Tag Archives: tithing

Laying Up Treasures


“If a destitute family is faced with the decision of paying their tithing or eating, they should pay their tithing.” – Elder Lynn Robbins

“To those of you who pay your tithing, I commend you. To those of you who presently are not obeying the law of tithing, I invite you to consider your ways and repent.” – Elder David Bendar

 

The LDS Church is, again, investing in commercial development.  Rather than using their vast holding to help the poor, the needy, the sick, or even their own financially struggling members, they are, instead, helping to build a new stadium in SLC.

One argument often made by LDS apologists is that donated tithing is not used for these commercial ventures.  Instead, The Church uses investment income from their commercial enterprises (one might ask why these exist) to re-invest in the new project.  I’ve written of this before, with regards to City Creek and The Deseret Ranches,  What came to mind today was the following analogy.  I give you:

 

Gospel Profits

Tommy: Hey, Gordie, can you give me some money? I really need some money to fix my bike.

Gordie: No problem, brother. How much do you need?

Tommy: Well, I’m not sure exactly, but if you could spare like, maybe 10% of what’s in your wallet, that might cover it.

Gordie: That seems a weird way to ask for it. But, since you’re my brother, and I love you, OK. Here’s $10.

Tommy: . . . . Are you sure that’s 10%?

Gordie: Sure. I’ve got $110, so I gave you $10.

Tommy: Well, but technically, 10% of $110 is $11.

Gordie: . . . .

Tommy: . . . . Don’t you want to help me? If you help me, I’ll help you.

Grodie: . . . . Fine. Here’s another $1.

Tommy: Thank you! Thank you!

<Several Weeks Later>

Gordie: Hey, Tommy! Looks like you got your bike all fixed up!

Tommy: Sure did! Also got these awesome stickers to make it go faster! And some sweet new biking gloves!

Gordie: Um. Where’d you get the money for stickers and gloves?

Tommy: Oh, well, so, before I got my bike fixed, I took the money you gave me and I bought some candy bars. Then I sold the candy bars door to door, and made $15! Then I used that $15 and bought more candy bars, and made $25!  At the end of two weeks, I had $130!  So, then I used $80 to fix my bike and used the rest to buy the stickers and gloves!

Gordie: But, I gave you that money to fix your bike.

Tommy: I know! Thank you SO much!

Gordie: But you had money left over? Shouldn’t you have paid me back with the excess, or at least saved the money so that you didn’t need to ask for money next time?

Tommy: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Gordie:  Well, could you at least help me mow the…

Tommy:  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! <rides away>

 

 

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon. – Matthew 6:19–21,24

 

The Lost Gospel According to Avarice

(This text has been translated from the previously sealed portions of The Book of Mormon)

Chapter 1

1. And it came to pass that Jesus did gather His prophet and his twelve apostles unto His embrace and He did look upon them and did see they were exceeding sad.

2. And it came to pass that Jesus did ask His prophet, “Wherefore art thou sad?”

3. And it came to pass that His prophet replied, “LORD, we have a mighty surplus of gold given into our care by the faithful disciples. It is exceedingly beautiful! But, yea, the gold sits in the dark vaults of various off-shore banks where the multitudes cannot enjoy its mighty splendor.”

4. And it came to pass that The Savior did look upon all of His church and saw many buildings of exquisite design, and meeting-houses most numerous.

5. And it came to pass that Jesus did dwell mightily upon using the gold in the sending of more missionaries to spread The Gospel unto the gentiles, but nay, He chose it not.

6. And it came to pass that Jesus did dwell mightily upon using the gold in the building of more temples and meeting-houses, but nay, He chose it not.

7. And it came to pass that Jesus did dwell mightily upon sending the ample surplus among those with disease in Liberia, or who lost all in Nepal, or Haiti, or the multitude of hungry children the world over, but nay, He chose it not.

8. And it came to pass that Jesus commanded His prophet, “Go! Takest thou a large portion of gold to King Becker, that he may have joy of it, and, with him, buildest thou a mighty shopping mall in the heart of Zarahemla! And, yay, ye are commanded to make a bridge across the sky, and a shop that contains over-priced devices of fruity disposition.”

9. And it came to pass that The Prophet did question The LORD saying, “My LORD, such a shopping mall shall not survive without fine establishments of gluttony, but such heathens will not enter into The Mall unless they be allowed to serve wine and strong drink.”

10. And it came to pass that Jesus said unto his apostles, “Fear not, for I am well learned in the matter of accounting. Taketh thou the lands devoted to gluttony and leaseth thou the land to a third-party holding company, who then, shall lease the land to the purveyors of sinful beverage, and thus thy hands have been washed as Pilate of old, and are stained with no sin.”

11. And it came to pass that The Prophet and his apostles did go to King Becker, and King Becker saw the gold, that it was good. And, yea, they did build up a shopping mall, even as The LORD hath commanded, and buildest a bridge across the sky, and an Apple Store, and even many restaurants that did serve many strong drinks, but via technicality, did not giveth money directly to The Prophet nor his apostles.

23. And it came to pass that many faithful disciples of The LORD did come unto The Prophet and question this use of their tithes. And one faithful servant did say, “Did not we give unto you this money to spread the gospel?”

24. And it came to pass that The Prophet answered him, “APOSTATE! Get thee behind me! Thou shalt not question The Prophets of God!” And the servant was cast among the gentiles.

25. And it came to pass that another faithful servant came unto The Prophet and asketh, “Would not it be more Christ-like to give any surplus tithes to the poor, needy, and sick?”

26. And it came to pass that The Prophet also named this servant an apostate, and did cast her from The Church, and into the wilderness of disbelief.

27. And it came to pass that the multitude of other faithful servants, who also did question the actions of The Prophet, grew exceeding fearful, for to commit apostasy was to journey into a hell of coffee, tea, wine, and blasphemous words.

Chapter 2

1. And it came to pass that The Prophet and apostles came unto The LORD, Jesus, with countenence exceeding sad.

2. And it came to pass that Jesus did say unto his servants, “Wherefore art thou sad? Hath thou not brought forth thy gold into the public so that they may gaze upon it with exceeding joy?”

3. And it came to pass that the servants of The LORD did speak, “Yea, but, verily, the shopping mall maketh a mighty profit, and thus our surplus gains more gold, which is hiddeth amongst the vaults of off-shore banks.”

4. And it came to pass that Jesus did dwell mightily upon using the vast surplus of gold to heal the sick and the weary, but nay, He chose it not.

5. And it came to pass that Jesus did dwell mightily upon using the massive quantities of gold to lessen the burden amongst the poorest of his faithful disciples, but nay, He chose it not.

6. And it came to pass that Jesus did call together his prophet and apostles and did command them, “Takest thou the grand surpluses even unto Flordia. And there thou shalt buy much cheap land in the central area, which is too far from Disneyworld to be valuable, but not to far as to be useless. There, thou shalt build a mighty cattle ranch.”

7. And it came to pass that The Prophet and the apostles looked on in awe.

8. And it came to pass that The Prophet and the apostles responded, “Yea! Even unto thy word! For, though the land be of little value now, in many years time, it shall maketh a mighty profit!”

9. And it came to pass that The LORD, Jesus, did nod and confirm their feelings, for, though The LORD did once give a commandment against, alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee, and the consumption of meat in non-famine times, Jesus knew that The LORD only meant the first four, and that the “meat thing” was merely suggestive.

10. And it came to pass that The Church did use the tithes of the faithful to buy up the land in the central of Florida, and they did create a great and spacious ranch in the raising of cattle.

Chapter 3

1. And it came to pass that The Prophet and the apostles did approach The LORD and they did hold upon their countenence exceeding sadness.

2. And it came to pass that Jesus did ask, “Wherefore art thou sad? Hath thou not brought forth thy gold into the public in the form of a shopping mall and also an enormous cattle ranch?”

3. And it came to pass that The Prophet did say unto The LORD, “Yea, but the cattle, much like unto the shopping mall, hath brough forth a greater surplus of gold.”

4. And it came to pass that Jesus did say unto his prophet and his apostles, “Thou hath given great effort unto the gospel. Giveth thyselves a raise in stipend and in living quarters.”

5. And it came to pass that The Prophet and the apostles replied, “Lo, we have done that already, a great many times. We dare not more glamorous decoration, lest the faithful disciples present questions and dissatisfaction.”

6. And it came to pass that The Savior, being wise in his thoughts and accounting, did council The Prophet and the apostles, “Fear not, for the mightly lands thou hast purchased for thy cattle are exceeding valuable. Taketh thy gold and visit The Government of Florida. Council the advisors therein that much of thy land may be developed into a city of glamor and of opportunity. Yea, it mayest be a beacon to our use of over-ample contributions given by faithful members, even unto their detriment, but that we may looketh awesome in the eyes of Our LORD, The Capitalist.”

A Quicksand of Deceit

“They are as sick that surfiet with too much as they that starve with nothing.” – William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

My wife and I have been known to give amounts of our income to charity.  When we do, we always attempt due diligence to ensure that they money we give is not being squandered. We visit Charity Navigator, and other websites in an attempt to learn how much of our money actually gets to the intended recipient. Some charities are just terrible; with overpaid CEOs and staff, extravagant management costs, buildings, fundraising costs, etc. As we want to help as many people as we can with our donation, we avoid those. Others, like The Road Home, do so much with so little, it’s hard not to want to give them more and more so that they can help everyone in need.

This is probably why I gasp in awe, wonder, and justifiable rage at the singular audacity of The LDS Church.

We’ve known for years that they hold profit making companies and corporations – largely renamed or built into a tangled web of corporations and holding companies in attempt to conceal direct involvement (Bonneville Communications, Property Reserve Inc, Deseret Ranches, etc.) For some reason, The LDS Church owning broadcast stations never bothered me. I thought it funny that they often aired the most euphemistic and humorously filthy shows on television (Will & Grace, Friends), but it didn’t really bother me. It seemed largely out in the open – everyone knew that KSL meant “LDS News”.

City Creek, on the other hand. That bothers me. That bothers me a lot. The LDS Church used tithed money – money they require from their parishioners in order to remain in Temple Worthy standing – to buy and build a giant for-profit shopping center. Not a church. Not a Temple. Not a meetinghouse. Not a humanitarian aid station. Rather, a glorious monument to excess, gluttony, and opulence.

But, the restaurants there will not sell alcohol, because Mormons consider drinking alcohol a vicious sin.

Oh. Well, rather than scare off all those exceedingly profitable eating establishments, who won’t come near a location upon which they cannot sell booze, The LDS Church chooses to manipulate their leasing and perceived ownership through a third party to make sure they can say, “We don’t profit from the selling of demon alcohol,” while profiting from the selling of demon alcohol.

I’ve seen it argued on LDS apologist websites that no tithed money was used. Nonsense. Accounting tricks may, apparently, fool God, but they do not fool me. The apologists claim that only dividends from previously invested tithed money was used to pay for the $1.5 billion shopping atrocity. Why was that money invested in dividend-providing accounts in the first place? Why does any tithed money go unused? Why is it not, instead, used to invest in future tithers – er – members? Why was that money not used to build more churches? Open more missions? Recruit more missionaries? Lower the financial burden for faithful missionary families. Increase humanitarian aid? Or – ha ha ha – reduce the amount of tithing that members are required to pay? I feel that at least one of those alternative investments might be something a certain Nazarene might feel comfortable in endorsing.

Not content with the success of its lecherous City Creek experiment, The LDS Church is seeking to build another monument to its seemingly true focus of worship; currency.

Under the name of ‘Deseret Ranches’ in Florida, The LDS Church is planning, along with other organizations, “a decades-long rise of a Central Florida metropolis of a half-million residents within a 133,000-acre corner of the county.

Revolting.

Mormon families are often counseled to pay their tithing first. A whopping 10% straight off the gross amount of their income. Before shelter. Before food. Before medical expenses. The Church needs have the first taste.

From the December 2012 issue of the church owned magazine, The Ensign:

If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing. If paying tithing means that you can’t pay your rent, pay tithing. Even if paying tithing means that you don’t have enough money to feed your family, pay tithing. The Lord will not abandon you.”

In my godless opinion, it is of the utmost immorality to ask this massive sacrifice of church members whilst The Twelve Apostles and other General Authorities are given generous stipends, who then use the monumental excess of tithed money (and their dividends), not to spread The Word of God into “Every corner of the Earth”, not to feed the starving, nor clothe the need, nor heal the sick and suffering, but rather to ensure that their coffers continue to overflow with glorious abundance.