My brother-in-law called me last week to get my advice about a tithing question, in part, I think, because I have an accounting degree. He had inherited his parent’s home, and needed to pay tithing on it. But it would take time to sell the home, if he decided to do that, and the value of the home might change between the inheritance and when it sells. How should he decide what the home is worth in order to calculate how much tithing he should pay? I know that this type of question has been asked a lot—my brother-in-law is far from the first to ask what the rules are. And actually, he isn’t the first to ask ME about what the rules of tithing. And the Bloggernacle is full of post after post addressing tithing and what the rules are.
My wife Lyndee got an email at work a few weeks ago. It turns out that they have been paying her the wrong amount. They have been paying her significantly less than they should have been paid They had placed her incorrectly on the pay scale. Lyndee has two bachelors degrees and they were only paying her for one. We knew this was the case but she had been told that this was how the district paid new teachers. This development will move her over two columns on the school districts pay scale. Somebody had told her that the district only paid for additional degrees or credits received AFTER one starts teaching. This was discouraging since she is currently our only full-time income and she deserves even more than the new revised amount. I had even been told that if I taught for the school district (my plan for next year), they would start me at the bottom of the pay scale and not count any of my degrees beyond my bachelors. Guess what? That also is not the case. Given the rough shape of our school district and the numerous voices who had confirmed that the district started everyone at the bottom (as they had been doing with Lyndee), we had little reason to question the supposed policy, though it was discouraging. However, we are happy that it is not the policy at all. In one afternoon, Lyndee’s salary…
We tend to talk about the benefits of the temple more than the obligations. In the temple we may gain knowledge, revelation, be sealed to our families, and give our relatives who have passed on the opportunity to accept necessary earthly ordinances—all important elements described in the Lorenzo Snow manual lesson 10. But these benefits come with some obligations (beyond those required to qualify for a recommend), such as the obligation to attend the temple periodically, support temple work, do genealogical work, and even work in the temple when called. On a practical level, these obligations are quite different from the expectations experienced by the Saints in Nauvoo and understood by them before the Nauvoo Temple was built, as can be seen by the following poem.
Its hard to find poetry about tithing! I suppose since tithing wasn’t emphasized as much by the Church before the beginning of the 20th century, Mormon poets didn’t focus on the concept. Or, it might simply be that the subject matter doesn’t work well in poetry; certainly the word “tithing” isn’t very poetic, leaving me with visions of bad poetry in which every line ends with a present participle. Its enough to set my ears ringing! But, I suspect that tithing is such a basic concept that my chronological review of poetry, still mired in the late 1840s, just hasn’t come across the poetic reactions to the principle. But I did finally come across the following poem, which gets close, mentioning “the outlay of your money for the Church.”
Coreen Johnson has graciously provided this personal story of Mormon Life, which I loved and thought would be a great addition here. Coreen is a stay-at-home mother of 4 who now lives in New Mexico. Enjoy! Elliot’s Vagrants by Coreen Johnson, FMHer “Hey lady! Do you have a dollar? Just a dollar! Please lady! Just a dollar! Please, ma’am!”
There was a lot that I liked about this month’s Ensign; but one of the short articles bothered me. It was the tithing article where the writer, a single mother of six, compared utility and mortgage bills to tithing, and then stated that: I would rather lose the water source to my house than lose the living water offered by the Savior. I would rather have no food on our table than be without the Bread of Life. I would prefer to endure the darkness and discomfort of no electricity than to forfeit the Light of Christ in my life. I would rather abide with my children in a tent than relinquish my privilege of entering the house of the Lord. Is anyone else uncomfortable with the idea that it’s more important to pay tithing than to put a roof over one’s children’s heads?
Suppose that we had a base 8 system instead of base 10, perhaps because, in this hypothetical world, we had 8 fingers rather than 10. Would we pay 1/8 our increase, or do you think it would still be one tenth? Or, to reverse causality, what are the chances we have ten fingers so that we’d develop a base 10 system that would make it easier to count out our tithing?
Tithing Settlement is a great part of the Christmas season.