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Rameumptom Ruminations: 095: A Brief History of LDS Tithing

The practice of tithing in the modern LDS church has led to the hoarding of billions of dollars. How was tithing practiced in the early church and does it resemble the modern teachings? Today, Scott covers a brief history of tithing practices within the LDS church.

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2 thoughts on “Rameumptom Ruminations: 095: A Brief History of LDS Tithing”

  1. Hi Scott, thanks for the podcast and for your efforts in trying to promote a respectful and thoughtful discussion on Mormon topics.

    Some thoughts I’ve had while listening to these past few episodes on tithing / money:

    First, I don’t think amassing wealth is the church’s primary goal. (To be clear, I’m not claiming you think this either, but I know some who do.) With the exception of the very upper echelons (apostles, 1st quorum of seventy perhaps), very few people in the church receive a direct financial benefit from participation. Rather, I think that the church’s main focus is on maintaining the health of the organization, and perpetuating and expanding it until the return of Christ. Money is just one component that makes this possible. The other is the willingness of the membership to sacrifice its time and effort. Psychology studies have shown that the more one sacrifices for a cause, the more committed to the cause one becomes. I think the church is afraid that if they tell the membership that they have vast monetary resources, or that tithing is now optional then the commitment level of the membership will decrease, which will negatively impact the church’s main objective — they will be less willing to pay, and sacrifice their time and effort to propagate the organization.

    Not to say that money is not important. Clearly a lot of money is needed to run any large organization. After having gone through periods in its history where it was in debt and struggling financially, and having been victimized and persecuted, the church has (to me) developed a ‘must survive and be independent at all costs’ mentality. As a result I don’t think the church will ever feel secure enough to think it has enough money. I can sympathize a bit I suppose — as I approach retirement, as someone who is a worrier by nature it will be hard for me to say OK, I have enough money saved up now that I can give up my work income.

    Again, appreciate the podcast and your perspective!

    1. Thanks for the great comment and thoughtfully engaging with the subject. I share many of your thoughts on this. There is a cost to running the institution and I’m not opposed to the idea of paid clergy. My complaint isn’t that the q15 and the seventies are paid its that the lack of transparency that bothers me. I think local leaders should be compensated for their time as well. I try to walk the line in these episodes of sharing exactly how I feeel about a subject and allowing space for differing ideas to engage with the content.

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