Saturday, 10 May 2014

Sermon: The Law of Tithing


If you read section 119 of the D&C you will find that Tithing was a question for many in the Church, there were many views and people were paying different amounts and in different ways.

Section 119 was given through revelation by the Lord to be "and this shall be a standing law unto them forever". Greatly distinguishing it from other Laws and commandments that God give and later might revoke or change and of course from the policies and teaching established by Church quorums or proposed by leaders that some time change and can have errors. Here the Lord revealed the Law of Tithing to be "A standing law unto them forever". I remind you that this was for the whole Church, not for some group living a higher Law but rather for the general members and those entering the Church as the Lord clearly set forth in verses 1-7 the rich and the poor the strong and the week the young and the old.  In verses 1-3 the Lord commanded that members already in the Church to give all their surplus property to the Bishop of the Church. The Lord declares what the funds are to be used for and this is the beginning of the tithing of my people. Everyone was to start off with only what they feel they need. All were to enter Zion equal. In verse 4 the Lord declares "And after that" see verse 1-3 (given their all their surplus property) "those who have thus been tithed" shall do the following. He states when they shall do it and what they shall do, the correct amount and on what, He commands they "shall pay one tenth of their interest" and they are to do it "annually"

Since the time the Lord gave this standing law unto the church forever various leaders and member of other so called Mormon faiths have tried to improve or change the law to their own ideas, in fact if you read the many sermons on tithing in the conferences of the other Mormon churches you will find their leaders trying to be more righteous than the last speaker, some claimed the better way was to pay their tithing monthly another as soon as you get it and even another once you get word it is coming to you. These people have discarded the wisdom and law of the Lord, in preference to their ideas of righteousness and wisdom. Tithing is a commandment of God, this we must never forget, its details are specifically given by God and are simple and fair to all, and within it there is great wisdom. But yet we find that the many Mormon faiths including the LDS Church have rejected the Lords authority to make standing laws unto the church. For instance the LDS Church have enacted at least five different policy changes concerning the law of tithing and at five different times since they arrived in Salt Lake City and never was there a claim of revelation or inspiration to do these changes. What we see today is that many Mormon churches including the LDS church, instead of following Gods command listen to mortal men proclaim mortal laws and everyone abandons the words give by God on how we are to the direct his Church. Unfortunately even John Taylor who argued with Brigham young about failing to follow the laws of tithing could not stop the Church members in joining with Brigham in perverting the Law of Tithing the Lord had given to be a Standing Law. What we in The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ need to do is not fall into the same trap and stop listening to the council of the Lord on this very important matter.

Verse 5 commands that all new members shall pay all of their surplus property as they gather to Zion. Note this is not before they gather but after, the Lord did not want them not to have the means to gather. Today many of the Mormon Churches and by far the largest of these Mormon churches the LDS church has grown to the point that new converts can gather in their own areas. In any case the command is after they gather they pay the same, no more or no less than those who are already there did. All of their surplus property and after that, one tenth was and is to be paid on their interest or increase for that year, and it was to be done annually. And this is the reason for an annual meeting with the bishop.

So let us make it clear, you determine if and how much better off you are this year than the year before and you supply one tenth of that to the Bishop. It is your tithing, not the tithing the bishop determines for you. It is your responsibility to determine if you have prospered and give the correct amount to the Bishop of the church and it is his responsibility to receive, record and do with the tithing properly as set for in verse 2 and not go off and do something else with it or change the Law to his own ideas.

You may have noticed in the above statement I have used the term "interest" and "increase". The word "interest" is used by the Lord in verse 4 to define what you are tithed on. The word increase comes from many of the early sermons by the leaders who had it explained and taught to them by Joseph Smith and were teaching the saints. Interest mean increase, In the early days most members were farmers and worked for themselves and had little certainty if they were doing better this year than last - having an increase was not known until the crops where harvested and secured in the barn and or sold. In the great wisdom of the Lord, the determining of what interest or increase you had been blessed with was to be made on an annual basis. Everyone could do this. They were not tithed again on what they had only on their increased wealth.

What of the poor and those who had no interest but in fact were poorer this year than last? Tithing as revealed adjusted for that fact and does not add to their burden by taking the bread out of the mouth of the poor. But if a person is wealthy or poor had an increase from last year they also are capable to pay the Lord his small tenth of that interest. Please note that the Lord did not use the term "income". The whole question of Gross or Net is just one of many foolish things that has resulted from individuals, leaders and the many Mormon Churches trying to change or allowing attempts to ignore and change the specific commandment and instruction on who, what, when to obey tithing. So we say to the church today live the commandments of God, pay your tithing as He revealed it, not someone else's way.

There is great wisdom in the Lords Law of Tithing I will just mention the few I have noticed, I am sure there are more. The individual counts his blessings and wealth. There is an appoint time to do this, annually. The amount is based on your ability to pay. All members were to enter the Church committed. All paid initially what they could - their entire surplus. All paid no more than they could or should. No extra hardship is placed on the poor. The Church receives resources needed. The members are allowed and encouraged to be prosperous. The Church is limited to the resources the Lord establishes for them to receive. And will not put heavy yokes on the people in the Lord's name or for righteousness sake calling it - tithing, a commandment from God. But not to run faster than the Church had means. It is simple, only 7 verses. It is easy to follow correctly. It will make the people happy and make God and the people partners in their own prosperity and that of the Church. It is designed so that the weakest of saints have no excuse to obey it. It is a Standing Law to the whole Church to obey from head to toe, not a just commandment for the members to follow. The leaders and the organisation (the Church as a body) have to following this standing Law as revealed.

It is a commandment with a promise and a warning -- verse 6-7. The traditional form of tithing was "in kind" meaning a farmer might pay in crops, a rancher in animals and others in what ever they prospered in but it does not instruct that it has to be paid "in kind" or indicate or limit acceptable forms of tithing payment. Which would allow for changes over time, countries and individuals needs and ability to convert it to a currency?

The wisdom in this simple commandment always amazes me. The Lord knows what works and is righteous. Some people want to pay more, some less some something else, some gross, some net. But if we go beyond the mark and do it even with all sincerity we are ignoring the word of the Lord, and in our own way like those who refuse to obey His specific instructions, we ignore it. There is no wisdom in and the members and the leaders and the other Mormon Church have no right to modify the commandment that the Lord has given us as a Standing Law. Also to that effect we The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ have no right to change the law because we either do not understand or do not want to live the law.

D&C 119 is a Standing Law unto the Church forever, as given and does not admit modifications! Remember that tithing is what the Lord said it is - nothing more, nothing less and that you are responsible to make sure you obey this His Law correctly in the prescribed way that He commanded. It is not a free will offering it is a commandment of God we are obligated to obey, and obey as given. Pay your tithes annually, pay one tenth of your interest, your increase, NOT your income, count your blessings the way the Lord has told you to, there is great wisdom in His prescribed ways, we should not, we must not adopt other ways just as other so called Mormon churches have done just because you do not want to follow his law. If you don't practice and obey tithing the Lord's way it's not tithing! It's some apostate form of what God revealed in clarity and simplicity to be a Standing Law unto the Church FOREVER!

So what do we say as members of The Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ to other Mormon Denominations who refuse to see this law the way we do? I would encourage you to remind them of the story of the Rechabites, and the strong temptation that they were under when invited to the Temple of God, and there, in one of the apartments, asked by Jeremiah, one of the greatest Prophets, to drink wine; or, in other words, to do something they had been instructed by their father not to do. They could not be moved, the teaching of their father had found an abiding place in their hearts, and the consequence was that they utterly refused to do what the Prophet of God told them to do. The Lord himself admired the course that they took in this matter and was led as I before said, to make such a glorious promise to the house of Rechab.

We might say to our LDS friends and family the following. If the Lord admired and rewarded these individual for refusing to disregard the instructions of their mortal father and obey the new direct instructions given to them by the prophet in the temple. How much more appropriate is it for you to refuse to disregard a Law of God declared by him to be a standing law forever and not follow numerous authorised changes made by mortal leaders. If you have to choose between your God's standing commandment and your mortal leaders that instruct you, which will it be?

In fact you could also remind them that they had a leader that stated that they were to follow the teaching of the Lord instead of the teachings of corrupt leaders, you might challenge them to listen to his council as they hold his word so dear…these words come form their so called prophet and leader Brigham young from his own Journal of discourses, it should be noted that it would seem that the LDS church now holds what he thinks in short regard, or what ever he wrote that they now disagree with, and it should be noted that it would seem that whatever they now disagree with they are willing only to listen to those things that these men said that they can agree with and that marries up with current thinking and belief. Surely not the signs of a righteous faith, or one that is led by God! "...If a bishop counsels the people of his ward to swear shall they swear? No. If he counsels them to steal shall they steal? No. If he counsels them to lie and bear false witness shall they do these wrongs? No. If a bishop or any other officer in this church shall counsel the people to violate any of the laws of God, and to sustain and build up the kingdoms of this world, I will justify them and the Lord will justify them in refusing to obey that counsel..." (Brigham Young JD 12:164)

If you or any body else you know in what ever Mormon faith is not obeying the law of tithing the Lords way, you or they are not living the law of tithing but some perversion of the truth! Who convinced you to do it is no excuse unto God and it doesn't change God's standing law, to you and to them and to his church!

If the Latter Day Church of Jesus Christ is to have a Motto it should not be "do it" but rather it should be “do it the Lords way" for this is all that matters. The church must remain faithful and we as Latter Day Mormons must remain faithful in obeying this Law, a law that has been given to us by God as a Standing law unto his church and we will remain faithful to it now and forever.

Amen

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