My mom offered a great response to the blog-post “The Controversy of Tithing and Accountability” that I think important to address. The point is to increase our discernment, to know the difference between mitigating the problem and solving the problem of poverty. To recap the previous blog, here is a quick summary:
- The Church isn’t setup to answer questions concerning the use of sacred funds, on the hundreds of levels of administration in Salt Lake, and worldwide. Doing so would be a greater waste of money, to hire personnel to address the problem. We ought not expect church headquarters to do so.
- Church leaders expect unquestioned obedience in our tithes and offerings, while waste and inefficiency runs rampant at every level of administration, and while the doctrine remains empty, due to our ignorance.
- Both are right. The church shouldn’t waste sacred funds to report and answer financial questions of hundreds of tiers of administration. Expecting efficiency in a huge institution is ridiculous as well. But church leaders disregard the content of thoroughly teaching the doctrine, yet expect total disciplined obedience from the ignorant membership (ignorance to the doctrine).
- Solution: Flatten the hierarchy, by letting wards collect and distribute sacred funds locally. Financial questioning can be answered immediately, leaders can be directly held accountable, and efficiency will require a knowledgeable membership. As the membership become more familiar with the words of Christ (the doctrine), 10% can grow into 100% (consecration).
My mother’s comment reads:
“I have seen many families (the poor) assisted through sacred tithing and fast offering funds. I have also witnessed the Bishop’s Storehouse providing food and needed supplies for those in need. So I cannot say that the poor are being neglected for buildings. My own sister has been the recipient of the tithes and offerings by a Bishop who very carefully helped her in using the “help” to get back on her feet rather than continue to fill her needs. He has helped her manage her finances and be more frugal in spending, etc. So the local leaders do have authority to manage money on a local level. …I can honestly say they do have that authority to help the poor and they do.”
My response: I stand by my original statement when saying that the individual men holding offices are, for the most part, good men! However, “ALL” welfare programs (…I’m being pretty bold, …I know) …ALL welfare programs only mitigates the the real problem of poverty (lessen the effects of, reduces the pain of) poverty.
What you’ve witnessed in the assistance of your sister, getting her on her feet (with the resources of the Bishop’s storehouse), …while it may be filling her immediate needs, …her position of poverty still remains the same, and will never be changed, …until someone has light and truth to offer! That’s what’s missing, light and truth.
I have been unemployed for over six years now. I have gone to the church employment office to see what they have to offer. They have not offered anything more than resume building, mediocre job hunting services, goal setting programs, and secretarial skill development. Nothing that solves the emptiness of light and truth, to remove the darkness of economic circumstances.
The church questions their own efficiency by researching their facilities world-wide. My friend works in this efficiency research department, and their findings of their ability to produce real assistance (to eliminate poverty) are …slim to none. The best they’ve done was to reduce the pain (pain management). Calling the church’s welfare programs, a solution to poverty, is like saying that doctors have the ability to heal (they do not). Doctors only try to help people manage the pain, prevent the problem, get ahead of the problem, or teach how to deal with the circumstances better, …they do not heal!
If we are to be honest, then we ought to recognize that the problems, both economic and health, cannot find its solution in an institution, disconnected from a personal and individual relationship. That is why, at the core of the American dream, it is “small” business that produced the greatest growth. Large institutions are clumsy, wasteful, and inefficient. As we keep it small, we can generate efficiency. The concept of efficiency is conveyed in scripture as, “oneness,” …one heart, …one mind, …an eye single to the glory of God. That is why tithes are to be distributed on a local level, rather than re-distributed, like socialism, …or worse, communism.
The difference between socialism and communism is, in socialism you have a choice to pay, but in communism you are forced to pay. From my recent experiences in my ward, our leaders are on the brink of teetering between socialism and communism, …and they are using their positions of authority to deny the blessings of God, through ordinances, as the baseball bat to enforce the payment of tithes, just like the government uses tax laws, …collecting taxes at the point of a gun (dramatic, I know, but not far from true).
In the scriptures, when the ability to remove poverty was taken away at the local levels, by an institutional mentality (the same in every time period of apostasy), …the people broke up into “tribes.” The tribes were based on common values, which naturally was centered upon the family unit, “…those among us!” That is my intent, to address my family unit, to return to the words of Christ, to preserve our language, as the brother of Jared requested.
As we recognize the inefficiency of the institution, no matter how good the officer of that institution unit may be, every officer in the institution is governed and regulated by an institutional set of laws, and must conform, …or get removed from the hierarchy. Even the elect will suffer from being blinded by hierarchical acceptance, falsely tied to their salvation, …and they will act through false traditions of unbelief, when administering according to their traditions of hierarchy. This will produce pulpit pounding, principle manipulation, and creative marketing, to get people to do what the institution TELLS them to do. For this reason, members will have no choice, but to use their agency, to produce real solutions, as a tribe.
Buildings, synagogues, and churches, in general, aren’t a bad use of funds. But, the poor are getting poorer, while more and more temples and buildings are constantly siphoning millions of dollars, inefficiently. CEO’s, presidents, and contractors are chosen from a small pool of nepotism. The haves, have more, …while the have-nots continue to be told to serve diligently, don’t ask questions, obey your leaders, stay on the boat, etc. As much as I’d like to see through positive eyes, truth is my preference, and truth is what sets us free.
Conclusion: John the Beloved warned us, in the book of Revelations, of the tendency for apostasy, as people followed an institutional mentality. Our only hope, in a downward spinning world, is to preserve our families, as did the brother of Jared, by preserving our language. This blog is intended to do that, preserve my family’s language, by speaking the words of Christ, among us, …to make the words of Christ our compass, just as Lehi and Nephi used the Liahona.
I know that the solutions to our problems aren’t found within a congregational mentality, but in an efficient circle of members, who trust one another, and can be trusted. That is my family. My salvation is tied to our ability to understand the words of Christ, hear His voice, and become one. That is the objective.
Mom, thank you for the comment, it makes perfect sense why we might overlook the bad for what we might consider good, relatively speaking. Unless we know the mind and will of God, and how He expects us to do it, we will consider the results we have of mitigated poverty relief as sweet fruit, when it is bitter by God’s definition.