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needingadvice

not sure where to go with this

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First a little background. I am a convert to the church, was baptised about 9 years ago. I met my husband at my baptism. We got married about 3 years later and we were sealed in 2006.

About 2.5 years ago we found out I was pregnant and we bought a house. Unfortunately had some rough times financially. First, my husband was supposed to get promoted, and while that did happen, it took his employer 6 months to start paying him at the new rate. Then his mom ran into some financial problems (of her own doing) and my husband wanted to help her out even though we really could not afford to.... he took money out of the account we save our tithing in (to pay once a year). Also when we moved he charged everything on a credit card (which we had the money for, but my husband said it was a better idea to charge and then pay it off), but because of the two above situations, that didn't happen. We were in pretty desperate situation and my husband told me I could not tell anyone what was going on. Basically we could barely afford any food, it was dangerous. We were payign tithing but my husband said he didn't want the church in his business. When I told him things like I had nothing to eat in the house, he pretty much told me to make do and since he was paying tithing it was supposed to work out and if it didn't it was my fault. I kept quiet about it hoping things would get better.

Then my husbands promotion came through finally, he also started getting a lot of OT and the baby was born. After I had the baby I got very very sick (thyroid problem). Even though he was making more, my husband would pay tithing, buy whatever he wanted (and tell me he "deserved" it because he was the one working, also he insisted he shouldn't have to share any overtime money he made), and then whatever was left I "should" be able to live on because he pays tithing. At the same time he still kept telling me ridiculous things like that I did not need to buy groceries every week, don't change the babies diaper too often cause diapers cost too much, don't take myself and/or the baby to the doctor cause he doesn't want to pay for it, I don't need any clothing that fits because I can just stay home in my pjs.... etc. He also would not do anything to help with the baby, not even change a diaper, so me leaving the baby with him and working on his off hours did not seem like a safe option to me. After awhile of this and feeling like me and the baby were honestly in danger, I told him to stop paying tithing. My husband told me this is what the church taught him to do so yeah my opinion of the church went down to nothing. Now I realize I should have gone to the bishop BIG TIME, but at the time I just was so overwhelmed and panicked.

After I did that the financial problems stopped because there was more money for my husband to blow on stuff.... BUT my husband told me if I ever went back to church he would divorce me. So I stopped going. I tried to tell the RS president what was going on and she told me I was going to lose my daughter forever if I didn't pay tithing. At this point I had pretty serious PPD on top of everything else. I was offended. Very offended. So then I stopped doing everything. Stopped praying, going to church, reading scriptures, wearing garments, etc. I couldn't feel God's love or the spirit in the situation I was in. I was also harboring a major grudge against the RS president but her and I have since worked it out. My testimony went from pretty strong to nothing and I am just now getting that back slowly.

Over time my husband has improved. He still won't really talk about what happened but he is much more helpful now and we have a budget now that for the most part he sticks to. But that budget doesn't include tithing. Honestly I am scared to tithe with my husband involved at this point. He needs different priorities and needs to understand that tithing does come with sacrifices. I can't say for sure that I would feel comfortable tithing with my husband involved. So basically I am breaking temple covenants but....... I dunno. I still don't feel particularly bad about it, because it was absolute desperation that I felt in protesting myself and my daughter.

So I went back to church recently after a year and a half away. I need it in my life. I know that. I am feeling the spirit consistently now and I am doing everything I can to maintain that. I am working on my testimony. I haven't broken any major commandments or anything, I just was very confused and stressed for a long time.

But I feel like the tithing is a looming issue that is going to come up sooner or later. Right now my husband is very inactive. He says he only went along with the church for me and makes comments about maybe he will start faking it again. I honestly am so lost. The bishop has no idea why I was inactive and has no idea what has gone on. Its 2.5 years worth of secrets I have kept that are eating me up inside. I really don't want to "tattle" on DH but at the same time this is really holding me back. I don't even know where to begin in talking to the bishop about all of this. And I am really afraid that he will not understand me. The RS president didn't. I'm really not trying to be disobedient by not paying tithing, I'm just trying to take care of myself. HELP?!?!

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Talk to your husband. Print this all up, and show it to him. Then sit down and tell him - you want to go back to church, be faithful, repent, pay tithes, go to the temple, everything. Lay it all out infront of him. Right now, tithing is the least of your worries. You need to take it back to square one. So, if you can just start off by praying as a family daily, then you're on the right track. Add scripture study. When you get comfortable with that, start attending services every Sunday. When you get comfortable with that, start making yourself available for home/visit teaching/callings. When you get comfortable with that, go up to the podium on Fast and Testimony Sunday... etc. etc. until you finally get back to paying tithes and going to the temple.

Right now, you are on overload! Work on communcation in your marriage. Share hopes/dreams/fears with your husband so he can help you out. Maybe he has fears of his own!

Let me tell you something - I work too. I'm a full-time career woman who is also a full-time mother. I tell you, I always have this feeling of "I deserve to spend X because I worked hard making money, dangit!". Especially when I have a hard project to do at work. It's these little "rewards" that keeps me working without complaint. Thankfully, I don't really have to work - I prefer to work because I would rather pay somebody to clean my house than me having to clean it myself. But, I'm thinking, if I'm feeling this "wanting to spend X as a reward" thing and I don't have to work - how much more for my husband who really has not much choice in the matter? So, yeah, I understand that feeling completely. So, what we try to do - so we don't blow money away - is to put "FUN MONEY" in the budget. Right now, I have $80 that my husband gave me just this morning to blow on anything I want. I was thinking of going to get a spa treatment - the crazy people want $125 for it. So nope, I can't do that. If we didn't have a budget for Fun Money, I would have taken $125 from the grocery money and go to the spa. Easily.

Now, paying tithing once a year - sure, that may work on some, but that doesn't work for me. I'll spend that money tomorrow. What works for me is - I get our paychecks (paid weekly) and take 10% and put it in the envelope right then and there. Then I start working on the bills. (Ok, so I don't do bills - my husband does). So, I don't see myself as making X dollars. I see myself as making X-10% dollars. If tithing is not first, then tithing becomes a "bill". And it completely isn't that. I mean, if I think I make X dollars, then I can fool myself into thinking that I can afford cable TV when I really can't if I'm only making X-10% dollars. Do you see what I'm saying?

Anyway, family finance is a big contributor to the divorce rate in America. It's not something you can keep "secret". You have to talk to your husband about it realistically. You need to work as a TEAM. And if it becomes too much for both of you to handle, then you can consider counsellors to help you.

Just my 2 cents.

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The bishop has no idea why I was inactive and has no idea what has gone on. Its 2.5 years worth of secrets I have kept that are eating me up inside. I really don't want to "tattle" on DH but at the same time this is really holding me back. I don't even know where to begin in talking to the bishop about all of this. And I am really afraid that he will not understand me. The RS president didn't. I'm really not trying to be disobedient by not paying tithing, I'm just trying to take care of myself. HELP?!?!

There's a lot of ways to apply tithing in our own lives, and you'll naturally want to find the one that works for you and that you feel the Spirit approves. But it seems to me that as a stay-at-home-mother without an external source of income, you could make a good case that you have no (or only minimal) "increase" and therefore no (or only minimal) tithing liability.

Whether or not he pays tithing on his income, doesn't affect your own worthiness. There is no requirement in the Church that we browbeat our spouses into parting with money they personally don't want to part with.

As for what to tell the bishop: I'm not sure it's any of his business. If his eyebrows go up next December when you're in tithing settlement, maybe a concise explanation may be in order; but otherwise--if you don't want his opinion on the matter, I'm not sure you need to tell him much.

EDIT: Oh, and one other completely gratuitious observation:

He says he only went along with the church for me

If he was already an active member when you were baptized--then that explanation isn't completely correct, is it?

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I never do understand marriages where the money is looked at as his and hers. When we got married all the money became ours. There have been times where I have not worked and there have been times where my husband has not worked. In either case the money was still ours, it was still used to take care of our needs and not just the needs or wants of only one person.

This may seem harsh but whether he intended it or not, what your husband did was abusive. It was a form of financial abuse, the fact that you got to a point where you almost did not have enough food for yourself and the baby is bad. Encouraging you not to spend money on groceries or diapers is bad. Encouraging you not to go to the doctor is bad.

When he told you that the church taught him to pay tithing he is correct, however it seems almost like he led you up to this point. Instead of stopping tithing he should have stopped his crazy spending. Instead of letting your opinion of the church fall he should have taken care of his family and placed them first instead of his wants.

What the RS president said was wrong, and she should not have said it. I am glad though to hear that you have worked things out with her.

I agree with Anatess, you really need to sit down with your husband and discuss finances. Considering that he has exhibited abusive behavior already I am loathe to guess at what communication is like between you and him. But if it is possible then you need to talk to him about it. Tell him what your family needs are, food, healthcare, essential items (diapers and such), talk to him about creating a budget, a way of saving money and spending money appropriately. Talk to him about church and your desire to pay tithing. And if things get bad again go to the bishop, explain to him the circumstances, there should be no reason that you and your child should go hungry because your husband is being selfish. The bishop should help.

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Hello, Needing Advice;

I read your post thoroughly and skimmed the other responses given to your post. Unfortunately, I believe what I have to say will not agree with what already has been said.

The description you gave of your husband has left me feeling frightened and concerned for your safety with him. I would not necessarily discuss your thoughts/feelings/desires about the finances with him, especially if they disagree with his view point. I say this because you have related many things about him that seem very irrational, selfish, and as Tarnished said, down right abusive.

I would also hesitate to tell you to try and get counseling from your bishop. While he is your priesthood leader, he too is only human (like your RS pres) and may not have the tools or training to be able to understand, identify and diagnose the seriousness of the situation your are in. I would suggest that you go to and outside source for counsel, like a marriage counselor and a financial counselor. They should be trained to correctly advise you on the situation you are in and how to either handle it, or extricate yourself from it.

This doesn't mean not to go to your bishop at all; but, go looking for what he can offer, which is spiritual direction. Maybe a priesthood blessing and honestly letting him know where you are at as far as your activity in the church is concerned.

Also, the most important Being you can turn to right now is HF through prayer and scripture study. It seems you know what you want to do, which is becoming active again and paying your tithing. Work towards these ends and you will be blessed.

IMHO, I really believe you may seriously want to consider remaining in the marriage you are in. Your husband does sound abusive and manipulative. If you want to try to work it out with him, maybe make couples counseling and an honest talk with your bishop requirements for going forward.

Best of wishes in whatever you do. I am concerned and hope you will be okay and that the best will happen.

Dove

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Okay, this is really important to me.

For a while my hubby worked and was not ready to pay tithing. I spoke to my bishop at tithing settlement anyway, and found out about this. 2 bishops have explained this to me.

You do not have to pay tithing on his income.

You should talk to your bishop. Mine told me that since I don't work and bring in any income that my tithing amount is 0, and that if I were making money and I would give tithing of it, that I get to be considered a full tithepayer.

You should talk to your bishop.

I'm sorry about your RS pres. And, yeah, we do pay tithing even when we are in dire financial straights, but we also go to the bishop when we need help providing for the family. There is an entire church welfare system, that provides diapers for babies, that is available for our use, if we truly need it.

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It appears that the "spirit" of the law was lost on the "letter" of the law of tithing.

As missionaries, we taught about Tithing. It was a way to put the Lord first in our lives - to show some financial sacrifice.

I think it's amusing (well, not really) that members of the church can pay tithes, yet rack up larger credit card balances to "offset" the tithe. Or rationalize that "Hey, it'll all work out - we pay tithing!" without have a solid financial & budget plan.

The Lord doesn't need "blind" followers of His commandments. We need to think everything through and be responsible for our actions. The danger of NOT doing it this way is that we'll follow the commandment, lose common sense and then blame the Lord for our personal mis-management of our financial (or otherwise) stewardships.

I understand his mindset all too well. I've been there. Here's the thing: He has been tempting the Lord thy God. While the Lord says "prove me now herewith", He also says "Don't tempt the Lord thy God". To me, that means to be faithful, but don't be stupid.

The RS President was out of line. End of story on that.

It's hard to help others when you aren't doing so great yourself. Sometimes the best way to help others is by NOT helping them, but directing them to other resources. He felt the need to help his mom, but his FIRST duty was to you and your daughter. This part I don't understand why he chose to help his mom over his family that he has stewardship over. I can't help you there. The health of my wife and kids is more important than the financial well-being of my parents.

You may want to consider marriage counselling.

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Well this is kind of a complicated situation. I have been talking to my bishop about it and the church is also paying to have me see a counselor, but I just need some advice on how to navigate this. My husband is right now inactive. He has also been emotionally abusive and finanically abusive in the recent past. He blamed it all on the church... that the church taught him what my role as the wife was, and he had to talk to me like that to get respect, and the financial problems were because he had to tithe (not because he was mismanaging money and putting his mother's needs and his own wants ahead of our needs). He acts like it is a huge burden to him to have to support us and he will either provide for his family OR tithe........ He has been doing better with being kinder and more helpful with me and the financial issues have subsided since he stopped tithing. The counselor I am seeing thinks he is a narcissist, btw.

Anyway, my husband has now decided maybe he will play the part of an active church member now that we are moving to Utah for his job. Yes, that is exactly how he phrased it. He wants to use the church for social and career gain (YUCK!). In my personal opinion he isn't worthy to take the sacrament right now, he hasn't repented, has a real bad attitude and its all about appearances to him. But I will stay out of that and just figure it is between him and God. The part I am worried about is the tithing. Before he would leave so little amounts of money for things like groceries because he said if he pays tithing I should be able to "make do" on whats left..... like magic. He thinks tithing somehow means he doesn't have to budget or work hard to provide for us. Anyway I am concerned that with him going back to church, and for all the wrong reasons, it is going to create an unsafe environment for me. I am staying in the marriage for now because we were sealed in the temple, and he has been making some improvements, I am just scared of him using the church to hurt me again. Not sure what to do.........?

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This just breaks my heart. I agree with Dove, good advice.

In my opinion, your husband is being mean and using the church to justify his actions. He's not willing to take responsibility for the wellbeing of his family. From what I've heard the central reason for divorce is one or both are being selfish. You don't sound selfish at all, except that you and your child like to eat nourishing food and be healthy!! Of course I'm joking. It sounds like he is being selfish and using whatever excuse he can to make his way right. When things got rough, he got tired of the hard life and choose to have fun instead.

In my opinion, you are not responsible for tithing, he is. He is responsible for the spiritual, physical and emotional wellbeing of his family. It is ultimately on his shoulders. That you have a desire is enough.

I'm truly afraid for you. Carefully plan and be ready to leave if he gets more abusive or violent. Marriage counseling may help, but unless he truly wants to change and make things better I don't see how it will get better. It may even make it worse and he might just snap. From what you said, it sounds like this is a real possibility. Trust your instincts, you have the Holy Ghost to guide you.

I have a friend who was in a similar situation. Eventually he got into some bad stuff, got violent and went to jail. I hope this doesn't happen to you. If it was me, I would give him a reasonable time to change, if not I'd get a divorce and move on. A temple sealing can be canceled. You can find another. All things are possible.

I wish I could do more other than say pray, read your scriptures, trust in the Lord, and know that you have the Holy Ghost to help you. Trust your instincts, be safe.

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