FacebookTwitter
Hatrack River Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » How Republicans are destroying America - an insider's take (Page 2)

  This topic comprises 4 pages: 1  2  3  4   
Author Topic: How Republicans are destroying America - an insider's take
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Kiva has never suggested to me that insufficient donations constitute theft or that I'm going to get something back for my contribution. OK, well I did get a free t-shirt for getting some friends to sign up, but other than that...
This argument is silly. Frankly, a free t-shirt is a much more direct reward for contributing than anything I've ever gotten from the Mormon church. Every organization that asks for donations does so by appealing to morality. That alone does not make it coercive.

I donate to Kiva and other such organizations for the exact same reasons I donate to the LDS church -- I feel an ethical obligation to do so. I think the same can be said of pretty much everyone who donates to charity. We donate because we think its the moral thing to do. Why we think its the right thing to do is largely irrelevant. Never in my life have I felt coerced into donating to my church.

Posts: 12591 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattP
Member
Member # 10495

 - posted      Profile for MattP   Email MattP         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Frankly, a free t-shirt is a much more direct reward for contributing than anything I've ever gotten from the Mormon church.
Who cares about direct? Isn't being sealed to your family for eternity worth a bit more than a t-shirt? And the t-shirt wasn't tied to donations, it was for missionary work. [Smile]
Posts: 3275 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scott R
Member
Member # 567

 - posted      Profile for Scott R   Email Scott R         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Maybe by "direct," she meant tangible.

Being a member of the church has brought me tangible benefits that are more valuable than a t-shirt. For example: I've learned leadership skills and teaching skills that help me be a more valuable employee and manager. Volunteer opportunities help me learn valuable skills and form relationships that improve my ability to get a job. The Church provides a support network that may assist with childcare, home improvement, etc.

Of course-- I think those come from being active in the Church, and may not be directly linked to paying tithing.

Posts: 14554 | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Interestingly, when I see the phrase "voluntary" I take it to mean "without coercion or manipulation."
Which do you see as more manipulative, 1. Telling people they are stealing from God if they don't pay their tithing or 2. Pictures of starving children and heart wrenching stories of children who will suffer if you don't contribute?

From my perspective they are both about equal. I wouldn't consider either one unscrupulous manipulation unless the person doing the telling is knowingly lying.

Posts: 12591 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Amanecer
Member
Member # 4068

 - posted      Profile for Amanecer   Email Amanecer         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I really would like to see numbers.
I've just spent way too much time trying to find good numbers. Reliable data on this seems hard to find. The following two links are from Christian oriented websites that are presumably not trying to paint a poor picture.

Link 1:
quote:
Conducted in 1999, this survey of U.S. pastors finds that most churches spend most money on staff compensation ($118,601 from an average budget of $292,790). This is followed by facilities ($54,194), missions ($45,259), church programs ($24,675), administration and supplies ($17,853), denominational contributions and fees ($11,539) and miscellaneous ($25,430)
Link 2:
Says that payroll is on average 42% of the budget, building expenses are over 20%, mission budgets are 15%, church programs 16%.

It's fair to say that the vast majority of money isn't going to charity.

I know many here are LDS but googling shows that the LDS church does not offer public information on this. I did find a welfare service fact sheet, that puts total aid from 1985 to 2009 at $1.212 billion, or an average of $80.8 million a year. Wikipedia says the church has 14 million members. If you assume half of those give to tithing, that's less than $12 per tithing member a year going to humanitarian aid. Since that's such a small amount, there's probably some other arena in which they give. But since they're not providing the information, it's all guess work.

Posts: 1947 | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scott R
Member
Member # 567

 - posted      Profile for Scott R   Email Scott R         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think they're about equal.

(My response was to MattP's definition of voluntary, by the way.)

Posts: 14554 | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Maybe by "direct," she meant tangible.

Being a member of the church has brought me tangible benefits that are more valuable than a t-shirt.

By direct, I meant direct: that is proceeding from cause to effect in a clear uninterupted, immediate way. I benefit in many ways from being a member of the church. Some of those are tangible and some may qualify as direct. But I can't think of any way I have benefited directly from the financial contributions I've made.

Being sealed to my husband is a somewhat abstract and distant promise. Its not a reward for paying my tithing. To receive it I must keep all the covenants I have made of which paying tithing is only the tiniest part.

Posts: 12591 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scott R
Member
Member # 567

 - posted      Profile for Scott R   Email Scott R         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Amanecer:

Those weren't quite the numbers I was looking for. Tom's original assertion:

quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
The last hard data I saw on charity donations indicated conservatives out-donated liberals by a wide margin.
This number flips if you remove their "donations" to their own churches.
...is what I'd like to see data on.

Quick note: tithing money doesn't go to what most people would consider "charitable" causes. The welfare referred to is probably from Offerings, which in the Mormon church are separate.

Your numbers also don't take into account the amount of in-person service given by theists (such as: mowing lawns, raising barns, volunteer child care, meals made, etc).

I will say: we can give more. We, as a community of faith, NEED to be doing and giving more.

Posts: 14554 | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 124

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The averaged numbers as I've seen them, unadjusted for income (which, frankly, I think is another relevant factor).

Self-identified liberals:
$250/yr. in secular charitable giving
$500/yr. in church-based giving

Self-identified conservatives:
$100/yr in secular charitable giving
$1100/yr in church-based giving

This probably varies a lot by income, as it appears from the few individuals whose numbers are publicly available (like the Obamas and Kennedys vs. the Palins and Romneys) that liberals have an upper limit to their church-based giving, meaning that church-based giving among liberals can be assumed to fall as a percentage of total giving as income increases, but that no such limit appears to exist for religious conservatives (whose church-based giving seems to account for 80% of their total giving on a fairly consistent basis). (I couldn't find any non-religious conservatives whose charitable giving was public record.)

Posts: 37421 | Registered: May 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scott R
Member
Member # 567

 - posted      Profile for Scott R   Email Scott R         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Where did you get those numbers?
Posts: 14554 | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
The Rabbit
Member
Member # 671

 - posted      Profile for The Rabbit   Email The Rabbit         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
I've never heard of anyone paying tithing directly to Church headquarters. I wasn't even aware you could pay tithing electronically.

I know quite a few people who do it. Its the only way you can make in-kind donations of appreciated stocks. A lot of the older people in my last US ward did it this way so they could transfer funds directly from the 401K's. My brother started doing it when he was President of a branch in the Bronx because there was a lot of economic inequality in the branch which made him uncomfortable with having the other branch leaders know how much he made. I started doing it for US tax purposes. Because I live outside the US, my donations to the church aren't fully tax deductible if I make them through my local ward. Its also convenient.
Posts: 12591 | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 124

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Google. I basically scrolled until it looked like an article I'd read before. [Smile]
Posts: 37421 | Registered: May 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Amanecer
Member
Member # 4068

 - posted      Profile for Amanecer   Email Amanecer         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Those weren't quite the numbers I was looking for
Gotcha. I did do a preliminary look for that data, but couldn't easily find anything I'd consider reliable. Tom, where is your data coming from? [EDIT: Tom could you please provide a link?]

quote:
Your numbers also don't take into account the amount of in-person service given by theists (such as: mowing lawns, raising barns, volunteer child care, meals made, etc).
I don't think that's relevant to whether or not contributions to ones' church should be considered charity or not. Before looking at the info, I was inclined to think of it as about 50/50. Now, I think about 20% of money given to churches could reasonably be considered charity.
Posts: 1947 | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
fugu13
Member
Member # 2859

 - posted      Profile for fugu13   Email fugu13         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Google. I basically scrolled until it looked like an article I'd read before.
Perhaps you could link to that article?

Also, I note that even using those fairly pessimistic estimates of money going to churches going to charity purposes, and assuming none of the secular charity parts go to overhead (the overhead of churches is in all that other money, generally), the numbers work out as follows:

250 + .2 * 500 = 350
100 + .2 * 1100 = 320

Which is going to be well within margin of error.

Btw, the reason I say fairly pessimistic is that the numbers are actually really hard to pin down. For instance, churches will often serve as funnels for other charities, where the money is donated to other charities, but collected by the church. People who donate will call it money that went to the church, while the church won't include it in the numbers they make those funds breakdown reports on.

Posts: 15770 | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scott R
Member
Member # 567

 - posted      Profile for Scott R   Email Scott R         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Link in which a liberal charts the discussion we've been having, and comes to the same conclusion as Rabbit (and Arthur Brooks, who she mentioned)

quote:
I think about 20% of money given to churches could reasonably be considered charity.
It depends what you're calling charity. For example, for many churches a "mission" is tantamount to going to Haiti or somewhere like that and serving meals, helping build homes, and other service. In the LDS church a "mission" is generally considered a proselyting effort. The first would be considered by most folks as "charitable." The second, not so much.

I'd like to see your reasoning on why 20% is a good number to settle on.

Posts: 14554 | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Amanecer
Member
Member # 4068

 - posted      Profile for Amanecer   Email Amanecer         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I'd like to see your reasoning on why 20% is a good number to settle on.
Based on my Link 1, the average amount going to missions is $45,259. The total budget is $292,790. That's 14.5% (very similar to the 15% in link 2). And as you say, some of that is probably going to proselytizing. It's hard to know what of portion misc. might be charity, but the other items seem primarily like infrastructure expenses, so I thought 20% was a reasonable estimate.
Posts: 1947 | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Juxtapose
Member
Member # 8837

 - posted      Profile for Juxtapose   Email Juxtapose         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
The last hard data I saw on charity donations indicated conservatives out-donated liberals by a wide margin.
This number flips if you remove their "donations" to their own churches.
I thought (and I hope he'll correct me if I'm wrong) that Tom used the quotes to indicate that he didn't think tithes to churches ought to be considered donations, but rather (voluntary) fees for service rendered. A little like how Radiohead marketed their last album. The question, I think, is whether one can donate money to oneself.

I'm a little sympathetic to that idea, though I haven't thought about it overly much. I'd be happy to call tithes "contributions." If someone were donating to their church with the express intention of the money going entirely to charity work, it seems like it'd be fair to call that a "donation."

In any case, I think the semantics here illustrate that simply saying "conservatives donate more money than liberals" isn't really useful without a whole lot of qualification.

Posts: 2907 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Tresopax
Member
Member # 1063

 - posted      Profile for Tresopax           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Are we also going to eliminate parents who donate to their child's school or alumni to their alma mater? Are we going to discount giving to political parties or issues that one supports? Should we not count giving to any organization that the donor himself is associated with, or that benefits the donor in some way indirectly, or that resulted from pressure by the organization to give, or that partially goes towards the organization itself rather than 100% to needy individuals?

That would eliminate the vast majority of charitable giving.

Posts: 8120 | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Teshi
Member
Member # 5024

 - posted      Profile for Teshi   Email Teshi         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I don't know anything about tithing, as an atheist, but something I do know about being a socialist is that as a tax payer I am happy to pay taxes because I know that my taxes go to support the country and all those who live in it.

In fact, I'm happy to not demand a tax return provided I am making enough money for myself. So I am effectively loaning the government more money than I am supposed to.

Canada and the UK which have quite a lot of money put into things I care about like roads, healthcare, education, vulnerable people, arts and yes, defence of the realm(s). The only thing I wish my taxes were going towards is Space Exploration but I might be contributing to that through ESA, so it's probably okay.

I'm just saying that while I am compelled to pay taxes, I'm also happy to. I don't claim it's a donation, though. I wouldn't say that my money going to the government, while willing, are donations in the same way as a donation I might make to a kid's camp.

I don't think counting charitable donations is a valid way of measuring whatever the heck we are trying to measure (niceness). As a socialist, I want the government to provide basic services and I am willing to pay for them and I'm willing to pay more than I should if I think it's doing good work.

I don't think it's surprising that religious people, who are part of a society where giving is not only expected but enabled by the church, can be measured as giving more. If I'm in church and someone's passing around a basket, it's actually quite easy to donate. The same goes for church-based events where the church organises an event or sends out a request for volunteers. It's harder to do that outside of such a society and-- people being what they are-- thus people donate less.

Finally, the fact that you guys are actually having a pissing contest over "who donates the much" really says it all doesn't it? It doesn't matter, this article that says both your political parties are grievously broken and don't really do much productive governing, no-- what really matters is how much your people paid. That proves that one of your little groups are better people and should get to rule the country. Let's talk about this for another whole page or four, shall we? It's easier than discussing the actual article.

Sorry, that turned nasty quickly.

The UK has massive social problems: class divisions run riot and gum up parliament and society, homes are unaffordable, businesses are replaced by bookies and the educational system is barely struggling along and racism is still rife. But at least it have a news system that actually acts like a fourth estate and constantly keeps everyone on task, and at least there is a healthcare system that sort of functions, and at least the defence budget is balanced with the rest of the budget.

Posts: 8473 | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Anthonie
Member
Member # 884

 - posted      Profile for Anthonie   Email Anthonie         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
Furthermore, it is totally unfair to equate the tithes I pay to some sort of club membership dues. I receive no bill. I'm not kicked out if I don't pay. Currently, I make all my church donations electronically to the central church. No one in my local ward, including, Bishop gets any information about how much I pay. As far as my Bishop knows, my total contributions to the church are zero. That's what his records say. He accepts me at my word when I tell him I'm a full tithe payer. Find me a club that as a matter of policy accepts members word that dues have been paid, even when the records show the opposite. The money I donate to the church is 100% voluntary.

For myself when I was LDS (and for some other people I know in the small Utah towns where I grew up), donating money to tithing did not feel like it was 100% voluntary. The social costs of NOT paying were severe and often brutal.

As mentioned several times previously in this thread, shame can be, and too often is, the motivation behind people making donations. I have felt it first hand.

The following is anecdotal, my own experience. However, I believe such situations are not uncommon where I am from.

I was 23 years old. My brother called to tell me how excited he was that he had met the woman of his dreams and they were going to be married in 3 months and for me to save the date. They would be married in the the Manti LDS Temple.

A chill ran up my spine. I did not meet all the qualifications necessary for a temple recommend, at least not if I answered every question in the recommend interview honestly. (One requirement is that a person must pay a full tithe to enter the temple.) I was going to miss my brother's wedding.

I nearly capitulated to answering the recommend interview questions dishonestly in order to get a recommend to attend his wedding. The shame I felt by choosing to sit outside the temple during the ceremony was numbing. My grandfather castigated me. My aunt avoided me. Many relatives were upset and concerned. Some people showed compassion toward me as though I were a leper.

In my LDS experience, built into the church are some invidious ways of enforcing adherence, of requiring that you "pay your dues" in order to be accepted by those closest to you. Paying tithing is one requirement for temple worship. Not being able to attend the temple for special occasions betrays to all who know you that something is 'wrong' with your spiritual standing. People become privy to your private spiritual health when you may wish to keep things private. Thus, some people "pay up" not voluntarily, but to avoid negative stigma. The weapon is shame, and the fallout is being "kicked out" of your place in the circle of community, family and friends.

Posts: 293 | Registered: Apr 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Teshi
Member
Member # 5024

 - posted      Profile for Teshi   Email Teshi         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hang on, Rabbit.

In order to be allowed in the Temple, you have to pay tithes. While you are not 'checked up upon', the only option to not pay and still be accepted into what equates to a powerful society, is to lie to someone who it would be, in your belief, a grievous problem to lie to?

Sounds like you are "required" to pay as much as any church member is required to pay. In fact, I would hazard a guess that most churches don't actually require you to pay anything for entry. You might get frowned at, but I don't think many priests would hold you up at the door if you came to worship without bringing some cash.

Excuse me, but you are required to pay tithes in order to be a full member of the church. If you do not you are not a full member of the church. Therefore, you are required. It is a membership fee.

We assume that you are not having to lie to your church. If you are having ot lie to your church in order to remain a member, something is grievously wrong with that relationship.

Like my paying taxes because I am required to, you may feel quite willing and happy to belong to the church and pay taxes to them. But that does not mean that you are not compelled-- you ARE compelled, you just choose to acquiesce to the compulsion as I choose to acquiese happily to national and local taxes.

Neither of us are required to donate to save puppies. If we do not, we lose nothing. Therefore it is a voluntary donation.

Posts: 8473 | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattP
Member
Member # 10495

 - posted      Profile for MattP   Email MattP         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
In my LDS experience, built into the church are some invidious ways of enforcing adherence, of requiring that you "pay your dues" in order to be accepted by those closest to you. Paying tithing is one requirement for temple worship. Not being able to attend the temple for special occasions betrays to all who know you that something is 'wrong' with your spiritual standing. People become privy to your private spiritual health when you may wish to keep things private. Thus, some people "pay up" not voluntarily, but to avoid negative stigma. The weapon is shame, and the fallout is being "kicked out" of your place in the circle of community, family and friends.
This is what I have observed as well. Perhaps it's not as apparent to those who consistently meet this standard how powerful the repercussions of not meeting it can be. Or perhaps individual communities are harsher than others, but it's a dynamic that I've seen multiple times. I know people who are atheists but keep up appearances as active members of the church, including tithe paying, because of the downside of failing to conform within their families and communities.
Posts: 3275 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Amanecer
Member
Member # 4068

 - posted      Profile for Amanecer   Email Amanecer         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Finally, the fact that you guys are actually having a pissing contest over "who donates the much" really says it all doesn't it?
I'm not certain that was the only thrust of the argument. I took from the discussion that many conservative Christians feel at peace with their faith and their political party because of a belief in private charity. Exploring how much of that perceived charity is actual charity seems valuable.
Posts: 1947 | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattP
Member
Member # 10495

 - posted      Profile for MattP   Email MattP         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Excuse me, but you are required to pay tithes in order to be a full member of the church. If you do not you are not a full member of the church. Therefore, you are required. It is a membership fee.
Perhaps it would be better to call it a Temple fee, as church membership really requires little more than baptism and some light paperwork and actually takes a bit of deliberate effort to undo.

I think calling it a "tiny" part of the requirement for temple attendance is a distraction from the fact that it is still a requirement and one that many people struggle with. ("Necessary, if not sufficient", as it goes) A flat tax is effectively regressive, after all.

If you want to accomplish all that is necessary for exaltation during your life on earth you must contribute 10% of your increase.

Posts: 3275 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
advice for robots
Member
Member # 2544

 - posted      Profile for advice for robots           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
When I see "100% voluntary" it suggests to me that there are no discrete benefits to the action nor detriments for refraining from it for the person who is choosing to perform or abstain from that action. In the LDS church you are told that if you don't pay tithing you are not worthy for temple attendance and that you are stealing from God. You are also told that if you pay tithing that you will receive a blessing "that there shall not be room enough to receive it." This is commonly understood to mean that you will not want materially, provided you pay a full tithe. I know this isn't supported doctrinally, but that's really a separate issue when it comes to people's motivations.
I, for one, regard tithing more selfishly than 100% voluntary. I personally haven't missed the tithing I've paid during my life, but instead feel that I've enjoyed much more in return for contributing it (and no, not just monetary). I pay my tithing for that reason. It's a very personal contract to me. I quite like the arrangement. How my 10% gets used by the church once it leaves my hands isn't important to me. Would I be 10% more wealthy if I didn't pay tithing? Possibly. Do I miss it? Not really. Taking 10% immediately off the top of my income each month has had the very mundane effect of making me a better budgeter and financial planner with the other 90%. It is an ongoing lesson in greed for me as well and has kept me conscious of just how much prosperity I enjoy and what my responsibility therefore is.

The part about stealing from the Lord and not having room enough to receive the blessings is from Malachi in the Old Testament, just in case anybody couldn't place it. It is quoted often in the church in relation to tithing, which is a subject that is talked about fairly frequently. Since I have a proper Mormon perspective [Smile] about it I haven't interpreted the stealing from God part as a sword hanging over my head, but as a reordering of how we view our income and possessions--as owners or stewards?


quote:
In my LDS experience, built into the church are some invidious ways of enforcing adherence, of requiring that you "pay your dues" in order to be accepted by those closest to you. Paying tithing is one requirement for temple worship. Not being able to attend the temple for special occasions betrays to all who know you that something is 'wrong' with your spiritual standing. People become privy to your private spiritual health when you may wish to keep things private. Thus, some people "pay up" not voluntarily, but to avoid negative stigma. The weapon is shame, and the fallout is being "kicked out" of your place in the circle of community, family and friends.
Geez louise. I'm sorry you had to go through all that. It makes me cringe to hear of people being ostracized like that by church members. That's poor treatment and expressly against the purpose of the church. I recognize that it's flat-out crappy for family and friends not able to enter the temple to have to sit out a temple wedding. Inevitably the temple starts seeming like an exclusionary tool, a line that separates the haves from the have nots in the church. No matter how many people get to attend a wedding inside the temple, there are always some very important and loved people who can't attend. I don't know of any really good solution for the feelings that often causes. Coming out of the temple and looking down the nose at those who weren't inside isn't right at all. On the contrary, those people who couldn't be in the ceremony should be helped to feel as included as possible in every other part of the activities.

Whether they (the people who weren't inside the temple) feel loved and wanted or ostracized is partly their choice and based on their understanding of the occasion, I have to say, regardless of how anyone else acts toward them. I have attended many temple marriages (including my own) and for my part at least have tried to be sensitive and loving toward those who weren't able to be in the ceremony. I have still seen a variety of reactions from people who had to outside, from understanding to vitriol later on. As much as I wanted everyone I loved to be able to witness my own marriage ceremony, having it done in the temple was even more important to me. It's a small ceremony regardless--maybe 30 can be there in one of the larger sealing rooms. We had to anguish over who we could invite even among those able to enter the temple.

I know it's a fine line, but the temple isn't meant to separate the good from the bad and keep the riffraff out. It's meant for everyone and open to everyone. Yes, there are things you have to be doing or not doing to be able to enter the temple and some require people to make significant changes in their lives and lifestyles. This discussion about tithing as a qualifier for "full membership" in the church makes me sad. I don't have the debating chops to convince anyone that that's not how it is at all.

ETA: I guess here's an another attempt to explain the difference. The church is for everyone. There are no levels of membership. People who make you feel that there are are sorely mistaken and need to take a hard look at themselves. Membership in the church is the gateway to many other blessings, including those available in the temple. These are personal and obtained at the person's own speed. Being able to enter the temple is up to that person alone. There is no Club.

[ September 07, 2011, 05:13 PM: Message edited by: advice for robots ]

Posts: 5957 | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
scholarette
Member
Member # 11540

 - posted      Profile for scholarette           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think that it might take not paying tithing and being an "insider" to see it as manipulative. I would be surprised if anyone who wasn't a full tithe payer would view it as not a qualifier for "full membership." Also, in many countries, they have no problems having a public wedding on the same day/week/whatever couple wants as the temple ceremony. Since that policy is country specific, it is hard for me not to view it as intentionally punitive.
Posts: 2223 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattP
Member
Member # 10495

 - posted      Profile for MattP   Email MattP         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Being able to enter the temple is up to that person alone
I can't think of any route by which I could possibly enter the temple given my personal philosophy is in such strong contradiction with core elements of church doctrine and therefore I will likely be unable to attend my children's weddings. I don't feel that it is up to me at all.

quote:
Also, in many countries, they have no problems having a public wedding on the same day/week/whatever couple wants as the temple ceremony.
At least in the US the church discourages it and it can be difficult getting access to church facilities to host it. Just a further frustration for the dad that expects to find himself weeping on the temple steps when his first daughter marries inside.
Posts: 3275 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
kmbboots
Member
Member # 8576

 - posted      Profile for kmbboots   Email kmbboots         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Maybe your daughter will marry outside the church?
Posts: 11187 | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
advice for robots
Member
Member # 2544

 - posted      Profile for advice for robots           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
Being able to enter the temple is up to that person alone
I can't think of any route by which I could possibly enter the temple given my personal philosophy is in such strong contradiction with core elements of church doctrine and therefore I will likely be unable to attend my children's weddings. I don't feel that it is up to me at all.

Nevertheless.
[Dont Know]

Posts: 5957 | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattP
Member
Member # 10495

 - posted      Profile for MattP   Email MattP         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Maybe your daughter will marry outside the church?

Could be, but all four of them and both sons? I want them to do whatever's going to make them happy.
Posts: 3275 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scott R
Member
Member # 567

 - posted      Profile for Scott R   Email Scott R         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
AFR: Well said. Thanks.

***

quote:
Just a further frustration for the dad that expects to find himself weeping on the temple steps when his first daughter marries inside.
It would be a good idea for the family involved in this situation to hold two ceremonies.

I seem to recall Dallin H. Oaks (one of our apostles) addressing this point directly, and counseling the above.

Posts: 14554 | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
scholarette
Member
Member # 11540

 - posted      Profile for scholarette           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
ScottR, in the US the policy is no ceremony that could be mistaken for a wedding. Of course, my exchange of rings, included statements of love (not vows), walking down the aisle (we had to get to the front somehow and my husband was already up there and my dad wanted to walk with me) and flower children (kids are cute and should be included in everything). The bishop did however make a point that the wedding was in the temple, not there.
Posts: 2223 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
advice for robots
Member
Member # 2544

 - posted      Profile for advice for robots           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Scholarette, I'm curious as to how your relations and friends not able to attend the temple marriage felt about the ring ceremony you described. Was it good enough? This is purely out of curiosity.
Posts: 5957 | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
scholarette
Member
Member # 11540

 - posted      Profile for scholarette           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think it was sufficient for them. Our ring ceremony toed the line of acceptability (though my sister was at the time best friends with a Romney who had just got married and basically got anything she wanted past her bishop and so when my bishop raised his eyebrows, I was like, oh, it worked so well at X Romney's wedding and then my bishop ok'd it). But other than the bishop saying this wasn't a wedding, our ring ceremony really was a wedding, so for people not in the temple, they saw a bride walk down an aisle, basically vows, a kiss, etc. I don't think those not at the temple thought they missed out on anything and if they did they never expressed it.
Posts: 2223 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scott R
Member
Member # 567

 - posted      Profile for Scott R   Email Scott R         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
M's grandparents, and my grandparents, and all her uncles and aunts, and all my uncles and aunts, and all our cousins, and our brothers and sisters seemed satisfied with the ceremonies we arranged post-temple. (M and I are second generation Mo's; our extended families are Protestants)

The only person who had a problem with it was an ex-member friend who was offended on everyone else's behalf, and declared that now she knew the church wasn't true to M's little sister, because they wouldn't allow her (M's sister) in the temple.

Then again-- our families don't hang on ceremony anyway.

Posts: 14554 | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Samprimary
Member
Member # 8561

 - posted      Profile for Samprimary   Email Samprimary         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I know it's a fine line, but the temple isn't meant to separate the good from the bad and keep the riffraff out. It's meant for everyone and open to everyone.
I'm scratching my head at this one.
Posts: 15419 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
Finally, the fact that you guys are actually having a pissing contest over "who donates the much" really says it all doesn't it? It doesn't matter, this article that says both your political parties are grievously broken and don't really do much productive governing, no-- what really matters is how much your people pai

No, it clearly makes the argument that one of the parties is driven by nearly pure and total force of corruption and nihilism, and that the other is grievously broken.

One that this article is *NOT* is a plaintive: "both parties are at fault" drivelathon. He's directly addressing and dismissing those arguments as fallacious nonsense that actually serves Republican ends.

If that's what you got from it, you didn't read the whole article- or you failed to pick up on a few of the central points (one of which was that people like you think that casting blame on two sides casts two sides on equally solid, or unsolid ground, when in fact blame is never evenly distributed, and never should be).

Posts: 9912 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Orincoro
Member
Member # 8854

 - posted      Profile for Orincoro   Email Orincoro         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
quote:
Being able to enter the temple is up to that person alone
I can't think of any route by which I could possibly enter the temple given my personal philosophy is in such strong contradiction with core elements of church doctrine and therefore I will likely be unable to attend my children's weddings. I don't feel that it is up to me at all.

Ditto. My Cousin was married in a Mormon temple a few months ago. His entire family, and the entire family of his wife (they are both converts) were not invited. So was it up to all of them whether they went or not?
Posts: 9912 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
scifibum
Member
Member # 7625

 - posted      Profile for scifibum   Email scifibum         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The marriage policy is probably the strongest example of how people can feel "coerced" by LDS church policies including the tithing requirement for temple recommends.

It's certainly not the same level of coercion that we get with state taxes, though. It's technically voluntary, even if people feel constrained by social pressure.

And, as advice for robots pointed out, a lot of that more-or-less coercive pressure comes from sub-cultures within the church, or individuals who aren't acting the way they are supposed to.

Anyway my point is I think there's a totally valid distinction between the state collecting taxes to help the poor and a church collecting tithes in order to do similar good works.

Which leads me to believe we should be using the state more.

Posts: 4287 | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Samprimary
Member
Member # 8561

 - posted      Profile for Samprimary   Email Samprimary         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I am just amazed by the idea that there's no coercion involved for the tithing, just because you can say, essentially 'well they're bad bookkeepers, you can get away with it by lying!'

... i .. don't

Posts: 15419 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scott R
Member
Member # 567

 - posted      Profile for Scott R   Email Scott R         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Coercion may mean something very different to us.

I think we've had this discussion before on this board.

Would you say that school children are coerced to get good grades?

Posts: 14554 | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MattP
Member
Member # 10495

 - posted      Profile for MattP   Email MattP         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Would you say that school children are coerced to get good grades?
Sure. Not all of them, but many.
Posts: 3275 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Rakeesh
Member
Member # 2001

 - posted      Profile for Rakeesh   Email Rakeesh         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I guess here's an another attempt to explain the difference. The church is for everyone. There are no levels of membership. People who make you feel that there are are sorely mistaken and need to take a hard look at themselves. Membership in the church is the gateway to many other blessings, including those available in the temple. These are personal and obtained at the person's own speed. Being able to enter the temple is up to that person alone. There is no Club.

I really don't see how this follows. I grant that it is how you perceive things-I don't think you're being dishonest or evasive. The thing is, though, Temple recommend is an outward, quasi-public sign of one's status within the church. It's a sign of something of how the Church, as an organization, feels about a given person's status both with themselves and with God.

Even when the intention is not to make levels of membership, it seems clear to me that there are going to be levels of membership, even among the very best of members. I'm reminded of a line from Gandhi to the British, I'm not sure if this is accurate to history or not, which went something like, "It's in the nature of things, gentlemen, even the best of you must humiliate us to control us."

My comparison isn't at all to say that the intent of having a recommend is to humiliate. It's to point out that, even for the very best of Mormons, a temple recommend serves as a dividing line of sorts, with one group of Mormons on one side and another on the other side. Even when those very best of Mormons follow all the best teachings and don't take on airs or reject people on that basis, the line is still there.

Posts: 17164 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
scholarette
Member
Member # 11540

 - posted      Profile for scholarette           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
The marriage policy is probably the strongest example of how people can feel "coerced" by LDS church policies including the tithing requirement for temple recommends.

It's certainly not the same level of coercion that we get with state taxes, though. It's technically voluntary, even if people feel constrained by social pressure.

And, as advice for robots pointed out, a lot of that more-or-less coercive pressure comes from sub-cultures within the church, or individuals who aren't acting the way they are supposed to.

Anyway my point is I think there's a totally valid distinction between the state collecting taxes to help the poor and a church collecting tithes in order to do similar good works.

Which leads me to believe we should be using the state more.

I thought the comparison was not between taxes and tithing, but between tithing and a donation to United Way.
Posts: 2223 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Samprimary
Member
Member # 8561

 - posted      Profile for Samprimary   Email Samprimary         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
Would you say that school children are coerced to get good grades?

Many of them, yes? They're also coerced into eating vegetables and forced into bed at bedtime even if they get whiny and pouty, is this the best comparison?
Posts: 15419 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scott R
Member
Member # 567

 - posted      Profile for Scott R   Email Scott R         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hm...I would not say that most children are coerced into getting good grades.
Posts: 14554 | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mucus
Member
Member # 9735

 - posted      Profile for Mucus           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I must say, of the many assertions made in this thread, that is an especially odd one for me [Wink]
Posts: 7593 | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mucus
Member
Member # 9735

 - posted      Profile for Mucus           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:
Which do you see as more manipulative, 1. Telling people they are stealing from God if they don't pay their tithing or 2. Pictures of starving children and heart wrenching stories of children who will suffer if you don't contribute?

Not sure how this fit into the prior conversation, but I want to quickly note that the first is much more manipulative for me. The first is an attempt to leverage fear of eternal consequences to one's soul (vs. an attempt to leverage emotions about something currently (or when the pictures were created rather) happening) and is attacking a personal balance sheet that can only be balanced by one's self (vs. children that may very well be helped by other people contributing to the same charity).
Posts: 7593 | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scott R
Member
Member # 567

 - posted      Profile for Scott R   Email Scott R         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I swear we've had this exact conversation before...
Posts: 14554 | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mucus
Member
Member # 9735

 - posted      Profile for Mucus           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Deja vu?
Posts: 7593 | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
  This topic comprises 4 pages: 1  2  3  4   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2