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  1. All righty, so I know that tithing questions must pop up on here quite a lot. I didn't seem to find the answer to my particular question in previous threads, though, so here I am. Here's my situation: I've never paid tithing before. Ever. I'm nearly twenty and I have not even the slightest clue how to fill out those fancy little slips. (Sad, eh?) But anyway, I've been sitting here for a while--looking at bank statements, calling my mom, asking my roommates--trying to figure out exactly what amount I should give. I worked over the summer, so I know to pay my 10% on all of that. I'm not even going to get into the argument of gross income vs. net income right now, though... I just want to pay tithing on the numbers that ended up in my bank account. So here's the thing--I'm back at college with no income, so my dad helps me out by putting a bit of money in my account each month. My dad once told me that people don't necessarily have to pay tithing on money that has already been tithed, and he used the example of him giving me money to illustrate that. Because his money has already been tithed, I can choose whether or not to pay tithing on that money when I receive it. My mom has a different stance, though. She says that one should pay tithing on every increase, including gift money. Both of my parents' philosophies make sense, but I'm afraid that if I go with my dad's idea, I'm technically not a full tithe payer. I don't want to be guilt-tripped into paying tithing on the money that my dad gives to me, though, if it's not something that I need to do. (I hope that doesn't make me sound selfish... I am in college, after all, and a few extra bucks can buy a meal on campus for when I don't have time to go home.) So, I'm just wondering what your personal views on paying tithing are. I'm not asking you to make a decision for me; I just need a bit of guidance from people who know more about it than I do.
  2. Whoa. I wasn't expecting so many responses in so little time. O__O Thank you so very much for your help so far! To clarify, these are not my questions. They are the questions of a previous member that I watched fall away. I had a very good relationship with her, enough that I considered her my sister, before she left the church and her family to marry a fellow who is... very not good for her, to put it simply. If ever there were a way to bring her back, even make her consider for only two seconds that it was maybe a bad idea to leave the church, then I'm going to do this for her. If it's a waste of time, so be it. At least I have the answers to these ridiculous questions if they ever come up again in the future!
  3. I just got asked some very curious questions about the church by an Ex-Mormon. Any help in researching and/or shedding some light on these would be much appreciated--I don't even know where to start. This is what she asks: "My question revolves around the fact that you keep saying that the only reliable source of information is within the Church, regardless of historical and scientific evidence that is out there. I'm going to go out on a limb here and ask a few questions that I have about doctrine and history and I'd really love to have anyone answer since I haven't found anything on the topics on, in any talks, or other Church approved materials out there. 1. The Book of Abraham: a few years back the University of Chicago found some of the transcripts that Joseph Smith used to translate the Book of Abraham with a letter from Emma verifying this. Egyptologists, both LDS and not, studied it and found that the facsimiles in the Book of Abraham and the actual papyrus had literally nothing in common. Is modern Egyptology completely wrong? 2. Polyandry: out of Joseph's approximately 33 wives, at least 9 of which were married to living, healthy, worthy members. This contradicts celestial marriage. Which leads me to: 3. Evolving celestial laws: if this life is but a single grain of sand in eternity, why has God changed his mind about celestial marriage (doesn't he say that there is no commandment that he gives that won't prepare a way for us to accomplish it?), the blood atonement (Brigham Young), African Americans and the priesthood (was God a racist or does he bend his will to what's popular at the time?), or the numerous changes and editions in every Church material out there (history of the church, the Book of Mormon, editing sermons, and removal of the journal of discourses). 4. And last but not least in the History of the Church volume 6 Joseph Smith boasted he did more than Jesus Christ to keep the church together. In my eyes, a man that has not only seen, but talked with both God and Jesus could never EVER boast like that under ANY circumstances. Why would he say this?" These questions are very difficult and I'm absolutely at a loss of how to answer them. If anyone can spend even a few minutes helping me research and find material that can help, I would appreciate it endlessly. Links to talks by general authorities or church-approved published material would be most helpful.
  4. I Am a Princess - YouTube Very cute, uplifting video that I just found. I think we should all strive to be this kind of princess.
  5. Ohhh, boy. What a question. I'm really, really glad that you asked this, because I've never really had the opportunity to think about it before. Well, I have a lot of friends who are not members of the church. These friends have either fallen away, or were never part of the church to begin with... I see their lifestyle and how a lot of things that they do are not in accordance with God and His commandments... and it makes me so grateful to have been raised in the church. I can't imagine being without the knowledge that I have about this gospel. I can't imagine not being surrounded by the Priesthood, not knowing what happens when I die, not having the opportunity to be married for eternity instead of only for life... and I'm only just now starting to realize how I've taken it all for granted. It has taken nineteen years, but now I'm finally starting to discover this church for myself. Living away from home has presented a lot of obstacles and temptations for me, and for a short while I was actually finding myself teetering on the edge of this gospel... after a few weeks, I discovered how horribly, terribly frightened I was to fall away. I was afraid of losing the trust of my family, afraid of possibly being excommunicated from the church, afraid of... well, being afraid. There is happiness in the gospel. God's laws are put in place to protect us and bring us closer to Him, not to impede us. It took a lot of heartache, but after that short phase of darkness and confusion that I had, I managed to climb back up to even higher than I was before (and even brought a friend with me). I have more faith in Christ and His restored gospel because of my experience, and I sincerely hope that I can bring myself to keep growing and learning. So, in answer to your question... What makes me stay? In this church, I have the truth. And the nice thing about truth is that it's absolutely constant--avoiding or not believing a truth doesn't make it any less true. We have truth.
  6. Well, hi there! Best of luck with your new job. It's nice to see you here--if you have any questions, you're in the right spot! :3
  7. Thank you so much for the input, guys! I really, really do appreciate it. This was my response to her (and I apologize for being long-winded): ~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~ I kindly ask you to read all of this with an open mind, instead of completely shooting me down. If you feel the need to rip my beliefs apart after the fact, you are free to do so. But not until after you've read it through once *without* the intention of arguing. Please. D&C 98: 46-48 "46 And upon his children, and upon his children’s children of all them that hate me, unto the third and fourth generation. 47 But if the children shall repent, or the children’s children, and turn to the Lord their God, with all their hearts and with all their might, mind, and strength, and restore four-fold for all their trespasses wherewith they have trespassed, or wherewith their fathers have trespassed, or their fathers’ fathers, then thine indignation shall be turned away; 48 And vengeance shall no more come upon them, saith the Lord thy God, and their trespasses shall never be brought any more as a testimony before the Lord against them. Amen." Again I say, His love is indeed unconditional. However, not all of His children allow themselves to feel that love because they distance themselves so far from God and refuse to keep his commandments. Fortunately for us, we have the gift of repentance. I'm going to go ahead and counter your statements: 1) "supposedly you are damned to hell for rejecting a God that you have absolutely no proof of." It makes me sad to hear that you feel like there is absolutely no proof. We're all living on this giant floating rock in the middle of a universe so expansive that we can't even comprehend it, surrounded by other floating rocks that are utterly inhabitable, and we just happen to have perfectly functional bodies, a conscience, and thought processes that set us completely apart from other living creatures. You honestly think that all of this was just some magical spacey-wacey accident? 2)"Imma put you on this planet and give you this book that is full of contradictions and doesn't fully make sense" The Bible is not the only word of God. It's just plain not. It is, in fact, missing a lot of information, and with the dozens and dozens of translations that it has, of course people are going to get lost. Relying on the Bible alone is like trying to bake a cake without any eggs--you're missing what holds everything together. That's why we're also given The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and, most importantly, a living prophet. (And if that living prophet were in ANY way unworthy to be the mouthpiece of God, he would be immediately removed from his place.) Not just that, either--we have bishops, teachers, fathers, brothers, friends, and we can even gain knowledge and personal revelation ourselves. The word of God is EVERYWHERE, and if you find any inconsistencies in the Bible, then all you have to do is approach another source. Prayer helps, too, if you take it seriously. 3)"if you don't put all your faith in me you get to spend eternity in fire and brimstone." Not necessarily. Hell isn't some fiery place with demons and chains and whips and an eternity of being tortured. 'Hell' is simply a state of being in which an individual is without God. And if God is all that is good, then... I'll let you fill in the blanks. 4)"I'm going to make myself as scare as possible and not show you or any other human that i really exist." First off, that is absolutely incorrect. We've got Biblical figures like Jacob, Abraham, Moses, and Isaiah who have given us first-person experiences of their communication with God. There are more in the Book of Mormon, like Lehi, who also recount their experiences of seeing God. Countless more individuals in modern times have also seen God, whether or not they choose to share their experience with the world like Joseph Smith did. You are accusing every single one of those people all across time, which may be hundreds, even thousands, of being liars. Some who claim to have seen God haven't. Likewise, some who claim to have seen God *have.* 5)"Theres a guy, who created the whole universe, gave up his only son, has the POWER to create an entire universe yet not enough power to save starving abused children or slaves or dying humans" Of course he has the power to save them, silly! Keep in mind, however, that we're all given the gift of free agency. God isn't going to take away the free agency of a man who beats his child. In the end, that man will be judged accordingly, based on the choices he made and the intentions of his heart. As for starving children and dying humans... as much as the world would like it sometimes, God isn't going to just snap his fingers and make everything all better. That's not his plan. We came here fully aware that we'd go through some serious trials. For some, one of their trials could be to have been born in an environment with little food or water. For some, one of their trials may be cancer, or another disease of the sort. For a lot of us, our trials could be as simple as depression, being bullied, having a particularly bad temper, our new kitten getting run over, being lactose intolerant... Our trials vary every bit as much as we do as human beings. I personally choose to see my own trials as opportunities for growth and strength. And, fortunately, there are seven billion other people on this planet. A pretty darn good chunk of them know what we're going through, so we can help each other. I know for an absolute fact that God is here for us, that He loves us, and that He wants nothing more than for his children to return and be with Him again. That in itself remains the greatest choice we could ever make, and if we choose to distance ourselves from Him, He'll still be poking around on the sidelines with his arms outstretched, watching and waiting and Loving. It saddens me that you can't feel His love for you. It's definitely there. ~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~ Did I go about this in the right way? I certainly hope so. (She's an Ex-Mormon, by the way, so these things should make sense to her.) I just know that I've said what I feel like needed to be said, and if she wants to argue with me further then I'll just leave her to her beliefs and ask her to leave me to mine.
  8. I bore my testimony to a friend about God's unconditional love for all of his children, and that friend countered with this scripture: Exodus 20:5 says "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;" My friend goes on to say: "So...he is going to spite myself, my children, my grand and great grandchildren, just because I don't wholly worship him? Yeah, that sounds like love. And the fact that supposedly you are damned to hell for rejecting a God that you have absolutely no proof of. He is like "here, earthlings. Imma put you on this planet and give you this book that is full of contradictions and doesn't fully make sense, and if you don't put all your faith in me you get to spend eternity in fire and brimstone. Also, I'm going to make myself as scarce as possible and not show you or any other human that i really exist." Theres a guy, who created the whole universe, gave up his only son, has the POWER to create an entire universe yet not enough power to save starving abused children or slaves or dying humans, and if you don't worship him you go to hell. But he loves you. Right." As you can see, she's so anti-God and anti-Mormon that I'm really unsure of what to say that can really help her out. I don't want to fuel the fire, but I don't want to shove my beliefs down her throat, either. I just hope that I can come up with the right thing to say that will allow her to stop for a moment and reevaluate her beliefs. If anyone would be so kind as to back me up and share their wisdom, it would be much appreciated. In the meantime, I'm searching for scriptures that will reassure her that God does, in fact, Love us all with a pure and unconditional Love.
  9. This sounds like a very scary, difficult situation. I'm proud of you for not brushing things aside like your parents seem to be doing... It sounds to me like your brother is refusing any influence of the gospel or Christ in his life. If you're hoping to change him, then be very, very patient. I would recommend keeping up a good example, because at this point it may be all that you can do. He's in pretty deep. Until he has a desire to open the door for Christ and spirituality to come back into his life, it'll be a really rough road for him and for your family. As for your parents... If you can come to them and tell them the things that you've done to gain the knowledge that you have (about your GPS tracking and hacking of his phone/email), then maybe they'll more readily listen to you. If I were a parent, it would be very, very difficult for me to watch one of my children gleefully gallop down the wrong path. It could just be that they refuse to acknowledge the situation in the hopes that everything will go away. It sounds like your sister is on your side; have her talk to them, as well. Perhaps calling the cops on him may be best at this point. He may not be thrown in jail, but I imagine that they would put him on watch or something. If your parents aren't getting themselves involved, get the authorities involved. I really wish I had better advice to give you. :/