Comments 20

  1. When I was a Mormon I tithed some to the church, to support its buildings and programs, but for purposes of humanitarian services, I tithed to other charities because I was confident there was more accountability, had more choice in what actions were being supported, could obtain clearer reporting, including how much the overhead load is. I never attended a tithing settlement. My personal observance was considered unorthodox, but no bishop of mine ever called me to repentance for it.

    It would really be hard to make and support the claim that our revisionist concept of The Lord’s Money / tithing that is observed in one way or another in many denominations could only be rightly claimed by one’s own denomination. God’s purposes, and our ability to support them, transcend denominationalism.

    I think it is very important to support one’s local church, for sure. But I also think tithing and charitable giving is a spiritual principle, and that our walk with God calls us into increasing charity and healthy containment of material preoccupation. An arbitrary percentage of one’s income, be it gross or net, or merely defining one’s tithing observance in terms of paying money misses the point of the charitable walk we are asked to grow into. We all can give, and can grow to give charitably. Some can give more or less, in both quantity and percentage, of time, money or other resources. If our heart is turned toward God, all is an acceptable manifestation of and support for His glory.

    “Doing enough” is never enough if we accept the flawed paradigm that “People Who Do Good Go to Heaven.” Accepting His divine grace and forgiveness, and allowing it to work change on our hearts, helps us become more and more able to reflect His charity for us in what we do charitably for others.

  2. I’ve got nothing to add right now to #1 – except to repeat what I said in another thread here. (too lazy right now to look it up) I pay tithes and “textbook fast offerings” as a duty of my religion. Everything over and above that is purely charitable giving, no matter who gets it.

  3. It doesn’t – unless that’s why you are doing it.

    Matthew 6:2,5, 16 each end with a variation of this statement: “that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

    Those who give to gain a reward of earthly recognition get that recognition; they “have their reward”. Those who give to obey God are rewarded for that obedience – in whatever way is designated; they have their reward. Those who give because they have become givers also “have their reward” – in that they become godlike. One’s motivation (why one gives) determines what one becomes by one’s giving. At least, that’s my take.

  4. Not sure if the implication is that money would solve the problem that has been presented. It is hard to understand how evil of this kind is allowed to be perpetrated to some of the least of Father’s Children. but, the fact remains that in the global sense, it is governments and the UN, to some extent, that have the power to stop this sort of thing.

    Giving money, in this case, does not cut it.

    Having said that, if we are giving of our excess to Church-sponsored charitable activities, it should be enough.

  5. Jeff you are spot on.

    In a lot of these cases it is larger and more powerful states that will encourage this. The United States and UK, we have seen in Palestine, encouraged and indirectly funded a civil war. They are supporting despotic leaders in Saudi Arabia. The Chinese are doing the same in Darfur for the oil there. And in these wars for resources we see that children get sucked in.

    We can throw as much money as we want but as long as we keep letting our state give trillions of dollars a year to the military industrial complex in military welfare from our taxes. Our tithing and our charity will not do anything when you have such socialism for the rich and powerful.

    We need to protest against the military industrial complex and we need to stop supporting our government when they support terrorism and oppresive regimes.

    David Kuccinich said recenty:

    “It goes right to the question of democratic governance, whether a broadcast network can choose who the candidates will be, based on their narrow concerns, because they’ve contributed — GE, NBC and Raytheon, another one of GE’s properties, have all contributed substantially to Democratic candidates who were in the debate. And the fact of the matter is, with GE building nuclear power plants, they have a vested interest in Yucca Mountain in Nevada being kept open; with GE being involved with Raytheon, another defense contractor, they have an interest in war continuing. So NBC ends up being their propaganda arm to be able to advance their economic interests.”


  6. Post

    Obviously money will not solve everything. In the case of some of these children/people around the world, there is a lot that can be done with money, however.

    The implication I would like to make here is that many of us in the church are satisfied with our paying tithing and fast offerings (I have had direct experience with this—some people think fast offerings covers international humanitarian aid but it does not). There are even some of us who are not aware of these types of problems, and live in comfortable bliss inside our nice Utah (or elsewhere) homes. “Doing enough” does not mean “working ourselves into heaven,” but rather taking action as people who have more to help those who have less. When we have more, do we not have more responsibility to share?

  7. AdamF and Steve,

    Where we can help, we should. One only has to look to Myanmar to see how a corrupt government controls and manipulates the aid given to them. There are not many benevolent governments out there these days. I was in New Orleans last week and it looks like hell after three years. Not in the tourist places, but where regular and poor people live. The lower 9th ward looks like it was hit with an atomic bomb!

    I can’t think of one government on earth today that is not in the self-interest, self-perpetuating business.

  8. I agree with AdamF. It is our responsibility as people of means (and we all are in the US by whatever standard you choose to use, living quite large comparatively) to relieve suffering and to help others become safe, healthy and self-sufficient above and beyond what donations we make through the church. As I’ve said elsewhere, I firmly believe that what we give charitably in time and money will come back to us. Having said that, I also believe that this situation is tough to solve with just money, as the corrupt leaders often find access to that money to continue to wage their genocidal wars and to maintain or gain power. Awareness is critically important. If every LDS person would donate just 1% of their annual income (above our 10% tithing and generous fast offerings) to reputable and efficient charitable organizations, we would really increase the good we are able to do in this world.

  9. The point of the movie is not just the question of giving tithes and offerings (money), as Adam notes, but is a more broad and multifaceted one. Can you be justified in doing all of the Mormon rituals each week and monthly and know that this sort of thing goes on, on three continents? Some of the estimates are much higher for children in harm’s way, maybe as high as 300,000.

    Sadly, the UN peacekeepers sent into referee the warring factions end up raping the women and young girls and plundering the villages as well.

    The question for all us again how does Heavenly Father answer ‘A Child’s Prayer’? Will you or can you be someone who will act to influence others to ease the plight of the children? Can our government become interested in lands and people where there is no oil to fuel our strategic interests?

    My friends and I raised $2K+ for the Carter Center to supply paper water filters for Ghana to alleviate guinea worm disease. This was done simply by emailing all my friends and took me less than two hours. How many times have you like me been the recipient of some chain email letter, for example, that would suggest Barack Obama is a Muslim and will take the oath to become president on the Koran? Instead of perpetuating this kind of useless email or the kind that protests Wal Mart granting spousal privileges to domestic (gay or lesbian) partners, create an email about the Carter Center and their efforts to eradicate guinea worm disease or send the link to this video about children at war and browse the URL

    If anyone wants a DVD of the movie in higher quality than web streaming, please email me at: I dare you to show it to an elder’s quorum or high priest’s group when the lesson topic is about I Corinthians 13.

    To conclude, I quote President Hinckley, “How great is our responsibility to reach out to ease the plight of these children. God bless us to be mindful of them…”

  10. Good Post Adam

    I’m living here in the UK and from what I understand we are only supporting our wards and stakes by 30%. The rest of the money comes in to us probably by the wealthier states back in the good old U.S .of A.

    People over here I think would like to give more to charitable causes but those who are paying tithing are probably the ones that are the active members with callings, and are running around relentlessly for the church. On top of that we are paying about $9.40 a gallon for diesel – the preferred fossil fuel of choice

    From what I am seeing the wards in greater London and on its perimeters are retracting for a number of reasons but one major reason is the homes are too expensive for first time buyers and younger families and the older couples left are cashing in their equity and moving to cheaper areas. So American Tithing is probably supporting these Greater London wards even more.

    Most of us here in the UK spend an immense percentage of our income just to keep a roof over our head. And have far less disposable income to give to charitable funds like the Humanitarian Aid as our fellow saints in the states.

    It could be only me but I think many of us wish we could divert our tithes completely to the Humanitarian aid and that we would still be able to consider standing. In my opinion it’s by far one of the best things we do as a church. It makes you really feel like your really supporting man kind in his plight.

    I have never discussed this with the British members but I would imagine that faithful members here who do support the church through tithes and offerings must feel a resentment knowing that most their children won’t enjoy the benefits of going to one of church’s universities that they are supporting and so much of it goes to brick and mortar.

    I’m hoping Presidents Monsons Legacy will be one of Service – I think we’ve been a bit top heavy on instruction and less on doing! The Mormons Hurricane Katrina – I think if we were a more serviced bass church the missionary work would take care of it self.

  11. I, too, would love to see the church reach out and do more service worldwide. I have a vision of the relief society, and an army of sister missionaries, helping to build water treatment facilities, roads, generating plants, food markets worldwide, in fulfillment of our charter to help women make safe, healthy, and bounteous homes for their families all over our neighborhood, i.e. planet earth.

    A big part of women’s work is engineering. Check out engineers without borders. I want the relief society to get involved in projects similar to this.

  12. Tatiana, I understand and agree with your basic sentiment, but “The Church” and “The Relief Society” is organized on two levels: 1) Globally, where large scale humanitarian efforts and service missions are organized – and do MUCH more through MANY more people than most people realize; and 2) Locally, where much more should be done than generally is done.

    “The Church” and “The Relief Society” can’t ask normal members to do what you are describing, so all that is left is service missions for couples and single adults (which already exist extensively throughout the world) and encouraging more local commitment to focus on individuals and families and communities (which it does).

    As to your idea of sister missionaries, I only have one comment:

    I think it’s an excellent idea for many reasons, but can you just hear the outcry from many feminists that creating “an army of sister missionaries” to do *service* would be incredibly sexist – since they would see an implication that women can’t be trusted with preaching the Gospel as proselyting missionaries? They would scream that such an approach “merely perpetuates the negative stereotypes articulated in the Proclamation of women as nurtures”. How would the Church respond to that in ANY way that would resonate with these feminists? (and PLEASE don’t read that as an indictment of feminism. It’s not.)

  13. “Doing enough” is never enough

    That is true. Locally, the dear sister down the road from me was the heart of and also the fund raising for the new Salvation Army center (which is a multi-use, multi-entity facility). Her husband died while they were on a mission, she came back and hasn’t ceased in doing good works. I find her a great example.

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