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Tithing shakedown


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Every time I get a new Bishop I have to explain to them that I pay my tithing to the church directly, where they are not able to see how much I gave, for privacy reason.

then they go off trying to shake me down. 
 

sorry just a bit of a rant.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Doctrine 612 said:

Every time I get a new Bishop I have to explain to them that I pay my tithing to the church directly, where they are not able to see how much I gave, for privacy reason.

then they go off trying to shake me down. 
 

sorry just a bit of a rant.

 

 

Do you live in an area where online donation via the Church website is not readily available? I find it puzzling that a bishop would not already be aware of that option. I’m an an assistant ward clerk, and we actually prefer that members make their donations in that manner as it cuts down on our workload. 
 

Or do you make your donations in some other way, such as sending a paper check or electronic payment through your bank?

And what do you mean when you say the bishop tries to shake you down? What precisely does that entail?

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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31 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Or do you make your donations in some other way, such as sending a paper check or electronic payment through your bank?

There are ways to donate directly to church HQ such that it isn't linked to your membership record. Presumably this is what is being done.

I too wonder what the shakedown involves. 
 

4 hours ago, Doctrine 612 said:

sorry just a bit of a rant.

Maybe you could suggest donating in-kind to the ward level in the form of a weekly goat or something.

All the extra paperwork they have to do (plus actually working out what to do with the goat), might be enough extra work/magnifying their calling, that they lay off.

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I think he means that he contributes directly to Church headquarters instead of the ward. This is usually done when you are signing over property or stock or whatever instead of paying directly in cash, to ensure the security of a really large donation by check or wire transfer, or (more rarely) when someone is trying to hide their level of wealth or poverty or whatever.

https://tech.churchofjesuschrist.org/wiki/Donations_to_Church_Headquarters

If done this way the only way the ward can see any donations made is if they donate fast offerings or to the ward missionary fund. The Church then transfers that money and I believe it is unclear from the transfer who made the donation. It has been a while since I have seen one though. My parents use this method as they do most of their church donations through a personal charitable trust.

I am not surprised that many new bishops would be confused by the practice due to unfamiliarity. I admit I question a succession of bishops all implementing shakedowns.

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1 minute ago, JustAnAustralian said:

All the extra paperwork they have to do (plus actually working out what to do with the goat), might be enough extra work/magnifying their calling, that they lay off.

Local units do not accept in-kind contributions anymore. :) 

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39 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Oh, if this is a tithing rant page can I complain that one person shows up out of the blue on the last Sunday of the month at the end of interviews as everyone is getting ready to close up and gives all their tithing for the year in cash and then asks worriedly if it will be deposited in time to count for this year. Of course we already processed tithing and dropped it off hours ago. Had to make another trip to the bank and me and the Bishop had to delay dinner plans. From about a decade ago but I am still clearly not over it.

1) I had a member who always paid his tithing once a year --- on New Year's Eve. Which meant I had to grab a counselor to process the donation, transmit, and deposit it so that they could claim it on their itemized deductions. This was pre-online, so that's just the way it was. He was kind of Asbergerish/uni-browed about it only being once a year, on the last day, and could not be moved on it, so we had to be on standby on New Years Eve. Good times!

2) Another time, Sunday was December 31, and an elderly couple (sweethearts) had sold land and paid tithing. The tithing was like $50,000, but they had included the stub instead of the check. They were definitely going to want to itemize **that**, so I drove out to the hinterlands of Hidden Valley to get the check. Happy to do it for them --- they were an amazing couple who did so much for everyone.

3) Once, a newlywed couple came in to settle their tithing and declared full. I told them that they had zero donations (we gave them their report, as we gave everyone), and they said they kept it in a drawer at home and kept forgetting to bring it in. I asked if they could please bring it in, as money kept in a drawer isn't tithing until it's paid, and they said they would be right back. I was nervous for the, but sure enough, in they came with $8000 + in ones, fives, tens, and twenties. And, it balanced the first time we double-counted it, too! She cut hair out of her home, and really was putting it in the drawer. 

---

As for the OP, I think patience and understanding is in order. a) most people aren't familiar with the rare practice of paying stock and real estate directly to the Church, and b) doesn't the Church give some kind of receipt for that that could be easily shown?

I don't think "shakedown" is an appropriate way to describe their due diligence. Despite people following Bill Reel in insisting that tithing status is whatever people say it is, and the bishop can go pound sand, they certainly can and should follow up to make sure people are living the spirit and the letter of the law. At the very least, I would ask people if there was a concern (e.g., a working nurse and a high-tech worker for Intel who only paid $500 as a couple) how they arrived at that amount. They knew I was a school teacher with a family of six, so they knew that I had a basis for comparison, and no amount of Bill Reel justification can peg that as "full" tithing, even paying on net after "all expenses have been taken care of" first.

 

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6 hours ago, Doctrine 612 said:

Every time I get a new Bishop I have to explain to them that I pay my tithing to the church directly, where they are not able to see how much I gave, for privacy reason.

Your profile tag suggests that you live in Washington state. When I was a missionary there I was told that there were more millionaires per capita living in that area than in anywhere else in the world. I never bothered to fact check that claim, but it was definitely my experience that there were a number of wealthy individuals living there - including many who happened to be members of the church.

I find it odd that every new bishop you get doesn't know that paying tithing to the church directly is a thing. Not saying you are misrepresenting things - just that the practice isn't as obscure as it used to be, so I would think that eventually you wouldn't have to worry about explaining things further. 

Though, to be fair, how often is it that you are getting a new bishop anyways? This seems like it would be, at most, a very intermittent burden. 

 

Quote

then they go off trying to shake me down. 

Shake you down for what? For money? For information about why you don't submit donations some other way? 

 

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1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

Oh, if this is a tithing rant page can I complain that one person shows up out of the blue on the last Sunday of the month at the end of interviews as everyone is getting ready to close up and gives all their tithing for the year in cash and then asks worriedly if it will be deposited in time to count for this year. Of course we already processed tithing and dropped it off hours ago. Had to make another trip to the bank and me and the Bishop had to delay dinner plans. From about a decade ago but I am still clearly not over it.

Wait, you got it in cash and not coins? Lucky... ;) 

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3 minutes ago, Amulek said:

Wait, you got it in cash and not coins? Lucky... ;) 

Yeah, if I had a dollar for every large family whose kids brought their piggy banks in to tithing settlement, and mom and dad are slowly helping them fill out their slips and count out change, while the appointments are piling up . . . :) 

We had a "petty cash" collection of coin in the clerk's office, because kids' tithing . . . doesn't always match the slip. :) 

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45 minutes ago, Amulek said:

Wait, you got it in cash and not coins? Lucky... ;) 

I am perfectly willing to count a kid's contribution in coinage for hours if needed if it teaches them the value of tithing. I am disappointed about how little we get from them to be honest.

39 minutes ago, rongo said:

Yeah, if I had a dollar for every large family whose kids brought their piggy banks in to tithing settlement, and mom and dad are slowly helping them fill out their slips and count out change, while the appointments are piling up . . . :) 

We had a "petty cash" collection of coin in the clerk's office, because kids' tithing . . . doesn't always match the slip. :) 

Haven't had that happen. The kids just bring in the envelope. We have gotten to the point where we don't even do tithing every week anymore. We have trained most of the ward to do it online.

I still remember my dad (who was bishop at the time) coming home and giving me $40 because I miscounted my tithing for my High School job.

Edited by The Nehor
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11 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

I am perfectly willing to count a kid's contribution in coinage for hours if needed if it teaches them the value of tithing. I am disappointed about how little we get from them to be honest.

Haven't had that happen. The kids just bring in the envelope. We have gotten to the point where we don't even do tithing every week anymore. We have trained most of the ward to do it online.

I still remember my dad (who was bishop at the time) coming home and giving me $40 because I miscounted my tithing for my High School job.

The funny (but not at the time) stories of kids' piggy banks were admittedly at least ten years ago. 

My second time, about three years ago, we typically only had 5-6 tithing envelopes on a given Sunday. Most people by then were doing it online. I myself only starting doing online during Covid --- I'm old-fashioned, and like writing a check. I still pay bills with checks. But, if I'm literally the only donation in an envelope, then I don't want to make them go through the process for one check. 

I agree that it can't ever become solely online, because kids can't figure and pay their tithing then. 

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Maby shakedown was the wrong word but what would you call it.

I talked to the bishop over the phone , explained how it works and why I prefer to do it this way,(I don’t need people knowing how much money I make), then he drives over to my house, asking if he can see my receipt. I told him no and he got bent out of shape.

 

 I feel bad for you guys that had people show up last day of the year.

we chose November 1st as our last day to pay tithing. Any thing made in December we rolled over into next year’s numbers.

 

 

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5 hours ago, The Nehor said:

Oh, if this is a tithing rant page can I complain that one person shows up out of the blue on the last Sunday of the month at the end of interviews as everyone is getting ready to close up and gives all their tithing for the year in cash and then asks worriedly if it will be deposited in time to count for this year. Of course we already processed tithing and dropped it off hours ago. Had to make another trip to the bank and me and the Bishop had to delay dinner plans. From about a decade ago but I am still clearly not over it.

I have been a finance clerk off and on for the past 40 years and have seen all this stuff. Another one is when members make donations through their bank account and a check is automatically generated by the bank and sent to the Bishop's address. Then us clerks have to write out a tithing slip for the member and those bank checks have a hundred numbers for the check number which we would quite often get wrong and have to reenter. I wonder if this automatic method that the member doesn't even have to think about sort of takes away from the experience of giving back to the Lord? I guess they might think about it when they see their account be reduced.

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44 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

As a bishop, I never thought it was my obligation or privilege to compare a member’s tithing report with what I thought their income was. They declared their status, period.

That's the way it should be. It took me a couple of years as bishop before I landed on this philosophy, at least partially because instructions from my Stake President was that tithing settlement is a time to teach accountability. He also stressed that when I (as bishop) signed the tithing status report I would be accountable to God if I was wrong.

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12 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

That's the way it should be. It took me a couple of years as bishop before I landed on this philosophy, at least partially because instructions from my Stake President was that tithing settlement is a time to teach accountability. He also stressed that when I (as bishop) signed the tithing status report I would be accountable to God if I was wrong.

Thanks, HJW. IMO, the stake president was mistaken, but who am I? It's one thing to teach accountability, but entirely another to call a brother or sister a liar. On the other hand, nobody expects the Mormon Inquisition. ;)

Edited by Bernard Gui
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9 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

That's the way it should be. It took me a couple of years as bishop before I landed on this philosophy, at least partially because instructions from my Stake President was that tithing settlement is a time to teach accountability. He also stressed that when I (as bishop) signed the tithing status report I would be accountable to God if I was wrong.

That would be too much pressure on a Bishop. You have to go with what the member tells you. For most members who don't report when the Bishop fills out the final report he has to make a guess on what their tithing status is.

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10 hours ago, Doctrine 612 said:

Every time I get a new Bishop I have to explain to them that I pay my tithing to the church directly, where they are not able to see how much I gave, for privacy reason.

then they go off trying to shake me down. 
 

sorry just a bit of a rant.

 

 

I have heard from a number of friends over the years that have complained of this tithing shakedown.  It is not uncommon. Some Bishops find it important to ensure no stone is unturned to investigate any potential voluntary donor not donating every dime possible to the Mormon cause / charity.

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Ive never had a bishop look at my payment sheet during settlement.  
 

A bishops job is to bring all who live in his zone to Christ,  that’s it.  If inquiring is now called a shakedown, maybe there’s sensitivity.  Or pride,  or whatever.  I’m sure if you have a wad of money, you’re expecting some type of conversation about that.   Youre entitled to privacy but at least you have to admit that it’s unconventional and will be met with curiosity if not a check in. 

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10 minutes ago, Derl Sanderson said:

If anecdotes now pass for data, I suppose I can say that in my life in the Church, I have never once heard this complaint or been a recipient of this kind of questioning myself from any bishop ... ever. Your experience in wards and circle of friends may be considerably larger than mine. In the spirit of full disclosure I have lived in eight wards and paid tithing (and attended settlement) under 20 bishops.

Same here, 17 bishops and branch presidents (4 states, 3 countries...including in one house with 5 different bishops in past 17 years due to wards splitting).

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