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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Monday Mind Melt #1 » Monday Mind Melt #1

Monday Mind Melt #1

Christian J - October 1, 2007

From a talk given by Jeffrey R. Holland in the October 2001 General Conference:

After she lost her husband in the martyrdom at Nauvoo and made her way west with five fatherless children, Mary Fielding Smith continued in her poverty to pay tithing. When someone at the tithing office inappropriately suggested one day that she should not contribute a tenth of the only potatoes she had been able to raise that year, she cried out to the man, “William, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Would you deny me a blessing? If I did not pay my tithing, I should expect the Lord to withhold His blessings from me. I pay my tithing, not only because it is a law of God, but because I expect a blessing by doing it. [I need a blessing.] By keeping this and other laws, I expect to . . . be able to provide for my family.

Discuss…(yes I’m a copy-cat)

20 Comments »

  1. I have a testimony of paying tithing. We found ourselves unemployed a few years back. Fortunately we had a large severance package to go along with our unemployment. Nevertheless Mike was understandably freaked out. This event occurred during the month of November. He sent out several thousand resumes at the end of November.

    As is his custom, Mike plays tithing in one or two lump sums. That year we owed for the year. We paid our yearly tithing which was half of our severance; at tithing settlement on Sunday early in December. We found out later that the firm that later hired him met that Monday to discuss a position that needed filling. Everyone in that room had Mike’s resume. Two weeks later, just before Christmas, Mike was hired. We feel that we did all that we could do including paying a full tithe; then the Lord did the rest.

    Comment by JA Benson — October 1, 2007 @ 8:12 am

  2. Given the fate of the tithing office clerk, and the fact that I like living in this country, I hesitate to disagree.

    Well, after I received a few years of experience, I was converted, I found that my mother was right and that William Thompson was wrong. He denied the faith, apostatized, left the country, and led away as many of his family as would go with him.

    Gospel Doctrine, ch. 13

    Comment by Justin — October 1, 2007 @ 8:38 am

  3. I, too, have found great blessings and stability that come from paying tithing. I have also found what many other people hesitate to say. That is: that if you pay your tithing, the Lord not only provides your needs, sometimes he takes care of some of your righteous wants as well.

    I dunno, something about blessings and not having room to receive them…

    MRKH

    Comment by Mark Hansen — October 1, 2007 @ 8:47 am

  4. Truly, it is hard not to copy-cat once you have witnessed Steve’s formula for effortless blogging.

    Comment by Jacob J — October 1, 2007 @ 10:01 am

  5. A few years after being endowed in the temple and being married there, I lost my testimony of paying tithing. I would try to pay sometimes but found it difficult to pay “an honest tithe” for a long period of time. One year I had received a Christmas bonus at work for a substantial sum of money. I could have used the money for other things I thought I needed (like a second car) but instead I contributed the bulk of it as tithing. My family and I attended tithing settlement and I explained to the bishop that, despite my sizable contribution there at the end of the year, I was still not a full tithe payer. I guess I expected praise for at least trying but, instead, the bishop sort of chastised me in front of my children. I didn’t speak to him for several months – I was mad – and then one day I invited him out for lunch. I explained my anger towards him and the reason for it. The bishop calmly explained to me that paying less than 10% of my increase is just another contribution to the church. It’s not about how much we pay (the total amount) it’s about what we sacrifice ourselves (one tenth of our increase.) Despite my sizable contribution it was still not tithing in his mind.

    I considered his words for many more months – even years. Finally I found myself unemployed. Like JA’s husband I had a recent bonus and a severence package in the bank. And so for the first time in many years I really thought about the principle of tithing. I paid a full tithe on those amounts. I looked for work for the next 9 months before finding full-time employment. My profession allows me the opportunities to work freelance jobs in my own studio at home and I found some part-time work during that 9 month stretch. Each time I paid tithing on the amount, however large or small it was, and each time I wondered where the next paycheck would come from. But each time there was just enough to cover our costs (rent food, car payments, etc.) We had paid down our debt to a point where we had essentially no other payments besides the essentials. Finally I found full-time work – in the same profession but in a different capacity than I had previoulsy worked. This new direction has been a blessing in so many ways in my life. As I look back, even being laid off from my previous job was a blessing to me because it forced me into a direction I was previously reluctant to follow. That experience was almost 15 years ago and since I have dedicated myself to being a full tithe payer my life has been blessed in so many ways I can’t keep track of them. A friend of mine always says “somehow 90% of X ends up being greater than X.” I don’t know how it works either but it’s true.

    Comment by lamonte — October 1, 2007 @ 10:40 am

  6. By keeping this and other laws, I expect to . . . be able to provide for my family

    I like how she said that. It reminds me of THIS.

    She knew she deserved her blessings. And by golly, she got them.

    lamonte-
    I love your story. I think there are many people that can relate –on all levels. Not everyone may feel the same way about tithing, but I’m betting we all have our “bleh” moments on one principle or another.

    Comment by Cheryl — October 1, 2007 @ 11:37 am

  7. Some great comments. I was actually looking for a more heated discussion about expecting things for obedience and whether that is good or bad. You people are just too reasonable!

    Comment by cj douglass — October 1, 2007 @ 12:24 pm

  8. CJ – Since you asked, I don’t think we should “expect” blessings but I think it’s OK to bask in those blessings and certainly OK to recognize them once they have happened. The question then is whether or not it was the Lord simply blessing us by making things happen or is it that our lives are blessed because we have changed our attitude and our behavior in order to pay tithing? Either way it results in a blessing so what does it matter?

    Comment by lamonte — October 1, 2007 @ 12:37 pm

  9. The true test of tithing is not in paying it and receiving a financial blessing. It’s in faithfully paying it and never getting the desired financial blessing.

    If all of you above had the opposite experience, where you paid your tithing in times of hardship, and to this day, you had nothing to show for it except your temple recommend, would you still feel the same?

    I believe the scriptures say we would receive “a blessing” not financial restitution.

    What if you would have recieved the job without paying tithing? Are you willing to test the law of tithing in that way? Do you think you would still be jobless after all this time if you didn’t pay your tithing? Probably not. You’d probably have the job you have now, or something similar. Many, many non-tithe payers get unemployed and find other, better, more meaningful, better paying work all the time.

    I don’t think there is any evidence to support the claim that paying tithing results in a financial reward. For every miraculous outcome you hear about paying tithing, I bet you can find a similar story for a non-tithe payer.

    Comment by JM — October 1, 2007 @ 12:40 pm

  10. JM – I didn’t mean to suggest that my life has been without challenges since becoming a full tithe payer. There have been many challenges, some of them have been devastating. And in some ways there have been more since my decision. But what I am suggesting is that my life has been blessed because of my decision to pay tithing. Those blessings have come in many ways – at the temple, in opportunities to serve in the kingdom, increased strength in my associations at church through my own activity and willingness to serve, and best of all, a closer relationship with my own family by being taught, through the spirit, that they are the most precious possession in my life. None of these “blessings” involved monetary increase. Would I have gained better employment had I not decided to pay my tithing? I don’t know. Perhaps yes or perhaps no. I really can’t say. I just know that my life has been better since making the decision and I wonder, like you, whether it was a cause and effect situation or whether disciplining my life so that I could pay tithing has made the difference. I’m not sure any of us will ever know. I’m not sure we need to know.

    Comment by lamonte — October 1, 2007 @ 12:53 pm

  11. I have not problem expecting blessings. D&C 130, right? It just usually comes in ways that I don’t normally expect.

    Comment by Bret — October 1, 2007 @ 2:23 pm

  12. I quit paying tithing. I have always paid more than 10%, for years and years. This year we have financially struggled, more so than some previous years. I looked at what I’ve paid in tithing so far this year and said, wow I’ve overpaid by quite a bit.

    So rather than continuing to overpay (pay tithing on money that hasn’t actually come yet) I quit. When the finances catch up and we earn what we’ve already tithed on then I’ll pay again.

    Being self-employed and owning more than one business it’s a bit more difficult than someone on wages or a salary. But it’s fairly easy to see that when you have to borrow money to keep the business afloat I’m not making money….so why should I pay tithing?

    Comment by Don Clifton — October 1, 2007 @ 4:40 pm

  13. Here’s an ethical question for ya- if you’ve always paid on gross and you start paying on net, are you sinning?

    Comment by claire — October 1, 2007 @ 5:31 pm

  14. I always paid on net, and then paid on my tax return. My husband always paid on gross, and then did not pay on his tax return. We’ve hit a compromise –we pay on gross, and I make him pay on the tax return. Since we rarely have a tax return, it doesn’t matter.

    Don,
    I find your logic interesting and very sad at the same time.

    JM-
    That is my life. I’ve had my ups and downs, but I’ve never really had some amazing miracle or blessing thrown my way. It’s actually been made up of small blessings along the way, and very little of it has been tangible. But that won’t stop me from doing what I’ve been asked to do. God knows all. If He asks me to do something, I sure as heck am gonna do it, regardless of the outcome. [Of course, I don't claim to be Job, so you never know where my breaking point will be! I sure hope it's far away.]

    Comment by Cheryl — October 1, 2007 @ 6:25 pm

  15. Don,
    So are you just saying that you have no income/increase so you have no reason to pay tithing? Or are you saying that you paid double during the first half of the year so you aren’t going to pay any for this half (and in the end it will be 100%)? Or are you saying you’re done paying tithing (period)?

    Comment by Rusty — October 1, 2007 @ 6:44 pm

  16. Don – remind me never to own my own business. From your experiences, it sounds horrible :)

    I think that tithing must be part of some cosmic law – anything you send out into the universe will come back to you threefold or some such. Whether you pay money, pay with your time, skills or energy, it seems that in helping other people you’ll reap what you sow and then some.

    Comment by Chad — October 1, 2007 @ 10:16 pm

  17. The true test of tithing is not in paying it and receiving a financial blessing. It’s in faithfully paying it and never getting the desired financial blessing.

    Myself, I’d have settled for the destroying angel passing me by and not slaying my first born.

    I confess, I pay tithing because it is a commandment and it makes God happy. I’ve little expectation out of paying it otherwise.

    Here’s an ethical question for ya- if you’ve always paid on gross and you start paying on net, are you sinning?

    Well, so you have a herd of cattle and at the end of the year you have ten more than you started with. Do you pay one of the cattle in tithing or do you look at the herd of a thousand and pay a hundred?

    So are you just saying that you have no income/increase so you have no reason to pay tithing? Or are you saying that you paid double during the first half of the year so you aren’t going to pay any for this half (and in the end it will be 100%)?

    I just sort of thought he was saying the first two. If you are running at a net loss you have no increase (but you get no refund of earlier tithing paid) and if you’ve overpaid they don’t refund you either. Seems like a reasonable adjustment to me.

    Though what I’d really say to Don is that I really wish him well and hope that the future is kinder.

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — October 2, 2007 @ 6:08 am

  18. I don’t understand why there even is a gross vs. net debate.

    Taxes, and other deductions, in my mind, are no different than any other expense. Do people who pay on their net also deduct utility bills, property taxes, grocery expenses, clothing, etc… before they pay their tithing?

    Well, so you have a herd of cattle and at the end of the year you have ten more than you started with. Do you pay one of the cattle in tithing or do you look at the herd of a thousand and pay a hundred?

    Not enough information. Did you already pay tithing on the previous 900? Are you taking into account the expenses you incured to get the additional 10?

    Comment by JM — October 2, 2007 @ 7:59 am

  19. Thanks Stephen M, that’s what I am saying. I paid “tithing” during the first part of the year when we were not making money in anticipation of getting the blessings. Since we didn’t make money are right now are still losing money and even if we make money in the 4th quarter which we hope we will, I’ll still have paid more tithing than I should have.

    If I was a year end thithing payer then none of this would have happened. In fact I’d be money ahead right now!

    Oh well, 4th quarter starts yesterday so we still have hope.

    Comment by Don Clifton — October 2, 2007 @ 10:21 am

  20. So, Don, you didn’t quit paying tithing. You’ve just prepaid a little and you’re waiting for the income to catch up.

    Reminds me of folks in temple interviews who would respond to the “Paga Ud. un diezmo integro?” question by saying that they hadn’t paid last Sunday. It’s a little hard in non-existent Spanish to explain that being a full tithe-payer doesn’t necessarily require that you pay tithing on the next Sunday after you receive some income.

    Comment by Mark B. — October 3, 2007 @ 2:24 pm

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