Friday, January 24, 2020

Mammon

Seek not after riches nor the vain things of this world; for behold, you cannot carry them with you.
—Alma 39:14 (LDS)

This post is specifically written to those who are still members of the LDS church, in hopes you will consider some scriptural truths in light of recent revelations. And though there’s bad news at the beginning of this post, there’s good news at the end.

I realize it’s old news by now that a whistleblower has reported the LDS Church’s Ensign Peak Advisors has accumulated approximately $124 Billion in tax-exempt investment accounts meant for charity, without ever distributing a single dollar to actual charity. Much of the commentary I’ve seen has addressed various facets of this story, without quite getting to the heart of the matter. I’ve read commentary by church members defending this accumulation, even marking it as a sign of God’s favor. Some have praised the church’s forethought, preparedness, and frugality, calling this accumulation inspired, godly, even prophetic.

At the risk of rehashing last month’s news, I’d like to make a few observations about the LDS Church and some notions that really should be considered by anyone who believes the scriptures. 

First, let’s look at the church organization. There actually is no legally organized church called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints. It doesn’t exist. That name is actually a trademark under which a number of different entities do business. Ultimately, the corporation that owns all the businesses is called The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (hereafter COP, short for Corporation of the President). This entity is a somewhat obscure sort of corporation, in that it does not have stock or stockholders. Rather, the entire corporation is vested in the person of the single owner, and that owner is whoever happens to be the most senior living apostle (and is, therefore, automatically, made President of the Church.) He literally, legally owns everything: the malls, the temples, the church buildings, numerous for-profit companies, the investment accounts, the land holdings, the historical documents, the office buildings, the universities, the commercial real estate projects, the money—all of it is his sole, legal property. 

Therefore, the moment you make a tithing donation, it becomes the legal property of this man to do with as he pleases, in secret, with no oversight whatsoever. All other donations are likewise his, and as noted on the donation slip, he is under no obligation whatsoever to do anything in particular with your donations, even if you mark them as donated for specific purposes like fast offerings or humanitarian aid.

Recent whistleblower documents indicate LDS church representatives have been dishonest about what they do with tithing, including directly spending tithing funds to build a lavish, luxury shopping mall while publicly denying this was the case. But no laws were broken; as I mentioned, the owner of the corporation can do whatever he wants with your money. It says so right on the donation slip. He can spend it on a luxury shopping mall if he wants to.

With that in mind, let’s talk about just how big this corporation is. To be short in writing, I’ll just lay out the facts directly. 

In terms of assets, the COP is likely within the top ten largest companies on earth. Probably even in the top 5. We’re talking about the upper stratosphere where companies are valued between $500 Billion and $1 Trillion. Keep in mind, though, that these other huge companies are all publicly traded. Apple and Microsoft may be worth a Trillion dollars each, but they are owned by, literally, millions of people who own billions of shares. Though the LDS church has millions of members, none of them have any claim whatsoever on the corporation or its assets; they own nothing. The COP is owned by one man, who owns everything.

This makes that man, currently Russell M. Nelson, easily the wealthiest man on earth, many times over. Let that sink in for a moment.

Even if we exclude all the other assets, the buildings, the businesses, the universities, the real estate, and so forth, and only focus on the Ensign Peak holdings of approximately $124 Billion dollars, he is STILL the wealthiest man on earth, handily beating the next-richest Jeff Bezos by about $14 billion. 

Likewise, the COP is likely the most cash-rich company in the world. According to the Financial Times, as of Aug. 2019, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, held $117 billion in liquid reserves, and Apple held $102 billion. The COP beats them both. 

Again, that’s just talking about the Ensign Peak holdings alone, and ignoring the majority of the corporation’s assets.

OK, just one other fact to point out. Given the average rate of return in the Ensign Peak accounts alone, this man makes about $24 million per day, or a cool $1 million per hour, in what amounts to interest. Let that sink in. The one you call prophet, seer and revelator makes about a million dollars per hour, 24/7/365. That’s around $17,000 per minute, or $275 per second in investment income alone. While you were busy reading this paragraph, Russell Nelson made ten thousand dollars in investment income—not including any donations that may have come in.

The COP has a serious problem. It—literally—cannot spend money as fast as it makes it. Even if the COP wanted to spend the assets as the Ensign Peak charter requires—on charitable causes to do good and bless lives—it’s nigh-on impossible to spend money that fast. But that’s OK because the COP doesn’t try to spend a dime of the Ensign Peak money on charitable causes. It simply continues to accumulate, and has done so for 22 years running, without giving a single penny to any charitable, educational, or humanitarian cause. In 22 years Ensign Peak has made only two distributions, and they were both made to bail out failing business ventures in for-profit businesses (which appears to be a legal no-no).

The COP’s press releases show it spends an average of $40 million per year on humanitarian aid and assistance. This works out to about a day and a half worth of interest income each year. That’s not even a rounding error in the corporation’s immense balance sheet. $40 million is, literally, chump change. Get out the yellow T-shirts and write up a press release.

The LDS church could do massive amounts of good with that kind of wealth. Rather than preaching to impoverished people living in squalor, about the need to give more money to the church, they could, instead, help with housing, safe water, adequate nutrition, and indoor plumbing for the poorest of their members. Doing so wouldn’t even make a dent in the interest, let alone the principle of the church’s vast, vast wealth reserve. With the assets at its disposal, the church could easily feed, clothe, house, educate, and provide medical care for ALL its impoverished members throughout the world. But it doesn’t. Instead, it sends well-paid ministers on first-class jets to ask the poorest to pay more tithing, even if it means going without necessities. 

I could keep going and laying out the picture ad nauseam. But frankly, I’m so tired and sickened by this story that I simply don’t have the stomach to give all the details. The bottom line is that the LDS church is unimaginably wealthy, and does almost nothing for the poor and needy, the sick and afflicted. 

So rather than continuing with ugly details, let’s get to what matters a whole lot more: God’s word, as recorded in scripture. Our Lord addressed this very situation, in detail, in the Sermon on the Mount, and in the Sermon at Bountiful:
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. (Matt. 6:24 KJV; see also 3 Nephi 13:24 LDS emphasis added) 
That word, mammon, sometimes causes misunderstanding. I’ve been told throughout my life that mammon simply means money or wealth. That’s sort-of true, but the more accurate definition comes from the Aramaic root of the word. It’s not just money; rather mammon refers to the accumulation of money or wealth.



And this makes good sense. We all have to earn and use money to live in this world. Our Lord himself also used money, and even paid taxes. So it’s not money that is the problem. It’s excessive accumulation that creates the problem. If your focus is on accumulation of inordinate amounts of wealth, you—by definition—cannot do the things the gospel requires. You know, things like—
“…to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.”   (Jacob 2:19 LDS) 
The Lord directly stated you CANNOT serve God and mammon. Period. Therefore, by the Lord’s direct statement, the LDS church cannot serve God. It engages in the sort of accumulation that is the very definition of mammon, and is extraordinarily successful at it. If you argue against this reasoning, you might as well accept the fact your argument is not with me. It is with our Lord, who made the statement, and left no room for exception.

I’ll also add that when the LDS church leadership publicly claims they use these assets to serve God, they are claiming to do what is impossible. To put it more directly, they are lying. Oh, I understand they may think they’re serving God by accumulating a stupefying hoard of wealth, and they may have the best of intentions with what they plan to someday do with all that money—like build a trillion-dollar city in Florida—but they are only deceiving themselves. Nowhere in scripture is there any teaching that supports what they are doing—yet we can find many direct statements calling this what it is: Evil. 
O ye wicked, and perverse, and stiffnecked people, why have you built up churches unto yourselves to get gain?…Behold, the Lord hath shewn unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which must shortly come at that day when these things shall come forth among you. Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shewn you unto me, and I know your doing, and I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts…For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted. O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies? Because of the praise of the world? Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and the needy, and the naked, and the sick, and the afflicted to pass by you and notice them not? Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain? And cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground for vengeance upon your heads? Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you, and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer. (Mormon 4:5 NC emphasis mine)
Moroni saw the readers of the Book of Mormon, and their church. Look again at what he had to say about it. Do you think he was kidding? Or referring to someone else? This is important—in fact, it is vital. If you believe his words even slightly, the behavior of your church must give you pause. Likewise, if his words don’t cause you serious reflection and concern, then you really don’t believe them.

Here are some questions to consider before you write that next tithing check:
  1. Do you really believe the scriptures above? Do your church leaders? 
  2. Christ was born poor and humble. He died that way as well. He never accumulated any worldly wealth, but rather spent his life giving and blessing others. Should his church do the opposite? 
  3. Did he intend for his church to become one of the wealthiest corporations in the world, led by the richest man in the world, which refuses to do more than lip service to helping the poor, even among their own members? Is this a sign of God’s favor? Is this what true religion is supposed to accomplish?
  4. Can you find any example in scripture of a true prophet being fabulously wealthy, let alone the wealthiest man on earth? Go ahead…I’ll wait. No? What does this mean to you?
  5. Some have argued that the Catholic church is far wealthier than the LDS church. Two thoughts here. First, each diocese of the Catholic church holds its own assets as its own corporation, not owned by the Pope. The thousands of corporations that make up the “Catholic church” are not all owned by one man, nor owned by the Vatican. So…no. The LDS church and Russell M. Nelson are wealthier than the Pope. But second, and more important, do you really mean to justify the actions of the LDS church by citing the actions of the Catholic church? Is that justification?
  6. The LDS church claims its vast reserves are necessary against a coming day of scarcity. And so it has accumulated enough reserves to run the church for decades, or possibly permanently, without tithing revenue. What does this demonstrate about the leadership’s mentality? Are they working by faith or by fear? 
  7. D&C 107 states the Quorum of the Twelve is equal in authority and power with the First Presidency. With that in mind, consider the following excerpt from the whistleblower report:

    Boyd K. Packer—when he was next in line to succeed then-President of the COP, Thomas S. Monson—came to Mr. Clarke wanting to know how much Ensign Peak had amassed and the details of its structure. Mr. Clarke told Mr. Packer that he could not share such details. Mr. Packer said, “I think I should know. I’m the most senior Apostle and President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and I’m a breath away from being the next Prophet. I think I should be prepared.” Mr. Clarke reaffirmed that he had been instructed not to reveal that information to Mr. Packer, who went away perturbed and unsatisfied, as related to the whistleblower by Richard B. Willes, the Head of Fixed Income at EPA at the time.

    With that in mind, are the Twelve really “equal in authority and power” with the first presidency, as required by D&C 107:24? If not, who is really
    running the church? Why is the head of Ensign Peak higher in authority than the President of the Quorum of the Twelve? Who is really next in line to the President? Is the church run by the prophets, or the money managers?
  1. And given the above, do the General Authorities really know anything about the church they represent? I honestly feel sorry for them, as I believe they were taken by surprise by these revelations, just like everyone else. I pity the poor GA 70 at some stake conference who gets asked to answer questions about the vast wealth he didn’t know the church has, and has to make up some phony non-answer on the spot. 
  2. Does all the secrecy surrounding the church’s wealth have any connection to “them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? And who knoweth us? (2 Nephi 11:21) What does it mean to seek deep to hide counsel from the Lord? Why doesn’t the LDS church make their financial information known to the members who provide the donated funds? Nearly all other churches do…
  3. When chronically underpaid church employees are told year after year that there is no money for raises, even to keep up with inflation, and they are lucky to work for the Lord’s church, is that really accurate? Should they suffer below-market wages while working for one of the wealthiest corporations on earth? Does this have anything to do with Malachi’s condemnation of “those that oppress the hireling in his wages?” (Malachi 3:5)
  4. If church leaders have lied about the collection and use of tithes and offerings, what do they love more? Truth, or money? Whom do they serve? God or mammon?

What Can You Do?

In the face of the above scriptural passages and associated questions, how do you defend the church’s unbelievable hoarding of wealth and shearing of sheep? If you’re troubled by the things written here, if you find your church’s behavior unscriptural, if you value God’s word over man’s actions, I’d like to suggest there is a better alternative.

The Lord’s Marvelous work, all but dormant since Joseph Smith’s death, has begun again. A new dispensation is upon us, and those who will hear the Lord’s voice are receiving revelation, gathering in fellowships of equals, caring for the poor among them, attempting to live by God’s word, and preparing for Zion. If you believe in the divine mission of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and the other revelations, but don’t believe in gargantuan corporations that hoard wealth while grinding the face of the poor, please rest assured there IS a way to live true to God without supporting the LDS corporate church. 

In this blog, you can find out more information about the Lord’s work now underway. Here are a few posts to consider:





If you want to experience the restored gospel without the corporate church—among other believers who actually do attempt to study and live the gospel covenant and care for the poor among them, please check out Fellowship Locator to find other believers near you.

And now, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, can ye withstand these sayings? Yea, can ye lay aside these things and trample the Holy One under your feet? Yea, can ye be puffed up in the pride of your hearts? Yea, will ye still persist in the wearing of costly apparel and setting your hearts upon the vain things of the world? Upon your riches?
—Alma 5:53 (LDS)

Update Feb. 21, 2020: After I wrote this post, the Wall Street Journal published a large story on this topic, including interviews with the Presiding Bishop of the church, and with Roger Clarke, head of Ensign Peak. None of them denied the whistleblowers' allegations, and they confirmed efforts to keep this fund hidden from the members of the church, including efforts to hide the money in more than a dozen shell companies. They cited fear that members would be less inclined to donate if they knew the extent of the church's wealth. They also verified that the fund was tapped for building City Creek Mall and bailing out Beneficial Life. It appears the facts are undisputed and, in fact, verified by the church. 

The only open question is whether any of this matters from a religious perspective. If this were solely a business, nobody would have anything to say about it, nor would there be anything to hide. But because this business claims to be a church, questions of doctrine, faith, and even tax law all come into play. 

The most important consideration, however, remains the question of whether this fund and the church's actions can be reconciled with the teachings of Jesus Christ. 


35 comments:

  1. I knew the temptation would be too great to once again not preach the gospel but to attack the church and its members. As soon as the greedy "whistleblower" went public with his misunderstanding of finance, I knew Adrian wouldn't be able to help himself. We appreciate your genuine concern but remember the building you're in as you mock us who are still on the path, has no foundation.

    I have no problem with church handling of finances. I paid more tithing the past two years than ever before and I've personally been blessed for it. By the way we're not asking anyone to pay "more" tithing. There no such thing. Either you pay tithing or you don't and its 100% voluntary. Where does it say in scripture to not pay tithing if you're poor? All blessings come by obedience even if it's a widow's mite. Encouraging people to not pay tithing only withholds the blessings. There are so many problems with your post but at least you're consistent.

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    1. Hey Remnant!

      Always a pleasure!

      As you complimented my consistency, I likewise compliment yours. Rather than addressing the actual message of the post, you have simply attacked the messenger, which I don’t mind, as long as it was therapeutic for you. You, too, are consistent.

      Rather than getting into endless arguments where I dismantle each of the statements you made, and you rebut with more unsupported assertions (which would be tedious work indeed!) why not address the actual point of the post?

      Since you have no problem with the church handling of finances, this is a prime opportunity for you to present your reasoning. Please consider addressing the following items from the post:

      1. Your church has monetized religion to the point that your prophet is likely the wealthiest man on earth.

      2. Your church has hoarded enough resources to significantly change the world for the better, but refuses to do so, despite the scriptural requirements laid on all believers.

      3. This accumulation directly defies the Lord’s clear command against laying up treasures on earth and serving mammon. Christ specifically stated that this is the OPPOSITE of serving God. Was he wrong?

      4. According to the whistleblower’s documentation, the LDS church used tithing funds to pay for a luxury shopping mall and to bail out a failing insurance business, but publicly and emphatically claimed they did not. Were they lying?

      5. And finally, in light of the direct scriptural commands against hoarding and accumulating wealth, can you please address why it is actually good to do so, rather than helping desperately poor church members or doing other works to bless lives, and why you have no problem with it? I’m genuinely curious to hear.

      I wrote this post because I personally know people who are dismayed and disgusted that their tithing money has served no useful purpose whatsoever, and their leaders have hidden the truth through disingenuous statements and outright lies. They are struggling and hurting. How would you comfort them?

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    2. Yes remnant tithing in the LDS chur6 is voluntary however if you don't pay you don't get a temple recommend.

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    3. What a perfect example of all of the ignoring of the words of the scriptures, and brushing off the actions of the church because "I'm ok with it", that I have seen the past few weeks! Because as we all know, Christ said that scriptures are irrelevant as long as we're all collectively OK with the alternative! ALL IS WELL IN ZION!

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    4. Adrian and Uknown,

      I'm happy to dialogue using scripture, however the last two times we did a deep dive - you not only stopped allowing my comments, you removed my comments and stopped accepting comments at all on the post. Why? My comments in those specific posts weren't disparaging, but they did illustrate a different narrative and understanding of the scriptures than you were using, to show that your conclusions couldn't hold up to scripture. If so, then why not correct my comments instead of deleting them all? (TWICE) There are real issues with your scriptural interpretations. The scriptures should all fit nicely together, but when I present ideas that don't work with yours, you censor the comments. It's your prerogative, but if you're really trying to reach us wandering lost souls, have an answer, don't shut down the dialogue. That echoes of all of the wrong you profess on the church's dissenters. Perhaps you can now relate?

      The scriptures are written to individuals, not institutions.

      re-read your posted scripture of Mormon 4:5 (NC) and apply it to yourselves:

      This verse is directed to all those who were of the church and have turned to persecute the saints and even kill the saints as in the early days of church. Many of which after leaving the church, built up their own churches, for gain and praise of the world.

      "why have you built up churches unto yourselves, to get gain?" "O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ?"

      When you join the church and are baptized, you take upon you the name of Christ. You've become ashamed and leave and persecute the church. You stop paying tithing, and withhold your money and become cankered.

      In the early days those who fought the church, did so unto bloodshed.

      "Yea, why do ye build up your secret abominations to get gain? And cause that widows should mourn before the Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground for vengeance upon your heads."

      Your "preaching" pollutes the church and causes people to not obey laws and commandments, which ultimately limits their blessings.

      Obedience to Laws and Commandments brings blessings when done in faith, Period!

      Keep a law or commandment and benefit from the promised blessings, always! Don't and receive not!

      "There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—

      And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated."

      "Yea, blessed are they whose feet stand upon the land of Zion, who have obeyed my gospel; for they shall receive for their reward the good things of the earth, and it shall bring forth in its strength."

      "Who am I that made man, saith the Lord, that will hold him guiltless that obeys not my commandments?

      Who am I, saith the Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled?

      I command and men obey not; I revoke and they receive not the blessing.

      Then they say in their hearts: This is not the work of the Lord, for his promises are not fulfilled. But wo unto such, for their reward lurketh beneath, and not from above."

      Your continual attacks on the members of the church with the scriptures that pertain to you, will only canker your souls.

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    5. Remnant,

      Your comment is a perfect illustration of the principle of cognitive dissonance.

      It’s human nature that we all find it extremely uncomfortable to be wrong, especially on important questions. Therefore, when presented with clear, even irrefutable evidence that a held opinion is wrong, the immediate, even unconscious, human tendency is to instantly invent a new narrative, no matter how irrational, to explain how the initial idea held is actually right, even when clearly wrong.

      The LDS church has clearly acted against the Lord’s direct commandment. This is clear and irrefutable, and we both know it. But you have stated that you are paying more than ever into the cause, and that you are fine with it. I asked you specific clear questions regarding the scripturally of your view and the Church’s actions. These are uncomfortable questions, because facts are stubborn things. You simply can’t get around the Lord’s emphatic statement regarding laying up treasure and serving mammon.

      So here’s the narrative you’ve invented to avoid being wrong:

      1. I’m actually the one who is wrong because I stopped taking comments on a couple of blog posts (including ALL comments, positive or negative), and let them stand, comment free. This, of course, has nothing at all to do with the question at hand. If you weren’t hiding behind a cowardly cloak of anonymity, I would have gladly reached out to you to discuss this before I made the decision…but I can’t, because you hide.

      2. Scriptures are written to individuals, not institutions. So…the problem is actually the individuals who have made the decisions to hoard this money and not help the poor? You mean the church leaders? The Lord will hold them personally accountable? I couldn’t agree more. You have correctly indicted the upper leadership of the church, who have ignored Christ’s word. Obviously institutions don’t make these decisions; people do.

      3. The scriptures about about “building up churches to get gain” and “loving money and substance more than the poor and needy” actually apply to me, and not to the LDS church that has amassed an incomprehensible fortune. Wow. That’s about as rational as “I know you are, but what am I?”

      4. Paying money to the church brings blessings, which will not be received without purchasing them in this way. This is known as the “prosperity gospel, and is absolutely false and unscriptural. I wrote about that in this post: https://www.totheremnant.com/2016/03/the-name-of-jesus-christ-part-3-gospel.html

      5. And finally, you’ve wrapped it all in a personal attack against me, complete with false accusations, numerous false statements, misrepresentations, and absurdities that would take pages and pages to unpack. This technique is known formally as the “Gish Gallop” and informally as the Firehose of Falsehood (at least in polite circles). The idea is to overwhelm your opponent with so much garbage that it’s simply not feasible or worthwhile to even address the steaming pile of falsehood.

      I realize it’s painful and breaks your whole worldview. I’ve been there and it’s hard, and you do have my sympathy. But the facts remain. You can attack the messenger all you want, but the facts won’t go away. Why not address the actual points of this post, as I laid out in the five questions I asked before, plus the bonus question in the final paragraph of my first response?

      I notice you have not answered them.

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    6. Hi Adrian,

      I'm no a coward. The reason I don't use my name is because I don't want anyone to search my name and end up reading this blog and fall into the pit dug (targeted) to ensnare the people of the Lord. If you are honest, and your post's first sentence says as much, you are trying to get members to leave the church. That's irrefutable!

      I've dialogued with some from this blog using my real name.

      To your point, there are others on this blog who are cowards and dishonest having one foot in and one foot out of the church. Openly attending and pretending even lying and justifying but quietly, secretly fighting against the Church of the Lamb and the Saints. I don't hear you calling them out. The ends justify the means, even in integrity apparently. But I shouldn't bring that up because the leaders of the church aren't honest, right? that was the argument the last time I brought this up. Honestly, that's cognitive dissonance to the definition.

      You also stated, you've given me "irrefutable evidence". That sounds like the House Impeachment committee, where you silence the opposition, and then claim there is no opposition and all claims are without counter evidence or argument yet, even though you have "irrefutable evidence" you need more.

      The truth, is the future as you see it and the future as I see it are drastically different. Our interpretations are at times complete opposite. (and yet I do understand where you are coming from or at least the way you interpret it) According to your "view-point" you can't see a reason for what the church is doing and even if you could, it wouldn't matter because you would fight it.

      Only one of our groups is fighting the Church the Lord setup "the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth".

      You believe the times of the Gentiles has ended and so you can't comprehend it. You believe the "fulness of the Gentiles" is something different than it actually is, and so you you can't comprehend it.

      Again, you attack the church and the members (because you don't understand - and because you don't understand, you presume and arrive at your own limited conclusions).

      Here's a question similar to my previous post about taking the gospel to the Jews. What are you doing to alleviate poverty? Why not proactively address that rather than attack the church?

      Lastly, I'm curious to why you did remove my comments? do you not feel that you could give the reasoning in your blog? I'd love to hear because from my perspective, you couldn't answer my claims and so you removed them.

      Perhaps you'll take the time to squash my argument if you really are trying to reach us fools who are still on the path.







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    7. Hi Remnant,

      Oops, you did it again. Your entire comment centers on attacking me, rather than actually addressing the topic of this post. You complain that I don’t post your comments, and then you put out stuff like this that wastes everyone’s time.

      I’ll point you, again, to the topic of this post and the questions I asked you. The LDS church has become one of the wealthiest corporations on earth, and the President of the LDS church is likely the wealthiest man on earth. Our Lord specifically prohibited this behavior, calling it the opposite of serving God. Ancient prophets saw our day, and the readers of the Book of Mormon, and were appalled by what they saw. They called the holy church of God “polluted.” In my blog I quoted the words of scripture and the words of Christ—and you accuse me of trying to mislead people.

      Your problem is not with me, and it is not with the LDS Church. It is with the teachings of Christ. I suggest you take up your arguments and accusations with Him.

      I don’t see any point in continuing to post your off-topic personal attacks. I’m not offended by them, but they waste everyone’s time and do you no credit, particularly when they are wildly off base.

      As an example, you said: “Here's a question similar to my previous post about taking the gospel to the Jews. What are you doing to alleviate poverty? Why not proactively address that rather than attack the church?”

      In that previous post about the Jews, I wrote about the LDS Church’s documented efforts to fight against the Father’s Marvelous Work by actively preventing the Book of Mormon from going to the Jewish people. You implied I had no moral authority to write on the topic because I wasn’t doing anything for the Jews either

      Your accusation about the Jews was incredibly ironic. I’ll point you to this post, which showed up two posts after you made your baseless accusation:

      https://www.totheremnant.com/2019/10/the-end-part-7-beginning.html

      Your current question about helping the poor falls into the same category, and scores zero points. You don’t know what you don’t know.

      Attacking the messenger is a poor alternative to heeding the message. My intent is not to criticize the church for the sake of criticism. There are yet people to save, and I will continue to raise the warning voice whenever I have the opportunity, in hopes of saving some few from the coming judgments.

      https://www.totheremnant.com/2014/09/finding-fault-or-feeding-faith.html

      I realize how painful this is for you and for so many others. The words of Christ condemn us all, and confronting our shortcomings is not easy. It takes a great deal of humility to change course when we’re mistaken. I pray you’ll ignore me, and instead open your heart to message of the post. Time is short.

      PS: Communicating in a comment section sucks. Let's have lunch sometime. I would love to be your friend, even if we don't see eye to eye.

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    8. Remmanant of Joseph if you have no problem with the church handling finances or mishandling tithes then you need to reconsider your morals. The fact that you have been blessed for paying tithes to a Corporation has nothing to do with their wickedness. You would have been just as blessed if you had given your tithes to any other institution. That is the mistake members make, they associate their perceived blessings with the institution.

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    9. Adrian, I would not mind having lunch with you. I live in Meridian.

      BTW- this is not painful for me personally. I'm not having a faith crisis. I've been shown things that add light to many of the things you criticize based on your incorrect conclusions on a number of levels.

      I'm not ignorant and I don't blindly follow. From your perspective you may disagree, but you don't know what I know. I'll leave it at that for now.

      In order to complete the argument and criticism of church finances and tithing/fast offerings, etc. we need to first agree on what you believe is the Lord's way for taking care of the poor.

      If you have ever been in a position of regularly serving the poor, (I have) then you'll soon realize that throwing money at the poor is not the answer. Also, when we discuss "poor" we should also qualify what type of poor we are discussing. Extreme poverty, (those without food and water) should be looked at differently than what we traditionally group as "poor" and I agree, they should be helped at all costs. however, "Poor" is a relative term and when helping the poor is done in the wrong way, not the Lord's way, it weakens and destroys and even enslaves them to dependency. As with the welfare system in the United States, people become dependent upon government rather than God. Instead of getting on their knees, they get on the phone. Instead of exercising faith, they forget God and they are robbed of growth due to good intended law makers.
      "Wo unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;

      2 To turn away the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!

      Most of the giving should take place from person to person or family to family so that the hearts can connect and faith can be fostered, not by government or institutions. It's a much more delicate topic than you all seem to make it to be. I'd recommend watching the documentary Poverty, Inc. to shed some light on the good intentions of helping the poor that actually hurt them in the long run.

      Also, you can argue all you want but it's abundantly clear that the Lord established the Law of the Fast to take care of the poor. If we all fasted regularly, hunger would be eliminated. Tithing is for establishing and growing the church and preaching the gospel. They two purposes should not be mixed.

      There will come a time in the near future where the funds will be needed to purchase lands and build the New Jerusalem in preparation for the Lord's return. In addition, the gospel has yet to go to the nations in full. I know your views are different on this however, we will see.

      continued--

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    10. I believe the stewards of the funds have been wise. The market has more than doubled in the last several years. If they hadn't invested the complaints would still be that the church has too much money. The 2 billion dollar mall investment has served multiple purposes but shouldn't be looked at differently than any other investment the church has done, as it yields dividends and additional growth that will eventually serve for gospel purposes.

      Any "mishandling" of funds as you call it, (or losses) is to be expected when investing funds whether actually tithing or the growth of the tithing. Either way, the growth has outperformed the losses, so the complaint should be mute.

      If you all were around when Joseph was here, you'd be with the group that was attacking him for "mishandling" funds even though there was much more to the story.

      You don't understand the purposes and so you criticize them.

      The argument that Russell M. Nelson is arguably, the "richest" man in the world is silly and demonstrates your disdain.

      I would love to hear how you would help the poor if you had the churches finances. What would you do and how would you do it in the Lord's way?

      And, since you all have left the church, are you giving a full tithe and are you giving a generous fast to help the poor? If not, start there.

      Anonymous-

      "corporation" is thrown around a lot as a mean spirited term. "Things get complicated, however, when you consider that thousands of U.S. corporations are, in fact, religious. They're called churches. As nonprofit “religious corporations” under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, churches enjoy a variety of legal benefits." NewYorker

      Whether you agree or not, tithing is still a law and there are blessings associated with obeying it. I can't deny that!



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  2. Your statement "There actually is no legally organized church called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" was correct until 06/19/2019, when amended and restated articles of incorporation of the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop were filed with the Utah Division of Corporations by Bishop Causse. (Utah entity No.553976-0145)

    A little background, on 10/19/2018, someone at the COB filed a name reservation with the Utah Division of Corporations on behalf of the Presiding Bishopric, and reserved the name. When the amended articles of incorporation were filed by Bishop Causse, it changed the name of "The Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" to just "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints".

    Interestingly, the amended articles state that "the corporation has no members", and also state, "No part of the net income or assets of the corporation shall ever inure to the benefit, within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, of the incumbent (defined as the President of the Church) or any private person."

    Your analysis, however, is 100% correct regarding the Corporation of the President and the focus of TSCC. You are also correct that the "Church" is a registered trademark, and owned by Intellectual Reserve.

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    1. Wow, this is excellent information. Thank you for your research. Evidently there is now a corporation called "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Interesting that they finally got that done, less than a year ago.

      Of course, playing with the names didn't change the structure of anything. Kind of reminds me of all the other things that have been renamed under. Pres. Nelson.

      By the way, for those who don't know the acronyms in your comment, here are the definitions:

      COB=Church Office Building (i.e. headquarters)
      TSCC=The so-called "church"

      Thanks for the great info!

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  3. Churches built up to get gain shall be consumed as stubble 2 Ne:22:23
    Gold & Silver are the desires of Great & Abominable Church 1 Ne 13:8

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  4. Adrian,

    I didn't know that the Catholic Church Corporate Sole (who is the Pope) was decentralized, into what I assume is thousands of other corporate soles, thereby denying the Pope as the wealthiest man on earth. Where does the Pope rank, do you know?

    I just discovered the following wonderful quote this week, in which you can see concepts such as Mammon and tithing/ how it should be paid in this inspired statement:

    Lao Tzu says:

    "...Having wealth in excess.
    They are called thieving braggarts.
    This is definitely not the Way...

    "It is the Way of Heaven
    To remove where there is excess
    And add where there is lack.
    The way of people is different:
    They take away where there is need
    And add where there is surplus.” - 53 & 77

    The Church leaders here would be called "thieving braggarts". How's that? God says, "ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?" Malachi ends that chapter with declaring how we will return and "discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth not [or serves Mammon]"! (Mal 3).

    I've heard time and again in the Church tithing taught along these lines: Everything we have is God's. He's even given us our lives, and this planet to live on and the air to breathe. So giving Him back 10% of what is already His is a small sacrifice, and it's paid by faith.

    But the Church is guilty of hoarding over a 10th of a Trillion dollars, and only giving a small percentage to the poor.

    If the Church, according to his teachings, lived the law of tithing, it would not be giving $40 million, but over $10 billion dollars a year to "the least of these".

    And, come to think of it, what about "take no thought for the morrow" Matt 6:34)? That also seems to destroy the Church's justification for hoarding such surplus.

    I'm gonna re-read some of your blog. It's a treasure in my view. Thank you!

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  5. Interesting about the definition if Mammon. It makes me wonder more (because I've thought about this at times through the past years) about the legitimacy of saving for retirement. The parable of the man who filled his barn full of food and then his life was required of him was the main seed for my wondering.

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    1. I don't see anything wrong with making provision for your future, following the principle of "sufficient for your needs." The point of the barn parable, the definition of mammon, and frankly this whole post has to do with laying up in store such a ridiculous amount as to be hundreds or thousands of times what is needed, while doing almost nothing to help the poor.

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  6. It's also important to point out a few things about tithing since people seem to get it very wrong IMO.

    1. Tithing is a law, not a commandment. Commandments are given with instructions and either promised blessings or cursings. Laws are simple cause and effect. In D&C 119 the Lord says multiple times that tithing is a law and not once says it is a commandment. He says that if the law of tithing is followed then the land shall be sanctified as Zion. Unfortunately members preach that tithing is a means of gaining prosperity from God in exchange for money. They claim to receive blessings from God when God has not promised these blessings as a consequence of following this law.

    2. Tithing is for the establishment of Zion. In the D&C God establishes the storehouse for the poor and calls bishops as stewards over the stores. In Genesis, Melchizedek's storehouse was for the poor and Abraham paid tithes into that storehouse. If Zion is to be established then poverty must be eliminated. Ultimately consecration is the means to bring this about but tithing is the preparatory law. Thus tithing is for the poor. Not buildings. Not slush funds. Not real estate. Not shopping malls.

    The scriptures are plain on these two points. Wrest them to your condemnation.

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  7. What's interesting to me is that the LDS corp has never denied the existence of this stash of funds nor how it was accumulated except to say that it is to be used when the Lord comes again (like he would need it). It is just amazing to me to witness prophesy being fulfilled in my lifetime when I thought it would be sometime in the distant future these things would come to fruition. BTW the post from Remanent was handled very well and what is interesting everything he mentioned corresponds quite well to BoM prophesy also especially his comment about being so blessed because he paid his tribute to the corporation thus making one to conclude what his true motive is in exercising his "faith". I just hope and pray that those few members who are "true followers of Christ" will have their eyes opened and hearts softened enough to see that there is now a legitimate and righteous way being offered again by the Lord through a chosen servant...again as prophesied.

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  8. Sound of the drums
    Beating in my heart
    The thunder of guns
    Tore me apart
    You've been
    Thunderstruck
    —AC/DC. "Thunderstruck"

    I grew up in the LDS church believing that God blesses the church and me individually when tithing is paid. Until the last seven or eight years I believed that tithing funds were sacred funds that were reserved for sacred purposes. Seven or eight years ago, however, I ran across Rock Waterman's excellent blog post exploring the subject of tithing, "Are We Paying Too Much Tithing?" Learning that tithing has been co-opted to fund church investments that have taken on a life of their own has left me feeling, well, like a sheep that has been shorn.

    I served a mission in a third-world country. I remember the shock of seeing flies on a baby's face in the home where we were giving a discussion for the first time. The child was probably malnourished. I winced every time we had to teach these loving, destitute folks that they could demonstrate their love towards God by paying 10% of their meager income to the church. The talks in your blog post, Adrian, refering to church leaders urging poor African members to pay tithing at all costs is heartbreaking. In light of the $100 billion treasure trove the church has amassed, I was thunderstruck.

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    1. Ok starting off a comment by quoting AC/DC verse...I think you’re my hero Patty...

      How about this one:

      “I know that it’s evil
      I know that it’s got to be
      I know I ain’t doing much
      Doing nothing means a lot to me
      Living on a shoe string
      A fifty cent millionaire
      Open to charity
      Rock N’ Roller welfare”

      AC/DC-Down payment blues

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    2. Glad you liked it, OpenMind. Hopefully it didn't detract from the conversation. Reading the reports of Nelson and company selling tithing to some of the world's most impoverished people took me back to the extreme sights and smells of poverty from my mission in a tropical country. I suddenly started hearing Angus Young's marvlous opening bars of Thunderstruck (which he plays one-handed!) with the inevitable refrain of "thunderstruck". I also like the British word, "gobsmacked" which has a similar meaning. It was like a punch to the gut to realize that the church of my forefathers going back to the first British converts, had quietly, successfully, mutated into Mammon.

      In connection with the topic at hand, your choice of "Down Payment Blues" is excellent. To your snippet of lyrics we might also add, "I got myself a Cadillac, But I can't afford the gasoline." The rock stars from Australia seem to realize that wealth has costs, demands, and unanticipated consequences.

      Ensign Peak Advisors is sitting on an almost unimaginably large pile of cash and real estate holdings. And for what? To be more godly and make the world a better place, or to simply grow larger? Lord Acton wrote that "a corporation has neither a body to be kicked, nor a soul to be damned." To that we might add, "A corporation in the business of religion has neither the power to save nor a heart with which to repent and yield to God." May we choose generosity.

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    3. That other line from DPB also went through my head!! Funny you mentioned it...

      Those lyrics you posted did anything but detract. Music is special and powerful. Is it any wonder the Lord, who spent his mortal time with "sinners" has inspired many through music that the religious folk of the world cast aside as worthless sinners? I find a great deal of powerful and sublime truths contained in inspired sung lyrics from unlikely sources. On this particular topic, perhaps the most powerful that comes to my mind after sharing your experience from your mission is this gem from my favorite guitarist/musician of all time:

      "On the turning away
      From the pale and downtrodden
      And the words they say
      Which we won't understand

      Don't accept that what's happening
      Is just a case of others' suffering
      Or you'll find that you're joining in
      The turning away

      It's a sin that somehow
      Light is changing to shadow
      And casting it's shroud
      Over all we have known
      Unaware how the ranks have grown
      Driven on by a heart of stone
      We could find that we're all alone
      In the dream of the proud"

      I imagine I don't need to even cite it for you to know this one. Such truth and beauty contained here as well as dire warning.

      We really should be best friends Patty...

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    4. Not being an officiando, I found a familiar call in the profound lyrics you posted, OpenMind, but I had to look them up. Pink Floyd, of course. I especially like "We could find that we're all alone, In the dream of the proud." I wonder what the folks controling the $100 billion dream about. $500 billion? I like Adrian's reference to Smaug from The Hobbit—an unhappy dragon sleeping atop a mountain of gold.

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  9. I am so happy this is all coming out!! I have believed for years that I would see the COP fail and lose their non-profit status! Now I just need to figure out how would they change things so they can keep their Billions and the non-profit status.

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  10. Perhaps Anonymous could fill us in a bit more. I understand that the (former) Corporation of the Presiding Bishop and the Corporation of the President are two separate corporations. When you add in all of the for profit "Reserves" operating, the business complexities and wealth are truly staggering.

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  11. Wow. A more scathing rebuke of an organization, I have never read. Nicely done, Adrian.

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  12. I was thinking about Smaug, the dragon from The Hobbit who sits on a massive hoard of gold, and I just came across this quote from Peter Jackson, of all places, in the Deseret News:

    "Smaug is a paranoid psychopath. He has a lust for gold, but it’s a lust that he can’t explain. He’s not like a normal person who wants wealth for all the trappings of fast cars and yachts. Smaug doesn’t have any of that, the poor guy. For 200 years, he’s been there on this pile of gold waiting for someone to come." – Peter Jackson

    Here's the link:
    https://www.deseret.com/2013/12/13/20531418/tolkien-s-dragon-why-smaug-is-the-greatest-of-the-dragons-of-his-day#martin-freeman-as-bilbo-in-the-fantasy-adventure-the-hobbit-the-desolation-of-smaug-a-production-of-new-line-cinema-and-metro-goldwyn-mayer-pictures-released-by-warner-bros-pictures-and-mgm

    As Tolkien explained it, the name Smaug derives from the “past tense of the primitive German verb smugan, to squeeze through a hole” — “a low philological jest,” according to Tolkien, likely referencing the New Testament verse about rich men and needles.

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  13. To me there are two issues here at stake. One is tithing definition and the other is the use of tithes.

    The tithing definition as is culturally defined by Latter-day Saints violates the spirit and commandment in the Book of Mormon. Period. To illustrate further, when tithing was implement in Nauvoo in D&C 119, it was meant as an easier law to live than the Law of Consecration.

    1 Verily, thus saith the Lord, I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop of my church in Zion,

    There are two issues here: One is the definition of tithing from an income standpoint, and the second is distribution of tithing and its purpose.

    The Lord instituted tithing in 1838 as a result of the "failure" consecration as given in D&C 119.

    1 Verily, thus saith the Lord, I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop of my church in Zion,

    2 For the building of mine house, and for the laying of the foundation of Zion and for the priesthood, and for the debts of the Presidency of my Church.

    3 And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people.

    4 And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord.

    5 Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you.

    6 And I say unto you, if my people observe not this law, to keep it holy, and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me, that my statutes and my judgments may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy, behold, verily I say unto you, it shall not be a land of Zion unto you.

    7 And this shall be an ensample unto all the stakes of Zion. Even so. Amen.

    Tithing thus required all surplus and THEN a tenth annually of additional surplus each year. Consecration required surplus every year. The poor, understandably, had no surplus. That definition has changed over the years. No one gives all their surplus, but but that could have been a kick-started of sorts at the time.

    Some of this is archaic to how we define income, but simply put, under Consecration, the poor paid NOTHING, instead they received. Under the implied definition of tithing in 2020, the poor pay a tenth of their income, and forgo food and other living supplies. Indeed, tithing in 2020 is harder and more difficult for the poor than in 1838. I'm concerned that the law has become more difficult for those who are poor, not easier. It's a millstone, and not the mite, that the Lord has honored in the past.

    Then there is the issue of distributions. It IS intended for the poor as a storehouse according to Malachi, for Zion, according to D&C 119, for the Priesthood (ostensibly for some expenditures, and debts of the Church). So okay, it's not exclusively for the poor.

    But the Zion portion is easily defined in the sense that Zion IS defined as there being "no poor among them."

    So if the Lord requires them to save for a rainy day to help build up a Zion and there is a plan, whether they give it today or tomorrow, I'm giving that argument to the Latter-day Saint. Maybe the Lord needs billions of dollars to help the Saints during a cosmic collapse of the system. But I would caution that if it's instead, used to buy up cheaper capital that is distressed in a worldwide economic depression in order to consolidate the Church's position in the world, the Church looks like it is indeed trying to beat Babylon at its game, and that would concern me greatly.

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  14. For those who can’t leave the LDS church, at least you can stop giving them your money.

    Give it to the poor instead. Find a single mom, help her, and watch how the churches teachings on tithing takes on enormous clarity as the steaming pile of crap that it has become.

    100% of your donation goes to the beneficiary when you give it to the beneficiary. Who can’t support that kind of percentage to the poor?

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  15. FYI to all: Rob Smith's book: "Teaching for Doctrines the Commandments of Men" has a chapter on tithing which is very well researched and written. I highly recommend it! I just read and highlighted it myself a few weeks ago. You can read it for free here:
    https://upwardthought.blogspot.com/

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  16. It's nice to see something I agree with you on. I had been a devoted "pay on gross" full-tithe payer from the age of seven, through age 38. I would have never questioned paying it, and always thought I was being "blessed".

    About the time that the City Creek Center was getting ready to open here in Salt Lake, I questioned why the ads being run appeared to be so "upscale". Additionally, they showed women in states of dress that the church supposedly preaches against. And...alcohol. I thought that was a no no as well.

    Things crumbled pretty quickly after that and I no longer pay tithing to the LDS Church. My wife and I have struggled financially most of our marriage, but keeping that 10% has helped in many an instance when we would have come up short. And, yes, I've been able to help others as well.

    I'm currently enrolled, with my wife, in the LDS Church's 'self-reliance' course on finances. I'm not looking forward to the lesson this week which is....Tithing and offerings, primarily because I no longer believe and frankly, just do not care about the church's teachings about tithing and offerings.

    This was a good post. Thanks for sharing it.

    MK

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  17. Thank you for the scriptural references

    ReplyDelete

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