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Ouagadougou

Tithing Breaks Poverty Cycles?

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Maybe someone can walk me through this issue.  Suppose a person from an impoverished area joins, pays 10%, and benefits from belonging to the group, becoming more disciplined, gains contacts through the group that allows the person to get a more lucrative job, etc.  Maybe the person gets a job with the church itself (a way for a select number of Brazilians to become prosperous when I was down there).  At a certain point, there is a plateau and on the back end, the person ends up overpaying for the group privilege (10% never ends).  Maybe the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away?

Also, how often does the above really happen?  Are church members any better off economically than anyone else in impoverished countries?  It doesn't seem so.  How about in the USA or Europe, are members better off economically than their non-member counterparts?  It seems that they are simply 10% poorer.  As a personal anecdote, I spent time away from the church, came back, then left again.  When I was away, I made more money than when I was back in the fold.  However, in reality, the outside economy is really what determined what I made or didn't and paying tithing didn't make one bit of difference. 

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10 hours ago, Exiled said:

Maybe someone can walk me through this issue.  Suppose a person from an impoverished area joins, pays 10%, and benefits from belonging to the group, becoming more disciplined, gains contacts through the group that allows the person to get a more lucrative job, etc.  Maybe the person gets a job with the church itself (a way for a select number of Brazilians to become prosperous when I was down there).  At a certain point, there is a plateau and on the back end, the person ends up overpaying for the group privilege (10% never ends).  Maybe the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away?

Also, how often does the above really happen?  Are church members any better off economically than anyone else in impoverished countries?  It doesn't seem so.  How about in the USA or Europe, are members better off economically than their non-member counterparts?  It seems that they are simply 10% poorer.  As a personal anecdote, I spent time away from the church, came back, then left again.  When I was away, I made more money than when I was back in the fold.  However, in reality, the outside economy is really what determined what I made or didn't and paying tithing didn't make one bit of difference. 

It all depends on what someone thinks tithing is.  Is it club dues, same as you would pay to be the member of a country club or gymnasium?  In other words you pay for the benefits of working out or meeting important people socially.  If that is what tithing seems to be, then that person probably doesn't understand it at all.  It is not about providing financial or physical improvement for the tithe payer.  If that is what one seeks, he had better speak to an investment counselor.

Another question you seem to raise is about "overpayments."  How does one figure overpayment?  How does one figure his tithe?  Is it 10% of the gross, or ten percent of the net income, or ten percent of one's "increase"?  The law is that one pays only ten percent of the "increase" or "interest."  For a farmer, it is clearly only his profit (after all expenses have been paid), which would be zero in some bad years.  At the same time, one is always eligible to receive welfare from the Church.  Bishops regularly provide food orders (free food) to the needy, and other assistance as needed.  These are crucial considerations which are typically left out of the discussion.

From the Lord's POV, what is tithing all about?  Malachi 3 makes it clear that one is obligated to pay tithes to the Lord as a matter of faith.  Otherwise one is robbing God, the owner of everything.  Why is that important?  Because, without funds, God's kingdom cannot role forth.  Fortunately the faithful always come through, whether in everyday tithes, or in offerings for disasters worldwide.  What is noteworthy is that the LDS people are more generous than any other people in their charitable giving -- much of which is tax-deductible (another fact which naysayers always neglect to mention).

Finally, who should give?  Mosiah 4:19-25,

Quote

. . . are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.

And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.

And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.

I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.

And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.

And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.

Note how carefully King Benjamin distinguishes between those who have and those who have nothing.  The context of tithing is everything here.  You cannot give what you do not have.  For God, this is a test of faith and of one's compassion.  If you have no compassion, then you fail the test.  It is about bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world. Naturally, if one does not believe in that Gospel, there is no point in supporting it.

 

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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On 10/19/2018 at 9:50 PM, The Nehor said:

Yes, but one cannot eventually inherit all the Father hath so it is really a substandard economic policy.

Love this response. Worlds without End, becoming literal Gods, the ability to be eternally in the Presence of the God and the Savior...OR learn a few cheap tricks on earth on how to gain and keep money which holds worth only because we say it does. Seems really ease choice to me. haha

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15 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

It all depends on what someone thinks tithing is.  Is it club dues, same as you would pay to be the member of a country club or gymnasium?  In other words you pay for the benefits of working out or meeting important people socially.  If that is what tithing seems to be, then that person probably doesn't understand it at all.  It is not about providing financial or physical improvement for the tithe payer.  If that is what one seeks, he had better speak to an investment counselor.

Another question you seem to raise is about "overpayments."  How does one figure overpayment?  How does one figure his tithe?  Is it 10% of the gross, or ten percent of the net income, or ten percent of one's "increase"?  The law is that one pays only ten percent of the "increase" or "interest."  For a farmer, it is clearly only his profit (after all expenses have been paid), which would be zero in some bad years.  At the same time, one is always eligible to receive welfare from the Church.  Bishops regularly provide food orders (free food) to the needy, and other assistance as needed.  These are crucial considerations which are typically left out of the discussion.

From the Lord's POV, what is tithing all about?  Malachi 3 makes it clear that one is obligated to pay tithes to the Lord as a matter of faith.  Otherwise one is robbing God, the owner of everything.  Why is that important?  Because, without funds, God's kingdom cannot role forth.  Fortunately the faithful always come through, whether in everyday tithes, or in offerings for disasters worldwide.  What is noteworthy is that the LDS people are more generous than any other people in their charitable giving -- much of which is tax-deductible (another fact which naysayers always neglect to mention).

Finally, who should give?  Mosiah 4:19-25,

Note how carefully King Benjamin distinguishes between those who have and those who have nothing.  The context of tithing is everything here.  You cannot give what you do not have.  For God, this is a test of faith and of one's compassion.  If you have no compassion, then you fail the test.  It is about bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world. Naturally, if one does not believe in that Gospel, there is no point in supporting it.

 

Yes, the purpose of tithing is to fund the church operations and is a sacrifice and a test of faith.  But it doesn't lift people out of poverty.

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On 10/19/2018 at 5:19 PM, strappinglad said:

 At that period the Church brought 10 times as much into the country as was given in tithes etc. Dadgum faithful saints in other places and their willingness to give.

The miracle continues to this day.

 

Quote
  • SUBSIDIES TO LDS FOREIGN CONGREGATIONS IN 2010
  • Canada: $166,728
  • New Zealand: $17.1 million
  • Philippines: $63.8 million 
  • Tonga: $12 million
  • United Kingdom: $1.8 million 

Even in a developed country like the United Kingdom — home to almost as many Mormons as in Canada — headquarters sent $1.8 million in 2010, indicating that the church infrastructure exceeds what the locals can support. That and the other subsidies lead Quinn to assume the U.S.-born church is subsidizing its work and wards in Africa and Latin America, too.

 

Edited by cinepro
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Consider Guatemala: according to church stats , in 1966 there were about 10,000 members and 1 mission covering 2 countries. Today there are 270,000 members with 440 congregations and 6 missions, 1 of which is centered in a town that in 1966 had a population of 20,000 people and one chapel to hold about 300 members. There are 2 temples in the country. All of this growth did not come from the US membership funds. I suspect that there are subsidies to Guatemala but the  majority came from local members and their faithful donations.

Anybody want to guess what it costs to keep 30,000 congregations supplied with paper towels let alone electrical ?

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7 hours ago, Exiled said:

Yes, the purpose of tithing is to fund the church operations and is a sacrifice and a test of faith.  But it doesn't lift people out of poverty.

Are you calling Malachi (speaking for God) a liar?  Or are you making a secular observation in accordance with what you want to believe?  God says that he will open up the windows of heaven to bless those who pay tithes. You are saying that such never happens, or at least not consistently.  Do I have that supposition right?  However, it is not at all anecdotal to observe the fact that thousands of Mormon pioneers came to the Great Basin, where life was hard.  Plenty of poverty.  Yet here we are all these years later in a very prosperous Great Basin.  All those Mormons who faithfully paid tithes are no longer poverty stricken.  That is a secular fact.  Is that an embarrassment to you who have rejected the Church?

Why have you not engaged the points I have made about LDS Church programs which successfully conquer poverty?  They are paid for by tithing.  Do you have any conception of the context of any discussion of poverty and tithing?  What would an honest and fair-minded non-Mormon reporter say?

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2 hours ago, The Nehor said:

Wait....I didn't sign up to support all these lazy foreign layabouts!!!!!!

I did. I love it!!!

As one of my former housemates, a lawyer, once pointed out, his tithing alone exceeded our entire annual ward operating budget. Of course, there are also the utility costs for the building and the material costs for manuals, etc., but that’s probably no more than one more member’s tithing. That means, essentially, that the rest of us are supporting the worldwide Church generally and Saints who live in less affluent places specifically. It’s a fulfilment of prophecy, and I genuinely love it. 

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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2 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Are you calling Malachi (speaking for God) a liar?  Or are you making a secular observation in accordance with what you want to believe?  God says that he will open up the windows of heaven to bless those who pay tithes. You are saying that such never happens, or at least not consistently.  Do I have that supposition right? 

What, exactly, are you supposing Malachi was talking about? 

Have you ever heard of something called "choice support bias"?  It's a really interesting mental thing people do where after they make a choice, they inadvertently (and sometimes advertantly) seek and interpret data in a way that supports their choice.

Quote

In cognitive science, choice-supportive bias or post-purchase rationalization is the tendency to retroactively ascribe positive attributes to an option one has selected. It is a cognitive bias. For example, if a person chooses option A instead of option B, they are likely to ignore or downplay the faults of option A while amplifying those of option B. Conversely, they are also likely to notice and amplify the advantages of option A and not notice or de-emphasize those of option B.

While I'm more than open to the idea that tithing brings us "blessings", I'm also open to the idea that people might engage in "choice support bias" after they pay their tithing, and interpret the good stuff that happens to them as somehow being related to their having paid tithing, even if it's possible or likely that good stuff would had happened even if they hadn't paid tithing.

If we're open to that possibility, how would someone who pays tithing control for that tendency when judging whether or not they are seeing good stuff as a result of paying tithing?

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18 minutes ago, cinepro said:

What, exactly, are you supposing Malachi was talking about? 

Have you ever heard of something called "choice support bias"?  It's a really interesting mental thing people do where after they make a choice, they inadvertently (and sometimes advertantly) seek and interpret data in a way that supports their choice.

While I'm more than open to the idea that tithing brings us "blessings", I'm also open to the idea that people might engage in "choice support bias" after they pay their tithing, and interpret the good stuff that happens to them as somehow being related to their having paid tithing, even if it's possible or likely that good stuff would had happened even if they hadn't paid tithing.

If we're open to that possibility, how would someone who pays tithing control for that tendency when judging whether or not they are seeing good stuff as a result of paying tithing?

I have no problem with Exiled making that argument, but that isn't what he is saying.  He has his own "choice support bias" going for him in his rejection of the LDS faith.  Now, as a consequence, everything connected with the LDS faith has to be false or a scam.  Otherwise he might feel discomfort for making a bad choice.  Oddly enough, the actual use of tithing to beat back poverty is not a fantasy, though Exiled and Ouagadougou claim it does nothing for poverty:  https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900037945/historic-meeting-president-of-peru-asks-president-nelson-to-help-the-countrys-children.html?_cid=Email-1&utm_campaign=abed430f92-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_10_21_11_00&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Deseret News&utm_term=0_2e4a89ae88-abed430f92-585640965 .

At the same time, it may be that doing good because one wants a reward is unbecoming purely charitable instincts.  Moreover, that is the heresy of works-righteousness, i.e., the false notion that doing good works will win points with God.  Paying tithing should be a matter of faith, without thought of reward here or hereafter.  One does it because it is the right thing to do.  The compassionate thing to do.

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On 10/19/2018 at 6:13 PM, SettingDogStar said:

The you reject the Book of Mormon. In the essence that God told Lehi and all Prophets in the land that if they were obedient “they would prosper in the Land.”

Just as you can embrace the Bible without embracing the passages that endorse chattel slavery, you can embrace the BOM without accepting the prosperity gospel.

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On 10/19/2018 at 4:51 PM, Avatar4321 said:

The Lord has promised that if we follow His commands we will prosper in the land.

and we will

It must follow then that all poor people are wicked, and all rich people are righteous.

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41 minutes ago, Gray said:

It must follow then that all poor people are wicked, and all rich people are righteous.

No. it mustn’t 

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9 minutes ago, Avatar4321 said:

No. it mustn’t 

Then either the Lord did not promised that if we follow His commands we will prosper in the land, or the Lord broke his promise.

 

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40 minutes ago, Gray said:

Then either the Lord did not promised that if we follow His commands we will prosper in the land, or the Lord broke his promise.

 

He never made that promise.  

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Does the Book of Mormon “prosper in the land” promise even apply to us in any case?

Or is that like claiming we will be blessed if we build an ark?

Furthermore the Book of Mormon establishes that there were righteous poor in the land.......I am guessing that promise does not mean what prosperity gospel adherents seem to want it to mean.

Edited by The Nehor
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.

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2 hours ago, The Nehor said:

Does the Book of Mormon “prosper in the land” promise even apply to us in any case?

Or is that like claiming we will be blessed if we build an ark?

Furthermore the Book of Mormon establishes that there were righteous poor in the land.......I am guessing that promise does not mean what prosperity gospel adherents seem to want it to mean.

Of course it does! And I agree with you. Like I said earlier in the thread the Lords definition of "poverty" and ours are two different things, as is His definition of "prospering." I think a lot of members assume that that means riches and worldly wealth. While that does seem to be the case sometimes in the Book of Mormon it ALWAYS leads to differences in wealth, power, and position which ends in disaster. The Law of Consecration would solve most of these issues BUT it would require no differences in wealth but only in willingness to learn and to grow in the principles of the Gospel. The Nephites in 4 Nephi "prospered" in the land but they had all things in common with each other and enjoyed peace and happiness, which in my opinion is prospering. 

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2 hours ago, stemelbow said:

He never made that promise.  

I distinctly remember Him doing that “Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land … Inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord” (Alma 9:13)

"For the Lord God hath said: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence” (2 Nephi 1:20)

And many more....

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11 hours ago, cinepro said:

What, exactly, are you supposing Malachi was talking about? 

Have you ever heard of something called "choice support bias"?  It's a really interesting mental thing people do where after they make a choice, they inadvertently (and sometimes advertantly) seek and interpret data in a way that supports their choice.

While I'm more than open to the idea that tithing brings us "blessings", I'm also open to the idea that people might engage in "choice support bias" after they pay their tithing, and interpret the good stuff that happens to them as somehow being related to their having paid tithing, even if it's possible or likely that good stuff would had happened even if they hadn't paid tithing.

If we're open to that possibility, how would someone who pays tithing control for that tendency when judging whether or not they are seeing good stuff as a result of paying tithing?

Prayer is usually a good option. 

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3 hours ago, The Nehor said:

Does the Book of Mormon “prosper in the land” promise even apply to us in any case?

Or is that like claiming we will be blessed if we build an ark?

Furthermore the Book of Mormon establishes that they were righteous poor in the land.......I am guessing that promise does not mean what prosperity gospel adherents seem to want it to mean.

3 hours ago, Gray said:

Then either the Lord did not promised that if we follow His commands we will prosper in the land, or the Lord broke his promise.

I think you both are looking at prosperity through a very limited lens.  Absolutely, 100% the promise of prosperity for obedience applies to us today (at least according to modern prophets)!  Blessings (both spiritual and temporal) are predicated upon obedience.  The Lord is "bound" when we do what he says.  What does that mean?  Does that mean that all the righteous are going to be financially wealthy and all the wicked are going to be destitute?  No, that is not what it means!  However, I do believe that if one was to apply the principles in Jacob 2, then one would be blessed with the promised blessing of financial prosperity in order to bless the less fortunate.  In other words, one has to follow certain principles in order to reap certain rewards.  Not all righteous people follow the righteous principles of financial prosperity. 

Let me share with you a good example of what relative prosperity looks like.

Moses had it all.  He gave up the easy life in pharaoh's court for the wilderness.  In fact, Moses never even reached the promised land in his lifetime.  Some may argue that is not prosperity.  I think Moses would disagree.  I don't think he would take back his choice to leave if he was given a chance.  Look how the Lord prospered them! 

They found their way out of bondage and Moses lived in freedom with his people. Where they should have died at the hands of the Egyptians, the Lord divided the red sea; where they should have died of starvation, the Lord gave manna; where they should have died of dehydration, the Lord brought forth water from a rock; where they should have died by venomous serpents, the Lord preserved those who kept their eye on the symbol of Christ... and they were ultimately blessed with the promised land.

Is that being prospered?  Yes!  Moses gave up all worldly possessions for the Lord and he was prospered spiritually and temporally. Sometimes it can take generations for temporal blessings to be realized in their fullness.  Such was the case with the early church.  Such was the case in the Book of Mormon.  But in all cases, the Lord prospered them holistically.  

Our temporal and spiritual condition will always be better off for our righteousness from what would have otherwise been the case.  Prosperity is relative in that regard.  I have seen poor people prospered.  They may not be wealthy, but I have seen the Lord prosper those in poverty in the Philippines.  2 people can be living in the same financial situation while one is prospered and thrives (relatively) while the other suffers.  I have seen it.  

Patience in the Lord.  Blessings are not always realized as instant gratification. 

See these excellent talks about these principles:

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1979/10/constancy-amid-change?lang=eng

https://www.lds.org/ensign/1990/10/do-the-wicked-prosper-while-the-righteous-suffer?lang=eng

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1992/10/the-lord-will-prosper-the-righteous?lang=eng

 

Edited by pogi

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1 hour ago, SettingDogStar said:

Prayer is usually a good option. 

I'm not sure I understand you.  Are you saying that after you pay your tithing, prayer is a good way to tell if the good stuff that happens to you is a result of having paid tithing?  Yeah, that seems like a great way to avoid any cognitive biases. 

And I'm sure God will be totally honest and let you know "No, that raise you got was already in the pipeline before you paid your tithing.  I had nothing to do with it."

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1 hour ago, SettingDogStar said:

I distinctly remember Him doing that “Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land … Inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord” (Alma 9:13)

"For the Lord God hath said: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence” (2 Nephi 1:20)

And many more....

Those were some guys saying the LORD said that, or one guy at least.  

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On 10/19/2018 at 2:55 PM, Ouagadougou said:

Hello everyone and Happy Friday!

I hope you are all doing well.

I've been out of the country and traveling a lot, so I have been away for a good period of time.

I recently read the article below and was shocked by the prophet's claim that tithing can break poverty cycles.


https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900016023/dowry-is-not-the-lords-way-in-kenya-lds-president-nelson-says-tithing-breaks-poverty-cycle.html

"President Nelson also said tithing can break cycles of poverty in poor nations and families."

"'We preach tithing to the poor people of the world because the poor people of the world have had cycles of poverty, generation after generation," he said. "That same poverty continues from one generation to another, until people pay their tithing.'"

IMO, giving up 10% of one's income actually causes more financial struggles for many in the world, especially in countries like Kenya. Moreover, it's important to mention that in Kenya "fourty two percent of its population of 44 million, live below the poverty line."

https://www.unicef.org/kenya/overview_4616.html

The belief that tithing will magically rid Kenya of poverty cycles and solve their financial struggles, IMO, is dishonest, out of touch with reality, and extremely misleading. Likewise, claiming that tithing will ensure "spiritual blessings" is one thing; however, asserting that poverty will continue until poor people pay their tithing (I think) is ridiculous and very naive about how many people live across the world.

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?

Paying tithing increased my income by 400% at two distinct parts of my life, 10 years apart.

Heard from the Stake PResident in UT about 15 years ago that doubling our fast offerings will also bring more prosperity (financial and otherwise). Tested it. Proved it.

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