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I think one of the clearest examples of coercion in Mormonism is the revelation commanding Martin Harris to “not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon” (19:26). Just earlier in the section, Harris is commanded to repent or he would suffer the same pain that Jesus suffered when he bled “at every pore” (v. 18). This section was apparently given in response to Harris’s hesitancy about fronting the $3000 for printing the BoM. Here is a nice summary: https://www.google.com/amp/s/davelefevreblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/03/paying-for-the-book-of-mormon-martin-harris-and-dc-19/amp/

I think we can all agree there is coercion here. He is issued a command and a threat for non-compliance.

The same could be argued for D&C 64:23 quoted earlier in the thread. There the threat is burning at the second coming for not tithing.

 

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5 minutes ago, Benjamin Seeker said:

I think one of the clearest examples of coercion in Mormonism is the revelation commanding Martin Harris to “not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon” (19:26). Just earlier in the section, Harris is commanded to repent or he would suffer the same pain that Jesus suffered when he bled “at every pore” (v. 18). This section was apparently given in response to Harris’s hesitancy about fronting the $3000 for printing the BoM. Here is a nice summary: https://www.google.com/amp/s/davelefevreblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/03/paying-for-the-book-of-mormon-martin-harris-and-dc-19/amp/

I think we can all agree there is coercion here. He is issued a command and a threat for non-compliance.

The same could be argued for D&C 64:23 quoted earlier in the thread. There the threat is burning at the second coming for not tithing.

 

Nope, that's not what I would call coercion, either.  Our Lord is simply stating what will happen to Martin if he doesn't do the Lord's will.  He, our Lord, isn't doing anything to take away Martin's ability to make whatever choice Martin will choose to make.

Some people may want to burn, and think of burning as if it is a good thing.  Fire purifies, and our Father in heaven is said to live in everlasting burnings.

I'm choosing to pay tithing, though, because I can see a lot of benefit in doing it, even if the alternative isn't really as terrible as some people think it is.

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5 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Nope, that's not what I would call coercion, either.  Our Lord is simply stating what will happen to Martin if he doesn't do the Lord's will.  He, our Lord, isn't doing anything to take away Martin's ability to make whatever choice Martin will choose to make.

Some people may want to burn, and think of burning as if it is a good thing.  Fire purifies, and our Father in heaven is said to live in everlasting burnings.

I'm choosing to pay tithing, though, because I can see a lot of benefit in doing it, even if the alternative isn't really as terrible as some people think it is.

🎃

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1 hour ago, cinepro said:

If you can find someone around you who isn't LDS, simply ask them this question:

"My church won't let people attend weddings of family members inside our Temples if you don't pay 10% of your income.  Does that sound like they're being coercive?"

I suspect most people would say "yes."

Well, to be fair, it’s kind of a loaded question.

If you were to instead ask someone who isn’t LDS something more like this one:

        My church won’t let people attend weddings of family members inside our holy Temples if they are known to be engaging in sex outside of marriage. Does that sound like they’re being coercive?

I suspect most people would say “no.” 

 

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26 minutes ago, Amulek said:

Well, to be fair, it’s kind of a loaded question.

If you were to instead ask someone who isn’t LDS something more like this one:

        My church won’t let people attend weddings of family members inside our holy Temples if they are known to be engaging in sex outside of marriage. Does that sound like they’re being coercive?

I suspect most people would say “no.” 

 

I was thinking along the same lines. When we zero in on tithing it may seem more coercive, but when you zoom out and take all worthiness questions into account, it certainly softens the blow.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/3/2018 at 8:29 PM, Tacenda said:

We've not felt pressure for a couple of years, my husband went to lunch with our old bishop and explained his reasoning for not paying, and that kept them from calling and scheduling us for tithing settlement. My husband quit when he found out some inheritance was going to the church, and he felt he should get compensation for working in his father's business and told not to go out on his own, and he'd be compensated later for staying in, but that's probably not happening. 

I think if his mom finds out, he'll definitely not receive a dime, she'll be so upset. But he doesn't care. 

Isn't that a little like "My brother hasn't paid back the money I loaned him.  I'll show him.  I'll just take it out of the money I owe my sister."  I understand and sympathize with the frustration about inheritance concerns, especially when owed as in your case.  But the last person I would want to short change is God.  He has given me everything including whatever inheritances I may receive.  And my future is in His hands.  Why did He say "Will a man rob God, yet ye have robbed me... in tithes and offerings..."  He must have been frustrated with some of His children.  I hope He isn't frustrated with me.

On 6/4/2018 at 11:50 AM, Jeanne said:

.I have to applaud your husband in his reasoning.  A great element of courage this is to stand up to this.  (To stand up to God??  It may feel like one is standing up to a bishop or parent.  But tithing is one's individual duty to God, that has many wonderful blessings attached to it.  When people encourage tithe paying, it's not because God needs the money and it's not a desire to coerce.  It is from a desire to bless.  We need the blessings that come from paying an honest tithe.)  I can only imagine what he has endured..you, too. Let him know that I admire him with great understanding. IMO..there is coercion in tithing..there is not one blessing you can obtain without the dime.  And yet..monetary giving has really nothing to do with the heart of giving and reaping of hard work and service. 

 

Ibid.

Edited by Meerkat

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5 minutes ago, Amulek said:

Well, to be fair, it’s kind of a loaded question.

If you were to instead ask someone who isn’t LDS something more like this one:

        My church won’t let people attend weddings of family members inside our holy Temples if they are known to be engaging in sex outside of marriage. Does that sound like they’re being coercive?

I suspect most people would say “no.” 

 

 

Then someone will broaden definition  the term coercion as any enforcement of rules, or any consequences. Much like I am coerced into renewing my professional licenses.

Then they will declare victory based on their definition.

They will then use the label indiscriminately (Without explaining their vary broad definition) to justify their negative view of the church.

The same game can be played with lots of words.  

My favorite is the word "Cult".  It is true that you can define the word "Cult" as "Religion".  But it is not very useful. If you have called the Mormon Church a "Cult" Using the definition that "Cult"="Religion", then all you have done is repeated yourself.  However, other people who use a more severe definition get a different impression.

The same with using the word "Coercion".  You can widen the definition, perhaps legitimately to include anything with a reward for behavior  in the church (or anywhere else).  However, since most people use that word to indicate something negative, you end up misleading them.

 

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55 minutes ago, Meerkat said:

Isn't that a little like "My brother hasn't paid back the money I loaned him.  I'll show him.  I'll just take it out of the money I owe my sister."  I understand and sympathize with the frustration about inheritance concerns, especially when owed as in your case.  But the last person I would want to short change is God.  He has given me everything including whatever inheritances I may receive.  And my future is in His hands.  Why did He say "Will a man rob God, yet ye have robbed me... in tithes and offerings..."  He must have been frustrated with some of His children.  I hope He isn't frustrated with me.

Ibid.

I decided a long time ago that God does not have a whole lot to do with the Mormon Church.

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6 minutes ago, Jeanne said:

I decided a long time ago that God does not have a whole lot to do with the Mormon Church.

At least you're acknowledging it as your decision instead of saying that God revealed that to you.  I'll stick with what God says to assure me.

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7 minutes ago, Ahab said:

At least you're acknowledging it as your decision instead of saying that God revealed that to you.  I'll stick with what God says to assure me.

Fair enough.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/3/2018 at 8:43 PM, Benjamin Seeker said:

I’ve seen the debate happening over at https://bycommonconsent.com/2018/06/02/tithing-and-coercion/ on whether the church’s stance on tithing is coercive. Let’s debate it (cause what else are we going to do?)!

I don’t feel that tithing can be judged or seen as coercive except in some circumstances. For example, when a dad has a faith crisis and comes away believing differently than before there can be a certain feeling of coercion. If there are strong family ties to Mormonism, and if he values his own ties to Mormonism, he may feel pressured or even coerced to pay tithing in order to fully participate in family events like the baptisms and ordinations and other rites of passage involving his children. 

Is it coercive to require faith from the members of the Church to be in good standing to have all of the privileges that are available?  No.  That faith requires action, and this is the prescribed course of action.  If people want privileges, they need to act as commanded.  If they don't want privileges, or at least, if they don't value them enough, they are free to ignore commandments.  People can't make excuses that they ought to have privileges without fulfilling requirements that go along with qualifying for privileges.  It is a package deal.  It's like how it was a package deal that Adam and Eve could stay in the garden and get what goes along with that, or choose to leave, and get the package that goes along with that.  They were not coerced either way.  They could choose to have what privileges would go along with each option.  There was a choice to make.  Men are not in a position to set the terms and conditions of what is required to get privileges.  They are only in a position to make a choice of what they truly want, and what "package deal" they will choose, and what the ultimate consequences will be of each package is set in stone already.

Therefore, with tithing free agency is preserved, and therefore, there is no coercion, but there is also only certain privileges that go along with a certain option.  That is not negotiable.  Should everyone get an A+ on their report card regardless of ignoring homework assignments?  No.  They need to do their homework.  They are free to get an F.

The different degrees of glory will be geographical, like how the privileges of the Temple are geographical.  In other words, those with more privileges get to go into the inner sanctum of the celestial kingdom, analogous to those who have privileges to go into the most sacred parts of the temple.  And the activities that go along with that geography are what one is privileged with.  And so, the privileges of each degree of glory has to do with where one can go, and what one can participate in, and what privileges one has.  Privileges on this earth in the gospel are no different.

The term "faith crisis" is aptly named, because those that fall into it at times loose faith, and when they lose faith, at times they may choose to stop exercising faith.  Faith crisis where one's faith goes through a challenge doesn't however necessarily imply that one has to lose faith in the sense of being faithless, letting one's actions cease, and letting one's beliefs cease.  Rather, one's faith crisis can result in one's choice to exercise faith in spite of one's faith being challenged.  And therefore, a faith crisis can have a positive result for faith, or a negative result for faith, and can result in a positive for one's privileges, or a negative for one's privileges.  It depends on how one chooses to respond to a faith crisis in one's actions and whether one has patience with the crisis in order to push through it until one comes to the light at the end of the tunnel.  A faith crisis is not a guarantee of a loss of faith in the sense of a cessation of the actions of faith.  It is, however, in every case, a challenge.

In every case where one chooses to allow one's "shelf to break", one loses one's privileges when one ceases to act in faith by choice.  Regardless of the excuses made by people who have ceased to act in faith, they were the one's to allow their own shelf to break.  In no case were they a victim of an uncontrollable process.  While they certainly have "dark nights of the soul," they are always in control of how they choose to respond, if they push through it or not.

Edited by EdGoble

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18 minutes ago, Jeanne said:

I decided a long time ago that God does not have a whole lot to do with the Mormon Church.

Actually the principle works outside the Church as well.  I became converted to tithing prior to becoming a religious person.  When I decided to contribute 10 percent of my income to the Tacoma Rescue Mission, my life took a major turn for the better. I recognized it as a direct blessing from tithing.  When we found the Church, tithing was a majoor part of my testimony.  I was making money at the time and glad to do it.  Maybe attitude had something to do with it also.  I don't think I'd pay it if I didn't want to.  I like you Jeanne, as well as Tacenda.  I say to each his or her own.  My comments are how I feel based on my experiences.  You have a right to your experiences and beliefs.  No offense intended.

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12 minutes ago, Meerkat said:

Actually the principle works outside the Church as well.  I became converted to tithing prior to becoming a religious person.  When I decided to contribute 10 percent of my income to the Tacoma Rescue Mission, my life took a major turn for the better. I recognized it as a direct blessing from tithing.  When we found the Church, tithing was a majoor part of my testimony.  I was making money at the time and glad to do it.  Maybe attitude had something to do with it also.  I don't think I'd pay it if I didn't want to.  I like you Jeanne, as well as Tacenda.  I say to each his or her own.  My comments are how I feel based on my experiences.  You have a right to your experiences and beliefs.  No offense intended.

Thank you.  Your beliefs belong to you..I respect that.

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1 hour ago, Meerkat said:

Isn't that a little like "My brother hasn't paid back the money I loaned him.  I'll show him.  I'll just take it out of the money I owe my sister."  I understand and sympathize with the frustration about inheritance concerns, especially when owed as in your case.  But the last person I would want to short change is God.  He has given me everything including whatever inheritances I may receive.  And my future is in His hands.  Why did He say "Will a man rob God, yet ye have robbed me... in tithes and offerings..."  He must have been frustrated with some of His children.  I hope He isn't frustrated with me.

Ibid.

It has everything to do with doubting the church is true. If I was a still believing LDS like I use to be, I'd figure out a way to go around him. But he's about on my same page after learning some things he didn't know and it shook him. So he does a lot of paying elsewhere to people in need. And very generous fast offerings. But this may change one day and we'll both come around. Both of us are keeping a leg in so far.

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1 hour ago, Danzo said:

The same with using the word "Coercion".  You can widen the definition, perhaps legitimately to include anything with a reward for behavior  in the church (or anywhere else).  However, since most people use that word to indicate something negative, you end up misleading them.

 

I think, by definition, coercion involves punishment.  Examples involving rewards wouldn't be relevant.

It also seems obvious that coercion involves punishment by the person (or group) who wants you to act in a certain way.  If I see someone smoking cigarettes and tell them "Hey, you shouldn't smoke because it's more likely to give you lung cancer", I am not coercing them because I am not the one giving them the lung cancer.

So the key point in this would be whether or not it is the Church keeping someone out of the Temple for not paying their tithing.  Since that hasn't always been a rule, then it has been the Church's decision to make that rule, and I would consider it a form of coercion.

The scripture about people being burned at the last days if they don't pay their tithing is a little trickier.  If the burning is the result of some cosmic force that is outside of God's power (and this force demands that you give God's church 10% of your increase while here on Earth, with varying definitions being put into effect over time), then it wouldn't be coercion, since God is just warning you about what this cosmic force will do to you.  But if the burning is within God's power, then it would be coercion.

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5 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

It has everything to do with doubting the church is true. If I was a still believing LDS like I use to be, I'd figure out a way to go around him. But he's about on my same page after learning some things he didn't know and it shook him. So he does a lot of paying elsewhere to people in need. And very generous fast offerings. But this may change one day and we'll both come around. Both of us are keeping a leg in so far.

Probably a topic for another thread, but I think it's important to have the right idea about what it means for the church to be true.  It definitely does 't mean the church is without error, or doesn't have any sinners, or doesn't have any members who say things that are wrong.

We need all the blessings we can get through the Church of our Lord but we all need to remember that the Lord is the one who gives any and all blessings to his Church.

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30 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

It has everything to do with doubting the church is true. If I was a still believing LDS like I use to be, I'd figure out a way to go around him. But he's about on my same page after learning some things he didn't know and it shook him. So he does a lot of paying elsewhere to people in need. And very generous fast offerings. But this may change one day and we'll both come around. Both of us are keeping a leg in so far.

Sounds reasonable to me.  I wish you all the best however you decide.  

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2 hours ago, Jeanne said:

I decided a long time ago that God does not have a whole lot to do with the Mormon Church.

Followed your comments for some time and have a sincere question...

If you don't believe God has anything to do with tithing or the LDS Church, then why do you comment on this thread or in this forum on other topics?

Are you trying to, low-key, convince believers of the error of our ways?  Want to show you know better than us foolish Mormons? Nothing better to do with your time? Or something else?

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1 hour ago, cinepro said:

I think, by definition, coercion involves punishment.  Examples involving rewards wouldn't be relevant.

 

Withholding a reward seems to be the same as a punishment, according to this discussion.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, cinepro said:

I think, by definition, coercion involves punishment

From your link

"use of force or intimidation to obtain compliance."

If we use this definition, we would have to establish the presence of 

1.  Force

2.  Intimidation

I just don't see either in the churches treatment of tithing.

 

Edited by Danzo
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9 hours ago, Ahab said:

Nope, that's not what I would call coercion, either.  Our Lord is simply stating what will happen to Martin if he doesn't do the Lord's will.  He, our Lord, isn't doing anything to take away Martin's ability to make whatever choice Martin will choose to make.

Some people may want to burn, and think of burning as if it is a good thing.  Fire purifies, and our Father in heaven is said to live in everlasting burnings.

I'm choosing to pay tithing, though, because I can see a lot of benefit in doing it, even if the alternative isn't really as terrible as some people think it is.

What would be an example of coercion, if that isn't one?

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5 minutes ago, Gray said:

What would be an example of coercion, if that isn't one?

Looks like it is at least borderline coercive to me. One could argue that God is stating the natural consequences of the decision and not what God would do to him. 

Then again putting God in the center has its own problems. The entire Bible (and all LDS scripture) can be read as coercive. The Book of Deuteronomy in particular is filled with it. Do good and you will get nice things. Do badly and oh.....how you will suffer......

I just don't think the concept of coercion works when applied to God.

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13 hours ago, Gray said:

What would be an example of coercion, if that isn't one?

Anything that would actually force someone to do something in particular, with no way to do anything other than that.

Anything that would actually take away a person's agency in a situation with no option but to do what someone else wanted that person to do.

Like when under hypnosis, maybe, with no choice about whether or not to be hypnotized.

I've been told that I'm an unusually independent person who isn't really affected by peer pressure, doing whatever I choose to do regardless of what someone else may think about it.  Not quite true, since I do care what God thinks and I do try to please him, and my wife too, at least sometimes, but the overall jest of what they are saying is true, I think.  I don't think anybody is able to force me to have sex with them, for example, regardless of any reward or loss of reward they may threaten.  I would do it only if I wanted to do it.

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5 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Anything that would actually force someone to do something in particular, with no way to do anything other than that.

Anything that would actually take away a person's agency in a situation with no option but to do what someone else wanted that person to do.

Like when under hypnosis, maybe, with no choice about whether or not to be hypnotized. 

I've been told that I'm an unusually independent person who isn't really affected by peer pressure, doing whatever I choose to do regardless of what someone else may think about it.  Not quite true, since I do care what God thinks and I do try to please him, and my wife too, at least sometimes, but the overall jest of what they are saying is true, I think.  I don't think anybody is able to force me to have sex with them, for example, regardless of any reward or loss of reward they may threaten.  I would do it only if I wanted to do it. 

So essentially the only possible coercion involves mind control?

 

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3 minutes ago, Gray said:

So essentially the only possible coercion involves mind control?

 

Since the mind is the spirit, yes, I would say so.  Controlling another person's body may not necessarily equate to forcing a person to do something, like when a doctor hits a person's knee during an exam to check reflexes, but when thinking of forcing a  person to do something in particular yes I am thinking of the person, themselves, being forced to do that, which I can only imagine is possible with a loss of that person's agency.

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