Back in December, I posted a piece here showing how most of us have been acting contrary to doctrine regarding what constitutes a proper tithe, and how the downside of those overpayments resulted in many of us neglecting our alms.
As is evident from a reading of the Law of tithing, the Lord intended tithing to cover the operating expenses of the Church; tithing has virtually nothing to do with charity. Tithing and alms are two different creatures. Providing alms and offerings to those in need is the greater commandment, and one I fear many of us have neglected because we believed that by paying our tithes, those obligations were taken care of. They weren't.
Besides, I don't believe the giving of alms is a duty God wants us to palm off on others and trust them to decide where the money goes. You should be the one to look for the need then decide how your resources are disbursed. Tithing is one type of obligation; charity is another. I believe an act of charity is most effective when performed in as direct a way as possible, even when anonymously given. The giving of alms can and should be a spiritual experience for both the giver and the recipient.
In my article on tithing I proposed we regain our balance in the church regarding both tithes and offerings. The law of tithing requires we donate a mere ten percent of our surplus at the end of the year, not ten percent of our gross salary and wages each month, as commonly believed. If we learn to begin donating to the Church the tiny amount the Lord requires for the operation of the Church, most of us will find ourselves with a greater portion of our substance to distribute to our neighbors in need. Since writing that piece, I have been delighted with many of the responses I've received from members who have truly caught the vision of what the Lord intended. Here is an excerpt from a recent email:
I just have to say my wife and I have been active in the church our entire lives and I guess we never bothered to carefully read the law of tithing in D&C 119. You have opened our eyes to how we have been doing it backwards all this time. We used to give 10% of our gross to the church, and just a little tiny bit in fast offerings. Now we have reversed that. We give the Church the tiny bit the Lord requires, and we give 10% of our gross in fast offerings to help feed the needy in the ward. Sometimes we find other ways to give, like when one of our neighbors was about to have her electricity shut off and we paid her past due bill of over $200. We also do like you do and try to never pass up a homeless beggar on the street. We always give them something every chance we have.
"And the beautiful thing is we are seeing all sorts of blessings now that we have decided to do this the right way. We used to struggle to pay what we thought was a full tithe, and we did it because we believed we would be blessed for it. But those blessings never seemed to come and we thought oh well, maybe in the next life. We see now that Heavenly Father never promised blessings if we pay our tithing. That was something we were always taught but it is not written any place in the law.That letter went on to include all the good things that couple had discovered their family was experiencing because of the paying of alms, but for the sake of space I've abridged the letter. This is not the only example of someone relating to me how their lives have been changed by focusing on charitable giving, but I include it because this guy asked a question that, it so happens, I suddenly have the perfect answer for.
"So here is where we really got surprised. Since we have been giving abundantly to the Lord's children, all kinds of good things have come our way. We really truly believe we are being blessed. IN THIS LIFE!!! Of course, the real blessing is knowing we are really helping other people directly. So here is the question I have for you. We would like to contribute some of our money each month to charities but we do not know which ones are the best. Do you have any you would recommend?"
First, let me say I like the idea of giving directly to another person when at all possible. Most of my giving usually goes directly to people on the street or to neighbors who need a hand up, or other opportunities that arrive in my path. So in my opinion, this letter writer has been going about it the right way. I do believe fast offerings are a good place also, because I like the idea of we Mormons taking care of our own. At the same time, I don't limit all my giving just to the church. I prefer to give it wherever I see a need arise.
In fact, I believe that every opportunity that enables me to serve a brother or sister was placed before me specifically because God wanted me to act on it. I don't believe in accidents or coincidences anymore. If someone enters my field of vision who requires a bit of assistance, I don't hesitate. (I'm not saying this because I'm trying to impress; I'm trying to repent of a life as a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old skinflint.)
So, to the question about charities. As a rule, I don't give to any of the big organized charities, and for one simple reason: I'm not keen on my money paying for overhead. I don't have a lot to spare, so what I do give I want to see given directly to those in need, and not have a percentage of each dollar eaten up by administrative costs. Last year the Reno Gazette reported that the CEO of the Red Cross receives a salary of around $500,000 a year. That appears to be in the mid range for the CEO of a major charity, and that expense doesn't even include the large number of other full time employees.
An online friend has argued that these charities bring in millions more than would have been possible had it not been for the marketing and promotion the paid employees provide. True enough. But because of all that marketing, the big charities are doing just fine without my help, so I prefer to give where I'll be giving more bang for the buck. Which brings me to the best opportunity for cost effective giving I've ever seen.
My New Favorite Charity
Three years ago I wrote a piece on this blog titled If You Can't Afford Food Storage, which chronicled how, as a couple on very limited means who didn't see any way possible to acquire an adequate supply of food, my wife and I finally buckled down and just got started. I wrote of my experiences with products from three or four different companies, finally settling on EfoodsDirect.com as my hands-down favorite. Their products were largely organic, non-GMO, incredibly delicious, the best quality, and great prices. I sampled several of their meals and wrote a glowing review.
Apparently someone at Efoods got wind of my piece, because some months later I got an invitation from that company to join with a handful of other writers to start a blog on their website dealing with all aspects of food storage and emergency preparation. My area of expertise was the proper storing of water, and after I ran out of things to say about water, I continued to offer my opinion on various signs of the times from what's happening to the price of gold and silver to the mysterious epidemic of honeybee deaths. I've been posting entries on that blog twice monthly ever since. If you're interested in reading some of them, you can find them here.
Anyway, a couple of days ago I received a notice from EfoodsDirect that perfectly answers the question of my reader regarding a reliable way to contribute to charity. Steve Shenk, president of EfoodsDirect, has been deeply moved by the awful devastation caused by the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma. Those poor people have been hammered over and over, and could use any help the rest of us can provide. So the Efoods Team came up with a way for folks like you and me to inexpensively place a big box of food directly into the hands of an Oklahoman who desperately needs it. And for less than half of what it would normally cost.
So here's how it works: You can donate a 7-Day supply of food for just $25.00. That package normally sells for $59.95. The remaining cost of the supply including shipping fees is absorbed by eFoodsDirect. The box of food you'll be paying for contains 37 servings of food, which is more than enough to sustain a full-grown adult for a week.
This is the precise opposite of the way most charities operate. Unlike many organizations that collect money and then distribute only a portion of the donation received, in this case 100% of your food donation ships directly to the victims with no administrative fees deducted.
And by the way, if you haven't tried these products, why not buy a week's supply of food for yourself? Of course if you're not a tornado victim, you'll have to pay $59.95, but when you see what you get for the money, you'll realize it's still an amazing deal. That's why I'm a customer. A few months ago I bought a case of the best eggs ever! (Seriously, these eggs are incredible. I've been telling everybody to try these eggs.)
Most of those tornado victims were not very well off to begin with. I can't imagine what it must be like to try and pick up the pieces of their lives. I'm really grateful to the team at EfoodsDirect for providing this exceptional opportunity to do something for them.
I'm writing this on June 7th, 2013. If you are reading it weeks or even months later and still wish to participate, as long as the link is active I'm sure EfoodsDirect will put your donation to good use. I have never seen a better way to make a charitable dollar go this far. And here's a neat little bonus: when you make your contribution, your first name and city gets printed on the label, so when the recipient gets that box of food handed to him or her, they know exactly who it came from. That's akin to you being there and putting the box personally in their hands. I like that. It provides a spiritual connection between the recipient and the giver.
As soon as I get this piece posted today, I'm making my contribution. I hope you will, too. Just click here.
Update June 8th, 2013 :
EfoodsDirect founder Steve Shenk is, like me, a firm believer in the Principle of the Ten-Fold Return, the law that was clearly at work in blessing the lives of the author of the email above, as well as many others who wrote to me with similar stories. Steve Shenk's own success in life testifies to his adherence to that principle. To read his brief explanation of the Ten Fold Return, click here
[About Comments: Please, people, try to stop commenting as "Anonymous." So many people use that option that it's become impossible to know one commenter from another. The simplest option is to put a username in the dropdown box that says "Username/URL." You can usually leave the URL box blank, but if the system insists, just type in a random name, such as Amazon.com or LDS.org. I am informed that some browsers don't allow the use of any option other than "Anonymous." If that is the problem in your case, and you MUST use the anonymous option, please put a username of your choice at the end of your comment so that others can be clear about who they are responding to. -Rock]
I agree that much is lost, for both the giver and the receiver, when it is done through some mind numbing bureaucracy. I think it is very important for our own salvation to be engaged, as much as we are able to, in helping those around us.
The people of King Benjamin were told:
"for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants."
Charity towards others is necessary if we want to continue to have our sins remitted. I think the first effort should be done as you have shown, helping those who are right around us. The Efoods effort is a good approximation.
Thanks for your words.
Great post, Rock. I've linked to this on my FB page and I will be making a donation. You mentioned paying tithing the way that the Bible directs and then paying 10% to fast offerings. I'm afraid that I heard recently that the LDS church reserves the right to distribute ALL donations as they see fit, meaning that tithes can be used as fast offerings, mission fund, etc. and vice versa. And since they haven't published financials in 4 decades we can't know where anything is going. Would you donate to a charity that refused to make their financials public? Most people I know wouldn't. I recently responded to this article in the comment section of the Deseret News.
FOUR TIMES I asked why the church doesn't publish financial statements and FOUR TIMES my comment was denied by the moderators (who work for a company owned by the LDS church) I just gave up after that.
Anyway, I wouldn't want people to assume that their donations will be allocated the way they are directed on the tithing slip.
I'll be posting this comment on your facebook page as well.
One organization I think is great is Kiva. http://www.kiva.org/
You donate an amount of money directly to individuals across the world as a micro-loan. Individuals propose a project or small business they want to begin such as a small business making peanut butter in some remote part of Africa. Users can look at these 'applications' and determine who they want their money to go to. As the person gets their business or whatever going they repay the loan and your money comes back to you (the user) and you are able to donate again to someone new. Often it is a way to help the poor help themselves, you can even have direct contact with the individuals about specific needs they have. The woman making peanut butter needed a fridge for example. I would encourage anyone who is looking for a place to donate to check out Kiva.
Well, yes I don't donate much these days to fast offerings for the reasons you state, but I still like the idea of taking care of our own. For that reason I would never discourage anyone from continuing to donate that way if that is their preference. The lack of transparency is the main reason I prefer to give by other means, and I think it's unfortunate that we can no longer trust the Church to disburse charitable funds according to our wishes. We should be able to, but we're not since the corporate leaders decided to ignore the Lord's commandments to obtain common consent.
When we were on the skids, some anonymous ward member bought all the fixings for a thanksgiving dinner, then gave the bags of groceries to the bishop and asked him to give them to a deserving family. He brought them to us. That, to me, is the safest method I know of to give through the church; buy the stuff first, so your money doesn't get diverted through the bureaucracy. If you wish to donate funds for a family, make out a money order and have the family's name put on it.
Yes, Kiva is another fine example of direct giving. For those not familiar with it, Kiva is certainly worth a look.
I love how the internet has made direct participation in helping others much more accessible.
We all probably have way more 'poor & needy', around us within our own circle of family, friends and neighbors, than we could ever afford to help, but at least we would know it got where it needs to go, 100%.
I believe single mothers should be top on the list for our help, so they don't have to work and leave or take time away from their children and home. For if mothers don't have the time and energy to do their role correctly, then everyone else suffers eventually.
And if the 'true' church was on the earth, (which I don't believe it is now, for it was lost with Joseph Smith) then I might help fund it's operating expenses 'IF' I could see they were using those funds righteously and 'IF' all the poor and needy were taken care of 1st, before giving money for 'operating expenses'.
For I don't believe Christ would ever want a Church or Temple built, or any money given towards his Church, if there were those in need who were suffering. Better to meet for Church in a park or in smaller groups in people's houses, etc. then to ignore the plight of the suffering around us, while building chapels or temples.
Joseph or others may have put those instructions in the D&C to direct tithing for church expenses, but Joseph or others could have been wrong about it, especially if he used money for Church purposes while there was yet 1 needy person in Nauvoo. Joseph made many other mistakes in judgement and revelation, thus he could have been still learning about tithing too.
Remember, even and especially, 'Prophets' have to prove to us they are righteous and helping the poor most of all, in order for us to think they are worthy of following or trusting our money with.
And I don't believe in any paid ministry, not even for a prophet, unless he is truly one of the poor and needy and can't work to support him self as king Benjamin and Alma also did, while they were prophet.
As the scriptures say, the true essence of religion is relieving the suffering of the poor and needy. I believe salvation hangs on this one issue more than any other, except for how we loved, served and took care of our own spouse and family, who are actually part of the poor and needy we need to look after.
Good advice and great post Rock!
Another example of a large "charity" that I stopped giving to a couple of years ago is the Boy Scouts of America. When I learned that the leaders on the national level were making 6 figure incomes, that was enough for me.
Recent developments in the BSA have left me appalled and glad I stopped supporting that organization.
Better to donate my hard earned cash to a need close to home. I never go to Home Depot in past months without seeing several homeless people by the entrance driveway. I never visit Temple Square without seeing several homeless people near the entrance. I KNOW those people are not the ones who will receive my cash if I donate it to Fast Offerings these days.
Non-disclosure of financial operations is highly suspicious to me. Why be secretive unless there is something to hide? I do not trust The Church, Inc. these days, because I question the lack of financial transparency and I am unhappy with the failure to obey the word of the Lord to conduct all business by common consent. I am also unhappy with numerous other things The Church, Inc. has done lately but enough for now.
Thanks for bringing the EfoodsDirect relief effort to light Rock. This along with the Liahona Foundation have given me worthy alternatives.
Miss you on LDSFF.
I think that when we buy the bag of groceries from several local stores those bags go directly to local food pantries. I hope so, because that is what we've been doing.
Does anyone know?
I appreciate this post and will donate to the Oklahomans through the e-foods direct company as well.
My understanding of alms, tithing, charity etc. as of late have been so helpful to me in clarifying my own intentions towards Gods children. I want to be of service where I can and want it to be the best benefit.
I'd like to share an experience I had recently about wanting to help someone.
We know of a family whose mother is the sole responsible parent in the home. One of the children was going away on a service mission for their church. We thought that a financial gift would be helpful to them considering their assumed situation. We had a certain amount of money set aside ready to take to them and were just wondering how to do it when I thought "you know, we haven't even prayed about this, maybe we better to see what would be the right amount and procedure". The answer I got after I prayed told me,"hang on to it, she hasn't asked". That was such a big surprise to me. So we put it aside and realized how vital it is to listen to God no matter what our perceptions about a situation may be.
I love the idea of taking care of our own as well. But this can be impossible in stakes and districts in the less-developed world, given the current system. LDS children are literally malnourished and starving to death in many countries, and though local Church leaders long to help, they don't have the means to do so. The Liahona Children's Foundation strives to correct this problem. It has no paid staff in the United States and provides small stipends to in-country coordinators. It is truly a labor of love.
I agree that single mothers should be helped. In LDS culture especially, women are taught that they should make having children and being a homemaker their top priority. If things go badly and a woman gets screwed over by her husband, she is often left with little recourse. I find this terribly sad.
I have to make a point about the exception. In a situation very close to us handicaps and disabilities have made it very hard for a young male (who is a hard and determined worker) to provide for a family.
In this case the likewise handicapped wife, instigated in part by her parents, decided that the father/husband had to go--
the sending away was brutal. The divorce was initiated entirely by the wife (or her parents), and there have been some hard hunger weeks for the young man, especially because his own family is far away. Some people have reached out in kindness, but most bishops have not understood. Of course, the young man has been made to appear like a deadbeat dad, which he is not. The situation is even more grievous than I am describing--
To say that women are always the innocent victims is just not accurate.
The fact is that our current culture (in and out of the church) is not set up for those with lower intelligence and other handicaps, even if those people want to have families--
the system is primarily set up for those with above average intelligence--whether male or female.
Anyone else can either swim or sink--
and if they can't swim the end of the story is not happy.
Liahona children's foundation. Estimates are that over 900 active LDS children die due to malnutrition per year. Liahona has very little overhead and no paid administrators. ~50 bucks per year prevents malnourishment under this program.
I'm not sure that I can compose a coherent sentence because I am so saddened that my wealthy church, which professes to follow Christ, chooses to build obscenely ostentatious buildings in order to win the approval of the world, while allowing God's precious children to starve to death. This goes even beyond grinding the faces of the poor. I would call this nothing less than a whoredom. It's an abomination. I have been giving all my donations to individuals for several years now, and become more convinced I am doing the right thing every day.
I get so sick when ever I think about all the money I gave the Church over the years for them to pay salaries to wealthy church leaders and build their businesses, buildings and false temples, instead of helping the fatherless, and the needy and the afflicted, where I thought it was going.
I can't believe I was so duped! I believe I was actually under condemnation from God allowing myself to be deceived to give sacred funds to wolves in sheep's clothing.
Now I make sure my extra money gets where it needs to go, directly to the fatherless and the needy around me.
thanks, Rob; I wanted this source--
Do I just google it?
Your explanation of tithing complemented what I was already learning about this law. I paid a full tithing for decades and now believe that it is truly to be paid on the "increase" which can't be determined until the year is up to account for any health issues, car repairs, home repairs, emergencies, etc. Put another way, if I was unable to pay my utilities and mortgage for six months, would the Church pay it for me given my years of faithfully paying tithes? No way. I'd be on my own and lose my home as many other saints have. We're counseled to have a year supply of food. I can't see any "increase" until I have my own safety net built up. (Which I am on my way to doing) Charity begins at home. I now manage my father's finances. He wasn't able to manage them any longer due to age and had gone from being liquid to being $10,000 in debt. Now, in four months, 25% of this debts are paid off and savings are accumulating towards upcoming payments and emergencies. He asked about paying tithes and I told him: not until your own house is in order - "Charity begins at home". Divorce is high in the LDS Church and money problems are at the root of many of them. Does this extreme view of paying tithes contribute to the break up of families? I wonder if it does. We can't always look at people's problems as being exclusively their own doing. Some things are micro-economic issues and some are macro-economic issues. The federal government makes decisions that impact people in a very personal way - some for good and some for bad. If that is true in a secular setting then why not in a non-secular? The church leadership is by no means infallible.
Great comments Anonymous. I agree, Charity does begin at home, and 'increase' can best be determined at the end of each year.
While I believe that every divorce is caused by some form of abuse, lack of or stress about 'money' seems to often cause or increase abuse. 'Financial' abuse or control is definitely often a cause of divorce.
And isn't it amazing how Church leaders ask people to give them last dime instead feeding their family or heating their homes, etc., even claiming that's how 'the Lord' wants it, when we know the Lord commanded the opposite, 'to take care of our own family's needs 1st, before any one else.
Incredible how some people can't see how wrong and backwards what the Church is saying is.
General church leaders reveal 'who they really are' almost every time they get up to speak. Yet they don't seem to realize it or they just think the people are too blind and unthinking to notice when their leaders teach falsehoods.
the fact is that it is time there is a solid movement among all who love Jesus Christ and care about *their* fellow beings--
to fight Babylon.
To stop cooperating with Babylon.
It's hard to do, especially when you have low financial means--
financial concerns just destroyed a marriage that is near and dear to me--
I can't even describe the grief I feel--
it's time *we* stood up and called Babylon what it is--
the whore of the earth--
wherever it is found--
oh well . . .
violence doesn't work.
*We* can boycott where we can. I find that buying locally from family farmers is one step in the right direction--
especially at harvest time when they have too much, and I have too little--
it's a lot of work, and that's not something everyone can do either--
but at least *we* don't have to pretend that Babylon is 'normal'--
Anonymous (June 16, 2013 @ 6:15pm),
While trying to finish my taxes this year I did the following exercise.
The following figures are based upon, official, 2011 statistics taken from each government’s website within the jurisdictions I live.
U.S. Per Capita Income (2011) = $26,780.00 +
City & County Spending (2011) = $ 2,149.00 -
State Spending (2011) = $ 4,236.00 -
U.S. Government Spending (2011) = $11,593.00 -
Total Per Capita Gov’t Spending (2011) = $17,978.00 (67.13%)
Net per capita income remaining = $ 8,802.00 (32.87%)
That leaves 32.87% for us to live on. I guess until total government spending gets to 100% we are not paying enough taxes.
Now I know there are some out there who say we don’t pay that much. Well, that’s where government debt comes in. Some may say, what about the taxes businesses pay? I would ask, where do businesses get their money? I know some will say, what about the taxes the rich pay? The income of the rich is included in the per capita income listed above.
If you take 67.13% + 10.00% = 77.13% leaving you with only 22.87% to live on - do charity etc....
Gary, I recall seeing similar figures over 30 years ago. Back then government took 42 percent of per capita income. Clearly things are getting worse. MUCH worse.
Just to clarify, I used spending statistics which includes how much they collect in taxes plus debt. If you take out the federal government deficit spending (67.13% minus 11.57%)you would be at a 51.56% tax rate.
What surprises me the most, is not that there are Gadiantons in church and government forcing or pressuring us for our money, but I'm continually amazed how almost everyone just goes along with these high taxes and tithing and pays it and doesn't even question such ridiculous amounts nor try to vote the Gadiantons out.
Almost everyone continues to vote for or support wolves in sheep's clothing in church or government, instead of becoming outraged and insisting on voting or supporting only those who will end all these unnecessary taxes and tithings.
According to the Constitution we should probably be paying less then 10% in taxes. None of this public school funding, welfare, healthcare, etc., etc.
Even the Nephites prayed day and night for deliverance from far less then a 50% tax.
Something is far more wrong with people who go along with such evil then with the people who do such evil. At least the evil people probably realize how wrong it is what they do is, but they laugh and can't believe the people go along with it so easily.
Blind supporters are the one's who really have the problem. Do you really think the evil leaders in church and government would support giving their money away to those like them, probably no, they wouldn't do it, they may be evil but they're not dumb.
I'm praying day and night for deliverance, but not from taxes (etc.)--
I am praying for deliverance of all the children/women/young men who are in slavery, for people who are exploited everywhere and for children who go to bed hungry every night (or are abused in other ways)--
I'm praying for Babylon to tumble and for Christ to come.
I don't think I'm blind.
I am sick of what is happening in the middle east--
I am sick of all the inequity and violence--
it's not just my own 'pocketbook' I am worried about.
I am sad about the high mortality rate on "Indian" reservations. I am sad about all the young women with illnesses that are caused by the preponderance of environmental xeno-estrogens--
I am angry with: chemical companies, weapons manufacturers, monsanto--
and anyone who supports them--
it's time for this to end--
I pray day and night; anyone going to join me?
Rock, was anything positive accomplished this week? I'm praying there, too--
I'm convinced this polluted world we live in has an affect on everyone--
I agree with you and am praying day and night for all those same reasons, and for freedom from our financial abuses too.
I know so many exhausted single mothers who have to work and do their husband's role and their own everyday supporting and taking care of their children alone, because their husband and church abandoned them and won't support them and their children as they should.
While the Church then coddles their ex-husband and rolls out the red carpet for him to date and remarry in the temple no less and spend his time & money on other women and their children instead of his own wife and children. It's so disgusting to see men and leaders who profess to be righteous, let alone, 'prophets', support such evil. And it's more disgusting to see everyone fall for them as if they are righteous.
I agree everyone is being affected by our evil world.
From JRSG in Arizona:
I have read about tithing from this site. It opened my eyes.!! We have always paid tithe on total earnings. We never had enough left over. I went to the Bishop of a Ward we used to live in and I will never do so again. I did not appreciate being made to feel like I was not worthy to receive help. We have had a lot of trials that have wiped us out , and they were not of our doing. That's life for some people and for us - always trials that never cease. Today we still struggle because I lost my job over 8 years ago when the economy tanked. We do what we can. I know we are not the only ones with these problems.
I always had a problem with the fact that after paying tithing we had to struggle. I always felt that God did not want that. But I felt guilty having those feelings. I also have a hard time understanding why top Church leaders have told us over and over that a tithe is on everything we earn. I have a hard time understanding a lot of things from top Church leadership.
Anyway I told my husband about what I read and we are now paying on our increase. I no longer have a guilty conscience. Maybe now we can start some food storage that we have never been able to do (because all the money went to tithing).
Before I lost my job my husband had money taken out of his paycheck and given directly to the charities we chose. We were very careful to choose charities with very little overhead. Charities like the BSA should not be non-profit because their top brass makes an indecent amount of money. Same with Girl Scouts (and many others).
Again, another great article with great information. Thanks Rock!!
Grateful for the emphasis on and distinction in the giving of alms. From Alma 4, no mention of tithes:
12 Yea, he [Alma] saw great inequality among the people, some lifting themselves up with their pride, despising others, turning their backs upon the needy and the naked and those who were hungry, and those who were athirst, and those who were sick and afflicted.
13 Now this was a great cause for lamentations among the people, while others were abasing themselves, succoring those who stood in need of their succor, such as imparting their substance to the poor and the needy, feeding the hungry, and suffering all manner of afflictions, for Christ’s sake, who should come according to the spirit of prophecy;
14 Looking forward to that day, thus retaining a remission of their sins; being filled with great joy because of the resurrection of the dead, according to the will and power and deliverance of Jesus Christ from the bands of death.
So where does the whole idea of a living prophet who receives direct revelation fit into this? And shall we shove under the rug the blessings we’ve receive by paying a full tithe on our gross? Just wondering.
1st we have to discern and prove that a prophet is a true prophet or not, and then 'if' he is really receiving true revelation, for even true prophets have received wrong revelation at times, like Joseph Smith did.
I believe we will receive blessings for paying tithing on our gross, 'if' we have taken good care of our own family 1st and 'if' we are paying that tithing to true prophets who will really use it on the poor and not the rich by building expensive malls and paying salaries to church leaders, etc., which is against the scriptures and Christ's laws.
I believe Christ actually wants us to give 'all' our excess money to the poor, not just 10% of it, for he asked the rich man to go and give all he had to the poor.
But I believe Christ mean't for us or the rich man to give all we hath 'after' we take care of our own family's needs 1st, for I don't believe we receive blessings for giving money to the poor if that means our own family suffers or is neglected. We come under condemnation if we neglect our own spouse & family's needs.
I believe the Church (and it's false prophets) are preaching condemnation by telling people to pay tithing to the Church before taking full care of their own family's needs 1st.
You ask "So where does the whole idea of a living prophet who receives direct revelation fit into this?"
I think that question was answered in my piece on tithing (linked to in the first paragraph above) where I quoted the statement of the First Presidency in 1970. The role of the living prophet in this instance was to clarify doctrine, and the official declaration promulgated on March 19th, 1970 served to clarify exactly what was expected of the Saints regarding what constituted a full tithe, and when it was to be paid.
The president of the Church at that time, Joseph Fielding Smith, signed that statement clarifying a proper tithe as 10 percent of one's interest, that it was to be paid annually, and that "No one is justified in making any other statement than this."
Many people since then, including well-meaning general authorities, have taught things that have contradicted that simple declaration. Those teachings, though well intended, are not justified. Three examples of these unjustified teachings are 1) tithing consists of 10 percent of one's gross wages; 2) instead of paying tithing annually, members should turn it in immediately upon receiving their paychecks; and 3) they should turn in their tithing before they provide for their basic necessities and the well-being of their families.
The First Presidency statement of 1970 stands as the official doctrine of the Church in this matter. That doctrine is consistent with the original instructions from the Lord on the matter.
Your second question is a bit puzzling: "shall we shove under the rug the blessings we’ve receive by paying a full tithe on our gross?"
I'm not sure what you're asking. Are you asking if you should ignore evidence the Lord has showered blessings upon you and just pretend none of it really happened? I wouldn't do that. Seems like denying the blessings of providence would be a slap in the face to the Almighty. I think gratitude and thanksgiving are the proper response to receiving blessings from heaven.
Or are you somehow under the impression that you are not allowed to pay more toward the expenses of the Church than you are required to? By all means, if you are moved to pay more, pay more; I'm sure no one will try to stop you. If it is your testimony that you have been blessed for overpaying, why do you think anyone would question your testimony on that matter?
I see nothing wrong with being generous with your money above and beyond what the Lord requires. As long as you do not promise others they will receive the same good fortune as you have by following your example; and as long as you do not teach others that your method of paying tithing is the only proper one, you are free to do as you please.
As long as you are being at least as generous with your alms and offerings as you are with your tithes, why NOT give more than you have to? I doubt very much the Lord would punish you for it.
To members of the LDS church:
Please use extreme caution when reading this blog, as well as other related blogs. Many teachings of the church have been twisted to be negatively and inaccurately portrayed.
Is it in the realm of possibility that many teachings of the LORD have been twisted and inaccurately portrayed by the church? I believe this is a question each of us should humbly and sincerely ask God.
Rock bases all of his assertions on scripture (the word of God) and the revelations of Joseph Smith (the word of God).
Believe it or not, at least one family (mine) has been very prayerful about all of this--
it might be hard to understand, but some of us are very involved in our wards and stakes--
and we see a lot of unwholesome things going on. Not to feel self-righteous, but out of deep concern we see the teachings in the Book of Mormon as a refuge and a guide and a warning, that we not be drawn in--
I used to warn people about things that seemed counter to the church culture (but were actually Book of Mormon based) so I find your warning . . . sweet.
We see Rock as a wise friend, not as a prophet or a leader--
some of us have drawn many of the same conclusions he has and come here, because we feel less alone--
if you had any idea what was happening right now in my ward and stake you would be staggered. The last days are here, my friend/brother--
and it's time to be VERY careful, but the caution comes in praying constantly, being humble, repenting by the second . . . and reading, reading, reading the Book of Mormon.
I am older (like Rock), and I see the leaders of the church as benign, caught in the same Babylonian trap as all the rest of us--
but I do not 'follow' them; nowhere in the scriptures (including D&C 1:37) are we told to follow them (to heed them, yes, and that the Lord will fulfill His Word through His servants, though the definition of that could be much broader than any of us suspect; we should never limit the Lord)--
I am told to follow Jesus Christ. By Him.
But I have no malignant feelings towards the 'brethren'; they are mortals, like me, trying to work out their salvation, but they are NOT responsible for my salvation. I am (with Jesus as my guide)--
it's in the scriptures.
The almost-worship that some LDS have towards the brethren is very scary--
those men don't need that; they have their hands full enough--
it's scary, and it's the fault/sin of the members of the church--
encouraged by a lot of middle management and corporate nonsense--
You don't have to do or read or think anything you are not comfortable with, David. I'm out of proselyting mode. After a full-time mission and three stake missions and a ward mission and years of teaching Gospel Essentials, etc.--
I'm done. I try to let my light shine; I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything; I just want to serve and repent--
but I want you to understand that *we* are not just a bunch of sheep--
not following anyone--
but Jesus. If Rock says things that resonate, well, that's fine--
but I have a responsibility to get my own answers to prayers!
The Book of Mormon talks about the baptismal covenant; we stand as a witness of God; we comfort each other; we bear burdens--
we are not responsible for the spiritual salvation of each other--only each soul can determine where he/she wants to be--
I would warn members of the Church to use 'extreme caution' when attending Church or listening to Church leaders, for they twist many of Christ's teachings and unfortunately support, preach and practice whoredoms like polygamy, divorce & remarriage and many other evils that Christ and Joseph Smith warned against.
We must all do our own homework and prove all things and not just assume what we have been told all our lives is true or that the Church is true, we must prove it. Prophets must prove they are true prophets (by preaching and practicing what Christ taught) if they expect anyone to listen to or follow them. Which LDS Prophets today or since Brigham Young, clearly don't.
"Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits."
Great comment LDSDPER!
Yes, we are each responsible for finding Jesus Christ and implementing HIS teachings and programs in our own lives...IOW, we are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling before the Lord, relying on no man, never placing our trust in the arm of flesh.
Gary Hunt: I enjoy your mathematical approach! Here are a couple of my own:
If, as I have been told (I do not know if it is true), the govt in Sweden takes 90% of peoples' income in taxes, and if a Swede has been counseled by his church leaders to pay 10% tithing on his gross income...90% + 10%...that poor Swede! No wonder the church is hardly growing in the Scandinavian countries these days!
When I was living in California in 1990, I got so fed up with the very high taxes that one day I sat down and added up every tax, including all the hidden taxes, etc. I found that I was paying over 62% of my income in taxes of various types, including many taxes on taxes.
I'm sure living in California has only become more expensive since then, but happily I do not live in California anymore. UT is not far behind CA anyway. UT is near to perfecting its own schemes for separating the rubes from their filty lucre!
I share your concern over teachings that have been twisted and inaccurately portrayed. The Book of Mormon prophets foretold that in our day many errors would creep into the church in our day, so a primary aim of this blog is to examine those false doctrines so that we as members of Christ's church can avoid being diverted from the true path.
Your criticism is welcome here, but unfortunately you neglected to point to any specific area in which you believe I am in error. If you would kindly provide specific instances where I have promoted a viewpoint on this blog that is inaccurate, undoctrinal, or contrary to the word of God, I will happily go back and make corrections.
I love your blog and am very interested in Mormonism.
Therefore I wanted to ask you: If you had to list 10 rules of Mormon living, what would they be?
I would be super happy to hear back from you!
My email: Lavendel01@gmx.net
With kind regards,
Thanks to Jared from MormonStoriesSundayschool.org I found out about your blog. My husband found out about it independently. We are loving it and sharing it with our adult children. We taught our children to be open minded, truth seekers and have watched some of them struggle with the corporate, correlated church while they maintained their testimonies of Christ, Joseph Smith and the doctrine. Like many others who have been lifetime gross 10 per centers, we never looked at the law closely and yet always wondered why getting out of debt was so hard. We are very excited about being true financial stewards rather than the devoted corporate slaves we always were in the past. Keep up the good work!
Your query deserves a good answer. Frankly, there are no rules for "Mormon living".
There is, in reality, a wide spectrum of beliefs within the church at the current time. The officially sanctioned doctrine is not the same coming out of various church authorities' mouths.
Here is my take: Live the rules Christ taught, e.g., the first and great commandment is to love the Lord thy God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength; and the second commandment is like unto it: love your neighbor as yourself. Upon these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Love is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is truly about. Love is the basis of all true Christian belief. Love is the basis of the true Christian life.
My suggestion for you is to obtain a copy of the Book of Mormon and sit down and read it cover to cover, then go back and study it, pray about it, persist in asking God until you get an answer from Him if what you have read is true. He will answer if you persist, at least He did when I asked Him.
Good luck and God Bless you.
There's only one rule of Mormon living that matters: The Golden Rule.
Here's another perspective--
6 Who also hath made us able aministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the bspirit giveth life.
That's 2 Corinthians 3--
I lived by the rule and by the book for many years, and sometimes it is necessary--
As a Mormon I try to follow every word that Jesus says; I don't know that I succeed, but that is my intent.
Ok, so if a living prophet seemingly alters a dead prophet’s revelation, God allows to choose which one better fits our individual interpretation?
I don't know what you are talking about; you'd have to give an example. Can you say which dead prophet's revelation has been changed by a living prophet?
I think it has to do with personal revelation. I feel that this might be a trick question about plural marriage (*sigh*)--
such as D&C 132. 132 is controversial and vague, and there is some indication that it may have been 'altered' after Joseph Smith received it. Plural marriage will torment *us* forever, it seems--
President Hinckley said it was not doctrinal, but--his words are interpreted according to the attitude of the hearer. When I heard him say that, I heard "not doctrinal" as in "should never have been lived as it was"--
but others hear, "just not now"--
Joseph Smith knew Jesus Christ. I am not sure subsequent prophets (or presidents of the church; some did not want to be called prophets) all had the same level of knowledge of Jesus Christ that Joseph Smith did; not all people are exactly alike, and leaders/administrators and even seers are unique--
How is that for a non-answer? I can't think of anything else, other than that I know Rock brings up how some things have changed, more through application and cultural interpretation than by revelation.
The church wasn't always a corporation. Did it become incorporated by revelation? I don't know. It's something I'll want to find out someday--
A true prophet would never 'altar' or teach contrary to a dead prophet's true teachings, for truth never changes. If any so-called 'prophet' ever does change a former teaching then true prophets have said that is how we tell a false prophet. For true prophets always preach the very same things, from Adam til the end of time.
We needn't be tortured by plural marriage 'forever', for the Holy Spirit can teach us the truth of all things, especially about Christ's and ancient prophet's teachings and Joseph Smith's which clearly teach that plural marriage is and always was and always will be, evil and not part of God's plan.
Once we have this testimony and knowledge it will never bother or worry us again.
You ask, "Ok, so if a living prophet seemingly alters a dead prophet’s revelation, God allows to choose which one better fits our individual interpretation?"
I'm with LDS DPer on this one. I'll need you to provide an example of a living prophet receiving a revelation altering the revelation of a dead prophet. I can't think of an instance of that having happened.
What about Blacks receiving the Priesthood? Joseph Smith said it was okay. Then Brigham said it wasn't okay. Then Kimball said it was okay again. So, which is it? Who is right?
Well, this sort of thing goes on in the church all the time, of course. But the priesthood "restoration" was not an example of a revelation overturning a previous one. The long-standing ban was never arrived at through instruction from the Lord in the first place; No one has found a revelation given to Brigham Young or anyone else upon which that priesthood ban was based. It was a vain tradition based upon the opinions of men.
And though President Kimball claimed receipt of a revelation permitting all worthy males to hold the priesthood, no one seems to know where that revelation is, either. So we can produce no revelation from Brigham instituting the ban, and no revelation from Kimball lifting it.
That leaves only the question of whether Joseph Smith received authority, and I think it's clear that when the priesthood was re-introduced in these latter days, there was no qualification regarding race.
What Kimball did was change a policy instituted by Brigham Young which Brigham instituted absent any authority from God to do so. Brigham Young had no authority to institute that change on his own; he could only do it by revelation. Kimball was not overturning a revelation, he was changing a mistaken practice.
I may be wrong, but I think the questioner was asking about a situation in which the Lord reveals something to one prophet, then reverses himself and reveals something contradictory to another. I know of no instance where an actual revelation has been later contradicted by another revelation.
I can give you plenty of examples where leaders have ignored or contradicted actual revelations given in the past. That sort of usurpation happens all too frequently. Brigham Young making up his own doctrine that contradicts that put in place by the Lord is only one example.
Some revelations are written while others merely declared as inspired advice that are given from prophets to guide man’s current journey. Joseph gave plenty of inspired guidance that didn’t end up in the D&C or other standard works. The Jews attempted the impossible by writing over 600 laws during Christ’s time which largely seem irrelevant today. Brigham young gave plenty of non-canonical advice to his flock which blessed lives (included many moral standards). I see no written revelations about modest dress, R rated movies, or appropriate garment wearing however I reap the benefits from a living prophets counsel regarding them in today’s world. I believe these to be modern revelations and come similarly through prophetic inspiration to guide his flock.
In 1970 interest was defined as income for today’s circumstances where few give chickens, wheat, or clothing to the Bishop as tithing. For me, I believe it was given as modern revelation from which I’ve prayed about and felt a comforting acknowledgement. I’ve see too many lives that are blessed from the benefits from gross income tithing to think otherwise.
Sometimes (in reference to African-Americans, not blacks, because Aborigines were never banned) I wish that I could really speak up. There are things I know, things of which I am aware that would . . . knock peoples' socks off (and not in a bad way, unless *you* are a racist, and then you're in trouble, buddy--LOL!)--
I wish I could say some of these things, but the Spirit and a few other constraints . . . are restraining me--
Let's just say that a lot of things will make sense someday that don't know, and I think we are going to be busy working a lot of this out after the Savior comes--
AND, bless President Kimball. He and others were ashamed and disturbed, and it took the deaths of a few old timers to get to the point where they could finally 'restore' the priesthood to those who had had it unlawfully taken away--
But bless him. Bless the man. David O. McKay would have done it--
but there are those who wouldn't allow it. Finally, everything came together under Kimball. And there was no longer any opposition--
bad grammar, fraught with bad grammar there--
must be emotional--
Unfortunately 'praying' about something and feeling a 'comforting acknowledgement' does not mean something is right or from God. People all over the world in every religion claim the same experience. The Adversary gives us such feelings and false inspiration all the time.
To make sure our inspiration and revelation is really correct and true, we must also compare it with what Christ and the scriptures say, and if they differ then we know our revelation or a church leader's revelation or counsel is wrong.
For the scriptures don't say pay 10% of income, so we know that was just someone's false interpretation, and the scriptures definitely don't say to neglect your own family's needs and pay the Church 1st, as the Church is now telling it's members to do.
The lives that you have seen blessed could easily have been that they gave once their own needs are met, which is what the Lord commanded, or just normal coincedence, which again, is something people of all religions can claim that they see happening around them, which doesn't necessarily mean their church or leaders are right.
Brigham Young of course gave much 'true and helpful' counsel, as Joseph said all false prophets do, but that doesn't mean BY was a true prophet, for when we consider all his counsel and behavior to commit the vilest of whoredoms, that are completely contrary to Christ's laws and the scriptures, then his 'correct' counsels 'to make him appear righteous' mean very little and will not save anyone.
People can believe that if it makes them fell better,
but, while what Pres. Kimball did was a step in the right direction, I believe he knew that the Church wasn't true and that the Church, nor himself, didn't have any 'real' Priesthood authority to give anyone, black or white.
Real Priesthood authority and power was all lost long before when Brigham Young started his new Church, which was completely opposite to Joseph's restored true Church. Corrupt, abusive and deceptive leaders and deceived followers can't retain or pass on God's real Priesthood.
Leaders at the top have to know this truth, for they see and know too much.
I believe David O. McKay also knew and went along with the whole deception that the LDS Church is true, for the better men they may have been the more they would have realized how false the Church was, yet they were not willing to tell the truth about it and lose their high positions.
Anonymous at 9:01 (Again, it would help if commenters would at least sign their comments with a username rather than simply "Anonymous):
I think it is important to be able to differentiate between revelations and "inspired advice." While the examples you provide regarding modest dress, R Rated movies, and appropriate garment wearing may be wise and valid counsel, they do not attain to the status of a revelation from God to his people. Leaders of other Christian denominations have somehow managed to provide identical counsel to their congregations, yet we don't presume they are dispensing revelations when they do so.
Such counsel and guidelines represent policy within our church. That's not the same as doctrine, which comes only when the prophet speaks the words God has put into his mouth. When God puts words into the mouth of his prophet, he makes it very clear who is actually speaking. Throughout our history, leaders have cautioned us not to assume everything they say is from the Lord.
Neither does the attempt to quantify Jewish law in the Talmud qualify as revelations. Taxonomy, maybe. Teachings perhaps. Even dogma. But I don't know many people who would assert that the Talmud rises to the level of revelations from God.
I get that you are of the opinion that in 1970 the First Presidency changed the definition of "income" to comport with your interpretation of that word. But that is not how that statement reads. Here is the exact wording of that clause: ...the members of the Church should pay 'one-tenth of all their interest annually,' which is understood to mean income.
The last phrase was meant to clarify how interest was viewed at the time the law was given. In other words, regardless of the popular interpretation often given to the word after 1913, at the time the law of tithing was instituted, "Interest" and "income" were considered synonymous.That is a qualifying clause, intended to reaffirm the meaning of interest as it was used in Joseph Smith's day. In other words, "interest" in Joseph Smith's day had the same meaning as "income" in Joseph Smith's day: i.e. "the law requires or enjoins a consecration of the overplus, after reserving for himself and family to carry on his business."
The First Presidency was very clear that they were not redefining interest "for today's circumstances" as you allege. They stated very clearly that "The simplest statement we know of is the statement of the Lord himself."
In other words, the definition of what constitutes a full tithe has not been changed or superseded since the time the Lord first promulgated it. Doesn't matter whether tithing is paid in chickens, wheat, clothing, or cash. What matters is the wording of the law itself.
"Gross Income" has an entirely different legal definition from mere "income," and if you wish to affirm your belief that you have accrued benefits from paying more in tithing than the Lord requires, I don't think anyone would challenge your testimony of that. The money is yours, and you may give away as much as you care to. What you are not permitted to do is put words into God's mouth that neither He nor his mouthpiece have spoken. Remember the warning given in 1970: "No one is justified in making any other statement than this."
After forming a commission to investigate whether the priesthood ban was doctrinal, the results of the report convinced President Mckay that there was no reason other than tradition to uphold that ban. McKay wanted to admit to the error and allow all men to hold the priesthood regardless of race, but he could not get sufficient numbers in the quorum of the Twelve to support agree to it.
If this tells us anything, it tells us the president of the church is not really in charge.
This brings back an ancient memory of mine of a novel I read 30 years ago that involved murders taking place within the Quorum of The Twelve, the tough-as-nails investigator from the fringes of the Church membership, and an Indian who was 7 feet tall and who had big muscles, and no name except as The Indian.
Well, to sum up 42 chapters of bad leads and gory discoveries, it was finally discovered that the President of the Church was doing it, using The Indian and getting away with it each time. Anybody who crossed him didn't live long enough to cross him again. Nobody would believe the inspector when he declared the truth because everybody knew that The President was of God and, therefore, was incapable of the act. Unfortunately, The President double-crossed The Indian, who then used his big muscles to crush The President to death and then disappeared, never to be heard of again. (Indians can do that, you know.)
It was a truly delicious book to read, but I don't think it sold very many copies.
Forgive me, I just had to share that. My tongue would have snapped, had I not done so.
Anonymous, 9:52AM, et al,
I do not have a problem with the concept that the current church is deeply into apostasy. However, when you say that the church is not true, I believe you are not correct.
Just as in the Meridian of time, during the days that Jesus walked the earth in mortality, the church and many of its leaders have lost their way in the babylonian morass, nevertheless, the authority and power to baptize with water still resided in the church in the Meridian of time, and it still resides in the current church. There are still some leaders of the church who have the Spirit of Prophecy and who are led by the Spirit. There is still truth to be found within the church. I know of this because the Spirit brought me to the church, I received a baptism of water, and some years later I received the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost.
The Spirit has clearly indicated to me that the church still serves a mission in bringing people to baptism of water and to the point where the Savior Himself will give the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost, just as He did in the Meridian of time, just as John the Baptist indicated He would (John 1:33) and which He Himself indicated He would do (3 Nephi 12:1).
The church still serves a purpose in the plans of the Lord in the same way as indicated by Nephi in 2 Nephi 31:17-18, to bring men up to The Gate into the straight and narrow way from which point the individual is responsible to build a personal relationship with the Lord and go on to Eternal Life.
The church is the repository of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, at least as much of it as has not been taken from the church because of apostasy. The church still has at least the Preparatory Gospel which can and will bring men to the Lord.
Of these things I have no doubt.
Steven, that actually sounds like a book I've heard of. Do you recall the title or the author?
You are assuming that the current LDS Church is just a continuation of the original Church, when actually there were many break off branches of that original church after Joseph died. None of which maintained or passed on any true authority. Individual men did, but not any group that came out of the original Church.
The Church and some leaders in ancient times may have retained authority for a time until all had apostatized, but the LDS Church today can't be compared to that Church, it isn't the same thing.
I believe the LDS Church (at least by the time the group came west) was lead by all unrighteous, even many wicked and totally deceived men and women. Unrighteous men can't maintain or pass on Priesthood authority.
If you believe the LDS Church has true authority today then by your logic you have to believe that so does the RLDS and even the FLDS. For they have just as much right, and the RLDS even more, to say they have true Priesthood authority to baptize as the LDS Church. The RLDS Church was even started by probably 'righteous' church leaders, one being an apostle, whereas the 'LDS Utah branch' was started by totally evil men who didn't have an ounce of Priesthood left.
A man can't live or even believe in or support polygamy or any of the many other vile evils practiced by the Church then and now and maintain any Priesthood. That is totally against Christ's laws.
And I also do not see any righteous leaders (or members) in the Church today, many are good wonderful people who are blinded and totally deceived to support the vilest of evils.
The Spirit won't stay with someone even if they are wonderful and good, if they support evil, for deep down they know they are doing such.
Righteous people are very rare, and righteous men who really hold the Priesthood are even rarer, and always have been, even in Joseph's day when his Church was true. If there are any righteous people in the LDS Church, they don't stay part of for long, for they quickly wake up to all the evil and reality of the LDS Church's origin, which was Brigham Young, not Joseph Smith.
The fact that the LDS Church promotes the Book of Mormon and keeps the same name and similar truths, even though they don't live by them, doesn't mean the LDS Church is the same as Joseph's Church.
Even at a Bishop level a man has to see and go along with so much evil and falsehoods that they must know they are doing wrong, yet they don't want face and acknowledge it and lose their position and perks and status. The top leaders are seemingly paid big bucks to go along with the evil. Very few men would ever give up the level of wealth, position, and perks that those high leaders have, to instead stand for truth and admit it's all false. Someday we may see one do it, but so far none have.
I'm sorry if you can't see how evil the Church and it's leaders are and always have been since Brigham Young, but thinking that the Spirit has led you to this Church or that your baptism was done by true authority is also thought by most people in other religions too, they feel just as sure as you that the Spirit has led them to their Churches and that their baptism is valid.
I was baptize too in the LDS Church and now I can see that it never had the authority to baptize anyone. I don't worry about it for in some future day I will be baptized by true authority, but for now it's more important to live Christ's teachings and not be deceived by crafty men.
The best the LDS Church does is make people aware of the Book of Mormon and Christ, yet all the falsehoods and evil it promotes and preaches far outweighs any good and blinds people and leads them totally astray into forbidden paths while they all think they are so righteous.
I don't think I have ever met a righteous person in the Church. Definitely no righteous leader. There are many good people deceived by the craftiness of evil men and leaders, but not 'righteous' people, people with the Holy Spirit as their guide, and especially not anyone with any Priesthood for they couldn't get any Priesthood authority from unrighteous deceived ancestors.
Any righteous people in the Church would detect the errors and evils in the Church and all it's leaders and wouldn't stay or support it for long. Righteous people have the Holy Spirit as their guide and would know that all the leaders of the Church are preaching falsehoods and supporting and doing the vilest of evils. Preaching the 'commandments of men' but not God's commandments.
So to compare the current LDS Church with the ancient Church is not a true comparison. The LDS Church is not a continuation of the original Church, it is founded on a completely different set of doctrines then even what Joseph Smith taught.
The Gospel that Joseph and Christ taught is so opposite to the one Brigham taught that they are at polar opposites. Even most Christian Churches today could claim to have more true authority and true teachings closer to Christ, then the LDS ever could.
If you had lived back in Joseph's day it would have been easier to see this, and know that Brigham's group didn't have any true authority as they went out to Utah.
I don't think you see or want to acknowledge just how evil Church leaders are today and since Brigham's day. Joseph would have never had anything to do with Brigham's group, had he lived, I don't believe he would have even allowed him to stay a member of the Church, just like his apostle brothers and other righteous church leaders and members didn't stay around in Brigham's church after Joseph died.
The original Church was totally lost when Joseph died for that authority died with him and there was no one authorized to continue leading the true Church. True Priesthood authority only remained in isolated members who went off on their own and didn't support evil men or groups or they would have lost it too.
No one who followed Brigham Young and went along with his corrupt and evil doctrines could have been righteous, except maybe some wives who were forced by their husbands to go west or they would lose their children. I'm sure that happened alot to many righteous wives, who knew how evil Brigham Young and all the other leaders were, yet they were forced to go to Utah.
Oh, if only I could, but I am 62 and...what was I about to say?...well, you know. I wish that I could help, but I really have no idea. I might be able to remember if somebody were to hypnotize me, though. If it pops up unbidden, though, I'll pass it along.
So, if the Church is a lie and a farce, led by throughly evil men, would you say that the only way to get back into the good graces of Jesus and Heavenly Father is to send in my request to have my name removed from the membership roles? Is that what you are saying? By doing that, would I be damning or blessing myself? Please guide me.
I agree, there is apostasy in the church today. You have declared that there are wicked men, wicked doctrines, false teachings, lack of priesthood power in the church today. I agree with you.
You are correct that there are no righteous men (or women) in the church today. It has ever been thus for there was only one Righteous Man, all others ever have been and are sinners.
However, you have confused priesthood authority and priesthood power.
Priesthood authority can and is bestowed by men upon other men. Even King Noah and his wicked priests had priesthood authority, as evidenced by Alma.
Priesthood power is a much more subtle and rare commodity.
As the Lord stated in D&C 121:41:
No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned
And as He told us in D&C 121:36-37
That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold; the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and with it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or authority of that man.
I hope and pray that in your (apparent) anger with the church, its leaders and its people, you will not discard the opportunity the Lord has given you to repent and enter into the straight and narrow path which leads to Eternal Life.
Nephi told us plainly in 2 Nephi 9:41:
O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that His paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before Him, and the Keeper of the Gate is the Holy One of Israel; and He employeth no servant there; AND THERE IS NONE OTHER WAY SAVE IT BE BY THE GATE; for He cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is His name.
And in 2 Nephi 31:17-18, 21
For The Gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by fire and by the Holy Ghost.
And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate...
And now; behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; AND THERE IS NONE OTHER WAY nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the Kingdom of God.
This is what the church, in all its apostasy and imperfection, offers to men and women today. The church still has the authority and in many cases, the power, to perform the saving ordinances of the Preparatory Gospel today which bring men (and women) up to THE GATE where Christ can then work with them and bring them along to Eternal Life in the Kingdom of God.
"AND THERE IS NONE OTHER WAY"
I agree, JR, at 12:08--
sometimes I feel that *we* just keep saying the same things over and over again--
And again, I must point out that nothing of what you have just written so well is EVER even alluded to during any of the Near Death Experiences that anybody has ever shared. No dogma of any religion is ever heard, except for the approval of the expression of pure love, whenever it is expressed between people. There is no religion on the Otherside. There is no need for a redemption. There is no sin, per say. There is only love, everywhere, and in everything for everything else. Religion was created by the blind, for the blind, but it is meaningless except for the love that it fosters in the human heart.
Steven I think you know the answer to your question. If the Church is a lie and a farce, led by evil men, what do you think God would have you do?
It was Joseph Smith who taught us that our place in the Celestial Kingdom hangs on whether or not we are deceived to support or follow false prophets and falsehoods.
It seems rather clear to me.
I guess we will just have to agree to disagree, for I do not believe that wicked men or leaders can maintain any Priesthood authority nor do I believe King Noah had any left. Such goes against the scriptures that Joseph gave us, "Amen to their Priesthood"
If you had lived back when Joseph just died, who would you have followed? Joseph's apostle brother, (a good man who did not believe in and wouldn't go along with Brigham's whoredoms) into the RLDS Church, or would you have gone off on your own, as most Saints did, doing the best you could with the scriptures and personal revelation to keep you on task, and thus maintaining your own Priesthood.
OR would you have followed and supported wicked evil perverse men who used and abused women in the worst of ways, not to mention all their other grave sins, and followed them out west where they would have pressured you to join in with their vile ways?
It seems you would have followed these evil men, so I don't know what to say. I believe Brigham Young and many other church leaders would have been quickly excommunicated if Joseph had lived much longer so he could have done it. And from what I have read it appears Joseph knew how wicked Brigham had become and he pitied anyone who would be fooled to follow or support Brigham Young if he ever got hold of the Church.
So it appears Joseph Smith is up yonder feeling sorry for anyone duped to follow Brigham Young and those other leaders out west or anyone still a part of his false church today.
We will stand accountable if we support false prophets or any evil.
And yes, there are righteous people on the earth, they are rare but they exist. And no, they are not perfect, but close. They live high enough laws that they have the Holy Spirit as their guide and true Charity, which means they aren't deceived by false prophets. These people are prophets and prophetesses, for it takes one to know one. They will achieve the Celestial Kingdom because they weren't deceived.
And you haven't answered my question - by your logic the RLDS, FLDS and even the Catholic Church and probably all other Christian Churches out there today, must also have real Priesthood authority to baptize people, since you think that unrighteousness and not being 'called by God' doesn't seem to matter. For you know BY wasn't called by God to continue the true Church, he had himself appointed.
No other way? I don't listen to Brigham's false temple quotations either.
But there is another way than the LDS Church, the right way, Christ's way, He is the 'only' way.
The quotes I listed are taken directly from the Book of Mormon. Perhaps you don't accept that as a source? Yes, Christ is THE ONLY WAY. That is precisedly what Nephi was telling us.
Did you read my post or just skim (or skip) it?
Either way. I agree with LDSDPer...been here, done this before.
I believe those quotes are true, I just don't believe they have anything to do with Brigham's Church, nor do they mean his Church is true or has any authority.
You still haven't answered my other question, and I'd really like to know how you can think Brigham's break off was more legit than the one that Joseph's own family went too (RLDS), let alone all the others break offs after the original Church fragmented.
If Brigham (being evil) had authority then all the other leaders of other breakoff groups (many who were probably actually good honest men) would even more so have authority.
Remember not all the Apostles went with Brigham, just the one's Joseph would have probably exed or disciplined had he lived.
It's a mess, and Father in Heaven works with what He has. He might even be working with Bhuddists and Hindus, for all I know. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ don't limit people in being righteous--
wherever they are; whatever circumstances they find themselves 'in'.
People can be evil in the 'true' church or righteous in the 'false' one--
as for the keys and everything that happened after 1844--
I believe it will all be straightened out someday.
The answer to your question is that I do not believe Brigham Young was an "evil" man, but I never met him in person to judge for myself. Unlike yourself, I do not count polygamy or plural marriage as an evil practice, per se, if the Lord commands it...and I do believe He has the right to do that if He finds it appropriate in some situations. He has the right to command men to have multiple spouses or do whatever He thinks is right. I will not judge God. Sorry if that ruffles your feathers. I know that may not be PC in today's church, but that is how I see it.
I do not know if the several offshoots of the "original" LDS church have any authority. I did live in Kansas City for 10 years and I was NOT impressed with the RLDS church at all. Their church felt empty to me...as in no life, no validity..but that is just my opinion.
My reason for believing in the current Salt Lake City version of the LDS church is that the Spirit has impressed me that whatever authority and power is currently left on earth is there. I was brought into the SLC LDS church by the Spirit, and I received the Baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost following my baptism of water. I have had numerous other powerful spiritual manifestations in the LDS church. I do NOT believe the SLC LDS church (especially The Church, Inc. as Rock Waterman calls it) has the fulness of the Gospel or the fulness of the Priesthood and I do believe The Church, Inc has very seriously drifted into apostasy. BUT...I have found nothing else anywhere, and I have been all over the world, that comes close to what I have felt in the church. Some evangelical churchs seem to have a bit of the Spirit, but not on any significant or consistent basis.
So, hope that answers your question.
Thank you for the interesting discussion.
Ok, that explains everything. I thought you believed in Joseph Smith and Christ and that polygamy was wrong. It makes perfect sense that you would have your views if you believed Brigham Young was good and Joseph was a liar.
I'm just sorry you believe that true prophets would lie and abuse their wives in such vile ways, and that you would support that. But if that is what a person likes and looks for in Prophets, Heavenly Father will let us follow any kind of prophet or person we choose to.
Both the righteous and the wicked have 'spiritual manifestations' and believe the Holy Ghost is blessing and reveling things to them, they just are receiving such from opposite kinds of Spirits. But both are sure they are right.
We must test all our 'spiritual manifestations and revelations' with what Christ taught to be sure it's correct and true and coming from God and not Satan. For Christ taught that it was adultery for a man to marry more than one living wife, even if he tried to divorce the 1st one 1st. Matt. 19:9, etc.
So you can follow Brigham's doctrines if they sound good to you, it mattereth not to me, but I believe in Christ and only those who preach and practice the exact things he did.
If you are trying to provoke me or insult me, I am not interested.
I do not have a "belief" in Joseph Smith, I have a solid testimony borne of the Spirit that he was and still is a Prophet of God. As I have stated in several posts, following Christ is the ONLY way to receive Eternal Life in the Kingdom of God.
Whatever your personal views of Brigham Young and Plural Marriage, you can still find personal growth and the Spirit in the SLC LDS church, if you look with an honest heart.
That is not to say the church is perfect, far from it. There is just nothing else on earth that I have found that approaches the church in terms of bringing men (and women) to The Gate into the straight and narrow path that leads to Eternal Life, as mentioned by Nephi.
Good luck in finding your way through the paths you have chosen.
Just seemed like a good time and place to note that today marks the 169th anniversary of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. For those who believe, perhaps a moment or two of solemnity, sometime near 5pm.
I wish I didn't agree with you. I dislike polygamy heartily and find it hard to believe it was inspired, and I have begun to question Brigham Young's authenticity. But, the 'bottom line' is that I didn't meet the man. I didn't know him. I don't know his heart, so I can't judge him.
And I've struggled for many years to find other places to feel the spirit (not because I am disaffected with the LDS church but for other reasons)--
I do know that people who are not LDS can have the spirit in abundance, but their churches are hard to feel the spirit in; I have experienced this many times--
they can be filled with the spirit and with charity, etc., but their services are empty. It's very frustrating--
As for Brigham Young I will wait and see; I am willing to wait and see. I've never felt the need to ask the Lord if he was a prophet, but I have prayed a lot about him as I have begun to question polygamy, and the fact is that Joseph Smith is the one whose prophet-ness I have a testimony of--
not Brigham Young. But I'm not his judge; I am not his God or his Savior--
so I'm willing, quite literally, to let him rest in peace, if he is at peace. If not, poor man, after all--
Thank you, James. I've been thinking more of that this year than ever before, for some reason.
I am eager to know everything that happened, even if it is terribly sad--
you know, the unsanitized version. I have my own opinions, but I am really glad for Joseph and Hyrum (and the brothers who soon after died or were killed) that they didn't have to stick around--
Steven Lester, June 26, 6:40PM
The topic of Near Death Experiences (NDEs) has fascinated me for many years. I have read every NDE experience I could lay my hands on, primarily because it is a very interesting topic, and because I know that I have lived more than 75% of my allotted years of mortality on this planet and I would like to learn as much as I can about what comes next.
I too have noticed that NDEs do not mention much about religion. I have also wondered about that.
What I have concluded is that those who experience NDEs probably only enter into the foyer of the next world and that their stay is brief which very likely precludes learning much of what transpires there.
I think it is analogous to landing at LAX, staying there for an hour, then trying to draw conclusions about what the rest of this world looks and feels like.
Some whom I have read have given clues that religion is also important there. One man I know, who experienced a NDE after he was hit by a train and severely injured, met Joseph Smith and the Savior.
Several books of early pioneer NDEs tell of people having NDEs and meeting other church leaders and especially family members. Some have spoken of meeting "a Being of Light" who directed them to perform tasks back here in mortality which are consistent with LDS beliefs, such as geneology or Temple work, or missionary work.
In considering these things, I have felt impressed that NDEs are given as a reassurance that God does live, that there is indeed something following this brief "veil of tears" and to give all people reassurance that this world is not all there is; to help counterbalance the overwhelming atheistic propaganda in the world today which makes so many fearful of what comes next...or that nothing comes next except oblivion. It seems apparent to me that God is not in the business of pre-empting peoples' need to search for and find Him through faith and personal revelation by giving out NDEs that tell the whole story and eliminate all doubt and questions. He is indeed kind and loving beyond our understanding, and I believe He holds back much for our ultimate well being.
I do think NDEs are very real and in many ways they are described in terms that closely resemble the experiences of people who have seen visions and had significant revelations. They seem very closely related in many respects.
Just my thoughts in answer to your interesting and thought provoking question.
Much love dear brother.
Well, thanks for not ignoring me, as everyone else did. It is certainly true that in almost every case people are shown a line of some type (a stream, or a wall, or a forest, etc.) which, if they cross it, they can not return to Earth, and must stay in Heaven. Sometimes they are given the choice, but most are not, almost as if the death-causing circumstance was a surprise that needed to be reversed as fast as possible. In most of these cases, the Experiencer is told that they have some sort of mission that they haven't yet completed, and though they usually are not granted a memory of what this is, they are assured that circumstances will mix precisely to allow them to achieve it. I like the idea of their arriving in a foyer-like place, and not being able to know what lies beyond until they go through the door, or "gate", if you will.
Nearly everybody sees a Being who possesses transcendent authority, but is also the most compassionate and loving of anyone there. Sometimes, he is faceless, and other times he is known to be Jesus Himself. Rarely, very rarely, is He anyone else, and when he has a face, he looks just like the pictures in the meetinghouse library (whether he lifts weights, or not).
If anything is stressed more than unconditional love, than I haven't read about it yet. Love is everything (which rather dooms me, I'm afraid). Perhaps unconditional love is the great first law of the foyer!
I will now say that I now suspect that I still don't know anything beyond what holds true in the foyer.
Darn!!! Now what do I do?
Having experienced a NDE also, and not wanting to come back until convinced I needed to, I believe in such experiences.
But though such experiences can strengthen people and give them greater insight about the after life and our life here and a testimony that God lives, they aren't told what religion is right, accept that they often learn about Christ as their Savior.
Those who have had such experiences can still easily be deceived to fall for false prophets and falsehoods and evils just like everyone else. And it may even make people more accountable than normal if they do fall for evil.
And I concur with Lester, it's all about love, unconditional love. Which was Christ's central theme and message for the earth. Most of those who come back from NDE's talk about the love they experienced and learned about there. I certainly did, the love is so thick in the air it reminds of how Florida's humidity feels, only it's love in the air not moisture. It's so wonderful you just don't want to leave.
Reading Steve's and Anon 23's latest comments, perhaps a primary purpose of mortality is to learn how to have, give, and be that full unconditional love "on our own" (but with help from scriptures, whatever religious teachings that are available to us, and the Holy Ghost), the "on our own" part being doing it here when not surrounded and immersed by it like the Florida humidity.
Yes, I agree that is the primary purpose and test of mortality, to see if we will believe in and gain and give this Charity and pure unconditional love.
For no matter what else we may do or achieve in life or no matter how good we may otherwise be or how many visions or revelations or gifts we may receive, if we have not charity, true unconditional love, especially for our spouse, we are nothing and I don't believe we will gain eternal life and Joseph taught that without charity we will be easily deceived to support evil, while thinking we are supporting good.
In Third Nephi, chapter 27, the Lord established the criteria for an organization to be called His church.
1. It must be called in the name of Christ (3 Ne. 27:8)
2. It must be built upon His gospel (3 Ne. 27:9)
3. It must demonstrate the works/miracles of the Father (3 Ne. 27:11)
By my analysis, the current LDS church reasonably addresses item number one. The church has changed the gospel to something other than what is taught in the Book of Mormon (mainly around the gospel principle of the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost) and the leadership of the church do not show forth the works of the Father as did the twelve disciples among the Nephites ( 4 Ne 1:5)
Is one out of three sufficient to call the current LDS church the church of Christ? Unfortunately, no...
I appreciate you bringing out those points. Didn't the Lord say that anyone can say "Lord Lord", but only those who do his will and works will be found worthy and accepted at the last day.
So any Church can call themselves the Church of Jesus Christ, that's easy, and many do, but only those who are preach and practice his Gospel and can be trusted. And such people seem very rare who actually believe in Christ and live his Gospel.
Thus why I don't trust or believe in the LDS Church anymore, for I do not believe it's leaders or members preach, let alone practice the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Everyone from top to bottom seems to instead support or do the vilest of evils and call it good and right and themselves righteous.
No intention to stir contention and I understand and respect the point you make Spek. However, in the meridian of time the church was much as it is today and even Christ recognized and advocated respect for (at least the teachings of) the church and its leaders, even while reserving His most scathing denunciations of the leaders' hypocrisy and crimes ("do as they teach, not as they do").
How much different is our time from the time of Jesus' mortal ministry? Probably less evil today than in 33AD.
Steven, I haven't experienced a NDE but I did have an amazingly real dream once in which Jesus, larger that life, was carrying me like a baby cradled in his arms. The love I felt was incredible. It was not emotional, as teary or gushy or the like. It was just an all encompassing kind of a feeling. Completely accepting and non judgmental. When I woke up I felt an enormous lack of love not to be found on the earth, anywhere. I think I was given a gift of what real unconditional love really is. What people claim to have as unconditional love isn't really what Jesus has. It might be a small portion but those that claim it are usually the ones who don't have it.
As far as the "love in the foyer", It would make sense to me that if there isn't any intentions of deception, and I don't think God is capable of that, that what you see in the foyer is just the same kind of thing you'll find in the rest of the building. That seems to be the way of architecture and design in buildings here on earth. It could be based on a natural principle in heaven.
Will you explain why you would feel doomed and the question of "now what do I do?"
Well, although I was saying it somewhat in jest, I am autistic and so find it almost impossible to feel love in any way. Cute puppies and butterflies are an exception perhaps, but for people...no way. I have Asperger's Syndrom, and although my writing is decent, my speaking is halting and slow, and any kind of social contact, physical or friendship, is anathema to me. This is one of the reasons, perhaps the main reason (other than the fact that I am also gay) why for 32 years LDS membership and involvement was hellish for me, and also why "they" never gave me any kind of calling (not since 1984), because they knew I was strange, even if they didn't know why.
While I hate living here on Earth because it is so violent and dangerous, I equally am not thrilled to be returning to a place where the very atmosphere is Love. It will prove too much, too intense, for me, at least for a while until the memory of my body's imperatives wears away. (I also am not looking forward to meeting with Jesus, the Great Golden Boy, for that reason, because He is too perfect, and I am too weird and completely unaccomplished in any way. Even if I HAVE to talk to Him, I hope the interview is exceedingly quick and unrepeated.)
Frankly, after I die, it will nice to see Mom and Dad again, and my younger brother, and my grandma (whose deaths were the only deaths in my family that caused me to cry), but after that, right now as I write this, all I will want is to be left alone and allowed to do my own thing. I certainly don't want to be engaged in some sort of eternal conversation with billions of other minds. I really don't. That would be hell for me, even if hell as a place does not exist.
Perhaps this might answer your question. Perhaps.
Yes, I thought you were being a bit humorous in your comment about being doomed and what to do, however, I didn't want to assume that, in case you were serious.
Thank you for sharing some very tender information about yourself.
I'm sorry for your experiences in the church. They reflect many of my and others experiences. You're not alone. But finally realizing that God really isn't in control of all that goes on in church has helped me realize that it doesn't have as much to do with me as I thought. All there really is, is GOD AND ME. Everything else is just an illusion.
Your comment about after dying and how it will be nice to see your Mom and Dad and younger brother and grandma prompted a thought in me which clarifies what real love is. It is exactly that love you feel from them and for them that I believe is the true essence of unconditional love. It's that kind of love that's in heaven. It's exactly that kind but even more accepting and non judgmental that Jesus encompasses.
I thought about the "interview" we hear about among the church members, wherein we will be questioned about our life on earth by our Lord and it seems un-god-like to me. He already knows everything about us. He is our greatest cheerleader. He has experienced our sorrows and successes as we have gone through them. It seems to me that when we approach Him that it will be a connection just like that of meeting up with our dearest family members. Simple I know. But I think that's the gospel.
The reference I think people mean when they talk of an interview comes from David Mckay
and his intentions of trying to get men to understand their responsibilities towards their families. I don't believe it was a revelation. He just had good intentions?
I've been disconnected from technology for a week and came back to see this discussion.
Steven, I saw what you wrote about NDEs, but I didn't ever respond, because I have not, ever, had one.
However, I can say that I truly believe that you will be healed of your Aspergers, so that you can process emotion in a very healthy way--
I believe in healing; no, not necessary "now", but I believe it will come--
I have had no experience with NDEs, but I have had one or two experiences with Jesus, as have several of my family members.
I am fascinated with the idea of NDEs, but I can't comment on them personally--
I don't think that 'heaven' will be anything like the world we now know, in or out of the church; that is just my belief, however--
in the Book of Mormon there is a rebuke (can't find it; need to ask my husband who read it aloud to me a day or two ago) to those who believe that only they have the 'truth', reminding the reader that the Lord works with all people everywhere--
He reaches people wherever they are, whether in this world or in the spirit world; that is amazingly comforting, and it explains why Mormon 'terms' may not be used after people go to the spirit world. Mormon context/understanding is only one way God has of reaching people in a certain place/time--
that is what I believe--
Thank you for your kind reply, LDSDPer. I haven't ever had an NDE experience either because I've never been anywhere near to death's door. (Darn it.) I like your point that with billions of people who inhabit either here or there, many kinds of simultaneous communications have to be ongoing. (Just think of the logistics that must be involved!) He (Whomever is in charge of my case) honors my desire to be left alone on this side. I'm appreciative of that. He know that to give me any kind of distinct assignment would have the result of tearing me apart.
I expect that my Asperger's will disappear the moment I die, as will my gayness. Both are functions of the brain in some way, and when I leave my brain all of that will stay with it. I'll start to remember who I was before I came to Earth, and I'll probably be greatly surprised, either for ill or good. So, I'm not worried about that, particularly, although there are two things I especially want to do: experience in real time the railroad yard located at San Luis Obispo, California during the 30 years between 1920 and 1950 on a 24-hour clock; and to see the life of one guy who was in every way my opposite in High School in all the ways that impressed other people physically and socially, and to see how he got that way and what he had to endure as payment. I hope that these will be permitted me soon after I pass over. God already knows of my desire. Maybe He'll be in a good mood and grant me it.
You are welcome; it is just what I believe, and I also want to go back in time and see a few things--
those years (1920-1950) are some of the years I want to see of various places--
The second thing you say is fascinating; I wonder how many of us have felt that and not communicated it--
the desire to see why--
I believe we all will--
Your last line--
Okay Steven, my curiosity is piqued. What is it about the railyard you hope to observe?
Essentially, all of the old stuff before Southern Pacific and Diesel Engines caused all of it to be destroyed. To see demonstrated all of the old time procedures and especially the Steam Engines. I have studied the history of this town's stations and yard from when it was first built in 1898 until the 1990's when the UP bought up everything, and I have missed so much, having been born too late. I want to see it all happen in front of my own spirit eyes, if you will, moment by moment, and movement by movement. In my heart, San Luis Obispo remains my home, but I will never be able to live there again, because it has become as expensive to live within as Santa Barbara is. Once dead, though, I will be able to experience everything invisibly, unencumbered by material boundaries, and see for myself what was true about what I've read, and what never took place, and what was never known about. All of the secrets will be mine to hold, sort of, and the slow evolution of the town through its link with the outside world will make me love her all the more.
I also want to know how the Great Pyramid was built and how the four great stones that make up the palace at Baalbud were moved when they weigh, each of them, literally hundreds of tons. But these would just be sideshows when compared to SLO's rail history in the making.
Again, I hope God's in a good mood when I ask Him for permission. A "NO" would be highly disappointing. Highly, indeed!
Can I really, really stop paying 10% tithing?
I mean...when the bishop asks me what I'm doing...what I do say?
If I come off as argumentative...won't that send the wrong message?
btw - I am so far behind on tithing for this year that it makes me want to cry. I didn't realize that my bank auto pay set up for tithing didn't go through until just this week...and now...I can't make up all of that money...I'm at a decision point.
What to do...what to do? :)
Well, first off, I would suggest you stop approaching tithing from a place of fear and worry, which is where you seem to be coming from.
As to your question, "Can I really, really stop paying 10% tithing?"
No. If you intend to tithe, a tithe is 10 percent. But if you wish to follow the law, you will tithe ten percent of your INTEREST, and not give away ten percent of your gross wages. Once you have determined how much of your surplus is titheable, you may find you have much, much more than before which can be contributed to alms and offerings. Give the remaining surplus in fast offerings if you wish.
If you are concerned that your bishop may have a problem with that, it is your bishop who is misinformed, so you might want to bring with you a copy of the Statement of the First Presidency on tithing. That statement contains the instruction that ultimately it is up to the individual to decide how much he pays, so your bishop is not justified in deciding whether you are a full tithepayer. Only you make that determination. If he accuses you of trying to keep more of the Lord's money for yourself, direct him to look at your fast offering contributions, and ask him if he has contributed at least that much to the work of the Lord himself.
I would advise one more thing: stop fearing Church leaders. In this church, No one is supposed to have authority over another. Reclaim your power.
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