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Benjamin Seeker

Tithing & Coercion

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7 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

For most of my life I have been lower middle class. My mother had to work as a data transcriber because my dad’s salary as a Safeway clerk was insufficient to support our family. Over their lifetime, they paid off the mortgages for two homes and left a modest inheritance for me and my sister. They always cheerfully paid their tithing and attributed their well-being to that act.

Sister Gui and I raised our family of 7 kids on a single school teacher’s income. We often wonder how the heck we did it. Paying tithing was a choice and a promise we made. We were not coerced. It was the first thing we paid. When we had to make the choice between buying groceries and paying tithing, we chose to pay tithing. It was invariably followed by a blessing that kept us going. I never thought the Church treated us unethically. 

 I could give a number of examples. A couple will suffice. When I was in graduate school, we were living on a very small teaching assistantship ($250 per semester, which I miraculously received as a result of paying tithing instead of buying groceries) and my wife’s part-time minimum wage ($1.25/ hour) job in a fabric shop. We struggled from paycheck to paycheck - no student loans. We ate trout I caught in the Provo River and vegetables from our landlord’s garden. One month after budgeting rent, insurance, gas, and a few unexpected bills, we had zero money left for groceries if we paid our tithing. We paid the tithing. The next day, Sis Gui’s parents surprisingly showed up at our door with bags of groceries for us. Her father flew a small plane. They had gone out from Tacoma for a little sightseeing flight around Mt Rainier and felt an impression to fly on down to Provo. On landing and renting a car, they stopped at the grocery store and bought us a couple weeks’ supply of food. Coincidence? I don’t think so. These two experiences established a pattern we have followed ever since. Substantially increasing our fast offering as we became better able has brought even more blessings.

We have not always had everything we wanted, but we have never wanted for anything we needed. For us, it was not that the Church needed or demanded our money, but that we wanted to give our share. It’s been a privilege to pay tithing.

I think those who do not believe that God instituted the law of tithing in the Old Testament and it has always been his law view these types of stories as pure coincidence and have nothing to do with tithing or God or anything else - just pure luck.  They would point out to those poor people they really, really like to talk about that are starving - they don't really know these people, but they are absolutely convinced that somewhere in the world these starving people exist and are depending on them to save them by changing the laws of God - those people - observe the laws of God just like anyone else, but really should be denied doing so.  They need to be protected and managed by their superiors so that their lives are better by following the laws of man.  Every one of us knows how good man manages things and, frankly, has a better understanding of what man should do.  

Here is the thing that keeps coming back to me - the Church founded by Jesus Christ teaches truth. You don't have to follow it or believe it. However, your desire not to follow or believe is a personal choice. Why is it important that the Church stop teaching truth just because you don't want to follow? 

If you don't want to pay tithing - don't.  Move on with your good self and your vastly superior ways and let the Church continue to teach God's laws and his truths to others. 

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21 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:

I think those who do not believe that God instituted the law of tithing in the Old Testament and it has always been his law view these types of stories as pure coincidence and have nothing to do with tithing or God or anything else - just pure luck.  They would point out to those poor people they really, really like to talk about that are starving - they don't really know these people, but they are absolutely convinced that somewhere in the world these starving people exist and are depending on them to save them by changing the laws of God - those people - observe the laws of God just like anyone else, but really should be denied doing so.  They need to be protected and managed by their superiors so that their lives are better by following the laws of man.  Every one of us knows how good man manages things and, frankly, has a better understanding of what man should do.  

Here is the thing that keeps coming back to me - the Church founded by Jesus Christ teaches truth. You don't have to follow it or believe it. However, your desire not to follow or believe is a personal choice. Why is it important that the Church stop teaching truth just because you don't want to follow? 

If you don't want to pay tithing - don't.  Move on with your good self and your vastly superior ways and let the Church continue to teach God's laws and his truths to others. 

Do you believe that paying tithing will break the poverty cycle?  When has that ever happened?  Sure, one can contribute to whatever organization one wants, but that organization shouldn't be able to make wild, unsupportable claims of the supposed benefits one will get by contributing.  We should protect the needy from these wild claims by those who should know better.  Taking away 10% from the poor just puts more pressure on them, it doesn't make them better able to survive.  The math just doesn't work.  Central and South America have been poverty stricken for decades and tithing didn't work there.  Neither in the Philippines  or anywhere else in the world has this worked.  One shouldn't pay tithing prior to necessities and promises of benefits to those who do should be outlawed.

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8 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

For most of my life I have been lower middle class. My mother had to work as a data transcriber because my dad’s salary as a Safeway clerk was insufficient to support our family. Over their lifetime, they paid off the mortgages for two homes and left a modest inheritance for me and my sister. They always cheerfully paid their tithing and attributed their well-being to that act.

Sister Gui and I raised our family of 7 kids on a single school teacher’s income. We often wonder how the heck we did it. Paying tithing was a choice and a promise we made. We were not coerced. It was the first thing we paid. When we had to make the choice between buying groceries and paying tithing, we chose to pay tithing. It was invariably followed by a blessing that kept us going. I never thought the Church treated us unethically. 

 I could give a number of examples. A couple will suffice. When I was in graduate school, we were living on a very small teaching assistantship ($250 per semester, which I miraculously received as a result of paying tithing instead of buying groceries) and my wife’s part-time minimum wage ($1.25/ hour) job in a fabric shop. We struggled from paycheck to paycheck - no student loans. We ate trout I caught in the Provo River and vegetables from our landlord’s garden. One month after budgeting rent, insurance, gas, and a few unexpected bills, we had zero money left for groceries if we paid our tithing. We paid the tithing. The next day, Sis Gui’s parents surprisingly showed up at our door with bags of groceries for us. Her father flew a small plane. They had gone out from Tacoma for a little sightseeing flight around Mt Rainier and felt an impression to fly on down to Provo. On landing and renting a car, they stopped at the grocery store and bought us a couple weeks’ supply of food. Coincidence? I don’t think so. These two experiences established a pattern we have followed ever since. Substantially increasing our fast offering as we became better able has brought even more blessings.

We have not always had everything we wanted, but we have never wanted for anything we needed. For us, it was not that the Church needed or demanded our money, but that we wanted to give our share. It’s been a privilege to pay tithing.

Those are nice examples, but there are others who lose their houses (I read one example of that recently) or poorer families than yours that definitely need that money. In the past my own family had gone into debt multiple years in a row, frankly in just about the same amount of money we had payed in tithing. The church’s policy to ask for 10% of every family's income is unethical in cases of needy families. It doesn’t need their resources now. In some cases families sacrifice financial independence. Your and others’ positive experiences don’t outweigh the simple moral idea that a billionaire church or any church frankly should not ask for a 10% portion of a needy family’s income. That money could make a big difference for the current situation of the family and their future well being. The church should build up these families first.

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2 hours ago, Exiled said:

Do you believe that paying tithing will break the poverty cycle?  When has that ever happened?  Sure, one can contribute to whatever organization one wants, but that organization shouldn't be able to make wild, unsupportable claims of the supposed benefits one will get by contributing.  We should protect the needy from these wild claims by those who should know better.  Taking away 10% from the poor just puts more pressure on them, it doesn't make them better able to survive.  The math just doesn't work.  Central and South America have been poverty stricken for decades and tithing didn't work there.  Neither in the Philippines  or anywhere else in the world has this worked.  One shouldn't pay tithing prior to necessities and promises of benefits to those who do should be outlawed.

I couldn’t disagree more. I served my mission in Central America and saw how joining the Church and voluntarily paying tithing blessed many poor people. Branches that struggled in abject poverty with little if any priesthood leadership when I was there have become wards and stakes with educated and prosperous members and leaders. Of course poverty continues among them, but they are growing and helping each other. With micro loans and the Perpetual Education Fund, the Church helps many come out of poverty. PEF recipients must have a temple recommend. The math doesn’t work? It shouldn’t have worked for the Guis, but here we are.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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1 hour ago, Benjamin Seeker said:

Those are nice examples, but there are others who lose their houses (I read one example of that recently) or poorer families than yours that definitely need that money. In the past my own family had gone into debt multiple years in a row, frankly in just about the same amount of money we had payed in tithing. The church’s policy to ask for 10% of every family's income is unethical in cases of needy families. It doesn’t need their resources now. In some cases families sacrifice financial independence. Your and others’ positive experiences don’t outweigh the simple moral idea that a billionaire church or any church frankly should not ask for a 10% portion of a needy family’s income. That money could make a big difference for the current situation of the family and their future well being. The church should build up these families first.

We all make choices and mistakes. We all have setbacks.  We learn from them. That’s why we have the fast offering program, PEF, micro loans, the improving and expanding Church education system, the great new self reliance program, employment centers, etc., to assist our members. It’s not like the Church sucks the poor dry and sets them adrift to starve. Of course people struggle and have setbacks. Our family is no exception. Diligence and persistence are rewarded.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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4 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

We all make choices and mistakes. We all have setbacks.  We learn from them. That’s why we have the fast offering program, PEF, micro loans, the improving and expanding Church education system, employment centers, etc., to assist our members. It’s not like the Church sucks the poor dry and sets them adrift to starve. Of course people struggle and have setbacks. Our family is no exception. Diligence and persistence are rewarded.

That the church offers help is of course great, but they shouldn’t be asking for that family’s money in the first place. Putting a family into financial dependence on the institution (welfare after tithing) is in my mind morally wrong.

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16 hours ago, Danzo said:

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

 

Long enough to know that no Church leader has ever taught that "nothing" will happen if you can't go to the Temple, and that you can just rely on proxy work.

Certainly, if that were the case I would need you to explain who the ministering angels described in D&C 132 are:

Quote

15 Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world

16 Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory.

17 For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.

Who are the "they"?  Are these verses saying that "nothing" bad will happen to them because the "ceremonies will be done for them"?

Edited by cinepro

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1 hour ago, Benjamin Seeker said:

That the church offers help is of course great, but they shouldn’t be asking for that family’s money in the first place. Putting a family into financial dependence on the institution (welfare after tithing) is in my mind morally wrong.

I would prefer letting members choose for themselves after being taught the doctrine. Church welfare is a great blessing but only temporary.  If followed as intended it should not result in dependence. It must not result in dependence. That’s the province of government welfare. 🤨 Working with the bishop, EQ President, and RS President is the key to the success. 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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30 minutes ago, cinepro said:

Long enough to know that no Church leader has ever taught that "nothing" will happen if you can't go to the Temple, and that you can just rely on proxy work.

 

“Not all problems are overcome and not all needed relationships are fixed in mortality. The work of salvation goes on beyond the veil of death, and we should not be too apprehensive about incompleteness within the limits of mortality” (“Powerful Ideas,” Dallin Oaks, Ensign, Nov. 1995, 26).

Orson Whitney said: “You parents of the wilful and the wayward! Don’t give them up. Don’t cast them off. They are not utterly lost. The Shepherd will find his sheep. They were his before they were yours—long before he entrusted them to your care; and you cannot begin to love them as he loves them. They have but strayed in ignorance from the Path of Right, and God is merciful to ignorance. Only the fulness of knowledge brings the fulness of accountability. Our Heavenly Father is far more merciful, infinitely more charitable, than even the best of his servants, and the Everlasting Gospel is mightier in power to save than our narrow finite minds can comprehend” (in Conference Report, April 1929, 110).

Paraphrasing the Prophet Joseph Smith, Elder Orson F. Whitney said “that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. … They will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God” (in Conference Report, April 1929, 110).

https://www.lds.org/liahona/1999/03/when-our-children-go-astray?lang=eng

Edited by Bernard Gui
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1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

I couldn’t disagree more. I served my mission in Central America and saw how joining the Church and voluntarily paying tithing blest many poor people. Branches that struggled in abject poverty with little if any priesthood leadership when I was there have become wards and stakes with educated and prosperous members and leaders. Of course poverty continues among them, but they are growing and helping each other. With micro loans and the Perpetual Education Fund, the Church helps many come out of poverty. PEF recipients must have a temple recommend. The math doesn’t work? It shouldn’t have worked for the Guis, but here we are.

I was down in Brazil and saw how giving money to the church was more of a sacrifice, without any monitary benefit. Maybe the benefits came from somewhere else or were not monetary benefits?

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26 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

“Not all problems are overcome and not all needed relationships are fixed in mortality. The work of salvation goes on beyond the veil of death, and we should not be too apprehensive about incompleteness within the limits of mortality” (“Powerful Ideas,” Dallin Oaks, Ensign, Nov. 1995, 26).

 

I agree that Elder Oaks' statement appears to imply that those who don't get sealed (and presumably otherwise attend the Temple) can have it corrected after they die.  The next time I teach a lesson on the Temple, I'll be sure to point this out.

But that being the case, can you explain the verses from Section 132 that I quoted in light of Elder Oaks' claim?

Edited by cinepro

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24 minutes ago, Exiled said:

I was down in Brazil and saw how giving money to the church was more of a sacrifice, without any monitary benefit. Maybe the benefits came from somewhere else or were not monetary benefits?

Blessings do not necessarily come in monetary form....like the Name It And Claim It Prosperity preachers teach.

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2 hours ago, Exiled said:

Do you believe that paying tithing will break the poverty cycle?  When has that ever happened?  Sure, one can contribute to whatever organization one wants, but that organization shouldn't be able to make wild, unsupportable claims of the supposed benefits one will get by contributing.  We should protect the needy from these wild claims by those who should know better.  Taking away 10% from the poor just puts more pressure on them, it doesn't make them better able to survive.  The math just doesn't work.  Central and South America have been poverty stricken for decades and tithing didn't work there.  Neither in the Philippines  or anywhere else in the world has this worked.  One shouldn't pay tithing prior to necessities and promises of benefits to those who do should be outlawed.

2

Your comments are an excellent example of one with no faith. It does not matter how many times that the poor have paid tithing and been blest and yet you ignore it. Nothing they say changes your mind because you "know" it does not work; that God does not provide; and that paying tithing is stupid. 

You would rather deny the poor the opportunity to pay tithing to fulfill God's commands because "you", the great one, knows better.  There is really nothing to talk about.  You have no faith and others have faith.  That is the difference.  And, just to be clear, you don't know what you think you know. 

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1 hour ago, cinepro said:

Long enough to know that no Church leader has ever taught that "nothing" will happen if you can't go to the Temple, and that you can just rely on proxy work.

Certainly, if that were the case I would need you to explain who the ministering angels described in D&C 132 are:

Who are the "they"?  Are these verses saying that "nothing" bad will happen to them because the "ceremonies will be done for them"?

Are you saying that the ceremonies mean nothing?

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46 minutes ago, cinepro said:

I agree that Elder Oaks' statement appears to imply that those who don't get sealed (and presumably otherwise attend the Temple) can have it corrected after they die.  The next time I teach a lesson on the Temple, I'll be sure to point this out.

But that being the case, can you explain the verses from Section 132 that I quoted in light of Elder Oaks' claim

We point it out in just about every meeting of our support group for people who have loved ones in addiction. I’m sure you can comprehend the enormous burden it relieves. Elder Whitney’s and Joseph’s words are even more comforting. God will pursue them through eternity. However, it is no guarantee....agency still applies. It would take a heap of repenting for one to scournfully reject the gospel while in mortality while expecting  the folks to fix it up for them vicariously, although very well could be possible given those quotes. 

I think 132 deals with the need to enter proper and authorized covenants during this life. It doesn’t address fine points of vicarious work. 

 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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23 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Blessings do not necessarily come in monetary form....like the Name It And Claim It Prosperity preachers teach.

I guess this was my prior point. Paying tithing isn't a way to financial prosperity or a way to get out of poverty. Financial advisors don't recommend tithing as a way to grow a portfolio of investments. It is a sacrifice that may give intangible returns but not tangible.

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15 minutes ago, Storm Rider said:

Your comments are an excellent example of one with no faith. It does not matter how many times that the poor have paid tithing and been blest and yet you ignore it. Nothing they say changes your mind because you "know" it does not work; that God does not provide; and that paying tithing is stupid. 

You would rather deny the poor the opportunity to pay tithing to fulfill God's commands because "you", the great one, knows better.  There is really nothing to talk about.  You have no faith and others have faith.  That is the difference.  And, just to be clear, you don't know what you think you know. 

Yet you do know? Could you give me an example of a group that escaped poverty by giving to the church?

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1 hour ago, Exiled said:

I guess this was my prior point. Paying tithing isn't a way to financial prosperity or a way to get out of poverty. Financial advisors don't recommend tithing as a way to grow a portfolio of investments. It is a sacrifice that may give intangible returns but not tangible.

I would be flabbergasted if any financial advisor recommend any charitable giving as a way to grow a portfolio. In many cases, however, the results have been tangible, inexplicable or illogical as they may seem to those who do not see the value or role of faith.

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1 hour ago, Bernard Gui said:

I would be flabbergasted if any financial advisor recommend any charitable giving as a way to grow a portfolio. In many cases, however, the results have been tangible, inexplicable or illogical as they may seem to those who do not see the value or role of faith.

Suze Orman includes giving to others as part of her program to become financial stable (heard her say this long time ago, have heard it from a few others...part of the reason some gave was one is more likely to budget and pay attention to what one has when planning to give some away, charity thus teaches financial discipline in their view).

http://www.oprah.com/shiftyourlife/10-steps-to-a-worry-free-financial-future

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6 hours ago, Exiled said:

Yet you do know? Could you give me an example of a group that escaped poverty by giving to the church?

Did you even read Bernard Gui's comment above?

Do you think you can manage poverty better than God?  When did you earn that position?  In fact, when did any human win that position? Give me an example when paying tithing impoverished a people.  You seem to know the economic outcome for all actions. 

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7 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

I would be flabbergasted if any financial advisor recommend any charitable giving as a way to grow a portfolio. In many cases, however, the results have been tangible, inexplicable or illogical as they may seem to those who do not see the value or role of faith.

But can't those tangible experiences always be explained as random experiences? Every supposed tithing miracle I have heard about can easily be explained as some random event, based on statistics and probability.

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2 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

Did you even read Bernard Gui's comment above?

Do you think you can manage poverty better than God?  When did you earn that position?  In fact, when did any human win that position? Give me an example when paying tithing impoverished a people.  You seem to know the economic outcome for all actions. 

Tithing means 10% less for the tithe payer. So, we must start from there. I can agree that it is a sacrifice because it obviously is so. But how can paying a church 10% possibly end up as a gain for anyone? If everyone in the world paid tithing, the only entities that would benefit would be the church and church contractors. The tithe payer would be out the 10%. It would be a loss financially for the tithe payer in this scenario. In todays poverty scenario, the poor tithe payer pays a substantial portion of his/her disposable income that can be used for food, clothing or other basic necessities. So, how does the poor benefit? Does God take wealth from heathens to bless the poor tithe payer? Where has that happened? Are the benefits just intangible, eg, whatever the group conditions one to believe?

In my experience, I was inactive and made the most money in my career. I went back to church and struggled, near having to file bankruptcy. Now that I am out again, I make a lot more money. So, maybe the anti-prosperity gospel is what works for me? Or maybe tithing has absolutely nothing to do with future income and is simply a sacrifice of tangible for the intangible? It certainly isn't a way to bring a population out of poverty.

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2 hours ago, Exiled said:

But can't those tangible experiences always be explained as random experiences? Every supposed tithing miracle I have heard about can easily be explained as some random event, based on statistics and probability.

If that’s the way you want to explain things, I suppose. Doesn’t leave much room for gratitude.

How would you measure the probability of a miracle or a blessing? Sis Gui’s parents were while flying around Mt Rainier and felt they needed to head on down to Provo and then get some groceries for us at a critical time when we were in real need and had consciously made a decision to pay tithing instead of buying groceries, having faith that we somehow would be cared for. How do propose measuring that with statistics? In an infinite universe everything will eventually happen?

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16 hours ago, Calm said:

Suze Orman includes giving to others as part of her program to become financial stable (heard her say this long time ago, have heard it from a few others...part of the reason some gave was one is more likely to budget and pay attention to what one has when planning to give some away, charity thus teaches financial discipline in their view).

http://www.oprah.com/shiftyourlife/10-steps-to-a-worry-free-financial-future

I stand corrected. Same with Dave Ramsey’s program. 

Edited by Bernard Gui
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15 hours ago, Exiled said:

I guess this was my prior point. Paying tithing isn't a way to financial prosperity or a way to get out of poverty. Financial advisors don't recommend tithing as a way to grow a portfolio of investments. It is a sacrifice that may give intangible returns but not tangible.

You are right than many of the blessings are apparently intangible.  But not to the faithful tithe payer.  They are actual.  There are blessings of peace, increased faith to petition God for what we need and receive the needed answers.  Many who faithfully tithe will tell you they have received tangible blessings.

This is my experience: When I began to pay tithing out of our need, the tangible blessings were immediate.  As time went by, the tangible blessings became less frequent.  I prayed to know why.  The answer that came to me was that tithing is an act of faith, even a test of our faith.  If there was an immediate financial blessing, where is the need for faith? It would be no more than an ATM machine.  

Faithfully paying our tithing, the tangible blessings came when we needed them.  The intangible came when we needed them.  It is an act of faith, and our faith in God and His promises are strengthened as we do it.  My experience has been miraculous.  There is nothing you could say or do that could persuede me to withhold my tithing.  I have done as Malachi 3:10 promised when the Lord said "Prove me now herewith." I have proved Him.  The windows of Heaven have opened up for me.  I believe they will for you also if you go out on that limb and act in faith. 

Edited by Meerkat
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      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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