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Tithing & Coercion

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9 minutes ago, nuclearfuels said:

When I went from non-tithe payer to tithe payer, my income increased 400%. This happened twice, same amount of increase.

As a teenager, worked at McD's. Wages were low so i didn't pay tithing.  Eventualyl figured the only way for me to escape that job was via tithing/miracle. Started paying tithing. Got full time as opposed to part time job.  The new job paid double what McD's did.

During the recession of 2008-09 I worked odd jobs to pay the bills, each time I recieved a check, I paid tithing as quickly as possible via the envelopes, even though this led to multiple envelopes per month being given to the bishopric.

After about 9 months, was offered a job paying at least 400% more (if we include benefits, more like 600% more).

So, you can call tithing coercive if you'd like (ignoring the fact that temple ordinances are mostly for the dead and only one of each ordiancne is needed/required for the living), but I'll keep following the 400% increase trend.

Coercion isn't based on what happens if you do something.  It's based on what happens if you don't do something. 

So better anecdotal evidence would be someone sharing a story about not paying tithing and nothing bad happening.

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Just now, cinepro said:

Coercion isn't based on what happens if you do something.  It's based on what happens if you don't do something. 

So better anecdotal evidence would be someone sharing a story about not paying tithing and nothing bad happening.

Facts are facts, brah.

Perhaps the general income of LDS members? Disproportionately wealthy compared to general population? 

Nope, none of that data count because.....Just now says so. 

When I didn't pay tithing, I remained at McD's, gloriously grilling.

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10 minutes ago, nuclearfuels said:

When I went from non-tithe payer to tithe payer, my income increased 400%. This happened twice, same amount of increase.

As a teenager, worked at McD's. Wages were low so i didn't pay tithing.  Eventualyl figured the only way for me to escape that job was via tithing/miracle. Started paying tithing. Got full time as opposed to part time job.  The new job paid double what McD's did.

During the recession of 2008-09 I worked odd jobs to pay the bills, each time I recieved a check, I paid tithing as quickly as possible via the envelopes, even though this led to multiple envelopes per month being given to the bishopric.

After about 9 months, was offered a job paying at least 400% more (if we include benefits, more like 600% more).

So, you can call tithing coercive if you'd like (ignoring the fact that temple ordinances are mostly for the dead and only one of each ordiancne is needed/required for the living), but I'll keep following the 400% increase trend.

I prefer to consider what you say people can call "coercive" as "persuasive", myself.  Nobody is putting a gun to my head or threatening to beat me up if I don't pay it, but yes they are suggesting that I would be much better off if I just paid my tithing.  And so far it has worked out better for me when I just pay it.

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6 minutes ago, cinepro said:

Coercion isn't based on what happens if you do something.  It's based on what happens if you don't do something. 

So better anecdotal evidence would be someone sharing a story about not paying tithing and nothing bad happening.

... or a story of nothing good happening because of not paying tithing.  No blessings that are supposedly contingent on paying tithing, for example.

For an example of that I offer my recent witness of a son of mine getting married and sealed in the temple, about a week ago.  If I hadn't paid my tithing that would not have happened, for me or my son or his bride, either.  Just like it did npt happen for my other son who waited in the temple lobby while those who were witnesses saw it happen, because that son did not pay his tithing and is still not paying his tithes. 

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31 minutes ago, Jeanne said:

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.

???       There are many blessings that are predicated upon obedience to other laws.

And with the monetary giving aspect the way is there for individuals to do it with their heart in the right place as they do so or not.

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31 minutes ago, CMZ said:

???       There are many blessings that are predicated upon obedience to other laws.

And with the monetary giving aspect the way is there for individuals to do it with their heart in the right place as they do so or not.

Yes...there are many other blessings..I agree..but they don't do diddly squat if you butt is on fire!

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42 minutes ago, Ahab said:

... or a story of nothing good happening because of not paying tithing.  No blessings that are supposedly contingent on paying tithing, for example.

For an example of that I offer my recent witness of a son of mine getting married and sealed in the temple, about a week ago.  If I hadn't paid my tithing that would not have happened, for me or my son or his bride, either.  Just like it did npt happen for my other son who waited in the temple lobby while those who were witnesses saw it happen, because that son did not pay his tithing and is still not paying his tithes. 

Do you realize what you are describing is a perfect example of "coercion", to the degree that your non-attending son had any desire to attend the sealing?

 

Edited by cinepro

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I just can't get past the personal feeling that not paying your tithing is like not asking someone to marry you.  Have you been coerced into singlehood somehow?

I understand why some see it as coercion because for them tithing is a big negative that they are required to do in order to get a positive, but there are plenty of negatives I have done that I didn't see as coercion such as surgery in order to be healthy or cleaning house because I like the end result.  There is a line there where the threat is the primary intended motivator (someone knowingly uses the threat to persuade rather than focus on the positives) for me.  And while people may focus on the threat of not being with their families for weddings, etc., I don't see that as commonly used to promote paying tithing.  

Maybe the threat has to be an addition that is not present in the usual 'contract' for me to 'feel' coercion.  Defaulting on a loan carries some legal penalties and poor credit such that no one will give you loans in the future, but a threat to break one's leg would be an 'unnatural addition' and only that would be coercion in my view.  Loss of privileges to me is not coercion. (I know some people believe they have a right to be at their child's wedding, but if the kid elopes does anyone think they should be punished?  If not, I don't see any inherent right, but rather it is a privilege allowed by the choices of the child...whether or not they include someone by making plans that allows the person to participate or not.)

Edited by Calm
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22 minutes ago, cinepro said:

Do you realize what you are describing is a perfect example of "coercion", to the degree that your non-attending son had any desire to attend the sealing?

 

No arm twisting or brow beating was involved.  Just a "if you want to go  you will need to pay tithing for at least a little while so you can get a temple recommend so you can get into the temple" kind of idea being presented to him, persuasively maybe. 

(I did try to be at least a little persuasive with him, but no coercion was involved)

Any angst or "I wanna go!!!!" was all up to him, based on how much he may have wanted to go.  I wasn't putting any pressure on him.  I just stated what the terms were if he wanted to go, to whatever degree he may have wanted to do.

Persuasion vs coercion?  Tomato vs tomatoe?  Hmm, maybe in your mind, but I think of the two things as not the same thing even though there are some things in common with what both of what those words refer to.

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15 minutes ago, Calm said:

I just can't get past the personal feeling that not paying your tithing is like not asking someone to marry you.  Have you been coerced into singlehood somehow?

I understand why some see it as coercion because for them tithing is a big negative that they are required to do in order to get a positive, but there are plenty of negatives I have done that I didn't see as coercion such as surgery in order to be healthy or cleaning house because I like the end result.  There is a line there where the threat is the primary intended motivator (someone knowingly uses the threat to persuade rather than focus on the positives) for me.  And while people may focus on the threat of not being with their families for weddings, etc., I don't see that as commonly used to promote paying tithing.  Maybe the threat has to be an addition that is not present in the usual 'contract'.  Defaulting on a loan carries some legal penalties and poor credit such that no one will give you loans in the future, but a threat to break one's leg would be an 'unnatural addition' and only that would be coercion in my view.  Loss of privileges to me is not coercion.

Very much so. The scriptures liken being covenanted to Christ as being married to Him. In marriage you make promises. In being married to Him you covenant to keep His commandments as well. I see tithe as part of that commitment - in fact it is a minimal part of that commitment since in the early Church all assets were pledged to the Church for its use - the couple which tried to hide the sale of their property from Peter died on the spot. "Christians" today are a far cry from that level of commitment.

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12 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

Very much so. The scriptures liken being covenanted to Christ as being married to Him. In marriage you make promises. In being married to Him you covenant to keep His commandments as well. I see tithe as part of that commitment - in fact it is a minimal part of that commitment since in the early Church all assets were pledged to the Church for its use - the couple which tried to hide the sale of their property from Peter died on the spot. "Christians" today are a far cry from that level of commitment.

Yeah but nobody made you or anybody else marry Jesus Christ.  No coercion was involved.  Persuasion, maybe.  A good case presented for why you should be, maybe.  But no coercion was involved.

And no coercion is involved in trying to get other people to believe what he or any of his authorized servants have told us, either.  Believe it or not.

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9 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Yeah but nobody made you or anybody else marry Jesus Christ.  No coercion was involved.  Persuasion, maybe.  A good case presented for why you should be, maybe.  But no coercion was involved.

And no coercion is involved in trying to get other people to believe what he or any of his authorized servants have told us, either.  Believe it or not.

No, God never coerces promises. He does not coerce us to marry Christ. That is a voluntary commitment - a part of which is to obey His commandments. Once you have made a promise, will God coerce you? If you consider leaving you to hell coercion. There are typically only two choices.  I'm sure we agree. BTW good to see you Ahab :) 

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4 minutes ago, RevTestament said:

Once you have made a promise, will God coerce you? If you consider leaving you to hell coercion. There are typically only two choices.

No, I don't consider God coercing me to do anything.  Telling me what will happen if I don't believe him and do what he says, sure, but it's up to me to make my own choices about whatever it is that I am going to do.  Always.  With no coercion from him.

Just some persuasiveness, sometimes, which I am eventually thankful for, sooner or later.

Good to see you to RevTestament (your name reminds me of Reb Tevye from the Fiddler on the Roof movie, which I like)

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10 minutes ago, Ahab said:

No, I don't consider God coercing me to do anything.  Telling me what will happen if I don't believe him and do what he says, sure, but it's up to me to make my own choices about whatever it is that I am going to do.  Always.  With no coercion from him.

Just some persuasiveness, sometimes, which I am eventually thankful for, sooner or later.

Good to see you to RevTestament (your name reminds me of Reb Tevye from the Fiddler on the Roof movie, which I like)

Some just shorten it to Rev, which I like, but I am not a reverend. I am glad it doesn't put you off. It does seem kinda close to Reb Tevye now that you mention it. I've never connected it though. Good 'ol Reb. I wonder if he ever became a rich man? It doesn't seem so, although he did win the Israel Prize in 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaim_Topol

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3 hours ago, Ahab said:

... or a story of nothing good happening because of not paying tithing.  No blessings that are supposedly contingent on paying tithing, for example.

For an example of that I offer my recent witness of a son of mine getting married and sealed in the temple, about a week ago.  If I hadn't paid my tithing that would not have happened, for me or my son or his bride, either.  Just like it did npt happen for my other son who waited in the temple lobby while those who were witnesses saw it happen, because that son did not pay his tithing and is still not paying his tithes. 

Well that's not helping show there's no coercion in the church! ;) I guess I don't have to worry about any of my children getting married or sealed in the temple as it stands right now, they're far from it. But if they were close I would be pretty upset if I had to pay a huge amount of money to see them married in the temple, but would do it. Of course maybe that's not enough and I wouldn't get a recommend anyway. Oh boy, would I look bad to my in-laws, they would probably dis-own me. Not kidding. 

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5 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Well that's not helping show there's no coercion in the church! ;) I guess I don't have to worry about any of my children getting married or sealed in the temple as it stands right now, they're far from it. But if they were close I would be pretty upset if I had to pay a huge amount of money to see them married in the temple, but would do it. Of course maybe that's not enough and I wouldn't get a recommend anyway. Oh boy, would I look bad to my in-laws, they would probably dis-own me. Not kidding. 

With any commandment an individual can see it as someone else coercing them into it. But, “When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power.”

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/15515-when-obedience-ceases-to-be-an-irritant-and-becomes-our

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1 hour ago, Paiute said:

Coercion is fine with me:

Doctrine and Covenants 64:23

23 Behold, now it is called atoday until the bcoming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of csacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is dtithed shall not be eburned at his coming.

An interesting bit of context for this scripture is that it is likely referring to the law of consecration, which had just been introduced earlier that same year this revelation was given (1831).

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On 6/3/2018 at 11:17 PM, CMZ said:

 I am not a huge fan though of people giving all their money to the Church though when they die. 

SInce DW and I were never blessed with Children, we will be doing this.

While we have Nephews and Nieces, they have never been particularly close since they've grown up, and they are all University educated with good jobs, they can inherit from their parents if that is their wish.

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21 hours ago, cinepro said:

It's a tough conversation to have, because I don't think anyone has provided an agreed-upon definition of "coercion."  And since it's a loaded term (almost always considered to be bad), no one who supports the concept of tithing is going to readily admit that it is "coercive."  It's like trying to get the members of a group to admit they're in a "cult."

So here's how I look at it.

First, I don't think a person's willingness (or lack thereof) plays into whether or not something is coercive.  So I'm not convinced by those who say that tithing isn't coercive because they willingly pay it (and by implication, they would still pay it even if it wasn't coercive).  The better way to look at whether or not something is coercive it to look at what happens if they don't do it, not whether or not they willingly do it without the coercion.

Second, there are many ways someone can be coerced besides absolute physical force. So the lack of a Danite squad or gestapo force forcing people to pay tithing is irrelevant.

Third, even if something is based purely on a religious belief, metaphysical belief, or superstition, it can still be coercive to that person.  For example, I personally don't spend my time and money on Scientology auditing sessions, and I don't fee that I have experienced any ill effects from that choice.  But that doesn't mean that people within Scientology can't feel coercion to pay for auditing sessions.   The fact that I am outside of their influence doesn't mean they don't have the power to coerce those within their circle.  In other words, belief and membership in a group make you more susceptible to coercion, not less.  Yes, it might only be coercive if you believe, but that is still being coercive.

And fourth, people have a tendency to strongly overestimate the principle of "natural consequences" as a way to avoid acknowledging coercion.  If I tell my son that he can't drive the family car until he gets his Eagle Scout award, and then he delays getting his Eagle and complains about being coerced and not being able to drive the car, I can't avoid the issue by appealing to the consequence being some sort of "natural law" and ultimately his choice ("It's not my fault you can't drive the car.  The deal is that you have to have your Eagle, and since you don't have your Eagle, it's your choice, not mine.")  While he may have made the choice not to get his Eagle, the "game" and its rules have been entirely constructed by me.

Also, an appeal to tradition doesn't make something non-coercive.  Even if my father, and his father before him, wouldn't let their sons drive the family car until they got their Eagle scout, that just makes it a tradition of coercion.  It doesn't make my implementation of the rule non-coercive.

 

So with those principles in mind, from where I stand the way the Church has implemented tithing is "coercive."  It's not coercive to non-believers, and it may be based on a tradition of coercion related to tithing.  But that's still "coercion" in my book.  I'm open to the argument that it isn't a bad thing for the Church to be coercive about tithing because the spiritual danger (and financial danger to the Church) is so great. 

But the idea that it isn't coercive at all seems a little fatuous. 

 

 

Controlling a definition is essential to making the argument.

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IF we follow this to its logical conclusion.

Telsa Coerces me into making money because they won't give me one of their cars without money

I am coerced into getting up earlier than I would like by my job.

I am coerced into being nice on this board otherwise I won't get rep points.

The term begins to loose all meaning when you broaden it to include just about everything.

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20 hours ago, Ahab said:

No arm twisting or brow beating was involved.  Just a "if you want to go  you will need to pay tithing for at least a little while so you can get a temple recommend so you can get into the temple" kind of idea being presented to him, persuasively maybe. 

(I did try to be at least a little persuasive with him, but no coercion was involved)

Any angst or "I wanna go!!!!" was all up to him, based on how much he may have wanted to go.  I wasn't putting any pressure on him.  I just stated what the terms were if he wanted to go, to whatever degree he may have wanted to do.

Persuasion vs coercion?  Tomato vs tomatoe?  Hmm, maybe in your mind, but I think of the two things as not the same thing even though there are some things in common with what both of what those words refer to.

I don't know if you're being satirical (and if you are, you're doing a great job), because what you are describing is exactly the definition of being "coercive."

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."  As I posted before, I know there are a lot of reasons we can give ourselves about why it shouldn't be considered "coercive", or why it isn't bad that the Church coerces people this way, or that the Church has to do it.  But the fundamental question of whether or not it is or isn't is pretty obvious.  It should be pointed out that not letting people into the Temple based on tithing is a policy that can and has changed over the years; it isn't an eternal doctrine from on high.

For comparison's sake, let's ask ourselves if the Church is coercive when it comes to keeping the Sabbath Day holy (also a foundational commandment from time immemorial).  What happens if someone doesn't keep the Sabbath Day holy?  If they usually go to Sacrament meeting but also regularly play soccer, go to restaurants, watch movies, do yard work etc on Sundays?  Other than being asked if they go to Sacrament Meeting in the TR interview, the Church never asks nor seems to care.  There is no "Sabbath Day settlement" where the Bishop reviews your Sunday activities.  You aren't asked to go a specific number of weeks skipping Sunday soccer before going to the Temple.  It simply isn't a factor.  (On that note, I've often thought it would be interesting if Bishops wouldn't let kids who played sports on the Sabbath attend youth Temple trips, but that's another discussion...)

It is something we are commanded to do, and given promises of blessings if we do, but there is no actual coercion (i.e. a penalty or loss of privileges if we don't do it). Compare that to tithing.  It may not be as bad as it could be, but it is definitely implemented in a way that is more coercive than almost any other commandment.  I suspect that has something to do with the fact that the survival of the Church itself depends on people paying tithing?

Edited by cinepro
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4 minutes ago, cinepro said:

I don't know if you're being satirical (and if you are, you're doing a great job), because what you are describing is exactly the definition of being "coercive."

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?"

Is phrasing not important to you?  How about you asking people around you if it is coercive to simply state what the rules are in a situation while allowing people to decide for themselves whether or not they want to follow those rules?

The reward/loss of reward isn't really a factor to determining what is or is not coercive, as I see it.

 

4 minutes ago, cinepro said:

I suspect most people would say "yes."  As I posted before, I know there are a lot of reasons we can give ourselves about why it shouldn't be considered "coercive", or why it isn't bad that the Church coerces people this way, or that the Church has to do it.  But the fundamental question of whether or not it is or isn't is pretty obvious.

Apparently not, otherwise I suspect we would agree with each other about what coercion is.

4 minutes ago, cinepro said:

For comparison's sake, let's ask ourselves if the Church is coercive when it comes to keeping the Sabbath Day holy (also a foundational commandment from time immemorial).  What happens if someone doesn't keep the Sabbath Day holy?  If they usually go to Sacrament meeting but also regularly play soccer, go to restaurants, watch movies, do yard work etc on Sundays?  Other than being asked if they go to Sacrament Meeting in the TR interview, the Church never asks nor seems to care.  There is no "Sabbath Day settlement" where the Bishop reviews your Sunday activities.  You aren't asked to go a specific number of weeks skipping Sunday soccer before going to the Temple.  It simply isn't a factor.  (On that note, I've often thought it would be interesting if Bishops wouldn't let kids who played sports on the Sabbath attend youth Temple trips, but that's another discussion...)

It is something we are commanded to do, and given promises of blessings if we do, but there is no actual coercion (i.e. a penalty or loss of privileges if we don't do it). Compare that to tithing.  It may not be as bad as it could be, but it is definitely implemented in a way that is more coercive than almost any other commandment.  I suspect that has something to do with the fact that the survival of the Church itself depends on people paying tithing?

I suspect the cause of our disagreement is that you think coercion is determined by whether or not there is a loss or reward to someone's act of free will.  We don't agree on what coercion really is.

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1 hour ago, mnn727 said:

SInce DW and I were never blessed with Children, we will be doing this.

While we have Nephews and Nieces, they have never been particularly close since they've grown up, and they are all University educated with good jobs, they can inherit from their parents if that is their wish.

Yeah, I'm not determining an answer to every situation different people might be in.

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30 minutes ago, cinepro said:

I don't know if you're being satirical (and if you are, you're doing a great job), because what you are describing is exactly the definition of being "coercive."

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."  As I posted before, I know there are a lot of reasons we can give ourselves about why it shouldn't be considered "coercive", or why it isn't bad that the Church coerces people this way, or that the Church has to do it.  But the fundamental question of whether or not it is or isn't is pretty obvious.  It should be pointed out that not letting people into the Temple based on tithing is a policy that can and has changed over the years; it isn't an eternal doctrine from on high.

For comparison's sake, let's ask ourselves if the Church is coercive when it comes to keeping the Sabbath Day holy (also a foundational commandment from time immemorial).  What happens if someone doesn't keep the Sabbath Day holy?  If they usually go to Sacrament meeting but also regularly play soccer, go to restaurants, watch movies, do yard work etc on Sundays?  Other than being asked if they go to Sacrament Meeting in the TR interview, the Church never asks nor seems to care.  There is no "Sabbath Day settlement" where the Bishop reviews your Sunday activities.  You aren't asked to go a specific number of weeks skipping Sunday soccer before going to the Temple.  It simply isn't a factor.  (On that note, I've often thought it would be interesting if Bishops wouldn't let kids who played sports on the Sabbath attend youth Temple trips, but that's another discussion...)

It is something we are commanded to do, and given promises of blessings if we do, but there is no actual coercion (i.e. a penalty or loss of privileges if we don't do it). Compare that to tithing.  It may not be as bad as it could be, but it is definitely implemented in a way that is more coercive than almost any other commandment.  I suspect that has something to do with the fact that the survival of the Church itself depends on people paying tithing?

You're doing an okay job of presenting your idea of what you think coercion is.  I'll try to do a better job of explaining my view of it now.

Coercion, in my view, is compelling someone else to make a particular choice, with the focus on the fact that someone else is doing something to compel that person to make that particular choice. 

To state that there is a choice is not coercion.  And to state that there is a reward for making a particular choice is not coercion either.  Why not, you may ask?  Because the person stating there is a choice or a reward for a choice isn't doing anything to compel someone else to make a particular choice.  Making a good case for why one choice is better than another choice, maybe, if a good case is being made to present that, but the art of communicating an idea well with words still doesn't quality as coercion, in my view.

So, what would qualify as coercion, in my view, you may ask.  Hmmm, that's a good one, because I honestly can't think of anything anyone else could do to compel me to make a particular choice... as long as I retained my current ability to make my own choices.

Take that away, though, as if it were possible to do something to take away my ability to make my own choice, and then  you might have a good point.

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      With "spiritual blessings/benefits" set aside (as some might believe), do you think President Nelson's comments were ill-informed or delusional about poor communities and poverty, as they relate directly to their day-to-day financial situations/burdens?
    • By Maidservant
      An article written by someone who seems to have a good handle of the financial picture of the Church, especially as it relates to the use of tithing.
      Where Do They Spend All the Tithing Money?
    • By JAHS
      Here's the official anouncement for electronic tithe paying:
       
      http://www.ksl.com/?nid=1016&sid=34444924
       
      http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/first-presidency-approves-online-tithing-donations
       
      How many here would be willing to use this electronic method?
    • By JAHS
      For several years now there has been a way for members to pay offerings online, although it was meant to be limited for certain situations. Apparently there are wards that are now participating in a beta version of an online tithe paying service which everyone will be able to use if they want, just by going to the LDS.org website.
       
      http://mormonlifehacker.com/pay-your-tithing-online-with-lds-org-coming-soon
       
      Anyone else hear of this or know anyone participating? Anyone inclined to use such a service when it goes live?
    • By hagoth7
      I think this is a great story...even if we don't encourage participating in the lottery.
       
      Mom wins it big...and still has her priorities straight.
       
      https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/how-mom-of-four-who-won-188m-powerball-plans-to-110908278172.html
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