Non-Member Tithing

Since I’ve been a non-member but no longer an investigator ( Perhaps I will begin to use the pop culturally savy term Dry Mormon ) I have been increasingly faced with the difficult moral question about whether or not I should be giving tithing. This is especially relevant for me since for the 2009 year while abroad I am not going to be working at all. This means that once I am baptized I will have no income for tithing. I also want to be careful to ensure that not a bit of my fathers money is spent on any church related activity because to do so would be to violate his desires and dictates. Thus, it has been an issue on my mind for a while. After much prayer and though, I felt very strongly that I should be giving tithing but did not do so despite the promptings of the spirit quite clearly in favor of it. I kept latching onto rumors in anti-LDS websites that church tithing rolls were used as leverage to try to extract the maximum donations from California members in support of Proposition 8 ( I will certainly have to make many posts about my feelings on this matter). I brought this up with my Bishop and he denied such rumors very strongly, but I still demurred and did not give any tithing. Over winter break, I had an experience where I had contributed to the breaking of something in a friends apartment ( I’d rather spare the details) for which she had to pay the landlord 50 percent of the repairs. I am sure you can guess that the amount these repairs cost was almost exactly the amount that I should have tithed! (Shows you that I don’t make very much with my 7 hour a week job.) I was pretty shocked by this reminder that our heavenly father is just and that he always demands the best from us. Instead of having my money go to the church where it would be truly helpful, it ended up contributing to some repair company in South Florida. Today at church, I found out the Britannia ward is still doing tithing settlements for the 2008 year. I spoke to the bishop to get his feeling on the matter and he suggested I put the money aside to give once baptized. I decided that this was not quite as good of any idea as what I had originally considered which was giving to one of the charitable wings of the church. I chose the Clean Water foundation because a good friend of mine is really involved in water issues and spending the summer in China occasionally in rural areas I realized how big of a concern safe water truly is. Plus, I like to think that if more far east countries had clear water they would not necessarily serve tea with every meal as the only safe option thus removing an enduring problem of missionaries in the region :P. I actually accidentally entered in a much larger amount then my tithing amount onto the web site and so I ended up contributing more than I had planned. I feel really great about that actually, and I felt a wave of relief as soon as I saw the receipt in my inbox. Giving is just so rewarding and I know I will be blessed for having done so. In Judaism, giving tzcedackah/charity is the only action for which a human being is allowed to ask for a direct named blessing from God. For all other actions, one can request God’s blessing but not directly name a specific goal or desire. When one gives charity however, one can literally say…” For this act of giving I want X.” Of course, Jews believe as do all people of faith that God answers in his own way and time but the request is permitted wheras usually it is viewed as negative or presumptious.


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