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Tropical_Man 68M
6573 posts
12/25/2011 5:41 am
Mormon Tithing by Coercion

Despite the Fact that Jesus never taught tithing, nor did his disciples, nor is it a New Covenant Christian teaching at all, the Mormons who are not Christians, make it mandatory and a damnable offense.

Tithing by Coercion

By Bill McKeever

Most people would be offended at any organization which teaches that in order to escape damnation, giving of your financial means is mandatory. Yet, this is exactly what Mormonism teaches.

Mormonism teaches that there are three degrees of glory reserved for those who have passed on from mortality. These are called the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial kingdoms. Within the celestial there are three more levels. LDS leaders have proclaimed that what a person believes and does in this life will be tantamount as to which kingdom that person will abide in the next life. Interestingly enough, any level lower than the top level within the celestial kingdom has been described as damnation.

To clarify this we quote LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie. McConkie stated that salvation has varying degrees just as damnation has varying degrees. According to page 177 of his book "Mormon Doctrine," he states that those who are damned are, "Those who fail to gain exaltation in the highest heaven in the celestial world, even though they do gain a celestial mansion in one of the lower heavens of that world." He goes on to say, "The rejection of any covenant, the gospel, celestial marriage, or any other, assures the rebellious person of damnation."

If one hopes to obtain the celestial kingdom in the next life, he must practice what is known as "celestial law." In the words of third LDS President John Taylor, "We are told that if we cannot abide the law of the celestial kingdom we cannot inherit a celestial glory" (Journal of Discourses, Vol.26, p.133).

Brigham Young, Mormonism's second president, stated that if a person hopes to obtain the celestial kingdom,

"it requires a strict obedience to every point of law and doctrine and to every ordinance which the Lord reveals: in short, it requires a strict observance of every requirement of Heaven, to fully prepare a people for the possession and enjoyment of the celestial kingdom" (Journal of Discourses, Vol.10, p.286).

Having said all this, it should be noted that paying a full tithe is a requirement under celestial law. Said Mormon Apostle James E. Talmage,

"It is important to know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has observed this requirement from the early days of its history--not because it was operative in ancient Israel, nor because it was law and custom among the Jews in the days of Christ, but because it has been authoritatively established through modern revelation in the Church."

Talmage then quoted Doctrine and Covenants 119: 3-4, which reads,

"And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my People. 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 for ever, for my Holy Priesthood, saith the Lord." (The Vitality of Mormonism, p.207 - p.20.

Our argument is not against tithing per se, all of us at MRM freely give to the churches we attend. We do so, not as a means to escape "damnation," but rather as a means of furthering the ministry of the church. Giving to our individual churches enables it to spread the Christian message whether it is at home or abroad. The Mormon may argue that he freely gives of his tithes to his church and that he does not feel he is being coerced into doing so. This may be true; however, it is the letter of Mormon law wherein the coercion lies, not an individual's feelings about the law.

Another important aspect of celestial law is participation in the temple endowment ceremony. But herein lies the catch. In order to enter an LDS temple, it is necessary to obtain a temple recommend. A recommend is granted only when the Mormon has been found faithful in numerous categories, including tithe-paying. If a Mormon does not pay his tithes, he cannot get a recommend. If he cannot get a recommend, he cannot go to the temple. If he cannot go to the temple, he cannot go to the celestial kingdom; hence he receives damnation in the next life. Consequently, if the Mormon wants to escape damnation, he is compelled to pay up, whether he likes it or not. This is tithing by coercion, not the biblical method prescribed in the Bible.

RichardPyle 79M
701 posts
12/25/2011 6:41 pm

What Jesus taught is far more than tithing. To Caesar give his. To God give His. What then is not God's? It is true that we have free will to choose to enter the Kingdom, but after we go through the door, it is not my will but His be done. It is up to us to seek, find, and follow His will. This may not be complete coercion, but what choice do we really have? There are consequences for every choice we make. We can still choose, but after that decision has been set into motion, the consequences are out of our control. Once a word is spoken can we really take it back? We can apologize, but does that un speak it? God wins us not through coercion but through our hearts.

Tropical_Man 68M
6389 posts
12/26/2011 4:26 am

Richard, in the New Covenant, everything we have is Gods. It is recognized as such. However tithing is not taught at all and the giving that Christ teaches goes far deeper. It is time as well that people contribute in giving. Even though in the old testament they had money,tithing was almost always about wheat and the farmers tithed plus more to the communities. Basically even in the Old defunct covenant, most people did not participate in a "tithe". The storehouse that it mentions in Malachai, was not part of any Jewish Temple. It was just that, a storehouse.

RichardPyle 79M
701 posts
12/26/2011 8:16 am

In my opinion, the religion of the Old Testament was much easier to teach than New Testament Christianity because the rules were clearly drawn. To save a lot of time, my point is that we learn by doing. Christianity is learned by experience. It seems to me that the Lord is mostly interested now in the intent of my heart, and my relationship with my brother, not details like what day of the week to worship, or which Church, or what foods to eat, or the form of baptism, or when or where and how to have communion.

What really got my interest and me thinking was the point about coercive tithing, and even more so the whole idea of coercion. It seems to me that the Lord is giving us His instructions to help us to learn to love and share through restricting our self only inclination to choose daily the Spirit's leading to love others and share.

I do not like coercive tithing either. So I choose not to be a mormon for that and other reasons. In a larger sense I am asking is there any coercion at all in the Christian life? To me Christianity is like a pathway to love. We can choose to get off the path anytime we want. However there are consequences to pay. Maybe a better word would be motivation. I believe the Lord is very motivating in His design of our lives individually and collectively. Further, I believe now the Lord is interested mostly in love, not details of religion. His kingdom is love and mercy based, not judgment.

Sharing all we can would be the rule now rather than ten percent. The New Testament is more a book of principles on how to love. I do not believe we are saved or not saved by tithing. However, sharing is a principle of growth in spiritual maturing that is essential to a faithful walk with the Lord. Thanks for your thought provoking posts.