Charitable gifts: investments of earthly or heavenly benefit?


Jesus taught to give alms to the poor anonymously:

Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say that I would that ye should do alms unto the poor; but take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father who is in heaven. Therefore, when ye shall do your alms do not sound a trumpet before you, as will hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. 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 who seeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly.” (3 Nephi 13:1-4)

Let’s compare the two paths of giving that Jesus outlined above:

Non-anonymous giver

The gift is given “before men to be seen of them.” In other words, the giver is known. Men both know what the gift is and who gave the gift. The expected benefit is to “have glory of men.” The reward for giving comes from men (the “glory of men.”) Heavenly Father does not reward such a giver (“ye have no reward of your Father who is in heaven.”)

Anonymous giver

The gift is given “in secret,” thus no one knows who gave the gift. Only Heavenly Father sees who the giver actually was. The expected reward is from Heavenly Father, not from men. Heavenly Father himself rewards the secret giver “openly.”

Current practice in the LDS church

Click this link to see a picture of a tithing slip. You’ll notice that it has a place to put the Date, the Ward or Branch, the Name of the donor, the Full Address of the donor, as well as places to indicate what amounts of money are going to what funds: Tithing Fund, Fast Offering Fund, Ward Missionary Fund, General Missionary Fund, Book of Mormon Fund, Humanitarian Aid Fund, Temple Construction Fund, Perpetual Education Fund, or Other (specify) Fund. There is also a place to write the total amount donated and the totals for checks, currency and coin.

An LDS will fill this form out completely and indicate what Funds will receive of the donated money. At the end of the year he or she will then meet with the bishop and declare whether she or he is a full tithe payer, a partial tithe payer or exempt of tithe paying. Although a meeting with the bishop is not necessary, as every member can merely write a letter to the bishop making such a declaration, most people do make such an appointment with the bishop, who then goes over the record the church has of the member’s donations with the member and gives them a copy of said donations which the member can then use for tax deduction purposes.

How I give charity to the church funds

I use the same tithing slip, but do not fill out my name or address. If the funds are going to local funds, I will fill out the Ward or Branch. If the funds are only going to general church funds, such as tithing, I will not fill out the Ward or Branch. I never pay by check, only by cash or anonymous money order. I never hand the donation directly, but will either mail it or get it into the hands of a member of the bishopric via some other secret way. When it comes time to declare my tithing status, I always write a letter making such a declaration, but never declaring the amount I have donated. Sometimes I will give my donations to bishops of other wards or branches, so that no one knows who gave that amount of money, nor how much I have given (or not given.) The only person who sees me give a gift is Heavenly Father. No man, in or out of the church knows what I give. Come tax time, I do not list my gifts as donations, as I have no evidence of it, and thus I receive no earthly benefit (from the state.)

So, of the two paths of giving that Jesus has spoken of, which path do I fall into, and which does the LDS customary practice fall into? Or, are we both on the same path?

Next Tithes and Offerings article: The law of tithing (part one)

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

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9 Comments

  1. Thankyou for the citation on circumcision. LDS people do not circumcise their babies
    for Religious reasons. There is a Jewish Organization against the Bris . I beleive the
    argument is that tiny babies are unable to give consent and parents should not.

    In Roman times Jews could be killed for being circumcised, Christians as well.

  2. On giving, my x and I were very poor in school–people helped us in traditional ways.
    Raise potatoes and winter squash and dropp it off at night with bread etc.
    put a 100.00 bill in your hand and leave it in the hand of the impoverished. These folks could afford it, and to pay a full tithe.

    Obviously, not being able to go to the Temple is sad. You may be ahead instead of behind. Only the workers there know how often you attend.

  3. Does the Bishopric count? I mean the other members don’t see you giving anything much the way many other churches do with the collection plate. I do see your point though and I must admit I had never considered it before. I feel it’s more in the intent of your giving. I don’t think putting your donations on the same slip as your tithing is “sounding a trumpet”. Now if you were to hand your envelope to a member of the Bishopric with a bunch of people around and say, “Here is my tithing along with my very generous fast offering so that I might help those who are less fortunate”, and said it loud enough for people to hear, then yeah, that’s “sounding a trumpet”. Having said that, I often don’t hand in my envelope if anyone is around or I just mail it. We each have our own way of doing what we feel comfortable with.

  4. The comment from Kathleen:

    I’m long term and forever LDS and my boys are both circumcised. What religeous reasons are you speacking of? It has nothing to do with the LDS Church, it’s a personal choice and we decided for cleanliness, health and to be like their Dad, we would have our boys circumcised. Everyone I know who is LDS has also circumcised their boys with the exception of one family who decided to allow their boys to be the same as their Dad who is from a country where circumcision is not always done.

    Have a Great Day!
    Diana

  5. What unusual comments – how did the circumcision thing make it in there???

    Here is my advice – Get your boys circumcised otherwise they will look like freaks in the locker room. Being a teenager is hard enough.

    Now to the actual topic on anonymous giving – your method is way to much work, you are freakin me out with all of your letter of the law posts. Who cares if the ward clerk knows how much you gave. He has promised not to tell a soul that is anonymous enough for me. There are lots of other people who know you did it too. You bank teller when you get the money order, your wife.

    I don’t think Christ intended that we become some untraceable secret agent of giving. I think his advice could best be summed up with “don’t be a jerk”.

  6. I don’t know why circumcision is in this post, but the above advice is terrible:
    “Get your boys circumcised otherwise they will look like freaks in the locker room…”
    My wife and I have not circumcised any of our boys.
    Circumcision can be done later in the boys life when he has both better pain tolerance and a voice to choose the procedure or not. When doctors circumcise babies, there is no topical pain numbing meds applied — when it is done as an outpatient procedure on an older child, they do. Why not let the child decide if he wants to look like Daddy or not, instead of just choosing for him and cutting of his skin for no reason.

    On topic, I really like this post because — with this being the start of a new year, I have been thinking of ways to better align the way I pay tithing with D&C 119 instead of Mormon culture.
    This post was very helpful for that.

  7. There is a “back door” way of paying tithing that few know about. Are you aware that you can pay tithing “in kind” (even though it’s still just money or stock) directly to the Church? I have been doing this for years, and just smiling when the bishop looks at my big fat zero on the paper and asks I’m a full payer. I say yes. He isn’t allowed to ask any questions about it. If he does, he is going against the handbook, (and I think the law).

    Anyway, for those of you who are interested, whatever funds you want to transfer or send to the Church corporation directly, here’s what you do:

    Make a check or wire/transfer your money to:
    Corporation of the President
    15th Floor, Room 1521
    50 E N Temple
    Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3617

    If you want to do this anonymously, I would create a cashier’s check or something that doesn’t trace back to you. I’m pretty sure they will somehow mark your records if you write a check with your information on it. Their official web page instructs you to give them your record number and all that personal information. It is not required.

    What I have done is to set up a personal charity account, which is tax-free when I deposit there. When I want to donate, I tell them to transfer funds anonymously. I must include their EIN which is:

    EIN: 23-7300405

    This is only for US residents. I’m not sure what the procedure is outside of the states. I do it at the end of the year (or not). By the way, if you don’t include personal information, they won’t be able to give you a receipt that you can use for your tax write-off purposes (which is why I do it from an account…if I do it).

    Lifted from a comment written on the Pure Mormonism blog.

  8. Think twice before paying anything to any corporation, especially The Corporation which recently published these Satan inspired words.

    “If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing. If paying tithing means that you can’t pay your rent, pay tithing. Even if paying tithing means that you don’t have enough money to feed your family, pay tithing.” (Aaron L. West, Sacred Transformations, December 2012)

    Also taken from the Pure Mormonism blog. ^^ ^^ ^^

    1 Nephi 14:10
    Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.

    1 Nephi 22:23
    For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to GET GAIN, and all those who are built up to GET POWER OVER THE FLESH, and those who are built up to BECOME POPULAR in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet.

  9. You are right…… And it’s right in the scriptures plain as day!


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