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Tithing

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On ‎12‎/‎16‎/‎2018 at 9:15 PM, Coop said:

Re auditing:

I had a Bishop refuse to give me a Temple recommend once because he decided that I didn't pay a full tithing based on my understanding of how to calculate tithing.  We argued and I had to bring in the Stake President to settle the dispute.  He forced the Bishop to sign my recommend.

Another reason I prefer to calculate tithing this way is because psychologically I find it more effective.  I feel it makes God more of a partner in my financial affairs.  That and it seems to align better with the parables in the New Testament in my mind.

 

So, what did the bishop do?  Ask how you calculated your tithing?  He shouldn't have, if he did.  If I had got asked that question, I think I would have questioned the propriety of his asking.

I had a difficult time paying tithing on my gross income. Not that it was hard, per se, but that I have a deep-seated feeling that the money the government takes out of my pay is not a cost-of-living expense (like rent, food, etc), but a cost-of-doing-business expense.  So that my "increase" is what I get after the government gets done ripping me off.  I found it difficult to make myself tithe the money that I paid in federal income tax.  It is so weird, it was like my conscience was kicking in every time I considered tithing the withholding tax, saying, "Don't do it." I don't think it was really my conscience, just my feelings about that money.  What this meant was that I did tithe my tax refund at the end of the year, because that was untaxed money.

I also didn't tithe my FICA (Social Security tax) nor the money my employer took out for my pension.  Reasoning there was different: I would be getting that money back, and if I lived long enough, I would be getting back more than I ever paid in.  This means that now I'm retired I tithe my social security and pension income.  That works out better from an accounting standpoint.  And there's another wrinkle.  The FICA an employee pays is only half what goes in!  The employer matches your FICA, and that is effectively "your" money, too, you just don't see it.  So tithing the eventual receipts upon retirement is more accurate.  

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16 hours ago, Alan said:

Income can be defined as something other than gross or net.

Profit, surplus, over-plus, interest, excess etc. Just follow D&C 119 and you can't go wrong. If you do that, the gross v net debate is both redundant and irrelevant.

If further clarification is required, read Genesis 14:39 JST.

For one inclined to engage in lexical duplicity, pretty much any meaning can be attached to any term. But to keep chaos from ensuing in our communication we more-or-less hold to normative definitions. Here’s one I found on line for <income>:

noun
  1. money received, especially on a regular basis, for work or through investments.
    "he has a nice home and an adequate income"
    synonyms: earningssalarypayremuneration, wages, stipendMore

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14 hours ago, Stargazer said:

So, what did the bishop do?  Ask how you calculated your tithing?  He shouldn't have, if he did.  If I had got asked that question, I think I would have questioned the propriety of his asking.

I had a difficult time paying tithing on my gross income. Not that it was hard, per se, but that I have a deep-seated feeling that the money the government takes out of my pay is not a cost-of-living expense (like rent, food, etc), but a cost-of-doing-business expense.  So that my "increase" is what I get after the government gets done ripping me off.  I found it difficult to make myself tithe the money that I paid in federal income tax.  It is so weird, it was like my conscience was kicking in every time I considered tithing the withholding tax, saying, "Don't do it." I don't think it was really my conscience, just my feelings about that money.  What this meant was that I did tithe my tax refund at the end of the year, because that was untaxed money.

I also didn't tithe my FICA (Social Security tax) nor the money my employer took out for my pension.  Reasoning there was different: I would be getting that money back, and if I lived long enough, I would be getting back more than I ever paid in.  This means that now I'm retired I tithe my social security and pension income.  That works out better from an accounting standpoint.  And there's another wrinkle.  The FICA an employee pays is only half what goes in!  The employer matches your FICA, and that is effectively "your" money, too, you just don't see it.  So tithing the eventual receipts upon retirement is more accurate.  

I’ve always tithed on gross. Now that I’m retired, I tithe my Social Security benefits. I’ve never had any regrets in doing either one. I don’t believe I could ever get the Lord in my debt. 

Incidentally, I once heard a General Authority say at a BYU fireside that he considers the government withholding from his paycheck to be “the rent I pay for living in America.” Not saying he was expressing binding Church doctrine on that occasion (and I don’t believe he purported to be), but I’ve always liked his reasoning. I have never deducted my rent or mortgage from the amount I tithe. 

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5 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I’ve always tithed on gross. Now that I’m retired, I tithe my Social Security benefits. I’ve never had any regrets in doing either one. I don’t believe I could ever get the Lord in my debt. 

Incidentally, I once heard a General Authority say at a BYU fireside that he considers the government withholding from his paycheck to be “the rent I pay for living in America.” Not saying he was expressing binding Church doctrine on that occasion (and I don’t believe he purported to be), but I’ve always liked his reasoning. I have never deducted my rent or mortgage from the amount I tithe. 

It's great if folks tithe on their gross, or tithe their FICA deductions and then tithe their social security retirement benefits, if they want.  The only thing to regret is not being a full tithe-payer.  However one calculates it.

If I operate a business, is it reasonable for me to pay tithing on my gross receipts?  Or should I pay tithing on the net after business expenses?

As for "the rent I pay for living in America", what about all those people who lived in the USA before the income tax was invented?  Were they living "rent free"?  I have a problem with income tax, from a legal point of view, which there's no point explaining.  In short, it is my opinion that the way it is imposed is wrong.  I know the courts will disagree, and in any case I pay it, having no wish to spend my life fighting the impossible fight.  This is why I consider it a cost of operating my business -- even as a worker -- and do not tithe it. 

Just curious, if you receive medical care that is paid for by Medicare, would you tithe that?  For that matter, if one has medical insurance (like I did when I was working), and they end up paying for your care, should that be tithed?  Or life insurance proceeds?  Is it "increase," do you think?  I wonder about that, since my late wife's final medical expenses totalled over $100,000, of which we only had to pay about $1,200, because the insurance took care of the rest.  I know the government doesn't tax it -- but is it "increase"?

Edited by Stargazer
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3 hours ago, Stargazer said:

If I operate a business, is it reasonable for me to pay tithing on my gross receipts?  Or should I pay tithing on the net after business expenses?

Net after business expenses.  Rent or labor costs alone may be more than your personal increase.

3 hours ago, Stargazer said:

This is why I consider it a cost of operating my business -- even as a worker -- and do not tithe it. 

I view income tax as I would a utility bill.  It's the price I pay for national defense, etc.  Are some things done with my tax money I don't agree with?  Yes.  But in a representative government, those we elect make the decisions.  I see your point not wanting to tithe on some of those things.  My point of view is to not look for ways to avoid tithing on part of my income as my life has been truly blessed tithing through poverty and success.  I'm comfortable with that.  I'm also comfortable with the Church's statement it is between the individual and God.  I am not judging that you are looking for ways to avoid tithing.  That is whatever you and God decide, same as for me.

3 hours ago, Stargazer said:

Just curious, if you receive medical care that is paid for by Medicare, would you tithe that?  

I view my insurance premium or my medicare as my cost of medical care and tithe on that.

3 hours ago, Stargazer said:

Or life insurance proceeds?  Is it "increase," do you think?

I would pay tithing on life insurance proceeds, as it is financial increase, as would be an inheritance.  I would tithe on a cash inheritance, or I would tithe on the income from an investment property.  If I sold the investment property, I would gladly tithe on that, but that's my comfort zone.  I don't suggest how anyone pays their tithing.  Let the Holy Spirit guide.

Edited by Meerkat
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On 12/20/2018 at 5:06 AM, Stargazer said:

It's great if folks tithe on their gross, or tithe their FICA deductions and then tithe their social security retirement benefits, if they want.  The only thing to regret is not being a full tithe-payer.  However one calculates it.

If I operate a business, is it reasonable for me to pay tithing on my gross receipts?  Or should I pay tithing on the net after business expenses?

I already addressed this in a post above.

Hypothetically speaking, if I were to own a business, I would regularly pay myself an established amount -- as much as I deemed prudent -- as remuneration for running the business, and I would tithe that amount. In periods during which the business failed to make a profit, I would draw on cash reserves from the business to make up that amount of my remuneration. Obviously, I would not starve myself or my family for the sake of the business. I would let the business go under and find other employment before I would do that. Thus, there would always be an amount for me to tithe.

Quote

 

As for "the rent I pay for living in America", what about all those people who lived in the USA before the income tax was invented?  Were they living "rent free"? 

 

 

 

Individual circumstances vary dependent on time, locale, etc.. That's always going to be the case. I don't pay rent or mortgage now, but I did for most of my adult life. Before moving out of my parents’ home, even before reaching the age of majority, I lived rent free. I didn’t  commensurately reduce my tithing when I began paying rent — or increase it when my mortgage was paid off.  

I could move to a state where income tax is not charged; I choose not to, so the taxes, whatever they might be, are part of the cost for the choice I make of where to live. I might choose to buy a certain brand of product, even though it costs more than other brands, because I like it better. I don't reduce the tithing I pay commensurately.

Quote

I have a problem with income tax, from a legal point of view, which there's no point explaining.  In short, it is my opinion that the way it is imposed is wrong.  I know the courts will disagree, and in any case I pay it, having no wish to spend my life fighting the impossible fight.  This is why I consider it a cost of operating my business -- even as a worker -- and do not tithe it. 

Legality -- or lack thereof -- of income tax is probably outside the scope of this discussion, but theoretically, whether or not one agrees with the form of taxation, there is value received for all federal state and local taxes, be it in the form of national security and defense; federal, state and local law enforcement; roads, bridges and other infrastructure; education for oneself and one's children or grandchildren; public safety; various social services of which one might avail oneself; etc. To draw an analogy, I might think local grocery stores charge too much for milk, but I don't reduce my tithing commensurately. 

And even if one sets all that aside and views taxes as “a cost of doing business,” there is still value received therefrom. The value is in being enabled or permitted to do the business.

 

Quote

Just curious, if you receive medical care that is paid for by Medicare, would you tithe that?  For that matter, if one has medical insurance (like I did when I was working), and they end up paying for your care, should that be tithed?

Here again, the value-received concept kicks in. Medicare and other forms of insurance are an expense I pay for which I receive value. In times when I'm not sick or injured, the value is in the form of peace of mind, knowing there will be a recourse if hard times come. If they do, the value received is in the form of insurance benefits. So no, I don't tithe that.

Quote

  Or life insurance proceeds?  Is it "increase," do you think?  I wonder about that, since my late wife's final medical expenses totalled over $100,000, of which we only had to pay about $1,200, because the insurance took care of the rest.  I know the government doesn't tax it -- but is it "increase"?

See above. You already tithed the income from which you paid your insurance premiums. The proceeds from insurance claims are part of value received.

 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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7 hours ago, Meerkat said:

I view my insurance premium or my medicare as my cost of medical care and tithe on that.

That wasn't the question.  Or maybe I misstated.

Whether you tithed the premium or not, if you received medical care that you didn't have to personally pay for because your insurance covered it, would you consider that as increase to be tithed?  In my case, my health insurance covered nearly $100,000 worth of medical care that was paid on my behalf to my care provider.  Was this tithe-able, do you think?  

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On 12/17/2018 at 3:26 PM, Scott Lloyd said:

Another one of those, huh? 

Somehow, this reminds me of the wacko “sovereign citizens” movement. 

Scripture is scripture.

all the other answers are opinions.

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On 12/16/2018 at 10:16 PM, Scott Lloyd said:

Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. 

Hoo Ahh!

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9 hours ago, Stargazer said:

That wasn't the question.  Or maybe I misstated.

Whether you tithed the premium or not, if you received medical care that you didn't have to personally pay for because your insurance covered it, would you consider that as increase to be tithed?  In my case, my health insurance covered nearly $100,000 worth of medical care that was paid on my behalf to my care provider.  Was this tithe-able, do you think?  

I don't see it as tithable.  I believe  the price I pay for those benefits is my premium, so I tithe on my premium.  If I didn't pay the premium, I would need to pay tithing on the income it would have cost me for the benefit.  That's my take on it.  If it didn't work that way, a catastrophic illness would require more tithing than I have income.  

There are many complicated issues that could stymie any person of good will.  If I bought a home in say 1980 for $80,000 and it is now worth $400,000, do I tithe on the increased value while I live in it?  I don't think so.  But you may.  I have a relative who believes increase is anything above expenses.   He claims his rent, food, car, taxes, etc. as expenses and tithes as increase whatever he puts in savings.  I sweep my side of the street.  He sweeps his, and we respect and love each other.    

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20 hours ago, Stargazer said:

It's great if folks tithe on their gross, or tithe their FICA deductions and then tithe their social security retirement benefits, if they want.  The only thing to regret is not being a full tithe-payer.  However one calculates it.

If I operate a business, is it reasonable for me to pay tithing on my gross receipts?  Or should I pay tithing on the net after business expenses?

As for "the rent I pay for living in America", what about all those people who lived in the USA before the income tax was invented?  Were they living "rent free"?  I have a problem with income tax, from a legal point of view, which there's no point explaining.  In short, it is my opinion that the way it is imposed is wrong.  I know the courts will disagree, and in any case I pay it, having no wish to spend my life fighting the impossible fight.  This is why I consider it a cost of operating my business -- even as a worker -- and do not tithe it. 

Just curious, if you receive medical care that is paid for by Medicare, would you tithe that?  For that matter, if one has medical insurance (like I did when I was working), and they end up paying for your care, should that be tithed?  Or life insurance proceeds?  Is it "increase," do you think?  I wonder about that, since my late wife's final medical expenses totalled over $100,000, of which we only had to pay about $1,200, because the insurance took care of the rest.  I know the government doesn't tax it -- but is it "increase"?


Consider why you are asking us for? All you are going to get is other's peoples opinions on something that is between you and God. 

Don't use someone else's barometer for your personal connection with the Holy Spirit.

(Not that anyone is trying to steer you wrong...)

Edited by thatjimguy
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21 hours ago, Stargazer said:

....  I know the government doesn't tax it -- but is it "increase"?

If you have a car that doesn't work properly, you get it fixed. You may have a warranty on the car, so the warranty provider fixes it.

However it's done, you end up with a car that is now working properly. That is not an increase.

If your body doesn't work properly but then gets fixed, how is that an increase?

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11 hours ago, Alan said:

If you have a car that doesn't work properly, you get it fixed. You may have a warranty on the car, so the warranty provider fixes it.

However it's done, you end up with a car that is now working properly. That is not an increase.

If your body doesn't work properly but then gets fixed, how is that an increase?

Good points!

What about the time when my car sustained some damage in a fender-bender, and when the insurance company gave me money to fix it, but I didn't fix it and used the money for something else?

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13 hours ago, thatjimguy said:


Consider why you are asking us for? All you are going to get is other's peoples opinions on something that is between you and God. 

That's why I'm asking: to hear others' opinions on the matter.  I'm pretty sure about my own path on this, but I still think its worthwhile to hear what other people think.

It may be that someone has a thought which might benefit me in some way. 

13 hours ago, thatjimguy said:

Don't use someone else's barometer for your personal connection with the Holy Spirit.

(Not that anyone is trying to steer you wrong...)

Don't worry, I have a very well-functioning barometer. 🙂 

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14 hours ago, Meerkat said:

I don't see it as tithable.  I believe  the price I pay for those benefits is my premium, so I tithe on my premium.  If I didn't pay the premium, I would need to pay tithing on the income it would have cost me for the benefit.  That's my take on it.  If it didn't work that way, a catastrophic illness would require more tithing than I have income.  

There are many complicated issues that could stymie any person of good will.  If I bought a home in say 1980 for $80,000 and it is now worth $400,000, do I tithe on the increased value while I live in it?  I don't think so.  But you may. 

I agree with you.  Values can fluctuate, anyway.  Over the past 10 years, my house has been worth anywhere from 105K to 350K, with no change in condition (at the moment it's 250K), and the only variable being the economy.  

14 hours ago, Meerkat said:

I have a relative who believes increase is anything above expenses.   He claims his rent, food, car, taxes, etc. as expenses and tithes as increase whatever he puts in savings. 

Hmmm.  I'm pretty sure that is not "increase".  But, his definition is not my problem.

14 hours ago, Meerkat said:

I sweep my side of the street.  He sweeps his, and we respect and love each other.    

Nice saying!

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1 hour ago, Stargazer said:

Good points!

What about the time when my car sustained some damage in a fender-bender, and when the insurance company gave me money to fix it, but I didn't fix it and used the money for something else?

From the standpoint of the insurance company, you were "made whole," so to speak, in that the value you lost via the property damage sustained in the accident was restored to you in the form of a cash settlement. It's not the insurance company's nor anyone else's problem that you elected to spend the money on something else rather than restoring your car to the state it was in prior to the accident. In theory, had the accident never have happened, you would not have had the funds to spend on whatever it is you bought with the money the insurance company provided you.

 

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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23 hours ago, Doctrine 612 said:

Scripture is scripture.

all the other answers are opinions.

Scripture means whatever prophets and apostles, acting in their authority and under divine inspiration, say it means.

 

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1 hour ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Scripture means whatever prophets and apostles, acting in their authority and under divine inspiration, say it means.

 

To reinforce your point, maybe LDS leaders should “play it safe” to prevent misunderstanding, and follow the Catholic pre-Vatican II pattern of discouraging members to read for themselves?

Or, do they take a more liberal approach and do what Jospeh Smith suggested, and let members govern themselves?

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9 hours ago, Stargazer said:
Quote

Meerkat said:

I have a relative who believes increase is anything above expenses.   He claims his rent, food, car, taxes, etc. as expenses and tithes as increase whatever he puts in savings. 

Hmmm.  I'm pretty sure that is not "increase".  But, his definition is not my problem.

Agreed.  Looks like great minds think alike!

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12 hours ago, Stargazer said:

Good points!

What about the time when my car sustained some damage in a fender-bender, and when the insurance company gave me money to fix it, but I didn't fix it and used the money for something else?

More fool you. You should have fixed it, as that was what the money was for. Personally, I think what you did borders on fraud.

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1 hour ago, Alan said:

More fool you. You should have fixed it, as that was what the money was for. Personally, I think what you did borders on fraud.

Hmmm.  "Borders on"?  Or is fraud in actuality?

What is your reasoning for that?  Without knowing what was specified in the insurance contract?

Strangely, in US insurance law, there is no obligation to fix the vehicle, so far as I am aware.  What I did is quite commonly done, and the check is written with no conditions attached.  If there is no legal repercussion, then there is no fraud.   Moreover, the insurance contract obligates the insurer to perform according to the contract -- and once the check is written, they have fulfilled their obligation under the contract.  My obligation under the contract was to pay the premium.   What would have bordered on fraud (actually, would have been fraudulent in fact), is if there had been later accident, and I claimed the damage from the first one again! 

Edited by Stargazer
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12 hours ago, Alan said:

More fool you. You should have fixed it, as that was what the money was for. Personally, I think what you did borders on fraud.

 

11 hours ago, Stargazer said:

Hmmm.  "Borders on"?  Or is fraud in actuality?

What is your reasoning for that?  Without knowing what was specified in the insurance contract?

Strangely, in US insurance law, there is no obligation to fix the vehicle, so far as I am aware.  What I did is quite commonly done, and the check is written with no conditions attached.  If there is no legal repercussion, then there is no fraud.   Moreover, the insurance contract obligates the insurer to perform according to the contract -- and once the check is written, they have fulfilled their obligation under the contract.  My obligation under the contract was to pay the premium.   What would have bordered on fraud (actually, would have been fraudulent in fact), is if there had been later accident, and I claimed the damage from the first one again! 

Yeah, ummm, Alan.  That's not fraud.  The insurance company is obligated to pay you for your damage if it is a covered loss of the claim.  You, as the insured, are under no obligation to actually make the repairs.  I work with many insurance companies helping them with aspects of their claims, and I am a fraud investigation professional; what Stargazer did is not fraud.

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On 12/22/2018 at 10:51 PM, ttribe said:

 

Yeah, ummm, Alan.  That's not fraud.  The insurance company is obligated to pay you for your damage if it is a covered loss of the claim.  You, as the insured, are under no obligation to actually make the repairs.  I work with many insurance companies helping them with aspects of their claims, and I am a fraud investigation professional; what Stargazer did is not fraud.

At best it was very foolish. But I think it is technically fraud.

The insurance company paid out in order to make the policyholder whole. If the car remains damaged, and therefore of reduced value, he is not whole.

 

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10 minutes ago, Alan said:

At best it was very foolish. But I think it is technically fraud.

The insurance company paid out in order to make the policyholder whole. If the car remains damaged, and therefore of reduced value, he is not whole.

 

With respect, you do not understand the legal definition of fraud or the nature of insurance contracts in the U.S.

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On 12/21/2018 at 2:19 PM, Stargazer said:

What about the time when my car sustained some damage in a fender-bender, and when the insurance company gave me money to fix it, but I didn't fix it and used the money for something else?

My son was hit by another driver a few years ago and it was determined that the other driver was at fault. The other driver's insurance company never wrote us a check. We took the car to an approved repair shop and got an estimate. After the work was approved, the shop did the repairs and the insurance company paid the shop directly. We would only have received a check if the car was totaled (repair cost > car value). I wonder if different insurance companies have different policies.

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