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Benjamin Seeker

Tithing & Coercion

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18 hours ago, Danzo said:

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.

 

What would you say if someone claimed the US government forces people to pay taxes at gunpoint?

That might sound a little extreme, but only because most people pay their taxes.  But as I've said, the real question is what happens if you don't?  Well, the government will put you in jail.  And what happens if you decide you no longer want to be in jail and make a break for it?  Eventually, you're going to get shot.  So the ultimate effect is that people are forced to pay taxes at gunpoint.  I might pay them voluntarily, but that doesn't mean coercion isn't involved.

So again, what does the Church do to people who don't pay their tithing? 

Heck, take a look at the popular (but apparently largely apocryphal) story of Lorenzo Snow and the St. George drought.  Here's a popular tale of a Prophet (supposedly) telling the saints who were suffering from a devastating drought "Pay your tithing...or else..." 

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2 minutes ago, cinepro said:

What would you say if someone claimed the US government forces people to pay taxes at gunpoint?

That might sound a little extreme, but only because most people pay their taxes.  But as I've said, the real question is what happens if you don't?  Well, the government will put you in jail.  And what happens if you decide you no longer want to be in jail and make a break for it?  Eventually, you're going to get shot.  So the ultimate effect is that people are forced to pay taxes at gunpoint.  I might pay them voluntarily, but that doesn't mean coercion isn't involved.

So again, what does the Church do to people who don't pay their tithing? 

Heck, take a look at the popular (but apparently largely apocryphal) story of Lorenzo Snow and the St. George drought.  Here's a popular tale of a Prophet (supposedly) telling the saints who were suffering from a devastating drought "Pay your tithing...or else..." 

I think we all agree, or at least most of us do, that there are some supposedly negative consequences coming for people who do not pay their tithing.  The question, though, is whether people are being forced to pay it.  And I still say they are not.

I prefer to think most people are just using what is called common sense to avoid supposedly negative consequences associated with not paying taxes/tithing.

And hey, remember, death is supposedly supposed to be a good thing for people who do what they should do.

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7 minutes ago, cinepro said:

What would you say if someone claimed the US government forces people to pay taxes at gunpoint?

Not too far fetched.  Obama and Lois Lerner "weaponized" the IRS by instituting two tiers for granting tax deductions:  one very favorable for "progressive" foundations;  another that is very antagonistic or overly restrictive to conservative institutions.

12 minutes ago, cinepro said:

So again, what does the Church do to people who don't pay their tithing? 

Nothing.  It is what non-payers do to themselves.  They deny themselves the blessings that come with trusting God to supply blessings that far exceed the value of their "mite".

15 minutes ago, cinepro said:

Here's a popular tale of a Prophet (supposedly) telling the saints who were suffering from a devastating drought "Pay your tithing...or else..." 

The drought was normal condition that occurs every so often.  Beyond the control of mere human beings.  Pres. Snow was teaching that if they would exercise faith by paying tithing, divine intervention would be provided by the Lord.   No coercion here.  Your choice to ignore God and experience "normal" fluctuations in climate or put God to the test by having faith.

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26 minutes ago, longview said:

Nothing.  It is what non-payers do to themselves.  They deny themselves the blessings that come with trusting God to supply blessings that far exceed the value of their "mite".

 

Like I've said before, this is one of the key points.  I don't think the "they're doing to themselves" argument makes any sense; being kept out of the Temple is a Church created and enforced policy.   But I can understand people who see it differently. 

Ultimately, it comes down to the religious argument of "everything God does is good, therefore tithing and any consequences from God (or the Church who is acting for Him) have to be good.  Coercion is bad, therefore tithing and the consequences of not paying can't be coercion, because something good can't be bad."

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4 minutes ago, cinepro said:

Like I've said before, this is one of the key points.  I don't think the "they're doing to themselves" argument makes any sense; being kept out of the Temple is a Church created and enforced policy.   But I can understand people who see it differently. 

Ultimately, it comes down to the religious argument of "everything God does is good, therefore tithing and any consequences from God (or the Church who is acting for Him) have to be good.  Coercion is bad, therefore tithing and the consequences of not paying can't be coercion, because something good can't be bad."

God doesn't pay any tithing, as far as I know, so the "everything God does is good, therefore tithing and any consequences from God (or the Church who is acting for Him) have to be good" argument doesn't apply here.

The question, again, is whether anyone (including God) is forcing you or anyone else to pay tithing.  God is not, and the Church who acts in his name, sometimes, doesn't either.  IF God did, you would have no choice but to pay it.

Or do you think someone could refuse to do what God would be forcing someone to do?

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1 hour ago, Ahab said:

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.

Do you think that ought to apply to criminal law as well? For example, if a bank teller is held at gunpoint and gives the cash to the robber, should the bank teller be arrested for robbery, since they took the money out of the till and gave it to the robber, apparently uncoerced by your definition?

Edited by Gray

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5 minutes ago, Gray said:

Do you think that ought to apply to criminal law as well? For example, if a bank teller is held at gunpoint and gives the cash to the robber, should the bank teller be arrested for robbery, since they took the money out of the till and gave it to the robber, apparently uncoerced by your definition?

Nobody would be forcing the bank teller to hand over any money, so no it would still not count as coercion, in my view, but I can see how it could and probably should be considered a good thing for her to do to prevent possible bodily harm. 

Just like tithing.  No force is involved, but I can see how it still might be considered a good thing for people to do.

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6 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Nobody would be forcing the bank teller to hand over any money, so no it would still not count as coercion, in my view, but I can see how it could and probably should be considered a good thing for her to do to prevent possible bodily harm. 

Just like tithing.  No force is involved, but I can see how it still might be considered a good thing for people to do.

Sorry, but I don't think you have a realistic understanding of what "coercion" is.  In the future, when discussing the issue you should clarify your understanding by explaining that you don't think someone turning over money at gunpoint has been "coerced", so people understand where you are coming from.

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Just now, cinepro said:

Sorry, but I don't think you have a realistic understanding of what "coercion" is.  In the future, when discussing the issue you should clarify your understanding by explaining that you don't think someone turning over money at gunpoint has been "coerced", so people understand where you are coming from.

I think we can agree that thee is such a thing as coercion and there is also such a thing as what people call coercion but really isn't.  Like when people say they are or have been forced to do something, but really haven't, while saying they were forced to do it.

Is anyone else reminded of the Me Too movement claims when thinking about this issue?  "He forced me to do it by threatening to ruin my career, or not help me!"   Oh, please.  Some people just don't know what force or coercion really is.

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21 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Nobody would be forcing the bank teller to hand over any money, so no it would still not count as coercion, in my view, but I can see how it could and probably should be considered a good thing for her to do to prevent possible bodily harm.  

Just like tithing.  No force is involved, but I can see how it still might be considered a good thing for people to do.

You have unusual ideas about coercion, I'll say that. But should the bank teller go to jail? She "stole" the money, after all.

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1 minute ago, Gray said:

You have unusual ideas about coercion, I'll say that. But should the bank teller go to jail? She "stole" the money, after all.

No, in the typical situation s/he should not be going to jail, unless s/he has colluded with the robber to share the stolen money.  In the typical robbery situation the bank teller just hands over the money with the understanding that s/he will be harmed if s/he doesn't.  No force is involved in that situation.  S/he's simply making a choice while weighing the possible consequences.  And I think most law enforcement officials would understand that and not bring any charges against the bank teller.

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7 minutes ago, Ahab said:

No, in the typical situation s/he should not be going to jail, unless s/he has colluded with the robber to share the stolen money.  In the typical robbery situation the bank teller just hands over the money with the understanding that s/he will be harmed if s/he doesn't.  No force is involved in that situation.  S/he's simply making a choice while weighing the possible consequences.  And I think most law enforcement officials would understand that and not bring any charges against the bank teller. 

What if she needs the money for an emergency medical procedure, and if she doesn't take it she'll die. Is she also allowed to take the money without consequences? Since no coercion (following your personal definition of the word) was involved in either case, both should be treated the same, right?

Edited by Gray

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20 hours ago, jbarm said:

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?

No...no...lo key..no convincing.  I am just being honest on how I see things and how I feel.  I care about the mormons family and other extended family and friends who do not know about the depth of deception that I see.  Report me if think I have gone too far.  I am NOT anti mormon...I just never get good answers..still striving for that. I love the people here..and I respect their views ..so I stay.

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6 minutes ago, Gray said:

What if she needs the money for an emergency medical procedure, and if she doesn't take it she'll die. Is she also allowed to take the money without consequences?

Not likely, if law officials find out about it.  It's still stolen money and she will likely not be entitled to use stolen money for that.

 

6 minutes ago, Gray said:

Since no coercion (following your personal definition of the word) was involved in either case, both should be treated the same, right?

No, she didn't steal the money.  She simply gave it to the person who did. Stealing in this case referring to someone taking money that someone is not entitled to.

People can and usually do things without being forced to do those things.  We all make choices, hopefully while trying to consider the consequences.

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42 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Not likely, if law officials find out about it.  It's still stolen money and she will likely not be entitled to use stolen money for that.

 

No, she didn't steal the money.  She simply gave it to the person who did. Stealing in this case referring to someone taking money that someone is not entitled to.

People can and usually do things without being forced to do those things.  We all make choices, hopefully while trying to consider the consequences.

But since she wasn't coerced by the bank robber (per your particular understanding of that term), she must be responsible for the theft as well. If you steal $100 and give it all away, you still are guilty of theft.

She could have merely chosen not to give the robber the money and risk getting shot. No coercion, her free agency can only be compromised using mind control (again, using your understanding of the term coercion).

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2 hours ago, cinepro said:

What would you say if someone claimed the US government forces people to pay taxes at gunpoint?

That might sound a little extreme, but only because most people pay their taxes.  But as I've said, the real question is what happens if you don't?  Well, the government will put you in jail.  And what happens if you decide you no longer want to be in jail and make a break for it?  Eventually, you're going to get shot.  So the ultimate effect is that people are forced to pay taxes at gunpoint.  I might pay them voluntarily, but that doesn't mean coercion isn't involved.

So again, what does the Church do to people who don't pay their tithing? 

Heck, take a look at the popular (but apparently largely apocryphal) story of Lorenzo Snow and the St. George drought.  Here's a popular tale of a Prophet (supposedly) telling the saints who were suffering from a devastating drought "Pay your tithing...or else..." 

by the way the government doesn't put people in jail for not paying their taxes (at least not most of the time.  Criminal tax evasion charges require more than just not paying your taxes). The government can take your stuff, though.

I agree you can probably used the stretched definition to cover tithing.

The problem is that the stretched definition is not what most people use.

It is just better to stay "the church requires that one declare themselves a full tithe payer to attend the temple" .  Then you don't have the stretched and loaded definition.

People can then decide for themselves whether mormon's are coerced into paying tithing.

 

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8 minutes ago, Danzo said:

It is just better to stay "the church requires that one declare themselves a full tithe payer to attend the temple"

This is the best way to go, because a person can decide within their own minds if they consider themselves a full-tithe payer and make the declaration.
Some have different ideas and criteria in their minds as to what a full tithe is.
If they are wrong they can take it up with God later on. 

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40 minutes ago, Gray said:

But since she wasn't coerced by the bank robber (per your particular understanding of that term), she must be responsible for the theft as well. If you steal $100 and give it all away, you still are guilty of theft.

She could have merely chosen not to give the robber the money and risk getting shot. No coercion, her free agency can only be compromised using mind control (again, using your understanding of the term coercion).

I'm not sure why you're having trouble understanding what I have explained.

No, she wasn't forced.  I'm imagining she had a gun pointed at her by the bank robber and heard the bank robber say something like "Put all the money you have in your bank drawer in a bag and hand it to me" or I'll shoot you.  She, then, thinking it's better to just give him the money rather than risk getting shot, decides to do what the bank robber told her to do.  The bank robber didn't do anything to force her to do that.  He (I'm assuming the bank robber was a he) just told her what he wanted while telling her the consequences if she did not comply. 

Now you seem to think there was no way for her to voluntarily choose to do what he wanted without someone actually forcing her to do what he said.  Why do you think he was using some kind of force in his statement?  What kind of force do you think he was using?

 

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16 hours ago, Ahab said:

I'm not sure why you're having trouble understanding what I have explained.

I think it's because your notion of what coercion means is not coherent and breaks down when examined more closely.

 

16 hours ago, Ahab said:

No, she wasn't forced.  I'm imagining she had a gun pointed at her by the bank robber and heard the bank robber say something like "Put all the money you have in your bank drawer in a bag and hand it to me" or I'll shoot you.  She, then, thinking it's better to just give him the money rather than risk getting shot, decides to do what the bank robber told her to do.  The bank robber didn't do anything to force her to do that.  He (I'm assuming the bank robber was a he) just told her what he wanted while telling her the consequences if she did not comply. 

Now you seem to think there was no way for her to voluntarily choose to do what he wanted without someone actually forcing her to do what he said.  Why do you think he was using some kind of force in his statement?  What kind of force do you think he was using?

Then she should go to prison. No one forced her to steal the money. Right?

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On ‎6‎/‎5‎/‎2018 at 9:13 PM, The Nehor said:

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.

So as long as someone says "God says to do it or else..." it's no coercion?  That'd be an interesting twist on the definition:

Quote

the use of express or implied threats of violence or reprisal (as discharge from employment) or other intimidating behavior that puts a person in immediate fear of the consequences in order to compel that person to act against his or her will...well unless the person or persons who are offering the threats and/or causing the fear is/are saying that God is behind the threats.  

 

Life seems much easier when we offer as reason, "well God said it", I suppose.  It's also much more problematic seeing as so many claim to speak for God.  

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20 hours ago, Ahab said:

I think we can agree that thee is such a thing as coercion and there is also such a thing as what people call coercion but really isn't.  Like when people say they are or have been forced to do something, but really haven't, while saying they were forced to do it.

Is anyone else reminded of the Me Too movement claims when thinking about this issue?  "He forced me to do it by threatening to ruin my career, or not help me!"   Oh, please.  Some people just don't know what force or coercion really is.

Could you give some examples of when you think coercion happens?  You deny coercion occurred in the bank robbery scenario.  So if a gun to the head isn't coercion, what possibly could ever be coercion in your opinion?  Would Jim Jones commanding his adherents to drink the cool-aid and die be considered a coercive act?  How many random people do you think would drink cyanide laced cool-aid if a religious leader hadn't been involved?  

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On ‎6‎/‎3‎/‎2018 at 11:48 PM, Benjamin Seeker said:

So, full disclosure, the dad is me.  I think my Mormon upbringing has served me well spiritually and morally, and I feel that spiritual and religious practice is generally beneficial for me and for my family. I want to keep my kids in the church, though I certainly temper or counter the teachings I don’t agree with and add in others that I feel are missing. I no longer believe that tithing is a divine mandate (along with a long list of other things), but I do want to participate fully in my family’s upbringing. I have a child that will be getting baptized soon. I’ve got lots of kids, and I’d like to participate in everything.

Coercive probably isn’t the right word here. Exclusionary is perhaps a better term, and I know from a believing perspective it doesn’t seem like it, but from my perspective, born in the church and having began to raise my family in the church, it does.

The thing that troubles me is that you want to participate in an organization that you don't believe in.  You seem to enjoy the social aspects but have moved on spiritually.  This is more about your unwillingness to be honest with your family rather than the Church stance on tithing. You want the Church to collude with you in your deception.  

If you have moved on spiritually then tell them so.  If you haven't, then repent and live an honest life.  

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On ‎6‎/‎4‎/‎2018 at 1:57 AM, Benjamin Seeker said:

The analogy needs a little more nuance. My wife feels like the current plan is the way to go. I don’t necessarily see any great alternatives. Switching plans would severely affect my kids world view, disrupt their development, and affect their social lives strongly (a recent big change of a different nature already sent two or three of my children into bouts of depression). Then there are also the consequences that would come from changing the relationship with both my parents and in-laws. They expect us to be on the same cell plan and will fear for our eternal salvation if we’re not, and I’ll be vilinaized to some small or larger degree.

Switching cell phone plans is a big deal. Did I mention that I don’t have a better alternative also?

Benjamin, I think I understand your position. My point is that I think you are trying to make the Church responsible for your own choices. In this situation, I think the blame begins and ends with you and your choices; how you want to live your life. 

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40 minutes ago, Exiled said:

Could you give some examples of when you think coercion happens?  You deny coercion occurred in the bank robbery scenario.  So if a gun to the head isn't coercion, what possibly could ever be coercion in your opinion?  Would Jim Jones commanding his adherents to drink the cool-aid and die be considered a coercive act?  How many random people do you think would drink cyanide laced cool-aid if a religious leader hadn't been involved?  

Some examples of when "I" think coercion happens without regard to when "other people" think coercion happens?  I gave an example earlier citing hypnotism with the hypnotized not choosing or aware that s/he was being baptized.

Basically any time someone is forcing someone else to do something with no other option available to the one who is being forced.  Any time they would no longer have free exercise of their own agency.

That's about it.  I have noticed that other people seem to understand and use the word differently than I do, though.

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2 hours ago, Gray said:

I think it's because your notion of what coercion means is not coherent and breaks down when examined more closely.

I disagree but of course there is nothing I can do to coerce you into believing what I have told you.

2 hours ago, Gray said:

 

Then she should go to prison. No one forced her to steal the money. Right?

Right, nobody forced her to steal the money, and she didn't steal the money.

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