Friday, January 6, 2017

Malachi 3, part 4

Malachi 3:8-9

 8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

Christ is clearly speaking to the leaders of the various denominations that will cover the earth before His Return (verse 3).  He is speaking to the LEADERS, informing them that they have robbed Him as well as their own people, “even this whole nation”. They respond, “Wherein have we robbed thee?”  These leaders appear to be genuinely confused at this condemnation.  They have been laboring and preaching the payment of tithes and offerings to their congregants to the point of ad nauseam.   Yet the Lord accuses them of being guilty of theft with a simple statement: “In tithes and offerings”. 
The very scripture that church leaders use to guilt and frighten people into giving their money to fund their extravagant living is the very scripture that God is going to use to condemn them for their sin. Notice that this scripture is speaking to the Priests concerning their negligence in their holy positions and their robbing of the tithe and offerings that were meant to provide for the widow and the orphan and the stranger who found himself within their gates.[1]
What is the Law of the Tithe?   When translating the Hebrew word מַעֲשֵׂר into Greek it translates as δέκατο which in English means decade.  A decade is 10 years, therefore the meaning of the word Tithe has come to be defined as a tenth. The first recorded instance in the bible in regards to the tithe is found in Genesis 14: 36-39 “And this Melchizedek, having thus established righteousness, was called the king of heaven by his people, or, in other words, the King of peace.  And he lifted up his voice, and he blessed Abram, being the high priest, and the keeper of the storehouse of God; Him whom God had appointed to receive tithes for the poor.  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.”[2]

This is the first time paying tithes is mentioned in the Bible. Hebrews 7:4 seems to suggest the idea that the tithes Abraham paid were on the spoils he took after he won a great battle, “Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.” [3]  In the Book of Mormon we read, “And it was this same Melchizedek to whom Abraham paid tithes: yea, even our father Abraham paid tithes of one-tenth part of all he possessed.”[4] Taking these accounts into consideration Abraham appears to have taken spoils from the battle against the king of Sodom along with his own personal possessions and traveled to the city of Salem unto the High Priest Melchizedek.  Abraham then gave unto Melchizedek a tithe of all he possessed above that which he had need for the storehouse for the poor.  This City of Salem was a Zion community much like the City of Enoch. One of the key characteristics of a Zion community is that there are no poor among them.  “…The people of the church should impart of their substance, every one according to that which he had; if he have more abundantly he should impart more abundantly; and of him that had but little, but little should be required; and to him that had not should be given. And thus they should impart of their substance of their own free will and good desires towards God, and to those priests that stood in need, yea, and to every needy, naked soul.” (Mosiah 18: 27-28). As Abraham “sought for the blessings of the fathers” [5]could this mean that the payment of tithes as a means to care for the poor, the widow, the fatherless and the stranger was been observed by the righteous from the days of Adam?

The next instance that tithes are mentioned in the Bible is found in Genesis 28.  Jacob is traveling to Haran to find himself a wife.  During his travels he lies down to sleep and has a dream or vision of a ladder extending from earth into Heaven.[6] Jacob anoints and sets apart the land as the House of God and then he covenants, “…all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.”

Many historical Christian scholars believe that the Law of the Tithe was only voluntarily observed by Abraham and Jacob but was not given as a law until it was given unto the house of Israel upon Mount Sinai through Moses. Under the Law of Moses the preferred payment of tithes was in produce and animals.[7]  Provisions were made for persons who had long distances to travel to exchange their produce for money.  Under this law tithes were to be given to the poor, the widow, the fatherless and the stranger.[8]  A portion was to be given to the Levites as they had no land inheritance and were unable to grow their own produce or raise their own flocks. From this portion the Levites were allowed to give some to the priests.[9]

When Jesus Christ came to renew, re-establish, reset, reconnect and above all, redeem fallen man with God all of the ordinances as well as the Law of Moses had been corrupted.[10]  Christ found that the leaders of churches were robbing God along with the entire nation of Israel in tithes and offerings, causing the poor, the widow, the fatherless and the stranger to suffer, to be abused, neglected and extorted while the Pharisees and Sadducees fared sumptuously.[11]   Christ taught that we should do all in our power to take care of the poor, that in order to be one in heart we need to be equal in our physical needs.  When the rich young man approached Christ asking what more he could do to follow him, the reply was, “go, sell that thou hast, and give to the poor”.[12]  When Christ chastised the leaders for the widow casting in her mite, he was not only praising her in her faithfulness he was condemning the leaders for extorting money from her in order that they might live in luxury.[13]

The question one can raise is this: does the Savior require that we sell all we have and give it to the poor?  How do we balance taking care of the needs of our own family, children, spouse, etc while looking after the poor among us? In his post titled “Obedience and Sacrifice” Denver Snuffer teaches that the first LDS[14] covenants that a person makes in their temples are that of obedience and sacrifice:
 The order places the obligation for obedience before the obligation for sacrifice. They belong in that order. Obedience requires men to support their wives (D&C 83:2) and parents to care for their children (D&C 83:4). [The first verse of the Book of Mormon informs us Nephi was supported by his goodly parents, including receiving a good education. (1 Ne. 1:1.)] This principle to care for family must happen before any sacrifices can be considered. In other words, before any sacrifice is made to help the poor, build a temple, support a community, or any other good and charitable thing obedience to the commandment to care for your family members must be satisfied. Those who fail to provide for their families are no better than the faithless. (1 Tim. 5:8.) Those who disobey the obligation to support and care for their families bring the faith of Christ into disrepute and cause scorn for His church.

If you hail from the LDS Church, paying 10% tithing to the Institutional Church is considered mandatory for salvation; in order to be “worthy” of the highest ordinances the Church offers in their temples one must pay an “honest and full tithe”, as defined by the LDS Church leaders, and you must pay those tithes to the LDS Church[15]  Unfortunately, this false tradition is also present in other Christian churches.  It is understandable that paying 10% of one’s income takes the guess work out of the decision. However, it gives a false sense of security before God, it allows men in leadership to have power over us and in many cases it causes individuals and families who are struggling financially to become even poorer.  In their book Pagan Christianity Frank Viola and George Barna make the observation that “God’s people are persuaded to give one-tenth of their income every week.  When they do, they feel they have made God happy.  And they can expect Him to bless them financially.  When they fail, they feel they are being disobedient, and they worry that a financial curse looms over them….tithing today is sometimes presented as the equivalent of a Christian stock investment.  Pay the tithe, and God will give you more money in return.  Refuse to tithe, and God will punish you…”[16] In some churches, if you are not a tither, you will be barred from holding a ministry or church leadership position.[17]
“…in our day, mandatory tithing equals oppression to the poor. Not a few poor Christians have been thrown into deeper poverty because they have felt obligated to give beyond their means…In such cases, the gospel is no longer good news to the poor.  Rather, it becomes a heavy burden.  Instead of liberty, it becomes oppression….the original tithe that God established for Israel was to benefit the poor, not hurt them! Conversely…it is good news to the rich.   To a high earner, 10% is a paltry sum.  Tithing, therefore, appeases the consciences of the prosperous without impacting their lifestyles.  Not a few wealthy Christians are deluded into thinking they are ‘obeying God’ because they throw 10% of their income into the offering plate.”[18] 
The New Testament disciples understood that taking care of the poor and the needy was paramount to establishing a Zion community and a unity of belief.  Christ taught, “For inasmuch as ye do it unto the least of these, ye do it unto me.” [19] The City of Enoch was a Zion community and is described in the book of Moses, which is contained in the Pearl of Great Price.
Zion is level. It is absolutely level…Moses 7:18. "And the Lord called his people ZION, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them." There were no poor among them, because it's intolerable for your sister to suffer in want if you have enough and to spare. There were no poor among them because you cannot dwell in righteousness if you find a need and you're unwilling to fulfill it. Inequality invites covetous desires. To be one, you must have equality. You can't have one heart, one mind, and no poor among you if you have a stratified group of people. There can't be any rich or poor.[20]

Early Christians were very generous to the poor and the needy, they gave freely, out of a cheerful heart, without guilt, obligation or manipulation[21] Isaiah warns us “wo unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed; to turn away the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless! And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? To whom will ye flee for help? And where will ye leave your glory?  Without me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain.  For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.”[22]  In 2 Nephi 28:12-13 God warns usBecause of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up. They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up.”

Taking care of the poor and the needy is paramount to being a disciple of Christ.  In the Book of Mormon King Benjamin admonished his people: 
And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish. Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God. For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind? And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy. And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another. And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done. I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world. And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give. And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received. And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants. And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.[23]

Commanded by God, Alma, another Book of Mormon prophet-servant taught the people that they should impart of their substance according to what they have: if they have abundance they should impart abundantly; if they have little, little should be required and if they have none they should be given.  He went on to teach them that they should impart of their substance of their own free will and good desires towards God.  He allowed for the imparting of their substance to a priest, but only if he stood in need and as long as they imparted to every needy, naked soul.[24]

Alma 1: 30 states: “And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need.”
In the New Testament churches as well as in some instances in the Book of Mormon, the people practiced a higher law than tithing.  They appear to have practiced what is known as the Law of Consecration, also known as the United Order.  The United order was an organization through which the Saints in the New Testament days as well as the early days of the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (1830’s) sought to live the law of consecration. Individuals shared property, goods, and profits, receiving these things according to their wants and needs.[25]  During the Restoration the Latter-Day Saints attempted to live the Law of Consecration in both Kirtland and Missouri, however, they failed at living this law just like the children of Israel in Moses’ day, therefore, the Lord allowed them to live the lesser Law of Tithing.

James E Talmage, an apostle for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from 1911-1933, stated on page 396 in his book Articles of Faith: “Consecration and Stewardship-The law of tithing, as observed by the Church today, is after all but a lesser law, given by the Lord in consequence of human weaknesses, selfishness, covetousness, and greed, which prevented the saints from accepting the higher principles, according to which the Lord would have them live.” 

“Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.”[26]  Doctrine and Covenants Section 119 is known as the “law of tithing” for the LDS Church.  In this revelation the Lord states that all surplus property should be put into the hands of the bishops of the church for the building of a temple, laying the foundation for Zion and for relieving the current debts of the presidency of the church.  After that initial, one time obligation was met the people were then to pay one-tenth of all their interest once each year in order that Zion might be established.[27]  By the very definition of Zion it can be concluded that the Law of Tithing given to the early Mormon Saints during the Restoration was intended to take care of the poor.[28]

It is clear in the scriptures that the Lord’s foremost intention for the distribution of tithes is that of caring for the poor, the needy, the widow, the fatherless and the stranger.  Tithes are not to be used for buildings, shopping malls, land acquisitions, private hunting compounds, private jets, lavish lifestyles, not even for a professional or “non” professional clergy.  Once our obligation to taking care of the poor among us is fulfilled (and we will know this because there will be no poor among us), if there are tithes left over the Lord will allow the surplus to be used for the building of a temple.

In the New Testament Paul taught that the disciples and apostles labored alongside their brethren for their own support and did not rely on monies from their fellow members.  In Acts 20: 33-35 Paul taught, “I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.  I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”[29]  In the Book of Mormon the example of King Benjamin as well as the teachings of Alma demonstrated to the people that the priests were not to depend on the people for their livings but were to labor for their own support.[30] If God’s desire for the use of tithing is so clear in the scriptures where did the tradition of a paid clergy originate?
In 200 AD a Christian writer named Cyprian of Carthage argued the practice of financially supporting the clergy based on the fact that Ancient Israel supported the Levites according to the Law of Moses.[31] His petition was not agreeable to the Christian people en masse until much later.  Around 300 AD other Christian leaders began to advocate paying tithes to support the clergy.[32]  Ministers were unsalaried for the first 3 centuries after Christ, laboring alongside their flock for their own bread.  Emperor Constantine of Rome instituted the practice of paying a clergy salary from church funds as well as the municipal and
imperial treasuries during the 4th century. The widespread use of tithes to support churches financially began between 600 and 700 AD.  During this time leasing land was a common practice in Europe. The “tenth” was used to calculate rent payments to landlords.  As the institutional church began to purchase and own more and more land the rent charges which were originally paid to secular landlords began to be paid to ecclesiastical ones.  Essentially, the tithe became the ecclesiastical tax.  The leaders creatively identified this rent tax as the Old Testament Law of Tithing.[33]

The earliest positive legislation on the subject seems to be contained in the letter of the bishops assembled at Tours in 567 and the canons of the Council of Maçon in 585. In course of time, we find the payment of tithes made obligatory by ecclesiastical enactments in all the countries of Christendom. As regards to the civil power, the Christian Roman emperors granted the right to churches to retain a portion of the produce of certain lands, but the earliest instance of the enforcement of the payment of ecclesiastical tithes by civil law is to be found in the capitularies of Charlemagne, at the end of the eighth century.[34]
The use of tithes to pay clergy as well as to financially support churches has allowed mischief and priestcraft[35] to enter into the realms of religion.  When a person’s livelihood is attached to how popular he or she is with their congregation it encourages leaders to be “people pleasers” and slaves of men.  “Giving a salary to pastors elevates them above the rest of God’s people.  It creates a clerical caste that turns the living body of Christ into a business. Since the pastor and his staff are compensated for ministry they are paid professionals. The rest of the church lapses into a state of passive dependence.”[36]  Nephi, the son of Helaman, taught in Helaman 13:27-28:
But behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth—and if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet. Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him.

A paid, professional clergy goes against the grain of Zion.  Elders in the first century were not salaried; rather they were men with an earthly vocation.  In the Book of Mosiah 2: 12 and 14 King Benjamin said, “I say unto you that as I have been suffered to spend my days in your service, even up to this time, and have not sought gold nor silver nor any manner of riches of you;…And even I, myself, have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, and that there should nothing come upon you which was grievous to be borne—and of all these things which I have spoken, ye yourselves are witnesses this day.”

A common fallacy perpetuated by the LDS Church is that they have no paid clergy. While this is true for what is known as the “local” level this is not true on the General level.   Mormon members are divided into congregations based on geographic location.  The smallest congregations are known as branches and consist anywhere from a few members up to a hundred or so.  The priesthood leader of a branch is called a branch president. Once a congregation grows large enough in size it is termed a ward; the priesthood leader of a ward is known as a bishop.  Groups of wards and/ or branches are organized into stakes; the priesthood leader of a stake is called a stake president.  These are known as “local” leaders and all are unpaid, non-professionals who must provide their own living while sacrificing their time to serve their congregations. 

The LDS Church does have a “paid clergy” in the “General” level of Priesthood leadership.  These leaders are over large, or “general” geographic areas of the LDS Church and are called General Authorities.  General Authorities are organized into the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the Presidency of the Seventy, the First and Second Quorums of the Seventy, and the Presiding Bishopric. LDS Mission Presidents also benefit from the tithing “payroll”. Because the LDS Church refuses to be transparent, accountable and open with their collected donations no one can say with certainty how much their general leaders are “paid”.  What is known is that the LDS Church “reimburses” these leaders from Mission Presidents on up to the First Presidency with anywhere from a meager to an extremely generous “living stipend”.[37]  Apparently, if you call a salary a living stipend then you can claim that your leaders are unpaid clergy.  

Throughout the lecture series “40 Years in Mormonism” Denver Snuffer, Jr. preached often against the use of tithing for a paid clergy, especially that of the LDS Church.  In Lecture 10, “Preserving the Restoration” he stated:
"And there shall be many which shall teach after this manner, false and vain and foolish doctrines, and shall be puffed up in their hearts, and shall seek deep to hide their counsels from the Lord."
How might one better "hide their counsels from the Lord," than to conceal all the money that is gathered from the tithes of His people? How better than to hide from view all the revenues paid to the authorities of the church, and even admonish the paid mission presidents that they must never disclose the revenue benefits that they are receiving? How better to hide your counsel, than to conceal it from the very sheep that are being shorn?
…this rebuke by Malachi (Malachi 3) is actually to the leaders of any and all churches who squander the gifts of the people upon themselves and who offer unclean sacrifices to God.  
The ideal is never to have a professional class of clergyman. The ideal is to have every one of us as equals. In our own day, in a revelation given through Joseph, Doctrine and Covenants 52 beginning at 39 says: "Let the residue of the elders watch over the churches, and declare the word in the regions round about them; and let them labor with their own hands that there be no idolatry nor wickedness practised."
To "labor with their own hands" means they are not professionals receiving compensation for preaching, because as soon as you turn them into a professional clergy people idolize them. The object is to avoid idolatry, to avoid the professional class of clergy to whom people look for blessings at their compensated hands. "That there be no idolatry nor wickedness practiced." "Wickedness" because when you have people elevated so as to have control over others, almost invariably the existence of control tends to lead inexorably to abuse.

“If all Christians got in touch with the call that lies upon them to be functioning priests in the Lord’s house (and they were permitted to exercise that call), the question would immediately arise: ‘What on earth are we paying our pastor for!?’”[38] Nephi warned us in our day: “For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world, and to do all manner of iniquity; yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the devil are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet.”[39]

David Yeubanks, on his website, poses this question: So how does one give to God? Scripture, again, answers this plainly. Jesus clearly told us how it is we "give to God". Oddly enough, the giving He spoke of had nothing to do with financing a church organization. He said, in as much as we give to others who are in need (the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the hungry, even the lost), we are ministering directly to Him. This ministry of giving entails far more than finances. It embodies the commandment to love others with our lives. That doesn't mean washing our hands of them (and alleviating our consciences) by sending in our money to some organization so that someone else can do the work... It means we listen to the voice of our Heavenly Father and go ourselves to each one He sends us to. If we see our neighbor with a need we have in our power to meet, we must bring forth the fruit of love and meet it. God has made each of us who know Him priests unto Him. That means that no one else can mediate His work for us. We must hear His voice and obey.[40]

Denver Snuffer, Jr 40Years in Mormonism taught:
Tithing is for the poor. It is not designed to pay for a professional clergy class. If we have no buildings more money can go to assist with the needs of people. In this day, and in this economy, anything that can be done to assist with the poor is a good thing.[41]
I know, I know, in each of your churches there are lots of people who get benefited in lots of ways. But that doesn't excuse the money that those “Strongmen” spend on themselves. The highest-paid clergies in the world manage the various denominations of the various Mormon movements. The top LDS Church leaders have access to private hunting preserves, fenced vacation compounds, a private jet, and, in comparison with poor Lazarus, “fare sumptuously.” It's just the way it is. I hate to break it to you, but the institutions stemming from Joseph Smiths efforts are almost entirely led by rather well-paid professional clergy.
Take the money the Lord intended for the poor and administer it for the poor among you. If you try this experiment, there will be some among you who receive rather than give because they have not. Let me remind those who receive of another statement made in the revelations of this dispensation in Doctrine and Covenants 42:42 “Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer”. [42]
There is nothing divine in neglecting the poor.  The primary purpose of collecting the tithes…is to bless and benefit the lives of those who are in need.  So, given the fact that you are commanded to pay tithing, and some of you are unable or refuse to do so because of the particular circumstances that you see in your church of choice…I would suggest one small thing, you could begin to collect your own tithing in a group. You manage it among yourselves. You assist the poor among you. If you disagree with what your churches are doing but recognize the obligation to pay, then take control over the funds to do what you believe God would have done to help others. As groups of common believers, pay tithing into a common fund. Then by the voice of your own group, dispose of it by common consent so that everyone in your group knows everything that comes in and everything that goes out. Then you begin to have no poor among your group. You provide for those who need housing, food, clothing, healthcare, education, and transportation. Do it without a leader. Do it by the voice of your own common consent, by your own unanimous approval. Do it by united agreement.”[43]

[1] An Examination of Malachi 3:1-16 by Deanna Rodriguez;
[2] Holy Scriptures Inspired Version, 1867
[3] Holy Scriptures, Inspired Version, 1867;  KJV
[4] Alma 13:15
[5]  Abraham 1:2, Pearl of Great Price
[6] Genesis 28:11-22 (Holy Scriptures, Inspired Version, 1867)
[7] Leviticus 27:30-34; Deuteronomy 14:22-23, 28-29; 2 Chronicles 31:5-6, 12; Nehemiah 10:37-38 (Holy Scriptures, Inspired Version)
[8] Deuteronomy 26:12 (KJV)
[9] Deuteronomy 14:29; Nehemiah 12: 44; Nehemiah 13:5 (Holy Scriptures, Inspired Version)
[10] Isaiah 24:5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. (KJV)
[11] Luke 16:19-31 (KJV) Luke 16: 24-36 (Holy Scriptures, Inspired Version); Luke 21:1-4 (KJV)
[12] Matthew 19:21 (KJV) (Holy Scriptures, Inspired Version); Mark 10: 21 (KJV)
[13] Mark 12: 38-44 (KJV)
[14] LDS will refer throughout this paper to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormons
[15] LDS Temple Recommend Questions;
[16] Viola and Barna Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of our Church Practices 2012, pg. 172 and 180
[17] Though not a creed it is nevertheless true that in many instances in the LDS Church callings for both men and women are contingent upon holding a current temple recommend and in order to hold a temple recommend one must pay a full tithe to the LDS Church
[18] Viola and Barna Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of our Church Practices pg. 179
[19] Doctrine and Covenants 42:38
[20]Denver snuffer, Jr. 40 Years in Mormonism lecture series; Grand Junction “Zion”
[21]Viola and Barna Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of our Church Practices” 2012; see 2 Corinthians 8:1-4, 9:6-7
For an in-depth historical account of early Christianity and their generosity see Kreider’s Worship and Evangelism in Pre-In Christendom.
[22] 2 Nephi 20:1-4 1
[23] Mosiah 4:16-27
[24] Mosiah 18:27-29
[25] D&C 51:3; 78:1–15; 104;
[26] Doctrine and Covenants 64:23
[27] Doctrine and Covenants 119
[28] Moses 7:18 And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.
[29] Holy Scriptures, Inspired Version
[30] Mosiah 18:26
[31] Viola and Barna, Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of our Church Practices, 2012, pg 176
[32] Hatch, Growth of Church Institutions, 1-2-112
[33] Viola and Barna, Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of our Church Practices, 2012, pg 177
[34]Knight, Kevin New Advent, Catholic Encyclopedia;  2012
[35] According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary the definition of priestcraft is a professional knowledge and skill in respect to the exercise of priestly functions; the scheming and machinations of priests; 2 Nephi 26:29 He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, preistcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.
[36] Viola and Barna, Pagan Christianity: Exploring the roots of our Church Practices, 2012, pg 180-181
[37] The full LDS Church’s Handbook for Mission Presidents was leaked to the internet, in the handbook it was revealed what types of things Mission Presidents and their families could be reimbursed for above and beyond what was needed to sustain life (food, shelter, transportation, medical/dental etc); some of these extras include a maid, a babysitter, gardener, private schooling, orthodontics, Christmas/birthday/anniversary gifts, etc.
[38] Viola and Barna, Pagan Christianity: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices, 2012, pg 180-181
[39] 1 Nephi 22:23
[41] Snuffer, Denver 40 Years in Mormonism Phoenix “Preserving the Restoration” p. 30
[42] Snuffer, Denver 40 Years in Mormonism Grand Junction “Zion” p. 15
[43] Snuffer, Denver 40 Years in Mormonism, Grand Junction “Zion”, 14