No Poor Among “Them”

Is the church building Zion?

Holland

General Conference, October 2014

The purpose for establishing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was to build the Kingdom of God on Earth and establish latter day Zion.  Faithful members, some of whom cannot always afford it, consecrate tithes and offerings to support this end.  The church is only the “steward” of these sacred funds intended to build Zion, not the “owner” entitled to make use of the funding for other projects or purposes.

To establish Zion we must become of one heart and one mind, dwell in righteousness, and have no poor among us. (Moses 7:18)

But many active and faithful tithing paying members have concerns about what the church has been and is doing with their tithing.  More importantly many are wondering if the church’s expenditures are getting the world any closer to establishing Zion.

For many years the LDS Church has segmented revenues from members into two main categories: tithes and fast offerings.  Tithing today is used to build temples, churches, and other buildings, and in short pays for all the expenses of the church.

Fast offerings today are used to care for the church’s poor and to help humanitarian efforts around the world.  As I understand it, tithing is NOT used to care for the poor inside or out of the church.  I do not know when this practice began and I’m open to any thoughts any of you may have on the subject.

The first mention of tithing in scripture goes back to the Book of Genesis:

And this Melchizedek, having thus established righteousness, was called the king of heaven by his people, or, in other words, the King of peace.  And he lifted up his voice, and he blessed Abram, being the high priest, and the keeper of the storehouse of God; Him whom God had appointed to receive tithes for the poor.  (JST Gen 14:36-39)

It would seem that in this instance Melchizedek used tithes exclusively for the poor.  There is no mention of fast offerings or of any segmentation of funds.  In a cursory search of the scriptures, I find no precedent justifying NOT using tithing for the poor.  I also find no precedent that fast offerings should replace tithing to care for the poor.

In attempting to create Zion, Melchizedek became personally connected with Heaven.  He had become a King of Peace (a type and a shadow of Christ) because he had entered into that Order of the Priesthood discussed in Alma 13.  He was now teaching his people how to repent so they too could connect to Heaven and become Fathers of Righteousness.

Melchizedek’s purpose, and the purpose of whatever organization he may have established, was solely to build Zion.  He was the high priest and the keeper of the storehouse of God, appointed by God himself to receive tithes FOR THE POOR, in order that Zion might be built.  His people thus lived in righteousness, became of one heart and one mind and poverty was eradicated among them.  This is the true pattern to establish Zion.  Is this the pattern the church follows today?

It is estimated the church averages between 5 and 10 billion dollars per year in tithing and “other” revenues.  We can safely assume its fast offering income represents a small fraction of this larger number. The actual number is withheld from the members (and the public).

The church often boasts it has contributed $1.4B to humanitarian efforts since 1985.  This is a large amount of money.  During that same period of time, however, the church has collected an estimated $150B (or more) in total revenues.  In other words, the church has only given about 1% of its total revenues to humanitarian efforts in the last 30 years.  As a side note, I find it interesting that while the church no longer publishes any of its financial information, it does disclose how much it gives to charity.  I find it ironic since the scriptures teach we should not to boast of such things.

But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.  And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (Matthew 6:3-5)

Some wonder why the church is so focused on buildings, real estate development, farm ownership, and marketing when its true goal should be to build a Zion people?  Are meetinghouses and Temples and TV ads truly that important in this effort?  Could you imagine what could be done if the church used its tremendous tithing fund (instead of just the fast offering fund) to assist the poor in the church and around the world?  What effect might this have in bringing souls unto Christ and to the establishment of Zion?

city creek

Some have also had concerns over worldly advertising campaigns that seem to celebrate immoral and luxurious lifestyles.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church, interestingly, has about 19 million members worldwide.  It builds smaller meetinghouses and focuses its efforts and resources on building thousands of schools and hospitals for the poor.  The Adventists also have one million new members join them annually, compared to an estimated 300,000 total new members each year for the LDS Church.

The Adventist model is much more service focused.  Receiving roughly only $3B in total revenues, the Adventists have built and successfully run more than 7,800 non-profit schools and hundreds of hospitals around the world.  Apparently, focusing on schools, education, and health, especially in third world countries, is much more effective in gaining converts than expensive marketing efforts and other business endeavors.

The church, on the other hand, will spend as much as $3M on a single billboard this year in Times Square.  I’m not sure how many billboards the church leases, but I think it’s quite a few.

Imamormon_TimesSquare

Are expensive ads in New York Times Square helping build Zion?

How much does it cost to start a small school in a third world country?  About $10,000. 

The church could build 300 schools for the cost of one NY Times Square billboard.

I found it interesting that in Elder Holland’s talk this past October Conference he stated he does “not know how it feels to be poor.”  I’m not sure about you, but I think many members do know how it feels.  You don’t have to live in Africa to be broke, to suffer from hunger, to be $250 away from bankruptcy, to lose your home, or to have your only car break down.  Now I know that many will argue the fact Elder Holland does not know what it’s like to be poor is proof that the church’s system of consecration is working— for some; who happen to have spent their entire adult life employed by the LDS Church.

Elder Holland was a seminary and institute teacher and became the president of BYU.  The church likely paid for his Yale degrees.  As a side note, the church’s Perpetual Education Fund is limited to what it will pay per applicant.  In most of the world, an individual is eligible to receive about $1,400 in total funds.  Even in places like Africa, this amount is often not sufficient to get someone the education they need to rise out of poverty.  Additionally the PEF recipient, even before getting a job, must pay back the funds borrowed with interest.

This is apparently not the case with church employees.  A PhD student today at Yale can expect to pay about $65,000 per year.  A PhD can take as long as 5 years.  The church’s investment in Elder Holland would pay off however.  During his time as BYU President he became known as a prolific fundraiser, having raised over 100 million dollars for the University.

But, many worthy members of the church in the U.S. and all around the world do know what it’s like to be poor.  It’s estimated that over 80,000 LDS children suffer from malnutrition or are starving and 900 of those children will die this year from starvation.  That’s equivalent to three entire wards in the church!  The numbers are even more staggering when you begin to calculate the children and grandchildren who are never born because of the unnecessary premature deaths of these neglected LDS kids.  Why does this have to be, while we have those among us who have so much?  Why does the church continue to spend billions of dollars on buildings and condos that sit empty, while many of its own children are homeless, orphaned, and dying of starvation?  Is this what the great high priest and keeper of God’s storehouse would do?

Vatican

Do we have any chapels or temples we could use to help the poor?

I applaud Pope Francis who, going against the tide of popularity, “plans to build showers for the homeless under the sweeping white colonnade of St. Peter’s Square.”  Think of all the wasted showers in our meetinghouses with baptismal fonts that go unused for months and years at a time.  Of course inviting homeless people to shower or to get food in LDS churches would attract riff-raff and so we continue to follow the example of Temple Square that we “should not give to panhandlers” but allow other organizations that the church supports to help these people.

I remember a bishop and stake president training where presiding bishop David Burton bragged, “The church will build more square footage this year than Walmart!”  I found this odd, after all, how many baptisms will Walmart have this year?  How many people will come unto Christ because of Walmart this year?  Again, why is the church so focused on real estate and business comparisons when the goal is to build Zion?  Have we lost our vision?

walmart

Some struggle with the church’s business-like approach

Bishops in the church are very limited, practically speaking, in what they can give to the needy.  I won’t bore you with details of what most of you already likely know.  But, I will say I am surprised the church now teaches that a needy member should exhaust family and government assistance before coming to the church for help.  It used to be that government was the last resort.

We are all too familiar with needy people who leave the bishop’s office dejected because they were turned down for help.  I remember seeing a woman crying in the back of the chapel one Sunday before Sacrament meeting.  I asked her what was wrong.   She told me how humiliated she was because she had just asked the bishop for help with food.  When the bishop found out her troubled 20-year-old daughter lived with her (who had drug problems), he told this hungry elderly woman this was a good opportunity for her daughter to “step up.”  This woman was not highly educated.  She was a convert of 5 years or less in the church.  She had lived a hard life, was nearly crippled in her advanced age and despite her meager income, always paid her tithing.  In her own words, she had never asked “this bishop” or the church for anything.  “This bishop” was a successful doctor from Salt Lake City.

Upon hearing the story, I immediately left the meeting and went to the store and bought all the groceries I could afford and took them to this woman’s completely empty fridge.  I don’t say this to brag.  I say this only to suggest every normal human with a heart would do the same thing.  Yet, the church, which receives up to $10B each year, which could literally eradicate poverty among its own members, chooses often to not even provide the basic needs of an impoverished soul.

And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.  Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.  For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind? (Mosiah 4:16-19)

We were also trained as bishops to never give assistance without making that member do some sort of service in return.  I always ignored this counsel.  I understand we should teach principles of self-reliance and that being idle is not good.  But, I found in my experience that most people were already working hard or were ill in some mental or physical way and asking them to “work for their food” seemed to bring more shame than benefit.

In April of 2011, Bishop Burton speaking of the establishment of the church’s welfare program said, “The commitment of church leaders to relieve human suffering was as certain as it was irrevocable.  President Grant wanted ‘a system that would… reach out and take care of the people no matter what the cost.’  He said he would even go so far as to ‘close seminaries, shut down missionary work for a period of time, or even close temples, but they would not let the people go hungry.”

Perhaps the church would do well today to follow President Grant’s counsel still.

I have met local stake presidents who work for the church in the third world.  They are the lucky ones.  Yet, the church does not believe in paying someone more than the local equivalent wage.  They have a term for this I cannot recall at the moment.  One stake president earned $900/month running the church’s unemployment center.  Even though he was paid quite a bit more than the average poor laborer in his country, his salary from the church only allowed his small young family to live in a one-room shack that most of us wouldn’t want to even store an old car in.  They had no car of their own.  No running water in their house.  Mold everywhere due to the climate.  No kitchen, no stove.  No shower.  They shared a hole in the ground for a toilet with other families in the neighborhood.

Now I know some of you reading may think my comments do not reflect all the good the church is doing around the world.  And that the church does more than most churches to relieve human suffering.  In part, I agree.  The church does a tremendous amount to help devastated people around the world.  I also recognize that not everything is accounted for in the $1.4B donated over the last 30 years. In addition, LDS volunteers give countless hours, sewing quilts, sending care packages, serving missions, etc.

But, our church has been charged to build Zion.  Are the leaders of the church doing their part?  Imagine what the church could do for the poor with even half the tithing money we generate each year.  Do we really need so many buildings?  Why not rent a schoolhouse or meet in homes?  Some of the homes in my neighborhood are empty and even bigger than our local meetinghouse.  Some of those homes belong to families on missions or serving as General Authorities.  Do our church buildings really increase our membership that much?  Or are we robbing the poor because of our fine sanctuaries? (2 Nephi 28:13)

I’ll never forget the sister who came into the bishop’s office while I was serving in that position.  Her furnace had broken down and was beyond repair.  She was recently divorced and was working as hard as she could.  Her husband, a “respected man in the stake” had cheated on her for the second time.  Her daughter just had a baby out of wedlock.  She was a faithful member of the church, but was embarrassed to come to ask for help.  As I sat there and listened to her story, my mind could not help but recall the advice from previous welfare training:  “Make sure she is paying her tithing.  Make sure she has gone to her family first.  Has she applied for state assistance?  Is she keeping the Word of Wisdom?  Will she be willing to clean the church each week or work in the storehouse?  Or provide service to someone else in the ward?  Will she be willing to take a Dave Ramsey course?  (I wish I was joking about this one.)”

I told this sister to not worry about the furnace and to have the contractor who gave her the bid she was most comfortable with to give me a call.  She broke down to tears.  “But, it may cost $3,000 to replace,” she said while now sobbing.  “That’s okay.”  I responded.  “The church has the money.”  I knew I was breaking the rules and would have to make two payments to avoid the necessary stake approval, but it felt so right.

Again, I do not provide this example to pat my anonymous self on the back.  I respectfully petition the church to reconsider how it spends the tithes of the church.  As a member who pays tithing, I also request to see an accounting of how our money is being spent.  The only reason to not share such things is to avoid scrutiny and criticism, which is also a good thing when it helps correct abuses. The church is perfectly willing to dispense criticism of members believed to be “apostate” or erring morally, doctrinally, or in their families. Why is there no balance through accepting good-faith, believing, donating and supporting members’ concerns. No one is going to gratuitously attack–  the anti-Mormons will always have complaints.  But why should the institution fear its faithful members?  Why hide from them?

 

188 thoughts on “No Poor Among “Them”

  1. stockoneder

    4 Nephi 1:3

    3 And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not RICH and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.

    There are no rich in Zion either. That is the biggest stumbling block.

    Reply
  2. Jacob

    I didn’t see any sources of where church financial records or quotes. I didn’t read about you talking with the church officials and their responses to the allocation of tithing funds. This would prove to me that you indeed are trying to resolve a “problem.” Which begs the question are you really trying to fix the problem?

    Reply
  3. Robert Sinclair

    This is commanded in section 42 and 70, and because of being utterly rejected these people are ready for destruction of the almighty soon.

    Watch for all the blood moons coming and sun being darkened on the Jews ancient New Year and High Holy Days of the coming year to fulfill the Scriptures written of Joel as Moroni testified to Joseph Smith three separate times in one night the same exact message of Joel and also that every single one who shall not hearken unto that prophet Jesus Christ shall be destroyed. And Moroni testified that these things would soon be upon all. ♡

    Reply
  4. Nephi Ephraim

    I have read this article and every single comment made here. I cannot bring myself to criticize the Church for how it spends the resources it has. As Pogo says, we have met the enemy and he is US!!!! The Church leadership is us, graduated to greater leadership responsibilities. But the Church is NOT Zion. Thus, to lay upon our Church the requirements of ZION is ridiculous. Its a Church, for Pete’s Sake. Its an amalgamation of unrepentant Israelites who think they are God’ people when they have broken Covenant with the LORD as Isaiah prophesied they would and I speak of us each as individuals. If there is a shift to happen in how we spend tithing dollars it has to come to us as a PEOPLE wherein our leaders reflect us and we reflect them. Again, repentance of the people en masse a la King Benjamin and his Temple-going Nephite constituents. Barring that, we should expect that tithing funds will continue to be spent on HUGE projects while the poor are neglected and we throw a few pennies at them to feel good about ourselves and to have those wonderful stories where the poor are helped while they continue to struggle in Babylon.

    Reply
    1. Albert

      This of course ignores the fact that the top leadership is not selected by us, it is self-selecting by the elite. Nor do we actually get to discuss who’s “called”, much less to actually “vote” / give “common consent” – do you know how objectors are treated ? Just as with the government, we the little people have no say, are ignored and run over rough-shod. It’s a vicious loop – “follow the prophet / the leaders speak for God / they cannot lead us astray” = You have no rights, no say, no useful or needed opinion / perspective. Yet ~ To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men ~ Silence denotes consent ~ Short of direct intervention from God, nothing can, nothing will change until we demand that it change… We’re in a real bind here.

      Reply
  5. Mark Carroll

    I would think about respecting your comments if you didn’t hide behind anonymity. If you truly believed this you wouldn’t hide for “fear of any man”

    Reply
  6. jill

    I don’t have a problem with our church spending funds on buildings that will produce income as the church can’t survive in this world without money. It takes money to live in the world.

    Reply
    1. chosha

      “…the church can’t survive in this world without money. It takes money to live in the world.”

      You know who else can’t survive in the world without money? People who are starving or without shelter.

      Reply
    2. stockoneder

      If God wanted the church to make money because it lacked it, he could easily tell the leaders how to make billions in the stock market with very little money in a matter of days. Or he could tell them where hidden treasures, gold, oil, etc., are.
      Having a huge, diverse portfolio of investments has nothing to with the gospel.

      Reply
  7. Aaron

    I think the $1.4B figure actually does include service hours. I know it at least includes the estimated value of goods donations.

    Also, can you provide references for your data on the Seventh Day Adventists?

    Reply
      1. Albert

        What’s also interesting is that the Adventists, having started 20+ later than we did, have a larger church membership – and all without the tremendous expense and sacrifice of the institutionalized missionary program we have…

        Reply
  8. Jeremy Spilsbury

    The example of President Benson is not relevant to this topic. If he was incapacitated it was due to illness not disobedience. There is a huge difference. I do find it paradoxical that one would believe in a God of miracles but could not believe that an Omnipotent God could not intervene on President Benson’s behalf whenever it was required. Even in the event that he does not choose to intervene directly on the prophets behalf, he has a system established to ensure his church is properly led. This was addressed by Elder Nelson about in the most recent conference:

    “The principles and procedures which the Lord has put in place for the governance of His church make provision for any … circumstance. It is important … that there be no doubts or concerns about the governance of the Church and the exercise of the prophetic gifts, including the right to inspiration and revelation in administering the affairs and programs of the Church, when the President may be ill or is not able to function fully.

    “The First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles, called and ordained to hold the keys of the priesthood, have the authority and responsibility to govern the Church, to administer its ordinances, to expound its doctrine, and to establish and maintain its practices.”

    President Hinckley continued:

    “When the President is ill or not able to function fully in all of the duties of his office, his two Counselors together comprise a Quorum of the First Presidency. They carry on with the day-to-day work of the Presidency. …

    “… But any major questions of policy, procedures, programs, or doctrine are considered deliberately and prayerfully by the First Presidency and the Twelve together.”

    Your example of Brigham Young lacks context and a better understanding of how the Lord establishes doctrine. I agree that Brigham Young did teach some things about blacks that are not consistent with true doctrine. He was undoubtedly influenced to some degree by the prevalent beliefs of his day regarding race. However, what he taught cannot be considered doctrine because it does not meet the Lord’s requirement to qualify as church doctrine. The threshold for promulgating doctrine is recorded in D&C 107:27-31. It is a very high standard precisely because the Lord is very aware of man’s weaknesses and therefore takes necessary precautions to safeguard his church. Does Brigham Young’s lack of true understanding about the treatment of blacks make him a false prophet? I don’t think so. I think it is possible the saints at the time were probably not ready to accept the truth in this matter so the Lord did not reveal it at that time. By the way, Brigham Young did teach that the blacks would one day receive the priesthood and temple blessings. That prophecy certainly turned out to be true.

    The quotes you provide by Brigham Young are if statements used to emphasize a point and certainly not doctrinal. The Journal of Discourses is not canon and certainly does not satisfy the standard for establishing doctrine. This quote and source is very inadequate to prove anything.

    I’m not sure why you think David was a prophet. Samuel was the Lords prophet during King David’s reign. That David was anointed to be the Lord’s King is true but, ever since the Israelites decided to reject the Lord as their king and instead wanted to establish a king like their neighboring countries, the Lord gave them no assurance that they would be led by a righteous king. Rather, they were warned that they would suffer much due to wicked kings. So the same standard definitely does not apply here.

    And if he were to let his prophet remain in his post even after becoming fallen, would he reveal his will to the world through an anonymous blogger? Please offer the scriptural basis for this chaotic way of leading his church here upon the earth.

    Reply
      1. tundraboar

        You assume Brigham’s pronouncements regarding race were false doctrine. If so, are you then saying Brigham was a false prophet? If that’s the case, you allow that there is no true line of authority from Joseph on and that today’s leaders have no authority either. Or, perhaps you simply did not understand the doctrine that Brigham was expounding upon? After all, who created the races? And why?

        Reply
        1. stockoneder

          Yes I do believe his policies on race were false doctrine for the reason cited in the blog post. It was false just like his doctrine on plural marriage/ Adam-God and blood atonement. 3 of those 4 have also been rejected by the “brethren”. I think current leaders do have priesthood authority received from JS and through BY but not the priesthood authority they claim to have. They don’t hold all the keys nor do any of them have the fullness of the Melchizedek priesthood.

          Reply
          1. tundraboar

            We will probably have to disagree on much of this. I do agree that none of the current leaders truly have any higher priesthood authority. I believe they are probably OK functioning at the Aaronic PH level. Regarding some of the other areas, I would suggest you spend a bit more time in study and pondering, particularly expanding your window of thought from a view as narrow as a single eternity to something approaching infinity. As part of this, consider what we have been told in the scriptures about intelligences, creation and life. I would suggest that everything that ‘lives’ possesses intelligence. I would also suggest that all intelligence begins at the same point and simply is, having no form or direction. Yet, all intelligence has the opportunity to grow and ultimately become something we consider to be ‘god’. Would you agree to that? If not, why not?

      2. Jeremy Spilsbury

        As Senator Moynihan once said ” you are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” Knowing the shortcomings and weaknesses of man the Lord established a high standard for establishing doctrine. He was not going to rely on a single man whom is subject to error from personal biases and imperfections. His standard is set forth in the D&C 107: 27-31, And since we are on the subject of Brigham Young, lets read what he taught on the subject:

        In trying all matters of doctrine, to make a decision valid, it is necessary to obtain a unanimous voice, faith and decision. In the capacity of a Quorum, the three First Presidents must be one in their voice; the Twelve Apostles must be unanimous in their voice, to obtain a righteous decision upon any matter that may come before them, as you may read in the Doctrine and Covenants. Whenever you see these Quorums unanimous in their declaration, you may set it down as true. Let the Elders get together, being faithful and true; and when they agree upon any point, you may know that it is true.(Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 9:91-92.)

        Robert Millet detailed the following test for determining bona fide doctrine:
        1 – Is it found in the canons of scripture and taught in the standard works?
        2- Is it found in official declarations or proclamations of the church from the First Presidency?
        3 – Is it taught regularly and consistently by the highest authorities of the church, typically at twice at annual General Conferences?
        4 – Is it found in the general handbooks of the church or its curricula?

        Rather than sharing your opinion this time, please provide references for the false doctrine regarding blacks that adhere to this standard.

        Reply
          1. tundraboar

            Stockoneder,

            You believe this because you chose to believe it. However, you fail to understand deeper concepts that are basic to true understanding. The essay you reference is based on one dimensional understanding and what someone perceives, not necessarily on foundational principles. If you ever decide to go to that level, let me know and we can discuss it. (I note that you never responded to my earlier questions.)

          2. Jeremy Spilsbury

            Yes, it is and I have read your article. I totally agree that the doctrine of the church has always been that everyone is made in the image of God and has full access to all of our Heavenly Father’s blessings.

            You are wrong to characterize what was said or taught by Brigham Young or any other church leader that goes contrary to this doctrine as church doctrine. Their comments do not satisfy the high threshold for promulgating doctrine. I find absolutely nothing in your blog that proves otherwise.

    1. Bishop Anon Post author

      Jeremy. I appreciate all your thoughts. Obviously we disagree and that’s ok. I will not overly belabor the debate and will let others add what they wish to. I will just say that nearly every prophet ever sent from God has been killed by the church. The greatest irony of all is that Christ’s own church killed him. God did not remove very many leaders of his churches during those times. I think that’s the distinction. You presume President Monson and the 15 men are all Prophets, Seers, and Revelators, in the truest definition of the terms. With no disrespect, I would say they are leaders. Inspired leaders on good days, like most of us. I respect and sustain them in their positions, but unless they prophesy, see, and reveal, I will not assume that which is not being demonstrated otherwise. Brigham Young stated:

      “…I don’t profess to be such a Prophet as were Joseph Smith and Daniel; but I am a Yankee guesser.”

      I respect Brigham Young as the successor as president of the church, but I will always measure what he says or anyone says against the standard. I’m not going to assume he was a prophet if he was not willing to say it himself.

      I also think it is incorrect to cite prophets such as Lehi and others, all of whom did not come from within the church or any church, but ironically who were called from outside of the church to cry repentance to the church. Jesus lamented time and time again that the church had killed all the prophets. Why would today be any different? Why would that risk or possibility now be removed?

      By the way, David has written a lot of scripture as did Solomon his son. I consider many of them revelations. I think most of Israel, Islam, and Christianity would be very offended by the idea of David not being a prophet. David was the Lord’s anointed King of Israel. Just as Nephi was king, he too was also a prophet. Not everything fits into today’s tidy “non-chaotic” LDS paradigm you seem to argue exists. Call it heresy, but I don’t believe God will force his church and its leaders to be righteous anymore than he didn’t force his ancient churches to be righteous.

      Thanks again for the comments. I appreciate your passion and wish you well.

      Reply
      1. Jeremy Spilsbury

        I wish you well also. I respect your right to express your opinion but, when you make what I consider reckless and unfair accusations in an attempt to impugn the position of God’s prophets, I am going to challenge your claims.

        Once again, you have cherry-picked facts and either through willful ignorance or an attempt to deliberately mislead, have ignored a whole body of evidence that would clearly contradict your interpretation of Brigham Young’s statement. Here is some context on the matter:

        “Brigham Young in saying that He did not profess to be a prophet seer & Revelator as Joseph Smith was, was speaking of men being born Natural Prophets & seers. Many have the gift of seeing through seer stones without the Priesthood at all. He had not this gift naturally yet He was an Apostle & the President of the Church & kingdom of God on the Earth and all the Keys of the Holy Priesthood & of Revelation was sealed upon him & the spirit & power of Revelation was upon him daily.” (Wilford Woodruff Journal 5:549-550)

        “I have never particularly desired any man to testify publicly that I am a Prophet; nevertheless, if any man feels joy, in doing this, he shall be blest in it. I have never said that I am not a Prophet; but, if I am not, one thing is certain, I have been very profitable to this people.” (Brigham Young, Sermon, October 7, 1864, JD 10:339)

        “It has been remarked sometimes, by certain individuals, that President Young has said in public that he was not a prophet nor the son of a prophet. I have travelled with him since 1833 or the spring of 1834; I have travelled a good many thousand miles with him and have heard him preach a great many thousand sermons; but I have never heard him make that remark in my life. He is a prophet, I am a prophet, you are, and anybody is a prophet who has the testimony of Jesus Christ, for that is the spirit of prophecy. The Elders of Israel are prophets. A prophet is not so great as an Apostle. Christ has set, in his Church, first, Apostles; they hold the keys of the kingdom of God. Any man who has travelled with President Young knows he is a prophet of God. He has foretold a great many things that have come to pass.” (Wilford Woodruff, Sermon, December 12, 1869, JD 13:165)

        See also Amos 7:14-16.

        I agree that King David was definitely a powerful instrument in the Lord’s hands and did receive many truths and revelations. My point about King David was that he was not the Lord’s preeminent spokesman on the earth at that time. His position would not be analogous to the position of our modern-day prophets. Samuel’s position was. The Lord directed Samuel to select and anoint David as King, not the other way around.

        We both seem to agree that it has always been the Lord’s pattern since the beginning of the world to reveal his will to his children through prophets. It seems that you also recognize the fact that in every case the Lord’s prophets have had their share of detractors and persecutors from both within and out of the church.

        If you do not believe that President Monson is the Lord’s prophet through whom he reveals his will unto the world, then who is it? Or does God no longer call prophets?

        Reply
    2. Andy K.

      Jeremy, regarding your statement, “I’m not sure why you think David was a prophet”, please read Acts 2:29-30:

      Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore *being a prophet*, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

      If you don’t believe our anonymous bishop friend, I assume you consider the apostle Peter a good enough authority to accept that David was indeed a prophet. The more you go down the rabbit hole of what makes a prophet, the more you realize that God’s methods for calling prophets are not adequately explained by what we learned in primary growing up, or even what we learn in our Sunday School curriculum.

      Reply
      1. Bishop Anon Post author

        Great comment Andy. I think the challenge is that many LDS people assume that today’s “model” mirrors God’s practice from Adam forward. A “President Prophet” as Jeremy suggests, that God is obligated to honor as the Grand Keyholder, thus establishing a tidy organizational structure that even God must honor. Scriptures suggest that a prophet is simply someone who connects to heaven and is anointed directly by Him. Today we have so watered down the title of prophet that is means nothing in one sense (“He is a prophet, I am a prophet, you are, and anybody is a prophet…”) and everything on the other, where when HE speaks then let it be written, let it be done. When HE speaks, all other prophets (i.e. every man woman or child apparently who has “a” testimony of Jesus) must relegate their prophet status to the great and Mighty Keyholder. Who is a prophet today you ask? Well, for starters you should look at their fruits or at least what they say. If they never say, “I have seen Him, even on the right hand of God… Or the angel who visited me last night… or thus saith the Lord…” or a litany of other prophetic phrases, we can likely assume they are not prophets in the scriptural sense of the word. The full context of Jeremy’s quotes I think further illustrate that Brigham was smart enough to admit that he did not KNOW whether he was a prophet or not. In his last years though, he said he considered it one of the greatest regrets and lamentations of his life that he had never seen an angel nor the Lord. I will provide that reference once I get a chance for anyone who is interested. Thanks again Andy. You’ve contributed a lot to the conversation.

        Reply
        1. Jeremy Spilsbury

          A “President Prophet” as Jeremy suggests, that God is obligated to honor as the Grand Keyholder, thus establishing a tidy organizational structure that even God must honor.

          You really clobbered that straw man! I didn’t realize I believed that God was subject to his prophets or that the church was a tidy organizational structure. Probably because I don’t.

          We can read in the Doctrine and Covenants what the Lord intended for his prophet.

          D&C 1:38
          D&C 47:1-7
          D&C 58:18
          D&C 132:7

          Interesting that you should use the work keyholder pejoratively. Christ did posit the keys of the kingdom to his senior apostle Peter as we read in Matthew 16:19.

          Huh, I’m pretty sure I learned all these things in primary and in Sunday School.

          Reply
          1. Bishop Anon Post author

            Jeremy,

            Let’s take your scriptures one by one and review what you say proves what God intends for his prophet:

            1) D&C 1:38. “whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” What’s your point? We agree that God speaks to his “prophets” and that when they speak in His name, and record scripture, they speak for Him. We just obviously don’t agree on what a prophet actually is. Let’s also not overlook the preceding verses that say a “man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—” and “And he that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received; for my Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of Hosts” and “I am no respecter of persons.” All of which seems to indicate that any man, or any servant or prophet can err, and lead others astray and have light taken from him. None of which states God will take away their agency or remove them as president when they sin or lead others astray.

            2) D&C 47:1-7: I have no idea what you want to prove with this section which is 4 verses long by the way, not 7, and in which John Whitmer is designated to keep the history of the Church and to write for the Prophet. I’m a little lost here.

            3) D&C 58:18: I’d add the context to this scripture which is about Edward Partridge —

            15 But if he (Edward Partridge) repent not of his sins, which are unbelief and blindness of heart, let him take heed lest he fall.

            16 Behold his mission is given unto him, and it shall not be given again.

            17 And whoso standeth in this mission is appointed to be a judge in Israel, like as it was in ancient days, to divide the lands of the heritage of God unto his children;

            18 And to judge his people by the testimony of the just, and by the assistance of his counselors, according to the laws of the kingdom which are given by the prophets of God.

            Jeremy, with all due respect, I have no idea what you wish to teach us? Is it that servants and prophets can fall too and God respects them no more than the rest of us? If so, we agree. Is it that the laws of the kingdom are given by prophets? If so we agree. Again, we just disagree on what a prophet is.

            4) D&C 132:7: I include the portion I think you wish to be your point… “(and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred)” —

            So, the sealing power, and some might say, the power to authorize plural marriage, lies in the hands of Joseph Smith in the last days. Again, what’s your point? If you’re suggesting that the sealing power of the almighty God was automatically transferred to anyone following him who occupied his seat as president, I say you have no idea what the sealing power really is. Look in the Book of Mormon for examples. If you say the sealing power is used today to do temple work, and is magically delegated to thousands of temple workers for the purposes of senselessly sealing every human to each other including Adolf Hitler, in a game of Family History Sudoku, I say again, you simply have no idea what the sealing power is.

            I’m not trying to insult you Jeremy. But it’s your condescending arguments that whimsically toss scriptures around that reinforce my concerns over our awful state as a church.

            It’s obvious that your intentions are good. It’s also obvious that you and many others in the church struggle with so many of us “active Mormons” having such thoughts and concerns about the direction of the church we have given our lives to. I get that. I can relate. But, it’s time for the church to stop fearing and silencing those of us who no longer believe their confusing interpretations and machinations of scripture. We speak because we care. We speak because we hope the church will correct its course. We speak because we no longer fear those in power. God is no respecter of persons and they who serve are not rendering accountability to those they are called to serve. We are calling them on it.

  9. Jeremy Spilsbury

    To do so would be contrary to his work and glory. Why did he have the poor saints sacrifice so much to build temples? Or why didn’t he temper the elements when they traversed the plains so that they didn’t suffer so much? This life is about toil. It is about progression and learning to become like Him. That doesn’t happen by having everything handed to us.

    Reply
    1. AV

      Jeremy,

      God didn’t ask the Saints to sacrifice to build temples, that was asked by men who refused to follow Christ and teach people to give ‘all’ their excess directly to the poor and not to leaders who would pocket some of the money themselves and use the rest on temples, churches, missions or malls instead of the fatherless & poor.

      And thus it wasn’t God either who told the people to traverse the plains to follow Brigham Young, for he was one of the falsest prophets who ever lived, thus righteous Saints refused to follow him and thus didn’t have to suffer from that trial.

      God is not at all about suffering, he is continually trying to get to be wise and avoid suffering if we can and commands us to relieve all the suffering of others around us or else our prayers are in vain.

      Reply
  10. Jeremy Spilsbury

    I don’t think the fact they are gentiles should have any bearing on it. We are all his children. There is something called creative destruction which is necessary for the betterment of civilization. There is a reason why the standard of living around the world has risen so precipitously in the last century. Private property rights are an indispensable aspect of it and I believe whomever owned that land before has the prerogative to do what they would like with it even if I don’t agree. You would have to do away with property rights otherwise. What do you think would be the economic consequences of that?

    Reply
  11. Nephi Ephraim

    I have been asked HOW has the Church Leaders led us astray. And I reply, the FIVE exception Abortion Policy wherein any sister can murder he innocent unborn baby for “her health”. Not even Orrin Hatch agreed with the Church’s LIBERAL Abortion Policy. I have met too many LDS Sisters who have murdered their babies after “clearance” from their Bishops and after “praying about it” only to regret it later. LOL. I would NEVER subscribe to such a patently FALSE “policy” from the devil himself. Because my wife and I did NOT subscribe to this satanic policy, a baby that “was not going to make it” as THREE Licensed Medical Doctors told us, did make it and now she is the LIGHT of our lives. So, pray about that Abortion Policy of this Church and tell me THAT is the Word and Will of the LORD to this People.

    Reply
  12. Amos Johnson

    Sorry I am a little late to the thread but wanted to offer a different perspective to the overall topic. I am currently a Bishop outside the Mormon corridor. I agree with the idea that the “church” could do A LOT more on a global scale to put significant resources towards the poor and needy. I hope to work from within to be a voice to encourage that.

    However at the local level I have never felt limitations from church policy on who and how to help. Previous comments have indicated that bishops acted contrary to the spirit by following church policy and did not help those in need. That simply has not been my experience. I think there have been situations that warrant withholding resources, but many more where we were able to provide significant resources to help those in need.

    As to the original post, I’d suggest Bishop Anon was acting exactly as a bishop should when he met with the sister in need of furnace repair. I still believe going through the welfare training checklist in terms of self-reliance, asking family for help, etc. are appropriate and inspired steps and are very helpful in a lot of cases. They are also only guidelines and if the bishop went through the steps and decided to pay for the furnace that was probably inspired. I am curious why he felt the need to split the payment to avoid needing stake approval rather than asking the stake for approval.

    Also I am familiar with a $5000 limit for medical expenses from the handbook but I have not seen any other limits placed on bishops.

    Reply
  13. Jeremy Spilsbury

    Bishop Anon, not sure why your comment I’m responding to doesn’t have a reply option like every other post, so this probably won’t get posted below your response and seem disconnected.

    D&C 1:38 – My point here is that God reveals his will through prophets. We agree on that. Can we agree that a prophet is a man? And if a man, then certainly an imperfect one since there is no alternative. I believe a prophet to be a man called and authorized by God to speak for Him and direct his work of salvation upon the earth and guide his church that he restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. The scriptures that “a man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh-“, and the others you cite, are not mutually exclusive, even though a prophet has an arm of flesh so to speak, since the prophet reveals the will of the Lord and not his own (the flesh).
    D&C 43:1-7 – I can understand your confusion here. It is section 43 not 47. Here the Lord makes clear that his commandments will given through those whom he appoints, being Joseph Smith at that time, but that this will always be his pattern, even after Joseph Smith. He also reveals that it will be a very open and transparent process before the church – “For verily I say unto you, that he that is ordained of me shall come in at the gate and be ordained…”.

    D&C 58:18 – God establishes the laws of the kingdom through prophets. We agree here as well.
    D&C 132:7 – “…and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred…” Yes, I do interpret this to mean that the Lord has conferred the keys of the sealing power upon every successive prophet since Joseph Smith just as he conferred it upon Peter. Otherwise, everything is void after this life. And, this verse indicates that there will be one upon the earth to make sure this doesn’t happen. SInce Joseph Smith is no longer on this earth, I believe that person to be President Monson. I think verse 8 is very important to this conversation as well. “Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion.”

    I’m not sure how I’m being condescending. It is not my intention. I do find your following statement very condescending though, as well as insulting, which is what usually follows after a statement like “I’m not trying to insult you..” – “If you say the sealing power is used today to do temple work, and is magically delegated to thousands of temple workers for the purposes of senselessly sealing every human to each other including Adolf Hitler, in a game of Family History Sudoku, I say again, you simply have no idea what the sealing power is.”

    I am glad you approve of my intentions though. However, I really wish you would just stick to the topic though instead of advancing this caricature of the church that you have speciously constructed. No one is trying to silence anyone and no one fears you. Another straw man argument. Do you think you are a prophet?

    I speak because I love truth and I believe that you are misrepresenting it.

    Reply
    1. Bishop Anon Post author

      Unlike Brigham Young and many presidents from him to present, I am gladly not in the difficult position of being called and idolized as a prophet, seer and revelator, while not being sure if am or am not. I KNOW I am not. And I will KNOW if I ever have such a privilege. The testimony of Jesus is far more than a testimony of Jesus.

      D&C 43 is a great section – thanks for redirecting us to the intended section.

      3 And this ye shall know assuredly—that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken, if he abide in me (I believe Joseph was taken and so looking at the next few verses becomes really important in determining how we, the members, are to respond to the words and works of any successors)

      4 But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him (One can reasonably ask, did Joseph transfer this gift being spoken of to Brigham? If so, when? If so, why did it take 3 1/2 years for Young to take the position of president? Why was he not unanimously approved by even the 12 let alone the people? Why was he not ordained to the office of president?); for if it be taken from him he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead.

      5 And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments; (This is an incredible charge! Especially when measured against the charge Oliver Cowdery gave unto the 12 to not rest until they saw Christ, that it was their duty if they were to be true apostles.)

      7 For verily I say unto you, that he that is ordained of me (Men who obtain the sealing power are always ordained by HIM, as was Paul who then came into the gate that there might be order in the church which was being led by Peter, also one ordained directly by God.) shall come in at the gate and be ordained as I have told you before, to teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive through him whom I have appointed.

      6 And this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me.

      So, if there is no claim today’s presidents are ordained directly by God, and we have no evidence that Joseph transferred the “gift” to Brigham or that Brigham transferred any gift to any man–why do we act as if we KNOW they are of Him and that we should receive their words as same as if from God’s mouth? I’m not able to say “I know” to any of that.

      If you’d like to continue to discuss this topic, feel free, but I will for now agree to disagree. I share your desire to find and embrace all truth. I sincerely hope we both find it. But to say people such as me are not being silenced in the church is simply not accurate. Everyone who questions the brethren is corrected and/or excommunicated, period. Hence, for now, the Anonymous Bishop. God bless you my friend. I hope you keep reading and participating. Feel free to reply, and please know that my non-response is not intended to infer I’m ignoring whatever questions or points you may wish to add.

      Reply
  14. Jeremy Spilsbury

    Here are some statements that would contradict your narrow interpretation of those scriptures. All the following quotes with its source material, as well as many other quotes supporting the legitimate conferral of God’s authority to Brigham Young and subsequent prophets, is found by following this link:

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Criticism_of_Mormonism/Books/Passing_the_Heavenly_Gift/Claims_about_priesthood_ordination#cite_note-GLS-source-1

    “Whenever men can find out the will of God & find an Administrator legally authorized from God there is the Kingdom of God but whare these are not, the Kingdom of God is not[.] All the ordinances Systems, & Administrations on the earth is of no use to the Children of men unless they are ordained & authorized of God for nothing will save a man but a legal Administrator for none others will be acknowledge either by God or Angels. (Wilford Woodruff Journal (22 January 1843), cited in WJS, 158.)
    In any case, we should not be surprised that many prophets granted the sealing power would have a theophany experience—those in scripture are often the founding prophet of a dispensation or for a specific group of people. A theophany is their only option, since no legal administrator is to be found.

    “The death knell … claim that mortals cannot be involved in the transfer of the highest priesthood power occurred on 27 August 1843, when Joseph spoke of Abraham’s receipt of “a blessing under the hands of Melchesideck even the last law or a fulness of the law or preisthood which constituted him a king and preist after the order of Melchesideck or an endless life.”[20] This is significant for two reasons—(1) it defines precisely how Joseph saw the “fullness of the priesthood,” the last and final power that could be given on earth: he spoke of it in the same terms used to describe the higher temple ordinances; and (2) Joseph declares that Abraham received it by ordination under the hands of another mortal.[21] The Prophet offers as a paradigmatic example—for who can be a greater disciple than Abraham?—“

    In the month of February, 1848, the Twelve Apostles met at Hyde Park, Pottawattamie County, Iowa, where a small Branch of the Church was established….We were in prayer and council, communing together; and what took place on that occasion? The voice of God came from on high, and spake to the Council. Every latent feeling was aroused, and every heart melted. What did it say unto us? “Let my servant Brigham step forth and receive the full power of the presiding Priesthood in my Church and kingdom.” This was the voice of the Almighty unto us at Council Bluffs, before I removed to what was called Kanesville. It has been said by some that Brigham was appointed by the people, and not by the voice of God. I do not know that this testimony has often, if ever, been given to the masses of the people before; but I am one that was present, and there are others here that were also present on that occasion, and did hear and feel the voice from heaven, and we were filled with the power of God. This is my testimony; these are my declarations unto the Saints—unto the members of the kingdom of God in the last days, and to all people.
    We said nothing about the matter in those times, but kept it still

    Alma, Heber, Brigham, and the Twelve could claim God’s power and authority—all had heard the voice of God. Callings and elections could be made sure without a dramatic vision.[32] Might it not be sign-seeking for Brigham to insist upon a theophany when Joseph had already given him a revelation regarding his status? “Blessed are they,” said the risen Lord, “that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:27).
    sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will (D&C 88:68, emphasis added).

    Ultimately, I believe we must go directly to our Heavenly Father to know the truth.God as taught throughout the scriptures. One of my personal favorite scriptures that teaches how to do this is in D&C 136:32

    Let him that is ignorant learn wisdom by humbling himself and calling upon the Lord his God, that his eyes may be opened that he may see, and his ears opened that he may hear;

    Reply
    1. Lena Hansen

      I feel badly for those senior missionaries. Imagine taking time away from their lives and families (I hope they aren’t having to “pay” for their mission) to be unpaid service workers for wealthy LDS. No wonder the church has a hard time finding a replacement.

      Reply
  15. Anonymous

    Jeremy, I’m guessing comment nesting can only go so far since I can’t reply to your latest comment. It is of little consequence but just wanted to make sure you knew that I am not the Bishop Anon. I only say that so that he isn’t saddled with being considered responsible for my thoughts.

    As you said, there may be some things that we are just going to remain in contrasting thought on today. I just wanted to respond to the opening paragraph (below for reference) though and thank you for the clarification and apologize to you for any inference I made incorrectly.

    “I think you are misreading the tone of my posts. I have absolutely no ill-will or feel any animosity toward you. I have tried very carefully to only criticize your arguments and not you personally. If I have not lived up to that ideal, then I have acted wrongly and apologize. Despite my strong disagreement with your post and the way you arrive at your conclusions, I have no reason to think you are anything but a good man.”

    I hope that you have a great Christmas holiday brother.

    Reply
  16. Toni Bate

    It is interesting that some point to kind (or unkind) bishops to prove what the general rulers in the church are doing.

    I have had some great and incredibly helpful bishops and wards for the most part. Awesome men who deserve accolades. But they are not the ones using the Lord’s money and the Lord’s interest to pay themselves and mission presidents. They are not responsible for funneling money away from the poor and into great and spacious buildings built for pride and “show”.

    I have also had and seen bishops who think they do God and the Church a service by refusing to help the suffering poor.

    My awakening came when I realized that if I had not paid tithing, I not only would have been able to buy food for us, I would have been able to have a greater choice.

    I also realized something else: “The evils of a dole” only applies to the poor. I have doled out thousands of dollars to the church and it went into the possession of the general authorities, who have been and are a thousand times wealthier than I, yet they have not cleaned my house nor done anything to pay me for this dole. The bishops who have helped me did not have access to my tithing. That was sent to Salt Lake City.

    Those who give the church money should have that subtracted from what they “owe” the church for financial aid – as long as we continue to be a Babylonic church.

    If we desire to be a church of Christ, there should be no score-keeping on either side. Money or goods should be freely given if there is a need if we have the means to give. If we have no means, we should not be punished for not giving.

    I have a place to live, a car and a job as a direct result of those who chose to pay tithing directly to those in need (I could not have even applied for the job without a car; it was a prerequisite for applying). In turn, I pay my tithing the same way – first providing for myself and family and going out from there.

    Reply
  17. Brent Crash Allen

    As an “inactive” I’ve still pay a tithe because my wife is a beleiver. I would love to at least earmark my donation by putting it in as a fast offering. She feels strongly that such an act renders the offering moot and it isn’t an honest tithe…

    Thank you for the information, I will use it in future discussions .

    Reply
    1. Albert

      Idea: You might point out to her from the Doctrine & Covenants (Section 119) that an honest tithing, a tenth, is taken from surplus not from gross – and do a little horse-trading maybe… As in, “I’ll chip in 10%” of the surplus as Tithing (after the reasonable and necessary cost-of-living expenses that make the surplus possible) ~ and if you absolutely insist that the total be 10% of gross, then the difference goes to Fast Offerings on the form. That’s what I’m going to do.

      Reply
  18. Rebecca C

    I’ve never understood fast offerings my whole life. In fact, I could hardly afford them with all the tithing I was paying, and struggling to pay . It never came easy for us as a one income family, and I never got a big unexpected check in the mail, or whatever everyone else talks about. We got into credit card debt over and over again to make ends meet. We’d pay it off, but it would inevitably creep upp again. I feel angry that the church demamds my money to the point that I dont have enough for my family, and I dont have enough for any charity, and my money goes to carry those rich apostles, some of whom have 2 vacation homes in Heber City, a very rich area. I feel sad that I missed many chances to help people by thinking that my tithing would take care of them. Geez, why dont thise people just go take advantage of those church programs. I pay my tithing, so there must be programs, yet they refuse to help themselves. Those are some of the stupid, prideful thoughts I used to have. This year things are different, and they always will be different from now on, come what may. I will never fall in that mindset again. My eyes are open.

    Reply
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  21. M

    Wow, you discussed so many of my concerns. Need to process this, but my first question is what do you think we as faithful members should do? I’ve been thinking about spending my tithing on non-church humanitarian efforts, or donating all to fast offerings. Conflicted on this one.

    Reply
    1. Robert Sinclair

      The best thing members can do is to sound the alarm, and blow the trumpet in Zion, over the perversion of equity in the church, of no all things common among them being taught or lived by the leaders of the church, that the old men that lead might give ear, and hear, and consider their responsibility to lead the people to being equal in their temporal things and this not grudgingly.

      By first reading the “law” to be embraced by the church in section 42 of the D&C of as in the year of Jubilee, returning to all their portion of land and home food and raiment, from the tithes and offerings, first before any “residue” yes “residue” yes “residue” is used for temples or buildings of any kind or lands purchased for the public benefit of the members.

      This by imparting unto the poor, covenants and deeds of title to homes and lands that cannot be broken, from the assets of the church, and a call put out to the rich and learned, the wise and noble of the church, to assist with this feast of fat things for the poor among them.
      That the “foundation” given for the church, which none are exempt from, of being equal in their temporal things, as given in section 70 of the D&C might be obeyed.

      This as given in section 105 that it is the “church” and not individuals, that has not learned to impart as the Gospel of Jesus Christ requires.

      They currently rob the poor of the tithes and properties consecrated, imparting not one single deed to any of them as commanded of God.

      Sept 22, 2015 they ought to atone as the children of Israel are to do, beginning at sundown with broken hearts and contrite spirits, on this coming most holy day of Atonement, and covenant with God to return to keep his commandments which he has given them, to be equal in their temporal things for homes and lands, food and raiment, by imparting covenants and deeds of title unto the poor of their church.♡

      Reply
    2. Bishop Anon Post author

      I’ve heard of some who are giving directly to organizations that are non church related or who are giving their tithing as a fast offering to the church. I think this is a great question for the Lord. :-). I personally love to see tithing bless people more directly and in addition to tithing like to give anonymously to people in need.

      Reply
  22. Harry Foster

    We should remember that it is our responsibility to follow the words of the Apostles and Prophets.
    It’s my understanding that the first step on the road to apostasy is to thinking that the Apostles and Prophets don’t know what they are doing. As if our ways were better than their ways.
    I can understand the thinking that “the Church” should spend it’s money on helping people rather than putting up billboards in Times Square.
    But, our ways are not His ways.
    If the Lord wants money spent on billboards rather than being used directly for the poor, isn’t that His decision? We don’t know how many people will join the Church because of that billboard. Or donate to the Church because of that billboard. Assumptions are being made.
    This is the True church of Jesus Christ. We have a larger mission than other Churches. We can’t do everything at once.
    We don’t know what the long term plan is. Perhaps the Lord needs to maximize the revenue that is brought in at this time. Perhaps it needs to be saved for the future.
    Let’s have some faith here that our leaders in tune with the Spirit and know what they are doing with the sacred funds of the Church.
    Many times we setup false Dichotomy’s: Either I break the rule and purchase a furnace for the widow or she freezes. There are other options. We’re a Ward family right? Petition members of the Ward to help. If that means that they direct their fast offering funds to the furnace rather than the Ward Fast Offering fund for that month, then that’s their decision. There are many wealthy people in the Ward that could probably just pay for the lady’s furnace directly. Lot’s of options.
    The theme of some of these posts is basically, “The Church is doing the wrong thing with it’s money.” Keep in mind that if there’s a problem, it’s the Lord’s problem and He’ll get it fixed when it’s in His time table. It’s not your problem.
    And to many of the commentators, remember that it’s easy to poke fun or say that what other’s say and do is wrong. It’s better for us to do as Jesus taught and pluck the mote out of our own eye’s.

    Reply
    1. Robert Sinclair

      The law to be embraced by the church in D&C 42 is for a “first consecration” to the poor of covenants and deeds, that cannot be broken or taken back, for these poor of the church, sufficient for their support, from the bishops hands.

      Next step was to use the “residue”, yes that is what is written in the law, “residue” after from the storehouse treasury, for additional poor, and for buildings of worship, and to purchase lands ect, for the public needs and wants of the members.

      So first homes and lands, that the members might have all stewardships of inheritances, to live and pray and work from, unoppressed as to a safe sanctuary where they could live, free from fear of being cast out onto the street.

      Then go and build all the buildings and purchase all the tracts of land, and invest in whatsoever your hearts desire, for the public benefit of the members.

      This to lay the foundation of the true church of the living God, that none are exempt from as recorded in Section 70, that the members be equal in there temporal things first, no poor among them, for homes and lands, food and raiment, before you lay one single brick, for a house of worship, otherwise, you set these things made by the hands of man, to adore, above the needs of the poor.

      The LORD knew Ephraim, would willingly walk away from this law, thousands of years earlier, and told the prophet Hosea, to marry a wife of whoredoms, and have children of this wife of whoredoms, for Ephraim, after being given the greater things of God’s law, of being equal and this not grudgingly, would consider this a strange thing, and go a whoring away from this law, and before amending their ways and their doings, go ahead and build temples anyways.

      These things must need to have come to be, for Hosea to be proven a true prophet of the LORD, and so it is, that Judah had their turn building two temples, both destroyed, now it is Ephraims turn to build many temples, as altars to sin, and set above the law of God, to be equal in their temporal things, and this not grudgingly.

      Now that this lofttiness and perversion of equity in this vineyard of the LORD, is committed in his vineyard, a cry must go forth of his sheep, to weep and howl, and sound the alarm of these things, that the prayer might go up of the servant of the LORD, to spare this vineyard a little longer, as is written in Jacob 5, that Ephraim might acknowledge this offence, and finally fullfill Hosea 14:8, and bring forth fruits equal and delightful unto the LORD, most precious unto the LORD.

      This is a time, to sound the alarm, and spare not, but to shew his people their trsnsgression agsinst his law, of distribution of all assets, as Peter and the “Twelve” apostles, did in Christ’s first true church, where they had “All things common among them” as a testament of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, from the House of Judah.

      And also a second witness and testament of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ being lived, in 3rd and 4th Nephi, another testament that the “Twelve” apostles, of the Nephites, set up “All things common among them”, of the House of Joseph of Manasseh.

      Now it is Ephraim’s turn, and honor, calling and election, to set up this standard, and ensign, and light, unto the nations of the earth, of “All things common among them”, but Ephraim is like unto a silly dove, and and unwise son, that feeds on the precepts, and wind of men. Staying ever so long in the place of the breaking forth of the children of God.

      So be in pain, O House of Ephraim, and push, and labor to bring forth the child of Zion.

      Be ashamed O ye husbandmen and vinedressers, and give ear ye old men, and consider that the harvest of the field is perished, and the vineyard of the LORD has been eaten up, where even the bark has been stripped off the branches of the trees, as is written in the Book of Joel, testified no less than 4 times repeated to Joseph Smith from Moroni, would soon come to pass, see Joseph Smith 2.

      All these things must needs be, to fullfill the grand “Script” of the scriptures of God.

      Let us all pray the bride can finally be brought out of the closet that the bridegroom may come forth and bless us, and that Hosea 14:8 is fullfilled soon, and that by next April 2016 General Conference, an announcement is made, that we are returning to keep the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, even follow his instructions given of living a “United Order” of “All things common among us”, of our own freewill by vote of the members, by the raise of the uplifted hand, in support of keeping all the commandments of God.♡

      Reply
    2. Dale B.

      Harry
      Your comment that “our ways are not His ways” is interesting. So, you are saying that the Lord feels that putting up expensive billboards is the way to go instead of helping people? I must have missed that christian teaching in my reading of the scriptures.

      Your idea that it’s the Lord’s problem and “not your proplem” is likewise interesting. The Lord seemed to blame all Israel for buying into the programs of the decadent kings. True, eventually the Lord did take care of the problem, by destroying those wicked kingdoms and scattering Israel, but don’t you think it would have been better if the children of Israel had been so critical of the king that it would have been difficult for him to remain king in wickedness?

      The Lord does plan to fix things for the modern church as well. This country will be utterly destroyed at his coming and as a special reward for it’s righteousness, that destruction will begin with the Church; “Upon my house it shall begin and upon my house it shall roll forth.” Why do you think he will start with his own house? Do you think it is because a few members think the leaders have gone astray? I suppose that’s possible, butEzekiel makes me think that, although individual member’s righteousness will be taken into account, the Lord is less than enthusiastic at the way the shepherds of Israel have performed as well.

      Reply
  23. Dale B.

    A while back there was an earthquake in Nepal. Nepal is a very poor country and I thought it would be good for me to contribute. A co-worker at my company was a native and recommended one or two charities, so I donated something like $100. This is about the same amount that I typically donate for fast offerings.

    For that small donation, I received weekly reports about how the money was being spent, what their goals were, etc. I marveled that a tiny group could share so much information about their charitable activities, when compared to what information I receive from my church about the money I donate.

    I still donate fast offerings, but I no longer pay tithing. I feel like the leaders of the Church have not been wise stewards of the funds donated. Of course, I could be wrong about this, but I don’t have the information to tell for certain. I’m pretty sure the malls, condos and banks will still get built without my contribution, so I doubt it will be setting back the Church much.

    I used to be proud that our buildings were so plain compared to other christian churches, which I felt reflected poorly on them. But now I realize that in this country, at least, the typical ward house represents at least a million dollars of real estate, not to mention another hundred thousand or so for maintenance and upkeep per year. Here in Utah, there are ward houses about every 4 blocks, which represent multiple billions of dollars. Now I feel ashamed at the waste of funds.

    I’ve heard it said that if we used the money derived from investment towards the poor, instead of reinvesting it for growth, that it would only last a very short time and there would be nothing left. But, it seems to me that the Lord could refill that cruze of oil if he wanted. Where’s the faith?

    Reply

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