The Root Cause of the Current Financial (Monetary) Crisis and Its Solution


Ever since I learned of the biblical prophecies—and later of the additional prophecies of the LDS—concerning these days in which we live, I’ve always wanted to be an observer of the affairs of men, watching the winding up scenes unfold before my eyes, without participating in the iniquities, frivolities and foolishness of men, nor in the judgments of God upon them.  However, I believe that the Lord wants more than this:

And now, as I spake concerning my servant Edward Partridge, this land is the land of his residence, and those whom he has appointed for his counselors; and also the land of the residence of him whom I have appointed to keep my storehouse; wherefore, let them bring their families to this land, as they shall counsel between themselves and me. For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.  Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; for the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.  But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.  (D&C 58: 24-29)

Notice that the Lord didn’t say we should be engaged in good causes (plural) but in a good cause (singular).  Many will interpret this passage to mean that we can be engaged in any cause that is good, but I believe that the Lord had reference to only one cause which is defined by Him as being good: the cause of Zion.

For thus saith the Lord God: Him have I inspired to move the cause of Zion in mighty power for good, and his diligence I know, and his prayers I have heard.  (D&C 21: 7)

Zion holds the solution to all of the world’s problems.  Zion is not just for the saints, but for all men and the time will come that many of the wicked will flee to it (see D&C 45: 68 and 133: 12) to escape the wrath of God and the judgments upon Babylon.  Every LDS, then, after escaping Babylon themselves, should also be helping others escape.  After all, as saints, we are supposed to be a light unto the world, setting an example of godliness to all those that view our good works, so that they can glorify God.

So, when I see the crisis happening on Wall Street and the $700 billion dollar solution our president is providing, I wonder what the latter-day saints will do.  Will we accept the solution provided us by our Gentile, Babylon-based government and be cast out as good-for-nothings?  Or will we provide the Zion solution and become the temporal saviors of men, even saviors upon Mount Zion?

For they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men; and inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.  (D&C 103: 9-10)

The Financial Crisis

By now everyone should be aware that there is a financial crisis happening in America.  It is no longer a question of whether bad financial times are upon us, but how bad they are and how long they will last.  The doomsayers predict a financial depression that will last many years and make the American Great Depression of the 1930’s seem like a walk in the park.  The optimists say we can ride this wave out because America is still dynamically very strong.

On everyone’s mind is both how to fix the situation and who will do the fixing.  Specifically, the question is, “Which presidential candidate, Obama or McCain, can fix it?” The two, major, political party candidates have become the saviors of men in the eyes of the masses who support them.

As an anarchist and a latter-day saint, my view is that government is usually the one that causes these problems to begin with, and therefore, should never be called upon to fix them, as it usually only ends up making things worse.  If there is a solution to our economic situation, it will come from the people themselves, working independent from the government.

But before a solution can be offered, the problem must be identified, not just the symptoms of it.

A financial crisis is a monetary crisis

A financial problem is a monetary problem, it usually being either that there isn’t enough money going around (deflation) or that there is too much money going around (inflation).  That seems to be simple enough to fix.  In deflation, you just print more money and circulate it.  In inflation, you just stop or slow down the printing presses and also destroy money that comes into your hands.  Yet, despite (more or less) being in control of the amount of money in circulation, by being in control of the printing presses, the Fed has failed to stabilize the economy, bringing us into the Great Depression of the 1930’s twenty years after it (the Fed) was created and now bringing us into an even greater depression known by some as the Global Systemic Crisis seventy-eight years after that.

So, owing that the Fed isn’t really doing the job we were told it was supposed to do (stabilizing the economy), maybe we ought to look a bit further and deeper and consider that the problem is not how much money is going around, but whether what is going around is actually money.

The Lord talked about money

In 17 of the revelations given to Joseph Smith, the Lord mentioned money.  Here are the specific scriptures: D&C 24: 18 given in July, 1830; D&C 48: 4 given in March 1831; D&C 51: 8, 11, 13 given in May, 1831; D&C 54: 7 given in June, 1831; D&C 56: 9-12 given in June, 1831; D&C 57: 6, 8 given on July 20, 1831; D&C 58: 35-36, 49, 51 given on August 1, 1831; D&C 60: 10 given on August 8, 1831; D&C 63: 40, 43, 46 given in August, 1831; D&C 69: 1 given in November, 1831; D&C 84: 89-90, 103-104 given on September 22 and 23, 1832; D&C 90: 28-29 given on March 8, 1833; D&C 101: 49, 56, 70, 72 given on December 16, 1833; D&C 103: 22-23 given on February 24, 1834; D&C 104: 26, 68, 84 given on April 23, 1834; D&C 105: 8, 30 given on June 22, 1834; and D&C 124: 70 given on January 19, 1841.

The above scriptures cover the time between July 1830 and January 19, 1841.  This means that whatever currency was used by these Americans during that time was considered by the Lord as actual money.

But what was money during the years 1830-1841?

The 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language was the dictionary in use among Americans during this time and defined money in the following manner:

MONEY, n. plu. moneys.

1. Coin; stamped metal; any piece of metal, usually gold, silver or copper, stamped by public authority, and used as the medium of commerce. We sometimes give the name of money to other coined metals, and to any other material which rude nations use a medium of trade. But among modern commercial nations, gold, silver and copper are the only metals used for this purpose. Gold and silver, containing great value in small compass, and being therefore of easy conveyance, and being also durable and little liable to diminution by use, are the most convenient metals for coin or money, which is the representative of commodities of all kinds, of lands, and of every thing that is capable of being transferred in commerce.

2. Bank notes or bills of credit issued by authority, and exchangeable for coin or redeemable, are also called money; as such notes in modern times represent coin, and are used as a substitute for it. If a man pays in hand for goods in bank notes which are current, he is said to pay in ready money.

3. Wealth; affluence.

Money can neither open new avenues to pleasure, nor block up the passages of anguish.

(Money entry of the 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language)

The Lord talked about talents

Within this same time period, the Lord also mentioned talents in two of the revelations given to Joseph Smith:

But with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man.  Wo unto such, for mine anger is kindled against them.

Behold, they have been sent to preach my gospel among the congregations of the wicked; wherefore, I give unto them a commandment, thus: Thou shalt not idle away thy time, neither shalt thou bury thy talent that it may not be known.

(D&C 60: 2, 13; revelation received on August 8, 1831)

And all this for the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold, to be cast into the Lord’s storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church—every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.

(D&C 82: 18-19; revelation received on April 26, 1832)

But what is a talent?

TALENT (Lat. talentum, adaptation of Gr. τáλατον, balance, weight, from root ταλ-, to lift, as in τληναι, to bear, τáλας, enduring, cf. Lat. tollere, to lift, Skt. tulã, balance), the name of an ancient Greek unit of weight, the heaviest in use both for monetary purposes and for commodities (see Weights and Measures).  The weight itself was originally Babylonian, and derivatives were in use in Palestine, Syria and Egypt.  In medieval Latin and also in many Romanic languages the word was used figuratively, of will, inclination or desire, derived from the sense of balance, but the general figurative use for natural endowments or gifts, faculty, capacity or ability, is due to the parable of the talents in Matt. xxv.

(Talent entry of the 11th Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, published in 1910)

(See also the talent entry of the 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language.  That entry explains: “Among the ancients, a weight, and a coin. The true value of the talent cannot well be ascertained, but it is known that it was different among different nations.“)

So, the talents mentioned in D&C 82: 18, which were “to be cast into the Lord’s storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church” could be a reference to money, specifically, a unit of weight used for monetary purposes.  But what American unit of weight used for monetary purposes was in use on April 26, 1831?

The Lord talked about dollars

In two of the revelations received by the Prophet, the Lord mentioned dollars:

Or in other words, if any man among you obtain five dollars let him cast them into the treasury; or if he obtain ten, or twenty, or fifty, or an hundred, let him do likewise; and let not any among you say that it is his own; for it shall not be called his, nor any part of it.

If it be five dollars, or if it be ten dollars, or twenty, or fifty, or a hundred, the treasurer shall give unto him the sum which he requires to help him in his stewardship—until he be found a transgressor, and it is manifest before the council of the order plainly that he is an unfaithful and an unwise steward.

(D&C 104: 69-70, 73-74; revelation received on April 23, 1834. See also the Book of Commandments XCVIII: 12, page 244, which used the word talents in stead of dollars.)

And they shall not receive less than fifty dollars for a share of stock in that house, and they shall be permitted to receive fifteen thousand dollars from any one man for stock in that house.  But they shall not be permitted to receive over fifteen thousand dollars stock from any one man.  And they shall not be permitted to receive under fifty dollars for a share of stock from any one man in that house.

Verily I say unto you, let my servant Joseph pay stock into their hands for the building of that house, as seemeth him good; but my servant Joseph cannot pay over fifteen thousand dollars stock in that house, nor under fifty dollars; neither can any other man, saith the Lord.

(D&C 124: 64-66, 72; revelation received on January 19, 1841.)

From the above it becomes plain that the words dollars and talents are interchangeable, meaning the same thing.

But what is a dollar?

DOLLAR, n. [G.] A silver coin of Spain and of the United States, of the value of one hundred cents, or four shillings and sixpence sterling. The dollar seems to have been originally a German coin, and in different parts of Germany, the name is given to coins of different values.

(Dollar entry of the 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language)

DOLLAR, a silver coin at one time current in many European countries, and adopted under varying forms of the name elsewhere. The word “dollar” is a modified form of thaler, which, with the variant forms (daler, dalar, daalder, tallero, &c.), is said to be a shortened form of Joachimsthaler. This Joachimsthaler was the name given to a coin intended to be the silver equivalent of the gold gulden, a coin current in Germany from the 14th century. In 1516 a rich silver mine was discovered in Joachimsthal (Joachim’s dale), a mining district of Bohemia, and the count of Schlitz, by whom it was appropriated, caused a great number of silver coins to be struck (the first having the date 1518), bearing an effigy of St Joachim, hence the name. The Joachimsthaler was also sometimes known as the Schlickenthaler. The first use of the word dollar in English was as applied to this silver coin, the thaler, which was current in Germany at various values from the 16th century onwards, as well as, more particularly, to the unit of the German monetary union from 1857 to 1873, when the mark was substituted for the thaler. The Spanish piece-of-eight (reals) was also commonly referred to as a dollar. When the Bank of England suspended cash payments in 1797, and the scarcity of coin was very great, a large number of these Spanish coins, which were held by the bank, were put into circulation, after having been countermarked at the Mint with a small oval bust of George III., such as was used by the Goldsmiths’ Company for marking plate. Others were simply overstamped with the initials G.R. enclosed in a shield.  In 1804 the Maundy penny head set in an octagonal compartment was employed. Several millions of these coins were issued. These Spanish pieces-of-eight were also current in the Spanish-American colonies, and were very largely used in the British North American colonies. As the reckoning was by pounds, shillings and pence in the British-American colonies, great inconveniences naturally arose, but these were to some extent lessened by the adoption of a tariff list, by which the various gold and silver coins circulating were rated. In 1787 the dollar was introduced as the unit in the United States, and it has remained as the standard of value either in silver or gold in that country. For the history of the various changes in the weights and value of the coin see Numismatics.  The Spanish piece-of-eight was also the ancestor of the Mexican dollar, the Newfoundland dollar, the British dollar circulating in Hong Kong and the Straits Settlements, and the dollar of the South American republics, although many of them are now dollars only in name.

(Dollar entry of the 11th Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, published in 1910)

The American Dollar is a Silver Coin

This may come as a surprise to many LDS (and Americans), but nowadays we don’t use American dollars, which is a quantity of silver, usually coined for ease of use.  What we use today are Federal Reserve Notes, otherwise known as fiat currency.  In all of the modern revelations quoted above, whenever the Lord was referring to money or talents or dollars, He was referring to the commodity currency then in use, specifically, a quantity of (usually coined) silver.

Silver is the only legal, American money

Douglas V. Gnazzo of the Honest Money Gold and Silver Report web site wrote an excellent article entitled Honest Money and published in 6 parts, in which he went over the history of American legal currency.  In it, Douglas explained that a “dollar” is defined both by the Constitution and by the Original Coinage Act of 1792 as being a specific quantity of silver, namely, 371.25 grains of silver.  This legal definition has never been changed, meaning that what we are currently calling a “dollar” is not real American currency.  To read the entire Honest Money article, click the following links:

Honest Money, Part I: The Constitution and Honest Money

Honest Money, Part II: Silver Standard with a Bimetallic Coinage System

Honest Money, Part III: Coinage Acts of 1834-1900

Honest Money, Part IV: Treasury Notes

Honest Money, Part V: History of American Money and Banking

Honest Money, Part VI: The European Connection

Honest Money, Part VII: The Moneychangers – Secrets of the Temple

Honest Money, Part VIII: Final Summary and Conclusions

You will recall, for example, that Congress has power to “coin money.”  It doesn’t have power to “make money” or to “print money,” but merely to coin it.  The money referred to in the U. S. Constitution is silver, thus, a power to coin money is a power to coin silver.  The two phrases are synonymous.  In fact, in many Latin American countries the word for money is plata, which is the word for silver. We can see from this that the Spanish milled dollar, which is what our American dollar is based upon, has had influence in many countries.

Fiat Currency, Fractional Reserve Banking and Usury is the Problem

Like evil bedfellows, fractional reserve banking and usury almost always accompany a fiat currency.  (See the above Honest Money article for an explanation about these banking practices and why they are so evil.)  Usury is condemned in the scriptures (both ours and others’ scriptures) and religions past and present have spoken against it as a great evil.  However, all three principles have been generally accepted among today’s society and even among most Latter-day Saints.  In fact, even in the church we find usury among ourselves (e.g. Perpetual Education Fund), though many do not consider it so as they interpret usury to mean excessive interest and not just any interest.

Notice that the current financial problem has nothing to do with regulation (or lack thereof) of the banking institutions by the government.  As long as a currency is metal-based, society naturally regulates itself without any need of government intervention, eliminating the practice of usury and making sure that only full-reserve banking occurs.  So, the roots of the financial crisis go deeper than mere de/un/regulation.  They go all the way to the currency itself, for fiat currency will always result in financial instability and prosperity for the few at the expense of the many.  This is a long way off from the Zion ideal of all having all things common.

Commodity Currency is the Solution

The use of metals as money has historical precedent and is the surest foundation upon which to build.  The following is part of the money entry of the 11th Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, published in 1910:

The Metals as Money. Reasons for their Adoption. Superiority of Silver and Gold. – The employment of metals as money material can be traced far back in the history of civilization; but as it is impossible to determine the exact order of their appearance in this capacity, it will be convenient to take them in the order of their value, beginning with the lowest.  Iron – to judge from the statement of Aristotle – was widely used as currency. One remarkable instance is the Spartan money, which was clearly a survival of a form that had died out among the other Greek states; though it has often been attributed to ascetic policy. In conjunction with copper,  iron formed one of the constituents of early Chinese currency, and at a later time was used as a subsidiary coinage in Japan.  Iron spikes are used as money in Central Africa, while Adam Smith notes the employment of nails for the same purpose in Scotland.  Lead has served as money, e.g. in Burma.  The use of copper as money has been more extensive than is the case in respect to the metals just mentioned. It, as stated, was used in China along with iron – an early instance of bimetallism – and it figured in the first Hebrew coins. It was the sole Roman coinage down to 269 B.C. and it has lingered on to a comparatively recent date in the backward European currencies. It even survives as a part of the token coinage of the present.  Tin has not been a favourite material for money: the richness of the Cornish mines accounts for its use by some British kings. Silver holds a more prominent place than any of the preceding metals. Down to the close of the 18th century it was the chief form of money, and often looked on as forming the necessary standard substance. It was the principal Greek money material, and was introduced at Rome in 269 B.C. The currencies of medieval Europe had silver as their leading constituent; while down almost to the present day Eastern countries seemed to prefer silver to gold.

The pre-eminence of gold as money is now beyond dispute; there, is, however, some difficulty in discovering its earliest employment. It is, perhaps, to be found in ” the pictures of the ancient Egyptians weighing in scales heaps of rings of gold and silver. ” According to W. Ridgeway’s ingenious theory gold comes into use as a currency in due equation to the older cattle unit, the ox. It was certainly employed by the great Eastern monarchs; its further development will be considered later on. Metals of modern discovery – such as nickel and platinum – are only used by the fancy of a few governments, though the former makes a good token coinage.

The preceding examination of the varied materials of currency, metallic and non-metallic, suggests some conclusions respecting the course of monetary evolution, viz.: (I) that the metals tend to supersede all other forms of money among progressive communities; and (2) that the more valuable metals displace the less valuable ones. The explanation of these movements is found in the qualities that are specially desirable in the articles used for money. There has been a long process of selection and elimination in the course of monetary history.

First, it is plain that nothing can serve as money which has not the attributes of wealth; i.e. unless it is useful, transferable and limited in supply. As these conditions are essential to the existence of value, the instrument for measuring and transferring values must possess them. A second requisite of great effect is the amount of value in proportion to weight or mass. High value in small bulk gives the quality of portability, want of which has been a fatal obstacle to the continued use of many early forms of money. Skins, corn and tobacco were defective in this quality, and so were iron and copper. Sheep and oxen, though technically described as ” self-moving,” are expensive to transport from place to place. That the material of money shall be the same throughout, so that one unit shall be equal in value to another, is a further desideratum, which is as decidedly lacking in cattle-currency as it is prominent in the metals. It is, further, desirable that the substance used as money shall be capable of being divided without loss of value, and, if needed, of being reunited. Most of the articles used in primitive societies – such as eggs, skins and cattle – fail in this quality. Money should also be durable, a requirement which leads to the exclusion of all animal and most vegetable substances from the class of suitable currency materials. To be easily recognized is another very desirable quality in money, and moreover to be recognized as of a given value. Articles otherwise well fitted for money-use, e.g. precious stones, suffer through the difficulty of estimating their value. Finally, it results from the function of money as a standard of value that it should alter in its own value as little as possible. Complete fixity of value is from the nature of things unattainable; but the nearest approximation that can be secured is desirable. In early societies this quality is not of great importance; for future obligations are few and inconsiderable. With the growth of industry and commerce and the expansion of the system of contracts, covering a distant future, the evil effects of a shifting standard of value attract attention, and lead to the suggestion of ingenious devices to correct fluctuations. These belong to the later history of money and currency movements. It is enough for the ordinary purposes of money that it shall not alter within short periods, which is a characteristic of the more valuable metals, and particularly of silver and gold, while in contrast such an article as corn changes considerably in value from year to year.

From the foregoing examination of the requisites desirable in the material of money it is easy to deduce the empirical laws which the history of money discloses, since metals, as compared with non-metallic substances, evidently possess those requisites in a great degree. They are all durable, homogeneous, divisible and recognizable, and in virtue of these superior advantages they are the only substances now used for money by advanced nations. Nor is the case different when the decision has to be made between the different metals. Iron has been rejected because of its low value and its liability to rust, lead from its extreme softness, and tin from its tendency to break. All these metals, as well as copper, are unsuitable from their low value, which hinders their speedy transmission so as to adjust inequalities of local prices.

The elimination of the cheaper metals leaves silver and gold as the only suitable materials for forming the principal currency. Of late years there has been a very decided movement towards the adoption of the latter as the sole monetary standard, silver being regarded as suitable only for a subsidiary coinage. The special features of gold and silver which render them the most suitable materials for currency may here be noted.  “The value of these metals changes only by slow degrees; they are readily divisible into any number of parts which may be reunited by means of fusion without loss; they do not deteriorate by being kept; their firm and compact texture makes them difficult to wear; their cost of production, especially of gold, is so considerable that they possess great value in small bulk, and can of course be transported with comparative facility; and their identity is perfect.” The possession by both these metals of all the qualities needed in money is more briefly but forcibly put by Cantillon when he says that “gold and silver alone are of small volume, of equal goodness, easy of transport, divisible without loss, easily guarded, beautiful and brilliant and durable almost to eternity.” This view has even been pushed to an extreme form in the proposition of Turgot, that they became universal money by the nature and force of things, independently of all convention and law, from which the deduction has been drawn that to proscribe silver by law from being used as money is a violation of the nature of things.

(An excerpt from the money entry of the 11th Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, published in 1910)

So, when the Lord told the kings of the earth and the saints to bring their gold and silver to Zion, He was referring to commodity money, as that was the commodity money of the time.  (See D&C 124: 11, 26 and 111: 4.)  Have we complied?  Do we contribute commodity money to the cause of Zion, or do we contribute fiat money?

We need a private, LDS, commodity-based (gold and silver) currency

I am among those who believe that we are currently witnessing the beginning of the eventual (and planned) break-up of the United States of America.  We may also soon witness a corresponding break-up of the Church.  Regardless of what happens, though, the prophecies must be fulfilled, which means that when we cast our talents “into the Lord’s storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church”, upon living the law of consecration, we will be casting in commodity money, specifically, gold and silver money, and not fiat money.

In anticipation of the complete break-up of the USA, the total devaluation of our current fiat currency, the attempted introduction of another currency and another type of government, even regional government, and, after all these (and other) tribulations, the cleansing of the church and the establishment of the law of consecration, we ought to be pro-actively engaged in the good cause of Zion.

Zion needs a currency, independent of the governments of the world, meaning that it must be a private currency.  As private currencies are legal in this country, there is nothing to stop the LDS from creating one.  To get us started in that direction, in the Establishment of Zion Think Tank Forum I gave some examples of what can be used as this private, LDS currency.

The corporate Church won’t do it

Many members wait for Salt Lake to issue the instructions, but the Lord has already told us that “it is not meet that I should command in all things.”  Besides, I have reason to believe that the dissolution of the corporate Church is on the horizon.  So, if a silver and gold-based commodity currency is to be had again among the saints, in fulfillment of prophecy, the saints themselves must be the ones to create it.  Such a currency would not only stabilize all LDS communities who use it among themselves, but would also allow non-LDS to escape the financial wrath of God upon all those who transact in fiat currency.

A side benefit

Having a private, LDS, precious metals-based currency will also allow those using it to get around the mark of the beast prophesied by John in the Book of Revelations.  (See Rev. 13: 16-18; Rev. 14: 9-12; Rev. 19: 20; and Rev. 20: 4-6.)

Next Anarchism/Anarchy article: Introducing a new bartering currency—the first coin: 1/2 Troy oz pure silver .999 fine

Previous Anarchism/Anarchy article: If voting could change things, it would be illegal

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

The law of tithing (part three)


Continued from part two.

“And 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.” (D&C 119: 4)

Only First Presidency statements can officially interpret scripture and only those interpretations are binding upon the church, even as binding as the scriptures themselves. The First Presidency has already interpreted the meaning of the word interest in a letter written on 19 March 1970. Here is the quote of that letter dealing 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)

The above quote is found in the Church General Handbook. Go up to your bishop and ask to see the section on tithing. It quotes from this First Presidency Statement. Those who understand the doctrine, such as the prophet, merely re-iterate this same statement:

President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “The Brethren have interpreted the word interest to mean income. Beyond that they have not given interpretation.”

The word income, however, is open to interpretation. Who decides what it means? You do. It could mean gross income or net income, after expenses. It could mean profit, surplus or bank interest, etc. During the time of Brigham Young it was defined as increase. Get out your Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young manual and search out what he said about tithing.

Once or twice a year, a GA or two will speak on tithing. Occasionally, they will define the word interest beyond what the First Presidency has stated. Don’t take it as gospel. It’s merely their opinion, and their hope that you will interpret the word interest the same way as they do.

My personal opinion is that interest (income) means surplus. I have come to this conclusion for the following reasons:

  • JST Genesis 14: 39 states, “Wherefore Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him more than that which he had need.” Abram paid tithes on his surplus.
  • The saints are to pay tithing annually. Not monthly, not weekly, not whenever they get more gross income. When you pay tithing annually, the reason must be because you are doing an accounting of what came in, what went out, what was consumed and what is now left over (the interest, increase, income, surplus.) At the end of the year, you can make a determination of how much surplus you have and then give the tenth-part to the Lord.
  • Webster’s 1828 dictionary defined interest as “5. Any surplus advantage.” Webster’s 1828 dictionary defined advantage as “7. Interest; increase; overplus.” Both of these definitions equate to surplus. D&C 119 came out in 1838, so this was the dictionary in use at the time.
  • The RLDS (now Community of Christ) church defines it as surplus. They tithe after deducting their living expenses.
  • The law of tithing is not meant to oppress the poor. The scriptures define poor as anyone who has no surplus, yet has sufficient for their needs. (See Mosiah 4: 24.) Those who don’t have sufficient for their needs are also considered the poor.
  • When you make your tithing declaration at the end of the year, you can declare yourself a full tithe payer, a partial tithe payer, or exempt. Obviously some people can justifiably declare themselves exempt. Who are they? They are the poor, as defined by scripture, meaning those who have no surplus.

When interest is understood to mean surplus, the law of tithing becomes exceedingly easy to obey. Nevertheless, this interpretation is just my opinion and belief. As the First Presidency stated, You are “entitled to make [your] own decision as to what [you think you owe] the Lord, and to make payment accordingly.”

There is more to come in part four.

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

Previous Tithes and Offerings article: The law of tithing (part two)

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist