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Tithing shakedown


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Just now, Amulek said:

Our ward doesn't even print them out for use during settlement. The finance clerk prints them out and distributes them to ward members around the end of the quarter so people can review them on their own should they so desire.

But tithing settlement itself is just a sit-down with the bishop where he chats with everyone for a bit and then asks you to declare your tithing status (which he then records after you leave).

Easy-peasy. 

 

Our's doesn't even print them out at all.  We are expected to print them ourselves at home and they will only print them now if you can't manage that for some reason.  We haven't printed them out ever.  

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If I were in the position of desiring to remit my tithing directly to the Headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, particularly because I'm well off/blessed and, therefore, I consider it none of anyone else's **** business how much tithing I pay (would that it were! :huh:;)), if my bishop had a problem with what shows as my contribution on the ward level, along with any perceived discrepancy between that contribution and my perceived means, I would invite him to speak with the Stake President, and if, for whatever reason, that discussion didn't resolve whatever concerns he had, to call said Headquarters.*

*Personally, I've never dealt directly with headquarters of any organization with which I've been involved.  Rather, I've been confined to dealing strictly with hindquarters, which is a totally different deal ... buuuuut, that's another story for another day. :D :rofl: :D [Cue rimshot!] ("Try the chicken.  It's delicious!  Thanks!  You're a great crowd!  I'll be here all week!" ;))

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4 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

If I were in the position of desiring to remit my tithing directly to the Headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, particularly because I'm well off/blessed and, therefore, I consider it none of anyone else's **** business how much tithing I pay (would that it were! :huh:;)), if my bishop had a problem with what shows as my contribution on the ward level, along with any perceived discrepancy between that contribution and my perceived means, I would invite him to speak with the Stake President, and if, for whatever reason, that discussion didn't resolve whatever concerns he had, to call said Headquarters.*

*Personally, I've never dealt directly with headquarters of any organization with which I've been involved.  Rather, I've been confined to dealing strictly with hindquarters, which is a totally different deal ... buuuuut, that's another story for another day. :D :rofl: :D [Cue rimshot!] ("Try the chicken.  It's delicious!  Thanks!  You're a great crowd!  I'll be here all week!" ;))

Actually, it is a bishop's business to know someone is paying a full tithe before authorizing a temple recommend, and I would prefer he verify that instead of just taking some member's word for it.  There are dishonest members and a bishop should ferret them out !!!

In my opinion.

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3 hours 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.

😳 

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8 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

If the Spirit prompts him to suspect that someone isn't telling the truth about that or about some other matter and, as a result, he is prompted to investigate or to probe further, that's one thing.  It would be cumbersome and onerous indeed, however, if he, as a matter of course, checked each member's donation record in MLS before issuing a recommend.  (And doing the latter might not prove anything: No income/"increase," no donations, but that does not mean, ipso facto and res ipsa loquitur, that a member in that situation is unworthy.)

Right.  Verifying what a member says need not entail paperwork.  Bishops have access to special revelation from God concerning all of their members so verifying what a members says with God, with God doing the verifying, would be sufficient verification.

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6 minutes ago, bluebell said:

What’s it to you if another member lies about being a full tithe payer?

I would be the one lying if I said a member was a full tithe payer when that member had not paid a full tithe.  I don't want to be the gullible type of person who will just believe whatever anyone tells me.

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2 hours ago, MustardSeed said:

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. 

One of my duties as assistant ward clerk is to print out the donor statement for each member as we receive it from Church headquarters. This I put in a sealed envelope and hand to the member when he/she comes in for tithing settlement. My understanding is the bishop does not require the member to open the envelope in his presence. 
 

The bishop does have online access to the statement, but I scarcely think he bothers to scrutinize each statement. He is far too busy for that. He is inclined to take the member’s word for it as to whether it’s a full tithe. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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2 hours 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.

 

2 hours ago, Calm said:

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).

Same here. 

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6 hours ago, Doctrine 612 said:

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.

 

 

I wouldn’t call it a shakedown. I’d call it due diligence. 

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26 minutes ago, Ahab said:

I would be the one lying if I said a member was a full tithe payer when that member had not paid a full tithe.  I don't want to be the gullible type of person who will just believe whatever anyone tells me.

While I agree with you that Bishops should do everything possible to have an open conduit to the sort of revelation that tells them that someone is trying to "game the system" (my phrase), if you, as a Bishop, are lied to, that's one thing: I know that God will not be mocked.  Do I have a similar assurance that the same thing always is true of His servants?  I don't think I do.  That said, "lying" requires intent, specifically, an intent to deceive.  If a Bishop is lax in seeking or in heeding the requisite revelation, that's one thing: But absent such laxity, any lies the member tells the Bishop that go undetected are the responsibility of the member, who is the one with the intent to deceive; they're not the responsibility of the Bishop who has no intent to deceive. 

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7 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

I wouldn’t call it a shakedown. I’d call it due diligence. 

Absent specific, personal revelation to the contrary, I don't think it's the Bishop's responsibility or stewardship to question Doctrine 612's declaration that he is a full tithe-payer.  As I said before, if he has a problem with Doctrine 612's declaration, he needs to take it up with: (1) his Stake President and/or (2) Church Headquarters, in that order.  (But again, whaddo I know? I've only ever dealt with Church Hindquarters ... ;) :D)

Edited by Kenngo1969
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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

What’s it to you if another member lies about being a full tithe payer?

A lot of members are okay, in theory, with leaders having revelation and inspiration, as long as it remains safely in theory and they aren't actually judges in Israel. And that revelation had better never inspire them to ask follow-up questions to the listed TR questions, or to not sometimes (not that common, actually) take tithing settlement declarations at face value. He should functionally just be a check-marking, record-keeping clerk. 

But what if this actually happens? Should the bishop ignore and not act on it? What's it to him?

The short answer to this, for me, is that there are members who have repented of not being full tithe payers only because I questioned their declaration. This usually meant asking them how they arrived at that or how they figured it, not outright calling them out on it. None of these people would have repented if I had just gone with their (admittedly, false, after the fact) original declaration. I believe that tithing settlement is an actual ordinance-type thing, not just a glorified online checklist the member could just do on their lds.org login (maybe it will come to that yet).

The fact of the matter is that when the bishop sits down to actually hand-enter the declarations (I never had a clerk do it; I did it myself), the tithing and other donation amounts appear next to the names, so even if a bishop is determined not to ever even check statements, he will see it in black-and-white when he enters their status in the system. If members haven't paid tithing at all, according to MLS, or if they pay tithing but no fast offerings (I also used tithing settlement to invite people to bring their "tithes and offerings into the storehouse," not just tithing), this is very apparent when entering the statuses into the system. Should people never be asked about this? 

 

 

Edited by rongo
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1 hour ago, Ahab said:

Honestly, me and my wife are all caught up on our payments, and we prefer to keep it that way.

Very good. We wouldn't want any sort of...accident to befall you or your wife, now would we. :ph34r:

 

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1 hour ago, katherine the great said:

Would you require everyone to bring in all of their paystubs? Bank statements? Interview everyone who may have given them a gift? That’s a large burden for a Bishop. I would assume the members are adults and put the burden on them instead of micromanaging everyone.  

I don't think anyone is calling for this. More asking for clarification if there are glaring gaps (how do you calculate tithing, how did you arrive at this, etc.?). In my experience, when I have diplomatically done this, they have admitted that they weren't being honest, lacked the faith, etc. I've actually never had a declared full tithe payer who only paid tithing in stocks and real estate, and showed zero tithing.

Are people as incensed about bishops wanting to go through bank statements with people wanting significant welfare assistance (housing, utilities, car, food, other bills, etc.)? This can be embarrassing and invasive (I wouldn't want to, either), but often people with bad habits won't change unless you outline for them in black-and-white why they actually wouldn't need assistance if they allocated their money appropriately. Sometimes, this is necessary (and I was always bad cop with this --- I know of some bishops who make the RS president do this. Like my sister currently. I think this is for the judge in Israel, and it's not fun). 

Edited by rongo
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33 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Absent specific, personal revelation to the contrary, I don't think it's the Bishop's responsibility or stewardship to question Doctrine 612's declaration that he is a full tithe-payer.  As I said before, if he has a problem with Doctrine 612's declaration, he needs to take it up with: (1) his Stake President and/or (2) Church Headquarters, in that order.  (But again, whaddo I know? I've only ever dealt with Church Hindquarters ... ;) :D)

Point taken. 
 

But revelation usually doesn’t just come out of the blue. Usually, it’s after a period of fact finding, investigation, study — call it what you will. I call it due diligence. 

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17 minutes ago, rongo said:

A lot of members are okay, in theory, with leaders having revelation and inspiration, as long as it remains safely in theory and they aren't actually judges in Israel. And that revelation had better never inspire them to ask follow-up questions to the listed TR questions, or to not sometimes (not that common, actually) take tithing settlement declarations at face value. He should functionally just be a check-marking, record-keeping clerk. 

But what if this actually happens? Should the bishop ignore and not act on it? What's it to him?

The short answer to this, for me, is that there are members who have repented of not being full tithe payers only because I questioned their declaration. This usually meant asking them how they arrived at that or how they figured it, not outright calling them out on it. None of these people would have repented if I had just gone with their (admittedly, false, after the fact) original declaration. I believe that tithing settlement is an actual ordinance-type thing, not just a glorified online checklist the member could just do on their lds.org login (maybe it will come to that yet).

The fact of the matter is that when the bishop sits down to actually hand-enter the declarations (I never had a clerk do it; I did it myself), the tithing and other donation amounts appear next to the names, so even if a bishop is determined not to ever even check statements, he will see it in black-and-white when he enters their status in the system. If members haven't paid tithing at all, according to MLS, or if they pay tithing but no fast offerings (I also used tithing settlement to invite people to bring their "tithes and offerings into the storehouse," not just tithing), this is very apparent when entering the statuses into the system. Should people never be asked about this? 

 

 

But I asked what it was to Ahab, not the bishop.

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1 hour ago, Ahab said:

I would be the one lying if I said a member was a full tithe payer when that member had not paid a full tithe.  I don't want to be the gullible type of person who will just believe whatever anyone tells me.

You don't need to remark on another member's tithing status either way.  You aren't their bishop.  So, as a lay member of a ward, what is it to you if they are lying?

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4 hours ago, 2BizE said:

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.

I have never met a Bishop who I suspect thought anything like what you are suggesting.

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1 hour ago, katherine the great said:

Would you require everyone to bring in all of their paystubs? Bank statements? Interview everyone who may have given them a gift? That’s a large burden for a Bishop. I would assume the members are adults and put the burden on them instead of micromanaging everyone.  

Yeah, the only time you are supposed to ask for all that is in a welfare situation and it is often like pulling teeth in that situation.

1 hour ago, Ahab said:

I would be the one lying if I said a member was a full tithe payer when that member had not paid a full tithe.  I don't want to be the gullible type of person who will just believe whatever anyone tells me.

No, you would not be lying. You would be deceived. Let's say you theoretically are the Bishop and you suspect someone of being untruthful. What do you do? Demand paystubs? Bank records? If they refuse as an invasion of their privacy do you take the initiative on your own to guess their status?

If you lie about your tithing status and are dedicated shamelessly to that lie you can get away with it. That is the nature of the beast.

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39 minutes ago, bluebell said:

You don't need to remark on another member's tithing status either way.  You aren't their bishop.  So, as a lay member of a ward, what is it to you if they are lying?

To what degree, in the Church, do we view salvation/Zion as a communal effort such that individual noncompliance may threaten the health of the entire endeavor?  Particularly in matters of temple recommend worthiness, where we are under collective obligation to let no “unclean” thing into the temple?

I don’t know where the line should appropriately be drawn.  I certainly don’t want a rat-on-your-neighbor mentality to become pervasive in the Church.  But I don’t think we’re being honest, or consistent, if we simply say that other people’s shortcomings are absolutely never, under any circumstances, any of our business.  After all, even in a secular society we want tax cheats to be caught.  And in this discussion, we consider @Ahab’s potential inappropriate judginess to be very much our own business!

Edited by mgy401
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