Friday, February 14, 2014

Bare Necessities: How To Calculate What You Owe In Tithing

Previously: The Book of Mormon Cultural Reading Project

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Mission President's Handbook pg. 80)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 (Mission President's Handbook pg. 80)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


PNW_DPer said...

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

PNW_PDer said...

I meant, Thanks for reposting this.

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

Anonymous said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God bless.

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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

W said...

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

Aw said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frederick said...


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trevor said...

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

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

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

LDSDPer said...

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

to serve.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LDSDPer said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jonathan Streeter said...


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

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

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

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

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

Alan Rock Waterman said...

As usual you have missed the point of the argument.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strengthening Menbers Commitee said...

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

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

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

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

I wonder what Jesus would have used that money for?

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

Aw said...

This sums up my feelings about this blog:

Anonymous said...

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

Fusion said...


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

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

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

I look forward to your discourse.

Inspire said...

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

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

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

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

----to be continued----

Inspire said...


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

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

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

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

Aw said...


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

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

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

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

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the same logic I hold, Inspire.

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

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

2. D&C 123:

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

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


14 These should then be attended to with GREAT earnestness.

(caps are mine)


Inspire said...

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

Inspire said...

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

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

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

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

Aw said...


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

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

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

None given said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

None given said...


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

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

Please, go back to sleep.

Inspire said...

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

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

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

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

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

Alan Rock Waterman said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aw said...


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

I'm out

Alan Rock Waterman said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alan Rock Waterman said...

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, I think there is.

Tyson said...

Slightly off topic but you said,

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

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

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

b0yd said...

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

Tyson said...


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

Lance said...


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

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

NachoLibre said...

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

NachoLibre said...

If they keep charitable donations separate from investment income.

BK said...

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

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

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

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

I am utterly disgusted and outraged with this new knowledge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have ye forgotten the commandments of the Lord your God?

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

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

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

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

Annalea said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

I wonder which answers would get the most votes.

BK said...

That's an awesome post Annalea.

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

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

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

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

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

Unknown said...

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

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

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

Fusion said...


I'll be the first to vote.

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

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

I do hope you do it!


Anonymous said...

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

Alan Rock Waterman said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bman said...

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

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

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

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

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

Unknown said...

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

BK said...


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anonymous said...

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

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

(New Testament | Matthew 6:24)

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

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

(New Testament | 2 Thessalonians 2:11)

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

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

(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 35:13)

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

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

(Book of Mormon | Moroni 7:26)

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

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

Jack said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

BK said...


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greg Amderson said...

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

Anonymous said...

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

Toni said...

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


Bman said...


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

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

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

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

BK said...


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bman said...


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

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

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

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

Andrew C said...

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

BK said...


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

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

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

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

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

Alan Rock Waterman said...

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

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

LDSDPer said...

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

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

@anyone who wants to read:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

to be continued--

LDSDPer said...



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

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

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

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

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

2--to his continuing education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LDSDPer said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anonymous said...

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

Andrew C said...


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

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

Bman said...

@ BK

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

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

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

Unknown said...

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

Unknown said...

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

Reforming the Restoration

W said...

@ Martin Harris Luther

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

Anonymous said...

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

LDSDPer said...


Martin Harris Luther--

WHAT a handle!!!


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


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

I'm not very computer literate--


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

But we are determined to hang on.

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

Thanks for your contribution.

I hope others can comment.

LDSDPer said...

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

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

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


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

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

I wonder what else I am missing.

LDSDPer said...

@homeschool mom

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

Still doing it in our 60s!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anonymous said...

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

Gary Hunt said...


I think the following scripture goes along with this article.

Mosiah 2:12-14

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

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

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

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

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

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

Say that six times really fast.

Unknown said...

@ LDSDPer,

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

Margo said...

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

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

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

Thanks, Margo

Alan Rock Waterman said...

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

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Martin Harris Luther,
Welcome to the Bloggernacle!

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

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

Alan Rock Waterman said...

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

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

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

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

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

Alan Rock Waterman said...

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

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

Anonymous said...

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

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

Alan Rock Waterman said...

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

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

Alan Rock Waterman said...

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

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

Bloke said...

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

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

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

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

Margo said...

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

FireCloud said...

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

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

jonathan streeter said...

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

BK said...


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LDSDPer said...


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

It should be:

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

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

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


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

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

often DO end up impoverished and despised.

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

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

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

LDSDPer said...

@jonathan streeter--

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

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

LDSDPer said...


Hoping you see this--

your blog essay on Judas Iscariot was amazing.

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

But thank you--

I think you have some really profound things to say.

Anonymous said...

Hi Margo,

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

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

Anonymous said...


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

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

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

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

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

Ok, I have spoken too much.
God bless,

Alan Rock Waterman said...

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

It's in my piece on tithing here:

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

Inspire said...

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

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

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

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

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

LDSDPer said...

Can anyone else not put Daymon Smith's 'book' down?

My husband and I have precious little time for reading together, but we find that, once we begin, we can't stop.

I posted on the cultural history blog--

but there doesn't seem to be much happening there.

Anyone else have anything to say, or is this just too comprehensive? Or are *we* waiting until we are finished reading to discuss it? Or is it just too personal?

I don't need to know anything; only if someone wants to say what they think--

thereisnoheaven said...

I usually don't leave a message on the Net, but I have to say thank you for this information.

I want you to know that there are many people outside of US, who are very grateful for your blog.

Thanks again.

JD said...

Rock, I have very recently discovered your blog through John Dehlin. I can't thank you enough for the insights and knowledge you've imparted that are starting to calm my restless heart.
You quote from the CHI "Tithing is 10% of income more than we have need."
I have been unable to verify this online - I have to see it for myself. Can you help me out, please?
Thanks again.

coolhandluke said...

I'm looking at a copy of Church Handbook 1 (2010) and can't find the statement, "Tithing is 10% of income more than that which we have need." All I see is, "The simplest statement we know of is the statement of the Lord himself, namely, that the members of the Church should pay 'one-tenth of all their interest annually,' which is understood to mean income. No one is justified in making any other statement than this".

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Lee, I think some people may have misunderstood what Jonathan was saying. If you read it in context, you'll see the reason he put those words in quotes is that they summarized the law of tithing as derived from the law and JST Genesis 14 from which he had just quoted. He did not intend it to be read as a direct quote from the CHI, but it is consistent with the statement of the First Presidency you quoted above.

coolhandluke said...

Thanks, Alan. I just got into his previous post and read the JST of Genesis 14, wow. I totally missed that before. I got pretty up in arms on one of your earlier tithing posts, but after listening to most of your interview with John Dehlin, I realize you're not as crazy as I thought initially (said tongue in cheek). I appreciate you bringing these issues up for discussion.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I hadn't seen your question before I answered Lee's similar concern above. It's important to understand that Jonathan provided that definition as a distillation of the information he had already presented within the previous entries in his series, which can be found in the links he provides a paragraph or two before he provides that succinct definition.

Also, his conclusion that tithing is "ten percent of income more than we have need" serves as a concise definition of what tithing is meant to be as explained in my own piece, "Are We Paying Too Much Tithing?"

I can see how Jonathan's phrasing might confuse some people, placed as it is right after mentioning the CHI. But a proper parsing of that rather lengthy sentence reveals that he is saying that the "meaning of the language of the revelation" was "supported" by the CHI as well as restored scripture, not that the statement is quoting directly from the CHI. (The actual words "more than that which he had need" comes to us from an accounting of Abraham's tithes in the JST.)

I hope that clarifies things a bit.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Lee, I probably am as crazy as you initially thought, so no offense taken.

Anonymous said...

As someone who is beginning her study of The Book of Mormon and who has set a tentative date for baptism of Sept 25 of this year I have many questions of course. I am 64 years old and on social security. I support both myself and my adopted daughter who has CP. I am single and have been all of my life. I have never been religious before I began this study. My main question at this point is Will I be able to be baptised and a good member of the church if I tithe 10% after I pay my rent, food, med, etc. I am willing to do this without reservation, but I cannot pay 10% of gross, that means we dont eat for two weeks.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

The amount of money you pay in tithes is between you and the Lord. No church authority is permitted to ask you anything other than "Are you a full tithepayer?"

If you are satisfied that God is satisfied you are a full tithepayer, then the answer is yes, you are a full tithepayer.

You are not under obligation to either confide in a church leader or ask the leader's counsel on this matter.

What does the Lord say? That's your answer.

David said...

One thing that bothers me about this article is that nowhere (I may have missed something though) do you mention that tithing is the lower law. So imho I feel like trying to justify paying less tithing is simply keeping us from living the higher law. Not that you are necessarily telling people to pay less tithing, but I personally feel like if I am giving closer to 100% of my excess, I am actually closer to living the higher law of consecration. Not trying to be critical of the actual data presented as I think you're right, just think that it should be mentioned that tithing should not really be the goal, but instead should be the minimum.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

I felt this post was already overly long without going into a topic that I assume most people already understand to be the higher goal.

In this post I two major purposes. First, to dispel falsehoods about the Law of Tithing, and Secondly, to encourage greater giving OUTSIDE the tithes that are designed only to fund the operation of the Church.

So what I write about alms and offerings being the larger portion of our giving brings us closer to living the law of consecration.

Albert said...

David -
Tithing is indeed the "lower law". And given the way the Corporate Church has amassed centralized control of all the money - can you imagine how much worse the corruption and misuse of funds would be under the current practices (non-transparency, multi-billion-dollar malls, Florida ranchland, etc.) if we consecrated all ?!

Does anyone remember how recently the Central Church grabbed all the local money from Bishops, Quorums, Relief Society, etc. and put itself over every unit in complete financial control, under the guise of preventing an occasional minor theft ? It hasn't been 30 years, and already our former local control of funds has been forgotten. Fast Offerings are about the only vestige of local direction left, albeit with some stringent corporate guidelines...

Also lost in your understanding is that "tithing" according to Section 119 has some very strict limitations on it's use (verse 2), it's not an unaccountable slush-fund for the PR / Marketing machine and Real Estate gambling !

The real Law of Consecration is a wholly different matter, is and can only be administered locally from the bottom up, starting between you and your Bishop.

The only way to get the attention of a bureaucracy is to cut it's funding. If "paying less tithing" (while also giving more charity from your surplus) results in fewer financial abuses, and maybe even some much needed reforms - So be it !

Albert said...

Rock -
Stunning article ! There were some gem phrases I picked out, you should subtitle it "Lifestyles of the Lord’s Anointed:
How to Calculate Your Tithing Like Mission Presidents Do"

Another angle missed by all in figuring your tithing: comparing the difference between being an employee and a business. If your business were to pay tithing, would anyone in their right mind pay 10% of gross receipts ? No way, they'd go broke, fast! They would first, and rightly, deduct ALL legitimate business expenses that go into generating the profit/surplus - just like they would if they fill out the Financial Confession Form 1040 for the Tax Gestapo - and would pay a full 10% tithing on... you guessed it - the Surplus/profit of the business. Isn't that amazing ?

If you take the analogy one step further, a la "Rich Dad" Kiyosaki - if you're an employee, you are a business with only one customer (and a ton more legal protections), and your deductable expenses would look a lot like the mission president's expenses list. The Income that creates the Surplus is what's tithed upon. Isn't that amazing ? (I especially like the deduction for the maid, cook, nanny... What was I thinking when I paid tithing on my gross before I paid them ??)

So, all quibbling about intentions aside - When you figure up your tithing, as an employee / "one-customer business", download a copy of that mission president manual in case you need it for backup at tithing settlement time, figure up your surplus after your legitimate and reasonable living expenses, check with the Lord, cut Him in on 10% of the Surplus (just as He asked in Section 119), make your Full Tithe Payer declaration - and your "fire insurance" (I loathe that trite term...) is paid ~ Hallelujah !

BK said...

I believe that if we fund or support churches that commit 'financial abuses' we are partly responsible.

For Christ never said a word about giving or trusting one penny to any man or leader, religious or political, for what leader has ever proved trustworthy to do with it what Christ wanted?

Christ commanded us to give 'all' our excess money directly to the poor ourselves, for that's the only way we can make sure it gets where it should and that's how we come to learn of and feel for the real plight of the poor, so we gain compassion, empathy and insight.

There are no lower or higher laws, there are only the Laws of Christ/God. Anything greater or lesser then Christ's laws cometh of evil.

Any so called 'prophet' who teaches contrary or different then Christ's exact words only proves he is one of the false prophets that Christ warned us about.

Christ never taught about any 'Law of Consecration' or tithing, those were man made ideas to circumvent Christ's commandments so conspiring leaders could take control of resources and people.

Those leaders knew what Christ said and they refused to teach it for then they would lose power and control. For money brings alot of power.

Christ wanted the poor empowered, not the Leaders.

Albert said...

BK makes some unsubstantiated assertions and conclusions - and several folks have talked about giving directly to the needy - that's all well & good, fine & wonderful. You can do that, or donate to Fast Offerings, a food bank, other charity, whatever. But, if you're going to pay Tithing, no matter how you calculate it, D&C 119 is very clear, verse 1 says it goes to the Bishop... To do otherwise probably puts one into Malachi chapter 3 territory, "robbing God", although for different reasons than what Rock said in another article. There was a time when I donated it all to Fast Offerings, but that never felt right to me and I went back to a split formula...

BK said...


I appreciate your response but as for me, I believe Christ's teachings trump Malachi's teachings and clearly prove them to be false, or anyone one else's, ancient or modern, who teachings are contrary to Christ.

Galations 1:8 "Though we (Prophets, Apostles), or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."

But I totally understand why most everyone, especially churches or so called 'Prophets', ancient or modern, buy into the idea of 'Tithing', for I agree that 10% is alot easier to convince people to pay then 100%.

But we see that most of Christ's teachings are greatly watered down, changed or ignored by most, if not all, Christian Churches, for who can or is willing to really keep or even believe in Christ's commandments?

Albert said...

Bro. BK -
What, specifically, is "wrong" or contrary to Christ's teachings, about what Malachi said, or 'saith the Lord' said ? You seem to conflate or confuse issues. You seem to be saying that 'because Christ never said anything, in this case about tithing, that we are free to do as we like, because nothing of what exists is according to His teachings'. (Of course, we're free to think and do as we like, free agency and all, but...)

There are lots of things He didn't say anything about, or has been distorted or deleted, but that doesn't mean that something is against His teachings. That error of logic is why the Amish decline anything more advanced than a horse and buggy and still burn kerosene to read by. I assume you drive a car, use electricity, wear zippered pants, buttoned shirt, and laced or velro shoes instead of a robe and sandals - and have shorter hair than Rock or me...

Not mocking you or the Amish, just an example. Then, on the other hand, there are a lot of His teachings which are impossible to apply - try living by the Parables ! Anyway...

The early apostles clearly carried a "purse" or treasury, a little money bag, around with them. Scripture does not record how money got there - I doubt that it all came from coins in the mouth of fish - I conclude that people donated to the cause, but no, we don't know the formula. That does not make it "against Christ's teachings" either.

The only person I can think of that the Lord told to give ALL to the poor and needy was the righteous rich man who wanted to know what he yet lacked to get into Heaven. That was case-specific, not general advice for all disciples. It takes more than "giving to the poor". You apparently feel burned and are still working your way through the issues - don't throw the baby that you are cleaning up out with the dirty bath water...

Here's the logic kicker: IF Joseph was receiving a revelation that became Section 119, and IF that revelation came from the Lord, THEN (recommended reading) section 119 is... Christ's teaching - clearly a directive to give Tithing to a "middle man", the Bishop. And how we calculate it is up to our free agency. As to giving to the poor, as you point out, that is up to us - and we're free to choose how and how much, Fast Offering fund, food bank, other charity... I hope this is helpful.

BK said...


Christ said tons about what we should do with our excess money, if we have ears to hear.

And I don't believe Joseph Smith was a true prophet, just the opposite, and thus I do not believe D&C 119 was from 'The Lord' or even in harmony with what Christ taught.

For I believe that giving money to and relieving the suffering of the poor, the fatherless, the afflicted 'IS' the 'Gospel of Jesus Christ', and is the only way to attain Eternal Life.

If we don't give all we can to the poor & fatherless around us, it will not matter what else we do or how much we pray, read the scriptures, go to church or any other good deed.

I believe righteous people instinctively know this and would use every extra penny they have to do this, thus there wouldn't be anything left over to give to some man who comes along claiming God said to give him 10% of our money to build a big & spacious church or temple or to pay him to lead us.

Those who follow Christ know they can easily & should lead themselves & take care of the poor themselves, they don't need to 'pay' a prophet to lead them or take care of the poor for them.

If you would follow Christ & really visit & talk to the afflicted, the poor, the single mothers, the sick, the imprisoned, you would understand their plight & sufferings, and realize that not only did Christ's directive to the 'rich man' include everyone who ever lived, but you would feel to give 100% of your excess to the poor yourself, without even being told to.

I realize how tempting it is to want to believe that Christ's directive to the rich man was only for him, (for it's a very hard commandment to follow) but that would not be fair or make sense, for that would mean that the rich man would have to sacrifice alot more than others would, which would also be contrary to the Golden Rule.

And again, in practice we find that if we had true empathy & love & were Christlike we would of course give 100% of our excess. So we quickly learn that it 'is' a vital requirement for Eternal Life for everyone.

If you & your family were really poor & suffering & you couldn't work, it would be easier for you to maybe realize (if you had love) why Christ said what he said, because you would rather have financial help then have a church building or temple to go to (which are man's idea and completely unnecessary to gaining Eternal Life), or to give money to support church leaders or build malls.

And though the Apostles might have carried a purse (which didn't Christ tell them not to?) but who said the Apostles were perfect? There is much that they did & taught that was not right, true or in harmony with Christ's teachings.

We are not to follow the teachings & actions of 'the Apostles' or any man or prophet, but only the teachings & actions of Christ, who taught & served for free & who did not ask people for money but directed them to give it to the poor themselves.

And again, what middleman or leader in any church, especially the LDS Church, has ever proved trustworthy to take money from people & use it as Christ taught, for the poor? It appears they either pocket some themselves or give just enough to the poor to look good but use most of it to grow their church & businesses, while ignoring most of the suffering around them.

Joseph Smith himself appeared to do this also, so why would I trust him with my money or trust anyone who believes in his D&C 119?

Righteous men would use all money they had (after caring for their own family) to relieve suffering around them, & would never think about building a church, temple, missionary program, college, or mall, let alone give 1 penny to support able bodied leaders who could & should work themselves instead of expecting members & even the poor to support them.

David said...

Interesting point of view BK. I'm not going to get into a debate right now, but I did want to point out the one thing I do agree with you on and that is that I do believe Christ asks us to give 100%, not only of our money but of our time and talents. There is a great deal in LDS doctrine to support that, particularly in the temple. Does this mean that we live in poverty ourselves though? Not necessarily, but I certainly wouldn't judge someone who does. I think that the principle here is actually that we should simply spend our lives serving God. It's not just a money thing. I would argue however, that in many cases we must have resources in order to bless the lives of others. If you yourself are destitute, then it is difficult to server others. For this reason I will never look at a "rich man" and judge him based on his wealth alone as he may very well be using all that he possess to bless the lives of others as Christ would have him do.

I believe that when Christ asked the rich man to sell all that he had that this was the necessary sacrifice for this man to show that he would truly serve God. Thus any rich man should ask himself if he would at any moment sell or even give away what he has if the spirit prompted him to do so and if he is humble enough to even listen to that spirit. Now, I believe that very few rich men would actually do this, thus why Christ said "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God".

My Father was on the extreme of literally giving away anything and everything he had to anyone who said they were in need. He did this at the expense of his own family, destroying his 4 marriages. Now, I have no doubt that my father will be blessed for his selflessness and it is something I wish to emulate, but at the same time it left him in less of a position to be of aid to others (as he became a beggar himself in his later years) and in fact hurt those closest to him more than it really helped the lives of those he blessed.

Unknown said...

I will pay my tithes because I am commanded by the Lord to do so and the spirit tells me I should. Now, I don't exactly know everything as to how the church is spending the tithing funds but I'll just leave it to the Lord, it is His business,if people in the church are not spending the funds the way the Lord would have them spend it is again none of my business, if we believe He has all power and control over His church, He will know what to do and I'll leave everything to Him for who can stand Him? Now my business is to do what He asks me to do and He asks me to pay my tithes, after all I don't feel it a sacrifice to pay my tithes and I find joy in knowing that while I don't live like the mission presidents live as I am from a poor family and country (the Philippines), my heart is content in knowing that I get to obey Him, in my sphere it is all that matters, I am no longer accountable for the actions of others it is their accountability if they do wrongly.I will continue to try to live faithfully and will not leave the church because the church has helped me anchor my soul in the gospel of Jesus Christ. For me, it is easy to get caught up in the world but I am grateful for the church cause it helps me to be reminded of things that really matter and what the Lord wants for me. I am happy and I know and feel that the church is still being led by Him.

BK said...


The problem is, Christ never told us to give our tithes or any money to the LDS Church or any Church. He very clearly commanded us to give all our excess money to the poor, and only the poor, sick, needy and afflicted.

It is only church leaders who preach contrary to Christ, yet who claim to be prophets, who we have fallen for and thus are deceived to them our tithes and offerings instead of to the poor as Christ commanded.

We will be held accountable for allowing ourselves to be deceived by false prophets who we give our money to instead of to the poor directly.

Christ never said the LDS Church is his Church (very unrighteous men claimed that, please look into these early leaders), nor do I believe Christ would have anything to do with the LDS Church for it preaches and practices so completely contrary to him and destroys families & creates far more poor people then it saves.

To think that the Spirit directs us to give money & support to the Church is a huge red flag that we are in fact being influenced & deceived by a 'false' Spirit, as everyone is today, even the righteous at times.

For even the supposed best prophets throughout history have been deceived by false Spirits to do contrary to Christ and even evil things, all the while thinking that God had told them to do it.

So to base anything we believe or do on what we think 'the Spirit' tells us, is one of the fastest ways to be deceived, for everyone falls for false Spirits yet we don't usually know it and can't always tell true Spirits from from false ones or true revelation from false revelation, unless we compare what is relayed to what Christ taught.

Thus Christ commanded us to test all 'Spirits, Prophets & Precepts to see if they are of God/Christ or not, and thus if they are contrary to Christ then he said we will easily and instantly know they are false.

So if we are deceived it is only because we want to be and want to go the easy route and let someone else take care of the poor for us, if they ever do.

Christ commanded us to base our actions & beliefs on 'proof' not prophets, on 'fruit' not feelings, on 'his teachings' not the Spirit's impressions.

And thus if we fall for false prophets & false churches and give them our money, then we have refused to follow Christ and his warnings about just such false prophets.

And Christ warned us we will lose Eternal Life if we fall for and give our money and support to false prophets (who of course always tell us to give 'them' our money), for then we are causing the poor to suffer more, because we would rather follow prophets or some Spirit, then Christ.

Christ's words trump everyone, prophets, spirits, and even angels who might appear to us.

I agree it would be alot easier if we could just let leaders do our humanitarian work for us and lead us to heaven, but Christ knew that no man or leader or even prophet can be trusted and thus commanded us to take care of the poor ourselves and discern for ourselves what is right or wrong.

No matter how good we may feel giving the Church our money and hoping they use it right, I know our joy, blessings and righteousness will greatly increase if we follow Christ's commandments instead of church leaders, and directly take care of the poor and fatherless around us ourselves, instead of giving our money to very fallible and usually unrighteous leaders who have proven they pocket some themselves and use most of it on things other then the poor.

Unknown said...

So, everything boils down to one thing, if you don't believe the church anymore that it is being guided by revelation, then there's really no point in paying tithing anymore, if you think Christ did not organize a church but just asked people to simply live His teachings then it is fine, I would buy that. And you know, even if I pay my tithing, I still do not forget my obligation to help those in need in the best way I can because that's what I've been taught by the scriptures to do. It has never occurred to me that just because I am paying my tithes that I no longer need to care about others or help them financially when I am able. I don't care to give much of what I have, after all Christ has asked us to lose everything for Him.

Anonymous said...

Amen Marsha; I completely agree. Thank you for echoing my sentiment as I read both this article and the comments to this article.

Anonymous said...


Please see this resource from the website:

In particular on that page see this statement from Elder Widtsoe:

Elder John A. Widtsoe explained: “Tithing means one-tenth. Those who give less do not really pay tithing; they are lesser contributors to the Latter-day cause of the Lord. Tithing means one-tenth of a person’s income, interest, or increase. The merchant should pay tithing upon the net income of his business, the farmer upon the net income of his farming operations; the wage earner or salaried man upon the wage or salary earned by him. Out of the remaining nine-tenths he pays his current expenses … etc. To deduct living costs … and similar expenses from the income and pay tithing upon the remainder does not conform to the Lord’s commandment. Under such a system most people would show nothing on which to pay tithing. There is really no place for quibbling on this point. Tithing should be given upon the basis of our full earned income. If the nature of a business requires special interpretation, the tithepayer should consult the father of his ward, the bishop.” (Evidences and Reconciliations, 2:86.)

The above obviously refutes the logic of this post. And please do not respond by inferring that it is incorrect of the church to reimburse mission presidents for their expenses (many of which go unreimbursed because most mission presidents can pay for themselves and wouldn't be reimbursed if they could do so. This is really meant for those mission presidents from humble circumstances who have no other means to pay for these things. And believe me, a mission president in such circumstances will be much more modest than it appears the posters on this form suppose). Add to that the fact that mission presidents devote their entire 24/7 time to the Lord and the fact that they constitute perhaps 0.005% of the membership of the church at any given time.

Remember that John A Widtsoe was a special witness of Christ. You can be assured that he received revelation more clear and precise than either you or I can receive.

Trust in the Lord's anointed. Pay your tithing as Christ through the voice of his servants has asked, and you will be blessed.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

Anonymous at 8:26 writes: "Pay your tithing as Christ through the voice of his servants has asked, and you will be blessed."

And yet nowhere in that long quotation he presents from John Widtsoe do we find any place where Christ claims to be speaking through Elder Widtsoe. So where is the voice of authority in that statement?

The one place we do find the voice of Christ speaking through His servant is in section 119 of the Doctrine & Covenants. John Widtsoe was a wonderful man who taught many important truths, but his opinions do not trump the voice of God as recorded through His actual prophet.

John Widtsoe declares that tithing means one tenth. He is correct. But one tenth of what? Widtsoe says it's "one-tenth of a person’s income, interest, or increase."

Although those words IN JOSEPH SMITH'S DAY were understood to be roughly synonymous, since 1913 the U.S. Government has successfully convinced the general public that "income" means the same as "Gross income," or wages. That's not what it originally meant. I would suggest it is not a good idea to assume the Lord meant "income" of any sort when he defined tithing, because HE never used the word "income" in his instructions regarding it.

He didn't say it was "increase" either. The particular word Jesus Christ used to describe what our donations were to be "one tenth of" was our "interest." That, as I pointed out in the original post (which Anonymous claims difficulty following the logic of), is defined by Noah Webster in his dictionary of the English language published in 1828. That meaning of the word was still valid when the Lord used it to reveal his will 10 years after Webster's first dictionary was published.

In verse 5, the Lord further clarifies that tithes were to come from the Saint's "surplus properties," which means their possessions, including but not limited to the money they had on hand at the end of the year.

It's fine if we want to consider tithing to be "income" and "increase" as well as "interest," but ONLY if we consider those words the way they were understood at the time the Lord issued that revelation. And what they meant then was the property the Saints had in their possession AFTER their basic needs had been met.

The only question a tithepayer must ask himself is "am I being honest in determining what constitutes my 'basic needs'?

By Widtsoe's day (the book containing those quotes was published in 1943) the Lord's clear meaning of "increase" had already been muddied. But that was the fault of those engaged in muddying the meaning; it certainly wasn't the Lord's fault. He gave a clear and easily understood statement defining what was expected.

Elder Widtsoe says, "Under such a system [the one the Lord commanded to be followed] most people would show nothing on which to pay tithing."

I disagree. SOME people might, particularly widows and the destitute. I'm considered to be living under the poverty level, but even I manage to have money left over after my BASIC needs have been met.

Both Orson Pratt and James Talmage, apostles who happened to be on the scene before John Widtsoe, declared that those who had no increase upon which to tithe were understandably exempt. But I think most members of the church do have some increase from which to tithe, and their tithes, at least in former days, were sufficient to cover the proper expenses of the Church. I would suggest that one reason the Church fathers require more in tithing than is necessary, is that they are not limiting their spending to those expenses which the Lord might consider proper.

Alan Rock Waterman said...

What our anonymous commenter conveniently neglects to include in his quotation from Elder Widtsoe's chapter on tithing is the following:

"When tithing has been paid, there should be no question about its use. They who are sustained as leaders of the Church return all offerings to the people for various purposes. The tithing of the people make it possible for the Church to carry out the duties entrusted to it by the Lord in the development of the plan of salvation. By divine revelation the tithes of the people are administered by the Presidency of the Church, assisted by the Council of the Twelve and the Presiding Bishopric. These men exercise prayerful care in the use of tithing. It is disbursed with scrupulous care, for it is sacred. No moneys in all the world are more honestly administered."

Anyone attempting to apply that statement to the way things are run today would be laughed out of the room. We know one thing: the monies haven't been "honestly" administered since 1959, when the leaders, without so much as announcing a revelation from the Lord authorizing the change, simply stopped informing the members as to where their tithing money goes.

The Law of tithing as defined by the Lord in 1838 was described by Him as "a standing law FOREVER."

None of us is authorized to re-interpret that law based on what we THINK words mean in our day. I don't care what office he holds in the Church, no man's opinion is sufficient to usurp the word of God as given through direct revelation. The "standing law forever" remains standing the way the Lord dictated it. Wishful thinking will have no effect on it.

Ricky and Katy Tullis said...

So if they are a mission president are those living expenses not the same as living expenses for regular members? So if i understand this correctly a hard working member of the church needs to pay tithes on their income buta mission president pays on increase? That Doesn't make sense.

Dave said...

A critical point is missing here. Even though a mission president is reimbursed for the living expenses he incurs, he is given no money beyond the expenses he incurred. So, if he were to try to pay a tithe on the value of his support, he would have to borrow money or take it from his savings. That is not practical. It's like if you were given a job as a nanny, with the deal being that you can live in the home and all of your food and living expenses are covered, but you will receive no additional money. In that scenario, like the mission president, your tithing would have to be zero or near zero, because you have no actual money (income) to pay it.

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