Monday, July 20, 2009

My Encounter with Tithing

When they offered their magazine they said it's free. There's no obligation. Just call now.

So I did. I got their stuff and read them. They absolutely blew my mind away. I soon came to trust them and became convinced that God was working through the Living Church of God.

Then I read Meredith's article, Should You Tithe?, in the March-April, 2001, Tomorrow's World. This article very quickly convinced me that I needed to serve God by tithing. So I was convinced that I needed to tithe. However I was lazy on this matter and didn't get around to it for a long time. I trusted them when they told me tithing was the right thing to do. Nevertheless, far in the back of my mind, I wanted to do this.

Furthermore they told me that God would reward me for tithing, that tithing would effectively make God my business partner and he would cause to prosper anything I tried to do. No doubt the blessings produced by tithing would more than make up for what I gave. As Roderick Meredith put it in the cited article, "Do not get to thinking you cannot afford to pay tithes. You cannot afford not to! (p. 8.)" How can one refuse such an offer? How can one argue against what seems so logical?

One day I ended up attending a little get together with some friends at one of those "false churches." I had to pay a dollar to get in. I came to be ashamed that some church I hardly knew had financially benefited more from me than the true church that had done so much for me by revealing the truth to me.

Also I became fascinated with all the church buildings I saw around me in my area and I decided to become a tourist of churches. I knew very well that they were false but I believed that since I knew the truth nothing I would see there would persuade me to renounce the truth. Indeed I would not lose the faith because of visiting those churches. I was touring those churches. While there I sometimes placed a coin, the smallest I could, in the collection plate. This would prompt me to pay LCG back for the marvelous truths they gave to me.

Nevertheless it was only after I had given some (little) money to some of those false churches that I was ashamed of myself for letting them benefit financially more from me than the true church which has done so much for me in revealing the Truth to me, the true way to understand the Bible. It was then that I finally resolved to pay the tithe.

"This is it. I am going to do the right thing and hand over God's tithe to His work." I put the envelope into the mail box. How well I remember going to that mailbox and just letting it slip into the slot.

I was so happy that I had done the right thing. My head was in the clouds knowing that I was proving to myself that I was willing to repay them for giving me the Truth. I was so happy and satisfied that I had finally done the right thing.

Now I don't make that much money so I did not give them that much. I only paid the first tithe. Since I was not participating within this church organization, thus unable to observe the Holydays with church brethren, I saw no reason to pay those extra tithes at that time.

Later I discovered that Armstrongism is a lie. And yet even after I discovered this a part of me still wanted to send one more payment to them as I had saved up some more money to send to them. Even after my renunciation a part of me still felt obligated to send it. But thankfully I came to my senses and did not send it to fund their false work. I stopped tithing immediately. I canceled my subscription.

Today I now recognize that my happiness when I tithed was an implanted perception. They had managed to push all the right buttons in my mind to make me want to do this. "This is the right thing to do," they told me. "God will richly reward you." These appeals were targeted towards my idealism and my vanity. They made that which is planned and orchestrated seem spontaneous. My happiness at tithing was the response they had carefully manipulated me into feeling. It seemed an authentic and spontaneous response to me. In reality I was simply doing that which their appeals had lead me to do. I was simply doing as I was told. They had craftily convinced me to follow their prescribed ways. They convinced me it was the right and profitable thing to do. And so I did it.

It is also important to note that as far as I know LCG never mentions in their recruitment literature the fact that members are required to pay three tithes to them.

I am very embarrassed that this evil heresy has managed to manipulate my idealism into giving them money to help them manipulate other people into their monstrous heresy. I want to say I am sorry that I helped them. I am sorry that somewhere out there, most likely there is some guy or lady looking at their "fascinating" TV show, or seeing a magazine of theirs in a doctor's office or something, and I know that I, in my small way, helped them to continue their evil and exploitative work of deception.

The God they preach is not the God of the Bible. Therefore tithing with the hope of gaining a reward from the false God of the Armstrongism doomed any such hope.

Another thing that must be mentioned is that this article never mentioned the fact that LCG members are required to pay a second and third tithe as well. There is no mention of such tithes in the article mentioned above. I first heard of these extra tithes in an non-COG web page as I have mentioned elsewhere and then later from LCG apologist Bob Theil. Because LCG never mentioned these things I chose to trust LCG and assume that the web page was wrong. It was only when I discovered Bob Theil's web page that I discovered that LCG indeed expect three tithes from members.

LCG never mentions these extra tithes in their recruitment writings. The extra tithes are not mentioned at all in the 2001 article cited above or in their tithing booklet.

In their Statement of Beliefs they state the purposes of the three tithes individually in the following manner.

"Through tithing, Christians serve God by supporting the preaching of the Gospel, attendance at His festivals and the care of the Church and the needy."

These are the stated purposes of the three tithes but the Statement of Beliefs does not mention that these causes are funded through three tithes. No mention is made. An unsuspecting reader, unaware of the intricacies of Armstrongism will just assume that this is all done with just one tithe.

Later, after I gave up on Armstrongism, I again read the 2001 LCG article mentioned above and was incensed by the fact that the article very carefully prevented itself from saying there was only one tithe, yet it also carefully hid these extra tithes. An unsuspecting reader would have no idea there were Second and Third Tithes to pay as well. I thought I could find a statement of him saying only one tithe had to be paid. Instead it carefully eluded making any such categorical statement, leaving room to mention these tithes later. It hid those extra tithes from the reader. This is not being truthful.

Because so few articles in their magazine mention tithing I carelessly assumed that this was was not an important matter compared to the other Truths they were teaching me. Oh! how naively trusting I was. Tithing is their income. It is extremely important to them and to those paying.

Truly this abusive and heavy handed practice must be regarded as one of the most shameful facts of life of Armstrongism. This practice brings the name of God into disrepute. The dishonest way in which LCG does not present this doctrine when discussing tithes is not defendable. As far as I am concerned this is false presentation of themselves. Meredith himself has defined false advertizing as a form of thievery.

These abusive practices expose LCG to be a destructive cult and not a church through which God is working through.


  1. Thanks again for sharing, RF. I know that it's always difficult for me to share my personal experiences. But you're doing a good work here.

  2. Three tithes are an oxymoron. One might as well say their "tithe" is 30%.