Six months ago, I didn't watch the LDS Church's semi-annual General Conference for the first time in my life, and I experienced some anxiety over the disruption of routine and loss of comfort. This time I just enjoyed doing other things with those ten hours and almost forgot it was going on. Progress! A friend who had to watch bits and pieces because she hasn't yet told her parents she's an atheist filled me in on what I missed. Pay your tithing, wear your temple garments, use the full name of the church, stay on the covenant path. You know, fresh new revelation to address the real issues that people are facing.
The tithing part really pisses me off. My friend sent me this.
I testify that this promise, at least the way the LDS Church takes it out of context, is bogus. I received no blessings for paying tithing and I lost no blessings when I stopped. Notice, however, the caveats that Andersen adds to make it unfalsifiable and set up the church's ever-popular blame reversal game: spiritual, subtle, easy to overlook, Lord's timing. In other words, when I paid tithing and nothing happened, the problem was with me for either failing to notice or being impatient. I was supposed to just keep giving my money to the church indefinitely regardless of whether God ever got around to keeping his end of the bargain. That kind of defeats the purpose of the promise in the first place. "[P]rove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." What part of that sounds subtle or easy to overlook? How am I supposed to "prove" God if he's too sneaky for me to notice?
But as I said, the LDS Church takes this verse out of context anyway. The preceding chapter begins thus: "And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you." Lacking any indications to the contrary, it would seem that the rest of the book of Malachi is addressed to these priests, and that the verses about tithing are actually a rebuke of religious leaders who hoard wealth. Hmmm. The LDS Church has hundreds of billions of dollars, and was fined by the Securities Exchange Commission earlier this year for breaking the law to hide that obscene wealth so its members would keep paying tithing, and of course it hasn't apologized or so much as acknowledged that incident in General Conference. Andersen has a lot of gall to exhort anyone to "be honest in their tithes" when he knows damn well that church leaders up to and including the First Presidency have not. He has a lot of gall to pretend the church still needs any donations when it could fund its operations indefinitely off the interest generated by its obscene wealth. And if tithing was really about personal consecration and putting the Lord first and whatever, it wouldn't be a flat rate for all members. Ten percent of my income was a sacrifice. Ten percent of Jon Huntsman's income is not.
This is the other thing I read about that pissed me off. Ex-Mormons on Twitter are not happy about it.
I really hope my parents are too smart to buy into this manipulative, emotionally abusive garbage. I left the LDS Church because it's not true and it's not good. I never questioned their faithfulness or their commitment to the principles that it teaches but doesn't live up to. For example, they taught me to be honest. The LDS Church is not honest. I have a problem with that. The problem is not with me or my parents. I don't see eye to eye with them on a lot of things, but they don't deserve to be guilt-tripped over their son making a choice that he has no reason to be sorry for. I won't likely have "a whole chain of descendants," but I kind of want to just so I can not raise them in the LDS Church, especially if they're female and/or LGBTQ. The "covenant path" is hardly worth staying on when the covenants and the supposed authority behind them are based on lies. I'm not interested in perpetuating "a legacy of faith" in a system based on lies. And I'm not interested in living with the monstrous LDS God for five minutes, let alone eternity. I guess my dad's going to be really lonely in the Celestial Kingdom. His dad and his five siblings and another of his kids were already "lost" long before I was. He did everything right to have an eternal family, but as usual, the LDS Church can't and won't keep its end of the bargain.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.