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Tithing shakedown


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41 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

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. 

Perhaps.  I think the preparation that Bishops undergo to recognize and to receive the revelation that comes to them (what do I know, though?  I'll never be a Bishop, what with that whole "husband of one wife" thingy! ;) :rolleyes:) is not unlike the preparation that you and I undergo to do the same, even if the revelation we receive is different than that which they receive because of their added stewardship: Prayer, pondering, fasting, feasting upon the word, attending the Temple, and so on.

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1 hour 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?

Even if I were not the bishop of a ward of some other member it would still bother me to know that member of the Church lied during a temple recommend interview, 1) because it bothers me when members of the Church lie, 2) because it bothers me when people get temple recommends they are not worthy of, 3) because it bothers me when people do stupid things they will suffer for if they do not repent from them, 4) because it bothers me to think that as my brother's or sister's keeper (of a sort) that I then need to try to teach that member that they should not lie and should not have temple recommends they are not worthy of, and 5) because there are probably some other reasons it bothers me to know that members of the Church do stupid things like that as if they do not know any better.

My point though was that 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.  A bishop that doesn't do his job in the Church as he should may perhaps need some help to know how to get his job done correctly, and nice guy that I am, I would help that bishop to get the help that he needed to get.  Even though it would bother me at least a little bit to have to go to all of that trouble.

And by the way, all members of the Church are lay members unless you're referring to the very very few who get reimbursed with some money for the work that they/we do in the Church.  And yet we are all supposed to be trying to help each other.

Edited by Ahab
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5 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

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. ;)

What about the Danites?

When I was a branch president once upon a really long time ago, like you, I didn't feel it was my job to validate donations with tithing declaration. I wasn't called to be the equivalent of the IRS agent. But since it was a military ward and I knew what everyone's rank was, I had a pretty good idea of their incomes.

I'm actually in a similar situation with @Doctrine 612. I'm in England, and my money is all in the US. I pay my donations directly to the church via BillPay, except when I've paid local fast offering. The ward clerk and bishop here cannot see the amount of my donations, except for the FO, because instead of being associated with the ward, it's associated with Church HQ. But not having a particular need to keep it close to my vest, I print out the donation report and give it to the bishop so he can see that I am actually donating something. 

I do understand why someone would rather not have their donations out in even the limited "open" of the clerk and bishop. 

 

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Some callings require active, temple worthy, tithe paying members to fill the role.  Tithing settlement is one way information about members flows to the Bishop for these sorts of considerations.

On the other end of the spectrum, members seeking church assistance may get into a budgeting/personal finance arrangement that includes tithing.  Folks in such situations who don't follow up on their end of the plan, might have their church assistance cut off.  

In my dozen years in the clerk's office, I've heard umpteen stories of members not getting the church financial support they wanted, reacting by calling foul, getting mad at the bishop, and using words like "shakedown" at tithing settlement.  OP is one of the only times I've heard a member not seeking financial assistance use the "s" word.  (At least, I'm assuming there wasn't any assistance being sought.)

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40 minutes ago, mgy401 said:

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!

Like a good neighbor, Ahab is here.  

You're in good hands with Ahab.

Hmm, seems like a lot of insurance companies feel the same way that I do.

Put your shoulder to the wheel.  Push along.

Do your duty with a heart full of song.

We all have work.  Let no one shirk.  Put your shoulder to the wheel.

 

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11 minutes ago, Ahab said:

Like a good neighbor, Ahab is here.  

You're in good hands with Ahab.

Hmm, seems like a lot of insurance companies feel the same way that I do.

Put your shoulder to the wheel.  Push along.

Do your duty with a heart full of song.

We all have work.  Let no one shirk.  Put your shoulder to the wheel.

 

Weirdo. 😂

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11 hours ago, The Nehor said:

...............................................

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.

Back in the day when wards had to donate to a local building fund, bishops would inquire very directly about member finances in personal interviews in order to assess the ability to give.  There were "shakedowns" aplenty then.  Bishops no longer inquire into personal finances, and everyone is on his honor in declaring himself a full tithe-payer.

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4 minutes ago, katherine the great said:

That’s a completely different thing. That’s people taking resources from the organization (although they have likely contributed to it in the past). Tithing is about voluntarily giving. Yeah it would be weird for someone who lives extravagantly to give only a little but I don’t see any reason to grill them on it. They should know the difference between right and wrong. I say leave it in their laps. We are a church- not the Feds.  

Aren't bishops supposed to be able to detect liars, cheats, and thieves?  Just by inspiration?  The bishops I have known and worked for typically wrote a lot of checks for good causes, in addition to signing food orders.  I had to deliver a lot of those checks.  It appeared to me that they were for a good cause in every case.

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30 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I'm not saying the bold.  I'm specifically speaking to Ahab's comment where he said:  "I would prefer [the bishop] verify [someone is paying a full tithe] instead of just taking some member's word for it.  There are dishonest members and a bishop should ferret them out !!!"

I'm wondering why Ahab would prefer the bishop ferret out members who lie about tithing.  What's it to him?

Ahab is completely wrong:  It is only between the giver and the Lord.  No one else's business.

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10 hours ago, Doctrine 612 said:

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 liked it better when I believed I could dismiss anecdotes like this, as some fabrication by an unknown anti-Church twit.

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31 minutes ago, Chum said:

I liked it better when I believed I could dismiss anecdotes like this, as some fabrication by an unknown anti-Church twit.

"News Flash!  Bishops are people!  People are humans!  Humans are fallible!  More at 11!" :huh: 

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I've only perused the posts here. I'm missing some basic information. It appears that bishops ask LDS how much money they have donated as tithing? Or something similar? Does someone mind giving me the foundational information I'm missing. Thanks!

And, of course, if you mention shakedown, every deadhead is going to think of Shakedown Street: "nothing's shakin' on Shakedown Street!"

 

 

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10 minutes ago, MiserereNobis said:

I've only perused the posts here. I'm missing some basic information. It appears that bishops ask LDS how much money they have donated as tithing? Or something similar? Does someone mind giving me the foundational information I'm missing. Thanks!

And, of course, if you mention shakedown, every deadhead is going to think of Shakedown Street: "nothing's shakin' on Shakedown Street!"

 

 

At the end of the year the bishop holds a meeting (called a tithing settlement) where he meets with each member of his ward and they declared whether or not they are a full tithe payer.  They can also take this opportunity to make sure that what they have donated matches what the church records show they have donated.  No one is required to attend tithing settlement, but the bishop has to record whether or not every member is a full tithe payer (iirc this is because wards receive some funds based on the number of full tithe payers but I might be remembering that wrong) so it's easier for him if as many people actually go in as possible.

Edit to add the instructions from the Handbook:

The bishop holds tithing settlement near the end of each year. In urgent cases when the bishop is absent, the stake president may authorize one of the bishop’s counselors to conduct tithing settlement. However, such a need would be rare.

All members should attend tithing settlement to make sure their contribution records are correct and to declare to the bishop their status as tithe payers. If possible, all members of a family should attend tithing settlement.

In addition to reviewing records of members’ tithing, fast offerings, and other donations, during tithing settlement the bishop can discuss the principle of tithing with them, encourage them to give a generous fast offering, and discuss other relevant matters. At the time of tithing settlement, a clerk or a member of the bishopric could also review the Individual Ordinance Summary with members

Edited by bluebell
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As pointed out in Bluebell's post, the member declares to the bishop their tithing status, and the bishop records the declaration.

For the temple recommend reason raised above, why is answering yes to the "are you a full tithe payer" question different to answering yes to the "do you keep the law of chastity" question?

Should the bishop also have all members followed, and have spy cameras installed, to ensure that they are following the word of wisdom, not affiliating with apostate groups, living they law of chastity etc?

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46 minutes ago, bluebell said:

At the end of the year the bishop holds a meeting (called a tithing settlement) where he meets with each member of his ward and they declared whether or not they are a full tithe payer.  They can also take this opportunity to make sure that what they have donated matches what the church records show they have donated.  No one is required to attend tithing settlement, but the bishop has to record whether or not every member is a full tithe payer (iirc this is because wards receive some funds based on the number of full tithe payers but I might be remembering that wrong) so it's easier for him if as many people actually go in as possible.

Edit to add the instructions from the Handbook:

The bishop holds tithing settlement near the end of each year. In urgent cases when the bishop is absent, the stake president may authorize one of the bishop’s counselors to conduct tithing settlement. However, such a need would be rare.

All members should attend tithing settlement to make sure their contribution records are correct and to declare to the bishop their status as tithe payers. If possible, all members of a family should attend tithing settlement.

In addition to reviewing records of members’ tithing, fast offerings, and other donations, during tithing settlement the bishop can discuss the principle of tithing with them, encourage them to give a generous fast offering, and discuss other relevant matters. At the time of tithing settlement, a clerk or a member of the bishopric could also review the Individual Ordinance Summary with members

Thank you for clarifying! Now the posts I've perused make more sense. I don't think I'd like such a meeting, honestly, but then again Catholicism doesn't have a rule as to how much you should give, so there doesn't need to be a meeting with someone to determine if you've given that amount.

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44 minutes ago, bluebell said:

At the end of the year the bishop holds a meeting (called a tithing settlement) where he meets with each member of his ward and they declared whether or not they are a full tithe payer.  They can also take this opportunity to make sure that what they have donated matches what the church records show they have donated.  No one is required to attend tithing settlement, but the bishop has to record whether or not every member is a full tithe payer (iirc this is because wards receive some funds based on the number of full tithe payers but I might be remembering that wrong) so it's easier for him if as many people actually go in as possible.

Edit to add the instructions from the Handbook:

The bishop holds tithing settlement near the end of each year. In urgent cases when the bishop is absent, the stake president may authorize one of the bishop’s counselors to conduct tithing settlement. However, such a need would be rare.

All members should attend tithing settlement to make sure their contribution records are correct and to declare to the bishop their status as tithe payers. If possible, all members of a family should attend tithing settlement.

In addition to reviewing records of members’ tithing, fast offerings, and other donations, during tithing settlement the bishop can discuss the principle of tithing with them, encourage them to give a generous fast offering, and discuss other relevant matters. At the time of tithing settlement, a clerk or a member of the bishopric could also review the Individual Ordinance Summary with members

1) Wards are only funded based on their quarterly sacrament meeting attendance (although during these Covid months, who knows? Probably "frozen" at a set amount). Number of Melchizedek priesthood holders and full tithe payers factor into unit creation/divisions (i.e., feasibility, based on leadership and activity level), but don't affect funding. My wards were wards of around 220 attending on average, and this equated to about $13,000 annually for the ward budget (for comparison of larger and smaller ward attendance). 

2) The bolded and underlined portions of what you quoted from the handbook seems to run counter to what many have been claiming in this thread, viz., that the bishop should simply ask for a self-designation and wish them a good night. "Reviewing" donation records, discussing the principle of tithing, encouraging them to give generous fast offerings, and "discuss[ing] other relevant matters." 

Some here have insisted that no reviewing of donation records should ever take place. 

Thanks for posting this! 

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9 minutes ago, JustAnAustralian said:

For the temple recommend reason raised above, why is answering yes to the "are you a full tithe payer" question different to answering yes to the "do you keep the law of chastity" question?

Should the bishop also have all members followed, and have spy cameras installed, to ensure that they are following the word of wisdom, not affiliating with apostate groups, living they law of chastity etc?

Of course not. But, where there are concerns or red flags, a bishop can (and should, if he has concerns) ask follow up questions. For 99.9% of his members, their answers are fine on their own. 

If a member is witnessed violating things in the TR recommend interview, or if the bishop has reason to think that answers are untruthful (e.g., an article in local media for DUI or LoC violation, with a picture, etc. I've had that happen), but the member answers the right Yes/No answer, the bishop has to be bound by that answer, and cannot bring that up? Apparent gaps in tithing are similar --- they are in the "records" that are to be "reviewed" with the member during tithing settlement. 

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2 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

"News Flash!  Bishops are people!  People are humans!  Humans are fallible!  More at 11!" :huh: 

Lol, you got there first this time.  That was my response.  Bishops are human, they make mistakes.  And thank goodness!  Can you imagine how depressing it would be to be in the presence of infallible people when making mistakes oneself all the time?  Talk about instantly feeling like a failure.  Instead we are struggling together.  And all better for it if we allow ourselves to see the good in each other instead of being disappointed that they aren’t perfect.

Major mistakes...I am not suggesting they be ignored.  I am talking about stuff you would probably ignore from a too curious or busybody neighbor or relative. 

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, rongo said:

But, where there are concerns or red flags, a bishop can (and should, if he has concerns) ask follow up questions.

I've shared this experience on the forum before (though I can't find a link to it ...), but when I was last serving in the bishopric, the executive secretary booked a married couple in for temple recommend renewals with me. I interviewed the husband first. All good. Then I met with the wife. When it came time to ask about the law chastity, I strongly felt impressed that her 'yes' answer was not accurate. I had nothing material behind this, but the feeling was persistent, so I did take the opportunity to ask a couple of general follow-up questions. No, she insisted; everything was fine. So I signed the recommend.

Immediately afterwards, I contacted the bishop and told him what had happened, and then I contacted the stake president and shared my impression and asked that the counsellor who would meet with her exercise care in this area as well. He did so and reported back that she had affirmed her commitment to the law of chastity.

Just a short time later, she threw her husband out of the house and moved her boyfriend in.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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1 hour ago, MiserereNobis said:

I don't think I'd like such a meeting, honestly ...

I met with my bishop after church this past Sunday for this purpose. It was a sacred, warm, edifying experience that left me filled with gratitude for him, for the opportunity to tithe, and for the Lord's great goodness in my life.

One of the things that I hate most about the current pandemic is how much it has cut me off from regular interactions with my nerdy but wonderfully loving bishop. Being in his presence for even a few minutes is such a gift! 

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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