or temple to go to, for anyone can learn, grow or serve just as well at home or among their friends, then in any church, temple or mission.

Bman said...

BK,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I think we are in agreement for the most part about the bad state of affairs in the church. Where we disagree, I believe, is in how we choose to respond to this situation.

Like you, I am not afraid to continue to confront difficult truths, both in the present church and in early church history. Owing to the important distinction between the institutional church and the gospel (which you rightly point out), it no longer shakes my foundation when I discover that things are amiss. I also agree with you that the #1 failing in the church today is a lack of concern and help for the poor (especially outside of our active membership rolls). Not that the church should be directly helping the poor, but there should be 10 conference talks on helping the needy for every 1 about tithing.

Your path, it appears, has led you to reject (in part or in full) the institutional church. If I perceive you correctly, I very much respect that course of action.

My path, for now, has led me to stay within the institutional church. I think that much good can be accomplished by the organized church, inasmuch as it becomes a vehicle for what really matters - the gospel of Christ. If everyone who ever wakes up to the problems in the church up and leaves, nothing will ever change. I feel my responsibility is to be a reformer, sometimes slowly and quietly, and other times more boldly, but always in the way most likely to effect positive change.

Andrew C said...

I very much agree with the overall premise of the article. However, it is very misleading for Streeter to attribute, in quotes, “Tithing is 10% of income more than that which we have need” to the official Church Handbook of Instruction when that quote is nowhere to be found in it. If Streeter, Rock, or anyone else could properly source that quote, I would greatly appreciate it.

BK said...

Bman,

Would you say the same things about the Catholic Church or Baptist or FLDS or RLDS? Should they all stay with their church and try to make positive changes? The LDS Church has no more authority to be Christ's Church then any of them, so even if they or we did get the Church to change (which we won't for the leaders won't allow it, for again, they like the way the Church is, they made it this way intentionally) the Church still wouldn't be Christ's true church, we would just be better people for changing.

But the bottom line is, Christ and Joseph Smith and so many ancient Prophets have warned that if we allow ourselves to be deceived to support or follow false churches or false prophets then we will be damned. Are you unaware of Joseph teaching this? He published this. So if the church is corrupt and the leaders are false prophets with no authority, for where did BY get his authority to continue the true church? And how can unrighteous even evil men like BY and those who took his place, ever maintain any authority if they ever had any? Do you not believe Joseph's D&C 121 either?

I understand how hard it may be to make a clean break from the Church, because of family and friends etc. But we can be a far better example of Christ's gospel and do far more good 'outside' the Church then with one foot out and one foot in.

Like Alma ran from King Noah's Church, and like so many early Nauvoo Saints left Brigham's Church, we must do the same, once we awake to see what kind of Church we are apart of. False Churches can never become true Churches, we can only save ourselves from their association.

The righteous don't need a church to prosper and accomplish all the good they need to do. They can grow, learn and serve far better on their own with their family and other like minds, then they ever could being attached to a corrupt church. For we must prove we are righteous by what we support.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Andrew C,
I don't think Jonathan Streeter intended to suggest that was directly quoted from the handbook.

It is rendered in quotes because it is offered as a distillation of the meaning of words used at the time of Joseph Smith, combined with the explanation found in the handbook, and typified by the scripture from the JST referring to Abraham's tithe as being "more than he had need."

LDSDPer said...

Your path, it appears, has led you to reject (in part or in full) the institutional church. If I perceive you correctly, I very much respect that course of action.

My path, for now, has led me to stay within the institutional church. I think that much good can be accomplished by the organized church, inasmuch as it becomes a vehicle for what really matters - the gospel of Christ. If everyone who ever wakes up to the problems in the church up and leaves, nothing will ever change. I feel my responsibility is to be a reformer, sometimes slowly and quietly, and other times more boldly, but always in the way most likely to effect positive change.

@anyone who wants to read:

The above quote is good. It's how my husband and I feel. Sometimes, in private, though, we have to talk about how much it hurts.

There are others I read whom I wanted to quote, as well.

Right now, in our ward, there is a tradition that is neither scripturally nor 'hand-booked' prompted that is a time waster and a heavy burden, but ward members in this particular auxiliary WANT it--

and because one of us is the 'head' of said auxiliary, that time waster consumes *us* as well--

It's interesting to see how much tradition influences what people "think" the "church" is.

But yesterday my husband and I were talking, and one of us had an epiphany about this. We ARE to be in the church to help people spiritually when Babylon falls.

Catastrophic schizhophrenia is what Anthony Larson calls it, I think, Rock and others who have read those books--

People will literally fall apart when their reality is no more.

Those who have already faced these things can be there to comfort and bear burdens--

but, BK, I will never question someone who has been told not to be involved--

to be continued--

LDSDPer said...

@Arch,

I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M AGREEING WITH YOU, AGAIN!!!

And everyone who talked about missions. The same thing(s) happened to both my husband and me.

He supported himself with money he had saved for his graduate program, something he was very passionate about. I worked to prepare for my mission and gave up my own graduate "dreams", the university of my dreams had accepted me, and I was elated.

(I did have some family help, as well, because my mission happened suddenly, and I didn't have enough saved for the entire mission)

When my husband came home he got stuck in dead end jobs while trying to get back:

1--a good career he had established before his mission and

2--to his continuing education

Neither ever happened. Life intervened; we had crises with our family, etc. Stuff that happened that rocked the 'goals boat'--

We never got back either the original earning power (for both of us) or the 'honor'.

And we are SO glad!!! We've watched others pat themselves and each other on the back for their loaded degrees and earning power--

and the 'forced' (yup, Alma is right; it would be better if we had not been forced to be 'humble') humility we have experienced has prepared us for greater understanding of what earth life is all about.

In spite of facing our twilight years without the security many around us have--

we are grateful for the things that happened. But this only makes me feel even more strongly that there should be no preferential treatment for anyone.

@Calleen, if you see this, you are right; personal revelation is paramount.

LDSDPer said...

oh, and I don't think ill of anyone who has chosen to be less involved in the 'church'.

A good friend left a while ago, and I worked really hard to be supportive.

I believe she did the right thing, too. She said she had some regrets, but she was trying to be prayerful about it.

Fusion and Inspire, I always enjoying reading what you have to say.

I've left people out (good grief, I sound like I'm bearing my testimony--*blushing*)

who had good things to say; there is a lot of good stuff on this essay--

And Brother Streeter, I didn't see you as disingenuous. You were just trying to get your points across, and I think you did well.

Anonymous said...

Rock, I hope I am doing this right so I don't get deleted. I have read the Rameumpton story several times lately and it keeps coming alive to me how much it applies to us. I would like to chime in about a schooling issue. We homeschool because we are dissatisfied with what the public school is cranking out. We do not have enough money to send our kids to private school. And so we homeschool. Homeschooling Mormon mothers have the pressure of trying to have a large family, homeschool and do their churchly duty. I often feel my face is being ground in the dirt. My mom voiced once that the church should be doing something to help. With all of its resources they could do something to ease the burden on families who are upset at our septic school system. I think it is a denial of where we are at in the decline of our culture. I enjoyed your post. Thank you for the time you put into writing your articles. I gave my 2 cents worth and am satisfied.
Homeschool Mom

Andrew C said...

Rock,

Thanks for the reference to the JST in Genesis 14. That's great stuff. I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up that there would be something about the true law of tithing in the Pharisaical texts of the official handbook of instructions. I am happy that I can find all I need from the scriptures themselves.

I still think it was a little misleading to put the above mentioned statement in quotes, referring to the church handbook, but ultimately, that's neither here nor there.

Bman said...

@ BK

Regarding whether members of other churches should "stick with it", I don't presume to judge. My decision to stay is a personal one, and I don't begrudge you or anyone else who feels their path is to leave. But I still can't see things as black and white as you seem to want to paint them. For me, it's like the flip side of what the church leaders do when they try to paint it all white. I would rather extract good where good is to be had, and try to help others do the same. If I am condemned for doing so, at least I will know that I did what I felt was the right thing to do at the time. I would rather do the wrong thing for the right reasons than the right thing for the wrong reasons.

I hope my primary motivation for staying isn't fear of judgment from family. I have a sister who left the church, and no one in my family has rejected her. I honestly feel that staying is the best thing for me and my family right now. If that changes in a way that becomes clear to me down the road, I only hope that I will have the moral courage to do what I feel is right when that time comes.

I hope I don't seem argumentative, I really like what you have to say, and I appreciate the civility of your discourse. I also hope that I didn't come down too hard on Mr. Streeter, he may not have been as disingenuous as I originally presumed.

Martin Harris Luther said...

Hey everyone, it's Bman from above. I wanted to announce here that I have just entered the Bloggernacle. My first post is called "Public Relations is Not a Priesthood Responsibility", written in the style of Waterman. You can check it out here:

http://reformingtherestoration.blogspot.com/

Martin Harris Luther said...

Hey, sorry for the broken link. I seem to be HTML impaired today. Let's hope the third time's a charm:

Reforming the Restoration

W said...

@ Martin Harris Luther

I believe your effort's will serve to further thinking and promote open discussion, Well done.

Anonymous said...

I often feel there is a parallel between the church today and the law of moses in the Nephites lives. They felt it was a heaviness and a burden. They looked forward to Christ coming and doing away with that heavy yoke. They knew the law was deadness but they continued to keep it. I look foward to Christ coming a second time and removing the yoke. I know Christ's atonement truely removed the yoke of the law and there is no other law beyond His. My husband and I feel for now that we need to continue to go to church...until we are cast out or Christ comes with His better plan. BUT we teach our children of Christ and preach of him that they may know the deadness of the law.(2Nephi 25:23-28) My Dad was excommunicated for butting heads with the stake president over political matters. So at times I know we may be called upon to speak out, and it may mean being cast out. We each have to choose what the Lord has called us to do.
Homeschool Mom

LDSDPer said...

@bman--

Martin Harris Luther--

WHAT a handle!!!

:)

I read your blog; darn, now I have another blog to follow--

*wink*

I can't comment on your blog, because I don't have a google ID--

I'm not very computer literate--

Thanks--

Yes, my husband is in a leadership position right now, and the competitive attitudes of those with whom he works is really jarring.
It was in early morning welfare meetings (he doesn't have to go to those in this present calling) that really woke him up.

But we are determined to hang on.

Some of the people on this blog taught me to be less contentious and look for the good in others more. I don't always succeed, but I try.

Thanks for your contribution.

I hope others can comment.

LDSDPer said...

@Rock,
I've read all your posts and the complete blog essay on "Bare Necessities: . . ."

and I can't find where you mentioned Genesis 14, JST.

Just today my husband came home excited; he reads his scriptures on break, and he found that and wanted to share it with me.

WHERE HAVE WE BEEN?

Interesting, though; you won't find those verses in the TG under "Tithing"!

He asked me to share it, and then I saw that you already had, but I can't find it.

I wonder what else I am missing.

LDSDPer said...

@homeschool mom

We have been homeschooling for over 20 years now. Not long by some standards, but we married later and are not young parents.

Still doing it in our 60s!!!

Yes, I understand what you say when you feel that your face is being ground.

I think home education opened our eyes to many of the paradoxes in our culture.

The time I spent reading scriptures with the children in the morning was not wasted. The perspective of our entire family changed.
It has been very hard for our children to 'fit in'--

they really don't fit in anywhere. Not even with other home educated young people, though there is a sympathy there.

What a blessing it is, though, to have *our* eyes opened to the true reason *we* are here.

We have pretty much had to defend ourselves from other church members over our decision to home school.
I worked in special education before going on my mission, and then we got some special needs children (though not all of our children are special needs).

We've been put under a microscope with many people in leadership positions.

IF we had sent these special kids to public school, I daresay we would not have come under attack. As it was, kind and gentle as we tried to be, we started to feel afraid every time we saw certain people; it was ridiculous.

The worst of it is over now, but there are many people in our ward who will never understand (and don't care, perhaps) what our children have to endure and what we have had to do to help them 'survive'.

Anonymous said...

LDSDPer,
I understand your feeling of not fitting in. That really bothered me for along time. Like I couldn't totally identify with a group. Not Evanglical Christian and not mainline Mormon. Then the Lord told me that I don't have to fit in with anyone but Him. Did the Lord fit in with anyone when He was on the earth? No. I count myself in good company.
Homeschool Mom

Gary Hunt said...

Rock,

I think the following scripture goes along with this article.

Mosiah 2:12-14

12 I say unto you that as I have been suffered to spend my days in your service, even up to this time, and have not sought gold nor silver nor any manner of riches of you;

13 Neither have I suffered that ye should be confined in dungeons, nor that ye should make slaves one of another, nor that ye should murder, or plunder, or steal, or commit adultery; nor even have I suffered that ye should commit any manner of wickedness, and have taught you that ye should keep the commandments of the Lord, in all things which he hath commanded you—

14 And even I, myself, have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, and that there should nothing come upon you which was grievous to be borne—and of all these things which I have spoken, ye yourselves are witnesses this day.

There are those who, unlike King Benjamin, consider themselves to be elites which "deserve" the fruits of the labors of others because of their position or heredity. These people can be found in different institutions in our society such as government, corporations, churches etc.... They use excuses to justify their claims on our resources.

Perhaps you have seen the image of the snake feeding on its own tail.
What these institutions do is to feed us our own tail. They take from us and then give us a small portion back, of what was ours in the first place, so that they can say they are giving to us or providing us with services. They also say they are helping the poor or "doing the Lord's work," etc..., when what they are really doing is padding their pockets and the pockets of their friends.

There is a term for this kind of behavior. It is called "intraspecific kleptoparasitism."

Say that six times really fast.

Martin Harris Luther said...

@ LDSDPer,

Thanks for letting me know about the problem with comments. It should be fixed now to allow anonymous posts. You have to click on the title of the post before it will bring up the comment form though.

Margo said...

First of all...Rock thank you so much for all you do in getting these articles and information to us!

This is for Rock or Fusion. Is the current lds church the great and abominable church spoken of in the BOM, it seems to me that it is, what are your thoughts on this. Also these modern day gadiantons in the church, is the prophet and higher ups in on this, who are these gadiantons?

Also could you please give some examples of secret combinations going on right now in the church.

Thanks, Margo

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Gary, right you are with the King Benjamin quote. Many who have read the Mission President's Manual are rightly upset because they feel it in their gut, but the real sin of all this is that the Book of Mormon decries against this sort of priestcraft and prophesied that it would occur among us. We are right to be up in arms.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Martin Harris Luther,
Welcome to the Bloggernacle!

Your blog is now listed on the famous (and growing) Pure Mormonism Blogroll.

Although not all the blogs listed are necessarily authored by believers in the Restoration, quite a number of them are, and are of a similar bent to this one, i.e. written by believers who nevertheless recognize that something has gone terribly wrong with the institutional Church. I'm amazed at how widespread this awakening has become in the few short years since I started blogging.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Homeschool Mom,
I salute you in your efforts. Although neither I nor Connie had the opportunity (or energy)to homeschool our children from the beginning, we did take them out of the public schools when they reached Jr High age.

While we doubted our ability to do a proper job, we were motivated by a statement our ward Relief Society President said at the time.

"It would be better to keep your kids at home watching cartoons than to keep them in the public schools."

Well, we did keep them home, and we did a decent enough job with them that all three, now grown, possess critical thinking skills few of their peers obtained.

It was later that I ran across an interesting quote by one of the early presidents of the church, and I really wish I could remember who it was -I think Heber Grant. In his opinion, parents who sent their children to the gentile (public)schools were unworthy to partake of the sacrament.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

LDS DPer,
You shouldn't have any more trouble commenting on Martin Harris Luther's blog than you do on this one.

Look for the line that says "Comment Here" and it will give you a dropdown box to choose from. Just enter a username.

Anonymous said...

Rock, I liked your quote from Heber Grant. It made my husband and I laugh. I feel that homeschooling is going above and beyond the call of duty and I do not judge those who don't do it. It is hard and stretches you to your max.

I do often wonder how much longer christian people will be able to keep their kids in public schools. A friend of mine in Tennessee took her kids out of school because the middle school was having a lot of trouble with lesbian activities going on in the restrooms during school.
I am sorry, I am diverting from the subject of your post.
Homeschool Mom

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Homeschool Mom,
Everyone here is welcome to go off-topic all they want. You should see how some of the comments wildly diverted in other sections.

Glad to have you here. Talk about anything you want.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Margo,
I'm not yet prepared to expound on who or what I may think is the Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, and I'll save my theories about the Gadianton Robbers for a future day.

But anyone else willing to tackle the subjects and answer Margo's queries is welcome to chime in.

Bloke said...

"The form of kingship demonstrated by Christ and Joseph Smith is approved in the Book of Mormon. In this form the king is servant, and not a master. This form of
king is in God’s service
while kneeling and laboring to serve others, without boasting and without imposing grievous burdens.

In other words, the Book of Mormon approves a Celestial kingship, which serves through self-sacrifice, and meek example as the model of leadership, but utterly rejects control,compulsion and dominion by an earthly king.

Hence the sad observation made by Joseph Smith that it is the nature of almost all men as soon as they have a little authority to begin to exercise unrighteous dominion over others."

Read about King Benjamin and Joseph Smith They understood the teachings of Christs gospel. Brigham governed In direct opposition to the inspired leadership and character of a true servant of the Lord.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/101288033/Brigham-Young-s-Telestial-Kingdom

Margo said...

Rock your comments well understood, thank you for taking the time to respond back to me.

Margo said...

Rock your comments well understood. Thank you for taking the time to respond back to me.

FireCloud said...

I find it ironic that Jonathan Streeter titles the second section of his article 'The Importance Of Getting It Right' after having just butchered Aristotle's 'begs the question' in the prior paragraph.

Begging the question does not mean 'raise the question.'

http://begthequestion.info/

jonathan streeter said...

Getting an phrase wrong does not mean you get burnt to a crisp or that your family is stripped from your for the eternities. It only involves humiliation on the interwebs. I reserve the right to butcher all grammar, punctuation and other language constructs.

BK said...

Margo,

I for one do believe the LDS Church is if not 'the' Great and Abominable Church, it is 'part' of it.

I believe this is easy to see based on the things the Church and it's leaders and most members preach and practice.

I believe it is filled to the brim with Gadianton Robbers from top to bottom, and most everyone in between blindly 'chooses' to support and follow and usually even idolizes these Gadiantons and either partakes in or willingly adds to their spoils.

The Gadiantons demand obedience, servitude and money from the poor, the fatherless and everyone else to get 'gain' for themselves and their vile ventures. And most blindly obey, cause it's easier than thinking and judging for yourself and proving all things.

We either see this and reject them and their organization, or we don't and are deceived to continue supporting their evils to some degree.

To be deceived to support Gadiantons means we lose our salvation. There is no such thing as one foot in and one foot out of the Church. We are either 'for' them in any way or form or we are 'completely against' them. There is no neutral, for neutrality also helps the Gads and does nothing to help God to wake and warn others of them and their deeds.

For the Gads don't care if you silently don't like or agree with them, they just don't want you to speak up about it and wake others up or stop supporting them with your time, service and money.

LDSDPer said...

arg--

When I was mentioning ethnocentrism, I didn't complete a sentence.

It should be:

Learning not to be ethnocentric (believe one's own: culture, family, religion, government, etc. IS SUPERIOR TO ALL OTHERS) is a very difficult thing to do . . .

@Rock, I am being annoying now. I'll go back and try to comment on Martin's blog--

but you knew about Genesis 14, and I can't find where you mentioned it.

@BK,

We've been around this bush so many times, though you've had other names (which is fine)--

it's not so black and white. People who don't speak up but determine to separate themselves from Gadiantons . . .

often DO end up impoverished and despised.

You don't have to be loud to be right (though I admit I often AM loud--LOL!)

There are Gadiantons everywhere; I know there are some, possibly many, in the church, even in its organization, but I don't claim to know or even believe that they are more numerous among LDS than anywhere else.

I do believe, however, that satan knew that he needed to infest the church early on in order to drag it down, and I believe he has done that with much skill. :(

LDSDPer said...

@jonathan streeter--

thank you for your sense of humor; keeps things in perspective.

That's why I like Rock's blog so much; Rock doesn't take himself too seriously.

me said...

Great post!

me said...

Where have all the other comments gone!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I don't know! I'm working on finding out.

me said...

Good work!!!

Robben said...

With this type of information you can either choose a reaction of discontent or malcontent. Read the Gileadi translation of Isaiah 3:14-15 about the elders - it is you who have devoured the vineyard. I choose to follow the law as it was written and well described in this article and voice discontent hoping to influence change. I voice the sentiments of Moroni in Mormon chapter 8 - Why have you polluted the holy church of God? Why indeed when there is so much as stake.

LDSDPer said...

@Mormonion,

Hoping you see this--

your blog essay on Judas Iscariot was amazing.

I tried to respond, and I couldn't get in.

But thank you--

I think you have some really profound things to say.

Fusion said...

Hi Margo,

I am going to second BK on his thoughts about the modern day Gadiantons. I have been harping on about this concept for the last few years, because it is clear to me that the Book of Mormon's Nephites are a type and shadow of what would happen in the latter days. Isaiah is absolutely full of these types and shadows as well, and so is Hosea, Daniel and Jeremiah...the list goes on.

Opinion is really of no worth, but here's what I have gleaned to a small degree. When those of us who have 'awoken to our awful situation' say that the church is full of Gadiantons and is condemned etc, the first response by the average believer is to be on the defensive. I understand that completely- everyone of us have done this at some time. However, I am not saying that the good people in the church have gotten very bad, thus the whole basket of apples are rotten, necessarily. What I am stating in no uncertain terms is that it is completely evident to me that those who are Gadianton by nature and by craftiness, have seen the flock of LDS as easy targets, because they have put their trust in the arm of flesh- who is the arm of flesh? Well, everyone from Joseph Smith to Brigham, Heber J Grant, Gordy and Tommy, modern apostles, 70's, stake presidents, bishops, etc. Now, these Gadiantons have either come in pretending to be saints, so that they can use them, or, they are the descendants of former generations of believers that simply couldn't care less and don't believe in Jesus much anyway, nor anything the BoM has to say. However, they are culturally linked by family to the church and thus know that they can take advantage of the coffers by pretending to be one of the above arm of flesh. 4 generations after Jesus came to Bountiful and visited the Nephites, exactly this happened to their descendants! By no coincidence, we are ripe now, 4 generations after Jesus came to Kirtland. Type and shadow of the Book of Mormon, we are.
TBC...

Fusion said...

cont'd...

The fact that a lot of these deceivers are of the Masonic fraternity, and thus keep encouraging the unjustifiable-by-scripture modern Endowment, which is of course a BLATANT rip-off of Freemasonry, and has NOTHING to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, period, points completely to these deceivers are being the Gadiantons. Just look at the leaders...can you find a humble, poor fisherman like peter, James or John among them? What about a humble carpenter like Jesus? No, we have miraculously made this the gospel of Prosperity: if you are rich it is because you are spiritually a giant! You are poor because you are not spiritual enough. Utterly contrary to the Gospel of Jesus, ESPECIALLY in the Book of Mormon- the most incredible book on the planet, bar none.

All these leaders sit on boards as directors, all are businessmen, and NONE have an Melchizedek Priesthood power. A quick reading of JST Genesis 14: 25-40 will tell you what this Priesthood power is. And sad to say, it does NOT exist on earth today. The Lord gave it to a few elders at the Morley farm in 1831, where astounding spiritual manifestations took place. Then, the Lord condemned the church and took away the Priesthood as He stated clearly in D&C 124:28. The best read I have ever seen on this Priesthood, which is now obsolete, is here a 10 part series that will blow your mind, here is part 1:

http://onewhoiswatching.wordpress.com/2008/11/29/11-they-are-two-prophets-raised-up-at-the-time-of-the-restoration/

The fact that all these leaders PRETEND they have power, and talk each other up, is another reason why I they are Gadiantons.

The only answer I can find to the problem is in Mosiah chapters 4 and 5, it is a fascinating read. We ALL would need to fall to the earth, humble ourselves and in ONE VOICE beg Him for forgiveness and ask for His Holy Spirit to sanctify us. Sadly, I do not see this happening.

However, fear not. We need to realise that the BoM is for the remnant of Lehi, to be restored to the knowledge of Jesus and what He has done for them...it is not really about us. But, the fact is there is another book that will come, and that is the sealed portion. That won't come until the Gentiles, repent (the Gentiles are those who brought the book of Mormon forth- D&C109:60. But it will happen!! We just need to hope we can belong to that 'few true believers' who are left, and currently the numbers are dwindling, severely.

Ok, I have spoken too much.
God bless,
Fusion

Alan Rock Waterman said...

LDS DPer,
I figured out why you were unable to find my comments about Abraham in the JST. It's because I used his name Abram. If you were searching for AbraHAM you wouldn't have found it.

It's in my piece on tithing here:

http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2012/12/are-we-paying-too-much-tithing.html

Also Jonathan wrote about it in "Tithing: What's In A Word?"

http://thoughtsonthingsandstuff.com/lds-tithing-in-a-word/

me said...

Margo or anyone,
If the church of Jesus Christ consists of those that believe on the name of said person and live His gospel then the great and abominable church of the devil must be those who believe on the name of the devil and live anything other than the gospel of Jesus Christ. Is that not what He says in 3rd Nephi? Why do we think to regard His, or his churches as religions?
The "LDS Church" is just a religion. "Catholic" is just a religion. They are all just religions. It is so simple but very difficult to wrap a head around because of our indoctrination from early on in our lives. Read the sweet passages in the book of Mormon and be open to see what is really there, and disregard the rest of what we think is so sacred.

Inspire said...

I'd like to take a crack at the whole Great and Abominable Church thing... bouncing off of LDSDPer's post.

She said something about us being in captivity, and that the G&A Church is corporatism. I tend to agree with this assessment, and it is interesting if we take a look at what Nephi has to say about these things.

An angel tells him that the Gentiles will become captive to the G&A Church, but eventually a number of them will come "upon the many waters out of captivity." Now we can easily read into this the tired LDS tradition of the group of Gentiles being Columbus and the pilgrims, etc. (even though Columbus' whole deal was a corporate venture). But remember, we are also told that once the Gentiles come out of captivity, it will be a permanent thing, then they will be "a blessed people upon the promised land FOREVER... no more brought down into captivity." At that point, they will also be "numbered among" the seed of Lehi.

So I submit that the coming out of captivity by the Gentiles is a future event, because if that "man" was Columbus, then there should be no more captivity for at least a group of Gentiles. These Gentiles will have become "white" (not talking about a skin color, but rather, a spiritual quality) like the Nephites did when the Savior visited them. I don't see any of the prophesied fruits of the release from bondage, but there are plenty of witnesses that captivity still prevails.

PS - This man and the free Gentiles will also carry a "book" with them, which will be "convincing" to not only Israel, but to a great many of the Gentiles as well (at least that's my reading). The book cannot be the Bible, because the angel explains the Bible is the corrupted Book of the Lamb and is the thing used to make people captives in the first place.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Whew! I tried to do a backup of my blog earlier this afternoon and all the comments on this page went missing for awhile. There were still 5 or 6 comments gone AWOL once I fixed the problem, but I found them in the background and put them back by hand. They are not necessarily posted in the original order, nor at the time when the authors posted them, but I've tacked them on at the end here.

If anyone notices a comment they made that isn't here, please let me know by email and I'll hunt it down and get it back up.

RockWaterman@gmail.com

Margo said...

Bk and Fusion, thank you both so much for your input! You have given me some things to really think about, I appreciate your responses, thank you Fusion for that link to the priesthood, I am going to see if I can look that up and read it.

me said, and Inspire, thank you also for chiming in with your responses as well.

Meradith said...

How long has this reimbursement program for mission presidents been happening?? Has it always been this way??

Jmf

David said...

Praise God, for each of these blogs that are magnifying the light of day upon the darkness, as this is truly the world dominion of darkness that does not comprehendeth the true light of Christ.

Great, great comments! Each of them! Truth exists in these comments if one can open ones heart, spirit and mind to receive the shining light that is truly the greatest disinfectant upon the earth!

Fusion, you are right on target! How is it that there are lowly spirits wandering around who received a testimony of the Book of Mormon at a very young age, and in receiving witness from the Holy Spirit that the profound detailed warnings of secret combinations contained therin! and how detrimental they are to our spiritual and physical existence!

Joseph's last dream is one of the most profound dreams a Prophet of God has spoken! Especially when one understand that Joseph had already taken upon hinmself the iniquities of the saints!

Gadianton robbers abounded as the great foundation was being laid and crept in immediately, absolutely! The Kingmen are thriving well as we speak! What is so amazing to me is that as I have studied the Word of God with an open lowly heart, and an open contrite spirit I have received a witness from the Holy Spirit of seeing things as they really are all along the way.

I say this humbly, as we are all truly in the same boat! My experience has been a wild one as I raised a large family in this reality, participating in fear and works keeping my personal revelations to myself as directed from the Spirit. Until '09! I was prompted by the Spirit to reveal more to my family and in doing so, wow!?!?

It's 2014 and this is the begending of mind blowing events, as prophecies are coming to light at a quantum ratio. My comfort level here in -salt lake, City Creek! Is getting uncomfortable after having been guided here to have a front row seat to Gadiantons church! Peace.

David said...

The church and government are a similitude of each other just as in the ancient times. And both are direct reflections of the hearts of the majority of the people in each group.

I am a student of Constitutional law, Gods law! And as I have studied seeking, searching and asking for the truth I have found that we were only a Republic for 7 years period! How long was the Church in sinc with living the higher law contained in the Book of Commandments?

Everything has been counterfeited! Everything! Except the Holy Order of the Son! Which, being the power of God and the possessor of all things was taken from mere mortals! John and the Three are the only ones that have that power until the servants return.

Constitutional law has been replace with Maritime Admiralty Law, the law of the high seas! Each time our country has bankrupted (3x) we have been compromised in our sovereign rights and civil liberties.

Each time the church has hit rock bottom who have the unwise leaders turned to? The Kirtland Safety Society and the condition of banking at the time are huge precursors to what would become of the saints down the road, the road that we have sadly found ourselves.

The creatures of man, mans law, statutory law is antecedent to the original jurisdiction of the Constitution. Corporations are invisible bodies created to have great power with veils to usurp individual ACCOUNTABILITY! We are flesh and blood, breathing human beings, we have been told a lie in that we can contract with a corporation? Not possible, as we are kindred spirits and can only contract in kind, one with another.

So, anyone truly seeking pure truth can by the grace of God use the modern day tools to do as D&C 1:3 warns! The Internet as with all things are for two purposes, the spreading I the Gospel of Jesus Christ and for the ruler of this dominion to deceive and swallow up.

D&C is one big glaring red flag if one studies the prophecies, events and commandments contained therein! Section 1 is the most compelling when broken down into clear concise meaning. I have been old school in that I underline same words and groups of words, and phrases, and then search throughout to compare similarities to gain greater understanding.

When I discovere the Because I Am Wathing's blog by the One Who Is Watching, I was blown away!!! Word crunching software? Hmmmmm? And this guy reveals the most significant prophecy of this century! Possibly the greatest of the last two centuries!!!

The ATONEMENT STATUTE/SCAPEGOAT DOCTRINE!!! Leviticus 16!!! Has transformed my entire consciousness and love for my Creator as we are here right now because of the intersessory atonement offered by brother Joseph!!!

Do not get caught up in a of the Gadiantons! Pay attention to what really matters! Salvation and how we attain it!!! We are commanded to become one, equal in all things! We must open our hearts willingly without Gods command to "Wakeup to our Aweful State!" and begin to exit (flee) Babylon and prepare our hearts to "see" the entrance into Zion by yearning for the Law of Consecration and the servants who are (here) beginning to return with power, the Holy Order of the Son to administrate the building of Zion!!!

Are you ready??? It's all right under our noses! But our eyes and ears want more of the illusion through delusion!!! Peace.

Arch Stanton said...

Just one thing I want to point out that I don't think anybody else has. While there is a lot of false rhetoric within the church when it comes to tithing, in the temple recommend interview all that is asked is a simple yes/no question. You are asked whether you, in your own judgement, are a full tithe payer. And this is the paradigm shift that is necessary. People make the mistake of basing their status as a full tithe payer on the opinions of others as far as how this is defined. That should stop. Study the scriptures, figure out tithing for yourself, answer yes or no. Isn't it interesting that living the spirit of the law always requires more, not less, work on our part. Rather than just getting answers from some other member you actually have to read the scriptures on your own, gee, what a thought. And one thing nobody can fault the leaders for is not telling us to read the scriptures on our own. If we don't, nobody to blame but ourselves.

the_mormonion said...

Excellent point, Arch.

Inspire said...

Arch,
Well said. All it takes is to pull one thread (tithing) to see what mysteries are unraveled. But there are plenty of strings hanging within our reach with this paradigm.

What about the Word of Wisdom? My studies might convince me that beer is not only acceptable, but suggested as something that is good for the belly (I won't even go down what "herbs" are helpful for our bodies).

How about wearing the garment? There is no covenantal language where I agree (saying yes) to wear them "night and day." I am instructed to wear them throughout my life, which could be once in a blue moon, or maybe every time I go to the temple.

Speaking of which... maybe my studies help me to realize that nowhere am I given the things that are promised in the temple(I'm never actually "sealed." Only the Holy Spirit of Promise does that.) We are told it is conditional upon being true and faithful.

And maybe I discover that all these "ordinances" and "sacrifices" were done away when Christ came, and all that is required is just a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

The question is, can I be true to what I discover... or at least willing to experiment and see what fruit is born of it, or do I continue to let my mind be darkened because I neglect the duty devolving upon myself?

Imagine if we all went down this road... and even came to different conclusions, each one of us; yet we stopped the bickering and contending and exacting over much, crying for mercy to God and offering it to each other. Now that's a church I can get excited about.

LDSDPer said...

I believe you are right, Arch.

Mormonion, I wanted to comment on your blog (great essay!), but I couldn't, so I'm thanking you here.

Inspire, one of the things that amazes me about many of my "fellow" LDS is how open they are.

It is as though there are no boundaries when one steps into an LDS meetinghouse--

*we* are all "family". NO!

Not only can it be dangerous for young people, because not every adult (or youth) can be trusted with little children, but it is dangerous when *we* think we can tell everyone exactly what we are thinking/believing.

It's not in the Book of Mormon, but I believe Jesus said it--

Matthew 10:16

be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

@Rock, if you're reading this, thank you for explaining about Genesis 14. I should have known my husband and I hadn't been the first to discover it, but it's still quite illuminating.

:)

Kevin said...

What a treat to get two posts from your site in one month, Rock. Until reading this post I've never connected our culture with the rich Nephites exploiting the poor Nephites or Isaiah's timeless line about 'grinding the face of the poor.' (Isaiah 3:15) A slow learner perhaps. This story does nothing good for my already dim view of The City Creek Mall!

unworthy said...

We were given the Celestial law of consecration, that there would be no man above another. So that there would be no poor among us. We are not living this law today. In the temple we take an oath to consecrate all we have to "the church"(TM) to establish Zion although, I think we should consicrate it "to the Lord, for the establishment of Zion". How do we "give of our substance" to the lord?..

I got very sick and could not work, I went to my bishop for help with our heat bill. It was about to be shut off. It turned into an interview. rather then being about my family losing our heat in the middle of winter. It became about my worthiness. He asked if I was living the WoW. He asked me to give up coffee (although I did not want to) before he would help with our heating bill. I complied for awhile. But, it felt wrong. I knew that the WoW is a non-commandment ("not given by commandment or constraint") this help was very conditional. I had to submit to his will or he would not help us. I would never set such a ridiculous stipulation to help a family in need.

I do not like knowing that money I have donated in the past to help those in need was used as leverage to make others conform to the will of someone in a position of "authority".
I gave my money unconditionally, with no strings attached, and it was used conditionally, as leverage to exercise or maintain control over someone in need. To make them comply with something (for their own good) that they might not have otherwise chosen to do. That sounds a little like the wrong plan to me.

I'm thinking about selling off some of my possessions I do not need and finding someone to help, without requiring them to do anything In return. Un-conditionally, I don't think I will wear a bright T-shirt with my name on it, or have my picture taken as I do it so the world will know who to thank. I will not even tell anyone what I have done. This idea feels familiar to me somehow, I think maybe this is how it should be done.

Anonymous said...

Boy, Unworthy, we had a similar experience. We had just moved to a new area and it was Christmas time. We asked for some help from the church. We were faithful tithe payers and attended church regularly. We had never asked for help from the church before. Basically it came down to the Bishop saying they couldn't help because how did he know we weren't transients. They could have looked at our church records. That was the gall of bitterness to my husband. To humble yourselves to ask for help and then to be insulted. The enchantment of tithing to the church has been lost for my husband ever since then.
Homeschool Mom

Anonymous said...

I have a question that is off topic but wondering if one of you would have an answer. Are there any cases in the book of Mormon of people being baptized twice. Not because of excommunication but because of a recommitment of faith. Just curious...any ideas?
Homeschool Mom

Scott Moore said...

very informative; Thank you. We need to share the knowledge.

LDSDPer said...

Attention Rock--

Here I am again, being VERY needy.

I just can't figure it out on my own.

I've been through all the blogs, and I can't see where #3 has been set to be downloaded.

You know, the third week--

We've finished the first two, and we're ready to go on.

I haven't seen any new discussion on it.

I went onto Daymon's site, and I saw no links for the download there either.

What am I missing?

It's easy to poke fun at myself and just play ignorant, because I haven't taken the time to learn how to handle computers better, but this time I really am kerflummoxed.

Thanks for any help you can give.

:)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Here you go, LDSDPer.

It's labeled something something ProjectWest.

http://daymonsmith.wordpress.com/

You know how to download it, right? Your right click on it, then left click on the line that says "Save Link As..."

Make you're sending it to your download folder so you can find it, then you can open it from there.

Feel free to ask me anything. Although this is pretty much the extent of my knowledge.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Homeschool Mom,
I can't think of any instance where it explictly states baptisms were performed more than once, but I've always assumed Alma had been baptized previously because he was a high priest.

Yes, the priests Alma belonged to were corrupt, but I think his priesthood authority to baptize must have kicked in once he repented and became one of the good guys.

I'm thinking the people who he baptized at the waters of Mormon may have been previously baptized, too, but were rebaptized to show their re-commitment to God after they left the corrupt Church/society/community that had been run by King Noah.

All speculation on my part, of course, and I welcome anyone with contrary views or more information.

Inspire said...

Homeschool mom,
I concur with Rock about Alma. Also, don't forget about when Christ came to the Nephites. Nephi was baptized, then the others. We know that this wasn't their first time because before The Lord came, Nephi was baptizing.

In the early days of the church they would rebaptize all the time when they felt like recommitting. If this is something you are considering doing yourself, remember that the language of baptism doesn't say anything about church, so they don't necessarily have the patent on it. I would just find someone who claims to have authority and ask them to do it (I would imagine that they would need to be open-minded). Why would The Lord reject such a gesture if it was done in sincerity? I don't think he would, but that's my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rock and Inspire. That is what I was coming up with, too, when I researched it last night. Something I was debating was as an 8 year old was I baptized unto the church or unto Christ? Would it be Christ because of the wording?
Homeschool Mom

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Homeschool Mom,
Getting baptized is indeed distinctly different from joining the church. If you'll allow me to quote from my article, "Over-Ruling Jesus:

"As Charles Harrell writes in This Is My Doctrine: The Development of Mormon Theology, "Scholars note that baptism was initially performed by John the Baptist and Jesus's disciples as a cleansing rite to prepare them for the coming kingdom of God, which was perceptually distinct from the Church."

"It appears that equating baptism with joining our particular denomination is something we picked up in the 19th century from the protestants, as it was not an issue in the early church of Christ. As LDS religion scholar Kevin L. Barney explains, "[Baptism's] full significance as a rite marking formal initiation into the church is a later Christian innovation." (Quoted in Harrell, ibid.)

"In other words, if a person was "saved" through the efforts of Methodists, he tended to be baptized by Methodists and naturally joined with the Methodists after being baptized. If he was converted and baptized by Presbyterians, he tended to become a Presbyterian. Thus, when candidates are converted by Latter-day Saints and baptized by Latter-day Saints, they usually end up joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But the ordinance of baptism is a separate thing from membership in the Church, as evidenced by the confirmation process which is a separate ordinance that often isn't even performed until the following Sunday."

I think it's also worth noting the words of Christ in D&C 10:67 where he declares all who repent and come unto me, "the same is my church." That would suggest he doesn't respect one particular denomination over another, but that he includes all manner of individuals as his church not exclusive to one particular denomination. Certainly food for thought.

Inspire said...

You may want to take a good look at Moroni 6. Notice that no one was baptized until they showed fruit worthy of receiving it. This included those who were already teachers and priests. Once they were cleansed by the Holy Ghost (not just admonished to "receive" it) then they became part of the Church of Christ. (As an aside, I think this is the thing that made them "white").

Also notice that Moroni said it was an abomination to have little children (not infants) baptized. This is because they are already alive in Christ. All these things lead me to believe that our tradition of baptism is far removed from how the righteous Nephites thought of it.

Steven Lester said...

I've been baptized five times so far. In order, by the Presbyterians, then the Methodists, then by a Evangelic group or commune of God, then by the Catholics, and finally by the Mormons. When I leave the Church and go back to the Catholics some day or other, I'll have to be re-baptized by them again in order to start over. Surely, one of those baptisms should take during the Rapture, I would hope.

LDSDPer said...

Thanks, Rock; we're looking forward to reading today. :)

I like reading these comments about baptism; my grandmother who was born in the 1880s was baptized several times; she also received more than one patriarchal blessing--

Steven, do you have any idea how refreshing your comments sometimes are?

In case you don't, thanks.

JRSG in Arizona said...

I know this is off topic. When I read Unworthy's story, I became soooo angry. There are too many stories such as that one.
It pi**es me off that the SLC leaders do not have some sort of uniform policy church wide for those who need help, regardless of status in church. There should be a Handbook (they have a handbook for everything else!) for Bishop's to follow when it comes to helping members. The help should be the same for everyone whether or not the Bishop agrees with it or does not like it.

(Now there are people who do use the church, but the leaders know who those people are. And if someone goes to the Bishop, inactive or active, and has never asked for help, by golly they should get it. Then the Bishop can see who is sincere and who is using the church. The majority of the members are sincere and do not abuse the situation. Everyone should get a chance to prove themselves)

It should not be left to individual
Bishops of each ward, because as we all know, a lot of Bishops abuse their authority - they have a big ego because of their position. When I lived in Phoenix we were denied help, even though we did everything "right". That was a nightmare ward, and when we had a family tragedy we were left on our own. During my mission I dealt with hard nose Bishop's when trying to get members help (and my Mission Pres. was not so great).

This is another thing we should "agitate" for change - uniformity and consistency for church help for members who ask for it.

Oh there is so much that needs to change. Wow.

The ward I was in before we split last year was another nightmare. So much bad happened to us in that ward. The ones who always got help were the friends and family of the leaders. It was "who you knew" and not your need. One group of individuals ran the ward like a high school club. These people just rotated leadership positions. The Bishop's brother-in-law was the Stake Pres. Yeah. We went to the SP about a problem and were quickly shown the door. That ward was a joke, and so was the Stake Presidency.

Unworthy, so sorry that you had to go through that horrible experience. Been there.
Off my soap box. Thank you. Great article as usual. I am totally changing how I pay tithing. Oh, did anyone know that in Philadelphia the church built high rise condo's and retail space?

JRSG in Arizona

Anonymous said...

Inspire,
Moroni 6 was very interesting. I have never met an 8 year old capable of those qualifications.

Rock,
I am going to go back and read
"Over-Ruling Jesus".

Anyone willing to comment on how we came up with the 8 year old age for baptism? Yes, I know its in the D and C. I am beginning to wonder. We are told in the book of mormon that little children should not be baptised, that it is an abomination. As a mother of "older" children I would view 8 years old as a little child. Is Moroni 8 talking to us as a church?
Also my kids were watching a bible cartoon and it was stated"Jesus tells his followers to give to the poor and not the temple." I said "what..what did they say? rewind it.". Did the jews then tithe to their temple or synogogue and Jesus telling his followers to give to the poor was disobeying that law?

Alot of questions, I know, but any takers?
Homeschool Mom

LDSDPer said...

@homeschool mom,

we had several special needs children who didn't know anything about anything when they were eight, except that they loved Jesus.

We hesitated to have them baptized; one of them, perhaps, never should have been, because of his/her cognitive challenges. But they desired this so much that we couldn't hold them back. I don't know for sure what a 'little child' is, and I have struggled with this myself for years, when reading what Mormon and Moroni have to say.
But I do know that at least one child who didn't understand became very 'old' in spirit upon entering the water, and that baptism mattered a lot. I saw a transformation take place, for a short time, as the old spirit understood.

At that point I decided not to worry about it; they wanted to be baptized, so what could I say or do?

As for those who didn't get help when they needed it. We never asked for help when we found ourselves in a huge crisis. We struggled to take care of ourselves under very difficult circumstances; eventually, someone in the ward offered to rent out her home to us temporarily, so we could get out of a temporary housing situation that was costing us too much (and we were almost out of money; so close to being on the street)--

and we paid for that place; there were those in the ward who thought we were getting it gratis (we were paying more for it monthly than our later mortgage in our "own" home would be)--

and complained that we were taking advantage. We certainly were not, and it hurt us a lot to think that we were seen as 'leeches' when we hadn't even asked for any help. We would have rather starved, I am afraid, than ask for help--

and later when we found ourselves in another difficult situation we were very careful not to tell anyone; few things are worse than be labelled as a 'taker' when you aren't taking.

I hope I never have to ask for help, because that experience taught me (and mine) not to ask for any help--

even if you don't, if you somehow don't appear to be as wealthy as *they* want you to be--

you can get labelled in a hurtful way.

Our special needs family members never were aware of this, but there were those who felt it.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I'm inclined to believe that children shouldn't be baptized BEFORE the age of eight, but that they shouldn't be pushed, led, or encouraged into it as we do these days as a rite of passage.

In the case of LDSDPer's children, at that age, they apparently expressed the desire, so I think it's entirely appropriate. Where I think we go wrong these days where we make it an automatic expectation when a child turns eight. A person should be baptized when they feel the desire, not because they turn a certain age. Most of us aren't ready until our teens.

Anonymous said...

LDSDPer,
I remember well the clean good feeling I had after baptism and each of my children experienced it,too, but I did NOT experience what the book of mormon describes as the result of baptism. I just wonder if baptism has become so routine that we no longer expect a baptism by fire or speaking with the tongues of angels. Why does that seem to not be available to us as a church?
Homeschool Mom

Toni said...

JRSG, it sounds like you live in Snowflake. That is the only area I know of that acts that way from what I have heard.

I was baptized at 8 and received the Holy Ghost immediately upon coming up out of the water. Unfortunately, I had been taught that that could not happen until men put hands on my head. Consequently, I expected a similar experience on Sunday when I was confirmed. When it did not happen I thought I had sinned but didn't know what I had done.

My point is that 8 is not automatically too youg to understand if they have been taught correctly.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Homeschool Mom,
The baptism of fire does not usually arrive at the same time as baptism of water. It has to be sought for,and since the Church today de-emphasizes the Baptism of Fire, most don't seek for it, and consequetnly never receive it. I didn't experience it until February 2007, mainly because I had been taught that the baptism of fire comes as a still, small voice (it doesn't. It's HUGE and unmistakeable).

The words spoken at your confirmation are an invitation to "receive the Holy Ghost." That ritual does not bestow the Holy Ghost upon you at that time; it is an invitation for you to seek and receive it.

For some people it is a real struggle to get there, like what Enos went through; for others, it comes when it comes, in it's own time.

Here is a blog chock full of testimonies from those members who have experienced it, most like me, later in life:

http://justandtrue.com/?p=315

WeCanDoBetter said...

Tithing is something that has been weighing heavily on my mind. I don't mind, in fact I loved paying tithing when I actually felt it was being used to build the kingdom. Sadly the church I grew up in seems to have changed. I was flabbergasted when found out how little the church actually spends in humanitarian efforts (740 million form 1984-2006) yet it spent around 3 billion on a mall!!!!! The other thing that really bothers me is how aggressive the church has become about tithing. They don't ask you in your temple recommend interview if you: help the sick and the afflicted, morn for those in morning, clothe the naked, feed the hungry but, God forbid you don't pay an "honest" tithe!
My bishop this year literally flagged me down in front of everyone right after sacrament, within earshot of others and asked if I was a full tithe payer (I missed the guilt riddled tithing settlement due to work), I told him I was. He proceeded to doubt me as he had no record of my payments. I had to remind him for the third year in a row that I pay directly to the Corporation (my best friend is a clerk and I feel uncomfortable with him knowing what I pay (read how much I make) so I pay directly to the church). Trust me it was uncomfortable discussing private matters within earshot of everyone else in the ward!
We are taught in church and by our leaders to follow Christ’s example. Christ taught about the Kingdom of God more than any other topic. In fact I think Christ even looked down on the way we are paying tithing today:
Luke 21:1-4 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. (I read this as– Wow to you, Prophets and Apostles of my church, for you tithe on the Gross Income…)
Tithing is clearly not one of the “weightier matters” to Christ! It is only what’s important to the church, excuse me I mean the Corporation of the church.
Now that the “eyes of my understanding” have been opened, I see how much the Corporation is using scare tactics (burn if you don’t pay), guilt (robbing God), and even cleaver marketing tactics. Check out the plastic savings banks at Desert Books. The ones with three sections for saving money, “Fun”, “Tithing”, and “Mission.” Notice that the 10% for tithing partition is always larger than the one Fun and even for Mission. Tell me that isn’t brain washing and deliberate.
I am going back to paying tithing the way Christ wanted as described in 2 Corinthians 9:7
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
I am going to pay what I feel like I can with the majority of my tithing going to humanitarian agencies, local shelters, hospitals, and a small amount the Corporation of the Church!

Anonymous said...

@ Toni: No I do not live in Snowflake. I wish I did live in a cooler area of the state. I married a native 5th generation Arizonan, and 5th generation LDS. My husband promised me we would go where I want to live after his parents passed. We moved to my husband's hometown to care for his parents. Now we are stuck..
I know there are wards all over the U.S. that are like what I have experienced. I spout off because I get frustrated at members and leaders behaviors, and those same people taking the Gospel for granted. It pains me to read or hear about what Unworthy went through because of my bad experiences.
My parents converted. I am a southerner and I married a Yankee. Ha ha.
I am in southeastern Arizona.
There are some good people here, LDS and non LDS alike, but my experience with the church members here (and Phoenix) has not been very positive overall. And non LDS here do not like Mormons for the most part. There are good and bad people in every religion, culture, race, and socio-economic standing. I grew up in a small town where I was a minority because of my religion and skin color, so I grew up not taking the church for granted like what happens when Mormons are the majority.
I have heard the same about Snowflake. It could be worse and I realize that. I AM thankful for my blessings.

I have rarely heard about Baptism by Fire. Thanks for the link to justand true. I want to work on that because I would love to have that experience.
Thank you. JRSG in Arizona

Jeremy said...

I tried to post this comment on the Dec 2012 article on tithing but it didn't seem to show up so I'll post it here. It may get more responses on a newer post anyway.

First, I want to thank Rock and others like him who are proclaiming truth and helping many to "awake to a sense of [our] awful situation". I have been reading Rock's blog and others like it (and the BOM) voraciously for the last couple of months and am finally waking up to the reality of the Church's situation. It is incredibly liberating and hopeful to rely "wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save" rather than on well-meaning but flawed men.

On that note, while I agree with the spirit of this article and am convinced that tithing was not intended to be assessed on all that we earn or possess, there are still a couple of points in D&C 119 that I am having a hard time reconciling and I am hoping others can contribute their thoughts.

Verse 4 - "And after that, those who have thus been tithed [meaning those who have given all their surplus as directed in verse 1] 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."

This verse seems to say that only those who initially give all of their surplus are then required to give one-tenth of their interest annually. Also the "standing law" portion says it is "for my holy priesthood." Does that indicate the purpose of that portion is only for the priesthood and not for the other purposes listed in verse 2 or does that phrase have some other meaning?

Verse 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."

This verse seems to say that only those who gather to Zion are required to give all their surplus and then observe "this law" (I read that to mean the "standing law" of giving one-tenth of annual interest). And if you don't do so you can't be part of Zion. That almost appears to exempt anyone from paying anything since we are not gathering to Zion.

Reading those two verses in that way appears to make the law of tithing conditional on the establishment of Zion. I'm not trying excuse myself from paying anything. I am perfectly willing to give one-tenth of my surplus to the Church (even if there is much corruption I still feel that the institution is serving a purpose, if only to disseminate the BOM) and then give liberally directly to the needy, I just wonder if the whole discussion of whether tithing is assessed on gross earnings or surplus is irrelevant given that Zion is not established and we have ceased to gather.

Verse 7 then says that "this shall be an ensample unto all the stakes of Zion." The question then becomes what is the true intended structure and function of a "stake" and are we following that today. Are our stakes truly "stakes of Zion"? If so, then Section 119 applies. If not, then it appears that it may not.

LDSDPer said...

I've posted this on the other "Bare Necessities . . ." and on one of the Cultural Mormon blog sites--

anyone else having any interesting experiences reading Daymon Smith's book?

My husband and I find it difficult to put 'it' down--

since it's on the computer there's nothing to set down, but--

it makes so many things so much more clear, I think.

Maybe it's a personal thing, like reading the Book of Mormon or what you decide to do about tithing or the temple, etc.

But if you have had some interesting insights, anyone, are you willing to share?

I'm not a scholar.

Sometimes, I admit, my husband and I have to read a sentence over again. LOL!

Sometimes he gets something I don't get, and sometimes I get something he doesn't get, but we are coming away feeling quite enlightened.

BryanJensen said...

This is a decent exposition. Mormonism isn't the first movement exploiting the term "tithing" to its benefit.

Yet insofar as it (or any Christ-oriented movement) wants to argue for "tithing" as a meaningful Christian practice from texts like Malachi then it needs to account for why it doesn't observe the Shemittah cycle of the Old Testament e.g., if "tithing" were to be paid by Mormons then they should follow the tri-yearly cycle where tithes were kept to pay for one's family's feast observances, other years directly donated for local Levites (those without an land of inheritance of their own), others years freewill giving for the widows and poor. And then a forgiveness of debt every seven years.

Only a tenth of a tenth should actually be kept for the church proper (the Kohenim or Aaronic priests), if one were to argue for a corporate priestly view as the LDS church does. It is to such "priests" who abuse such giving that texts like Malachi were written.

Robin Hood said...

I've just written a long post and the whole thing has disappeared into the ether. Aaarrgh!
I would like to pick up on something Rock and others said earlier in this comments exchange.
It was claimed that the church is out of order/apostate/wicked/ (take your pick) because it is officially registered as the "Corporation of The President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". The words "straws" and "clutching" come to mind.
The scripture says "how be it my church save it be called after my name". It doesn't say "...NAMED after my name". There is a difference. Irrespective of the official registered name, we are CALLED after his name. We are called by everyone The Church of Jesus Christ..... When I was a young missionary I always introduced the church by it's called name, not it's registered name. So I believe Rock's (et al) argument to be faulty.
Further, the church is actually the ecclesia or congregation of believers, i.e. the people and not the organisation. Indeed Rock argued this point very well in a post on his blog some months ago. Therefore, surely it is what the people call themselves that is important, and not the registered name of a legal corporate entity. Therefore, for these two reasons alone I think the argument is flawed.

Robin Hood said...

I have another point to make.
It never ceases to amaze me what some people are prepared to believe. Some have stated on here that the LDS Church is the great and abominable church spoken of in the Book of Mormon. I find this an astounding claim given what the scriptures actually say. I challenge anyone to read the whole section of relevant scripture in context and then successfully argue this point. The LDS Church just does not fit the description. Irrespective of how much you may want it to, it just doesn't! It's square pegs and round holes I'm afraid.

ponderous said...

@Robin Hood

I think there is a little more to the argument for the (corporate) "church's" apostate condition then the name the corporation chose to be know as, How about the fact that it behaves like a for profit corporation?..

I don't think an organization lead by Jesus Christ, would be donating less then 1% to those in need while building extravagant luxury SHOPPING MALLS!

I think you are in a terrible sleep. But remember, It is by your choice. You are exercising your agency. Those who outsource the responsibility for their own salvation, are not free to think for themselves and should not be counted among intelligent beings.




Inspire said...

Robin Hood,
You're right about the name being insignificant in the regard you explained. However, the Lord says,

"But if it be not built upon my gospel, and is built upon the works of men, or upon the works of the devil, verily I say unto you they have joy in their works for a season, and by and by the end cometh, and they are hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence there is no return. For their works do follow them, for it is because of their works that they are hewn down..."

So we need only look at the fruits. You may think it is straw-grasping to point out what those fruits are, but to some people it is an indication of what the church is built on. I can say, "That is an orange tree!" all I want, but if people are pulling off apples from it, then it just goes to show that I am delusional and can't see what is right in front of my face.

Inspire said...

(continued)
But the fact is that the church is a Sole Corporation, which is an organization established by and for the state. It is performing exactly how it was set up to.

I don't believe the church is "out of order/apostate/wicked." In fact it is in perfect order, bearing fruit after it's kind.

In regards to LDS being the G&A Church... I wouldn't say it is THE great and abominable church, but probably a branch of it. If you read 2 Ne 28 you'll notice that the G&A Church pretty much covers the whole earth, for they have "all" gone astray except for a few individuals, and even they stumble because they are taught faulty precepts.

I've read the parts about the G&A Church "in context" dozens of times, so I accept your challenge if you would like to go through it. (I'm not sure what format that would take). Of course I have no interest in bashing or contending about it, but the insinuation that people who read Nephi's vision "in context" have to come to the same conclusions you do is unfounded.

Robin Hood said...

I would just like to pick up on this criticism, often repeated on here, that the church only donates 1% of it's income to the poor and needy.
My question is, why should it donate any? When I donate to the church (meaning the organisation) I want them to have it. When I want the poor and needy to have my money I give it to them. Why do we think the Church should be making those decisions for us? Frankly, the criticism is a load of old claptrap as far as I'm concerned. Does Oxfam or Save the Children donate to a church? No, of course not; it would be a scandal if they did. So why should a church, which has received donations from it's members for the express purpose of running the church, building temples, sending out missionaries etc divert that money to other things?
I just cannot understand this criticism.

Robin Hood said...

Inspire,
OK I'm game.
How shall we proceed?

Robin Hood said...

Inspire,
Having thought about it, I'll start.
1 Nephi 13 introduces the idea of the G&A church. This is part of Nephi's apocolyptic vision which shares some similarity with John the Revelator's, though tends to see things very much from a Lehite viewpoint.

In v4 we see that this entity is described as a "great" church. "Great" of course, means "large". In fact, it could be read that the church was large when it was founded. There is no mention of it growing or expanding at this stage. It is just described as large. This would be consistent with a wholesale overthrow and takeover of a pre-existing Christian church.

Incidently, we see in v10 that Nephi's brethren were seperated from the Gentiles (amongst whom the G&A church was established - see v4) and their great church by the ocean. Therefore, placing the establishment of the G&A church before the discovery of the New World by Europeans.

Today, the LDS church numbers around 15 million members. There are 23 larger churches in the world if we just measure by broad generic definitions such as Anglican, Baptist etc. If we break those down further - Church of England, Church of Nigeria, Southern Baptist Convention etc - the LDS Church falls further down the list. This hardly qualifies as great, and that's before we look at the numbers. Churches that are larger than us are MUCH larger!

So, according to v4 it seems that the G&A church is very large. The LDS Church is not and never has been. Therefore I submit that the idea that the LDS Church is this great church runs into difficulty at this stage, and we're only in verse 4!

I propose that we go through this relevant verse by relevant verse. I would invite your (and anyone elses) comments on my observations and then when we're done with that we'll move on to the next.

ponderous said...

@RH
If you will look at the tithe slip, It allows you to allocate where you would like donations to be used. However, If you read the legal disclaimer it states that the church will still do whatever it likes with it.

I doubt VERY much, that people are only allocating .07% for fast offerings/humanitarian aid. I know I sure payed more.

I believe (sorry, no source)I have even read that any tithes left after what was needed to maintain church expenses, Were then supposed to be put toward supporting those in need. Which would make sense considering it was originally offered as FOOD.

And I do not consider lending out tithe for the building of shopping malls to be appropriate use of funds that were given to the Lord out of personal sacrifice.

I guess if someone see's nothing wrong with it and wants to defend that behavior they are free to.

If you are convinced that the church is "true" and not capable of misusing funds, There's nothing I or anyone can say to persuade you.

It saddens me that people are not familiar with the teachings of Christ, and do not understand his priorities and what he might do differently. I guess some are more familiar with the "church's" explanations and rationalizing then with the teachings of our Savior. But then,I guess you only know the master you serve.

If you have not charity you are nothing. I consider .07% awfully close to nothing.

If the members of this church are only allocating .07% to charity, then that is an embarrassment and I highly doubt that we still a chosen people. If they are allocating more, then the church is throwing our money inappropriately towards investments while people go hungry. Take your pick.

Anonymous said...

Just a quick comment (and I'm looking forward to your discussion!) but great does not have to specify numbers of followers. It can also denote influence, wealth, political power, amount of commercials, etc. Limiting the definition of great to size alone really diminishes the argument. For example, Alexander the Great was not more than one man, or a corpulent one if memory serves.

-h

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Hi, Robin Hood, Great to hear from you again!

Since you referred to my argument regarding the church as faulty, I thought I'd clarify my position. I'm very much in agreement with you.

The church of Jesus Christ is unchanging. This is the church most members believe they belong to, and indeed DO belong to. It embraces the definition given in D&C 10:67 wherein Jesus identified His church as all who repent and come unto Him. It would appear that we formally become members of that church upon baptism, though baptism has little to do with any "church." It is a requirement for any wishing to eventually enter the Kingdom of God, which is not a "church."

I think we became affiliated with the corporation upon confirmation.

The reason I think so is that when I confirmed my son a member of the church of Jesus Christ, I was later corrected by the bishop for not using the full name of the Church. I shrugged and said, "Doesn't really matter, does it?" He guessed it didn't, and that was the end of it.

To this day, that boy, now grown, is a member of the church of Jesus Christ, but has never, to my knowledge, become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Inc. He's quite satisfied with his status.

Most members of this church are not even aware that the Structure of the Church that claims to hold the trademark "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" has changed since its founding in 1830.
(David Whitmer correctly observed that the church of Christ existed at least two years prior to Joseph Smith registering it in New York as a common law entity. The church of God does not rely on either permission or confirmation from the state for its existence.)

Whatever the church's legal standing in 1830 was, after Brigham Young took over, he felt it necessary to change its status to a corporation in 1851 under the laws of the U.S Territories.

That corporation was dissolved in 1890. In 1923 Heber Grant sought permission from the government to incorporate as a Corporation Sole, with himself as the only member. That is the way the institutional Church has been structured ever since, but the corporation sole did not replace the church of Jesus Christ. That church continues to operate in the hearts of the members.

The major difference, as far as I can tell, is that in Joseph Smith's day, whenever someone referred to "the church," they were referring to the members as a whole. Today when someone refers to "the Church," they are often referring to the leadership at Salt Lake.

I recently had a conversation with my bishop, and in that conversation I referred to the corporate Church. He told me he found my labeling the Church a corporation highly offensive to him, and declared that the church was organized by Joseph Smith in 1830 and has never changed.

He is correct, of course. That church has never changed. But the structure of the organization at the top has changed several times. That entity is literally the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that is the Church my bishop tried to persuade me had claim on my loyalty.

I disagree. My loyalty is to Jesus Christ and his gospel. I love HIS church and treasure my membership in it. No man has the power to alter my membership in HIS church, nor require me to genuflect to the corporation in order to retain that membership.

Inspire said...

Robin Hood,

So as not to clutter Rock's blog I propose we set up another dedicated blog to go through Nephi's vision and other references in the Book of Mormon to the G&A Church. That way it will also be a little easier to follow. Let me know if you'd like to do that and I can set it up. Perhaps each "post" can simply be a set of verses. We can make our statements about them and when both ready, we can move on. Of course others are welcome to participate in the discussion and add their two cents in the comments.

If this works for you, let me know and I'll set it up and provide the link to the blog.

LDSDPer said...

@Rock,

Here I am, asking for the next segment of Smith's book.

Like clockwork.

This is for the last week of February, so I am a few days behind.

Thanks.

me said...

http://daymonsmith.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/bomch1_projectsouth.pdf

me said...

Thanks " me".
There's now two of us?
I'll use another name if you wanna go with that one. ;)

LDSDPer said...

Thanks, me.

:)

LDSDPer said...

Hi Robin,

About the LDS church (probably centering on the corporate entity) and its qualification for Great and Abominable church:

I don't see it in as 'black and white' terms as most do, and I think I stated that, while there may be aspects of the church that come under the 'great and abominable' heading, I don't think the LDS church IS the G&A church.

When I was very young and innocent and very teachable I had an institute teacher (we're talking 45 years ago at least)--

who did a diagram on the board. He drew circles.

He drew a circle for the church and a circle for all the other churches, and where they intersected, he said, "that is the Kingdom of God; everything else is not; you can consider that to be whatever you believe it might mean"--

For *me*, it was profound. The idea that I wasn't safe inside some amazing and wonderful net of perfection really blew me away, but it also was very liberating, because I was already seeing fruit that wasn't good withIN the LDS church--

I haven't forgotten that, and that is how I see it now.

I have met Catholics and Bhuddists and Hindus and Muslims who are what I would call true followers of Christ, even if they don't know they are!!! LOL!

I have even met a few LDS who are, and I TRY very hard to be.

But to stick a label on something/anything and say, "anything under this label is good, safe, right, true, the way to go"--

is, well, naive.

I see the church, the LDS church or really any church, as being a vehicle.

Somewhere in the Book of Mormon a teacher/prophet scolds someone/the reader for thinking that God does NOT reach out to His children in other parts of the world, that God focuses on only one group.
I can't think of the scripture; if someone can, please help. :)

In other words, Father in Heaven is not happy with any people thinking of themselves as 'chosen', other than, perhaps, to serve more. If that.

He wants *us* to remember that He loves all His children. And will give them the light and truth for which they are prepared. And that He has done that, and we may not even know about it.

With all its warts (and there are warts, and they exist in every organization, every religion) the LDS church is 'special', because it has the Book of Mormon.

That should, honestly, be enough. What an amazing blessing. The fact that many, possibly even most, LDS don't take it seriously is sad, at best.

TBC

LDSDPer said...

continued to Robin or anyone:

I believe the G&A church is the concept and practice of corporatism; I believe it consists almost entirely of corporations, and I don't think anyone is free of them.

I believe the book of Ether is to show us that righteous kings (church leaders/apostles) often lead from captivity. I believe that in the process of incorporating, the church went into bondage to the G&A, and every other church and all other institutions and governments and economic entities are equally (or more) as trapped. Part of being in Babylon, being in this telestial world. I believe it was an ultimatum the then church leaders received from “Babylon” (“hello, LDS church, we want you and your money; if you want not to be destroyed, incorporate. Have fun being our slaves; we will be good to you and let you send your kids on missions, etc.—and let you have your buildings, etc., if you do as we require in this.”) I believe that has happened to every church in the world, every religion in the world; there is no religion that is not free of Babylon, and there is certainly no government or any other institution; there is no culture free of it, though some might be a little less controlled. Satan IS the god of this world, remember.

Not acknowledging that is naive (i.e. unwise) and makes *us* more vulnerable to being 'all or nothing' or--

"well, now that I know the church isn't perfect, I can go off on a huge sinning tangent and live for today" kind of thinking that too many LDS I know tend to have.

They only want to be good, because the church is good and tells them to be good, and if they find something about it that doesn't feel right, they crash--
and burn.

The Book of Mormon and its truths try to prevent that in any person who will read and pray and apply.

Do I believe the 12 and the First Presidency are evil men? Absolutely not; they are probably, mostly, pretty nice, old guys who have lived exemplary lives. Though I do believe they are all products of their own cultures and probably find it hard (mostly) to see outside the walls of their own worlds.

But they are in bondage. And so are you. So am I.

Realizing, however, that *we* are in bondage is one step towards needing the Savior.

And the Book of Mormon does a better job of teaching about Him and leading to Him than any other book. How BLESSED *we* LDS are to have that--

Having said that, however, it is my responsibility, not the responsibility of one of the apostles (or all) to learn the truth and follow the Spirit and get back to my Father in Heaven. I cannot hold those men accountable for my beliefs and my relationship with God. When I do, I am in peril, and I'm not helping them at all.

LDSDPer said...

Rock,

I'm sorry your bishop feels he has to stand between you and the church and be 'offended' by your obviously different understanding.

:(

I have found the tendency to 'defend' to be really active among LDS (and most Christians, especially protestants)--

the idea that God and truth somehow needs to be defended. I do believe that truth needs to be spread around and told and spread, but it never needs to be defended; if it did, it wouldn't be truth, but I know a LOT of LDS who would be up in arm (ha, get it!?) if I said that to them.

"We MUST defend truth; we are the truth defenders, and since the church is true, we will defend it."

Interestingly, in the Book of Mormon there is nothing said about defending God or truth, just in being a witness for God and in serving other humans.

It's kind of sad when a person who has been around a lot of church blocks knows almost exactly the look in the eyes of someone like your bishop, who pulls himself up and gets ready to pull his sword out to defend 'the truth'--

by being offended by beliefs he has not yet encountered.

The belief that God is REALLY in charge and that it is HIS church, for example (but probably not His corporation, even if He could squish it at any time). How novel!!!

LDSDPer said...

so many typos:

"up in arms"

also, it is a sure sign of hubris when humans think they have to defend God.

Interesting that the scriptures (all of them) tell us to 'follow' Jesus, not to defend Him.

It's all so militant, but since most Christians are militant, it's hard for us/them to see when it is happening (the militance)

It's very easily seen in the Book of Mormon, which is why we European extraction warmongers (some of us reformed) need the Book of Mormon so much.



Inspire said...

Robin Hood (and anyone else),
I have put together a blog where we can continue our discussion about the G&A Church. I started with an introduction which explains my understanding of "in context" and then I continue with a response to what you said about the Great and Abominable Church. You, and everyone else are welcome to send input and ideas if you have them. My intention is to try to take a look at what the B of M says without all the outside influence (which Daymon Smith would call "metatext.") It is a work in progress, no doubt, but hopefully a place people can come and participate in getting to the bottom of this thing we call the Book of Mormon.

Inspire said...

Oops, forgot to include the link. It's
http://bookofmormonreadings.blogspot.com/

Kevin said...

You attract strong, thoughtful souls to these conversations, Rock. Come for the blog, stay for the comments!

Ryan said...

It looks like JS under stood tithing the same way too.

Here you from TPJS p. 70...

"If the Lord will prosper us in our business and open the way before us that we may obtain means to pay our debts, that we be not troubled nor brought into disrepute before the world, nor His people; AFTER THAT, of all that He shall give unto us, we will give a tenth to be bestowed upon the poor in His Church, or as He shall command." (Caps are mine).

Another witness that tithing is after expenses.

ponderous said...

"...to be bestowed upon THE POOR in His Church"...

engaged19times said...

Ok I read ur thing about Jesus being married. I totally believe this. Now, will someone please tell me who/where His descendants are? What doe sthis have to do with the New World order/Illuminati stuff ppl talk about all over the internet nowadays? Please be direct. I am sick of cryptic answers. If I want blurry answers I can read the BofM.

Steven Lester said...

Well, there are theories that His descendents are ruling England at the moment, which is why they claim to have the stone Jacob used as a pillow and then part of an alter, located under the official throne seat. It's right there, for everybody to see, when invited.

But, whoever said that He had kids, anyway. He was married. We know this for sure because you couldn't become a rabbi unless you were, and it makes sense that the Mary who was the first person to see him when He came out of the tomb, was His wife, also the Mary who washed his feet, which is part of the second endowment as well. I could go on and on, but I won't.

Robin Hood said...

LDSDPer,
Although your point about the G&A church being "corporatism" appears attractive, it does not concur with scripture. The G&A church is described as a church which forgives sins in exchange for money. Both the LDS Church and Corporatism share one thing in common - neither of them do this. However, such behaviour was certainly true of the Roman Catholic church.
Just for the record, I hold to the traditional view that the G&A church spoken of by Nephi is the Roman Catholic Church, probably including it's immediate offspring.
From the BoM it is very clear it is not the LDS Church.

LDSDPer said...

@Robin Hood--

Those who make money from corporations and who benefit most from corporations are those whose money means much more than their character. IF a person has money, he/she can buy whatever he/she wants. Forgiving sins? In a worldly sense, what could be more forgiving than an establishment/institution that will wink at wrongdoing, if you have the money to give them?

I know that you are aware of this, and I wouldn't bring it up if U.S. politicians hadn't been just as culpable (or worse), but when a number of prominent British men/women (including members of parliament and leaders of industry) were involved in child trafficking (and yes, it happened here and could be traced right to the White House)--

why did those men and women not get 'caught'? In spite of the brave men and women (mostly women) who tried to expose them?

Because they had money. Sins forgiven.

I hope you get my point this time around.

:)

As for the Catholic church, I do not doubt its intense culpability. But some of the most righteous people I know are Catholics. I've even known a nun/priest or two who could qualify for true righteousness. :)

LDSDPer said...

oh, and, yes, governments are corporations--

Surely you know about that, being British.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_London_Corporation

Sorry to descend to wikipedia, but I don't have time for a more exhaustive explanation.

Also, I think if *we* acknowledge that Babylon (corporations mostly, including governments and religions) is just another word for the Great and Abominable Church--

or is attached to it permanently--

and *we* ask ourselves what a Zion community or world would be like, we have to acknowledge that Zion really could not exist within Babylon or corporations.

There would always be compromise.

Which is why Babylon must fall. It must. Somehow Enoch got Babylon out of his city--

The Book of Mormon doesn't talk about Enoch and rightly so; at one point the descendants of Lehi managed to live Zion. They didn't need to talk about Enoch. But the fact corporations conspire and use secret combinations all the time--

so all those tools are not unfamiliar to the culture of the Book of Mormon as well.

I just hope you can understand what I am saying.

The G&A church/Babylon are like a huge net that encompasses the world--

LDSDPer said...

and--

sorry--

*meep*

I think the Vatican holds up a LARGE part of that net!!!

So, while I agree with you, you're being too exclusive. :)

As you know, as well, the Vatican is its own country--



LDSDPer said...

@Robin--

sorry I'm being so wordy here--

I have a real feeling of connection with Britain--

and I wonder if you have heard of this man:

http://robinkoerner.com/

I'm not saying that I will agree with everything he says, but some of his ideas are similar to some of mine, politically--

and, since he is British, you might find his explanations easier than mine.

Thanks for your patience; thanks for answering me.

Someday I'm going to visit that beautiful country of yours. (And Ireland and Scotland and Walels)--

I have ancestors from every corner of it--

:)

engaged19times said...

Steven Lester, Thanks for the response. I guess if there is a marriage offsprings are implied. If He was really experiencing mortality, I have to assume offspring. I saw a video on utube Prince William is the clone of Jesus. Is Jesus actually Satan and God wrapped up.in one? Is that why He appears and causes some to shrink from His presence while others are able to stand in His presence? These are my most burning questions as a mormon that i cant exactly ask in normal mormon company.

BK said...

engaged,

I also firmly believe Jesus was married, and to Mary who of course would have been the 1st to see him after his resurrection, for no one comes before his wife. I do not believe he was married to any other woman for Christ condemned all polygamy and whoredoms and such abuses of women, as I believe all true prophets did also.

And since he could have been married for 10 years or more before he started his ministry, I believe he almost surely had children, probably many and it seems they would have been 1/4 God and their children 1/8th God, and so on.

So his line would have greater attributes then normal people. Where and who they are is another question, that probably won't be answered until Christ returns.

Ponderous said...

Just re-read this one:
http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2013/06/of-alms-and-offerings.html

It, and the comments that followed make things o clear. Maybe we could do a seperate blog sometime on Christ being married, as I'm not sure how this ties in with tithes.

David Fife said...

Remeber, the reason you try to silence or discredit someone is not because they tell lies, but rather they say things that are true. If/when they say silly things, their own words are used against them, as they should. But when they speak truth, there is nothing that can be used against them---except force.

Also, lets not forget that truth hurts, it hurts even worse when its funny! They become a joke and are distained, all in one punchline.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Engaged19Times,
One of the things I found silly about The DaVinci Code (after finding much else about it to my liking) was the big reveal at the end that this one young girl was the sole descendant of Jesus.

Of course, Jesus would have hundreds of thousands of Descendants, maybe even millions, not just one. I can't even tell you how many offspring have resulted from Charles Law, the first Mormon in my family, who crossed the plains from England, but they're surely in the thousands.

I don't want to go way off topic here, but you seem to be seeking a basic summary of what we know about Jesus's offspring, so here goes:

We don't really "know" anything, but it is rumored that Joseph of Arimathea hustled Jesus's wife and children off to the British Isles, which was a remote Roman outpost, after his death and resurrection. As Steven Lester pointed out, apparently some of the earliest claims to English royalty were the result of the divine right of his descendants to rule. So way back in the mists of time two or three hundred years A.D. when I think it was the first English cyingyings, (which was the early name for kings back when a cyingying was king of little more than a village consisting of a few mud huts) started laying claim to the right to rule his other mud hutters.

Whatever you think about that, these generations of royal families were too corrupt to actually stand in for the true king, having blown it through corruption, so whatever "right" they have to kingship over others is nonexistent. Except in their own minds.

Aside from whether kings and queens think they can trace their lines back to Christ, there still would have been loads and loads of common people also who have the blood of Christ in them, and many of them emigrated to America, so it's kind of fun to wonder if maybe you or I might be actual descendants of the true King.

Anyway, it's all speculation, and as the saying goes, none of this is pertinent to our salvation, so whatcha gonna do, right?

Robin Hood said...

LDSDPer,
I think you make a really good point about corporations winking at wrongdoing. And I can see what you mean about that being forgiveness of sins in exchange for money. I had never looked at it that way before and I think you may be on to something. That is real food for thought. Thank you.
I'm check out that website. I can't say as I've heard of him but I'll certainly check it out.
If you do make it across the pond, be sure and let me know you're coming mate.

LDSDPer said...

What does Jesus' being married or not have to do with tithing? LOL!

(just couldn't resist)

I have heard all of the arguments about Jesus being required to be married, or He couldn't have stood and read in the synagogue.

I haven't read DaVinci.

Well, this is JUST my opinion--

I don't think He was married. Why?

Because of how He was treated when He stood to read in the synogogue. He was seen as a usurper.

Yes, I know that He didn't begin His mission until He was 30, so what did He do all those years, if He wasn't raising a family?

I know all the arguments; I have had them aimed at me for years. LOL!

What did He do for 30 years. He was unique and different and went against every grain--

and was a carpenter. He was despised; could it be, in part, because He wasn't married? How DARE He?

I have no doubt that there were women who adored Him; they didn't have to be wives (and, I agree with BK, I don't think Jesus condoned polygamy either; I don't think He condoned much of anything in His culture of birth)--

if they were righteous women, they were drawn to Him, just as righteous men were--

But THIS is the main reason I don't believe Jesus was married, and nobody takes me seriously, so I am prepared not to be taken seriously again--

but this verse from the Book of Mormon tells me He wasn't married:

10 And now I say unto you, who shall declare his ageneration? Behold, I say unto you, that when his soul has been made an offering for bsin he shall see his cseed. And now what say ye? And who shall be his seed?

11 Behold I say unto you, that whosoever has heard the words of the aprophets, yea, all the holy prophets who have prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord—I say unto you, that all those who have hearkened unto their words, and believed that the Lord would redeem his people, and have looked forward to that day for a remission of their sins, I say unto you, that these are his seed, or they are the heirs of the bkingdom of God.

12 For these are they whose sins ahe has borne; these are they for whom he has died, to redeem them from their transgressions. And now, are they not his seed?

13 Yea, and are not the aprophets, every one that has opened his mouth to prophesy, that has not fallen into transgression, I mean all the holy prophets ever since the world began? I say unto you that they are his seed.

He was unique; His mission was unique; He could choose whether or not to follow His culture, because He was (is) God--

why would this passage about His "seed" be in the Book of Mormon?

The part about declaring His generation; why was that a concern, if He had had children; having children was the biggest, most important thing in the world to ancient people--

His generation was not declared by biological children; it is declared by those who love and follow Him.

Now, throw the tomatoes. I realize that there are those who will say that the verses are symbolic and have nothing to do with biological 'generation' and 'seed'--

I get that; possibly, but I don't think so. Why would a big deal be made out of His 'seed' and who will declare His generation?

LDSDPer said...

@Robin--

Thanks for being so gracious. I really learn a lot from people on here.

:)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I'm not going to throw tomatoes at you, LDSDPer. As you say, you've heard all the arguments, and frankly, whether or not Jesus was married (and I believe he was; and that the wedding at Cana was his wedding) what does it matter to us? Rabbis can busy themselves parsing the talmud, but we here have more important occupations for our time.

Something to speculate about? Sure. But not anything we have need of getting worked up over.

Jeremy said...

So...not to detract from the conversation going on now but going back to the topic of tithing - I posted on February 26, 2014 at 1:38 PM wondering about a few things in D&C 119. Specifically, it appears that one could read that section in a way that makes tithing conditional on establishing Zion. Does anybody have any thoughts on whether we are obligated to obey the law given in sec. 119 since Zion is not established and we have ceased to gather?

Gary Hunt said...

LDSDPer,

I'm not going to through tomatoes at you either. However I may throw a nerf ball or two at you. :)

You need to tell where the verses of scripture are coming from. There are many verses 10-13 in the Book of Mormon.

When you said... "but this verse from the Book of Mormon tells me He wasn't married:"... you are really stretching it (taking it out of context) here. No where in these verses does it say that Jesus was not married or didn't have literal offspring. These verses tell of us (believers) being His "offspring" in a non-literal sense. You're using some logical fallacies her. :)

I don't know if Jesus was married and had children. Some day we may find out. I have read many theories, none of which are conclusive. Maybe Rock will do an article on it some day.

You might ask Robin Hood about some of the legends about Jesus, Mary and Joseph of Arimathea visiting his neck of the woods.

Toni said...

Jeremy, I think you have a point. It very plainly mentions Zion. I believe we cannot really live the law of tithing until we can begin from the base mentioned in the D&C, which is we are in Zion and we have consecrated what we own. After that, we pay 10% of our increase. All else is foolishness and confusion, even though we think we are making sense by trying to live the second step without living the first.

LDSDPer said...

LOL!

Gary--

Mosiah 15--

and now that shows me that I have to be careful when I link from lds.org--

You are correct; it is a wild jump, and it's only my opinion; I really can't claim it to be truth--

but I was curious about the question being asked. Why does anyone have to declare His generation? You have to admit that, flowery as scriptural language can be--it's tempting to think it means more than just poetry there.

Rock, I agree completely (and Gary); it doesn't matter, and I have wasted no time on it, except what I just wasted--
However, when I was reading those scriptures it did rather jump out at me.

As for myths/legends about Britain, what about Jeremiah; he was supposed to have been taken first to Spain by the daughter of the king who was killed (whose son was Mulek?)--
and then to Ireland, where she 'founded' Ireland.
Interesting, to be sure. But plausible? Who knows?

BK said...

Jeremy,

I think we become worthy to even live in Zion by if we relieve the suffering and want of the poor and fatherless around us.

Christ didn't teach to just give just 10% to the poor, he taught that we should give '100%' of our excess, after we have taken care of our and our families needs. And he didn't say give it to a church or leaders, he said give it to the poor, for he knew how leaders may not use it all on the poor as they should.

I believe we have to live Christ's law of 100% of our excess today, in order to be worthy of Zion one day, not some prophet's fallible interpretation of just 10%, especially when those 'prophets' use it on things other than the needy.

For the needy always come way before building a church or temple or missionary work, for those things are all in vain if we don't take care of the needy 1st. Only when there are no more poor among us can we all pitch in to build a church or temple.

What kind of person would withhold money from a hungry or cold mother or child and give it to build a Church instead?

Most people go to church all their lives yet never even realize the main reason for religion in the 1st place is to learn to take care of the fatherless and the poor, not just to feel good about going to Church.

Of all the single mother's I know personally, who suffer continually in their poverty and exhaustion of doing 2 roles, I don't know even 1 who is being taken care of as they should be, by family, friends or Church. They are all ignored and neglected for the most part by most everyone, especially by the Church.

I believe men prove their righteousness by whether they do all they can to provide for and protect women & children, starting in their own home. And then doing so for single mothers especially that they personally know, who usually have little to no support or protection and are made to work outside the home and leave their vital post, which then usually creates even more fatherless in the next generation.

37andholding said...

BK,
Where do you get the idea that Jesus said to give 100% of our excess, after our family's needs, to the poor?

I remember reading about how we are to provide for our wants as well as our needs. . As well as wants and needs of the poor.

And isn't Zion just a collection of people that are pure in heart?

I think we all get ahead of ourselves in believing all this OUTSIDE stuff.

Jeremy,
I believe that there are things in the Doctrine and Covenants that do not come from God.

BK said...

37,

Did the 'rich man' have a higher standard to live up to then we do to earn entrance into the Kingdom of God, when Christ told him to sell all that he had and give it to the poor? (Assuming that Christ mean't give all he had 'after' taking care of the needs of his family of course, for Christ also taught that men who don't take care of their own are worse then an infidel. And our own family could be consider part of the poor if they are needy)

Did King Benjamin not say that we should be free with our substance and not have more than our neighbor?

Prophet's teachings never trumps Christ's teachings. Prophets have to teach the same words of Christ in order to even prove they are really 'true' prophets.

But I believe it is left up to us, not a Bishop or Prophet, to decide what exactly our needs and wants are, and what we should give to the poor. But we will certainly be judged on if we made righteous choices about it all.

I also believe the needy in our extended family comes 1st before helping the poor outside our relations.

And I believe 'want's are also essential, but we decide how much money we spend on houses, vacations, toys or beautiful things before we relieve the suffering of those around us.

ENB said...

Speaking to our priorities in caring for the poor...for the last four years several of the wards in our stake banded together to hold a "swap." We all donated excess clothing, toys, furniture, etc. and people came to pick up as much of what they wanted or needed.

Relief Society Presidents extended a special invitation for those with financial needs to come early so they could have first pick. The ability of this swap to meet the needs of the poor was amazing. I know this personally...I did nearly all my back to school shopping for my kids...and I was one of those with a special invitation. Last year some men forgot to schedule their priesthood meeting early in the year and they wanted the same date as the swap. They complained and the stake presidency decided that the church building needs to be used for church meetings as a priority...so, you know, we can talk more about priesthood duties or whatever.

It is so sad because people felt so much joy sharing their stuff and others were blessed to have their needs met. I saw people crying, hugging, and lots of smiling. Now gone. Over another church meeting. I am amazed at the lack of awareness.

37andholding said...

BK,
You're back peddling. ;)
I have no problems sharing what I have with others. In fact, my mom told me as a youth that I was too generous!

I was curious as to where you got the idea I afore mentioned. I 'thought' you were referencing that story of the rich man. His situation did not prove what you said in "Christ said to give 100% of our excess to the poor". You are assuming some things in the story about the premise that he came from. And Christ didn't say he wouldn't get to heaven, he just invited him to get rid of his material burden and bless the lives of the needy and then come with Him to teach, to bless the lives of those ready for His gospel. . You could say missionary work?
At least that's what I get. To each his own understanding. .
You seem to have such a tender spot in your heart for single mothers and their inability of supporting themselves and their children, I wonder what I can do for you or someone that you reference who is struggling?

LDSDPer said...

BK,

I happen to agree with you; in the NT a man is an infidel who does not take care of those of his household--

and divorcing a woman doesn't release a man from that, I believe--
which is why divorce is NOT sustainable in any way: culturally, spiritually, and economically--

but the church supports divorce.

Just give some scriptural back-up for Jesus suggesting that 100% of excess be given to the poor.

Excess would be beyond all the needs, perhaps some of the wants; I don't know--

the definition of excess, and the definition of necessities are both very fluid--

but where is the verse?

I'm on your side, but please give the verse.

I have to say, though, that not all single women are 'victims', even though they should not go without--

there are women who treat men horrifically and put them into hunger and homelessless; sadly, it's happened very close to me.

LDSDPer said...

37 andholding--

taking care of the poor, the needy, the sick, the fatherless, the widow . . .

isn't "OUTSIDE" stuff.

In my opinion.

LDSDPer said...

BK,

I take that back!!! I hadn't read what you said about Jesus and the rich young man, and you are right--

though . . . --

it has to be construed a bit.

Yes, you are correct.

Thank you for bringing this up at this time.

I needed this discussion to clarify some things in my own mind.

:)

LDSDPer said...

37andholding,

I think I misunderstood you.

Too many posts by me today--

I have been struggling with this lately--

who to help?

I just became aware of a situation, just as I was reading these comments, and something that was said helped me.

ENB,

I am so sorry. I would be so hesitant to get help from such a situation as a stake swap, because of the circumstances of my family (don't need to go into detail)--
and because our ward did it, and some of the people who contributed were terribly patronizing/condescending--

*sigh*

But it sounds as though it could be VERY good, especially on a stake, not a ward, level.

And shame on those brethren! Shame on them!!!

Parascripturing here: good is called evil, evil good.

ENB said...

LDSDPer,

Yes...good is called evil and evil is called good. I understand this more personally now because so many of the things I held as true and good have turned out to be false and evil.

We have been fortunate like you to have been blessed with chIldren who do not fit society's mold. I'm not a "soccer" mom...I'm a "therapy" mom...our calendar is always full of appointments to various specialists. And few people in my life can appreciate this because these challenges arent easily visible. And so love toward our family from others is often muted or peppered with judgment. It has opened my eyes.

I know what it is like to be excluded, to have my kids excluded, to be judged, to be marginalized by leadership, to be poor, to be broken and cast aside. I also know what is like to be favored by God and to also feel completely abandoned by Him. It has been an amazing and painful education.

These experiences have helped us to wake up. And we feel stripped of any judgment toward others. That's a good thing.

I feel sad that when I had a lot of money I clutched it so tightly out of fear. I prided myself on being so good because I was so self-reliant. That was a huge error on so many levels.

It is good we can repent:)

37andholding said...

LDSDPer,

I wasn't referring to helping the needy as 'outside stuff'. Sorry you misunderstood that. I was referring to the building of zion "on the outside" like coming to zion... Zion is on the inside. The kingdom of God is on the inside. Then all the inside stuff manifests on the outside. Then the poor get help and the world changes from the work that is being done on the inside!

37andholding said...

E.T. Benson once said

"The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.

BK said...

I think ETB was just trying to justify himself and the Church for not helping to take people out of the slums, while helping to take the slums out of the people.

For I believe Christ would do both, especially for the fatherless, he would not only uplift them but lift them out of the slums too. For often the fatherless do not have any way to get themselves out of the slums no matter how righteous or smart they are.

While I'm all for treating women with equal respect and rights, we do have different roles. Our world seems to have forgotten that mothers and grandmothers need men to financially support them, in whatever situation they may be in, married, widowed, divorced or even never married. For if mothers aren't supported by men so they can focus on their most vital roles as needed, then not only their children, husbands and others suffer but all societies does too.

Robin Hood said...

BK,
"For I believe Christ would do both" (meaning take the people of out the slums and the slums out of the people).
I would just point out that he didn't do that. He was on the earth for 34 years and there is not one recorded instance of Jesus taking anyone out of a slum or anything approaching it.
He took slums out of the people all the time. It was the Apostles attempted to take the people out of the slums, so to speak, in the early days of the church when they instituted a form of what we call the united order, as recorded in the Book of Acts.
I personally believe that once you take the slums out of the people, the places they frequent change too. I have seen this happen.

BK said...

Robin Hood,

No of course he didn't, at not while on his mission, he knew his time was short by then and preached for others to do that for him. But I believe he did what he could for the fatherless while he was raising his family earlier in his life. If he had lived a long life I believe that would have been his main focus and concern, to take the fatherless out of the slums.

And I agree that teaching a man to fish is better than giving him one everyday, but it's different with single mothers, they usually need to be given fish everyday, for they don't have time to fish, they have more important things to do.

engaged19times said...

The reason I brought upJesus married/offspring topic is due to this alleged 2nd Coming He is supposed to do at some point in my lifetime (as I was led to believe in SS growing up as a mormon kid). And is this alleged 2nd Coming going to happen? Or is this another false mormon tradition? Im ready to see what the heavens have got to show me. The jig is up for me. Give it to me straght am I celestial kingdom material or telestial or what. Im comfortable enough in my own skin to take whaever Jesus has to dole out. Am i the only one who feels this way?

LDSDPer said...

@19times (?)

I will answer with my opinion/thoughts.

I used to believe that I had to 'work' to get to the celestial kingdom, and then I got to the point where, after some things happened to me that changed my perspective, I felt I didn't care anymore.

I don't see 'degrees of glory' in the Book of Mormon, and I don't think that someone who sets his/her sights on following Jesus will be denying him/herself the 'best' reward (even that way of looking at it seems flawed to me now) by not focusing on it. I was raised/taught to focus on it, on those degrees of glory, and I think there is a selfishness there, a competitiveness there that doesn't fit with what Jesus really taught.

So I've basically forgotten about the 'kingdoms'--

Jesus that, "in my Father's house are many mansions; I go to prepare a place for you"--

I honestly worried for years that those of my friends who were good and loved Jesus wouldn't 'make it', because they weren't Mormons. I can't believe I once believed that.

As for the 2nd Coming, with all my heart, I wish He would come; I wish He HAD come already.

The natural world is beautiful, but the world (Babylon) is ugly, and I've grown weary of it. I'd really like Zion, and in the Book of Mormon, we are told that Jesus will bring it.

(Moroni, I think; if someone questions me, I will look; I will find the other reference as well)

engaged19times said...

I'm disappointed that Jesus hasnt come down for this alleged visit yet either. There's been quite a lotta suffering here that its amzing its allowed to go on without an intervention from the Most High. I disbelieve quite a bit of it all now, to the point that i think the wisest approach is agnostic. That way u dont get ur hopes up.

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