Today we had hoped to start a 3 part series on tithing. In this first part we focus on validating 12 reasons why SURPLUS is the most valid interpretation of “What income should I pay 10% on?” (Surplus, Net, or Gross). We had planned to do two more parts where in part two we defend NET and in part three defend GROSS but that was cut short. Please Stay till the very end to see why this had to be cut short. Below are resources as you prayerfully make your own decision on what is a Fair and Honest Tithe!!!! As for me, I have been paying on surplus for 2 years now and that decision came after much prayer and discussion with my Father in Heaven. I am not imposing my interpretation on others, in fact I feel that it is very possible for God to give others a different answer then he gave me. This is why I value the First Presidency when they taught
“No one is justified in making any other statement than this. We feel that every member of the Church should be entitled to make his own decision as to what he thinks he owes the Lord, and to make payment accordingly.”
1.) “The celestial law requires one-tenth part of all a man’s substance which he possesses at the time he comes into the church (See D&C 119:1), and one-tenth part of his annual increase ever after(See D&C 119:4). IF IT REQUIRES ALL MAN CAN EARN TO SUPPORT HIMSELF AND HIS FAMILY, HE IS NOT TITHED AT ALL. The celestial law does not take the mother’s and children’s bread, neither ought else which they really need for their comfort. The poor that have not of this world’s good to spare, but serve and honor God according to the best of their abilities in every other way, shall have a celestial crown in the Eternal Kingdom of our Father.” (The Millenial Star, 1847. Orson Hyde, editor) – quotes comes post end of consecration and after law of tithing is revealed
2.) section 119 refers to surplus
3.) Encyclopedia of Mormonism on tithing as it refers to section 119 as the Lord’s new law of tithing and not consecration and speaks directly of surplus.
4.) JST of Genesis 14 – “Wherefore Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him more than that which he had need.” JST Genesis 14:39. (Emphasis added.)
5.) The actual words Lorenzo Snow used when he went to St. George to deliver his address on tithing – (“Gen Conf. 1899) “I pray that every man, woman, and child [who has means] shall pay one tenth of their income astithing.” – When net or gross are used everyone has means with almost no exception
6.) The church’s Doctrine – “For your guidance in this matter, please be advised that we have uniformly replied that the simplest statement we know of is that statement of the Lord himself that the members of the Church should pay one-tenth of all their interest annually, which is understood to mean income.No one is justified in making any other statement than this. We feel that every member of the Church should be entitled to make his own decision as to what he thinks he owes the Lord, and to make payment accordingly.”
– while not supporting surplus as the right conclusion it certainly doesn’t exclude it. It also begs the question why the Church officially chooses not to define tithing beyond this if Surplus is a pernicious lie.
7.) the handbook – “The simplest statement we know of is the statement of the Lord himself, namely, that the members of the Church should pay one-tenth of all theirinterest annually,’ which is understood to mean income. No one is justified in making any other statement than this.” (First Presidency letter, 19 Mar. 1970;see also D&C 119:4)
same as number 6
8.) “The Lord’s Tenth, Pamphlet, 1968”
THE TITHE AS A RENTAL
As the matter presents itself to my mind, it is as though there had been a
contract made between myself and the Lord, and that in effect He had said to me: “You have need of many things in this world — food, clothing, and shelter for your family and yourself, the common comforts of life, and the things that shall be conducive to refinement, to development, to righteous enjoyment. You desire material possessions to use for the assistance of others, and thereby gain greater blessings for yourself and yours. Now, you shall have the means of acquiring these things; but remember they are mine, and I require of you the payment of a rental upon that which I give into your hands. However, your life will not be one of uniform increase in substance and possessions; you will have your losses, as well as your gains; you will have your periods of trouble as
well as your times of peace. Some years, will be years of plenty unto you, and others will be years of scarcity, And, now, instead of doing as mortal landlords do — require you to contract with them to pay in advance, whatever your fortunes or your prospects may be — you shall pay me not in advance, but when you have received; and you shall pay me in accordance with what you receive. If it so be that in one year your income is abundant, then you can afford to pay me a little more; and if it be so that the next year is one of distress and your income is not what it was, then you shall pay me less; and should it be that you are reduced to the utmost penury so that/you have nothing coming in, you will pay me nothing.”
Talmadge can be seen as defending all three and while some may see Gross as the conclusion here I post it anyway as there are phrases used that seem to indicate other options such as net or surplus as well as Talmadge first speaks of one’s needs and then speaks of not paying in advance but only once one knows whether one has an abundance or a scarcity. (which contradicts some modern leaders)
I admit #8 is the weakest of the quotes but share it here for others to read
9.) “In more recent times the Church has not called upon the members to give all their SURPLUS property to the Church, but it has been the requirement according to the covenant, that they PAY THE TENTH.” (Emphases added. Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 3: 120.). Without adding tenth of Gross, any person listening to this originally or reading it is left to assume tenth of one’s surplus. (the original law was to give one tenth of one’s surplus properties and then a tenth of one’s surplus ever after… it seems most reasonable that as the Church got into better financial shape it simply removed the first part of one’s surplus properties when one entered and members were now only required to pay the tenth (which was surplus based on D&C 119
10.) Heb 7:4 – “Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.”
11.) the 1970 FP letter. It is a bit of a sleight of hand. The Lord never mentions the word “income” in the revelation(119), but only surplus and interest. “Income” is mans addition. The FP letter should read, “For your guidance in this matter, please be advised that we have uniformly replied that the simplest statement we know of is that statement of the Lord himself that the members of the Church should pay one-tenth of all their interest annually, which is understood by us without any formal revelation as income.
12.) In discussing consecration, the Lord defines surplus as giving “more then is necessary for their support” (D&C 42:33). This was always curious to me. If tithing is a lesser law, why does it demand more of your money (if using the gross or net model) than does consecration (surplus). It seems like if consecration is the goal, surplus, and tithing is a lesser law, tithing should be 10% of surplus, not gross or net, which could be much more than a persons surplus.
13.) There is also the famous three words removed from the Lorenzo Snow quote in the church manual, “who has means”
“I plead with you in the name of the Lord, and I pray that every man, woman and child … shall pay one-tenth of their income as a tithing.”
14.) In a Letter from Heber C. Kimball to his wife Vilate and subsequently reprinted in Elders’ Journal (Oct 1837) pp.4-7 detailing the early work and organisation of the church in the Lanchashire area, 1837:
Preston, Lancashire, England, September 2, 1837
My Dear Companion [Vilate Kimball],
“….We have to live quite short but the brethren are very kind to us. They are willing to divide with us the last they have. They are quite ignorant; many of them cannot read a word and it needs great care to teach them the gospel so that they can understand. The people here are bound down under priestcraft in a manner I never saw before. They have to pay tithes to the priests of every tenth they raise, so that they cannot lay up one cent. They are in the same situation the children of Israel were in Egypt. They have their taskmasters over them to bind them down. It will be as great a miracle to deliver this people as it was the children of Israel.
There are a great many believing in Preston; we are baptizing almost every day.”
Heber is suggesting those priests who are skimming off the top are practicing priestcraft.
15.) In “A Companion to your Study of the Doctrine & Covenants” written by Ludlow, 1978, in the section marked 119 you will read the following:
“I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop” Let us consider for a moment this word ‘SURPLUS.’ What does it mean when applied to a man and his property?
SURPLUS CANNOT MEAN THAT WHICH IS INDISPENSABLY NECESSARY FOR ANY GIVEN PURPOSE, BUT WHAT REMAINS AFTER SUPPLYING WHAT IS NEEDED FOR THAT PURPOSE. Is not the first and most necessary use of a man’s property that he feed, clothe and provide a home for himself and family! . . . WAS NOT ‘SURPLUS PROPERTY,’ THAT WHICH WAS OVER AND ABOVE A COMFORTABLE AND NECESSARY SUBSTANCE?
In the light of what had transpired and of subsequent events, what else could it mean? CAN WE TAKE ANY OTHER VIEW OF IT WHEN WE CONSIDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH IT WAS GIVEN IN FAR WEST, IN JULY, 1838? “I have been unable in studying this subject to find any other definition of the term ‘SURPLUS,’ as used in this revelation, than the one I have just given. I find that it was so understood and recorded by the Bishops and people in those days, AS WELL AS BY THE PROPHET JOSEPH HIMSELF, WHO WAS UNQUESTIONABLY THE ABLEST AND BEST EXPONENT OF THIS REVELATION.”
(Emphasis added, Franklin D. Richards, Nov. 6, 1882. JD 23:313.)
16.) President David O. McKay has this explanation of D&C 119:
The law of tithing as now understood and practiced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was given by revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith in response to a prayer in which the Prophet sought the Lord to know “how much he required of the properties of the people for a tithing.” The Lord answered saying, the “beginning” of tithing consisted first of “all the surplus property,” and named the specific purposes for which this “surplus property” should be used. “After that” tithing consists “of one-tenth of all the interest annually; and this,” he continued, “shall be a standing law unto them forever.” (See D. & C. 119.)
reference should actually be “David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p.197.”
17.) “If a man is worth a $1000, the interest on that would be $60, and one/10. of the interest will be of course $6.— thus you see the plan.” Bishop Partridge
18.) Howard W. Hunter
Burton, ed., We Believe, Tithing
The law is simply stated as “one-tenth of all their interest.” Interest means profit, compensation, increase. It is the wage of one employed, the profit from the operation of a business, the increase of one who grows or produces, or the income to a person from any other source. The Lord said it is a standing law “forever” as has been in the past. CR1964Apr:35