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Benjamin Seeker

Tithing & Coercion

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2 hours ago, Ahab said:

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

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

She did steal the money. It wasn't hers and she took it from the till and gave it to someone else. So she goes to jail, right?

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3 hours ago, Ahab said:

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.

I think most people understand the word differently from you. Most would say coercion exists in the bank robbery example. So, is it safe to say that you believe a 9 year old could not be "coerced" into a sexual relationship with another family member unless hypnotized or something similar? Is it just that you don't like the word "coerce"? Is this why you chose a definition that can't be applied to tithing?

How about using a different word or words? How about "threatening invitation" to pay tithing? God invites one to pay under threat of burning as found in Malachi?

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28 minutes ago, Exiled said:

I think most people understand the word differently from you. Most would say coercion exists in the bank robbery example.

Who knows, maybe those who would say it was coercion would say it was because they felt they were being forced to do it because of the gun, or because they believed the robber, or because they were afraid of death.

And maybe I'm saying it's not because I don't imagine myself feeling "forced", in that situation.  I would probably still comply, though, not because I fear death, but because I would probably rather not risk death then.

 I think people are answering how they answer based on whether or not they imagine would feel "forced" in that situation.  They do, and I don't.  Subjective differences.

28 minutes ago, Exiled said:

So, is it safe to say that you believe a 9 year old could not be "coerced" into a sexual relationship with another family member unless hypnotized or something similar?

I suppose it would depend upon the particular 9 year old boy.  Or maybe the particular other family member.

We're all family.  And I imagine that not all 9 year old boys feel the same way about being sexually chaste.

 

28 minutes ago, Exiled said:

Is it just that you don't like the word "coerce"? Is this why you chose a definition that can't be applied to tithing?

The word "coerce" implies some kind of force being used to make someone do something against the free exercise of their own will.  I'm saying it's not coercion when I don't consider any force of  that kind being used.

 

28 minutes ago, Exiled said:

How about using a different word or words? How about "threatening invitation" to pay tithing? God invites one to pay under threat of burning as found in Malachi?

Yeah, okay.  Inviting others to do something isn't forcing them to do it.  I have no problem with that understanding..

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1 hour ago, Gray said:

She did steal the money. It wasn't hers and she took it from the till and gave it to someone else. So she goes to jail, right?

No, and the more you think that way and express thoughts of that kind the better I feel about disagreeing with you.

When we say a bank was robbed and understand that it was a teller who gave the robber the money we usually understand the teller to be an agent of the bank that was robbed and the teller was acting as an agent of the bank during the robbery.

You're essentially saying that because the bank, through an agent, handed the money to the robber that the bank was complicit in the bank robbery.

Or are you just trying to be funny?

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5 minutes ago, Ahab said:

No, and the more you think that way and express thoughts of that kind the better I feel about disagreeing with you.

When we say a bank was robbed and understand that it was a teller who gave the robber the money we usually understand the teller to be an agent of the bank that was robbed and the teller was acting as an agent of the bank during the robbery. 

You're essentially saying that because the bank, through an agent, handed the money to the robber that the bank was complicit in the bank robbery.

Or are you just trying to be funny? 

By that argument, any teller could take any amount of money from the bank at any time for any purpose. They're the bank's agent, right?

The only way the teller shouldn't got to jail is if she was... wait for it... coerced.

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On 6/6/2018 at 1:21 PM, 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.

This actually happened to me, I was robbed in a bank and I was a teller with a gun pointed at me. No, I didn't go to jail for giving over the money. Luckily I didn't have much in the till to give him.

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13 minutes ago, Gray said:

By that argument, any teller could take any amount of money from the bank at any time for any purpose. They're the bank's agent, right?

The only way the teller shouldn't got to jail is if she was... wait for it... coerced.

No, my argument doesn't show that, although you seem to be reading that into what I said.

My point was that the bank was robbed, and the bank includes not only the bank building but any agent of the bank acting in his or her capacity as an agent of the bank.

So when an agent of the bank is robbed, while working as an agent of the bank, the bank is robbed.  The teller then equates to the bank.

These days people can rob a bank by just robbing the ATM machine outside, without having to get money from a teller.  But when it is from a teller, it is from a bank, with the teller simply acting as an agent of the bank.

 

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On 6/6/2018 at 12:03 PM, 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.

Based on your two examples, I agree that some people just don't know what force or coercion really is.

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On 6/6/2018 at 1:31 PM, Danzo said:

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.

 

Nonmember asks you "does your Church force people to pay tithing?"

Taking your own advice, you simply respond "the Church requires that one declares themselves a full tithe payer to attend the Temple."

Nonmember says "I don't know much about your Temple.  What happens if someone can't attend it?"

You say...?

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21 minutes ago, cinepro said:

Nonmember asks you "does your Church force people to pay tithing?"

Taking your own advice, you simply respond "the Church requires that one declares themselves a full tithe payer to attend the Temple."

Nonmember says "I don't know much about your Temple.  What happens if someone can't attend it?"

You say...?

A: That's what happens when someone doesn't pay tithing, so as you can see, the fact that someone can't attend the temple is evidence that the Church doesn't force people to pay tithing.

If the Church could only force people to pay tithing then everybody would be able to attend the temple.

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3 hours ago, Ahab said:

Yeah, okay.  Inviting others to do something isn't forcing them to do it.  I have no problem with that understanding..

I did attach "threatening" to the invitation to tithe. Do you have a problem with the threat part of "threatening invitation?" There is the threat of burning someone by God if tithing isn't paid. So, "invitation" needs to be modified to allow for the threat of burning if tithing isn't paid. So, do you have a problem with "threatening?"

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47 minutes ago, cinepro said:

Nonmember asks you "does your Church force people to pay tithing?"

Taking your own advice, you simply respond "the Church requires that one declares themselves a full tithe payer to attend the Temple."

Nonmember says "I don't know much about your Temple.  What happens if someone can't attend it?"

You say...?

Great missionary opportunity. I would explain the principles of baptism for the dead, eternal families, endowments, sealings etc.

When, In the past people have asked me what happens when you don't pay your tithing, I say certain ceremonies are reserved for full tithe payers but for most members (at least in the areas that I have lived in) its a couple times a year thing.

Done it in the past. I have never had anyone describe it to me as forcing or coercion. Most people I talk to don't really care if they can go to the temple or not. I only hear it described that way here and other places on the internet. Certainly not from non members.  They don't care.  Inactive member (where I am from) don't seem to care either. 

The only ones that seem to care are divorced members who are upset that their former spouse can go to the temple. They don't care that they can't go, they just are upset their ex spouses can go.

 

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23 minutes ago, Danzo said:

Great missionary opportunity. I would explain the principles of baptism for the dead, eternal families, endowments, sealings etc.

When, In the past people have asked me what happens when you don't pay your tithing, I say certain ceremonies are reserved for full tithe payers but for most members (at least in the areas that I have lived in) its a couple times a year thing.

 

Right. So what happens if a person can't do those "certain ceremonies"?

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6 minutes ago, cinepro said:

Right. So what happens if a person can't do those "certain ceremonies"?

Nothing, worst case scenario The ceremonies will be done for them. How long have you been LDS?

Yes there is a "reward" for paying tithing.

Yes you can stretch the definition of the word Coercion to include "not giving rewards based on behavior"

Ordinary don't use it that way

My son doesn't do his homework even when they threaten him with a lower grade.  He doesn't feel coerced into doing his homework. (Sometimes I wish he were).

Having been ward clerk in the past, I know the church certainly does a terrible  job at coercing people into paying their tithing, if that is their intent.

You'd might be supprised how many active people are not full tithe payers.

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9 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

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.  

I want to raise my kids in Mormonism. My wife knows exactly how I feel.

Edited by Benjamin Seeker
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9 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

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. 

I’m just in a tricky situation, and that’s that.

Edited by Benjamin Seeker

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5 hours ago, Ahab said:

No, and the more you think that way and express thoughts of that kind the better I feel about disagreeing with you.

When we say a bank was robbed and understand that it was a teller who gave the robber the money we usually understand the teller to be an agent of the bank that was robbed and the teller was acting as an agent of the bank during the robbery.

You're essentially saying that because the bank, through an agent, handed the money to the robber that the bank was complicit in the bank robbery.

Or are you just trying to be funny?

Well, it certainly made me laugh!  Well, maybe not him, but what you wrote.

I recall the story of the highwayman who said to his victim, "Stand and deliver or I will take thy life!  And then you will be a murderer!"

 

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55 minutes ago, Benjamin Seeker said:

I’m just in a tricky situation, and that’s that.

Benj, I agree and, frankly, I would not want to be in your shoes.  Mormonism, like several other religions, is a way of life; it is a culture that envelopes all that we do, think, and say.  When we as individuals choose a belief system that is at odds with the religion it is really challenging to adapt to a new lifestyle. 

What has worked for me is that as a young man I was taught to build my testimony on God the Father and Jesus Christ.  It was not built on the Restoration, or Joseph Smith, or the history of the Church, or even the current prophet.  I think in doing this I have avoided many of the traps that Satan uses to lead people astray.  Further, I don't have a lot of faith in humans. I tend to think the smartest of humans don't hold a candle to an individual that is led by the Spirit.  I don't come close to following the new ideas of our society or secular culture.  If Hollywood is pushing it in TV shows and movies I am not buying it.  It is just not something that easily disrupts my path.  My weaknesses are in other areas; we all have our own cross to bear.  

I was concerned that my previous posts were too blunt and that I would offend you. I did not have a lot of time and I felt like I needed to get to the meat of the matter.  

I prayerfully hope that you comprehend that you have created this situation yourself and only you can get out of it.  I have loved religions since I was little and I have studied almost all religions. None of them have as clear an understanding of this life than what I have found in the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am partial to a few other religions, but I am LDS because of God's direction in my life.  Strive to put his will first and put aside everything else. 

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32 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

Well, it certainly made me laugh!  Well, maybe not him, but what you wrote.

I recall the story of the highwayman who said to his victim, "Stand and deliver or I will take thy life!  And then you will be a murderer!"

 

That's like the terrorist with the bomb threatening to blow up the school if 100 fellow terrorists are not freed, and telling the authorities, "If I blow it up, it will be on you."

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On 6/3/2018 at 7:43 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. 

If there is something you want, but you there are conditions attached to getting it, is that coercion?

I don't think so. For example, I would love to be able to play a difficult violin concerto with the Seattle Symphony in Benaroya Hall. What conditions do I have to satisfy? Over many years of study and hard practice, I must master the techniques required for the proper execution of the piece, memorize it, study and plan the phrasing and expression, get an agent and a portfolio of successful performances, audition, sign a contract, and show up to the rehearsals and performance. If it is something I desire enough that I am willing to make those sacrifices and efforts then I will obtain my desire.

If I don't deliver on any of those conditions, is the Seattle Symphony to blame for my failure to comply? Are they coercing me to meet their requirements? No. I have no right to demand a position on the stage. They have no obligation to give it to me if I don't meet their standards.

I choose to fulfill my dreams by satisfying the requirements to achieve it. No one coerces me. Fulfilling what is required for a  reward does not imply coercion if the reward is something I want and choose. BTW, I have not played that concerto with the Seattle Symphony, but we can dream.

For me, the same is true of tithing. If there is something I really desire and paying tithing is one of the steps for obtaining it, then it is my choice to pursue the goals and pay the price. For me, tithing is not a sacrifice or a burden. It is a blessing. Everything that I have that is good is a gift from God. I do not begrudge giving back a small portion. Why should I?

 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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5 hours ago, cinepro said:

Nonmember asks you "does your Church force people to pay tithing?"

Taking your own advice, you simply respond "the Church requires that one declares themselves a full tithe payer to attend the Temple."

Nonmember says "I don't know much about your Temple.  What happens if someone can't attend it?"

You say...?

You get to be the servant of people like me who did attend it.......FOREVER!!!! 

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On 6/6/2018 at 2:03 PM, 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.

So if I were to punch you in the face for saying that someone threatening to destroy your career if you do not have sex with them is not coercion would my fist in your face be coercion for you not to say such weird and disturbing things? If so, I am beginning to see the positive aspects of coercion.

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2 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

Benj, I agree and, frankly, I would not want to be in your shoes.  Mormonism, like several other religions, is a way of life; it is a culture that envelopes all that we do, think, and say.  When we as individuals choose a belief system that is at odds with the religion it is really challenging to adapt to a new lifestyle. 

What has worked for me is that as a young man I was taught to build my testimony on God the Father and Jesus Christ.  It was not built on the Restoration, or Joseph Smith, or the history of the Church, or even the current prophet.  I think in doing this I have avoided many of the traps that Satan uses to lead people astray.  Further, I don't have a lot of faith in humans. I tend to think the smartest of humans don't hold a candle to an individual that is led by the Spirit.  I don't come close to following the new ideas of our society or secular culture.  If Hollywood is pushing it in TV shows and movies I am not buying it.  It is just not something that easily disrupts my path.  My weaknesses are in other areas; we all have our own cross to bear.  

I was concerned that my previous posts were too blunt and that I would offend you. I did not have a lot of time and I felt like I needed to get to the meat of the matter.  

I prayerfully hope that you comprehend that you have created this situation yourself and only you can get out of it.  I have loved religions since I was little and I have studied almost all religions. None of them have as clear an understanding of this life than what I have found in the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am partial to a few other religions, but I am LDS because of God's direction in my life.  Strive to put his will first and put aside everything else. 

I did get myself into this, largely as a product of my relationship with God, and that relationship continues. 

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1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

If there is something you want, but you there are conditions attached to getting it, is that coercion?

I don't think so. For example, I would love to be able to play a difficult violin concerto with the Seattle Symphony in Benaroya Hall. What conditions do I have to satisfy? Over many years of study and hard practice, I must master the techniques required for the proper execution of the piece, memorize it, study and plan the phrasing and expression, get an agent and a portfolio of successful performances, audition, sign a contract, and show up to the rehearsals and performance. If it is something I desire enough that I am willing to make those sacrifices and efforts then I will obtain my desire.

If I don't deliver on any of those conditions, is the Seattle Symphony to blame for my failure to comply? Are they coercing me to meet their requirements? No. I have no right to demand a position on the stage. They have no obligation to give it to me if I don't meet their standards.

I chose to fulfill my dream by satisfying the requirements to achieve it. No one coerced me. Fulfilling what is required for a  reward does not imply coercion if the reward is something I want and choose. 

For me, the same is true of tithing. If there is something I really desire and paying tithing is one of the steps for obtaining it, then it is my choice to pursue the goals and pay the price. For me, tithing is not a sacrifice or a burden. It is a blessing. Everything that I have that is good is a gift from God. I do not begrudge giving back a small portion. Why should I?

 

I’m not going to argue that the church’s policies on tithing are coercive. However, I will argue that it is unethical to ask for 10% of a family’s income. For lower and lower-middle class families, 10% is a significant amount of their income. Meanwhile, the church has plenty of money and resources, and would get along just fine with volunatary donations from members, which as this thread has already proven, can be quite generous. Instead of telling families to pay tithing instead of buying groceries, they could teach them that God is merciful and doesn’t expect poor people to pay a regular portion of their income to a billionaire church.

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