Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tithing: A Lie of Omission

I am about to tackle the ever so important and touchy topic of tithing within Armstrongism. This topic will no doubt cause a lot of sad and painful memories to many who were involved in Armstrongism. I wish to warn any readers that this may be found to be disturbing to you. However I feel that the truth must be made known no matter how painful the truth may be.

When I started reading LCG's writings I had never heard of tithing. I first came onto it when I read the article 'Should You TITHE?' by Roderick C. Meredith in the March-April, 2001 edition of Tomorrow's World. There he preaches a highly seductive prosperity gospel insisting that if you just give one-tenth of your money to God's 'true representatives', the 'true ministers of God', (my! what humble folk!) you will be given prosperity and God will see you financially blessed.

To make it sound easy to just habitually toss away a tenth of all your hard-earned money to Roderick C. Meredith and Co. he emphasizes that you still have nine-tenth of your money so why complain? God, he says, ' only asks that you pay Him ONE-TENTH of what you produce in return!' (p.7). The unassuming reader, such as myself, will read it and assume you only have to pay only one tithe.

This unassuming reader would be tragically and terribly wrong! Unknown to this reader, Roderick C. Meredith and Co. do not just want one tithe from you. They actually expect you to pay them three tithes! You are bound to pay them thirty percent of all your money. This article gives one absolutely no indication of the Armstrongite doctrine of 2ed and 3rd tithe!

Those particular doctrines seem to have been first promulgated by HWA in the 1940s. On October 3, 1945 HWA sent a Good News Member Letter [Update: Dead link.] where he begged his sheep to pay the second tithe. 'And start NOW to set aside, where you won't and can't touch it for any other purpose, that SECOND TITHE God has ordained to cover you expenses at Passover, Pentecost, and next year's Feast of Tabernacles!...The time to start that second tithe is NOW.'

These extra tithes were to prove highly useful to HWA and his organization. It was these doctrines that allowed the Worldwide Church of God to raise up an annual income of $80 million a year by 1979 and even $200 million by the mid-eighties. Despite the low amount of people watching their program. (See 'Gallup Ranks the TV Evangelists' at Ambassador Report, January 1986 at the atheist/agnostic/deist Painful Truth website.)

Such money allowed HWA to enjoy a fabulously opulent existence, eating off of the Tsar's tableware, visiting world leaders. All this being funded by the unfortunate tithe payers who were driven into poverty paying to the church 30% of all their money (the minimum requirement is taught by Armstrongism to be by definition 'not enough', thus members must pay even more!). HWA promised that blessings would pour down upon those who would pay up, but as has already been shown HWA was not a part of a true church so no blessings would arrive. They were, instead, robbed and driven into poverty as the quoted letter in the last link make all too plain. As if all this was not enough they were although intimidated by the church's policy of checking up on member's tithes payments, a draconian measure which was instituted in 1968 by Roderick C. Meredith himself (!!) as revealed by a former director of Ambassador College Data Processing Center. However their 'Apostle' failed to live up to such harsh standards, as he himself failed to 'tithe on each paycheck', which the members were compelled to do (see last paragraph above the last illustration in the previous link). Alas all the heartache and pain inflicted upon the membership of WCG has not caused Roderick C. Meredith to change in the slightest. Instead he uses the tithes money from long suffering and long awaiting tithes payers to live like this.

None of this vital information about LCG's demand for the two extra tithes is given in Roderick C. Meredith's ever so deceitful article. Tomorrow's World never mentioned those doctrines in all the eight years that I have read them. Obviously they do not mention this until they feel confident that you will accept whatever they tell you to do. This is rank deception, as low as a no good scam artist. That is what Roderick C. Meredith and Co. are. Although I have no doubt that many fine, highly idealistic believers must honor LCG with their presence, sadly such idealism is not to be found among the leadership, which hide doctrines they are embarrassed about until they know that the prospective member will just glibly accept them. This is not honest! This is not how a servant of the Lord is supposed to act! How dare this Roderick C. Meredith claim that the great God who created Heaven and Earth and all that is in them! May all those caught up in Meredithism and all the other various forms of Armstrongism awaken from this tragic error.


  1. I have no personal experince with the LCG, but as far as the WCG is concerned (under HWA), members tithed on 10% of net income. A further 10% was saved for the Feast, although members were expected to contribute 10% of that for "Admin purposes" - know as the "tithe of the tithe", and also were told to hand in any excess or unused funds towards the end of each Feast.

    A further 10% (known as 3rd Tithe) was commanded in years 3 and 6 of a 7-year cycle, dependant on the date of the member's baptism. This was supposed to be for providing financial relief to members who were in need.

    paying to the church 30% of all their money

  2. Let me state for the record that LCG does indeed teach and practice all three tithes.

  3. Don't forget, on top of 1T, 2T (10% of which had to be sent to HQ as "a tithe of the tithe", and all excess after that was to be sent in as well), and 3T ("every third year of seven" of the baptized member's "life" in the church), there were special offerings (the only thing "special" about them was that they were cash, and did not have to be claimed as income by the church) on each of the seven annual sabbaths, PLUS, whatever special offerings were called "just because": The building fund, the emergency fund, "help The Work GROW, brethren", "I'm going to China and I need to buy some Steuben crystal so I can get a photo op with the Communist dictator", etc., etc., ad nauseam.

    You sound like you had a rough time of it while you were in, and for that I am sorry. But it could have been much, much worse: You could have been born and raised under Armstrongism, never having been exposed to anything else.

    That's not a fate I would wish on anyone. I should know, because I lived it. :-(

  4. You wrote, "They actually expect you to pay them three tithes! You are bound to pay them thirty percent of all your money."

    That statement is either a knowing outright lie or is a mis-statement based on your ignorance. Why don't you contact your local LCG pastor and ask him for the facts?