stuck wrote: ↑
Fri Mar 17, 2023 11:32 am
Red, did you ever have to explain why you stopped paying tithing to your wife?
I did. As a new college grad I started working as an auditor working for one of the Big 4 accounting firms. I started auditing numerous churches and other non-profit entities which required audited financial statements because they had reporting requirements, bank loans, etc.
I spent a week auditing a large local Baptist church and we got i to a discussion about the church’s coffee stand. It generated about $400K a year in coffee sales revenue which supported their overall budget.
The conversation went like this:
Can you believe they have a coffee stand at church?
Can you believe it makes $400K?
Can you believe they pay their pastors and youth leaders?
The true church of Jesus Christ has a lay leadership.
We don’t pay our people.
We’re so much better than them.
We don’t have to require an audit because WE don’t have debt as a church. We’re so much better than the Baptist! We have the RESTORED gospel!
Shortly after that, I fell into my faith transition.
Read a ton of bad experiences from former members who were angry about prior sex abuse hush money paid out to keep victims quiet through Non-disclosure agreements etc.
As an auditor I realized that I had no way to ever read a complete consolidated church financial statement. You could find bits and pieces here and there. As a professional that pissed me off. As a recent human being, it pissed me off even more to realize the church could buy silence and protect itself at any cost. I became extremely angry.
I also happened to be the ward finance clerk at the time. It was near tithing settlement time and I could see members pay catch up amounts at the end of the year. I could see our ward generated nearly $3M in tithing and send 99.9999999% of it to SLC. I saw families struggle to pay their bills begging the church to help out only to receive a passive aggressive response from the bishop. Have you asked family members for help? How often do you eat out? Also you still have cable? What about that new car? They didn’t have a new car. What about working overtime? There were 99 questions asked in order to deny helping to pay a medical bill or a missed house payment. Yet these same members asking for help had already donated money to the church. I remained extremely angry.
Then one day I said enough is enough. If the church needs my money to keep the lights on… call me. I’ll help out.
If the church needs my money to help out a needy family…. call me. I’ll help out.
If the church needs my money for any legitimate reason… call me. I’ll help out.
When you realize the church is a Billion dollar corporation that focuses on real estate portfolios, investment schemes, and self preservation schemes to avoid lawsuits, you realize you don’t need to donate anymore.
I’d already stopped attending the temple. I had already stopped wearing the authorized pattern. I had pretty much figured I would stop paying monthly. If I felt different at year end I would pay to catch up.
Right before tithing settlement I told her that I could no longer pay in good conscious. For all the reasons listed above. I promised her that I wouldn’t leave her by herself at tithing settlement. So we went with our young kids. They got candy after the bishop explained that god gave us 10 pieces of candy and only required us to give 1 back. He asked them if they were full tithe payers. They said yes after confirming they didn’t have a job and didn’t make any money.
Then he asked the wife if she was a full tithe layer. She said yes. She was a stay at home mom with a few side hustles. Declared full status.
Then he asks me.
I said I was part. Stopped paying during the year. He assumed we were having financial problems. Offered to be of assistance after we relied on family first of course.
On the way home she was mad that I didn’t clarify to the bishop that I refused to pay rather than we couldn’t.
That continued for a few years. She was able to get her recommend because she paid on her income. She liked that she could get her nails done as we had more disposable income. She liked that our savings account and 401K were growing. She hated that she was going to the temple alone.
Overtime I stopped going to tithing settlement with her and she went alone and didn’t take the kids.
She’s currently questioning the church and tithing may fall to donating to other causes. She’s pretty pissed off about the SEC 13F reporting scandal and the church.
So my advice:
DON’T LIE TO YOUR WIFE!
Be honest and tell her WHY you don’t want to pay.
If she is a SAHM, don’t offer to let her pay 5% on your income. That just causes resentment. Plus that’s 5% the church doesn’t deserve. Your family needs it more.
Offer a truce to save your tithing in your savings account. That if you change your mind you will pay at end of year.
Be honest. She will respect that even if she doesn’t like the decision to stop paying. She will get over that easier than you lying to you.