Pushing the temple (and tithing) on the people

In the last General Conference held in April 2011, three leaders of the LDS Church made a concerted effort to reiterate the importance of the temple.

Saying that three new LDS temples were announced at the conference and 26 others under construction, President Thomas S. Monson declared on April 2, “If you have not yet been to the temple or if you have been but currently do not qualify for a recommend, there is no more important goal for you to work toward than being worthy to go to the temple. Your sacrifice may be bringing your life into compliance with what is required to receive a recommend, perhaps by forsaking long-held habits which disqualify you. It may be having the faith and the discipline to pay your tithing. Whatever it is, qualify to enter the temple of God. Secure a temple recommend and regard it as a precious possession, for such it is.” (“The Holy Temple—a Beacon to the World,” Ensign, May 2011, p. 93)

He added, “Until you have entered the house of the Lord and have received all the blessings which await you there, you have not obtained everything the Church has to offer.” At the same conference, Apostle Richard Scott gave a related message called “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage” that specifically dealt with temple marriage. And later, Seventy Carl B. Pratt taught on tithing called “The Lord’s Richest Blessings,” saying, “Let us not be accused of robbing God. Let us be honest and pay our debts to the Lord. All He asks is 10 percent. Integrity in paying our debts to the Lord will help us be honest with our fellowman.” (p. 102) He later wrote, “It has been my personal experience that the surest way to pay tithing faithfully is to pay it as soon as I receive any income. In fact, I’ve found it to be the only way…tithing is not a matter of money, really; it is a matter of faith—faith in the Lord.”

The stress on tithing continued in the June 2011 Ensign with a lead article written by Henry Eyring, a member of the Church’s First Presidency (“The Blessings of Tithing,” pp. 4-5).  He wrote, “To receive the gift of living with Him forever in families in the celestial kingdom, we must be able to live the laws of that kingdom (see D&C 88:22). He has given us commandments in this life to develop that capacity. The law of tithing is one of those preparatory commandments.” Even the youth and children were given tithing messages in articles titled “Enough Money” and “I Can Pay Tithing” (p. 6)

According to Monson’s own statistics, 85% of all church members live within 200 miles of a temple. In fact, there were only 21 LDS temples in the world by 1980, which was 150 years after the founding of the church. Yet in the past three decades, a whopping 115 temples were built.  To get into any of these temples now dotting the entire world, a person must tithe to qualify for a temple recommend.

About 15 years ago, I saw a quote somewhere that said how fewer than one in four Latter-day Saints regularly attended the temple. Many members (outside of Utah) went through civil ceremonies rather than getting married for “time and eternity” in the temple. Perhaps the percentages for attendance are higher now, I don’t know. I’m guessing, however, that this renewed focus  on going to the temple was made because not as many Saints are keeping (or even obtaining) their temple recommends, especially paying their tithing.

And why is this so? Well, for one, I’m guessing the recession has played its role. Of course, this is something Monson mentioned when he said, “it may be having the faith and the discipline to pay your tithing.” This is why Pratt told the emotional story of his poor relatives in the 1920s who paid their tithing despite their poverty. I’m sure there are some requirements the interviewing bishop might be able to wink at (i.e. an occasional failing with a cup of coffee or failing to wear the sacred temple garments). But the tithe is the most obvious black and white issue. A lawyer who only gives $3,000 during the course of a year is obviously way below his 10 percent requirement.  And thus, if “tithing settlement” reveals just too much to pay, the recommend is forfeited. What can you do?

And what happens when you get to the temple? Consider the primary song quoted by Monson:

I love to see the temple.
I’ll go inside someday.
I’ll cov’nant with my Father;
I’ll promise to obey.

An impossible goal, of course, for the “promise to obey” will never be kept. That’s what they say “repentance is for,” but if you read the words of Mormonism’s most prominent men over the years, the commandments are not something to shirk. One’s exaltation depends on it. And to keep people from thinking too much, LDS leaders keep their members busy, busy, busy, working for this unattainable goal.

The Gospel is so much more than following a list of commands that might look good (righteous) on the surface but are full of dead men’s bones (Matthew 23:27-28). Is the LDS Church lining its pockets while telling its people to live the impossible dream? You may disagree, but I think it is.

This entry was posted in Mormon Temple and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Pushing the temple (and tithing) on the people

  1. falcon says:

    Well this we know, it costs money to become a Mormon god! It’s not enough to do all of the works outside of the temple in order to become a Mormon god, a person has to do all of the works inside of the temple which can only be accessed by coming up with some cash.
    I don’t know how poor Mormons can ever hope to attain Mormon godhood. Think about it. These folks, on the lower end of the socioeconomic status rung of life, are just going to have to settle for a lower level of Mormon reward.
    I understand all of these temples that were being built (tagged by some as “McTemples”) do have a pretty fast payback in terms of the $$$$$ invested. The McTemples, I’ve heard, are a good source of revenue for the LDS church. It’s not just the money that has to be paid to the LDS Inc. to gain access to the temple, but it’s all of the “stuff” a faithful Mormon has to purchase to be temple ready.
    The NT is just chock full of stories about Christian temples in the first century primitive Christian Church. OOPS! My bad. No such stories exist. That’s part of what was left out of the Bible in the grand conspiracy.
    Advice to Mormons; save your time, money and energy and join the Masonic Lodge. You get the same temple experience at a fraction of the cost.

  2. Rick B says:

    What’s really sad is the lies the LDS believe, then go onto teach and the bondage they are under and then put people under. All people need to do is read the Bible. If you go back to Genesis you will see during the garden before Adam and Eve were kicked out, their was no temple. After they were kicked out, their was no temple.

    No temples existed until God created the nation of Jewish people. Then the Temples were ONLY FOR THE JEWS. Their are detailed accounts in the Bible of who could enter the temple, when they could enter and what took place in the temple. None of what’s in the Bible describing this is what goes on with the LDS temples and how to enter.

    Then if you read the NT we read, we no longer need the temple and Jesus is all we need. Read Hebrews it talks all about it. But I guess it’s as the Bible says, MANY loves lies and darkness rather than Truth and life and they will sadly spend eternity in hell apart from God because they choose to ignore the truth and follow lies.

  3. falcon says:

    Joseph Smith was a great borrower of ideas. He lived in an era when there was a lot of religious experimentation going on. He’d grab an idea and could claim it as revelation. He did it with Jews being the ancestors of the American Indians, the Celestial Kingdom narrative, polygamy and the rituals for his temple ceremonies. The problem is that Mormons really don’t spend any time looking into this stuff. They got a feeling when they read the BoM (which incidentally-according to Grant Palmer-is a good representation of Methodist camp meeting preaching) and they just go with the program.
    What a shock it must be for those Mormons who finally uncover information that shows that what they thought was some super spiritual religious program revealed by God, is simply the product of a guy with an inventive mind.

  4. falcon says:

    My beef with Mormonism isn’t so much about them dressing-up in costumes and going off to their temples and performing rituals borrowed from the Free Masons. My problem is that they contend that this sort of activity was the norm in first century Christianity. I have a copy of an issue of Christian History here which does a good job of chronicling worship in the early primitive Christian church. Sorry Mormons, there’s nothing here about Christian temple worship.
    I suppose Mormons will charge that just because there’s no record of such activity that it didn’t happen. Well just like their problem with archeological evidence for the BoM, there aren’t any Christian temples being unearthed.
    The problem with Mormonism generally is that there just isn’t any evidence to support the religion. In order to be a true believing Mormon, a person has to just believe the tales, generate some feelings about it, and call the whole thing revelation from God. By that methodology just about anything could be made a doctrine or practice if a religious sect was inclined to do so.

  5. Brian says:

    What an interesting article, Eric.

    “If you have not yet been to the temple or if you have been but currently do not qualify for a recommend, there is no more important goal for you to work toward than being worthy to go to the temple. … Until you have entered the house of the Lord and have received all the blessings which await you there, you have not obtained everything the Church has to offer.”

    There are two suggestions here which I believe are unfortunate:

    1. Qualifying for a recommend (the most important goal) makes one righteous in God’s sight.
    2. The LDS religion is the source of blessings, rather than God.

    I am very grateful to God for the blessings I have. By being in union with Jesus Christ, I already have every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1). These blessings include:

    1. Being Forgiven. My sin, my guilt were removed. Forever. (Romans 3)
    2. Adoption into God’s family, becoming his child. (John 1:12)
    3. Being God’s workmanship. (Ephesians 2:10)
    4. Being clothed in the white robes of Jesus’ perfect righteousness. (Romans 4)
    5. Having eternal life. (John 6)

  6. falcon says:

    Anyone know what the current rate is for becoming a Mormon god? We know it takes at least 10% of a Mormon’s annual income. In addition to the money it also takes a lot of works. Becoming a Mormon god is not a cheap deal in terms of money, time or effort. And in addition to all of this, there’s really no guarantee that a Mormon has done enough to become a god.
    Chasing off to the temple week after week is the plight of a Mormon who wants to make it into the Celestial kingdom. This is a false religion. It is a fraud because it claims to be the restoration of original Christianity which according to Mormon lore, was lost after the death of the apostles. Now the fact that there is no evidence of any of this is immaterial to the average true believing Mormon.
    They KNOW all of this based on revelation coupled with positive emotions. Call me a skeptic but I’d need a little more then a claim of revelation and a good feeling to invest in this god maker program.
    Mormonism is what happens when people stop thinking and start basing their faith on their feelings.

  7. falcon says:

    My understanding is that there are a select group of Mormons who are given the designation that they have done enough to merit entrance into the Celestial kingdom and status of becoming gods. Now how the Mormon authorities know this, I don’t know. One would think that if they can declare certain men and/or women this status, then they’d be able to tell those who aren’t there yet, what they have to do to achieve this much desired Mormon goal.
    An individual or couple could be told that they need to give more money, do more works/callings and/or spend more time in the temple doing rituals. Since rattling around in the temple appears to be necessary in order for a Mormon to become a god, then some type of rating system could easily be established.
    This isn’t Christianity; the temple and all that goes with it. What this is is the figment of the imagination of a guy who when he wasn’t busying himself lurking around the countryside at night looking for treasure with his magic rock, was romancing and bedding as many women as he could with the guarantee that they could become goddesses to his role as god.
    Not knowing who Jesus is and what the redemptive act of the cross is all about is the spiritual death keel for Mormons. The shed blood of Christ is the only means by which a person can get to the Father. Supposing that one can become a god by good behavior and religious rituals is a sad folly with an even sadder ending.

  8. falcon says:

    The apostle Paul wrote that a person can’t lay a spiritual foundation that is solid other then (one that is) Jesus Christ. Religions such as Mormonism give Jesus a place in their program, but he’s not the foundation. In Mormonism the foundation is the BoM, Joseph Smith, the modern day LDS prophet, the LDS church, the priesthood, the temple, the temple rituals, the Word of Wisdom and I suppose one could through in the BoA, D & C, and the Journal of Discourses (which Mormons have to spend a lot of time explaining away). Now in addition to all of this, in Mormonism the Bible must be seen in it’s proper place. To Mormons, the Bible can be helpful but it’s basically a corrupted text, a result of a giant conspiracy by some monks or whoever.
    It’s no wonder that Mormonism can’t recognize the Bible because first of all there’s no Mormonism in the Bible and secondly if someone takes the Bible seriously, they won’t remain a Mormon.
    I believe it was on the day of atonement that the Jews would enter the temple and the priest would take the blood of a sacrificed animal and with a hyssop branch, sprinkle the blood on the people. For that one day the people could gain a sense of forgiveness of their sins.
    The animal sacrifice was a foreshadowing of the death of Jesus on the cross, the blood was the sign of the atonement. Again, the sign of the new covenant or promise was Jesus’ shed blood. Those of us who enter into this covenant through faith in Jesus are continuously cleansed from all unrighteousness by the blood of Jesus. It’s not a one day occurrence.
    Now Mormons want to ignore all of this and depend on the word of Joseph Smith that God isn’t who He reveals He is in the Bible and Jesus’ once and for all sacrifice for sins wasn’t enough, at least not in Smith’s system. Smith conceptualized a whole new god, in fact he didn’t stop with one god he conjured up multiple gods. He told men that they and their wives could become a tandem god and goddess pair ruling their own planetary system and procreating spirit children into eternity who they would then assist to become gods also.
    Bizarre? It doesn’t get much weirder but those who swallow it suppose that they are deeply spiritual and only they can see the depth and truth of this “revelation”. It’s all pretty standard cult stuff fed by emotions mistaken for communication from God.
    There is one pathway to the Father and there is only one Father in the entire universe. Their is just one foundation. Anyone adding anything to Christ is under a curse.

  9. helenlouissmith says:

    One poster wrote: “Joseph Smith was a great borrower of ideas. He lived in an era when there was a lot of religious experimentation going on. He’d grab an idea and could claim it as revelation.”

    What a idea it was, novel, intelligent, current and being able to sustain a building program that is the envy of the Christian world, only if they could instill such a doctrine with their membership, not so may Bankruptcies or Churches struggling to keep the arched door form being padlocked.

    Borrower of ideas, yes the scriptures are a great reminder that principles put forth by God that success comes to those who put their Faith in tithing. Not necessarily gold and silver for the faithful, Tithing develops and tests our faith. By sacrificing to the Lord what we may think we need or want for ourselves, we learn to rely on Him. To live the higher law of consecration—to dedicate and give all our time, talents, and resources to the work of the Lord.

Leave a Reply