Tithing.

The Bible commands that the people give a tithe of their increase. In the good ol’ days, this meant part of your fields, your flocks, your substance. In the Mormon church, it’s commanded that we give 10% of our increase to the church. We are told that everything we are given is from God, this was our way to give back to him- by giving it to the church. If we fail to do so, we are “unworthy” to receive the blessings of the temple.  I’ve paid tithing pretty faithfully since I was 12. It was tough, but I was taught over and over and over again three important things:

1. That we will be blessed temporally (financially) and spiritually for doing so, and

2.  The money was spent by the church to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless.

At the end of the year, you sit down with your Bishop (or “pastor”) and talk about what you’ve given in tithes. You are then asked if you are a “full tithe  payer.” You say “yes” and then everyone pats each others backs and you all feel super good about yourself. For three consecutive years an interesting thing happened. We’d get our slip for the amount that we had paid, and it was almost exactly what we were in debt on our credit cards. Times were tough. We were paying for therapies upon therapies.  Those THOUSANDS of dollars really could have helped us.

But it’s the #2 that really gets me. I only discovered that things aren’t what they seem with the Church when my stomach clenched all up at seeing the Prophet, my prophet, grand opening of a 2 BILLION dollar MALL in Salt Lake City that included such high end stores as Tiffany’s.  I’ve seen starving children. I’ve watched as children with special needs DIE in orphanages and mental institutions all over the world, not because there aren’t people that want them, but that there isn’t money to pay for the adoptions.  But there IS money to pay for a Macy’s and a Tiffany’s right across the street from the temple of God.

It reminds me of the money changers in the New Testament. They might as well had this on a banner above the ceremony, (from the Book of Mormon):

“Behold, O my God, their costly apparel, and their ringlets, and their bracelets, and their ornaments of gold, and all their precious things which they are ornamented with; and behold, their hearts are set upon them, and yet they cry unto thee and say—We thank thee, O God, for we are a chosen people unto thee, while others shall perish. ”           Alma, 31:28

The prophet could have read this quote right before he yelled, “Lets go shopping!”

In my search for ANY reason that this mall made sense to me, I came across this article:  How Mormon’s Make Money on Newsweek. Part of it says,

According to an official church Welfare Services fact sheet, the church gave $1.3 billion in humanitarian aid in more than 178 countries and territories during the 25 years between 1985 and 2010. A fact sheet from the previous year indicates that less than one-third of the sum was monetary assistance, while the rest was in the form of “material assistance.” All in all, if one were to evenly distribute that $1.3 billion over a quarter-century, it would mean that the church gave $52 million annually. A study co-written by Cragun and recently published in Free Inquiry estimates that the Mormon Church donates only about 0.7 percent of its annual income to charity; the United Methodist Church gives about 29 percent.

The church, that requires it’s members to pay 10% of it’s earnings to charity (i.e. the church) does not itself give 10% to charities. A CHURCH. I was not baptized into a corporation, at least that’s not what I thought I was doing.

The church gave 1.3 Billion dollars over 25 years. It spent 2 billion on a MALL.

Unless I can get some good answers to this, I’m DONE paying tithing TO THE CHURCH. I’m happy giving my money to charity because I believe that makes me a good person and there’s a LOT of good that can be done with it. That the church IS NOT doing with it.