$6 for every $1000 of Net Worth Is the Proper Tithe


The heading to section 119 of the Doctrine and Covenants says the following:

Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Far West, Missouri, July 8, 1838, in answer to his supplication:

“O Lord! Show unto thy servants how much thou requirest of the properties of thy people for a tithing.”

The Prophet asked the Lord how much of their property He required for sacred purposes. The answer was this revelation.

Here is the text of the revelation:

D&C 119:1Verily, thus saith the Lord,

I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop of my church in Zion, 2for the building of mine house, and for the laying of the foundation of Zion and for the priesthood, and for the debts of the Presidency of my Church.  3And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people.  4And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood,

saith the Lord.

5Verily I say unto you,

it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you.

6And I say unto you,

if my people observe not this law, to keep it holy, and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me, that my statutes and my judgments may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy, behold, verily I say unto you,

it shall not be a land of Zion unto you.

7And this shall be an ensample unto all the stakes of Zion. Even so. Amen.

The individual judges what is surplus property

An excerpt from “The Tithing of My People”:

Shortly after Joseph received the revelation in section 119, he assigned Brigham Young to go among the Saints “and find out what surplus property the people had, with which to forward the building of the Temple we were commencing at Far West.” Before setting out, Brigham asked Joseph, “‘Who shall be the judge of what is surplus property?’ Said he, ‘Let them be the judges themselves.’” (“Discourse,” Deseret News, June 20, 1855, 117; punctuation modernized. )

That covers “the beginning of the tithing of [the Lord’s] people,” now what about the standing law, which concerned the meaning of interest?

Interest = interest; (plain and precious knowledge lost)

Apparently, the revelation said what it meant and meant what it said.  In other words, the words were plain to the understanding of the men who lived in the day in which the revelation was given.  As Joseph had asked regarding “how much the Lord required of the properties of His people for a tithing,” he received an answer regarding their properties, and this is why we find Bishop Partridge explaining the plain and precious meaning of the words in terms of property in a letter written a few days after the revelation was received:

“Bishop Partridge understood ‘one tenth of all their interest’ annually to mean 10 percent of what Saints would earn in interest if they invested their net worth for a year,” Harper wrote. He cited an example from Partridge who was reportedly in the room when Smith received the revelation.

“If a man is worth a $1000, the interest on that would be $60, and one/10. of the interest will be of course $6. thus you see the plan,” Partridge wrote in a letter just days after the revelation was received.

According to Harper, six percent was a common interest rate at the time.  (New historical information reveals original meaning of LDS tithing – KUTV.com)

Unfortunately, the saints apparently did not obey the law of tithing, as evidenced by Lorenzo Snow’s much later administration, in which the church found itself in dire financial straits.  As a result of this disobedience on the part of the saints, a gospel principle was invoked:

Alma 12:9And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying:

It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.  10And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.  11And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.

1 Ne.13:26And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away.  27And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men.  28Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.  29And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them….40And the angel spake unto me, saying:

These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.

2 Ne.28:30For behold, thus saith the Lord God:

I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say,

We have enough,

from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

D&C 1:33And 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.

D&C 43:8And now, behold, I give unto you a commandment,

that when ye are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other, that ye may know how to act and direct my church, how to act upon the points of my law and commandments, which I have given.

9And thus ye shall become instructed in the law of my church, and be sanctified by that which ye have received, and ye shall bind yourselves to act in all holiness before me—10that inasmuch as ye do this, glory shall be added to the kingdom which ye have received.  Inasmuch as ye do it not, it shall be taken, even that which ye have received.

D&C 60:3And it shall come to pass, if they are not more faithful unto me, it shall be taken away, even that which they have.

D&C 83:39And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.

So the Lord took away from His saints the plain and precious meaning of this scripture, removing this light from them, because their minds had become dark, through disobedience.

Interest = increase; (from Brigham Young onward)

After Joseph Smith’s death, we find this new meaning of the revelation’s use of the word interest among the saints.  This is the meaning that I used for my 4-part tithing series on this blog, it being the earliest meaning I could find to Joseph’s time.

Interest = income; (1970 First Presidency statement onward)

Here is the part of that First Presidency letter that deals with tithing:

What is a proper tithe?

For your guidance in this matter, please be advised that we have uniformly replied that the simplest statement we know of is that statement of the Lord himself that the members of the Church should pay one-tenth of all their interest annually, which is understood to mean income. No one is justified in making any other statement than this. We feel that every member of the Church should be entitled to make his own decision as to what he thinks he owes the Lord, and to make payment accordingly. (First Presidency Statement, 19 March 1970)

Interest = interest; (plain and precious knowledge restored*)

On 13 January, 2016, the scholars broke the news of their new historical research, which essentially restored the light we had at the first.  So, now we are posed with a question, even the same question that the First Presidency of 1970 asked in their letter: In the light of this newly restored knowledge, what is a proper tithe?

6% is the divinely approved rate for calculating tithing

I suppose it will be tempting for people to think that since interest rates fluctuate, that one can use whatever is the current interest rate to calculate tithing, whether it is smaller or greater than 6%, and still be in full compliance with this law.  But not necessarily.  We don’t know whether the Lord approved of any other interest rate for calculating tithing, other than the one which was had among the saints in the day the revelation was given.  So, using any other interest rate would be using an unknown variable.  In other words, you’d just be guessing.  It may be that the Lord would be okay with using fluctuating interest rates to calculate tithing, but it also may be that the Lord would not be okay with that.  So, why venture into unknown territory?

What we know is this: the revelation was given according to the circumstances of the people of the day it was given in.  During that day, 6% was the common interest rate, and this is the rate that had divine approval for calculating tithing.  Regardless of what the current fluctuating interest rates may be, six percent will always be a known, divinely approved rate for calculating tithing.  So, use it!

The individual judges what is net worth

Just like the surplus property, you, the individual, must be the judge as to what is your net worth.  This assessment must be made on a yearly basis, for all stewards must and will give an accounting of their stewardship, and assessing is one of the functions of stewards.  This, then, is the only part of the equation that may fluctuate from year to year.

Once you know your net worth, you just multiply that number by 0.006, and that is what you give to your bishop as tithing.  That will satisfy the law of heaven and you can then answer truthfully to your bishop, “I am a full tithe payer,” without either under-paying or over-paying.

What is a proper tithe?

To recap: you first assess what is your surplus property, and give that to the bishop.  Then you assess, on a yearly basis, your net worth, and for every $1000 of net worth, you give $6 to the bishop.

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*This same “light given, light removed, light restored” pattern and process can also be seen in regards to D&C 89, which is the revelation known as the Word of Wisdom.  When that revelation was given, it was understood to be, in its entirety, a revelation of God.  Later on light was removed and the first three verses were thought to be “originally written as an inspired introduction and description by the Prophet.”  Thus, when Brigham Young used the law of common consent to cause the church to make D&C 89 a commandment of God, the saints could (and did) conveniently ignore those first three verses.  But then light was restored, and we now know that those verses were and are part of the revelation, which verses (and knowledge) nullify the common consent commandment the saints made, reverting the revelation back to a word of wisdom, and not a word of commandment!

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Learning of the Real Meaning of Tithing Should Be like Finding the Book of the Law


I am a little late to this party.  I found out just yesterday that there has been new historical research done and published on the church web site (lds.org) about the original meaning of the word interest as found in the revelation on tithing (D&C 119).  I have come across three online articles about this, so far:

“The Tithing of My People” – LDS.org, posted on January 13th, 2016

Understanding “Interest” in Joseph Smith’s Original Tithing Revelation – Juvenile Instructor, posted on February 2, 2016

New historical information reveals original meaning of LDS tithing – KUTV.com, posted on February 9th, 2016

Here is a relevant quote from the KUTV news article:

“Bishop Partridge understood ‘one tenth of all their interest’ annually to mean 10 percent of what Saints would earn in interest if they invested their net worth for a year,” Harper wrote. He cited an example from Partridge who was reportedly in the room when Smith received the revelation.

“If a man is worth a $1000, the interest on that would be $60, and one/10. of the interest will be of course $6. thus you see the plan,” Partridge wrote in a letter just days after the revelation was received.

According to Harper, six percent was a common interest rate at the time.

Each of the articles above are quick to note that this has no bearing, whatsoever, on modern Mormons, who practice the law of tithing in a different way, according to how their leaders currently dictate and understand it.  In other words, they treat this revelation as just an interesting historical note, of no possible bearing on the current crop of LDS.

Compare that response to king Josiah’s reaction to the finding of the Book of the Law.

Josiah

(1) King of Judah, 641–610 B.C. (see 2 Kgs. 22–24; 2 Chr. 34–35). While still young, he made, under the guidance of Hilkiah, a thorough religious reformation, which extended to the northern tribes. He restored the temple, destroyed idolatrous images and the high places, put down the idolatrous priests, and celebrated a great Passover (2 Kgs. 23:21–23). During this reformation a book of the law was found by Hilkiah (2 Kgs. 22:8–9; 2 Chr. 34:15–16). It made at once a great impression and led to the centralizing of all sacrificial worship at Jerusalem and the abolition of local idolatrous sanctuaries or high places.  (Bible Dictionary entry on Josiah.)

2 Kings 22:8-13 says,

8And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe,

I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord.

And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.  9And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said,

Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the Lord.

10And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying,

Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book.

And Shaphan read it before the king.  11And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.  12And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king’s, saying,

13Go ye, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.

So then king Josiah sets to work getting the people to covenant to obey the laws found in the newly discovered Book of the Law, so that their forms and rites of worship would exactly match what the Lord had previously revealed.

Again, compare that to the current situation among the latter-day saints.  The very best understanding of the original intent and meaning of how the law of tithing was intended by the Lord to operate among His latter-day saints is discovered and published last month (Jan. 2016), and we get a *ho-hum* and yawn.

My take on this

There are factions who are trying to “take back the restoration” and create a reformation of some sort among the saints.  But, I have been expecting not a reformation, but an actual restoration.  And it seems to me that this historical research publication is the hand of the Lord, starting to work a restorative preparation among the saints.

Remember the new research on the Word of Wisdom revelation, where we learned that the first three verses were as much a part of the revelation as the rest?  And the implication of that was that now we could partake of all those “prohibited” things mentioned in the revelation?  That, also, in my view, was the hand of the Lord, beginning to do a Josiah and Book of the Law thing among the saints.  (And I suppose that all of this, and perhaps more stuff to come, is a preparation by the Lord for the appearance of His Josephite restorer among us, perhaps as a sort of new Josiah to set us right in the eyes of the Lord again.)

So, everything I said about the meaning of the word interest on this site, is now null and void.  I wrote with limited understanding and knowledge, just as everyone else did. We now have a fuller and more complete understanding, due to better facts.  My recommendation to the saints, then, is to conform to Bishop Partridge’s understanding, and not to the one I put up on this blog previously, nor to anyone else’s.

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Nothing From Without Can Defile You


there is nothing
from outside of a person
that upon entering into them
could possibly defile them
but
the things which come out of them
those are they that can defile
if any have ears to hear
let them hear

Mark 7:15-16

Well, how does this sway with our understanding that the body is a “temple of God” and that by consuming tea, coffee, alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs we’ll “defile” that temple of God [which we are]?  Jesus said:

do you not perceive
that whatsoever thing from the outside
that enters into a person
cannot possibly defile them
because it does not enter into their heart
but enters into their belly
where it goes out into the toilet
making all foods the same

and he said

that which comes out of a person
that will be what defiles them
because from within
coming out of the heart
proceed all of one’s evil thoughts
adulteries and fornications
murders
thefts
covetousness
wickedness
deceit
lasciviousness
an evil eye
evil speaking
pride
foolishness
etc.
all these evil things come out of the body
from within
and these are what defile a person

Mark 7:18-23

What goes into the body goes right back out again.  The more important thing that Jesus was worried about is what comes out of the mouth — because our words betray the condition of our heart, and that’s the thing that makes our “temple of God” clean or unclean [not the food/drinks we consume].

Peter was told in a dream:

that which God has cleansed
thou shalt not call unclean

Acts 11:8-9

And what has God “cleansed”?

and God
having made peace through the blood of his cross
by him
to reconcile all things unto himself
by him
whether they be things in earth
or things in heaven

Colossians 1:20

Worrying about outward observances, such as “appropriate” foods and drinks, is worrying about making clean the outside of the cup and the plate — when what we’ve been called to do with the liberty given to us by Christ is to invest our efforts in making sure the inward part isn’t full of ravening and wickedness [Luke 11:37-40].

The liberty we have in Christ is the confidence that “all things are clean unto you” [Luke 11:41].  No food or drink that enters into your “temple of God” [meaning your body] can defile it.  What “defiles” that place is what occupies the attention of your heart:  the thoughts you entertain, the fantasies you imagine, the motivations/drives you act from, etc.  And that is shown by what comes out of your mouth:

a good person
out of the good treasure of their heart
brings forth that which is good
and an evil person
out of the evil treasure of their heart
brings forth that which is evil
for the mouth speaks out of the abundance of the heart

Luke 6:45

So we must beware of any “false brethren” who’ve gotten into the midst of the church of Christ unawares, who detest this liberty which we have in Christ Jesus — seeking instead to “bring us into bondage” with doctrines and commandments that aren’t from our Lord [Galatians 2:4].  We must be free to “stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” [Galatians 5:1].

I know
and am persuaded by the lord Jesus
that there is nothing unclean of itself
but to one that believes a thing to be unclean
to them alone is it unclean

for the kingdom of God is not about food and drink
but righteousness and peace
and joy in the Holy Ghost
for he that
with these things
serves Christ
is acceptable to God
and approved by others
let us
therefore
follow after the things which make peace
and things wherewith we can edify each other
instead of worrying about food
which does not affect the work of God
all things indeed are pure
it is only evil for one who eats with offense

Romans 14:14-20

And what is this liberty for?  To consume all the booze we want simply because “it’s okay to drink wine“?

brothers and sisters
we have been called unto liberty
only do not use this liberty to serve your fleshly desires
but rather
by love
use it to serve one another
for all of the law is fulfilled in one word
even this
LOVE

Galatians 5:13-14

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