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guitarist

Lottery Winnings?

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I always thought that the principle of tithing was eloquently stated in D&C 19:26 when the Lord told Martin Harris not to covet his own property. Tithing allows us to show that we love the Lord more than we love our money. If I ever won the lottery, I would want to be able to pay tithing on it to show that, despite the new found wealth, I was still cognizant of the fact that all I have and every day I live is a gift from the Lord.

Why would the Church want to deny such an exercise in humility to anyone?

It is, in the eyes of the lord, ill gotten gains. To me, this is like extorting money from senior citizens and then showing your love for the lord by paying 10% to charity. Lottery winnings is not a gift from the Lord, it is mocking God and trying to get something for nothing.

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Historically, equity investments have always gone up.

Ummm...no. I suspect you meant something different than what you said.

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Ummm...no. I suspect you meant something different than what you said.

There are always periodic drops, but the direction is always up. If you have a balanced portfolio, purchase low and sell high, and stay within your knowledge base, you will always make money over the long term. With gambling, you have no such guarantees. I have invested in Canadian dividend funds and have never lost money in any year. My short term investments are in income funds or savings bonds and have always outperformed inflation. Even the most skilled gambler has no idea if he will loose everything.

People who play with futures, and who make money based on speculations of the market are, in my opinion, gamblers. They ruin it for the honest investors and are one of the root causes of skyrocketing oil prices. They use the market the way addicts use Lysol.

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I think there are a number of solid reasons why gambling is unacceptable, including each of the ones suggested by Cinepro, by you and by me.

The Church certainly has not abandoned its encouragement of its members to be productive contributors to society and community.

Yes, but we no longer have the same marxian concerns as we did in the 19th century about whether or not one's occupation creates added value for the community. Otherwise, day traders, oil speculators, hedge fund managers, pure capitalists who don't work, professional socialites, and many of the other 1% types would be in trouble.

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guitarist wrote:

I find it interesting the direction this topic has gone--I'd always heard from just about every bishop I'd ever had that you were not supposed to tithe lottery winnings (& hearing it from a 70 tends to make it quasi-authoritative, at least when he's directed my current stake in that manner), so I just assumed it as a given in this thread. So it is of particular surprise to hear bishops here chiming in in the opposite direction, even CFRing it ;)

I've heard it before from other bishops, but it falls into the same class as bishops who add other extra-CHI policies to temple recommend interviews, such as cola drink abstinence or other added requirements (I have seen scripture study and home teaching). The Church is decidedly anti-gambling (it "opposes gambling in any form"), but those who insist that this means that the Church formally refuses to accept tithin money off of gambling winnings go too far. There is no policy to this effect. If there were, there would be direct language stating that tithing on gambling winnings would not be accepted. There would also probably be an extra temple recommend question if the Brethren's concern rose to the level claimed by some in this thread.

As I mentioned, I had a stake president who asked us in temple recommend interviews about daily Book of Mormon reading and home teaching, and he withheld the recommend if the answers weren't satisfactory (he received reports from EQ presidents and bishops). While this exceeded his authority (he told me that a 70 had chastized him for replacing "or priesthood meetings" with "or Relief Society meetings" for sisters in question #8. He was told to never, ever deviate, add to, or take from the questions), my wife and I were blessed by his influence. Our devotion to scripture study stems from this period, when we were young parents. I don't see any harm accruing to the Church by bishops who insist that tithing cannot be paid on gambling winnings; like with my former stake president, I just think it's not technically accurate or true. It's yet another version of the Unwritten Order of Things run amuck! :)

As for the several who have said that the Church views gambling winnings as "ill gotten gains," I think the key difference is "legal" vs. "illegal" earnings. Regardless of how the Church feels about gambling, it isn't civilly illegal where it is allowed, and this is a big difference between truly illegal forms of income.

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The reason gambling is "bad" isn't because it involves risk or "chance". Gambling is bad because it doesn't involve any effort or productivity. If I take $10,000 and start a frozen banana stand, I am risking that money, but I am also providing goods and services to the community. If I give the $10,000 to someone else so they can start a frozen banana stand, my money is still at risk, but it is still "working."

But that's not true with gambling. While there is still risk involved, and the miniscule chance of actually making money, there is no benefit to society, or the person doing the gambling.

From a certain point of view, I don't really have a problem with "recreational" gambling. If someone has $1,000 to spend on a vacation, it doesn't make much difference to me if they decide to go to Cancun for a few days and sit on the beach or play golf, or go to Vegas for a few days and gamble it away. From that point of view, gambling is no worse than any other "time-wasting" endeavor (not taking into account health benefits to rest and relaxation etc.)

The problem with gambling isn't necessarily at the micro/individual level, it's at the macro/community level. Gambling as a business has to be one of the worse things that can happen to a community, and for some individuals it is absolutely devastating.

And I would agree that there are many other ways that people try to make money (especially easy money) that aren't considered "gambling", but are just as morally corrosive. The real estate bubble and crash was a result of such thinking on the part of hundreds of thousands of people, from home buyers who thought they could have easy money (or mansions), the real estate industry who thought they were printing easy money making the transactions, and Wall Street firms that thought they had found safe, reliable ways to make huge profits based on the crap mortgages. Someone trying to make quick easy money in the real estate market was no better than someone sitting at a slot machine, and in many ways they were worse.

But the states do claim to support schools with lotteries and indeed some does get to the schools. Does that then redeem the lottery?

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A friend of mine & I were having a discussion regarding the lottery recently. It's pretty well known that we're encouraged to avoid playing the lottery (probably for a multitude of reasons, but in my experience, primarily) because it is a form of gambling. Also, the church doesn't accept tithing off of lottery winnings. My friend brought up a scenario. Let's say that someone buys you a lottery ticket as a gift. Do you accept it? What if it happens to win the jackpot? I suspect that the church still wouldn't accept tithing on it on principle, but would acceptance of that "gift" be wrong? I wasn't really sure how to answer my friend, so I thought I'd bring it to the board to see what others' perspectives were on it.

This didn't take too long for me to figure out ~ I would never buy a lottery ticket for myself but if I received one as a gift and it was the jackpot winner (or winner of any worthy amount) I would cash it in. I would not pay tithing on it because I have come to understand that I should not. I suspect or even firmly believe that regardless of whether or not the Bishop may know the origins of my increase my Heavenly Father does. Will the Bishop ask me about where the money came from when I pay tithing on it? Maybe not. Will God ask me why I paid tithing on lottery money when I understood it to be wrong? Probably yes.

Back to cashing it in ~ I would turn it into a fast offering. All of it. Every penny without hesitation. I would just give it away. Let the Lord decide what to do with the money. All I want is immortality and everlasting life. I don't care about the money but I care about all the good that could be done with it. If I do not give something of mine away in hopes of getting more in return because of nothing more than chance ~ I am not gambling. But to receive a gift of money that I cannot pay tithing on is, IMO, no gift to me at all. It is merely a moment to give what was given.

Edited by Nominee

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guitarist wrote:

I've heard it before from other bishops, but it falls into the same class as bishops who add other extra-CHI policies to temple recommend interviews, such as cola drink abstinence or other added requirements (I have seen scripture study and home teaching). The Church is decidedly anti-gambling (it "opposes gambling in any form"), but those who insist that this means that the Church formally refuses to accept tithin money off of gambling winnings go too far. There is no policy to this effect. If there were, there would be direct language stating that tithing on gambling winnings would not be accepted. There would also probably be an extra temple recommend question if the Brethren's concern rose to the level claimed by some in this thread.

As I mentioned, I had a stake president who asked us in temple recommend interviews about daily Book of Mormon reading and home teaching, and he withheld the recommend if the answers weren't satisfactory (he received reports from EQ presidents and bishops). While this exceeded his authority (he told me that a 70 had chastized him for replacing "or priesthood meetings" with "or Relief Society meetings" for sisters in question #8. He was told to never, ever deviate, add to, or take from the questions), my wife and I were blessed by his influence. Our devotion to scripture study stems from this period, when we were young parents. I don't see any harm accruing to the Church by bishops who insist that tithing cannot be paid on gambling winnings; like with my former stake president, I just think it's not technically accurate or true. It's yet another version of the Unwritten Order of Things run amuck! :)

As for the several who have said that the Church views gambling winnings as "ill gotten gains," I think the key difference is "legal" vs. "illegal" earnings. Regardless of how the Church feels about gambling, it isn't civilly illegal where it is allowed, and this is a big difference between truly illegal forms of income.

A thing doesn't have to be illegal for it to be wrong. Otherwise we allow national and local legislatures to control our concept of ethics and morality. I have a feeling you don't really want to go there.

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No, not really. It's clear that nobody here thinks that gambling is "good." For all the hypotheticals discussed here, I don't think it's a regularly-occuring phenomenon (people wrestling with whether and how to pay tithing off of their gambling winnings).

I'm still waiting for a CFR (a good one, not just opinion or what some bishops have told their wards) that Church policy prohibits accepting tithing money off of gambling winnings. Clearly, at least some bishops would not refuse to accept it. ;)

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But the states do claim to support schools with lotteries and indeed some does get to the schools. Does that then redeem the lottery?

Hardly—it makes it much worse.

Lotteries (and any other form of gambling, especially when run by the state) are voluntary taxes on stupidity. Actually, I wish the state would run a huge gaming industry, and let coercive taxation die a well deserved death. I (and many Satins) would not have to pay any tax whatsoever, while the mathematically ignorant would be gladly paying for all those marvelous government services.

Lehi

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Is there anything in the standard works that address gambling?

Is the investor who invests in companies which exploit the labor force in order to maximize profits really providing a benefit to society?

If I put a quarter into an arcade machine with the hopes of maneuvering the crane to snatch an ipod, is that any less gambling than the professional poker player?

I think the issue of gambling comes down to the individual. If you can do it without feeling like you are distancing yourself from the Spirit, then enjoy yourself. If you feel guilty about it while you are doing it, you probably need to listen to the Holy Ghost.

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Hardly—it makes it much worse.

Lotteries (and any other form of gambling, especially when run by the state) are voluntary taxes on stupidity. Actually, I wish the state would run a huge gaming industry, and let coercive taxation die a well deserved death. I (and many Satins) would not have to pay any tax whatsoever, while the mathematically ignorant would be gladly paying for all those marvelous government services.

Lehi

I was responding to cinepro's assertion that "...there is no benefit to society, or the person doing the gambling.there is no benefit to society, or the person doing the gambling."

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Is there anything in the standard works that address gambling?

Is the investor who invests in companies which exploit the labor force in order to maximize profits really providing a benefit to society?

If I put a quarter into an arcade machine with the hopes of maneuvering the crane to snatch an ipod, is that any less gambling than the professional poker player?

I think the issue of gambling comes down to the individual. If you can do it without feeling like you are distancing yourself from the Spirit, then enjoy yourself. If you feel guilty about it while you are doing it, you probably need to listen to the Holy Ghost.

I'm not sure that is a very good guage. Most of us have the ability to justify what ever we want.

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I was responding to cinepro's assertion that "...there is no benefit to society, or the person doing the gambling.there is no benefit to society, or the person doing the gambling."

I know what you said. I also recognized the implication that "schools" are "a benefit to society". They are not.

Lehi

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I'm not sure that is a very good guage. Most of us have the ability to justify what ever we want.

The Holy Ghost isn't a very good gauge? Color me astounded!

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Is there anything in the standard works that address gambling?

I'd have to do some checking. Meanwhile, I'm certain that living prophets and apostles have addressed it. That's quite good enough for me.

Is the investor who invests in companies which exploit the labor force in order to maximize profits really providing a benefit to society?

While such a thing is arguably contemptible, it is a separate issue from gambling. Please, let's stay on focus.

If I put a quarter into an arcade machine with the hopes of maneuvering the crane to snatch an ipod, is that any less gambling than the professional poker player?

Possibly not. I, for one, avoid such arcade machines.

I think the issue of gambling comes down to the individual. If you can do it without feeling like you are distancing yourself from the Spirit, then enjoy yourself. If you feel guilty about it while you are doing it, you probably need to listen to the Holy Ghost.

I, on the other hand, think gambling is inherently evil, as prophets and apostles have unequivocally stated, and I'm sure that is why the Church has very clearly enunciated its opposition "to gambling in all its forms."

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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The Holy Ghost isn't a very good gauge? Color me astounded!

I think what ElRay is saying (and he can clarify if he likes) is that some are apt to misidentify their own inclinations and rationalizations as ratification from the Holy Ghost. Which is why we have apostles and prophets to teach and guide us.

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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The Holy Ghost isn't a very good gauge? Color me astounded!

Read for comprehension please. I said most of us have the ability to justify what ever we want. I said nothing about the Holy Ghost.

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Is there anything in the standard works that address gambling?

Acts 1:26? 1 Nephi 3:11?

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Acts 1:26? 1 Nephi 3:11?

It hardly needs stating, but "casting lots" is not gambling unless it involves wagering.

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Pascal's Wager is therefore gambling! Good one, Scott! :D Edited by Log

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It hardly needs stating, but "casting lots" is not gambling unless it involves wagering.

That's why I used question marks. It's sorta of like gambling. Nephi and his brothers were potentially betting with their lives. Of course, casting lots to divine the will of God raises a different issue, too, because it is an occult practice (See Bible Dictionary--Sorcery). Not that that's a bad thing, with all of our seer stones, divining rods, Urim & Thummim, etc.

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Yes, but we no longer have the same marxian concerns as we did in the 19th century about whether or not one's occupation creates added value for the community. Otherwise, day traders, oil speculators, hedge fund managers, pure capitalists who don't work, professional socialites, and many of the other 1% types would be in trouble.

Not many know the difference between "Marxian" and "Marxist". Good for you. As a good former commie, I am up on this stuff. ;)

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I start by saying I have no problem with gambling so my views on this may be different than most here.

I wholeheartedly agree that playing a slot machine is about as defining an instance of "gambling" as could be constructed.

But games such as poker put a specific set of a player's skills against the skills of other players. I don't see it as different than competing against others in any other business.

Are there any LDS folks around here that don't see a game of poker for money as "gambling"?

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