Monday, January 27, 2014

Some People Who Don't Pay Tithing Can Hold a Temple Recommend

A friend of mine once told me that her Bishop refused to sign a temple recommend for her, since she didn't pay any tithing.  This good sister was married to someone who was not LDS, and she didn't work outside the home; thus, she had no personal income.  She asked me how I felt about her Bishop's decision to refuse her a temple recommend based solely on her non-payment of tithing.  The following is my response to that question: 
10% of nothing is nothing.

Let me repeat that, mathematically:

0 x .10 = 0

So, someone who has no income and pays no tithing is a full tithe payer. Period. End of discussion. No gray area. 

Seriously, if you have no income, you can answer "Yes" to the tithing question without hesitation. You are a full tithe payer. You don't need to explain anything, but if you are questioned, simply say that 10% of nothing is nothing - so you are a full tithe payer. (The best example of this are youth who don't work, don't pay tithing but still have recommends to do baptisms for the dead in the temple.

Furthermore, there is no expectation of any kind of receiving tithing from non-members. Holding one person responsible for the actions of another person in this regard is against the teachings of the Church - even if the spouse is a member. In other words, if a spouse has no income but would pay tithing if an income existed and the other spouse does have an income but refuses to pay tithing, what I said above applies - even if the spouse with an income who refuses to pay tithing is LDS.

As a similar example, even if one spouse is excommunicated, the other spouse can remain a fully active member - and even attend the temple. Things like this are supposed to be evaluated individually.

The particular example of a non-tithe-paying member spouse is not understood by some members and local leaders, but if my wife wasn't working and I didn't pay tithing, she should not be kept from the temple for my non-payment. Period. End of discussion. I believe most members and leaders would agree with me if I had a chance to talk with them about it (and I believe the vast majority of Bishops and Stake Presidents understand it this way) - and I am certain nothing would be said to me by 99% of the local leadership if I discussed it in a Stake Leadership Meeting. It's getting the ones who don't understand to think about it that is the issue in most cases - and having it presented by someone they view as an "authority" of some kind helps, unfortunately.


Anonymous said...

It's in the CHI, not sure what more authority you need than that.

Anonymous said...

I think it should be nuanced a little bit. Sure, in older, traditional marriages husbands and wives might feel like the husband has more of a say in how the money is spent so if he earns all the money only he can decide if tithing can be paid.
However, if I were married to a nonmember (or a reluctant tithing payer member) I would expect to have a say in where our money goes. I would not expect to have a marriage where he got all the say. I would, therefore, negotiate with my husband about how much tithing I would feel comfortable with and how much tithing me paying would make him ok with it. I appreciate that my official income was zero but I have more power in my marriage and view my husband's income as mine too.
A husband with a nonmember wife might need to make the same kind of arrangement. It would be wrong of him to insist that his income is all his and his alone to tithe on and his wife has no say. I can see him needing to only tithe on half his income or something.

Papa D said...

I agree, Anon1 and Anon2.

I actually prefer a 50% model as the general rule when one spouse (either one) makes all the money and one spouse (either one) doesn't want to pay tithing. However, that doesn't fit the situation about which my friend asked me, so I didn't think to mention it in the post.

Also, I find it fascinating when someone who is a vocal advocate of strict obedience to every policy, rule, command, official statement, etc. chooses to ignore the CHI and/or other official statement when it doesn't fit his or her own perspective. Just saying. *grin*