Tuesday, December 9, 2014

When Tithing Settlement Goes Horribly Wrong


Previously: Not Quite The Same

In the October general conference following the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, members were newly encouraged to give their all for the completion of the Nauvoo temple.  In order for the temple to be finished in time before the Saint's planned departure for the Rocky Mountains, members would have to newly commit to paying their tithes, whether in substance, in labor, or both.

During the previous three years under Joseph Smith, the great sense of urgency among the people had been to see their dead ancestors receive the saving ordinance of baptism. To this end, there was a frenzy of such baptisms performed regularly in the waters of the nearby Mississippi river. When members couldn't think of any more dead ancestors, they set to baptizing each other on behalf of dead celebrities such as Christopher Columbus and George Washington.*
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*Often more than once, as documented here.


But now John Taylor, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, felt that all other endeavors, including these baptisms, should be put on hold for the time being, because "the first thing we have got to do is build the temple."  According to the scribe who wrote down Taylor's words,
"He said further, in relation to the baptisms for the dead, that it would be better for the saints to go on and build the Temple before we urge our baptisms too much. There are cases which require being attended to, and there are provisions made for them; but as a general thing he would advise them not to be in too great a hurry. He said one of the clerks had asked whether any should be baptized who had not paid their tithing; it is our duty to pay our tithing...and a man who has not paid his tithing is unfit to be baptized for his dead." (History of the Church, Volume 7, pg 293)
In recent years Taylor's words have been taken completely out of context.  That excerpt is taught today as though Taylor meant that a person behind on his tithes should be prohibited from entering the temple. But the temple was not yet finished, and baptisms in those days had never been performed in any temple. No, Taylor was merely expressing his opinion that any person during that time of great urgency who refused to assist in getting the temple finished, probably wasn't fit to stand in for a proxy baptism down at the river. 

Many today also invoke John Taylor's name because they presume he was president of the Church at the time he spoke those words, which in their minds means he must certainly have been speaking for the Lord, rather than merely expressing an opinion. And so today that offhand remark has somehow attained the status of doctrine in the minds of many modern latter-day Saints.

I don't disagree with what John Taylor said. It would be difficult to understand why anyone in those days would refuse to pay his tithes toward completion of the temple when the necessity of completing it was such an urgent priority.  But I suppose someone must have felt he could slough it off and that it was more important to continue with baptisms, or Taylor's clerk probably wouldn't have asked for his opinion on the matter.

But although I agree with John Taylor's opinion, his opinion is not doctrine. And until fairly recently, Taylor's opinion was rarely used to justify keeping a believing latter-day Saint from entering the House of the Lord.

I bring this up because once again we find ourselves in the month of December, the traditional time of ward tithing settlement, and Taylor's quotation is often trotted out not only to encourage members to be current with their payments, but also as a gentle reminder that they could risk losing their temple recommends if they fall behind.

As I demonstrated in a previous post, tithing settlement today is a bit of an anachronism, not really necessary for most members to take part in. Although the Lord set up tithing as an annual payment, most members keep current monthly. Still, for farmers and others whose increase is not calculated until after the harvest, bishops have traditionally set aside a couple of days to "settle up."  During most of my lifetime in the church, there would be an announcement in Sacrament meeting to the effect that a sheet of paper would be on the door of the bishop's office, and anyone needing to meet with the bishop for tithing settlement could just sign up.

In recent years (and I'm not sure exactly when this started) tithing settlement somehow became mandatory. Members of the bishopric would corner you in the foyer or call you at home to make sure you had an appointment to show up.  People who felt they had escaped attention have written me to report the bishop coming to their home and sitting at their kitchen table to discuss their personal finances. Rather than a convenience extended to those few members requiring it, tithing settlement has become a year-end "fatherly visit" with the bishop so he can make sure you pass muster.

And for those who hold temple recommends, John Taylor's words are often invoked to remind them their recommend can be revoked any old time the bishop feels like pulling it.

It's A Recommend, Not A Rewards Card
I would probably agree with John Taylor even if he said someone who didn't pay tithing probably shouldn't be attending the temple, but let's remember that he did not say anything of the sort.  My personal opinion? I'm not sure someone who has the means to contribute to the maintenance of Church facilities, yet consistently refuses to do his part in support of those facilities, has any inherent right to demand use of them.  Still that's my opinion, and I note that the Lord does not share my opinion, having made it clear instead that all are welcome into our churches, and all who are worthy should not be barred from His holy house. (And by "worthy" I mean devoted to Christ, not "worthy" as defined by the Corporate Handbook of Instruction, or the whim of anyone with a title attached to his name.)

What I am particularly not keen on is the current practice of granting or withholding access to the temple over the heads of some members as though it were a reward or a punishment. 

Believe it or not, members didn't used to be grilled and interrogated with a set list of questions in order to be found "worthy" to enter the temple. There was a time when your bishop knew you well enough to know your heart and was able to judge your devotion to Christ. The people at the temple didn't know you from Adam, however, so your bishop would give you a written "recommend" to show at the door, so called because it said to the staff at the temple, "I know this guy. I recommend him." And in you went.

Alas, Church headquarters no longer trusts your bishop is qualified to be a judge in Israel, capable of spiritual discernment, so these days he is required, pursuant to the Corporate Handbook of Instruction, to ask you several questions. Most of those questions are pretty softball; any believing latter-day Saint would have no problem answering them. But there are two in particular that can get you barred from the House of the Lord even when the Lord Himself would probably like to have you there.  I'll paraphrase those questions:

1.  Are your Corporate Dues paid up in full?
2.  Are you willing to swear an oath of loyalty to the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve?

You may think the way I've worded those questions is an unfair exaggeration, but I can give you a long list of names of faithful members who would tell you that's pretty much what it comes down to.

Let's set aside question two for now, and concentrate on the failure to comply with the first obligation, the obligation of tithing.  Every one of the people I refer to on that list I keep believes wholeheartedly in the law of tithing.  They wouldn't begin to think about not continuing to pay their tithes. They have just decided not to entrust those sacred tithes to the corporate Church for the time being, that's all.

And I can't argue with their reasons. Chief among those reasons is that those currently in control of the Church's purse strings have, since 1959, consistently disobeyed God's clear commandment that all monies taken from the treasury must be approved by the membership at large. (D&C 26:2 and 104:71; see also see here, along with my previous post, Lake Wobegon Mormons for an in-depth discussion.)

Such flagrant disobedience to God would suggest that the leaders have broken their part of any covenant regarding tithing, thereby nullifying any obligation members might have to disburse their tithes directly to the Corporation of the President. Why? Because, without so much as a revelation from God instructing it,  the LDS Church was reorganized in 1923 with the specific purpose of evading any obligation the president of the Church may have had to obey some of the commandments of Jesus Christ.  Here is how the corporate charter now reads:
"The object of this corporation shall be to acquire, hold and dispose of such real and personal property as may be conveyed to or acquired by said corporation for the benefit of the members ...this corporation shall have power, without any authority or authorization from the members of said Church or religious society, to grant, sell, convey, rent, mortgage, exchange, or otherwise dispose of any part or all of such property." (Emphasis mine.)
Now, I want to make a couple of points perfectly clear. First, I would not presume to advise anyone reading this that they should not tender their tithing directly to their local bishop. Certain persons associated with Church headquarters in Salt Lake City get kind of itchy when they suspect anyone might be hampering the flow of funds into Church headquarters, as I learned immediately after I published this information.

The last thing I want is to get on anyone's bad side.  So let me make this clear: if you feel inspired to pay your tithes into the coffers of the Church, by all means continue to do so. I think you should.  All I'm doing here is reporting on what others have chosen to do to fulfill their obligation to the Lord. I ain't takin' sides.

But I will happily mention some of the reasons a growing number of Saints are getting fed up with the status quo. And when I say a growing number, I'm talking about an estimate of a couple of thousand, conservatively. I'll tell you where I got those numbers at some later date.

I'm not talking here about inactives. The Church claims 15 million members. Of those, only about 4.5 million could be considered active in the church. The remaining 10 million or so, it can be safely assumed, are not what we might call full tithe payers, so let's forget about them for now.  I'm interested in reporting on those who want to pay tithing, who continue to pay tithing, but who, in the past couple of years or so, have felt strongly inspired to pay their tithes somewhere other than directly into the bank account of the Corporation of the President, which is where all LDS Church tithing funds are deposited now. So let's talk about the why.

Hungering For Zion
I grew up being told that tithing doesn't count if you pay it anywhere other than directly to the Church. That's what I was taught.  But I'm not real sure there's any truth to it. I think tithes and offerings count most when you give them where they are needed most.  So this growing number of faithful Saints are asking the question, "why hasn't the Church been leading us toward Zion? Isn't that largely the purpose of the church in the first place, to lead us to Zion?"

Why, they wonder, do we seem to be heading at such a frantic pace in the opposite direction?

Most of us believed if we would only "stay in the boat and hold on," and follow the directions of our leaders, those leaders would lead us to Zion. Russell Ballard said as much in the last session of conference.  But Elder Ballard was teaching us falsehoods, among them that when the leaders of the Church speak, it is the same as if the Lord himself was speaking. Had we been paying attention to our scriptures all these years, we would have realized that Zion is not a church, and that "staying in the boat" and depending upon someone else to lead us back home to God sounds suspiciously similar to the scheme proposed by Lucifer in the pre-existence.

In his recent blog post, Anonymous Bishop reminds us what Zion is supposed to look like:
To establish Zion we must become of one heart and one mind, dwell in righteousness, and have no poor among us. (Moses 7:18)
But many active and faithful tithing paying members have concerns about what the church has been and is doing with their tithing.  More importantly, many are wondering if the church’s expenditures are getting the world any closer to establishing Zion....Some wonder why the church is so focused on buildings, real estate development, farm ownership, and marketing when its true goal should be to build a Zion people?  Are meetinghouses and Temples and TV ads truly that important in this effort?  Could you imagine what could be done if the church used its tremendous tithing fund (instead of just the fast offering fund) to assist the poor in the church and around the world?  What effect might this have in bringing souls unto Christ and to the establishment of Zion?
On his blog, the bishop shows a photo of a video Billboard the Church is leasing in Times Square, which is costing the Church millions of dollars. The question that immediately comes to mind is "how many converts can we expect to get as a return on those millions?"

I'll venture a guess: very few. But those who authorized that expenditure had to know that converting anyone to the gospel of Christ was not the reason our tithes are being spent in that particular venue. The reason for the expenditure is the same as any other such advertisement by any other major corporation: to enhance our image and increase our visibility.  Just as with the Church's latest fiasco, the recent box office bomb Meet the Mormons, no one really cares about our image except us.  Virtually no non-members were motivated to fork over money for tickets to see Meet the Mormons in theaters. The few who did show up, an estimated 64-75 thousand, already happened to be Mormons and had, oddly enough, already met scads of other Mormons before showing up to that movie.

I don't know how things went where you live, but here in California attendance was sparse on opening weekend (when box office numbers are tallied by the trades); it did well the following Monday for family night, then immediately dropped like a stone. I was actually embarrassed to read that the Church held a "premiere" opening for the film, complete with press, a smattering of VIPs, and a collection of what passes these days for LDS celebrities. 

We are spending desperate amounts of money because we desperately want the world to understand we're just regular folk. That was the objective of the recent "I'm A Mormon" video campaign, which featured a disparate collection of Mormons who actually didn't seem to be anything like the rest of us, other than having in common membership in the same church.  At least the people in that campaign were rather ordinary in their extra-ordinariness. The people in the movie Meet the Mormons were so not like any other Mormon I've ever met, it made me wonder what the filmmakers had in mind by profiling them.  They were featured because they lived lives of singular accomplishment.  So was it the purpose of that movie to show the rest of us how utterly mundane and uninspiring our lives were in comparison to theirs? As if I wasn't already depressed enough, Jeffrey Holland. Thanks for bringing the funk.

One thing I thought was curious about Meet the Mormons was that it profiled a Mormon wife and  mother who also happened to be a female kick boxer.  Is this what the Prince of Peace would have us celebrate -a woman whose chosen vocation requires her to beat the living snot out of her non-member opponents?

Besides, doesn't celebrating a woman who fights for sport contradict the counsel of one of our own late apostles?
"Unfortunately, we see some poor role models of womanhood in today's society. We see women boxers and wrestlers as we flip through the television channels trying to find something uplifting. I believe the women of our time need to be strong, but not in that sense. In my opinion, these activities demean the nobility of womanhood." (Apostle James E. Faust, April 2000 general conference)
Well, James Faust has been dead seven years now, so we can ignore him, right? Aren't we constantly reminded that only the living oracles have any clue what they're talking about? So relax. It was living prophets and apostles who promoted this movie featuring a scrappy dame as somehow representing "the nobility of Mormon womanhood." James E. Faust can just talk to the hand.
     
The apostle Paul would make a pretty good coach: "She should cover her head." (1 Cor 11:6 NIV)
Anyway, I've got news for the marketing geniuses at Church headquarters: most people have already met a Mormon or two sometime in their lives. So why would they want to pay good money down at the Cineplex to see an infomercial about six unusually accomplished members of our faith? Most people already know we're "just like them" and they still don't like us.

So why throw buckets more of the member's hard-earned tithing on a movie that doesn't even touch on what it is we Mormons believe in? Again the answer: To enhance our image and increase public visibility. We are busy marketing the Church as if it were a product, one we want people to have a positive impression of.  Those in Church management throwing ideas at the wall aren't even thinking in terms of religious belief, but in hopes of developing the Church as a recognizable brand. That's why Church spending today is not controlled on a spiritual level, but by the corporate mindset.  You believe Jesus Christ is still guiding this Church? Then why don't we rely on Him instead of enlisting outside firms and focus groups to help us plot our next strategy?

There is more than a little truth to what blogger Will Carter observed: "The Church, whether by precept or example, actually steers people away from coming to Christ."

What we ought to be doing is start behaving more like our namesake and learn to emulate Him.  If our leaders would stop trying to think up more and more rules they want us to follow, and focus instead on the Golden Rule, we might begin to get some positive attention from the outside world that wouldn't have to be paid for with bribes.

Meet The Mormons In The Marketing Department
I was on the phone today with a friend who is a former bishop, just recently released. (You'd be surprised how many bishops -mostly former, but some currently serving- have contacted me to lament about what they see happening to the church they love.) My friend wanted to talk about the new banner ad the Church paid $400,000 to place at the top of the page when folks log in to YouTube. (That's just the cost of placing the ad; that number doesn't include production costs.) It's a nice, two and a half minute mini-movie that reminds us that Jesus is the gift of Christmas. There's certainly nothing wrong with it. I like it, and so did he. Very moving.

But, the bishop asked, to what end did they spend that money? What was the motivation for spending the people's tithes on a film that doesn't really say anything new? Does the Church think the public is unaware of the true meaning of Christmas? What is unique about that message? In other words, what purpose does it serve other than to remind people (as many others are already doing) that this is the season we celebrate the birth of Christ? Will it serve to convert anyone to Christ who isn't already converted? I don't think so. Will it serve to convert anyone to our church who isn't already converted? I highly doubt it.

As I write this, so far the movie has received over two million hits, and I'm glad it has. I hope it gets millions more. So you may wonder why I and the bishop remain dubious.  Why so cynical? Did we fail to see the message of this ad?

We're not cynical, and we didn't fail to see the message.  We just wonder what the leaders who green lit that $400,000 expenditure expected to accomplish with it, especially in light of what they could have done with that money that might have actually pleased Jesus by accomplishing His purposes.

Did they hope to engender good feelings? Then mission accomplished! Did the ad engender good feelings toward Mormons? Perhaps, but not likely. At least, I don't think it will change anyone's mind about us one way or the other.  There's nothing really unique about the message, after all. The view that Jesus is the gift, that His birth is the reason we celebrate Christmas, is a belief shared by all of Christendom.

After the ad is over the viewer is asked to click a box if they'd like a visit from the missionaries.

Yeah. Good luck with that.

Aside from the fact that most people surfing YouTube can't wait to skip past any ads, the thing the bishop reminded me of was this: if the video is good enough, it will go viral on its own. After all, it already had hundreds of thousands of showings from missionaries and enthusiastic members without ever being on YouTube's front page.  So what does it say when the church has to pay nearly half a million dollars to nudge it further in hopes it will gather more buzz? If you think my bishop friend and I are cynical, what do you think the reaction is among the public at large?  As the bishop aptly summarized the problem, "the Church spends millions of dollars creating mediocre crap, then they spend millions more advertising the hell out of it."

(That's right. I heard an actual bishop use the words "hell" and "crap.")

Here's a similar Christmas message that's already gone viral. And it didn't cost any tithing funds to get it there:


This incessant promoting of ourselves is not part of the mission of the church. As another Mormon blogger aptly put it, "public relations is not a priesthood responsibility."  Yet here's the thing this bishop and I both agree on: under certain conditions, neither of us would have any problem with the Church shoveling millions of dollars of surplus funds on marketing and advertising, whether it's this Christmas tribute on YouTube, the "I'm a Mormon" campaign, or that infomercial disguised as a documentary recently released in theaters as if it were an actual feature film.

No, what bothers us is that the Church hierarchy did not first earmark sufficient tithes toward the purposes God intended them for. Once the tithing is spent for God's purposes, we couldn't care less how much leftover funds they put toward marketing the institution itself.   But here's the disparity: Tithes are estimated to bring in something in the neighborhood of 5-7 BILLION dollars a year, and the leaders spend almost none of that in the only way it counts: to alleviate the suffering of those who are truly hurting. Instead, they concentrate their efforts into marketing The Brand.
For instance, did you know?
• About 120,000 active LDS children suffer from chronic malnutrition.
• 10% of malnourished children die
• The remaining 90% suffer lifelong cognitive and physical defects that severely reduce their earning potential as adults
• This leads to a cycle, in which their own children will be malnourished as well.
• $50 can provide nutritional supplements for one child for a year
Those four and a half million members who faithfully pay their tithing? Most of them probably think their money is being used to at least help alleviate the suffering of their fellow Mormons around the world. But it isn't. Too much of it is spent on promoting the idea that Mormons are groovy.

All 120,000 of those hungry Mormon kids could be helped for a year on only $6 million.  Yet the LDS Church, that same corporate behemoth that sank THREE BILLION DOLLARS into a high-end shopping center in Salt Lake City, doesn't provide assistance that could nourish its own member children living in poverty. That responsibility instead has been assumed by a group of concerned latter-day Saints who have formed a charity called the Liahona Children's Foundation, and they go around begging the rest of us to please do something to assist our own.  Maybe the Church(TM) can't alleviate world hunger, but is it too much to expect someone at Church headquarters to re-funnel some of those advertising dollars in the direction Jesus Christ would have them spent?

For heaven's sake! These are Mormon kids going without, many of whose brains will be irreversibly stunted for life because of the effects of malnourishment on their bodies; children who happen to belong to a church that used to be known for taking care of its own. 

Maybe now you can see why literally thousands of faithful latter-day Saints are saying "enough!" to the corporate fraud and financial abuse, and are diverting their tithing funds where they feel the Lord wants them. 

Have you even heard of the Liahona Children's Foundation? Well, maybe that's because they don't have any money to waste on feel-good marketing campaigns trying to convince the world how unique they are (while at the same time of course being noticeably normal). The Liahona Children's Foundation instead depends upon the generosity of fellow Mormons like you and me, and they neither waste money promoting themselves, nor do they practice priestcraft like certain people I could name.[1]

100% of the donations to Liahona go toward programs to feed and educate the children. All overhead costs are funded privately and managed with volunteer support.   Maybe you'll consider pitching in.

Because that's how tithing money should be spent.
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[1]"Priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion” (2 Nephi 26:29) "You keep your eyes riveted on the prophet and the twelve apostles. We will not lead you astray. We cannot. So keep your eyes riveted on the leadership of the Church. (Russell Ballard speaking at BYU in 1996)  


More and more good latter-day Saints are baffled when they learn how much tithing money is squandered on pet projects that promote admiration for Mormons as a people, instead of promoting the gospel of Christ.  Some are looking at what's going on in Salt Lake City and asking "What in the world are they thinking?"

Denver Snuffer recently offered an explanation for the current marketing strategy. Here's an excerpt:
"The LDS church is not the same today as it was 10, 20, 30 or 40 years ago. The Church makes decisions using models based on business and political theories. This is ill-fitted for a religious movement. The result is that changes are made hastily and without careful consideration given to doctrine or how abandoning doctrine affects members.
"The LDS church sells the product "Mormonism" to a target market of the unconverted or non-members. Their present customer base (members) have been put through jarring changes...Despite these dramatic changes, the institution has largely managed to keep their loyal customer base. This gives the leadership confidence that the greatest part of their customer base is secure and will never leave. Therefore, their adaptation is tailored to their target market. This includes a demographic who are in large part...noticeably lacking in the ability to think critically. This is the future Mormon consumer or target audience.
"To make this work, the church pares down its teachings, and reassures the loyal customer base that the radical changes are okay because the church cannot lead its customers into error or apostasy. There are two important tenets that have superseded all others: the church is led by a "prophet" and the leaders "cannot lead you astray." These MUST emerge as the primary themes. Any dedicated study of doctrine and history shows the church is riddled with contradictions, mistakes, missteps, changing and untrue claims regarding history and non-scriptural dogma. This is excused and rationalized by the propounding of the two mandatory teachings of a "prophet" who "cannot lead you astray."
There is more to this analysis on Denver's post titled Patience and Faith.

The Natives Are Getting Restless
If you want to see some stirrings of discontent, look no further than the comment section at Anonymous Bishop's blog. Within hours of that post going up, over a hundred comments appeared, most of them from members testifying of the blessings they are already seeing from directing their tithes toward palliating pain and suffering. There's also a lot of dissatisfaction in the ranks, and regret from many that they didn't see the light sooner. Here is just one sample of the stories I found there:
"My parents recently served a mission in a third-world country. I am sad to report that in trying to get people qualified to go to the temple, they regularly told people that it was more important to pay their tithing than to FEED THEIR CHILDREN. I wonder what these poor parents with starving children would say if they discovered that the sacred funds they donated to the church, in good faith, would be used to buy the front page of YouTube, or to buy a billboard in Times Square, or to make an extravagant movie — about Mormons?"
Or how about this one, an echo of the Church the way it used to be:
"I can remember in leadership training – probably 40 years ago, maybe more – that helping those in need at that time was a primary obligation. We were told that, should fast offering funds run out, those in need had a claim on the tithing funds of the Church. While a financial clerk during that period, I recall writing a check for over $10,000 for an operation one of the ward members needed – one who had never come to a meeting while I lived in the area. More recently, one of my sons needed assistance with his family (lots of medical and financial challenges) and he related some of his humiliating experiences he had with that. My, how things have changed."
 Here's a blunt assessment:
"I think a corporation that encourages the poor to sacrifice food, heating and warm clothing to help it increase it’s billions of dollars of assets is despicable."
And another:
"When the church spends 3 billion dollars to build a mall in the courtyard of the temple, I think it is pretty safe to say that any input Christ may have had was not taken into account...Maybe He is just letting the watchmen on the tower do as they please while the rest of us daub the wall with untempered mortar (Ezekiel 13). The solution that my wife and I have decided to take is to give our tithing directly to the Lord, and to bypass the middle church entirely.

"We did not arrive at this conclusion easily. I wish that I could be in denial over this, but I cannot. I am now taking full and complete responsibility for my own salvation into my own hands. Now I actually have my own eyes on the lookout for anyone who has less than I (which in my case is not many), and offer them my tithes in the form of gas, groceries, materials, or just plain old cash – whatever in my best judgement they are in need of...

"Because of this decision, I no longer consider myself worthy to enter the temple...I still go to church because I believe in Christ, and because I love the members. But mostly because I love Christ. I am in President Eyring’s ward and have an interview with his son (the Bishop) this Sunday. I guess it will all come to a head then. I think it is unfortunate that I can no longer attend the temple. I was sealed in the temple to my wife, and our children and eternal relationship means everything to me, but if the gatekeepers deem me unworthy, I pray God will understand. All I know is that when I put my tithes into the Lord’s hands directly (and receive tithes from others – God bless their souls), it feels like Zion, and I love it."
And finally, this reader adequately describes the irony of attempting to pay a proper tithe:
"I’ve been pondering and praying about these very issues for the last year. I have been a full-gross-tithe-payer for all of my more than forty years. I customarily send my tithing at the end of each year as a bank wire to church headquarters. However, this year, I’ve been deeply troubled as to how to act. Many months ago, when I read that verse from the JST Genesis that you quote, my eyes were opened, and I was deeply convinced that tithing is primarily about the poor. Only when the poor have been well-taken care of should we look to other priorities.
"My question to the Lord was, how should I act on that knowledge? I am not in a position of authority or influence. And how can just one person make any difference? Then, one evening in September, as I was washing the dishes, my answer filled my mind and heart, and I knew just what to do. I waited several months to make certain that my answer was sure, for the sake of my wife and family, given the possible consequences.
"Just two days ago, I signed up for tithing settlement. Next Sunday, I’ll hand over my check to the bishop. But instead of checking the “tithing” box on the donation slip, I’ll check “fast offering”. My entire tithing donation for this year will therefore go to the poor and needy. I will still formally declare myself as a full-tithe payer, as I truly believe I am and will still be before the Lord.
"I will be completely open with the bishop about what I’m doing, and why. The bishop (and possibly stake president) will then need to decide whether to take away my temple recommend as a result. Will I be deemed unworthy to attend the temple if I prioritize assisting the poor and needy over building, maintaining, and proselyting? Can I continue to hold my calling which requires a current temple recommend? It will be an uncomfortable decision no matter which way it goes. Do you judge worthiness by the church handbook or by Matthew 25:40?

"My sad observation: if I pay Zero dollars to the tithing fund, I’m not worthy to enter the temple. But if I pay Zero dollars to the fast offering fund, I’m good to go."
What Alma Had To Repent Of 
A few years back, I was reading in the book of Mosiah, chapter 18 when I stopped for a moment on verse one where we are told "Alma repented of his sins and iniquities."  Now, normally I would skate right over those words, not realizing we are being told something very specific here about Alma's past sins. But this time I was intrigued that Mosiah would specify sins AND iniquities.

It goes without saying Alma had much to repent of.  After all, he had been a high priest in the court of King Noah, as guilty as the others of lording it over the people of the church and living off their substance for his own comfort.

I had never looked up the meaning of the word "iniquity" before. I saw it everywhere in the scriptures, but simply assumed it was a synonym for "wickedness."  Chances are so did you. But notice how often we see the word used in conjunction with other sins, such as "sins and iniquity" or "iniquity and abominations."

As it turns out, iniquity has a very specific meaning.  It's a sin, alright, but iniquity is mainly the result of an especially egregious type of sin, a sin that can only be committed by those in high places. Iniquity is defined as "lacking equity" or "inequitable due to injustice." In a sense, it has to do with people being unequal.

But don't misunderstand: this has nothing to do with not being equal in the way most of us are to some extent by nature. You may be my superior in abilities like sports, or learning, or even in earnings, and in that sense we are not equal. And everyone is fine with that. Everybody's different. 

Iniquity, on the other hand, results when one group benefits at the expense of others under their control. The relationship between them is unjust. It is not in balance. It is lacking in equity before GodAnd all as a result of the assumption that one party is just a little bit superior, a little bit more worthy, a little more entitled than the other.

A curious earmark of iniquity, and one reason it is difficult even to recognize once it has been in place for a sufficient time, is that those who find themselves in the inferior position in the relationship often don't tend to question the arrangement. They just think of it as "the way things are."  In a previous post, Lake Wobegon Mormons, I pointed to the example of the class distinctions in the British Isles, which had been in place for centuries, and how the people of the lower classes unquestioningly accepted the right of the privileged class to rule over them. Class distinctions required members of the working class to be ever obsequious to those who ranked above them.  An English footman or scullery maid might find themselves bowing and scraping to a member of the superior class on the street, even when not in that person's employ.  God made some men superior to others -that was just the way things were. An extreme example of iniquity could be found in antebellum America, where most slaves, born into that life, never even thought to question the propriety of the practice. To both master and servant, it was the unquestioned natural order; one ordained by God. Even generations after slavery was abolished in America, iniquity remained, as black parents taught their children the importance of "knowing your place."

Alma and his cohorts in the court of King Noah were living pretty high on the hog at the expense of the humble people they ruled over, and the people seemed to accept it, however begrudgingly. It took a certain old man with an amazing amount of chutzpah to even challenge this natural order, and when he did, the entire court turned on him for his appalling lack of deference. The priest class had been taking the substance of the people for themselves for a very long time. They justified it because, in their minds, they were using the substance for the benefit of the Church.  It was not difficult for them to justify their entitlement to a portion of the tithes for themselves, even an unusually large portion, because of the selfless service they believed they were performing on behalf of the people.

Those leaders managed to live in relative comfort, even if some of the people supporting them had to struggle to pay their tithes.  The Book of Mormon warns us repeatedly to be on the lookout for the sin of iniquity in our own day. Crack open your concordance and you'll find 216 separate instances in the Book of Mormon where that warning is given, and dozens more in the Doctrine & Covenants.

Yet for years I overlooked that word's meaning. As it happens, one of the primary messages of the Book of Mormon is that the sin of Iniquity would be the great sin of the Church in our day, and that we must be ever watchful when we see it taking root among us. Nephi saw into our day and delivers a very harsh assessment:
"Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up. They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up." (2 Nephi 28:12-13)
The leaders of my Church today are exempt from paying tithes. Yes, that's right. As often as they harangue the rest of us to get our tithing money in on time, they don't have to pay any themselves.  And that isn't because the Lord issued a revelation declaring the priest class exempt from the law.  What happened was that a mere seven months after our founding prophet's body was in the grave, the twelve apostles took a vote among themselves and decided they were too important to have to pay in like everybody else.

Every now and then I'll read about someone who has left the church who says, "the best part of quitting the church is I just voted myself a ten percent raise!"

The Quorum of the Twelve voted themselves that same raise, and they didn't even have to quit.

Today the general authorities of the Church live very comfortably off the tithes of the Saints.  They have fine homes and sanctuaries, they wear expensive suits, and they are chauffeured around in new cars that are traded in every year for even newer ones.  They receive an impressive salary which they prefer to call "a modest stipend," and they are each provided the use of bottomless credit cards for which there is no oversight (what toady in Church accounting is going to audit their use?)

They enjoy all these perks of office and more because they have literally robbed the poor to obtain them. You think I'm exaggerating? There was a time when it was understood in this church that widows, the disabled, and the destitute were exempt from tithing. That was frequently taught from the pulpit by apostles such as Orson Pratt and James Talmage.

Not any longer, as evidenced by this April 2005 conference talk titled "Tithing-A Commandment Even For The Destitute."  You may be interested to know that the general authority who gave this talk made his personal fortune founding the Franklin-Covey Leadership Seminars, and likely hasn't a clue what it means to be truly destitute. He also does not provide within that talk any doctrinal statement from the Lord to support his thesis.

I couldn't help thinking of Nephi's words about "robbing the poor" as I read this instruction given to the poorest of the poor in the December 2012 Ensign magazine:
“If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing. If paying tithing means that you can’t pay your rent, pay tithing. Even if paying tithing means that you don’t have enough money to feed your family, pay tithing."
Here's a more accurate way of reading that counsel:
“If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing, for your tithes help to ensure that the water and electricity in the homes of the general authorities continues to flow unabated. If paying tithing means that you can’t pay your rent, pay tithing, for your tithes are required to pay the costs of the exceptionally nice homes the general authorities have been given to live in, as well as for their vacation homes in Utah's resort areas. Even if paying tithing means that you don’t have enough money to feed your family, pay tithing, because your tithing ensures that the general authorities and their children will never have to worry about where their next meal is coming from."
Our beloved general authorities also enjoy perks of office that border on the silly. While you and I are expected to walk from our cars to the temple, the elite of the Church get the privilege of being transported underground from the Church office building to the temple on electric vehicles through a short tunnel that leads to an entrance in the basement of the temple. Now, it may seem petty for me to bring this up, until you recall that there are people in this church who don't have the use of their legs at all, and who earn very little money; yet those valiant members struggle to pay tithing so the privileged class can use those tithes to hire drivers and have little electric carts shuttle them fifty yards to the temple.

At least apostle Tom Perry has refused to take advantage of this privilege, if only for the sake of his pride. "I'm a former Marine," he told a friend of mine, "That'll be the day when I have to ride a golf cart to the temple."

Well, let's not quibble here. Let's just accept that these men are too important to make it to the temple under their own power.

Apparently, they're also too important to join with the rest of us in prayer:



                                                                 *****



Announcements:

Welcome To The Remnant

A handful of fellow bloggers and I have been in talks about holding a family reunion of sorts to be held in Colorado in May for those kindred spirits who have resolved to start putting Christ and His gospel first in our lives. Already over 200 people have confirmed plans to meet with us there, and if you share any of the sentiments presented on this blog, I would hope you might wish to come too.

Sadly, already there are some wild rumors and assumptions about what we hope to accomplish, which I suppose is to be expected.  So to answer the main question, what we hope to accomplish is simply this: We'd like to get together with other devout latter-day Saints and meet one another and make friends.

The event will be very loosely structured, and no, it is not an attempt to "start a new church" or found some kind of commune or establish Zion then and there. There will be no leaders at this event. I'm not even sure you could even call this thing an "event."  If you were to get together for potluck dinner with a group of friends, you wouldn't expect any one person to emerge as the "leader" at the table, would you?  You would simply enjoy one another's company unhindered by any preconceived expectations. 

So think of this retreat as simply a family reunion for family members who have not yet met one another. And the best part: it's free! There should be no admission charge to hang out with friends.  More details will be forthcoming in January on Bret Corbridge's blog, 77 Truths.  In the meantime, in an attempt to quell some of the silly rumors already circulating, Adrian Larsen recently posted some clarifications about our little shindig, which I will repeat here:
1. So are you trying to start a new church or group or something?
No. This event is not designed to start any organization or association. It is just an open invitation to whoever is interested in joining together for instruction, worship, and fellowship.

2. Are you trying to start Zion?
No. Only the Lord can bring again Zion. The purpose of this retreat is merely for those interested to join together for a weekend of worship, learning, and camaraderie. Principles concerning Zion will no doubt be taught and discussed, but nobody is laying out a city plat, making assignments, setting up rules, or anything else along those lines. Zion must begin in each individual's heart, not with a gathering or group.
3. Who, or what, is the Remnant? 
In the context of this retreat, the Remnant refers to those who believe in, and want to preserve and continue the restoration started by Joseph Smith. All who share this common desire are welcome.

4. Are we rushing things, rushing the pass, or otherwise doing things in haste?
I'm not inclined to think so. This retreat is much like any other educational opportunity we all might engage in—like Education Week, or a weekend training seminar, or, dare I say, General Conference (only without teleprompters). I'm not aware of any efforts to do anything other than learn and worship, nor of any efforts to change anything currently happening within or without the LDS church. If I felt otherwise, I would not be publicizing this event.

5. Why gather together just to fail again? Won't the Lord gather His people when the time is right?
This is not a "gathering" like a permanent community, tent city, or relocation. Rather, it is a "gathering" like when all the relatives come for Thanksgiving and leave two days later. Nobody is staying.

Many smaller groups all over the U.S. are doing this same sort of gathering each week for worship, study and fellowship. This is an opportunity for the smaller groups to get to know one another.

6. Why this location? 
The location was chosen by Bret Corbridge because he finds it enjoyable and sacred. Having never been there myself, I'm looking forward to visiting the Mesa.

7. So who is speaking? 
Bret informs me the speaker list will not be announced in advance. This is specifically so that people who are coming to the retreat will come because they feel the Lord directs them to come—not because they are a fan of any particular speaker.

8. Is Bret trying to be a strongman? 
No, Bret is only doing the work to organize the retreat. He will not even be speaking at this event. He is not seeking to be any kind of leader.

9. So should I go? 
Well that really depends on whether the Lord is directing you to go. There's no reason you should attend this event unless the Lord directs you to.

10. Should I bring my kids?
Great question. I'm told Bret and others are working to find a way to accommodate children at events that will otherwise be more geared toward teens and adults. Got any suggestions how to make that work?
Since Adrian created this FAQ, we have heard from a nice young couple who are working on organizing and supervising activities for younger children, and perhaps even something geared toward teens.  Children will be shown how to fish and make pottery while the adults are otherwise occupied, so I'm excited at how this thing is coming together.

I'm told the Colorado location is a five hour drive from Salt Lake City, so you may want to contact Bret about local motels well in advance.  Efforts will be made by some local Saints to take some of you in, and there will be plenty of room to pitch a tent for those who enjoy camping.  Here again is the flyer containing all pertinent information so far:

As I said, although the dates are set, more details will be provided in January. Meanwhile, for additional information and updates, keep checking here, here, here, and here.

                                                                   *****
Related Posts:

Of Alms And Offerings

Bring Ye All The Tithes Into The Stores

City Creek: How Did We Come To This?

Lake Wobegon Mormons

Are We Paying Too Much Tithing?

How To Calculate What You Owe In Tithing

Not Quite The Same

Here's a podcast interview with Liahona Children's Foundation co-founder Robert Rees

A Note About Commenting: I again remind those who wish to comment that posting only as "Anonymous" is no longer permitted. You do not have to use your real name, but if you insist on choosing "Anonymous" from the drop-down menu, you must invent a username and place that either at the top or bottom of your comment so that readers can tell you apart from the many others who for some reason keep choosing to post under the anonymous option.   If you have a Google registration, use that one, otherwise it's best if you check the box that says "Name/URL", place your preferred username in in the "name" box, and ignore the box that asks for a URL. That way you can still remain anonymous if you so wish, but then other readers have a handle to address you with when responding. Comments missing any kind of identifying moniker are at risk of being deleted. I'm very strict about this because too many people posting as "anonymous" has resulted in chaos in the past.

236 comments:

1 – 200 of 236   Newer›   Newest»
Tammy said...

Wow! My opened eyes are wider still.
I'm happy for the changing hearts of those who will hear and think. I too have been paying my tithes and offerings to those the Holy Spirit guides me too. It does feel good to know that it's truly needed by them.
Thanks Rock! And thanks to all those who are expounding scripture to help us understand our errs.

Nacho Cheese said...

Your struggles and feeling a sense of loss and unjustified dominion over you and others as far as religion goes is pointless. You're making yourself feel like a victim, all for nothing. It is all your fault for keeping yourself in this position. Your so called claimed truth does not make you free, because it is not truth. So keep on doing what you are doing because the more you suffer and feel things are wrong only serves you and your twisted logic that somehow allows you to feel you are awake, that you know the truth of things and you will be rewarded if only you true to the ideas that make so much sense because you had so called spiritual confirmations about things.

I check a few different blogs that are on your blog roll from time to time. Those blogger are self inflicting pain on themselves just like you. So called followers of jesus are some of the most miserable people there ever have been. The more fundamental in their views and actions the more miserable the people. Yet the more committed, they must endure! Persecution, and seeing how wayward their church and surrounding world is gives them confidence in god, somehow they will endure, they will fight the good fight for zion's sake. They are so invested and have suffered so much. Yet there is a peace despite the the pointless make believe hardship. Wonderful fruits. Their religion is a mental disorder. At least they will die having peace, but only then will they realize what needless suffering they caused for themselves.

David said...

Last year I went, told the Bishop that the $20 I had given for tithing, was for selling something, other then the money i receive to run my family, was my tithing and felt by the Sprit that I had paid a full tithe, you could of heard a pin drop, as they say, and his jaw was almost on his desk.

But he knew how spiritual i was, so not sure what he really thought.

I got tired of playing the game some years before, decided that I could not tell them what they wanted hear, to enter the Temple, so have not been in years.===Anyway, I feel a greater Spirit at home reading scripture or s
haring with another brother in Christ, about light and truths.

HAHAHA said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Log said...

Rock,

Do you suppose the GAs, particularly the 15 at the top, don't have the welfare of Zion, however they conceive of it, at their heart?

Do you suppose they created this system they (and we) are part of?

Do you suppose they called themselves to the position they hold?

I think, though I could be wrong, that you are not being just towards the leadership. Is it possible they are doing as they believe God wants them to do? Is it possible, in other words, that they are actually well-meaning and not self-serving?

Since the one thing - the ONLY thing - that matters is repentance and faith in Christ, why are we not teaching that and leaving the rest alone?

Why must we point an accusing finger at the leadership? Has accusing others ever brought someone to repent of their own sins?

I don't understand what your goal is, Rock - if it's to bring souls to Christ that they may taste of his everlasting love and be cleansed from sin, how does this approach bring it to pass?

BK said...

Yes, sometimes leadership does repent after being called to repentance.

Abinadi's accusations brought Alma back to reality (at least according to Joseph) and I'm sure it has happened in real life countless times.

We can only hope that there's a few Alma's among the G.A.'s and that maybe they just might repent if they read posts like Rocks and others.

At least we know Rock helps many members who are true followers of Christ to repent and rethink and follow Christ and not men anymore.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Nacho Cheese,

Um...Whut?

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Log,
I have no doubt that many in church leadership are well-meaning and not self-serving. I regret you took a different meaning.

I agree with your assessment that we should be preaching repentance and faith in Christ. This blog entry was largely a report on how many formerly misguided members are coming to do just that -repent of paying their tithes to an institution that wastes them on fuffle, and instead looking to how Christ would have them spend their tithes, and following those promptings.

Repentance means changing and turning to Christ. I believe a growing number of Saints are now awakening to a faith in Christ, rather than a trust in the arm of flesh.

Elliot Echidna said...

My wife and I are among those who recently started paying tithing directly to those in need. I fasted and prayed about that decision, and I felt the Lord told me to read all Denver Snuffer's latest series of talks, and listen carefully to October's General Conference. I didn't make it through all the talks, but I gave it the best effort I could. I didn't listen to all of General Conference (I've got a bunch of little kids; they didn't permit much listening, sometimes), but I did the best I could. And immediately after Conference, I ended up finding a news article from a couple years ago where Pres. Monson dedicated a new "Zions Bank Financial Center" in Provo. He was quoted as saying, "You can rest assured that this church doesn't put its investments and its confidence in anything that isn't stable, honorable and (having) a record of performance and integrity." Or in other words, "you can trust this bank because God trusts this bank." That was answer enough for me, and I'm grateful we've been able to see several people's lives improved through our newly redirected tithing.

My wife just signed us up for tithing settlement, over my protestations that it wasn't really necessary. We'll see what this turns into.

Log said...

Rock,

The point could have been made without even discussing the Church or the leadership, taking it straight from the scriptures.

Nevertheless, I apologize for misunderstanding your intent - I seem to be on a roll today - but might you understand how such a perception is very easily arrived at?

Log said...
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Steven Lester said...

When the leaders insist on being followed in all things, they automatically make themselves responsible for all things that happen under their direction as well. This can not be avoided. I hate to break it to you leader-worshippers, but in the eyes of Christ we ALL, every one of us, without exception, are ONLY FELLOW SERVANTS of the one Being whose SOLE sacrifice has saved us from our sins. Hence, I would not rise as Mr. Packer entered into a room I was in, because he is no better than me in any way that actually counts. And if he protested, I would remind him of our true status before the Lord of Hosts. I would love to hear his reply.

ruken said...

Jesus' sacrifice was pointless; you do not saving.

Anonymous said...

I know how Log likes to ask questions and demands you answer to each one. So Log, this is for you, my answers in parenthesis.

Log said...
Rock,

Do you suppose the GAs, particularly the 15 at the top, don't have the welfare of Zion, however they conceive of it, at their heart?
(If one of the definitions of Zion is no poor among us then yes, I don't think they have the welfare of Zion at heart.)

Do you suppose they created this system they (and we) are part of? (Who else? The membership can't change a thing, only the men at the top can do this. They created this system.)

Do you suppose they called themselves to the position they hold?
(Of course! They call their buddies to these positions. Look how many former Presidents of BYU or BYU Idaho are now GAs.)

I think, though I could be wrong, that you are not being just towards the leadership. Is it possible they are doing as they believe God wants them to do? (Yes, I'm sure God Almighty, the Creator of the world, needs a Mall.)

Is it possible, in other words, that they are actually well-meaning and not self-serving? (Self serving is the correct word to use here. Stop listening to what they say…look at what they do.)

Since the one thing - the ONLY thing - that matters is repentance and faith in Christ, why are we not teaching that and leaving the rest alone?

(And here is your problem, Log. Repentance and faith in Christ is not the only thing that matters. That is a false idea that you promote over and over again to beat people up. Repentance just means to change your mind. And faith is only useful to take you to the knowledge of the truth. It is knowledge that saves you, not faith. Read again Denver's quote from Joseph Smith on his November 6 post. "Joseph Smith taught that it is critical for us to know the mysteries of God. "Knowledge saves a man; and in the world of spirits no man can be exalted but by knowledge." TPJS, p. 357. "A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world." TPJS, p. 217. Joseph understood we are saved by gaining knowledge about God’s mysteries. When we are ignorant of them, we cannot be saved. No one can be saved in ignorance. It is not possible." Log, stop accusing us of impiety when we just want to learn the truth of things.)

Why must we point an accusing finger at the leadership?
(To tell the truth is not pointing an "accusing finger" at anyone.)

Has accusing others ever brought someone to repent of their own sins? (Of course! How are they to repent and change their mind if they don’t know they are off base?)

I don't understand what your goal is, Rock - if it's to bring souls to Christ that they may taste of his everlasting love and be cleansed from sin, how does this approach bring it to pass?
(That's easy. The truth will set you free!)

Unknown said...

Nice review. I've added your definition of infertility to my sheet off definitions, but would offer this:
Alma repented of his "sins and iniquity". Therefore iniquity is different from sin, or not sin specifically. What I've considered the definition of iniquity came from Avram Gileadi, which is "INIQUITIES are those patterns and effects of sin that we have, either because of what we've done ourselves or inherited from our fathers or parents or grandparents, down through the generations: dysfunctional behavior patterns, ignorance, false traditions, genetic defects, etc., that are passed on from generation to generation." Hence "..visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation..." (Ex 20:5)

Greg S said...

Thanks Rock for another great post. Thank you for explaining what iniquity means. I also have always glossed over that word thinking I knew what it meant.
I have been my ward's financial clerk for about 5 years now and have seen the millions come in and then go out to SLC. I have seen what comes back for the wards use and for fast offering payments. It is a fraction of what goes out.
Of course I don't make decisions on how it is spent but I do write the checks and know what each is for and to whom they go.
I don't pay tithing or fast offerings to the corporation anymore and choose instead to pay my "alms"(3 Nephi 13:1-4) to people directly as Christ taught to the people in the Book of Mormon.
Thanks for the info on Liahona Childrens Foundation. I donated to them and plan to continue. Feeding God's hungry children makes far more sense to me than getting people hooked on shopping for overpriced crap they don't need.

Erstwhile said...

Log,

Man, will you quit defending the leadership whilst declaring you are a seeker of truth? I don't get you- almost every blog you comment on has you judging someone for having the cajones for bravely holding the so-called leaders feet to the fire. Why do you insist on everyone sitting on the fence and serving two masters as you seem to be doing? I think if we were in Nephite times or in King Noahs court, or amongst the Gadiantons, you'd be doing exactly the same thing- chastising the cajones-bearers for standing up and challenging those who claim authority and the seat of prophets yet have no power outside of profit to back it up.

The irreverence I just saw in that video above of the first presidency and the smug twjt Bednar is exactly what I'd picture the sloth-ly priests in King Noah'scourt to be doing. And to hear the prayer that sounded more like a suckup job to Monson ghan to our Creator, was shameless.

Call them out for a what they are- Emperors with New Clothes. Stop supporting these lazy priestcraft liars! Just because the Book of Mormon is true has zero bearing on these leaders having any power or authority whatsoever. The Book of Mormon warns against priest craft. ..men settings themselves up for a light to the world ! Wake up and believe the Gadiantons are with us and have been since Brigham and Heber C Kimball, those adorable freemasons infiltrated the humble Church of Christ, in early 1830 which was full of faith and miracles!

Log said...

Anonymous - keep confessing others' sins, as you judge them, and see how far that gets you in the day of judgement.

I charged the Saints not to follow the example of the adversary in accusing the brethren, and said, "If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will enter heaven, and if you will follow the revelations and instructions which God gives you through me, I will take you into heaven as my back load. If you will not accuse me, I will not accuse you. If you will throw a cloak of charity over my sins, I will over yours--for charity covereth a multitude of sins. What many people call sin is not sin; I do many things to break down superstition, and I will break it down"; I referred to the curse of Ham for laughing at Noah, while in his wine, but doing no harm. Noah was righteous man, and yet he drank wine and became intoxicated; the Lord did not forsake him in consequence thereof, for he retained all the power of his Priesthood, and when he was accused by Canaan, he cursed him by the Priesthood which he held, and the Lord had respect to his word, and the Priesthood which he held, notwithstanding he was drunk, and the curse remains upon the posterity of Canaan until the present day. (November 7, 1841.) DHC 4:445-446.

As for what it pleases you to call my "false idea," I can do no better than to cite the Lord on the subject.

Doctrine and Covenants 19:31
31 And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost.

Jonas said...

The Church™ continues to slide down a slope made slippery by the inwardly-focused nature of corporations. A corporation trying to function as a religion is fundamentally at odds with itself. I love Jon Huntsman senior's take on the matter of alms vs tithing. In a Forbes Magazine interview the Mormon billionaire philanthropist said,

“My philanthropy is not borne out of my faith,” he says. “They require 10% tithing. I don’t consider that to be philanthropy and I don’t consider it to be part of my philanthropic giving. I consider it as club dues.

“People who put money in the church basket and people who go to church and pay the pastor: that isn’t real philanthropy, that’s just like you belong to a country club. You pay your dues to belong to that church so you pay your tithing or whatever it is. I’ve never added that into my philanthropy in any way because I just think it’s a part of a person’s life.”

Remarkably, Huntsman has been a life-long giver, sometimes taking out loans to cover his commitments to charitable giving.

Steven Lester, it's good to see you back on these pages.

Martin Harris Luther said...
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Log said...

I think it needs to be repeated. "If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will enter into heaven."

Please hear that. Please understand that the standards and priciples which you apply to others shall be what gets applied to you in the day of judgement.

We don't need to point up others' sins in preaching the truth - and we shouldn't, unless God by his own mouth commands us, because the target of our ire may well be innocent in his heart. If they misunderstand what Zion is, and are working to bring to pass what they understand Zion to be, they are innocent of priestcraft.

And confessing their (perceived) sins is particularly pointless with respect to the leadership, since they (in all likelihood) don't read this stuff and therefore won't repent based on it. All one does is poison others against others and this, I believe, is not what Christ would have of us.

Now, Rock says he did not intend to impugn their motives. I believe him. He is the authority on his own motivations, and I don't have a mind-reading device.

I feel to address again what it has pleased Anonymous to call my "false idea."

2 Nephi 32:5-6
5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.

6 Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do.


While each person is perfectly free to focus and teach on what they will, for myself I do not wish this to be said to me by a servant of God.

Mosiah 12:26
26 I say unto you, wo be unto you for perverting the ways of the Lord! For if ye understand these things ye have not taught them; therefore, ye have perverted the ways of the Lord.


Please be wise.

Martin Harris Luther said...

Hey Rock, thanks for another great post. I’ve compared withholding a temple recommend because someone isn’t a full tithe payer to the selling of indulgences.

I still pay tithing to the church on my increase (income beyond basic living expenses), but the difference between that and what I had previously been paying on gross I now use to provide direct charity to individuals. Because I still benefit from the use of my church meetinghouse and other things provided by the church, I think it’s right that I should contribute. But I have seen real blessings come to me and others since I started giving the discretionary surplus for tangible charitable purposes. Ironically, I have seen one person’s attitude toward the church go from very negative to positive as a result. Makes me think of Matthew 10:39: that maybe the church, in seeking to find its PR is losing it, and if they would just lose the PR, they would find it.

I have a lot of ideas about how a person is benefitted spiritually when they stop outsourcing their charity to other people or institutions. I’m planning to make my next blog post about it, as a follow-on to my current post about why I stopped outsourcing my spirituality.

Log said...
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Log said...

With respect to the mysteries of God...

JST Matt 7
9 Go ye into the world, saying unto all, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come nigh unto you.

10 And the mysteries of the kingdom ye shall keep within yourselves; for it is not meet to give that which is holy unto the dogs; neither cast ye your pearls unto swine, lest they trample them under their feet.

11 For the world cannot receive that which ye yourselves, are not able to bear; wherefore ye shall not give your pearls unto them, lest they turn again and rend you.

12 Say unto them, Ask of God; ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

13 For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened.


So, Christ says to preach repentance and faith, essentially, and not give out the mysteries, but tell people instead to ask for them from God. I wonder why someone would upbraid others for teaching and doing this?

After all...

Alma 12
9 And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying: It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.


It's almost as though, generally speaking, those who know the mysteries don't talk about them - while those who do talk about them don't know them.

Twig said...

"I think, though I could be wrong, that you are not being just towards the leadership."

This is a judgement.

"Since the one thing - the ONLY thing - that matters is repentance and faith in Christ, why are we not teaching that and leaving the rest alone?

Why must we point an accusing finger at the leadership? Has accusing others ever brought someone to repent of their own sins?"

You seem to like to soften your accusations by using the word "we" as if everyone won't realize you are talking about Rock. Or if you truly mean "we", then you are lumping yourself into this and admittedly making accusations and pointing fingers. (Which is nice to see you admitting because if is obviously true)

"Anonymous - keep confessing others' sins, as you judge them, and see how far that gets you in the day of judgement."
Now that sure sounds contrary to teaching only repentance and faith. How odd the continual hypocrisies.

"I think it needs to be repeated. "If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will enter into heaven."

Please hear that. Please understand that the standards and priciples which you apply to others shall be what gets applied to you in the day of judgement.

We don't need to point up others' sins in preaching the truth - and we shouldn't, unless God by his own mouth commands us, because the target of our ire may well be innocent in his heart. If they misunderstand what Zion is, and are working to bring to pass what they understand Zion to be, they are innocent of priestcraft."

Wow log that sure sounds like you are teaching a hell of a lot more than repentance and faith, and you are adding to the scriptures.

While you go about accusing others of making accusations, and judging others to be judgemental, you have proven to be a hypocrite.

But now I am accusing you of accusing others of making accusations. Damnit I better go find a scripture that seems to apply in some vague way to hide my self righteousness!

It is definitely a good idea to keep erasing your comments. They only prove yourself to be guilty of the very thing you accuse others of over and over again. Why the infatuation with this log?

Log said...

Hi, Twig.

If I have done you wrong, please let me know what I have done and how I may repair the wrong I have done you.

Log said...

Erstwhile asked me a question which I shall answer.

"Why do you insist on everyone sitting on the fence and serving two masters as you seem to be doing?"

I'm trying to warn of unjust judgement.

Have you never been unjustly accused? Have you never had your motives impugned when you had nothing but good intent? Have you ever been punished for doing what you thought was right?

If so, then by the golden rule - which we each witness to God we're willing to keep by taking the sacrament - you know you had not ought to do those things to others.

A just judge will find in favor of the accused so long as it's only possible the accused can be innocent - and it is intent which determines whether an action is sin or righteousness. If a just judge doesn't know the intent of the accused, the just judge will not condemn.

Even in the secular realm this principle is recognized.

Being just is so important that they even named a resurrection after it, and being just is a signal characteristic of the exalted (D&C 76:50 and up).

Now, if it is our intent to be just, shouldn't we be just? Unless we know someone's intent, should we not assume they mean well? Would we not wish the same courtesy extended to us by our judges?

Isn't the point of any community based upon the gospel of Christ to build up one another on the principles of the gospel - all of which can be summed up in the golden rule?

Nevertheless, all are free to choose for themselves.

D&C 1:10 - The Lord shall come to recompense unto every man according to his work, and measure to every man according to the measure which he has measured to his fellow man.

Log said...

And it is not that I defend the Brethren - that's not my point.

I simply say "don't accuse."

I know some believe I am an hypocrite on this, because I said "I think, [Rock], though I could be wrong, that you are not being just."

I was actually saying to Rock that he gave the appearance of injustice. Rock understood my intent, as evidenced by his response to me.

"I could be wrong." I here acknowledged Rock may be innocent despite appearances. He declared he was innocent, and I accepted that.

Aaron had the same kind of concerns for his brother Ammon as seen in Alma 26. It turns out Ammon was innocent of the charge, for he was rejoicing in that which the Lord had done through them, not taking glory unto himself. But Aaron was no hypocrite.

Gaybob Spongebath said...

Ruken's comment was pointless. You do not spelling.

Log said...

And, since I'm on quite the tear this morning, let me give forth a couple other thoughts.

The current leadership of the Church inherited this system, they did not invent it. They, like us, were raised in LDS culture. They absorbed the traditions of our people. They obeyed them. They did not call themselves to their positions - the Church doesn't work like that. Indeed, if you openly seek an office, unless I am mistaken, you will be passed up. I think the beliefs and knowledge base of the leadership remains the same - just as if I were to be called to whatever position tomorrow, my beliefs and knowledge base would remain the same - even as the leadership ladder is ascended in the Church. So why expect more of them than you, dear reader, would be able to offer were you in their place? I certainly don't expect them to know more than they do. They're in all likelihood perfectly sincere and well-meaning in what they do.

I believe God called those presently sitting to their places - whether they are chosen is a different matter and I have no knowledge of that. That's between them and God. But they certainly did not "hire" themselves.

I can see harm that comes from accusing the brethren and the church. Whatever other good you might have, when you accuse the brethren, you automatically polarize your audience and lose the power to persuade at least some of them to listen to whatever other good you may have to say.

Now, does the leadership do things contrary to the scriptures? Oh hell yes they do, just as the US government has departed from the Constitution. But here's the kicker - you still cannot accuse them because when you are taught by the traditions of men, you cease to see the words before you and what arises in your mind when you read is what you have been taught. Haven't we all experienced that? I certainly have.

Let us have mercy. Let us bind up the broken souls that are delivered us.

JST Luke 10
31 And Jesus answering, said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his raiment and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

32 And by chance, there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side of the way.

33 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked upon him, and passed by on the other side of the way; for they desired in their hearts that it might not be known that they had seen him.

34 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion on him.

35 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

36 And on the morrow, when he departed, he took money, and gave to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him, and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

37 Who now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him who fell among the thieves?

38 And he said, He who showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go and do likewise.


The Samaritan did not waste his time reviling the priest or the Levite, but went about doing good.

gospelfullness said...

Another great call to repentance. If only this wayward generation would listen.

Anonymous said...

Log, I know this story will resonate with you.

"Most of us are guilty of judging the actions of others without fully understanding things, so Matt’s new quest to follow President Uchtdorf’s advice to just “stop it” when it comes to judgement will inspire thousands to become better people.
“I was extra motivated after reading The Huffington Post last week,” Matt explains. “I read a post about some murder that had happened in South Dakota, and was silently judging the killer for his actions. Then it struck me—who am I to pass judgement on someone when I haven’t even engaged in the activity I’m judging them for?”
In an attempt to form friendships with the drug gangs and become a more open and loving individual—one who would NEVER judge another person—Matt plans on committing a small murder next week.
Though slightly overwhelmed by the magnitude of his task to never pass uneducated judgement ever again, Matt is confident that it will be a refining experience.
http://i0.wp.com/www.millennialmormons.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Heroin-Satire.png

voodoo juju said...

http://i.imgur.com/oSIvzxE.jpg

Steve Ross said...

I always love your blog posts; this one is one of my favorites!

It has motivated me to help the poor even more.

One thing I would like to add, it would be nice if you had a section at the end of you posts with reference citations. I get a wealth of information from this site and always want to find out more about many of the things you share with us. For instance, in this post you stated that ..."The Twelve apostles took a vote among themselves and decided they were too important to have to pay in like everybody else." I wish you provided more references when you share these little known tidbits with us so we could research more about them.

Thank you and keep up the good work!!

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous guy and others too numerous to mention giving Log a hard time. THANK YOU! Rock, this is a brilliant piece! Those of us who know your heart actually appreciate and dare I say love your style, sarcasm, and wit. Log, I'm sure you are a good dude, but chilax a little would ya! Holding your tongue might serve you well from time to time. Although I do enjoy the comments rebutting your sanctimonious critiques. It just gets old. It's like you want to fight with everyone about everything on every blog. Sheeeesh! It does not add positively to the dialogue from my point of view. Rock is showing tremendous courage here. And you are showing tremendous self-righteousness. Thank you Rock. Log, I fully expect no fewer than 3 extremely long responses. Please try to NOT to reply this time. You can do it.

Dani said...

What's fascinating about these ongoing "leadership" accusations and arguments is that in the very act of accusing, the accusers are lifting the brethren up. It is a form of idol worship--a distraction from keeping our eye single to the glory of God. "They should be better. They are abusing God. They should set the example," as if "we" (whoever we may be) have never been less than perfect in revering the Lord during another person's prayer or even our own. I can say I have been less than perfectly reverent.

"We" can't have it both ways. We can't say that there should be no man between us and God in one moment and then complain that the brethren are standing between us and God in the next. We can put our monies wherever we like. It is not our money anyway and we will all be held accountable no matter what official "calling" we hold or do not hold. What we lack is the faith that God is with us even in error as long as we have pure intent. What we fear is that we will choose the wrong side when there is only a perception of sides. I'm pretty sure God knows how to take care of His own.

We don't get to call people to repentance unless we have the Lord's literal words to do so. We do not get to determine another person's sin before God. Only God gets to do that because only God is qualified. God doesn't need tattletales.

Additionally, to say that we should all repent is not the same as to say, "Hey you. You only put $1 in the coffers. I put $5. You should repent." To say accusation is anti-Christ is not the same as to say, "You're going to hell."

If people want to complain about the Church, they (we, I) should leave God out of it. I was unhappy about that video about the prayer being posted because it serves absolutely no good purpose except to introduce cynicism and resentment into the members of an organization (if they don't know better). I strongly believe that this Church which seeks to baptize helps many, many people draw closer to God--it helped me. Instead of pointing again and again at what many see as 'a golden calf,'maybe we should try climbing the mountain.

SMITH said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Erstwhile said...

My point, Log, as others have pointed out is that seem to righteously stand on the soapbox and declare us all accusers.
yet you don't see yourself accusing us! Weird irony! The difference is that I dont care to accuse the 'brethren' (ugh, that word is so idol-ish- we are ALL brethren- why do u call any man good, saith the Master, when only your Father in heaven is good)- I Don't care about their personal sins as much as they care about ours! What you don't see, Mighty Log, is the secret combinations that are among the GA's- tge type that the Lamanites hunted down and eradicated from their leadership who wore sheeps clothing. Who rip ofg the innocent tithe payers and rob the widows and orphans. How can you not see that and yet keep callibg us accusers? I dont care if Bednar was watching porn whilst getting drunk- thats his problem! I do care what he and the rest of the smug pricks do- take on a role handed to them thru succession, and PRETEND to have miraculous powers like Peter and those in the early church 1830's. If the Lord is going to judge and punish me for standing up for the rights of the oppressed and defenseless, I'll take my punishment like a man and look forward to doing time with those like me. Its in my nature. The Lird gave me that nature as he did Rosa Parks, Martin luther, Martin Luther King, Ghandi and all the minimum wage brothers and sisters such as myself. We'll be forgotten long after Monson and Brigham but whilst here I'm happy to respond to my natures conscience and fight the good fight. If I am wrong, the mercy of Jesus is all I can ask. Until then, these guys who PRETEND and were never called by the Lord- the church has not existed in its original form since the Gentiles took out Jesus' name from the church in 1834- look at the Kirtland Temole and 1835 D&C- both say ' Church of latter day saints' having taken out Jesus Christ from the name. Hence this LDS church is as much inspired with its false leaders as the Catholics are with their Pope.
Get over yourself Log. Dont threaten me with the Lord's punishments- that is typical of the LDS correlated and trained man. The God I believe in from the Book of Mormon is one who forgives for personal sins but holds in contempt when secretly combine in the secret chambers to control unrighteousness dominion over those they've fooled and get rich doing so.
and that garvage that this is what the leaders inherited? Please. Alma the first would be shuddering in his grave. And Abraham (think Terah). And King Benjamin. Just coz my father, uncles and gradfather were all thugs and alcoholics who beat their wives and ripped people off, does not excuse me to do the same. I repeat- it takes the power of one to do something. . Alma, for goodness sake!
Dont make excuses the rich and powerful, Log, and then turn the tables on us calling us accusers. It is our DUTY to do what our conscience tells us.
The humble church of Jesus Christ needs to be manifest itself again- fishermen and carpenters at the helm. Not freemasons swapping signs with kings and politicians.
You want to support the kingmen, go ahead. I ain't afraid of them nor your sanctimonious threats.
Goodnight!

Anonymous said...

Rock,
Many of us have already danced with this issue and found it very soothing to our souls to just say "NO!"
There are save two churchs only, the CHURCH OF THE LAMB OF GOD, and the church of the devil...and there are no fence sitters.
James Russell Uhl

Log said...

Erstwhile -

People whose consciences are clear don't react when someone holds up a general garment, in my experience. After all, if the garment is not cut to their fit, they have no interest in it.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Oh my. Normally I try to stay on top of the comments the first couple of days, but I was helping my neighbors move all day and when I come back I find one of you readers calling another a bad word.

We try not to do that here, Smith. You are welcome to engage in civil debate, but referring to someone you find disagreeable by using a disagreeable term is, well, disagreeable.

Jonathan Butler said...

Problem with the garment analogy Log is that you feel you're the only tailor in town.

I agree with Erstwhile.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Steve Ross,
When I saw your request for citations the first thing I was going to do is tell you that there are links embedded throughout my posts that normally take the reader to the appropriate source. But then I saw you were interested particularly in the cite for when and why the Twelve voted themselves exempt, and I saw that indeed I had not provided a link for that.

I did, however, provide a link when I made mention of it in "Are We Paying Too Much Tithing?" My source was Chapter six of Michael Quinn's "The Mormon Hierachy: Origins of Power" which happens now to be available online here:

http://lds-church-history.blogspot.com/2010/12/lds-history-summary.html

I'll quote the pertinent part:

"the Twelve voted to exempt themselves, the two general bishops Newel K. Whitney and George Miller, and the Nauvoo Temple Committee from any obligation to pay tithing. This was due to their services to the church."

Quinn's footnote leads to these citations:

Heber C. Kimball diary, 29 Jan. 1845, in Stanley B. Kimball, ed., On the Potter's Wheel: The Diaries of Heber C. Kimball (Salt Lake City: Signature Books/Smith Research Associates, 1987), 94; Nauvoo Trustee-in-Trust Tithing and Donation Record, 220-222 (29 Jan. 1845), LDS archives

Hope that helps. Steve. Now I just need to remember to add that link into the current post.

Erstwhile said...

Perhaps in your smugness Log I ought to tell you the garment didnt fit and I took them off- the temple garment which is false. So much for your garment statement- I no longer attend the church because it has been corrupted. And the gadiantons in this modern day have seduced the likes of you. Go ahead, call us accusers. We may be accusing the leadership of their Rameumpton ways, yes! But at least we are doing it with a heart of not accusing the least of our brethren- the poor among us, in spirit and needs. Check yourself before you talk. You keep saying the 'Brethren' like they're better than the least of our brethren, yet for all their buildings and I'm a mormon ads, not a single revelation nor miracle nor testimony of seeing the Saviour in their 'special witness' callings has occured since Joseph Smith was slain. Thats 4 generations and counting. Go ahead, get seduced by Pharoah's magicians who claim that they KNOW each other are special yet not a single thing to back it up.
With all due respect, Tailor of the Garment, why are you amngst us broken and weary? You'd be ideal spending your time with those in higher places.
and while you're at it- lighten up! The people here at blogs like this need the physician and His medicine. You obviously don't need it.

Log said...

"You keep saying the 'Brethren' like they're better than the least of our brethren..."

Oh, Erstwhile, had we not have pity upon them? You of yourself have made clear you believe they are poor towards God, while rich in the things of this world.

Why accuse them? Why must care for the poor be coupled with accusations towards the rich? Why can we not observe the whole law, caring for the poor while NOT accusing those who sit in the chief seats of the synagogues?

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

I repeat - I am defending a principle, not personalities. If a poor man were to be accused of sinful intent, I would defend him too, on the same basis.

"[T]hus saith the Lord: Ye shall not esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above another[.]"

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Well Log my friend, I see that you have been mercilessly pummeled in my absence.

I would personally like to stay out of this fray, because I know where you are coming from and recognize the intent of your heart. I think you are being misunderstood, but I also believe you have contributed to this misunderstanding by your insistence on calling others to repentance. As you yourself have declared, no one likes an accusatory finger pointed at them, and though your intent was not to accuse, that has been the perception. I know you don't mean to, but you do sometimes appear to others as self-righteous and condescending.

But never mind. At least know you have not offended me.

I recognize that the Lord has put it on your heart to avoid confrontation with authority, indeed, to ignore the Church authorities because like me, you believe they are irrelevant. You once asked me, "why then spend any effort talking about them?"

I respect that your view. But those are not the instructions the Lord has given to me. I am frequently inspired to take things in another direction, to speak truth to power; and although I am also instructed at times to teach the virtues of kindness and meekness, (which I wholeheartedly embrace), those topics are not always the topics the Lord puts on my heart to write about.

I could, as you suggest, simply quote scripture and let that stand. Maybe some day that's what I'll do, like the time Denver Snuffer memorably read aloud from Ezekial 34 without comment.

If and when the Lord directs me to do something like that, as he directed Denver, I will do so.

You often cite scripture to support your position, and those scriptures are valid -in certain times and circumstances in which they were given. The scriptures also teach us there is a time to bear things patiently, and a time to speak out. If we are in tune, it's possible for some of us to receive one instruction from the Lord, while another is given a different path to follow. That doesn't mean the paths will end up in different places. I think there is a role for us all in this great work of preserving the Restoration begun by Joseph Smith. We do not all have identical callings.

I understand you have received personal revelation for how you are to conduct yourself at this time. I have received a different instruction. I am expected to speak out regarding the iniquity I see in the Church today.

You wonder how I expect to get the leaders to repent, since you see this post as accusatory, and they are not likely to be swayed by my words. Thankfully, I don't expect the Church leaders to read my words and change their ways. I'm no Abinadi. I am not preaching repentance to the leaders of the Church.

Whatever little I'm accomplishing here is intended to persuade those of our brothers and sisters who are confused as to where their allegiance belongs. After a lifetime of being taught their loyalty belongs to the structural Church, I'm merely suggesting their fealty belongs only to Christ.

That is how I teach repentance. Let's change our focus from fallible men, and instead have an eye single to the glory of God.

I perceive that you have been called to a different calling. I believe you have been given personal revelation to that effect. But remember, no man has the right to receive revelation for another, and what the Lord has revealed to be the right action in your life is not something you can rightfully apply to another. I wish you Godspeed in your personal mission.

Erstwhile said...

Fantastic to see you didn't address any of my points about lack of revelations and miracles from the 12.

Now what was it you said about the fit of the garment?! ;)

You make my case stronger than I can. Power to the you then!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Log,
I would say something about the examples you cited at 7:35 this morning above.

The Lord often gives us scripture that applies to us all in all circumstances. Sometimes, however, he gave specific instructions to individuals that were not intended to be applied to all.

Such is the case with D&C 19:31 which you cite:"And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior, and remission of sins by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost."

Here the Lord was talking directly to Martin Harris. From what we know of Harris, he was extremely enthusiastic about the gospel and sometimes tended to overtalk. I was like this when I was new on my mission, excitedly feeding a new contact so much information that I overloaded them, and eventually I'd lose them. Martin Harris was being told to slow down, teach just the basics; one thing at a time. Meat before milk. My senior companion took me aside and told me much the same thing.

We are not intended to take the Lord's instruction to Martin Harris as a guide for everything in our own lives. There may be a place for me to stick to the basics, but on this blog it's assumed the readers have been given the basics. But along with those basics, most of us have picked up a lot of false beliefs. It's time to talk about what those false beliefs are and how to let go of them without abandoning all that is right and good about our religion.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Log, the quote you provide from Joseph Smith, "I charged the Saints not to follow the example of the adversary in accusing the brethren, and said, "If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you" is also helped by understanding a bit of context.

That statement was part of a reproof the prophet gave to William O. Clark, who had just given a two hour fire and brimstone sermon to the Saints charging them with not being temperate enough, not being sanctimonious enough, and frankly, just not being good enough. The scribe describes Clark's Sermon as having been delivered "in the rigid sectarian style."

In other words, he was coming off as a bible-thumping Baptist.

Joseph Smith stood up right then and there and chastised William Clark (a church leader at the time)in front of the whole congregation:

"I reproved him as Pharisaical and hypocritical and not edifying the people; and showed the Saints what temperance, faith, virtue, charity, and truth were. I charged the Saints not to follow the example of the adversary in accusing the brethren, and said, If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you."

It's worth noting that "the brethren" in those days did not mean exactly how we mean it today when we say The Brethren. He could have just as well said, "their brethren," as he was not warning the saints against accusing the leaders, but against accusing each other.

Clark, like many sectarian preachers of the day, was apparently condemning the saints for their imbibing of spirits, which was rampant even among Mormons in those days.

The prophet, in effect, was telling them that a drink now and then was not going to send them to hell. Let's be charitable with one another, he is saying. If you'll overlook my petty shortcomings, I'll overlook yours.

Log said...

Rock,

Actually, I got to thinking about that today - that you are a tool in the hands of the Almighty to spit piss and vinegar over everything.

As for me, and as you know, I just want peace among us all, and I will sacrifice and endure abuse for that cause.

Now, you may have noted I brought more than the Lord's instruction to Martin to bear which established the general principle. But the general principle falls by the wayside to direct instruction of the Lord.

If you don't mind my asking, I notice you deploy rhetoric which is calculated to produce envy, disgust, or ire towards the GAs. Must it be this way? You need not justify the answer to that question, neither answer it at all.

Erstwhile -

You misunderstand my intent and what I have been talking about. So does James and the rest. It's ok; I don't mind. Read me neutrally rather than with a tone of accusation and you'll hit closer to the mark. I'm not trying to win an argument.

Log said...

Rock

You said "The prophet, in effect, was telling them that a drink now and then was not going to send them to hell. Let's be charitable with one another, he is saying. If you'll overlook my petty shortcomings, I'll overlook yours."

I was using it as a general proscription of accusation, not as a prohibition solely against accusing the leadership. I would leave off the "petty," though.

Log said...

And, lastly, Rock, I appreciate that you see my intent and your defense of my character and brotherly concern for my lack of social graces.

Gaybob Spongebath said...

Well good. It's agreed then.
Log will create world peace and harmony, and Rock will continue to spit piss and vinegar.

Diana Harrison said...

This is one of my top five favorite posts!

What I really find interesting is that the more I choose Christ and to worship God according to the dictates of my own conscience, the LESS I feel like a victim. When I shed and rejected the lies and feigned piety of the Church as it stands today, my victim status quickly went out the door with my "offerings."

I hope the brother who donates his tithing as fast offerings realizes that the little disclaimer at the bottom of the donation form REMOVES that little bit of agency that he tries to exercise as well.

Free at last! Free at last!

Erstwhile said...

...and Erstwhile will Log-off.

the_mormonion said...

Really, log? Rock is a "tool in the hands of the Almighty to spit piss and vinegar over everything"? I suppose you'd also consider Jesus to be spitting piss and vinegar over everything when he overturned the moneychangers' tables at the temple, or when he called the Pharisees out for being hypocrites?

Rock's blog is anything but "piss and vinegar." Yes, there are harsh tones taken with those who are in positions of leadership, but the messages I see are overwhelmingly positive. (Almost as positive as the cheery, non-confrontational disposition you bring along with you in the comment section!) Just check out his piece "What Do I Mean By 'Pure Mormonism'?" as an example.

The truth is, we are talking about life and death here. To refrain from calling out the Church on its failure to abide by the doctrines of Christ, good LDS men and women are literally dying in wars they have no business being in. If the scriptures to be believed, and warring in foreign lands is forbidden save we are commanded, then by producing false doctrine in the form of videos such as "Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled," the LDS Church is indirectly responsible for the deaths suffered by LDS servicemen. If the Church taught the correct doctrine, the one revealed to Joseph Smith, the one that comes from the Prince of Peace, countless lives would have spared.

To say nothing is the greater sin.

Log said...

@the_mormonion

"To say nothing is the greater sin."

I'm not sure this is so; I can think of multiple counterexamples from the scriptures. But even then, it doesn't matter what those men thought - the one whose thoughts matter is you.

I think the general principle is to suffer abuse until the Lord sees fit to deliver one, or the conditions for self-defense are met - and, in this case, it is a distinct possibility Rock is, indeed, assisting in delivering people from certain forms of idolatry.

I just know that had pure scriptural arguments been made - that is, without aspersions cast upon the Church or leadership - I believe it's more than possible that some would be more receptive to what truths Rock offers. That's part of my concerns.

In any event, I meant no disrespect to Rock. I was being serious when I said he was a tool in the hands of the Almighty. Piss and vinegar.

BK said...

Are we not to waste and wear out our lives bringing hidden works of darkness to light? Especially if done by those who call themselves prophets? Who are taking advantage people and leading them astray?

Christ accused the brethren (leaders), Abinadi accused the brethren, even Joseph accused the brethren and was almost surely about to even excommunicate most of them if he had lived longer and would have told the whole world of his accusations against them.

I do not believe that that 'accuse the brethren' quote is a true principle nor that Joseph Smith mean't it that way, to curtail accusations against church leaders, for he welcomed such. Joseph himself accused many of the Brethren and taught us to warn others especially about any leaders who are leading people astray and doing evil.

The only thing necessary for false prophets to triumph is for good people to 'do or say' nothing.

And Christ commanded us to make righteous judgments, as long as we make sure we have the beam out of our own eye 1st, so we can do so correctly.

Only false prophets tell us to not 'accuse them', for they of course don't want to be judged. But we must make judgments so we can protect ourselves & others from falling for them and those who preach & practice evil, knowingly or unknowingly.

We can't even be of help to 'lost sheep' & 'lost brethren' unless we can discern that they are in fact 'lost'. The key is in judging with love and for the right reasons.

I believe that no matter how good our intentions, if we or leaders allow ourselves to be deceived because we don't have enough love & light about the Gospel to tell truth from error, then the eternal consequences are the same, no matter how sincere we were in our deceptions.

For everyone knows deep down right from wrong, no one can claim ignorance of the 10 commandments or the Golden Rule or what it means to have love.

Christ taught that one of the tests of this life is to see who can be deceived and who can't. Those who are not deceived to fall for evil or false prophets will gain eternal life for they were righteous enough to see through such things and people.

I believe if we live righteously we can't help but have the Holy Spirit as our guide warning us about where we have been deceived. So if we remain in our deceptions it's because we don't have the true Spirit to awaken us.

Truth is authority said...

Log

Hi brother. You said your intent was to have peace with everyone. Do you believe that your comments produce peace or discord? Or is the blame purely on others for any discord?
Erstwhile,

Thanks for your comments. I am glad to see The Lord has told others about the truth of the garments, and I loved your references to other warriors of truth. I felt the spirit of truth in one of your comments.

I can attest that The Lord has worked through Rock. The Spirit bore witness to me that the "leaders" had lead the church astray after a read one of his posts quite a while ago. It was a blessing to say the least and a crucial step in my spiritual journey. God bless us all in our discipleship to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and may He remove all stumbling blocks from our path, whether those stumbling blocks be falsehoods or evil and conspiring men.

Log said...

Hi TIA,

If I have spoken evil, bear witness to the evil, but if I have spoken well, for what do you wish to assign blame?

Anonymous said...

Log
If I am the JAMES you lumped with "everyone else" I take exception to that. Perhaps that is part of what you are encountering…you seem to lump "everyone else" into a group separate from yourself whom you seem to think is the only one who sees the truth.
Did you NOT understand what Rock in his kindly way was trying to tell you? Not everyone is given the same message by the Spirit, i.e., from the Lord.
Unfortunately, there seems to be a very wide spectrum of posters on this particular blog, all the way from angels to devil.
Much love brother, I do believe your heart is in the right place…please give others credit for the same.
JRU

Anonymous said...

Some of us still believe in the true principle of common consent, which implies faithful dissent. We are so unused to it however, that it is almost shocking when we see it.

3 Nephi 6:20-21:

20 And there began to be men inspired from heaven and sent forth, standing among the people in all the land, preaching and testifying boldly of the sins and iniquities of the people, and testifying unto them concerning the redemption which the Lord would make for his people, or in other words, the resurrection of Christ; and they did testify boldly of his death and sufferings.

21 Now there were many of the people who were exceedingly angry because of those who testified of these things; and those who were angry were chiefly the chief judges, and they who had been high priests and lawyers


Those angry high priests, who thought those men were out of line. How dare they testify against sin and iniquity. Much of what they said must have hit close to home.

We are pretty much unaware what true prophets, inspired from heaven, look and sound like, testifying boldly against sin and iniquity, false teachings and traditions.

Laman and Lemuel felt Lehi was over the top, ...our father hath judged them . No doubt Lehi said some pretty tough stuff.

The revealing of false doctrine and false tradition, as confirmed to me by the Holy Spirit, by inspired men sent from God, has been nothing but liberating in my own life. And I thank God for it.

Now we ought to be loving and charitable to all. I have nothing against the Bros personally. However truth is truth, and must be preached and taught. This does not equal personal judgement, which is only the Lords. Too many people fall into the error of conflating the two.

-Ajax

Log said...

Ajax

"Now we ought to be loving and charitable to all."

Yes, I have to agree that we should, and that would be what I have said. Have I failed to be charitable?

James

Thou art the man. I accuse you of nothing save it be not knowing my heart, so what is there to take exception to? Nevertheless, I appreciate that you are willing to extend me the benefit of the doubt.

Anonymous said...

Log, I was speaking generally and not to you personally.

I will now speak to you:
You have been around the bloggernacle block a long time now, and you seem to make waves wherever you are. You do come off as a self-righteous prig, seeking purity in dialogue, nit-picking every word, overwhelming the conversation with a massive amount of posts. Maybe you are programed that way, idk, but that is the perception. I don't mean to offend you, just saying.

Joseph once said, "when I have heard a story about me, I sit down and think about it and pray about it, and I ask myself the question, 'Did I say something or was there something about my manner to give some basis for that story to start?' And often...if I think about it long enough I realize I have done something to give that basis. And there wells up in me forgiveness of the person who has told that story, and a resolve that I will never to that thing again."

Introspection is always good. When you are getting the same complaints over and over, year after year, blog after blog, perhaps you are not accomplishing what you think you are.

And no, you are not being persecuted, you are anonymous on the internet.

Please, just see this as constructive criticism. I apologize in advance.

God be with you.

-ajax

Robin Hood said...

Hi Rock.
Have to say I agree with much of your latest article. That's two in a row Rock! You'll have to do better!

One comment though. I do not understand why there are starving LDS children. Why are their local church leaders not using the welfare funds of the church to assist? The provision is already there. I know from experience that bishops have 100% discretion when considering the needs of the members, and even non-members. There is obviously something going very wrong in these places and the authorities need to tackle it as a matter of the utmost urgency.

Regarding the "I'm a Mormon" campaign and other similar initiatives, I think the church are playing the long game, particularly in the western nations. This impression came to me some time ago. My view is that there will come a time when our western affluence has gone, when calamity is at the door, and when the only place of peace and safety will be with the church/saints. The favourable impressions currently placed in peoples minds, even subliminally, will surface at that time and their natural reluctance to affiliate with us will dissipate and they will throw in their lot with us and come to Zion.
Just a thought.

gospelfullness said...

I'm really looking forward to the family reunion! (The remnant gathering.) I liked the title of this article too. I was forcibly "thrust out" of the synagogue for the first time during my family's tithing settlement. Maybe I should put that up on my blog too.

Log said...

Ajax

I apologize in advance as well, but in reading your comment twice now, I am unable to see where you answered my question: have I failed to be charitable?

As it stands, your criticism, while revealing, is not constructive.

James

And I do believe you mean well. I understood Rock perfectly. But I believe you still misunderstand me. And so I will put "skin in the game."

Maybe it is the case that Rock is on the Lord's errand. Maybe it is the case that the Brethren must be made to seem vile in the eyes of others to further the purposes of the Lord. I do not know that to be the case, but it is possible.

I even acknowledge Rock did not accuse the leadership; in this context, his lack of accusation is a sign to me. What Rock did was deploy rhetoric calculated - let's not pretend that the potter did not know what he was crafting - to make the leadership seem vile.

I have asked Rock if it must be this way. Why? Because I have been on the receiving end of reviling for years, even "constructively," as it were. Because I know what it feels like, I don't wish it done to anyone else, and I feel to speak up when I see it. Nevertheless, I acknowledge that the Lord chastises whom he will altogether for the glory of his name's sake, and therefore it may be done in righteousness. And if this is the will of the Lord, so be it. I say nothing more about it.

Again, I accuse Rock of nothing. I am asking if this must be so.

But what troubles me more is the accusations this reviling seems to call forth - that the leadership are guilty, are hypocrites, are this or that or anything. Even if the leadership is all of that, and is therefore going to hell, those who at the last day point the finger and excuse their own sins by accusing the leadership shall find themselves stuck together where there is no law, where there are no guards, where nobody can die, where everyone hates everyone else, where there is no repentance.

What do people suppose goes on in hell?

Can Zion be built up by those who anger and rage at others for their sins? Can accusers inherit Zion? Can we repent of our own sins while continuously dwelling on the sins of others rather than our own?

And you will note I accuse nobody of anything - yet when I speak this principle, I am myself accused, thus the accusers reveal themselves. It is marvellous how that works.

My accusers may be right. I may be an overtalkative self-righteous asshole, fit for nothing but to be cast onto the dungheap and burned. Or I could have a care for your soul and be trying to help whoever will listen. Or I could be some other third thing. Who knows?

Who indeed.

Greg S said...

Robin Hood,

I have a friend who is on a mission in Africa and told me about a very poor member in the branch they were serving in who made a tremendous sacrifice to attend church. My heart went out to this member and I wanted to help alleviate that condition. I wanted to send some money to my friend so it could be used for the member. I was told the mission president and branch president had a policy that they were not to help the poor members as it set a bad precedent. I was shocked, being my ward's financial clerk and seeing how and on what fast offerings get spent on in my ward.
Apparently they didn't want poor members coming to the church for help. Go figure.
Anyway I had to send money to a charity and get them to earmark it to help this member. The missionaries were allowed to do the work once the materials and some of the labor were paid for.
Really shocking that the church doesn't want to financially help poor people there because it sets a 'bad" precedent.
Left a bad taste in my mouth and a resolve to use my money directly to help people in the future.

Bart Burk said...

Have you ever thought of joining the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? They seem to be following the Restoration pretty well.

Inspire said...

I really don't want to get into this discussion much other than to point to another one, which might get to the heart of why many are disgusted with "Brethren." It comes from the comment section of Daymon Smith's blog.
________________________________

Commentor: The true evil would come if those in darkness comprehended it and still tied the flaxen cords to us with their words, rather than endeavoring to free themselves and others from bondage. I won’t go so far as to cast that stone at any particular person (well, maybe Brigham Young), but I do recognize that malevolence can come from “group-think” (can you say “quorum”?) when an individual is much less inclined to be so cold and calculating.

I agree that we are or have been unwitting servants in somebody else’s “plan.” But it is, I believe, the whole point of this particular blog post. “Plainness” is when we begin to comprehend our darkened state. I could also call it “revelation” or “enlightenment” or maybe even “the spirit of prophecy.”

Daymon: I don’t think you said, “all the men are smiling,” etc. But I do think some men are desiring to keep you in darkness, which they well know. What else does, “When the prophet speaks, the thinking’s been done” mean? It means, "Don’t think."

Benevolent? Ummm, not according to their own religious texts.

Commentor: Well, there is that. And probably much more we can recall from smiling men. Nevertheless, their words and motives speak well enough on their own without my outstretched finger.

Daymon: Sometimes it is nice to poke the Man in the face, though. Just to see that he isn’t real, I suppose.

Tammy said...

I remember one conference talk where Pres. Hinckley made a comment after mention was made about Thomas Monson been given an honorable title in the scouting program as silver wolf and he said "I knew there was a wolf among us". Now I don't know if anyone else felt impressed other than myself, but I got the distinct impression that he was offering a truth for those willing to hear. I was even a little taken back by the thought even though I never have really liked Monsons demeanor.
My husband had a dream ( and often I think they are from God ) where Pres. Hinckley was in his room sobbing. He felt that it was possibly recognizing the situation and the forthcoming events that would try the people.

steve ross said...

Rock,

Thank you for the specific citation. I see now that the way I posted my comment implied that you weren't giving citations for quoted works and facts. My apologies.
Thanks for a wonderful blog. You have now idea how this helps me with my own struggles. Love the church (not the corporation), but I am very concerned the we seem to be heading down.
Keep up the good work!

Tammy said...

It was the bronze wolf award and the year 1993 October conf.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rock, awesome article!! Was wondering if apostles don't pay tithing on their "modest stipend" or if they pay no tithing whatsoever??? Book deals, investments, etc. thanks!!

Seattle mom

Robin Hood said...

Apostles wouldn't pay tithing on their stipends, just as missionaries don't pay tithing on theirs.
I would expect they would on any other income though.

Log said...

That's true.

1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.

2 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;

3 Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.

4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.

5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.


I hope they go about doing this kind of stuff.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Hi Robin Hood!
I felt Greg S. gave a pretty good response to your question on why aren't the bishops in those third world areas taking better care of the poor in their wards and branches, but let me expand on that a bit.

In "The Book of Mammon," which is in large part a memoir of his time working for the Church, Daymon Smith tells of a video he was asked for his input on which the Church developed for bishops. The video had at its aim instruction to bishops on how they should help the members look for other ways to find sustenance so they would ask for less help from the Church. It would appear that some at the COB begin with the assumption that many members are freeloaders, or that they don't know how to earn livings for themselves,and that the problem could be solved by teaching the members how to be more self reliant.

It would appear that those charged with such instruction seem unaware that many of these people work from dawn to dusk just to try to get a little food; but the Church wants them to find a way to work harder.

You can hear Daymon describe the problem in episode two of this interview he did for Mormon stories. Believe me, it's an eye-opener:

http://mormonstories.org/daymon-smith-on-correlation-the-corporate-lds-church-and-mammon/

An insider who commented at Anonymous bishop's post had this to say:

"One other note of interest is that ANY church publication on welfare states emphatically that the reason for it is to increase spirituality and self-reliance (for instance, both handbooks and the official welfare manual). You won’t find a SINGLE mention of to alleviate suffering. Elder Oaks said we should not help the poor because others will do it, and we should focus on things that require priesthood keys since no one else can do those things. I’ll leave that as it is, but it is worth pondering and expanding upon."



Alan Rock Waterman said...

I also note that in Lynne Robbins' Talk, "Tithing: A Commandment Even For the Destitute" which I linked to in the OP, Robbins talked about a time when President Hinckley visited areas in Mexico following a devastating earthquake.

Though Robbins described how this earthquake left many Mexican Saints utterly devastated, he still tells how Hinckley extended a promise to them that even in their present circumstances, if they were to pay their tithes, they would reap blessings and all would be well for them.

I used to believe this kind of claptrap, even though the Lord has never made such a promise, and Hinckley didn't even claim to be speaking for the Lord when he made this promise to those who had just lost everything.

Unfortunately, Robbins doesn't tell us how the story ends. Did those members reap blessings? Was all well for them?

We don't know, because to Lynne Robbins, the only thing that mattered was that Hinckley gave that promise. Whether that promise was any good is the part of the story we are never told.

Robbins is a victim of believing in the myth that if the prophet says something, that's the only thing we need to know about a matter. Was the prophet's promise ever fulfilled? And anyway, how could those members come up with any tithes at all since they lost literally EVERYTHING they owned, as well as their livelihoods?

Sorry, don't know anything about that. The story ends with the promise, and that's the last we get to hear about it.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Seattle Mom,
As to whether the Leaders pay tithing on book royalties or any other income, we just don't know, because they do not make their records transparent as they are commanded to. Maybe if they did, we'd know what they did with the proceeds they receive through Deseret Book.

I can tell you this. I once read a conference report where Joseph Smith gave the Saints an accounting of all his possessions, down to his one and only goat.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Bart Burk,
You ask if I've ever thought of joining the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I believe ALL of the churches of the Restoration are members of the Lord's church, so I see no reason to pick a particular denomination over another. All these schisms are a result of men promoting their own authority as superior to some other's

The unnecessary divide between us and the RLDS, which hit its zenith in the late 1900s and early twentieth century was largely the result of a blood feud between the sons of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Joseph's son believed the authority lay in him, while Hyrum's son believed the keys were held by himself and Team Brigham.

What did the Lord say? "All who repent and come unto me, the same is my church."

I don't think it was ever wise to divide Christ's Church into separate denominations, nor to pick a team to "join" based on any claims a particular denomination's leaders assert as belonging to them.

We have the word of the Lord as given to us in the standard works, and to supplement those words, we have the teachings of the only prophet of this, the last dispensation. That should be sufficient to guide us until the Lord deems us worthy to receive more.

BK said...

It is very sad how we LDS are usually so brainwashed, at least for awhile, to fall for things like 'the poor & devastated' should pay tithing too, or that we should even pay tithes or offering to 'church leaders', as if we can trust them to really give it to the poor, which we can't.

The Church seems clueless as to what Christ taught about helping the poor.

It seems the LDS worship 'Prophets' ahead of Christ, like Catholics do their 'Saints'.

Christ never taught 'tithing' anyway, so if we truly follow Christ we will not worry about giving just 10%, which appears to be an idea from false prophets who waterdowned Christ's real doctrine.

For Christ taught us to give 'all' our excess to the poor, and he never asked or wanted us to give our offerings to church leaders/men, because he knew that few, if any, men are trustworthy enough to distribute the money for us as it should be, instead of pocketing some themselves and using it on things other then the poor.

The Church does not appear to understand that the main reason for religion is to relieve the suffering of the truly needy, the sick, the lonely, the sinners. Some people, like the disabled, elderly and single mothers, usually need to be completely supported the rest of their lives and shouldn't have to go to work.

But Church leaders would rather the fatherless work & support them then they work & support the fatherless. If that's not a huge red flag of false prophets then I don't know what is.

If we truly follow Christ we will follow him and not give our excess money and goods to church leaders who have proven they are unrighteous & untrustworthy, but give directly to the poor who we know really need it and can't or shouldn't work.

Lynne McKinley said...

You could all go on for years back and forth on this post.. but to me the video clip Rock added of those three men during the conference prayer says it all. Oh my God!

I'm no newbie here - I removed my name 15 years ago as a first-person witness to evil in high places, and not because I didn't have a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Restoration, but because I did. I've read it all, heard most of it, seen a lot of it.. but that video clip ripped me through all five stages of grief in about 1.5 seconds. If one picture is worth a thousand words then that video clip is worth a thousand of Rock's blogs. An abomination of accountability.

Anonymous said...

Log, I'm not trying to accuse, condemn or judge. But you are in the middle of every controversy. Every comment directed to you or from you. I think you should look deep within and ask the lord why. It's hard to see ourselves where we really are. But dude it's like everything you say, detracts. It's painful for us who are enjoying a really great post to then have to witness the controversies you stir up. Not zion. Not one heart or one mind. Stressful. Love to you.

Tammy said...

I had a thought after I saw that video of the men in front during the prayer too. Mine was total disgust and blatant disrespect, but then I thought is it possible that the video and the audio were spliced together to make it look that way? It's hard to know just from watching it because the view never moves to the one saying the prayer.
I'd be interested to see it from another perspective.

Log said...

"I think you should look deep within and ask the lord why."

I don't. Why do you?

Be straightforward and say what you really think, like I do. If you wish to call someone out, call them out; bring forth your strong reasonings and convict them of error.

After all, the same "non"-accusation could be leveled at Christ.

Matt 10:34-36
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.


Such is the effect of speaking truth.

I am always enlightened by witnessing who lines up on one side or another. I learn from you, but maybe not what you think I ought to.

Log said...

Incidentally, I am struggling to see the principled difference between those who want me to shut up or for Rock to ban me, and those who in an authoritative context have ordered others to shut up or be banned.

What is the principled difference?

I mean, the the exact same appeals to self-defense and offense are made.

Log said...

Actually, this has got me thinking a lot about imposing the death penalty for heretics, metaphorically speaking.

I wonder if it would be ironic, or expected, if the newly forming Mormon Remnant began adopting the same tactics as the communities that they left or which cast them out.

What do you think? Shall only opinions held by the majority be expressed, on pain of banishment?

Veracity said...

To Rock or anyone else:
I know there are several verses in the scriptures that mention tithing, but as far as I can tell, the current doctrines and policies about tithing come from D&C 119 and an official letter issued by the First Presidency on March 19th, 1970. It seems like all other writings, talks, etc. are opinions about tithing. Does anyone have any other sources providing guidance, doctrine, and policy from the church about how to pay a proper tithe? (Official binding statements, not opinion)
Thank in advance for your help with my question.
Veracity

Walt Heinsmann said...

https://daymonsmith.wordpress.com/2014/12/01/gencon14-the-power-of-the-text-itself/

As 'GA Joey' put it so eloquently in his essay on Daymon Smith's website, it's 'Elder Dallin Hoax' not 'Elder Dallin H. Oaks'. I was laughing my head off for days. Thanks to Earl for sharing the link. It is one of the best essays on the Book of mormon I ever read. In case you nice folks have not read it have a look. Outstanding.

WH

Log said...

4 Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man.

5 And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place.

Maybe Jesus should have looked deep within himself. After all, when everyone has a problem with you, the problem is clearly you.

Irven Hill said...

Yes Log,

May you ever be the martyr....

Log said...

Irven,

I speak of principles, and you speak of personalities - and, thereby, one may infer your position on the question I've asked.

Log said...

The question is: Shall we oppress men in their thoughts by forbidding them from expressing them unless they are sufficiently popular?

The rationale is as follows: The expression of unpopular sentiments has a disruptive effect on a community, and the community has a right to defend itself from disruption. Therefore, for the sake of peace, we should excise heretics from our society. Zion should shortly follow from our casting out those rabble-rousing troublemakers.

Right?

A secondary proposition seems to be implicit in this rationale, too - a man is responsible for the reactions of others to his words.

Is this how unity is accomplished? Certain faith communities seem to think so. What of the self-styled Mormon Remnant? What does it say? Shall justice and equity prevail among them?

Or is the Mormon Remnant really about unity against unpopular targets, like the tribes were united in hatred against the Jacobites immediately prior to the manifestation of the Savior in the flesh among them?

I'm curious to see how the Remnant answers - if they have the courage to declare themselves.

Anonymous said...

Log,

Its funny that Rock once said you sat at his table, and now he acts like he doesn't even know you.

These people here don't want to find truth, they are just as bad as the church leaders. They want to censor what you say, and set themselves up as judges.

A true man of Christ is not afraid of mere words, and has no need to censor what others say. It is up to each individual to read what they will.

Joe

Log said...

Joe,

Rock is a good guy.

As to others, let us see.

Tammy said...

Only God is good. All others fall short.

Irven Hill said...

By their works ye shall know them.

What are the majority of the works coming from Salt Lake? Billion dollar malls, dedicating banks, movies about members who aren't "average Mormons", especially a kickboxing woman. The tallest building in Salt Lake, where at one time if I recall correctly, leased space to the IRS. Youtube videos showing everyone how neat Mormons are, etc.

It is given unto us to judge says Mormon. I judge all of the above to be be rotten, of no use for anyone's salvation. It surely isn't preaching repentance and coming unto Christ. If I'm wrong, then so be it. I will own my wrong judgement, as we all will according to Mormon.

Are the men in Salt Lake intending to spend bundles on worthless, meaningless tripe? I don't know the answer. Though, I do know a person asleep at the wheel isn't intending to die, but very well might. Intentionally driving off a cliff has the same result as falling to sleep and driving off the cliff. You can argue the accountability of each is different, but it is hard to argue that someone who intentionally drives off of the cliff is in an accountable frame of mind.

The idea that we can never judge is hogwash. Gadianton's are everywhere, including the church. We have to make judgement calls every day.

We can call it like we see it, or we can cower in the corner.

In my judgement(gasp)God will not make a lighter judgement on people who sit idly by while things go awry, then he will on people who make necessary judgments and falter every once in a while. By my judgement(gasp again)He will be harder on those who never dared call into question what they see as wrong.

People aren't censoring Log. Look at his string of comments on practically every thread here. He hasn't been censored. Far from it. And Rock hasn't acted like he doesn't know Log. He has admitted he does know him.

Rob said...

For the record, according to President Monson, 0% of tithing goes towards helping the poor via the welfare program. The welfare program is funded by fast offerings. Some very very small percentage of tithing goes toward humanitarian aid (welfare to non-mormons). It is much less than 0.01% of the total according to a statement on the church humanitarian aid website a while back.

Another question to ponder: After reading JST Gen 14 (safely tucked in the armpit of your quad---it will take digging to find), where it says tithing is paid on your surplus not your gross, ponder how exactly God appointed Melchezidek to be the one to receive tithes for the poor, and when exactly the LDS leaders have received this appointment, and how they did. This is a good thing to ponder in response to those who claim that only through giving money to the LDS church can you keep the command to tithe.

Log said...

Rob's points are perfectly valid.

I think the leadership is operating according to a Church-centric interpretation of Jacob 5. This idea is not original with me, but I heard a poster by the moniker of SteveF on some old threads on latterdaycommentary.com advance such an interpretation in contesting against the claims of Denver Snuffer. I think they conceive of themselves increasing the Church's holdings all over the world to convert it and thus build up Zion as they understand it - the worldwide rule of the Church - prior to the coming of the Lord. This is consistent with the idea of Priesthood as governing power and keys as licenses to exercise said power.

Of course, not being privy to their councils, this is just an estimate on my part.

Adrian Booher said...

There are a few things that don't ring true to me. 1) You don't form a Zion society by giving people money. It is formed through taking in the homeless, working beside each other, offering opportunity, etc. Have you considered that "there were no poor..." could mean that none were considered poor, even though there are and always will be inequities from individual to individual as to ability and motivation. I'm not saying it's so, but another possibility.

2) Tithing isn't about money. It's about surrender. This is a hard one for control freaks. To surrender your hard-earned money to someone that you have no control over is a part of losing yourself, as we are commanded to do. Rest assured that the Lord knows where every single penny is going and will deal with any misuse in His own way. Let him!

3) Tithing funds are not designated for financial aid to the people. Fast offerings are for that purpose. Increase your fast offering if you want to help.

4) The leaders will not lead us astray. There may be some unclear interpretation, such as with members of African descent many years ago. There were members who left because of it, but in the end, the Lord straightened things out in His own time. The only ones led astray were those without the faith and patience to wait on the Lord.

5) The church has business interests that have nothing to do with tithing. There are private donations and ventures that earn money for the church, and I'm okay with that. You see, I have a son on a mission right now, and if anything really devastating were to happen in the world, there are over 85,000 missionaries out there that will need taking care of. I'm okay with the church having a lot of money on hand. There are a lot of liabilities and possibilities that make a very big emergency fund a very good idea.

6) Okay that's more than a few. They just keep coming. Your examples are very one-sided. Yes, there are some who slip through the cracks, but the overwhelming majority that go to the bishop receive help, and the overwhelming majority of projects the church is working on are good, even under your scrutiny.

No one in the church is perfect, but it provides the necessary priesthood ordinances, and that is of higher value than anything else I can think of. I will pay my tithing for that privilege, no matter where I think it's going. And I will help my neighbor as much as I am able, financially, spiritually, and emotionally.

Log said...

Adrian Booher,

Many apologies, but would you mind substantiating your positions by reference to the scriptures?

Opinions are fine to have, but the official position of the Church, as of 1837, as propounded by the Quorum of the Twelve, is this:

Be careful that you teach not for the word of God the commandments of men, nor the doctrines of men, nor the ordinances of men, inasmuch as you are God’s messengers. Study the word of God, and preach it and not your opinions, for no man’s opinion is worth a straw. Advance no principle but what you can prove, for one scriptural proof is worth ten thousand opinions. (History of the Church, 3:395–96.)

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Adrian Booher,
Log's response in quoting our founding prophet is succinct enough, but allow me to respond further to the points you argue:

1) I don't know any of us who believe you form a Zion society merely by giving people money. Most of us who might be classified as "the Remnant" are well aware it takes much more than that, including the suggestions you offer, "taking in the homeless, working beside each other, offering opportunity, etc."

Two days ago I was on the phone with the mother of a previously homeless family who had been taken in by a kind woman in Southern Utah. They are now assisting this woman with her needs, giving of their talents in the care of her home, as she provides a roof over their heads. That sounds like Zion to me. I also spoke to this family's benefactor, who turned out to be a reader of this blog.

I'm friends with another woman from here in Northern California who is spending quite a bit of her time and money fixing up a spare house she owns in Utah for an identical purpose, to provide a home for a family in need.

Although building a Zion society is not just about giving money, that is a start, and an area where many of us latter-day Saints have been seriously lacking. You'll recall in the OP above, I quoted someone who assists the needy he meets on the street by offering them "my tithes in the form of gas, groceries, materials, or just plain old cash – whatever in my best judgement they are in need of..."

2) We are indeed commanded to have control over the tithing money, as I showed by citing scripture in the Original Post above. Tithing is not intended as some sort of test to see if will willingly surrender control of our sacred funds to others, particularly to to men who willfully disobey the commandment that they are to be accountable to the whole church for how those funds are spent.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

3) You are correct about what fast offerings are designated for, but we have our priorities so out of whack that most of us pay way too much in tithing, and correspondingly little in fast offerings. In my piece "Are We Paying Too Much Tithing" I suggest that our overpayment of tithes could be adjusted so that these payments are back in their proper balance. Tithing should be a small fraction of our giving, while our alms should consist of at least what most of us traditionally have been paying to the Church as tithes.

That having been said, tithing is also intended "for the building up of Zion" according to the Law of Tithing in D&C 119. The building up of Zion does NOT mean the building up of the institutional Church. Very little of our tithes seem to be going for the building up of Zion.

4) Your assertion that the leaders cannot lead us astray is a demonstrably false doctrine. It has become so prevalent in the Church that recently Randall Bennett of the Seventy went so far as to state categorically that "We have the Lord's personal promise that the prophets will never lead us astray." It would have been helpful had he provided a citation showing us where the Lord gave that remarkable promise.

I would refer you again to Log's suggestion that you provide the rest of us an example from the scriptures where the Lord himself has given that instruction.

5) Who is proposing that the Church not have an emergency fund on hand? I think we should. But can you tell me how parking billions of dollars into shopping malls, hotels, and skyscrapers contributes to such a fund? I would suggest those uses deplete the fund.

These investments are anything but liquid. Funds put to those uses are irrevocably tied up and inaccessible and unavailable in emergencies.

Not to mention they are failing miserable as investments. Office space in the Church's highrise buildings in downtown Salt Lake are sitting empty, as are condos. I seriously doubt that in this economy, the skyscraper the Church is building in Philadelphia will succeed. City Creek will NEVER show a return on those investments. An emergency fund must remain liquid, not tied up in assets. The reality that these investments are bottomless money pits from which the Church hierarchy will never see a return means that not only are those billions sqaundered, but we have little hope of obtaining profits from those investments that could rightfully be placed into an emergency fund.

6) The Church "provides the necessary priesthood ordinances..." Agreed, but those ordinances were restored over a 180 years ago, so what need do we have of continuing to pay a priestly class to administer them? We already have that priesthood among us. If every one of the general authorities apostatized and left the church, the power to perform all the necessary ordinance would still exist among the membership. I would suggest that The existence of priestcraft among us is holding us back, not moving us forward.

Anonymous said...

As one on the outside looking in to your little group of sympathizers I am simply amazed at the absolute level of contention shown between those on this blog. Log, the pacifist of the group, simply suggests that you not contend/accuse and you all are ripping him to shreds for it. Can't imagine what your little reunion in Colorado will be like. You guys will be at each other's throats the first day.

This is the fruit of your "gospel": contention. You seem to live and breath for it. Looking for any perceived slight you can attempt to twist and expose. Is this really what you Snufferites are all about ... contention? Because this seems to be the fruit of your message. You say you stand for Christ, but most of this blog seems to be about what you stand against.

lemuel said...

Anon...if this is really what people think of us...we really need to hire a PR consultant.

BK said...

Anonymous 7:15,

I'm not a Snufferite, I don't believe he is a prophet either, just like I don't believe any in the Church are.

But yes it's true, standing up for what's right is contentious. Christ caused a lot of contention when he tried it too.

The same happens with prophets, they cause a lot of contention also, ever heard of Moses, Abinadi, Nephi, or Samuel? They didn't create much peace either.

The truth is rarely welcome or agreed upon.

Christ said he came to divide people, churches, friends and family, not to unite people, for that's not possible until everyone is finally righteous and lives his laws, which isn't happening anywhere on earth at this time unfortunately.

MarkinPNW said...

Hmmm, I remember reading somewhere that the devil likes to do his best work in the church.

(I think the quote was referring to the mainstream Christian churches, ya know, those "apostates".)

Well, perhaps it also applies to the "Restored church", whichever branch of the restoration you most fervently believe in, and now, apparently, to the "Snufferites", and the "Rock Fans" (followers of Rock's blog) here.

Howard said...

Rock,

Please tell me how you know that City Creek with “never” show a return on investment. And, along with that, how you seem to be assured that the other investments by the church are “bottomless money pits”. You make assertions as if you are an expert in these matters and I am really curious as to how you are so sure. You can make a lot of assertions about the church, but poor money managers they are not.

You can and have made the argument that they should spend tithing money elsewhere, fine. That’s your opinion. However, you make it without any knowledge of the church’s financial position.

When an organization (or individual) has sufficient emergency reserves (And I suppose the church has sufficient emergency reserves) and adequate assets and cash flow to sustain current and future projected growth then it makes sense for any individual or any organization to invest for long-term sustainability. For an organization with the size, scope, and mandate of the church that would include long-term, significant real estate investments. Often institutions trade liquidity for higher growth rates when making investments.

Have you considered that there could come a time in the future where the church needs to draw on these assets? Is it possible that the church needs to take a moral stand in the future that would risk its tax exempt status? If that were the case then the church may need to pull on these investments to continue its stated course. Just a thought.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Howard,
I believe the answers to your questions can be found in the two posts I previously provided on City Creek. They are linked at the end of my piece above.

In order for the Church to eventually recoup its investment, rents paid by the merchants/tenants will have to match or exceed the initial investment provided by the corporate Church. Anyone who believes that day will ever arrive likely doesn't understand how much money three billion dollars actually is.


Stébane said...

Do the "modest stipend" the GA's receive come from tithing or from the for-profit entities of the church? Fundamentaly, is it the same or in what these incomes differ?

LJn said...

I know log doesn't like what is happening, but the Lord is behind it. He is causing the religious "super power" to crumble by stripping off its facades.

First, people began to see and talk about prophets who don't prophecy, revelators who don't reveal, and seers who don't see.

And the altering of general conference talks began to be known (who can honestly deny, when they see the original Poelman talk and compare it with the altered one?).

And people who wondered why the prophet could not see Mark Hofmann's mind and intent began to talk to each other and ask openly why a man who saw Jesus every week could not discern a man with a dishonest and murderous heart.

Then, people researched tithing. They looked for the original sources of what was written in a RS/PH manual and discovered that a quote about who should pay tithing lacked three vital words: "who has means," and more and more people began to see that tithing (according to scripture) was a law to help the poor, not a law to make a wealthy church richer.

Then Rock Waterman uncovered instructions for mission presidents that proved further corruption/grinding upon the face of the poor.

And people were also realizing that they DID NOT need the church's approval to partake of the sacrament (with wine, as directed by the scriptures) in their families and among their friends and acqaintances.

People saw that drinking ale and beer was not really against the word of wisdom. They saw that it was okay to drink wine for sacramentS (ie weddings) even if, probably, no one has done it yet.

People began to see that there really is no such thing as a personal line of revelation versus a priesthood (church TM) line of revelation nor that personal revelation must ALWAYS bow to the priesthood (church TM) especially if Jesus, Himself, tells you something the church doesn't approve of.

People began to say things like, "The emperor is wearing no clothes." They began to stop fearing excommunication, finally recognizing that no man nor group of men have the keys to heaven.

Their eyes began to be opened. They began to see the ploy, "Follow the prophet. Follow the Brethren. He and we will not, even CANNOT lead you astray," for what it really is: a vain attempt to control the church's masses, keeping them faithful to their leaders, keeping the income rolling in, keeping the power over minds and souls they have gotten used to having.

It is difficult to let go of the wealth and power and adoration. The "Brethren" are simply men. How can this worship and adoration and access to billions of dollars NOT go to their heads? Our love for them should cause us to beg God to pull down their pride and push them into the depths of humility before it is too late for them. I know that I don't want them to wake up to the horror of what they have done and are doing after it is too late to fix it. I wouldn't wish that feeling of "everlastingly too late" on anyone.

I find this so important that I posted this same comment on my blog ljnsvoice.blogspot.com

Toni B aka A Random Phrase

Log said...

Toni,

What I don't like are accusations.

When Rock says the leadership willfully breaks the commandments by failing to get the required common consent for the administration of tithes, that's not an accusation. That's a statement of public fact, and I can say nothing against that.

When Rock says the leadership stopped publicizing the adminstration of tithes out of a sense of embarrassment over some failed investments, that, strictly speaking, is an accusation as it stands for it asserts intent without citing evidence sufficient to establish the truth of it. This is not to say the accusation is false, for it may well be true, for all I know. If Rock knows more than he said, well, he didn't say.

I also do not accuse Rock of evil intent in that thing. I acknowledge that it is very hard to withhold judgement - and I admit the accusation seems likely to me.

But the truth is more persuasive when there are no leaps to intent, in my view - when there are no accusations. Let accusations, if they must be made, be made by the reader, not the author. Or, if the author knows whereof he speaks, let him say how he knows.

That is why PTHG is so effective.

Log said...

Let me think about that... could they be not willful? Could some be merely ignorant, accepting the traditional mode of management handed down from the fathers? It is possible, isn't it?

The point is a just judge will not convict just so long as it is merely possible the accused can be innocent.

Log said...

And, what happens in the following scenario? Let us presume, for the sake of argument, that all of the leadership is entirely rotten.

What do you suppose would happen should God place a righteous man among them? He would not, as junior member of the GAs, be able to change anything. All he would be able to do is "stonewall" decisions which require unanimity if God so moved upon him to do so.

And how would he be judged of the Mormon Remnant? How would they know anything of any of his deeds, which are out of their sight?

Backing away from the presumption for the sake of argument, how do you - any of you - know there are no righteous among them?

BK said...

I don't believe there are any righteous leaders in the Church, from Bishop on up to the top, for they see too much once they are a Bishop and have to make a decision to either go along with evil or stand up against it, which will cost them their calling and maybe membership.

I believe righteous leaders would promptly leave the church and have nothing to do with it for they would see the Church is not following Christ and never has.

Christ commanded us to not follow or support false prophets, so as soon as a leader repented and became righteous they would see the church was started and staffed by false prophets so they would cease following or supporting them.

Also, I don't believe all the false prophets in charge would allow a righteous leader to do much, and they would excommunicate him as soon as they detected him trying to work against them. Just like King Noah and the Priests were against Alma when he repented and tried to get them to change.

I do not believe Christ has any interest in the Church nor would He try to get the church to change (individually yes, collectively no) for there is no need for the church or a church, he would just try to get people to leave it because it's an apostate organization and just follow him instead.

For if we fall for or support apostate people, churches or organizations, especially with out money when it should be going to the poor, then that is contrary to God's laws and we then would not be righteous.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Stebane asked whether the ample salary -escuse me, I mean "modest stipend- the GAs receive comes from tithing or from the for-profit entities of the church.

Well, that's the question, isn't it, since the hierarchy refuses to make the finances transparent.

Another question: why in heaven's name would a church have "for profit entities in the first place.

Log said...

Rock,

I gave one possible answer in response to Rob.

[W]e still have the attitude of the old Danish man in Sanpete, whom Brother Jensen used to tell about: "That's a fine carrot patch you and the Lord have there, Brother Peterson." "Yes, and you should have seen what it looked like when the Lord was doing it alone." cite

I cannot think of another reason, actually.

Log said...

... no other good reason, anyways.

LJn said...

Log, thank you for responding. Your reasoning makes sense. Perhaps I misunderstood some of your posts, because I got the impression you were saying we should ignore the things that are wrong, and that speaking about the Brethren or Church's negative fruit or lack of fruit was and is accusing.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Toni B,
I didn't know about your blog before now, but have added it to my blogroll.

Veracity said...

I heard the "modest stipend" the General Authorities receive is modestly ginormous, but does anyone have a reliable source or reference for this information? Does anyone have a reported amount for this stipend? Is this just a baseless accusation?

I just want to know the truth. I can handle the truth.

Robin Hood said...

BK,
Your beliefs are, quite simply, wrong. You appear to be an accuser of everyone from a bishop up (if "up" is the right word). I think there are something like 27,000 bishops in the church. You don't know them all, so your statement tells us a lot more about you than it does about them.

I certainly wouldn't want to be in your shoes, as the scriptures are very clear regarding the identity of the "accuser of the brethren". How long have you been on the team?

Is it lonely up there on that moral high ground?

Anonymous said...

Rock

Here is another new blog about the importance of searching the scriptures that should be added to your blog roll

http://onewhoissearching.com/

I think the blog is only a few months old.

BK said...

Robinhood,

The 'scriptures' say nothing about 'accusing the brethren', at least true scriptures don't. That is a philosophy of men. False prophets say such things for they of course don't want to be accused.

Christ himself accused the brethren.

But every single Bishop in the Church has to support evil in order to maintain his position. Evils and whoredoms like the abuse of women and polygamy, past & present (LDS still preach & practice serial polygamy, which Christ said is adultery), they all ask for tithing from the poor, and send tithing funds to top leaders to pocket or use on buildings or businesses, instead of using it for the poor.

All Bishops teach that the BoM, D&C, BoA are scriptures and that Joseph, Brigham, etc. on up to today were & are all prophets that we should support and obey (especially every time they interview for a recommend), they all teach & support temple ordinances as true and necessary, they all deny women the Priesthood, they all deny women equal leadership positions in their wards, they all ask people to confess to them (which Christ never taught).

And I have never known or heard of any Bishop who totally unconditionally financially supports all the single mothers of his ward so they don't have to leave their children and work. Which is the main reason for religion in the 1st place, to relieve the suffering of the fatherless.

Any Bishop who refused to go along with the Church's multitude of evils would not be allowed to remain a Bishop for long. So it's just not possible, even if a Bishop tried to do right in his calling, let alone anyone in higher positions in the Church.

Deila Taylor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
brad said...

'One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor . . . And he (it) was sad at the saying, and went away grieved: for he (it) had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they (it) that have riches enter into the kingdom of God.' Mark 10:21-23

The LDS church (it)is in BIG trouble. . . but perhaps a 5 billion dollar downtown development project could be sold (sucker) and feed a few hungry ?

Brad Berrett

Robin Hood said...

BK,
Firstly, I suggest you read Revelation 12:10. You will see that John labelled the devil as the accuser of brethren. So you're wrong when you say it isn't in the scriptures.

And it appears that your condemnation of bishops shouldn't stop there. There are also a lot of EQP's, HPGL's, Sunday School teachers, and sacrament meeting speakers that teach much the same things. So well done, you've now expanded your accusations to just about everyone in the church!

As for your point about no bishops you know providing for the single parents and widows, all I can say is you obviously don't know very many bishops. Or perhaps they don't feel they need to tell you what they're up to. I personally know a bishop who does take care of the poor, but no one in the ward is aware of it because it is confidential.
Perhaps you think BK has a right to know everyone's business?

Just remember, you will be judged by the same standards you use to judge others.

LDS Anarchist said...

I liked the part about "iniquity." I had never looked that word up before, nor considered it different than "sin." For that alone, this post was worth the read.

I also dug the video at the very end of the First Presidency. Quite enlightening.

That said, I am disturbed that this post celebrates paying tithing to something other than the bishop, as dictated by the revelation on tithing, found in D&C 119.

No one should be encouraging latter-day saints who have an annual surplus to not pay their tithing, nor to pay their tithing to someone other than the bishop of the church. Such encouragement is unjustified before the Lord. It matters not whether the institution or leadership is corrupt. Have you not read Justin's latest post?

Tithing the Widow’s Mites

If you want to remain justified before the Lord, and sanctify the stake you live in, you must pay tithing to the bishop, (if you have an annual surplus.)

The tithing of the JST of Genesis and the tithing of D&C 119, are not the same tithing or laws. Thus, current tithing does not go to the poor.

I could expound on this (and already have in my tithing articles on my blog) and also expound on how one could pay tithing using silver coins and/or the Bartering Currency, but do not wish to create a threadjack. I will, however, expound on this on Justin's post, since it is now in my mind. Go there if you want to read my words, which I'll put up in the next couple of hours.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anarchist,
You are quite welcome to use this forum to introduce your idea of paying tithes with actual silver coins or bartering currency. I would not consider it a threadjack, but a service to the readers.

I think your idea of paying tithes using 1/10th silver ounces is a valid one, and I would welcome you if you would like to explain it here as you have to me privately. It's been my intention to mention it eventually in one of my posts, but I'm so backed up with other pressing topics, it may be awhile before I can cover it. So have at it, and welcome.

As for the example Justin brings up in his post of the Widow's mite, I don't think that story is applicable to tithes. Bible scholars seem to be in agreement that she contributed her coins into the poor box, which was separate from the regular tithes that went for the temple and the support of the priests of Levi. The reason Jesus made a point of her humble offering had nothing to do with whether or not paying the temple tithe was appropriate or not. It was because the wealthier and more influential men who went before her made a very big show about how magnanimous they were being, making sure everyone saw how much they cared about the poor by practically announcing their donation. "They have their reward," Jesus said, meaning they wanted attention and praise of others, and they got it.

In contrast, the widow, quite poor herself (and therefore exempt from paying the regular temple tithe), had enough real compassion for others in her situation that she quietly contributed the equivalent amount of a loaf of bread toward the well-being of others who might be in need. She acted out of true compassion for the suffering of others, and that was what impressed Jesus.

As far as any requirement to pay tithing to the bishop, I would agree that insofar as the business wing of the Church adheres to the law of tithing as to how those funds are to be properly spent there is no reason for a general insurrection. But the spending has gone far beyond the strict purposes spelled out in section 119, and under the present circumstances I can sympathize with those members who feel the agreement was broken and they are therefore free to direct their tithes where they feel inspired to send them. I would not assume I knew better than them what the Lord wants them to do.

I would hate to see ALL tithes suddenly stop flowing into the Church, just as I would hate to see all tariffs, imposts, and excises suddenly stop flowing into the government for support of its legitimate functions. But unless both the Church and the government rein themselves in and begin to abide by their respective constitutions, the people may soon reach their tipping point. We may therefore expect to see continued resistance against the usurpations of both Church and State.
I

Log said...

Hey, Rock,

Something for you.

And now dear and well beloved brethren--and when we say brethren, we mean those who have continued faithful in Christ, men, women and children--we feel to exhort you in the name of the Lord Jesus, to be strong in the faith in the new and everlasting covenant, and nothing frightened at your enemies. For what has happened unto us is an evident token to them of damnation; but unto us, of salvation, and that of God. Therefore hold on even unto death; for "he that seeks to save his life shall lose it; and he that loses his life for my sake, and the Gospel's, shall find it," saith Jesus Christ.

Hey Anarchist,

I guess I'll ask this here since you won't publish my comments on your blog, despite your so-called "No Censorship" policy.

You still selling those minted silver coins with your logo on them? What's your current markup?

BK said...

LDS Anarchist,

D&C 119 is not the words of Christ, it is the words and commandments of men, which are contrary to the words of Christ.

If we want to be 'justified before the Lord' we need to stop following the commandments of men and start following Christ's commandments instead, especially when they differ.

The D&C is not the standard of truth, the words of Christ are. Anyone or anything that teaches different or contrary to Christ, like Joseph Smith & all LDS leaders did & do, proves they are wrong and not a true follower of Christ.

Christ never even mentioned tithing (such was the laws of men), let alone did Christ say to give any money to church leaders at all or to trust them at all, let alone with our money that we must make sure goes to the poor and not in their pockets.

I do not believe Christ even wanted there to be a formal church or buildings or even temples, for he knew and taught there should never be any money for such things until there is no more poor on earth.

Christ clearly commanded us to give 'all' our excess money and goods 'directly' to the poor ourselves. That way we see & learn of their suffering 1st hand and how we can help and have helped.

To give our money to someone else to help the poor for us is like asking someone to pray and study the scriptures for us. It does us little good if we don't help the poor directly ourselves, for we don't come to understand how deeply the poor suffer and how needed our help is and how we grow from serving them.

Those who preach and practice different then Christ cannot claim to be of Christ. For Christ did not lie or forget to tell us to support or trust church leaders instead directly supporting the fatherless ourselves.

I agree with Rock, that it was out of pure love and compassion (and zero obligation) that the widow gave her mite, for it is usually only the poor who understand the suffering of the poor and are willing to give their last mite to help relieve that suffering.

Samuel the Lamanite said...

I love the thought provoking nature of your blog. However, while many of your points are valid, I fail to see how they support the work of the church. I've yet to see one post that is uplifting, or brings me to Christ. It would appear to me that you are unhappy with this iteration of the church, just like the early members who stayed east were upset at the command to head west, or like the people who didn't like it when polygamy ended, or when blacks got the priesthood. It would appear that you're not happy and question where you fit in anymore. Farbeit from me to judge you though Rock. You're a good man and I believe you believe that what you are doing is good. However, given the nature of your calling in the church to follow the admonition of Paul, I fail to see where this is the case with this blog. Instead, it titillates a very unsupportive and back-stabbing nature, and I suspect has been the final nail in the coffin of former church members. The great "Ah-ha! See I knew it!" was probably the last thing they said before they sent in their resignation letters, or just...faded away. . . I imagine that some people in the church, the very elect, don't succumb to the baser temptations of the flesh, word of wisdom problems or drugs. They fall victim to very intelligent demons, those who were fallen and yet retain a very high sense of intelligence. Those fallen spirits don't waste their time putting things on the table of the mind that don't tempt, but instead offer "faux pearls of little price, sparkling on their veneer, yet filled with bile." I believe you may be in danger in being influenced by such persuading fallen spirits. I challenge you to expand your testimony of the gospel, and share that testimony on each post. Share what you've done or are doing to grow. Inspire people to be better. You've got the audience. Its time to stop saying "Lord Lord" and actually walking the walk.

Tammy said...

Samuel,
What have you "fallen" for?

Gary Hunt said...

Samuel the Lamanite,

I found your comments very revealing. You start off with a couple feigned complements , “… thought provoking nature…” and “…many of your points are valid,…” and then you proceed with your ad hominem attacks. Then you make the statement …” Farbeit (not a word) from me to judge you though Rock.” Then you continue your ad hominem attacks which art in and of themselves harsh judgments not only against Rock but against those who read his blog. What this reveals to me is the following:

1. Instead of using legitimate argumentation principles you resort to using logical fallacies. You also used the logical fallacies Hasty Generalization and Straw Man. Perhaps you should go back and make actual arguments against what Rock has said.

2. I doubt you have actually read all of Rocks posts. You state that, “I've yet to see one post that is uplifting, or brings me to Christ.” Perhaps you should go back and read “Saying Goodbye to Celia” and “Farewell, Sweet Soul”. As you have stated Rock’s post are thought provoking and he makes many valid points. It causes one to reflect upon one’s beliefs and seek the truth through study, prayer and confirmation or denial through the Holy Ghost. If we follow this process we gain understanding which brings us to a knowledge of the truth, which uplifts us and brings us closer to Christ. What are you afraid of? You appear to assume that the readers of this blog are too unintelligent to find truth.

3. The D&C 93:36 tell us that “The glory of God” is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth." Here is the definition of the word intelligent from the Oxford English Dictionary:

Intelligent, adj. 1. a. Having a high degree or good measure of understanding; quick to understand; knowing, sagacious.

In your comments you inform us that… “They fall victim to very intelligent demons, those who were fallen and yet retain a very high sense of intelligence.” The beings you describe are not intelligent. See D&C 93:37, which says “Light and truth forsake that evil one.” Some better words for what you are trying to describe are sophism, feign, and flattery. Here are a few definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary:

sophism, n. 1. a. A specious but fallacious argument, either used deliberately in order to deceive or mislead, or employed as a means of displaying ingenuity in reasoning.

feign, n. The action of feigning; pretence, deceit.

flattery, n.1. The action or practice of flattering; false or insincere praise; adulation; cajolery, blandishment.

The techniques you employ in your comments, whether intentional or not, are the same techniques used by sophists who are trying to deceive others. Perhaps it would be a good idea for you to go back and rethink your comments and come back with valid arguments concerning Rock’s posts. As Tammy has said, “Samuel, What have you fallen for?”

Jonas said...

Samuel TL,

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your comments. While I can't speak for anyone else I can tell you Rock's essays speak to me. I'm a temple-attending Gospel Doctrine teacher. One a month I teach a lesson in our High Priest group.

Over the last ten years as I've learned about the peculiarities of the Church™, it's leaders, practices and doctrines I've become increasingly loyal to Jesus Christ and his servant Joseph Smith. When I ran across Rock's collection of essays I was astounded to realize there are other folks like me who wonder about the spending ways of the modern church and the dearth of revelation from her leaders. Rock needs no defense from me; he has my friendship. His words have helped focus my heart on being a better person after the manner of our Lord. Feel free to attack as you see fit but know that unless you can back your accusations with scripture you'll find precious few to even consider them. Watch out for those intelligent demons, brother.

LDS Anarchist said...

Rock,

"As far as any requirement to pay tithing to the bishop, I would agree that insofar as the business wing of the Church adheres to the law of tithing as to how those funds are to be properly spent there is no reason for a general insurrection. But the spending has gone far beyond the strict purposes spelled out in section 119, and under the present circumstances I can sympathize with those members who feel the agreement was broken and they are therefore free to direct their tithes where they feel inspired to send them. I would not assume I knew better than them what the Lord wants them to do."

The beginning of tithing and its standing law is not an agreement between the leadership and the membership, it is part of the covenant that all members made and witnessed by their baptism, to obey the Lord in all things. Who is to pay tithes (the people of the Lord, meaning His saints), what tithes are to consist of (their entire surplus property and then after that 1/10 of their surplus annually), who they are to be paid to (the bishop of the church, whether in the land of Zion or her stakes), what they are to be used for (the beginning is "for the building of mine house, and for the laying of the foundation of Zion and for the priesthood, and for the debts of the Presidency of my Church" and then after that, the standing law is "for my holy priesthood"), and the spiritual purpose of the standing law (to "sanctify the land of Zion [and also her stakes] unto me, that my statutes and my judgments may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy"), is dictated by section 119, and who is to disburse the tithes is dictated by section 120.

As there is no two-way agreement between members and leadership, (whereby the members may claim that since the tithes are not being used as the Lord intended, they have no obligation to pay them to the church), the law of tithing is "a standing law unto them forever". In other words, the members are obligated by their covenant to obey God in all things to pay tithing, even if the leadership does not obey the requirements as to how it is to be disbursed. Thus, all those who claim that they are "free to direct their tithes where they feel inspired to send them," are merely inspired by the devil to break their baptismal covenant, for he inspires no one to obey the commandments of God and keep their covenants. Sympathizing with them, then, is not recommended, for the devil and those he inspires, are not to receive sympathy.

Now, the Lord has already set up a means whereby ecclesiastical abuse my be weeded out in righteousness, and that is the law of common consent, whereby we vote men and women into office. If you or others feel that the tithing funds are not being used properly by the council of the disposition of tithing, mentioned in section 120, then by all means, when it comes time for sustaining them, lift up the hand in opposition. That is a course that is justifiable before the Lord, but not keeping the standing law of tithing, as it is dictated in the revelation, because the leadership doesn't keep the disbursement of the law, as dictated by the revelation, is the pot calling the kettle black. Two wrongs do not make a right. All this does is bring the membership who are deceived by the devil to do these things under condemnation, too.

Again, common consent is manifest by the uplifted hands, for or against, not by breaking the commandments of God and refusing to keep His laws. That is just more iniquity, or inequity, meaning that you are treating the revelation just as unequal (as unbinding) as the leadership is, for no one can accuse the leadership of being iniquitous in the following of the letter of the law of tithing if he himself is also not following the letter of the law of tithing.

LDS Anarchist said...

Log,

You have never been banned from my blog, so I do not know what you are talking about not being able to comment on it. Maybe you kept missing the "Post Comment" button each time you tried leaving a comment.

As far as the Bartering Currency, yes, they are currently available for bulk or distribution purchases (higher volumes) in all sizes (12-oz, 5-oz, 2-oz, 1-oz, 1/2-oz, 1/4-oz, 1/10-oz, and 1/20-oz), at least until a distributor comes forth. Then, once there is one or more distributor, you'll be able to get them from the distributors by individual pieces. There is a man who has made a web site about them and I've given him distributor strike authorization, so that he can create a network of distributors (and also keep me out of it). You can find his web site by Googling: silver bacs. It is the first one listed. All his prices are on the web site, but he hasn't listed the "tithing coin" discount I offered on my blog, which was so LDS could pay their tithing to the church using that 1/10-oz coin. If anyone, however, mentions to him that they want the "tithing coin" discount, he is supposed to offer them the 1/10-oz Proof coin at the distributor's discount (which is at cost), but you have to order 800 coins to get that. This will also make you a distributor of that coin.

LDS Anarchist said...

Rock,

"You are quite welcome to use this forum to introduce your idea of paying tithes with actual silver coins or bartering currency. I would not consider it a threadjack, but a service to the readers.

I think your idea of paying tithes using 1/10th silver ounces is a valid one, and I would welcome you if you would like to explain it here as you have to me privately. It's been my intention to mention it eventually in one of my posts, but I'm so backed up with other pressing topics, it may be awhile before I can cover it. So have at it, and welcome."

I suppose I could compose something and leave it here, but I'm not sure how I could keep it short, for there are many things about it that needs explaining. But if it is too lengthy, I guess I'll just put it into multiple comments.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anarchist,
Perhaps you could provide a link here where readers can go to learn more about your proposal for the silver 1/10th ounce coin, how it can best be obtained, and how it would be tendered as a proper tithe.

On the topic of whether members are in error if they do not pay their tithes directly to the bishop:

While it may be true that the covenant to tithe is not between the members and the leaders, there is the question of whether the leaders have nullified their authority to receive the sacred funds. (Your suggestion that members simply vote in opposition to callings is not workable in our day, in my opinion. A century of conditioning that callings are to be automatically confirmed is too deeply embedded in our culture.)

There is also the matter that although tithes today are accepted by the bishop, they are no longer controlled by him according to proper protocol. Tithes intended for the church (small 'c' community) are now deposited directly into the bank account of the Corporation of the President, which many do not consider the same as if they were donated to the church.

Although your point regarding the obligation of tithes to the Church is well taken, I am aware of many good Saints who would attest that the Lord has specifically commanded them that they should NOT further support the present structure with their tithes. I would not presume to tell someone that his or her personal revelation should be ignored.

I did not "celebrate" alternative methods of tithing, as suggested by Samuel the Lamanite above (I was neither celebrating them nor denigrating them; I was just reporting on them).

I also don't see an individual's decision to pay their tithes directly to the needy to be the result of some Satanic influence.

When people bear testimony to me that their lives have been changed by following what their heart tells them Jesus would have them do, I am not necessarily required to believe them, but I also don't think it's my place to question another person's revelation instructing them to put their money to better use.

In other words, I feel the entire topic of tithes -how much, and to whom paid- is a decision between the individual and the Lord, and simply not anyone else's business.

Log said...

Anarchist

I find it interesting that you showed up for the apparent sole purpose of plugging a doctrinal treatise on tithing in the which you advocate paying in silver coins which you just happen to mint and sell.

I never thought I'd see moneychanging in an LDS religious context, and I have to admit this put me in mind of three verses from the Book of Mormon.

2 Nephi 26:29, 31
29 He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.

31 But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.

2 Nephi 28:31
31 Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Admittedly, I view these things somewhat dimly, but I am open to being persuaded. A couple points may be addressed profitably, I think, if you'll pardon the reference.

Are you making a profit on your tithing coins?

Does advocating paying tithing in coinage you happen to mint and sell assist in bringing about the foundation of Zion, the society in which there are no rich and no poor, where none sell nor buy, but all are pure in heart, with the powers of heaven dwelling among them?

The readers of your treatise will have to judge for themselves through prayer whether your precepts are given by the power of the Holy Ghost, of course, so it wouldn't serve a function for me to ask if your position is the product of actual revelation - I mean, nobody can realistically be expected to say "no," can they?

I am heartened to hear I have not actually been banned from commenting at your site, and therefore the last three or four comments I typed out in the little comment box thingy and pushed the "Submit Comment" button only to have them disappear into the interwebz was entirely coincidental. I may try out your comment-eating website again sometime.

Cheers!

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Log,
I believe you have entirely misconstrued Anarchist's intent regarding the paying of tithes with silver.

The real sin in the Church today is that the corporation prefers the members pay their tithes in the Federal Reserve Notes of Babylon, which represent debt, not payment. If a member is to tithe properly, it should be in real money, which is gold or silver, not the artificial debt instruments printed up by the Babylonian system. So Anarchist has the right idea: Tithing represents one tenth of increase, so tithing should be paid in one tenth ounce silver coin.

The Church will NOT want to accept tithes in proper money, but by acting to reject tithing from a member who has properly tendered his tithes to the Lord in silver coin, those in "authority" would expose themselves as demanding Babylonian debt instruments to actual tendered payment in substance.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Log,
You ask if Anarchist is making a profit on his silver coins, which you seem to believe he is minting and selling.

Anarchist does not own a mint. To my knowledge none of these 1/10th silver coins actually even exist, so he has none in his possession to sell. All he has done is propose an idea that others might wish to implement for themselves, and which would represent a more proper payment in tender to those at church headquarters charged with accepting tithes from the members.

He has made inquiries with a mint to learn what it would take to implement this worthy idea, and has shared that information elsewhere on his own website. It's a shame you have made assumptions about his motives that are not true, but I'm also grateful that you write you are open to being persuaded to his true intent. You will note that the context of the brief conversation he and I had on this forum indicates much more information exists, and that this was just a snippet of a larger conversation that I recommended others look into deeper. I would suggest you have passed improper judgment on him without understanding the full story.

It turns out he was right in his response to me, that this thing can't be explained in a brief comment here. The full proposal can be found at his website.

I think members who wish to pay a PROPER tithe to their bishops would do well to at least investigate this idea.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I should add that many members already pay their tithing in silver coin. I did so myself some years ago, much to the chagrin of my bishop who did not know what to do with those coins. What the Anarchist is proposing is that someone with means take it upon himself to mint actual "one tenth" coins meant solely for the purpose of tithing to the Lord, and which state so on their face.

Log said...

Rock

Unless I'm mistaken - and I could be - Anarchist has been selling silver coins for a while. The ones I was aware of had his logo on them, if I recall correctly, and had a decent markup - he wasn't offering them at cost. Now I find out that he's producing silver coins specifically for tithing.

I never said he owned a mint - and I am not sure owning a mint is required to have a mint produce coins to order.

I haven't made a judgement yet on his motivations. The externals look bad to me, for obvious, and stated, scriptural reasons. So I've asked some specific questions.

Incidentally, Rock, I have done less here to Anarchist than you commonly do with the leadership. And I don't think priestcraft is a vice restricted to leadership, do you?

Log said...

... or not "specifically," just producing a coin containing a specific weight of silver that just happens to coincide with the advocated-for payment of tithes using silver coins of that weight.

I appreciate a good round of black knighting as much as the next guy. I think it's entertaining to watch. But I also recognize the black knighting is not generally a sign of good faith, but rather ill intent.

This -

The real sin in the Church today is that the corporation prefers the members pay their tithes in the Federal Reserve Notes of Babylon....

I shrug at. You'll have to forgive me - money is Babylonian, whether silver or paper, whether representing debt or substance.

Log said...

I feel that I should address this further.

Look, folks, if you resent paying your tithes, then just don't.

Moroni 7:8
8 For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.


God wants no such gift. He wants gifts given with grace.

2 Corinthians 9:7
7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.


Could it be that simple? "If I don't wanna give, I don't have to give!" No need to go to the troubles of changing your money into silver to black knight your poor bishop. Cast off the shackles wherewith you are bound, brethren.

Having received the ordinances, what does it matter if you are cast out of the temple for nonpayment of tithes? Seriously - anyone wanna take a shot at that question? Please tell me it's not about social concerns.

Log said...

And, lastly, the guy who says "once I give the tithing money to the Church, it's out of my hands and I am not responsible for its disposition" is closer to the ideal mode of giving than the one who tithes grudgingly and watches with judgement to see if the money is put to the use HE wants it put to.

I think that second guy should just not pay his tithes to the Church and pay it straight to the poor, if he desires to ensure his money to go to the poor.

But judge ye for yourselves.

Log said...

PS - if you pay your tithes directly to the poor, and your conscience is devoid of offense in this thing, then what prevents you from informing your bishop you are a full tithe-payer when asked during the recommend question?

What do you suppose it means to not let your left hand know what your right hand does?

Honestly, folks. Are y'all trying to make life more difficult for yourselves?

BK said...

Anarchist,

How can you say that following Christ's commandment to give 'all' our excess directly to the poor' is 'following the devil'?

Do you totally discount Christ's teachings in the New Testament as not valid or true?

I believe Christ's words in the New Testament are the standard & test for all truth. If anyone or anything contradicts Christ's words then it proves that person or precept totally false. Even the LDS Church preaches this, yet doesn't live it.

Yet someone comes along calling himself a prophet and says we only have to pay 10% of our excess instead of 100% and we bow to him and call it 'following the Lord'.

Not to mention that the so-called prophet(s) takes the money and pockets some himself and uses the rest on mostly buildings & businesses to grow his empire and disregards the suffering of the poor, which 'relieving the suffering' was the main reason for religion in the 1st place.

I just don't understand how anyone can call such a man a true follower of Christ, when he preaches and practices so contrary to the words of Christ.

But I do see why most people fall for such men, 10% is alot easier to accept then 100%, I"m sure the rich man in Christ's story would agree.

Log said...

PPS - I know a guy who found out that scripturally tithes are 1/10 of one's interest - basically, 1/10 of whatever his bank balance was at the end of the year, annually, if he had no outstanding debts. He has outstanding debts he can't pay off. So he stopped paying to the Church. He says he started doing it the Lord's way - and the Lord started directing him by the Spirit to give away more money to the poor and the needy than he would have paid as a 10% gross tithe-payer. He says his needs are met.

The point I take from this guy's story is that if the point of belaboring the Church's sins with regard to administration of the tithes is to jealously guard one's money from the evil, apostate, grinding-upon-the-face-of-the-poor Church, do NOT try doing it the Lord's way, because he will require it of you and you may end up spending a lot more than the Church asks for.

Mammon - what a bitch.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Log, I think you may be missing the point of the conversation. Anarchist believes tithes are to be paid to the bishop, so there's no point in implying this discussion has anything to do with paying tithing grudgingly. Those who believe the bishop is charged with receiving tithes do so willingly.

The point we should stay focused on is that those who remain convinced that tithes should be tendered to the Church ought to explore the option of paying them properly, which means "in kind" or with actual money, not artificial debt instruments.

Log said...

Rock,

I don't know that there is any non-grudging, non-black-knighting, point to the conversation.

Proper payment of tithes is without grudges. It could be anything. If the Church asks for dollars, give them dollars. What legitimate - non-grudging, non-black-knighting - purpose does paying in silver serve?

Has the Lord required you to purchase silver from the moneychangers to pay into the storehouse? Has he said so anywhere? Has he said so to you? Then do so. He hasn't said so to me. I don't know why we're even talking about it unless it is to manipulate others into purchasing silver to pay into the coffers of the Church, and it seems the one making the case has an obvious conflict of interest - and is he saying "Thus Saith the Lord?"

Because what happens is the silver gets sold for dollars. Who profited by the exercise? Seems to me the initial silver seller and the ending silver purchaser, both of whom are in business for profit. Are the moneychangers in need that we should profit them?

Money is money. All money is artificial. Money is, by its very definition, the most marketable commodity. Used to be gold. Right now, that's dollars. Insisting it should be silver, gold, or whatever treasures of the earth, doesn't make it so. Whatever the most marketable commodity is, that's money.

I wonder if "in kind" is used in the scriptures... appears not.

Log said...

"Black knighting," for those who don't know, is intentionally manipulating a system of rules by conforming to the letter of the law so as to produce disruptive results.

Anonymous said...

You people are hilarious,

you can't even agree among yourselves what constitutes a proper tithing, yet you seem to be united in opposition to the leaders of the church, which have made statements on what constitutes tithing.

Tithing is just one example. You people contend over many points of doctrine, all the while claiming you want to draw closer to Jesus. Got news for ya, you are headed in the wrong direction.

Joe

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Log,
I'm not sure this conversation is getting us anywhere. The Anarchist's proposal to pay tithes in silver is directed not at the average latter-day Saint, but intended for those who already have a historical understanding of what money is.

To generations of Americans brought up to believe Federal Reserve Notes ARE money, it understandably doesn't make sense to spend "money" to buy silver coins, only to have the Church convert those coins back into today's "money." So I understand why you would be baffled at the very idea.

The subject is more complicated than I would care to go into here, other than to point out that when Abraham paid his tithes to Melchizadek, he paid in substance. Today's paper Federal Reserve Notes are Instruments of Debt, which is a far cry from substance, or something of substantive value. Although FRNs are used for the time being as a medium of exchange, real money has always consisted of a substance that held inherent value, whether historically represented by gold, silver, or cattle.

All I can say to you is don't worry about it. Anarchist's proposal is clearly not for you. It was directed at those who have an understanding of the difference between substance versus debt instruments.

I am not talking down to you. I'm just saying this appears to be a topic to which you have not devoted a sufficient amount of study, so let's let this one go for now because we're clearly not eye to eye on this. You consider paying in substance to be "Black Knight" trickery, while I would consider it to be strict compliance to God's law.

Log said...

Rock,

I have read sufficiently of Austrian economics to understand that "money is the most marketable commodity." That is, historically, how gold became money - everyone wanted it, and it was easier to price goods in gold than having separate valuation for each possible commodity that could be traded (according to the Austrians; makes sense to me). Today, everyone wants dollars, making dollars the most marketable commodity and hence money. How that came to pass is an interesting and enlightening topic to pursue, but is of no import to this discussion.

That is the root (pun) of our disagreement. You have a different definition of money. May I recommend researching Austrian economics, perhaps by reading www.mises.org?

Black knighting isn't trickery - it is a trolling technique. By strict compliance with some rule or other within a disfavored system one causes disruption to that system.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Log,
Well, I'm impressed that you seem to know something about Austrian Economics. But I wouldn't have thought so from this statement you made:

"Money is money. All money is artificial. Money is, by its very definition, the most marketable commodity. Used to be gold. Right now, that's dollars. Insisting it should be silver, gold, or whatever treasures of the earth, doesn't make it so. Whatever the most marketable commodity is, that's money."

Kinda looked to me as though you weren't that familiar.

Anyway, never mind. I grow weary of this. Let's move on, and allow the Anarchist to have this topic discussed on his own forum. The rest of us ought to get back to contending over our many other points of doctrine so Joe can stay entertained.

BK said...

Joe,

I think the 'leaders of the Church' are hilarious too, for they can't even agree on what tithing is or what it should be used for, nor do they even agree with Christ's teachings on it.

I think that is what most of the discussion on this subject is about.

If the leaders would get their act together and especially teach what Christ taught, then those who believe in Christ wouldn't have such a problem with them.

Log said...

Rock,

All money is artificial; there's no "natural" money - everything about money is the product of human choices and efforts. Just as silver tithing coins aren't plucked from silver trees of tithing but are artificial - created by artifice for a purpose.

But yeah. We can certainly drop it.

I had a thought about this whole discussion thingy - Joseph was told he cannot always tell the wicked from the righteous, which I had until about 10 minutes ago thought meant he could not always tell saints from sinners - which, in fact, is easy. But it is difficult to tell the wicked from the righteous because the righteous might indeed engage in conduct which appears wicked to the wicked, thus they accuse the righteous of hypocrisy.

I seem to recall that Joseph would smoke stogies and drink publicly - dunno if this is accurate, but it works with this narrative so let's stick to it. I recall Isaiah went around entirely nude for 3 years, something which I figure he and the Lord laughed at quite a bit - imagine a prophetic weenie wagging in the synagogue. Jesus said if one calls another a fool then they were in danger of hellfire, but himself went around calling people fools. Likewise, some seem predisposed to believe argumentation is necessarily contention, pride, arrogance, and whatever.

There was a point there somewhere but I forget what it was.

Veracity said...

Samuel the Lamanite,

I am uplifted every time I separate pure religion from the phylosophies of men. True doctrine lifts me up and the phylosophies of men weigh me down. I like reading what Rock and other say here because it helps me sort things out. Not everything said here is true but I am confident I can tell what is true and what is not. I don't rely on any man to help me with that discernment.

There were problems in the church from the very beginning, and it is hard to hear that we still have problems. If you are ready for it, if you can accept things the way they are, it can be so refreshing to see the truth. Whenever you see a truth you have not seen before, it gives you power. You have new power to change a small part of yourself and possibly be a good influence on other people by living a more Christlike life. Or, you may be able to sidestep the problems caused by the imperfect people around you.

Rock said something that really stuck with me and it goes something like this...from memory: "In the end, it does not matter how many times you were right. What matters is how many time you were nice."

May you have the faith and love that leads to happiness in this life and the life to come.

-- Veracity

Veracity said...

Joe,

Tithing is a poor example of a doctrine that is clearly stated and taught. Church leadership is clearly not united on this subject now or in the past. It can be very confusing unless you read the scriptures without any preconceived notions.

Is a proper tithing on your net income, gross income, surplus income? Should you pay it weekly, monthly, annually? The official doctrine is contained in D&C 119 and the statement by the First Presidency issued on March 19th, 1970, which is a statement of opinion fully supporting D&C 119. I recommend reading the entire statement. It can be quoted out of context makings it somewhat misleading.

(Please someone contradict me if you can.)

Everything taught in the church that is not in line with the above sources are not church doctrine. They are the opinions/philosophies of men mingled with scripture. It does not matter if the opinions come from a Bishop, Stake President, or a General Authority. It does not matter if the opinions come with a touching story. It does not matter if the opinions come from church publications. They are still the opinions of men that are not binding upon the church.

-- Veracity

BK said...

Veracity,

I really enjoy your comments, and I agree with most of them. But wouldn't it also be true to say that anything Joseph taught or wrote is also just the 'opinion of man' and not binding on anyone?

If I am a non-LDS and a believer in Christ, and an LDS missionary in Joseph's day (or today) came along, why would I ever believe in Joseph Smith, when he preaches & practices contrary to Christ? How could God expect or want me to believe in Joseph?

For the buck stops with Christ and his words, not Joseph Smith and his.

It seems most on here can see through the leaders of the Church from Brigham Young on to today, and that they teach contrary to Joseph Smith. That is great and it's huge progress.

But it doesn't seem like many can or want to see that Joseph preached and practiced contrary to Christ, and how Christ warned us about falling for such men as Joseph Smith and called them false prophets.

I used to believe Joseph was a true prophet also, until I started taking the words of Christ seriously and using them to discern all truth from error, even in Joseph Smith.

Joseph taught many true and wonderful things, but he also taught many falsehoods that totally lead us astray.

And though the religion that Joseph preached is a much easier & more appealing religion then the one Christ did, it will not matter how faithful we are to Joseph and his teachings, even about tithing, for it still won't save us, because they are contrary to Christ.

No matter how hard Christ's commandments are they are still the only way to Eternal Life. Better to try to figure out how to live them then try to justify the false teachings by men like Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and Pres. Monson.

What did Christ himself actually command in regards to tithing or helping the poor in the NT?

Any other opinions by anyone past or present or in the Bible, BoM, D&C or today, are pointless to follow or preach.

When we get to heaven we will be asked if we followed 'Christ' (who is a God), not Joseph Smith or The Pope or Warren Jeffs or Abraham, Monson, Moses or Melchizedek, who are all fallible men who preached contrary to Christ.

Why are we not talking about what Christ taught instead of what Joseph taught?

Veracity said...

BK,

Thanks for expressing your contrary opinion. I understand that you don't believe Joseph Smith is a prophet and that the other modern prophets are not true prophets. It seems to me that from that point of view, everything else you said was consistent and reasonable. I respect that.

If I am not mistaken, everything you write on this forum is intended to persuade people to believe in and follow a plain reading of Jesus' words as contained in the New Testament. You would like people to believe in Jesus' words without any interpretation or modifications by modern "Prophets". You would like people to reject any statements that are not perfectly aligned with Jesus' words. I am not only tolerant of your faith, I appreciate your point of view.

Please forgive me if I have not fairly described your agenda.

I am a believer. I choose the LDS church as my church. I have my faith that includes the teachings of the LDS church and all the truth I can find. My understanding/faith of the truth changes from time to time. If something is not self evident then a person can choose not to believe anything at all on the subject or they can form a belief to fill in the un-known.

I write from the point of view of a believer. My logic is built on the foundation of church doctrine. I make the pre-supposition that the church was founded by God through Joseph Smith and that the church continues to represent God's church. However, God's church is not perfect.

In the church, we sometimes get opinions mixed up with doctrine. The church has criteria for what is accepted as doctrine and I accept that criteria. I would like to persuade people to recognize opinions for what they are. I think the church is a good place to practice being a christian. There are plenty of opportunities to serve and to practice dealing with imperfect people in a Christlike manner. I think we can improve the church by rejecting opinions that are contrary to doctrine. Some of the opinions are not Christlike and they can be downright silly. (illogical)

Best wishes to you BK and thanks again for adding your point of view.

BK said...

Veracity,

Thank you for responding to my comment. I appreciate that you understand my position and you worded it well, for I do not believe anyone's opinions that are not in line with Christ's words in the New Testament.

But I am disappointed that you did not answer my questions as to 'why' or how' could you believe someone is a true disciple of Christ, let alone a true prophet, when they preach and practice 'contrary' to Christ?

I understand that you & others choose to believe in Joseph Smith and the LDS Church, despite that the Church not only preaches contrary to Christ but also contrary to Joseph Smith also.

But why do you think God would be a God of confusion and change his laws and let one prophet say one thing and another prophet say different? And change doctrine with the wind, often completely opposite to what the last prophet taught?

How could God ever expect anyone to know what person, prophet or church was right, if truth is always changing? This is a vital question for us.

For countless men like Joseph claim to be prophets, but they teach different things then each other and all teach different then Christ.

Also, are you aware that even Joseph Smith and the LDS Church teach that 'truth cannot change' and that 'Christ's words are the sure standard of all truth' and if anyone ever teaches contrary then it proves they are not right? The Church, nor Joseph, just don't practice what they preach of course nor use that standard they profess to live by. So to say that you believe truth changes does not even agree with Joseph or the Church.

But I assume that you, like most people, like the LDS religion because, like all other religions, it is much much easier & appealing to live and accept then Christ's teachings, for Christ taught a very high, almost impossible standard and very difficult doctrines to live. I don't know anyone, past or present, who is able to live them.

I too wish Christ's doctrines could change & weren't so hard & set in stone, for I agree the teachings of the LDS Church, today or in Joseph's day, are alot easier to live then Christ's teachings, especially if one is a man.

For Christ was the strongest defender of women and their divine equal rights in all things and called on men to respect women. While Joseph Smith and especially Brigham Young and LDS leaders since him, do not require men to respect women or their divine equal rights in all things, so I can see why such religions like the LDS are very appealing to especially men (especially with doctrines like submission of women or polygamy, serial or concurrent) and why Christ's hard teachings would not be appealing.

BK said...

Veracity, (Continued)

But no matter how hard I find Christ's teachings to be, I just can't bring myself to believe God and Christ would lie and deceive us, and go against their own teachings (that truth doesn't change) and thus make it impossible for us to tell truth from error and right from wrong if truth can actually change, for then we don't have a sure standard of doctrine to judge from, like we do with Christ's words.

Also, the most important question is, that if you believe doctrine and truth can change, how would one discern between a true prophet or a false one? Or between true revelation from God and false revelation from Satan or one's own mind?

Please do not say 'one just knows', for even some of the so called greatest men/prophets who ever lived have been easily deceived by false revelation, so unless you claim to be more righteous then them, we need another answer then just basing belief on spiritual feelings or experiences.

For telling true prophets from false ones was the reason Christ gave us his teachings, so we could use them to judge by. He taught that we would be constantly bombarded with false prophets and false ideas around us, by men who look like and claim to be true prophets. So it would be very hard to tell, so he gave us a standard that can never change & thus be used to judge from. For if Christ's standard could change then it would be useless and Christ's mission would be useless and everyone would be left to themselves to decide wrong from right and we would have chaos, like we do today, because no one is using Christ's teachings to judge by.

Anne said...

I'm one of those fully active life-long Mormons who pays tithing in an unorthodox manner. On my own salary, I pay to various charities that I screen carefully--usually maternal/child health organizations. I have a fond spot for midwifery organizations that provide prenatal/labor care, birth centers, and newborn care. I feel 100% comfortable donating my tithing to organizations outside the Church.

My husband is more traditional and feels really unsettled at paying tithing outside the Church--"it isn't paying tithing if it's not paid to the Church!" So for the moment tithing on his salary goes to the church. But sometimes I sneak some of the tithing funds to other organizations because I do the finances in our family. I just donated a nice big chunk to the Liahona Children's Foundation. It's kind of mind-blowing that only $60 can feed a child for a year. So now we are feeding many children for many years.

I don't have a problem paying some tithing funds to the Church, but I want a good part of my money to go directly to helping the poor and the needy. Sadly, the only way I've found to make this happen is to pay some tithing outside the proper channels.

(Creating a pseudonym because I don't want this post to be tooting my own horn.)

Veracity said...

BK,

I see what I need to do is read what Christ said in the New Testament and compare them with what I know from the LDS church as you have done. There cannot be any harm in such and exercise. I am 100% comfortable with learning about religions and history from any source.

Would you please help me get started by providing one specific example of Jesus' words that are in conflict with and LDS doctrine? (Chapter and verse)

Do you think Jesus' words are exact quotes and literal? There is the possibility that they have been modified over time by translators and scribes. Do you know Jesus is the Son of God? Do you know that Jesus existed? For me this comes down to faith.

To answer your question of me, I believe that Joseph Smith is a prophet because my spiritual impressions. I believe because the church he created teaches things that make sense to me and seems to lead to happiness. I believe because I choose to believe. It really is a matter of choice. I choose to have faith and I choose where to place my faith. It is a matter of faith and not a matter of knowledge. I think Alma 32 is a good scripture for this topic. Also: Matthew 25:31-40, Matthew 7:7-12. I also like "Lectures on Faith".

I apply this same concept to my faith in Jesus. So since I have faith that Jesus is the Christ and Joseph Smith is a prophet, I have to reconcile any contradictions somehow or simply accept that I don't know the answer yet.

Truth does not change, but my understanding of what is true does change and hopefully improves over time.

Thanks for the conversation.

BK said...

Veracity,

I do believe that the 4 Gospels probably contain many exact quotes from Christ (for I believe they prove to be true when we live them & studying their effect on society) but probably some are partial quotes too and maybe some are even false quotes. But it seems the Apostles got Christ's major messages across, at least the important ones needed for happiness & eternal life, though I'm sure we only have 1% of what Christ actually taught.

It is true that all we have are supposed quotes from Christ's Apostles in the 4 Gospels of what Christ supposedly said & taught, but all of Christianity (even the LDS religion) is based upon those few supposed quotes from Christ, and thus without those we have nothing to base anything past or present on.

Thus those supposed quotes from Christ's Apostles hold alot more weight then anything else written by other authors in the New or Old Testament, who never even met Christ. And Christ's Apostle's quotes have much more weight then anyone's opinions, revelations or visions in the 1800's or today that claim to be talking for God or to have seen him, or who claim to have new scripture from Him. For they all prove they actually preach & practice 'contrary' to Christ's words, despite their claim to be talking for him or to have seen him in vision, let alone to think there were righteous.

And I don't believe anyone can know for sure that Jesus existed or that even God exists.

Many people think they know God or Christ exist but no one has proof of it. Everyone's beliefs are based on fuzzy feelings, impressions or what they claim as revelation or visions, which we see that such things can confirm anything to anyone, according to what they want to believe or hear, or according to whatever religion they were raised in.

For even if someone thinks God or Christ appeared to them they can't know for sure, for it could be Satan for all anyone would know. For better people then them have been fooled before.

Mortals don't know what God really looks like and wouldn't know the difference between God and Satan pretending to be God.

The most honest thing anyone can say is that they have a 'hope' or faith, (faith is 'hope' put into action) that there is a God or heaven, etc, or they believe such & such is true. But I believe we all need the humility to admit that no one knows for sure & thus be open and teachable that we could be wrong in our beliefs.

I used think the Church made sense too, having been told & expected to say 'it was true' since I started Primary. But even from my teenage years I had reservations about Joseph and all the leaders of the Church, because I knew true prophets could or would not do many of the things they all did, let alone live or believe in such things like polygamy and treat women the way they all did. Such men could never be or remain righteous.

So I knew something was very wrong from an early age, but it just took many years to put all the pieces together & see the whole picture.

I think it's wonderful how you are willing to study the real words of Christ and 'prove all things' as Christ taught us to.

I used to think it was just that all the leaders were unrighteous and apostate, but then I realized it was never Christ's Church in the 1st place, nor was there a need for a restoration, for Christ's Gospel or Church had never been lost, it's been here for 2000 years for all to study and live if they really want to.

But I'm glad to see we agree that truth doesn't change, that only our understanding of truth changes and hopefully improves over time.

I will put together some comparisons of what Christ taught verses what Joseph or the Church teaches, as per your request.

Veracity said...

BK,

It looks like we have a lot in common even though we don't agree on everything.

I look forward to seeing the comparisons you are preparing. Please don't feel like you have to do extensive work on this for my sake.

Are you happier with your new religious perspective?

Patty said...

A sure sign you're a disciple of Jesus Christ, Pseudonymous Anne, is your choosing to eschew the outward glories of giving in favor of quietly giving with a joyful heart. You inspire me.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas rock to you your angelic wife and your family, including your family of readers. Thanks for the light you help shed. From jay all the way down in Australia.

Irven Hill said...

"Anarchist
I find it interesting that you showed up for the apparent sole purpose of plugging a doctrinal treatise on tithing in the which you advocate paying in silver coins which you just happen to mint and sell."-Log

Tsk, tsk, tsk, Log. Let us not be accusers now. Never judge, under any circumstances. Or is that just for those of us who aren't as omnipotent as you?

Irven Hill said...

"All money is artificial; there's no "natural" money - everything about money is the product of human choices and efforts. Just as silver tithing coins aren't plucked from silver trees of tithing but are artificial - created by artifice for a purpose."-Log

That isn't true Log. Gold and silver naturally--not forcefully-- became money because it came about through voluntary means. No one had to make a law for them to be money. Monetary laws are what makes paper "money". At no time in history has paper money ever spontaneously come about. It has come about by compulsory means via government edicts, courts and police enforcement.

Money doesn't have to be grown on trees to be natural. All that is needed for something to be money is for people to voluntarily accept it as a medium of exchange. History has shown that gold and silver always win out, even though other natural monies have come into being. These other natural monies have not lived the life as money for as long as gold and silver. They naturally disappear.

Gold and silver are priced based on their scarcity and the amount of refining(work)that must go into the final product. They are measured by weight. Therefore they are form and substance. Paper money is form only. Not substance, hence the writing of different denominations on the same paper.

Since you are an Austrian studier, Log, I recommend "The ethics of money production" by Austrian, Jorg Guido Hulsmann. After you have done that, you will see that your supposed understanding of the Austrian view of money is, in fact, ignorant of the actual Austrian view.

You will also understand was Rock was surprised you had studied Austrian economics after your statements.

Log said...

Even though I went to pains to be clear, I see that the words I used are still misunderstood.

I hesitate to say Mr. Hill has reddened my bottom, but my cheeks are certainly reddened - I thought I had spoken clearly enough, and precisely enough, where any reasonable interpreter would have apprehended my meanings, to forestall exactly the kind of response Mr. Hill proffers.

C'est la vie.

LDS Anarchist said...

Rock,

I wrote something up, but it is a bit long, so I've decided to send it to you first in an email, entitled, "Why latter-day saints should pay their tithing in silver B.A.C.s." Please read through it and let me know what you think. If you think I ought to put it here (or on another of your posts) as a series of comments, I will. If you think I shouldn't, I won't. If you want to use the piece as the basis for a blog post, quoting it in full or in part, be my guest. Or, if you want to keep it to yourself, that's fine, too. It's your call. The email should already be in your account, sent twice (as usual). Please check your account.

(I won't be putting the piece up on my blog since it doesn't reveal anything new to my blog audience. At least, I don't think it does.)

Veracity said...

LDS Anarchist,

I will be interested to hear what you say about paying tithing with silver.

I am a bit of a student on the subject of money. Because of my deeper than normal understanding of money, I was confused about the proper calculation of tithing for a while. I knew that inflation was eating away at my buying power in some cases and reducing my gains. I also knew that some assets or investments were benefiting from inflation. These changes in value are not obvious to most people in terms of currency. I over-complicated the issue for a while.

Then I learned the official documented doctrine of the church, which says in short, that we are asked to pay tithing on our surplus income. (D&C 119) Now I understand it does not matter if my income is in seashells. If I have surplus interest/income (1828 definitions), I should pay 10% of whatever that substance is in tithing. My seashells (just an example) could be converted into whatever currency the church will easily accept.

I will be interested to hear why it would be better, or doctrinal, to pay tithing in some form of money that is not the commonly accepted currency for your area.

Anonymous said...

Let's count the number of posts Log has committed to the defense of himself, not the correctness of his position to this blog.

Frankly, I'm too tired!

Irven is dead on!

-tired of Log!

Log said...

Please have a merry Christmas while you're burning the yule Log!

XD

Anonymous said...

@Log,

If you are not welcome here, why stay?

Hypocrite.

BJ

Log said...

So far the householder, Rock, has not bid me depart. Seems I am not yet unwelcome.

Have I not challenged the so-called "Mormon Remnant," from amongst whom is supposed to spring Zion, the City of God, to make their positions known on a simple, clear question?

That question is: shall we silence or cast out those who express insufficiently popular opinions?

How do you vote, BJ? So far, none have had the testicular fortitude to forthrightly answer the question. Why don't you be the first?

Anonymous said...

@Log,

Rock is not going to disown you because he has already said that you are a decent man that sat at his table. He doesn't want egg on his face. As usual, he will let others do the dirty work while he sits back and eats Cheetos and drinks grape soda.

BJ

Log said...

"Maybe, Log, they don't answer because the answer they want to give would condemn them, showing them to be as those who they both condemn and have condemned them."

Perhaps that's true. I hope for better. After all, once one has suffered unjust persecution, been mocked, scorned, made an offender for a word, falsely accused, cast out, and so on and so forth, you'd think they'd know better than to do that to others, inasmuch as they style themselves disciples of Christ.

"But what if they just passively-aggressively make themselves unpleasant to you, calling you names and such like trivialities, hoping thereby to drive you off without committing themselves publicly to the principle of what they are doing?"

That is the more likely outcome, sure, and one sees evidence of that decision having been made already. But one can always hope.

It is Christmas Eve, after all.

"But, Log, some of them think you accused Anarchist and are a hypocrite."

It is no accusation to say things appear to be a certain way. It is an accusation to say the appearance is reality. But hey, I could be a hypocrite. That's for the audience to judge - remembering that as they judge, they shall be judged.

Merry Christmas, all.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Merry Christmas, All!
I've been given some incredible opportunities to serve others this month (be careful what you wish for), so I have not been online enough to even monitor my own blog as I normally do. Imagine my disdain to come on here to find unnecessary bickering! I was so stunned I did a spit take with my grape soda and got Cheetos powder all over my clothes.

BJ, Everyone's input is welcome here. No one gets kicked off merely because someone else doesn't like what he says or how he says it. If you have a difference with another, either address him civilly about it or skip over it and read on. You don't have to read what you don't want to.

Well, it's 12:15 a.m. on Christmas morning, so I'm going to bed. I hope you all remember to take a moment and give of yourselves to those less fortunate. Remember, it doesn't necessarily require you have means in order to lift another's burdens. All it takes is to recognize when another his hurting and step in. If all you can give is a kind word and a helping hand, that's often more than some people get in a month. This is the way we emulate Christ: by treating others as he would if he were here in our stead.

Merry Christmas, and God bless you all.

Rock

Joseph Samoa said...

I am interested in whether you have researched the legal framework that may have influenced the need to make all donations to the Church the Church's property. I think you may be drawing conclusions without knowing, or at least presenting, all the facts. Were a donation to be considered still the property of the giver, and further, were members given legal standing to influence decisions regarding the use of funds, it would seems, given the vehemence of many of the comments posted here, that the Church would be mired with constant lawsuits attempting to control the Church's use of funds. What alternative system do you propose that would satisfy what you seem to believe is irrevocable scripture demanding the consensus of the members in the disbursal of all funds? Do you truly believe this is possible? If not, what would be the purpose of granting the Church authority to accept funds if, after growing to membership of tens of thousands, it is impossible to comply with D+C 26/104? Is it possible that within the context of the size of the Church and the law in the United States that rather than the result of nefarious, or even misguided purpose on the part of the Brethren, the articles of incorporation and disclaimer that you cite to may be as easily explained as a necessary adjustment given the legal landscape in the United States. Just a thought, and a little nudge to do your homework and to honestly consider all reasonable conclusions given any set of facts. Without doing so, your position, whether correct or not, or whether genuine or not, is not credible as presented and raises suspicions for those looking for well-reasoned and supported discussions on LDS topics. I wish you well in your blogging. You seem to have quite a following!

Log said...

Joseph Samoa,

Please don't go; this could be an interesting and profitable conversation.

Do you agree the scriptures, as they are presently constituted, require the common consent of the membership in the use and administration of the tithes?

That question admits of an unqualified answer of "yes," or "no," as proper (Matt 5:37).

It would seem that this question needs to be answered before any other considerations are addressed. After all, if the answer is "no," then there is no purpose served to pursuing the topic.

I personally view it as illegal and illegitimate when the USFEDGOV assays to accomplish by treaty what is forbidden it by the Constitution, and I would guess many might take the same attitude towards the nullification of the Lord's commandments by appealing to the laws of men. Indeed, I think the Lord himself had something to say about that practice (Mark 7:1-23).

CDK said...

Wow, as my husband and I were reading this we got a call from our bishop. We have not gone back to church since August. The Bishop ask to come by and meet with us for a few minutes....we said no that we had company coming from out of town. Our dear friends are coming to tell us goodbye. We said we would be moving this week and would not be returning. We are moving out of state and please send our records to salt lake. He then ask us for our forwarding address which we don't have yet.
A few minutes later we get a call from the secretary asking us to come in for an appointment for our tinting settlement. We have never had a home teacher or visit from the bishopric in 6 months but the only thing they seemed concerned about is our year end tithing.....no thought of can we help you in the move?????
We found this so ironic!
By the way we have not paid our tithing to the church in over a year....we pay it in our own tithing groups to help the poor and needy!

LDS Anarchist said...

Veracity,

If you send me your email address, I'll email you the article. You can use the contact form that I have on my blog to send me your email address.

LDS Anarchist said...

Log,

I responded to your questions on my own blog, since Rock felt that that is where it should be discussed. You can find my response here.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Joseph Samoa,
My primary response to your questions is contained in Log's succinct response above. If we still had a church in its original form, acting like a church instead of behaving like a business, there would be no need to conform or adapt to the modern concerns. The Lord's church was never meant to be a leviathan that attracted predators, and if it were acting within its proper venue, would not have assets worth seizing.

It's primarily because we have converted FROM a church into a corporate entity that the "Church" even needs the massive legal department it maintains to protect its assets.

When I was much younger I recall President Kimball telling a reporter that the church's income keeps pace with its outgo. I felt then and feel now that a church has the responsibility to disburse its tithes immediately where needed, not accumulate vast stores of funds for "investments."

I have indeed discussed in several other posts on this blog the various aspects of the Church's financial folly. I don't have time to list them all right now, but if you will do a word search in the box at top of the page for "Henry Moyle" and "Eldon Tanner" that should give you a good start. I recommend also Daymon Smith's "The Book of Mammon" for an analysis of how the transformation from church to corporation has decimated our once promising religion.

Henry Moyle, counselor in the First Presidency under David O. McKay, was a successful businessman who tried to make the church succeed as though it too were a business.

If, for example, the Southland Corporation were to build and open a 7-11 store in a busy neighborhood, they could probably be assured of having a thriving business. Moyle attempted to build the Church along those principles, initiating a building program that placed new LDS chapels in neighborhoods where few members even existed.

When people failed to flock to our Sunday services, Moyle scolded the missionaries for not working hard enough.

Moyle's business plan did not work with a religion, and the Church was on the brink of bankruptcy. Unfortunately, the remedy chosen to correct this debacle was implemented by Eldon Tanner, who funneled tithes into investments. That made the Church successful, if "success" is defined as "profit" which, I hasten to say, is a very GOOD thing if you're running a business.

But God is did not enlist Joseph Smith to run a business, he wanted a church, which is a community of believers.

More precisely, a church should consist of MANY separate communities of believers scattered throughout the country and the world. It is only because the "Church" has become a centrally controlled entity that it even NEEDS to be a corporation for protection.

After half the Saints moved west to the Rockies, the other half remained, continuing to meet in autonomous branches spread out over the Midwest. This is years before many of them were later consolidated as the Reorganized Church. They continued to tithe and disburse funds within their individual branches, and functioned quite well without anyone ever suing them, or any central control telling them how to implement policy. They already had the scriptures and the revelations, which are all that is needed to operate as a church.

As for the members issuing approval of funds, it was not required that they approve every expenditure as it was proposed. But the Saints were given the opportunity to review the finances every April conference, and this kept the leaders from abrogating funds willy-nilly without oversight from the members. If the members felt money was being spent inappropriately, they had the opportunity to voice objection so the money would not be wasted in that manner the following year.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anarchist,
Since your essay on paying tithes with silver coin is so involved, it would be best if you provided a link here to where my readers can find it elsewhere online. Perhaps you can post in on Scribd or some such location.

In the alternative, you are welcome to post it here, but this platform will only allow about 4,000 characters per post, so be prepared to have to break it up several times. That can be a headache, but if you're up to the hassle, be my guest. I still think it's a valid pursuit, and worth wider appeal, so whatever you choose to do, please leave a link on this forum so others can find it.

Anonymous said...

Rock,

In your response to Joseph Samoa, you make many claims, but offer little proof. It is customary to cite works and page numbers to back up one's claims.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anonymous,
You must be new here. Regular readers are aware that I invariably provide complete sources and citations to back up my claims when I post an essay to this blog. What you complain about is a response to an inquiry from a reader, to which I responded briefly. I had neither the time nor the inclination to provide specific citations with that response, as I have neither the time nor inclination to do in response to your anonymous complaint. Instead I directed the questioner to several other pieces posted here that do contain links to books, original sources, and footnotes, complete with specific page numbers as you demand.

There must be at least half a dozen pieces on this blog that you yourself could peruse if you wish to be directed to the source material that would answer Joseph Samoa's questions. I don't tend to put hours into re-collecting my research into a simple response to a question in the comment section, though sometimes I might provide one or two links if I am disposed to do so.

Rather than demand I write complete new essays in response to every question, complete with citations and footnotes, I might suggest you put a bit of your own effort into looking around. It's all available on this site, so it shouldn't put you to too much trouble.

One important note: If you respond further, please recall my rules that people posting here as anonymous run the risk of having their comments deleted. I'm letting yours remain this time because of the enjoyment I get from being called to task by someone who demands complete transparency from me, yet hides behind the name "Anonymous" when doing so.

Anonymous said...

Rock,

I'm sorry, but it is hard to take your blogging seriously. Let's take this blog about tithing as an example. You make numerous claims, to which you throw out a mere peppering of citations. Most of what you have written is your personal opinion; even your interpretation of many scriptures. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to provide citations for every statistic you cite, and every claim you make. This business of "go look it up for yourself" is very un-scholarly, especially if you are trying to refute what has been spoken by those at the reins of the church. Just my opinion.

Anon 2

Mike H said...

Well Anon2, why should Rock or anyone take your criticisms very seriously since you can't even follow simple directions to pick a unique username. Anon2 is a poor attempt for which I give you an "F". But in any event I doubt you really want the facts and citations you say are lacking, but rather you are angered at this blog and simply want to be a detractor. Otherwise you would pick a unique username and have the courtesy to site one or two examples where more information is needed. If not Anon2, I think you're just a whining troll who's got their undies in a bunch.

Anonymous said...

Mike H,

I didn't invent citation protocol, but here are some guidelines:

Citation:

Give credit where credit is due
English proverb
to cite (verb): to acknowledge (give credit to) the original author or artist by providing a reference
citation (noun): a properly formatted line of text that indicates the source for a quote, idea, fact etc. that you use
What to cite

The following examples require proper citation using an appropriate style manual such as the MLA. These are the main items that require citation.

Direct quotes: phrases, sentences, or sections copied directly from a text; cite with quotation marks (use a limited amount of text, not a full text) Learn how to use quotation marks
Paraphrased text: sections of your writing that are based on research (not common knowledge) but written in your own words (not in quotes)
Facts and Figures: numbers, percentages, and facts that have been collected by an exclusive source (such as during an experiment or poll)
Theories, methods, and ideas: any original idea or thought that you find during your research and present in your writing
Images, graphs, illustrations: always follow copyright rules when using images, including those you find online

Anon 2

Mike H said...

Woohoo! Boy you're learned alright! Except, how on earth do you read a book like the BOM without all those facts and proofs you require. How do you believe in the brethren who are 1"at the reins of the church" without requiring of them these proofs daily?

See Anon 2, this is called a double standard, which a learned person ought to know.

Anyway, like Rock says, the material is there for you to read and whatever sources available are present, take it or leave it. Or present something to move the conversation forward.

1: See Anon 2 December 30, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anon 2,
You seem not to have read my response to you carefully. I did not simply tell you to "go look it up yourself;" I said the citations you are looking for are already contained within the body of my posts here on this blog. Look for words or phrases highlighted in blue in those posts, and click on them; if the source is available online, they'll take you right to it.

In instances where the source is not online (such as within the pages of a book or a scholarly journal), you'll usually find I've provided the title of the publication, with the pertinent page numbers in parentheses following the quote or statement. Where a book is available on Amazon, I'll often provide a link to the book, and sometimes even a picture of the book itself.

This latest post you are concerned with is the most recent of three pieces I've posted on the subject of tithing. I've written several more that deal with Church finances and corporate issues, and since the current post touches on topics already covered in greater depth in those earlier posts, you may have to go to the trouble of reading those prior essays if you want to look deeper into my sources.

Case in point: reader Steve Ross, in a comment above (December 10th at 2:39PM), asked me for the citation regarding the Twelve voting themselves exempt from paying tithing. Although this present piece has several links to sources, I had neglected to link to that source in this post; but I did provide it in my previous piece, "Are We Paying Too Much Tithing?"

I thanked Steve for bringing it to my attention, and have since added that link to the present piece. If you'll seek out my response to Steve Ross here in this comment section (December 10th, at 6:29), you'll find that my response to him contains additional primary sources as cited by D. Michael Quinn. Those may also be helpful to you.

The point I'm making is that although not every source is noted on the present post, sources are usually cited in my previous posts where these subjects have been covered in greater depth.

I frankly feel I've made it quite easy for you, Anon 2, since I provided links to some of these earlier pieces at the end of the original post above, under the heading "Related Posts." You need only read them to find links to my sources.

The place where you should NOT expect to find complete notes and links to sources is here in the comment section, though that appears to be what you are demanding of me.

I'm not bothered that you find it difficult to take my blogging seriously. This is just an opinion blog, and I'm no scholar. If it's scholarship you're looking for, I'd recommend you do what I do and read what the scholars have had to say.

I have done the research and provided the links to those scholarly sources for your convenience. But I'm afraid you WILL have to go to the trouble of clicking on them yourself.

Veracity said...

BK,

I was just re-reading what you posted above. I have not heard from you for a while. I hope you are well and everything is going well for you. I am looking forward to seeing some examples of contradictions between Christ's words and the churches teachings. I am checking the blog frequently for your next post.

Sincerely,

Veracity

Anonymous said...

Mike H;

The Book of Mormon is a "primary source" that was written by people that actually witnessed history transpiring. It was later abridged by Nephi, under the direction of the Holy Ghost. It was in turn translated by Joseph Smith, using the Urim and thummin, hence, it is the most correct book on the earth, as Joseph Smith is credited with saying.

This is not about me believing in what the people at the reins of the church say. It is about a person (Rock) trying to refute what the general authorities have said using poor scholarship.

Anon 2

Anonymous said...

Rock wrote,

"I'm not bothered that you find it difficult to take my blogging seriously. This is just an opinion blog, and I'm no scholar."

Thank you for acknowledging that you are not a scholar, Rock. I think by virtue of the fact that you are a published author, and a prodigious blogger, some folks entertained the idea that you had authoritative views.

Anon 2

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