This is an archived copy of a post written by Conflict Of Justice (conflictofjustice.com). Used with permission: Conflict Of Justice may not agree with any alterations made.
“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.” (Aaron L. West)
Economic Class Does Not Matter – The story of the widow’s mite is the story of a woman who gives some of the last money she had to the church. Jesus says she has given more than the wealthiest tithe payers, because it was a greater personal sacrifice for her than it was for them. The point is faith, and the greater the personal sacrifice, the greater the faith. This is the Lord’s law of sacrifice.
Anti-Mormons are obsessed with social economic classes, but the Lord and the church focus on the individual instead. Our amount of wealth and popular prestige is not important, because God looks at the inside on an individual basis. A billionaire can experience a test of faith just as much as a poor person. Maybe the billionaire won’t experience going without food, but there are other kinds of tests. Faith is the same principle despite a wide variety of circumstances.
Not A Church Tax – Tithing is not about raising money. If it was, then God could just make money appear in the church’s bank account. The purpose is a test of faith and building something as a community of Saints. If church leaders said “give whatever you don’t need,” or if tithing were a government tax that automatically gets taken out of your income tax, what would this do to help the individual? It would just be another tax.
In Joseph Smith’s time, wealthy church members were asked to give everything to the church. Doesn’t that take more faith? Today, we are only asked to give ten percent, and the church is not hurting for money. So the test of faith isn’t as severe as it was in Joseph Smith’s time, but it does more faith today in the sense that the church isn’t destitute for money and it is easy to say it isn’t a big deal if we don’t pay tithing.
What is the alternative to the church’s system of tithing? A progressive tax system where rich people pay 50% minimum of their income and poor people pay nothing. That is the last thing tithing should become. This kind of tax would inspire just as much faith in the church as a progressive tax inspires for the government. Sacrifice generates faith. The Socialist law of sacrifice is that the successful sacrifice for the unsuccessful, and the unsuccessful sacrifice for the authoritarian state.
In the church, we are invited to donate to additional charitable causes if we want to, and the poor in the church benefit from these additional causes. We all benefit equally from tithing money, and those who sacrifice more receive a greater portion of faith.
CES Letter asks:
“Would a loving, kind, empathic God really place parents in the horrible position of having to choose whether to feed their children or pay what little they have to a multi- billion megamall owning Church that receives an estimated $8,000,000,000 in annual tithing receipts ?”(CES Letter)
I am not aware of any Mormon who was asked to starve their children to pay tithing. This does not happen. It has never happened, because church welfare services provide food for members in need. This question agitates for a Socialist system where merit does not reflect sacrifice. Love does not mean giving unmerited rewards.
Promote Self-Sufficiency – The whole point of the church’s welfare programs are to make members self-sufficient. The alternative is dependency, the kind of dependency that we see poor classes on the government, for food stamps, welfare, free healthcare, etc. If you give someone something for nothing, there is no motivation for them to work hard to provide for themselves. If someone is asked to give a small mite, and then in return they receive the services they need to survive and to increase their standing, then they are motivated to progress.
CES Letter says it is the other way around:
“Besides, whatever happened to self-sufficiency? Begging the Bishop for food when you had the money for food but because you followed the above Ensign advice and gave your food money to the Church you’re now dependent on the Church for food money. “(CES Letter)
If you receive food from the church because ten percent of your income goes to tithing, you are also taking part in education, welfare, and employment programs that help you become self-sufficient. This is how the church welfare program works. You receive much more help than you pay into the church with your ten percent. This is why nobody complains about being stuck in a cycle of church dependency. CES Letter‘s hypothetical situation never happens.
The alternative? Our Socialist government may tax the poor at a lower rate than the rich (though it is still higher than the church’s 10% tithing rate), but the government fleeces the poor in many other hidden ways. High gas taxes. Sales taxes. Utility costs. Education costs. The government keeps people dependant on welfare by punishing them if they get a good job at 7-11. Suddenly, the food stamps and welfare checks dry up and you end up with less income than when you were getting on welfare. Then there is the cost of education, which is ridiculous, and so high that only the upper class could possibly afford to get a degree which is necessary for any kind of decent job. The church’s perpetual education fund is a better way. Unlike the government, the church is motivated to take people out of the ghetto.
The church’s tithing system building faith, motivates people to be successful, and gives them resources they need, and this is why Mormons so frequently become wealthy. Anti-Mormon Wikipedia omits Mormons from their article on wealth and religion, because they want to cover up the successful nature of the Mormon tithing system. Wikipedia is fake news. But actual information sources confirm Mormons have one of the healthiest and balanced distributions of income, with a large middle class, surpassed only by Orthodox Christians.
Perhaps a more important factor is the Socialist attitudes that government welfare propagate. Non-religious cultures that consider tests of faith crazy and outdated, that denounce religious tithes, tend to be selfish, greedy, and unlikely to climb out of income disparity. This is why Utah rates well in income equality, well above Left-leaning states like California and New York.
CES Letter displays the kind of non-religious attitude that I’m talking about:
“Yes, the same god who tested Abraham is also the same crazy god who killed innocent babies and endorsed genocide, slavery, and rape. Besides, whatever happened to self-sufficiency? “(CES Letter)
How is a poor person going to become self-sufficient if they blame the majority of America for genocide, slavery, and rape? What kind of attitude is that? This kind of agitation divides us, causes class resentment, and leads people to steal rather than merit progress. America is becoming more divided, more resentful, and more Feudalistic as traditional religions fade in influence and are replaced by big globalist corporations. Is Microsoft going to give welfare programs to poor people who can’t afford to feed their children? Is George Soros going to give low-income youngsters a path to higher education?
CES Letter Logical Fallacies
|Ad Hominem||CES Letter calls God crazy and accuses Him of genocide, slavery, and rape. What do these character attacks have to do with which monetary system is superior?|
|Red Herring||Tithing is not comparible to Abraham’s sacrifice. It is only 10% of income, not losing one’s son. The City Creek Mall has nothing to do with this discussion.|
|Emotional Language||Loving, kind, empathetic, horrible, begging, etc.|
|Tu Quoqe||CES Letter says poor people become dependent on the church because they are giving their income and receiving handouts that they would have received with that income. This is false. But this is how it is with the alternative to the church’s tithing system, Feudalism.|
|Falsehood||Tithing did not fund the City Creek mall.|
|Etymology||CES Letter uses poor grammar in their last sentence. It is filled with all kinds of triggering key words, like “begging,” “money,” and “church,” but the sentence actually makes no sense. This encourages an appeal to emotion and less critical thought. “Begging the Bishop for food when you had the money for food but because you followed the above Ensign advice and gave your food money to the Church you’re now dependent on the Church for food money.” (CES Letter)|
|Non Sequitur||If your last ten percent of income is food money and you give that to tithing, how does that make you dependent on the church? This would be such a small amount of income that you couldn’t afford basic necessities even if you had nothing to do with the church.|
|Repetition||CES Letter repeats several of their phony attacks from earlier.|
|Shifting Goalposts||CES Letter attacked the church for not giving more humanitarian aid, but now they attack the church for making people “dependent” on their food charities. If the church gave more aid, wouldn’t that mean more dependency?|
Imagine if the church asked for tithings only from rich people. How would people become invested in and have faith in the church? People care if they sacrifice towards something. People excel when they are asked to prove merit. Self-sufficiency can only be achieved when you are held to the same standard as everyone else, and right now that standard is ten percent.
The kind of coddling of social classes that CES letter agitates for is what we see in Socialist government, and that system makes it impossible to climb out of poverty, because you get punished if you do. Suddenly, you have to start paying 30% of your income to tithing. Why would a church member want to go from paying zero tithing and receiving all kinds of help, to paying $20,000 a year?
Attack Freedom Of Religion – This is the class debate between Socialism and Capitalism–except, the church isn’t even a government! Oh yeah. Why are we talking about government institutions like welfare, income, and tax when the church is a private non-profit organization? Anti-Mormons push to erase the separation of church and state, as they promote class warfare and Marxism.
The danger of this argument is that it attacks at the heart of religious freedom. The Pilgrims sailed to the New World and the United States was founded fundamentally on the freedom to practice religion according to the dictates of one’s conscience. The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees a separation of church and state. Which amendment says how much a non-profit organization is allowed to request from its members?
The big push right now from the Left is to tax churches. This would erase this religious freedom that the Pilgrims fought for, that our ancestors bled for, and install the European system where the government forces us to pay tithing and we have no say over what it gets spent on. It would take us back to the Feudal ages where we are the working serfs and the big government is the central authoritarian power.
If CES Letter and the other Anti-Mormons are so concerned about families that can’t afford food, how much do they give to the poor? Which charities are they supporting?
Furthermore, who is funding these Anti-Mormons? I see all kinds of high-quality video productions, extensive media strategies, organized protests and meetings, book publishing and websites, subversive activities in the church; this all costs money. Where does the money come from? Why can’t we see their finances?