Posts Tagged 'Honesty'

Deuteronomy Chapter 22

In this chapter, Moses continued the sermon to the Israelites who were preparing to enter the promised land. He would now go over some of the details to the laws on how they were to treat one another and those things that belonged to each other. He began with instruction regarding the things that others may have lost.

1 Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother.
2 And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again.
3 In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost thing of thy brother’s, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself.

They were commanded that they should not take the things that belonged to one another and had been lost. They were to return lost items to their rightful owner. This applied to their animals, clothing, and any other property they found that did not belong to them. If the owner did not live near them, they were to keep the animal until that man came looking for it, and then return it without any difficulties arising. It has always been common decency to honestly return someone’s belongings when they were found.

This is a lesson I just had to talk to my daughter about on Sunday. We found something on our seat at church, and my daughter immediately said, “finders, keepers”. We talked about how it did not belong to us and we should not take it for ourselves just because we found it. It is interesting to me, how quickly the natural man in us could cause us to take things, if we do not already have a clear understanding of what it means to steal. This item was not one of any real lasting value, that I could see, but I took the opportunity to teach my daughter that it doesn’t matter what the lost thing may be. Even if it is never found by its owner, God knows the intents of our hearts and taking something that belongs to someone else, is not honest or in keeping with the covenants we make with God.

4 Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.

They were to do the kind thing, when the animal of another fell down by the way, which was to help the animal. This would help to preserve the animal, so that it would be able to serve its purpose for whomever to which it belonged. There is a scripture referenced in the footnote, which I believe is so true. In Doctrine and Covenants we read the following:

27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.
29 But he that doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.

When we notice some way that we can help another, we should be anxiously engaged in doing that thing. If we are unable to help, we should still have compassion in our hearts, and the desire to do all that we can do.

5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.

Men and women were not to wear one another’s clothing. Cross-dressing was not appropriate under the law of Moses.

6 If a bird’s nest chance to be before thee in the way in any tree, or on the ground, whether they be young ones, or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young:
7 But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days.

If they found a bird’s nest with eggs or hatchlings, they were commanded that they should not take the mother along with the baby birds. They were to let the mother go, but could keep the babies for themselves. I am not sure what the purpose of this law was, other than perhaps the idea that taking both would stop the cycle of life for that mother bird, because she may have contributed to the creation of more birds in the future. Men would prolong their days, or live longer lives, if they followed this part of the law.

8 When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence.

They were to build their homes with a battlement or a railing, on the roof, so that people would not fall off the roof and cause innocent blood to be spilt.

9 Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.

They were to grow pure crops of only one type of seed, so that the plants would remain pure.

10 Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.

They were to use animals of the same kind, to plow their fields. I would think that this would make more sense anyway, because of the size of animals. I imagine that combining two different types of animals would make it unnecessarily difficult for the animals to do their work.

11 Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.

The Israelites were to wear clothing with the same material, and not to mix them at one time. Again, I do not understand why, other then possibly to stand as a reminder to remain pure.

12 Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself.

They were to wear fringes on the edges of their clothing. These were a reminder of their covenants and the law.

13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her,
14 And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:
15 Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate:
16 And the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her;
17 And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city.
18 And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him;
19 And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.
20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel:
21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

If there was a man who married and then decided he did not love her and spoke against her to others, claiming she was not a virgin when given to her, her parents could take the tokens of her purity before marriage, to the elders. The man was to be chastised by the elders, and he would pay the parents a fine of hundred shekels of silver for the shame he tried to bring to her and her family. Then, he was to be required to keep her as his wife for the remainder of his life. If she had not been a virgin or the parents could not prove his accusations to be false, she was to be stoned at the door of her father’s house, for the sin of pretending to be a virgin.

22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.

Any person caught in an act of adultery, was to be put to death.

23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour’s wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.

A betrothed woman in Israel, was not to be any other man of her own choice. For the Israelites, a woman belonged to her future husband, just as much as she would when they eventually married. To be intimate with her, was like stealing her from her betrothed. If she was intimate with another before her marriage and did not say no to the man, then they were both to be put to death.

25 But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die:
26 But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so is this matter:
27 For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.

If a betrothed woman was forced into acts of intimacy (raped), he was guilty of death, but the woman was not because she had committed no sin.

28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;
29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

If an unmarried and not yet betrothed woman, had her virginity taken, the man was to pay her father for her, marry her, and keep her all his days.

30 A man shall not take his father’s wife, nor discover his father’s skirt.

No man was to commit any adulterous acts with the wife of his father.

I feel like these laws, were laws that would cause the people to be a kinder people. A nation would have greater peace and happiness, if people cared more for the well-being of others. The spirit can only dwell among those who remain worthy of it. Acts of immorality, stealing, being inconsiderate of others, lying about another’s purity, and so on, would drive the spirit from their midst. We should think on these things as well. What types of acts cause us to be decent citizens and neighbors? What things could cause contention, fighting, unnecessary death, or the destruction of the body or spirit of another person? Do our acts welcome the spirit into our lives, or drive it away? I am grateful for the laws of God and even though they may seem to others to hold one back, I know that they bring happiness to all around, because they give greater freedoms and peace to everyone. I know that when we are kinder to those around us, we allow the spirit to dwell with us and influence our lives for good.

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Exodus Chapter 23

The Israelites are being led by the Lord, through the prophet Moses. They have been led to Mount Sinai, where they have had a witness of the Lord. At this point in the book of Exodus, the Lord is giving them laws and judgments to follow in order to be an obedient and happy people. These things continue as follows:

1 Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.

As I mentioned in the previous two posts, this is purely my understanding of these things and as I did not live then, there may be some things I don’t understand fully. Anyway, the Lord tells them that they are not to lie about what they have witnessed. They are to be honest in their dealings with others. They are not to speak against one another in an evil way. The footnotes references the word slander from the Topical Guide, which says to see also backbiting, deceit, gossip and lying. Any of these things are unrighteous and should not be a part of the lives of those who follow the Lord.

2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment:

I think they were not to raise riots and uproars according to wickedness. In the footnote we read, “Thou shalt not follow the crowd to do evil, neither speak up in a lawsuit, being influenced by the majority, to subvert justice.” The people were not to influence the judgment in an unjust way, by allowing the crowd of people to make false statements. This is another verse reminding them that honesty is of great importance, no matter what the situation.

3 Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause.

The Joseph Smith translation says that the word poor is actually wicked. That changes the meaning of this, which I was not understanding previously. They were not to favor a wicked man in his cause to do evil. I think that sometimes today, our courts will side with someone who has a lot of money or influence, instead of giving them just rewards for their crimes. I think that this is what the Lord was telling them not to do. Those who placed judgment on others, were to do so justly and not according to the ways of man. In addition, the Lord may have been telling them that they were not to take from others unjustly because they had something they wanted. I think this is a lot like placing an heavy burden of tax or judgment on someone who was undeserving of that, just to have more themselves.

4 If thou meet thine enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.
5 If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him.
6 Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause.
7 Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked.

They were to be honest when they came upon someone else’s livestock wandering. They were not to take it for themselves or let it continue to wander even, but were to return it to the owner, even if they were an enemy. They were to help their enemy with their burdens and not to harass the poor beggars. In short, they were to be charitable and serve those who needed help, no matter who they were. They were not to hurt the righteous or innocent, or their acts would not be justified by God. Those who judged, were to do it justly and with honesty.

8 And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.

The footnote for the word gift, references the word bribe. They were not to allow bribery, because it blinded those who were wise and would go against righteousness.

9 Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
10 And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof:
11 But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard.
12 Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.
13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.

It was said to not oppress any stranger, in the last chapter I believe, so this must have been an important rule to live by. The Israelites are reminded that they were not always in their own land and knew what it was like to be strangers in a land. They were to treat strangers as they had wanted to be treated themselves.

Also, they were given instruction on how to take care of their land. They were told to plant and harvest fruits and grains for six years, and then on the seventh year, they were to leave the land alone (sabbatical year) for the poor and the animals to eat. They were to do the same with their vineyards and such as well. They were to provide welfare to those in need. Likewise, they were to work only six days of the week and then have a day of rest on the seventh day, the Sabbath. This was wisdom, so that all would be rested and refreshed for another week of work. Again they are reminded to follow after these things of the Lord and nothing from any other god. There is a footnote in verse 13, which references Joshua 23:7. In this verse, it talks about not causing others to swear to their gods. If we believe that we are not to worship false Gods, then we should not push others to go to their gods, but instead we should help to bring them to the Lord.

14 Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.
15 Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)
16 And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field.
17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord God.
18 Thou shalt not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leavened bread; neither shall the fat of my sacrifice remain until the morning.
19 The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.

There were to be three feasts during the year, the feast of unleavened bread, the feast of the harvest, and the feast of ingathering. (Deuteronomy 16:16 calls the feasts, the feast of unleavened bread, the feast of weeks, and the feast of tabernacles.) The feast of unleavened bread was a reminder of their deliverance from Egypt, also called the passover feast. The feast of harvest happened when they had harvested from their fields. The feast of ingathering was when all those who worked in the fields were given their break from field labor because the harvest was done. They were to bring the first fruits as an offering to the Lord at three times in a year. Then all the men of the Israelites were to sanctify themselves and make sacrifice to the Lord.

20 Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.
21 Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.
22 But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.
23 For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.
24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.
25 And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.

The Lord would send an angel, or a guide, before them, so that they would be led in the way the Lord desired for them. He was to guide them to the promised land. He would be holy and on the errand of the Lord, to be obeyed and not trifled with. They would loose him as their guide, as we loose the gift of the Holy Ghost, if there is any transgression of the laws of God. If they would follow this angel, they would be protected and delivered from all their enemies, with the Lord on their side. This was a promise also given to Abraham if he would be faithful. All his kindred would be blessed to have the Lord on their side, to protect them from their enemies. We can also be blessed with safety from our enemies, if we remain faithful and worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost. The Israelites would be protected from sickness, if they would hearken to all the direction of the Lord. They were told not to worship other gods, or do the works of those who worshipped false gods, but instead they were to destroy those images and overtake those people who worshipped them.

26 There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil.
27 I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.
28 And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.
29 I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.
30 By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.
31 And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.
32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
33 They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.

The women would not be barren, or unable to have children. It seems also that the children would not die from miscarriage during this time. The people would live to their age of fulfillment. Others would fear the name of the Israelites, because of their strength in the Lord. I can just imagine hearing of the destruction the Israelites brought as they regained their land, and how other nations would fear and tremble over that. The other nations would be driven out of their land a little at a time, so that the land would still be good for them and their flocks. Then they would be able to inherit the land the Lord had promised to their ancestors. They were not to make any agreements or promises with those of other nations, and any others who remained in the promised land would be sinning against God. The Lord tells them that if others remained, their worship of false gods would be a temptation for the Israelites.

The laws of the Lord, given to the Israelites, may seem strange or different to us today. We live in a different time, but the reason for these things is the same. We are given laws of God, in order to help us stay worthy of His presence in our lives. We cannot worship other gods, we cannot be dishonest in our dealings with others, we cannot take advantage of others and so on. We may not be required to give feasts, but we do need to partake of the sacrament regularly so that we can be reminded of the Lord and His atonement. All of our men are expected to take on the mantel of the holy priesthood of God and then be diligent in the responsibilities that come with it. If we are faithful to these things, we will be worthy of our own angel of the Lord, or rather, the Holy Spirit of God. He will be our guide and lead us to the eternal promise land that we are striving towards. I am glad that we have laws to follow, so that we can know if we are on the right path back to our Father in Heaven. I look forward to returning to his presence again one day and I hope to be worthy of all He has promised to me.

The Thirteenth Article of Faith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

We believe that we should be honest and true people. Our integrity is a precious thing. Being honest and true in all things, keeps our integrity intact. Proverbs 20:7 reads, “The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” When I think of honesty, I think of what it means to be dishonest. All things that are meant to mislead others or raise ourselves up in a manner of false perceptions or lies, which are those things that are dishonest, are things of Satan. Satan is the father of lies. Satan wants to shadow the truth with a little dishonesty here and there, and when we give in to these things, we are following Him. Honesty on the other hand, keeps us following Christ. Honesty is a very worthwhile attribute, which leads to stronger relationships, building up of trust, and so much more. Personally, one of the most obvious blessings of being an honest person, has been that people have found me trustworthy. I have been blessed with greater responsibilities in work, opportunities to have higher positions, chances to do work that others are not allowed to do, and a feeling of value that has given me a sense of strength and courage.

We believe in being chaste. The concept of chastity is fading away in the world we live in today. There are many who feel that being chaste is a thing of the past, and that we all need to change with the times. Chastity is purity. It is absolutely necessary for us to be clean if we hope to live with God again. In 1 Corinthians 6:9 we read, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” As temples, our bodies must be clean if we hope to have the spirit dwell in our hearts. Our cleanliness or purity will determine if we can dwell with God, because “no unclean thing can dwell with God” (1 Nephi 10:21). There is safety in this life and in the life to come, if we remain pure and chaste now.

Benevolence is charity and kindness. We believe in being a people of service and love, and continually striving to live as Jesus did. We believe in living life with our minds set on helping others in whatever way that we can. The Lord blesses each of us with material things, talents, time, and energy. The best way that we can show our gratitude to Him for all that we have, is to use it for good. The world today, tries to focus a lot of attention on what we can do for ourselves, but this is not how the Lord wants us to live. We need to be mindful of those in need. In giving, we can share the light of Christ with all those around us. In James 1:27 we read, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” This is truly how we show our love and devotion to our Father in Heaven.

We believe in being virtuous. Being virtuous is being morally clean. In the topical guide, the word virtuous references Psalms 24.

3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.

One who is virtuous is worthy to be in holy places of the Lord, because he has clean hands and a pure heart. We believe that we should not involve ourselves in those things which keep up unworthy, especially those related to our morality. We believe that the Lord has established that physical intimacy outside of marriage, is against his laws. Being a virtuous person will allow us amazing blessings, in particular those that can be received through attending the temple, which are the greatest blessings of all.

We believe in serving others. This is the type of life that the Savior patterned for us. We need to be continually engaged in doing good to others. This doesn’t mean that we should always be performing grand gestures of service, but mostly that we need to be constantly courteous and mindful of those around us. The good we do can be as simple as a smile or a hug. I think that it is extremely important, especially as we are living in a time where the world would have us take huge amounts of time to focus on ourselves, that we do our best to put the needs of others as a priority in our lives. We need to do kind deeds, teach whenever possible (especially the gospel truth), show sympathy and love, and pray for others. We believe that the reason for living this way, is that we will be eternally judged for our works in this life. If we live a life of good works, we will receive the greatest reward later. In Ecclesiastes 12:14 we read, “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” I have experienced great blessing for the good works I have done in my life and I know that our lives will be greatly enriched through the service we give.

Paul taught the followers of Christ, the way to be saints. If we, as members, hope to live up to the name of our church, which claims that we are saints of these latter-days, than we need to be willing to be saints. In his letter to the Philippians he said, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Phillippians 4:8)” This is the admonition of Paul, of which we want to follow.

Faith is a Sunrise

We are believers or people of faith. There is a lot of what we believe that cannot physically be proven, but rather is felt to the center of our beings. Our beliefs are focused on the hope that God is there and will bless us for living righteously. In Jeremiah 17:7 we read, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” Our beliefs are centered on an eternity and the possibility to live with God and our families again after this life. We are Christians, in the pure sense of the word. We believe that we can only receive salvation through Jesus Christ, who gave the eternal sacrifice for our sins and died so that we could live again. As Christians, we have been in a constant battle against the enemies of God. The early saints suffered all things in standing up for the gospel of Christ. We believe that true saints of God will continue to face extreme trials at the hands of those who do not believe. We will have to endure all the trials of our lives in order to receive the great reward that God has offered to us. We believe that if we are faithful in our endurance, God will be there to support and sustain us through all things we face. We need to remain steadfast, strong and firm in our beliefs, so that we can learn from our trials and have the ability to grow and progress. If we continually seek to find and follow those things that are virtuous, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy, we will find happiness in this life and joy in the eternities. All things that are good, come from God. In Moroni 7:12 we read, “Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.” We believe that in order to come unto Christ and return to live with God again someday, we need to look for the good and avoid the evil at all costs.

I am a believer. I have hope in my salvation through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. I want to live a life worthy of the rewards promised to all the children of God. I look forward with faith and hope in the blessings of eternal life. I am so grateful that I have the gospel in my life and that I have been blessed to believe in the truths found in the articles of faith.

Tithes and Offerings

View the entire lesson here: Tithes and Offerings

Tithes are the contributions we choose to give which make up a tenth of our earnings or income and the contributions are for doing the work of the Lord (see D&C 119). Offerings, in this case, I believe, are those contributions we give willingly that are more than the tenth of our earnings.

How does our willingness to pay tithes and offerings show gratitude to our Heavenly Father for all His blessings to us? In what ways does the payment of tithes and offerings help us thank our Heavenly Father?

Proverbs 3:9 reads, “Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase”. The money or things that we earn from our hard work, mean a lot to us. These things make up the way that we provide for ourselves, and it is natural to feel strongly about the ownership of what we earn. When we willingly give of the things that we have earned, we show that we know we were able to earn what we did, because of the Lord’s help. In humility, we give something back for the blessings that were given, because we are grateful to the Lord for all that He has given. I think that our choice to pay tithes and offerings, is a way to show the Lord that we will be obedient to His laws. Being obedient is a way to show our gratitude. Our gratitude, obedience, and faith will honor the Lord.

What is an honest tithe?

We learned about honesty in the last chapter (Honesty). Honesty is being truthful and not purposefully deceiving anyone. We cannot deceive the Lord, because he sees and knows all. If we justify reasons for not paying tithing, or for adjusting the amount we should pay, we are not paying an honest tithe. This is, in effect, stealing from God. We learn about this in Malachi 3, which says the following:

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.

An honest tithe, is giving to the Lord, what truly belongs to Him. Deuteronomy 14:22 reads, “Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year. (emphasis added)” If we have any question on what we should pay tithing on, our church leaders (specifically the Bishops) are there to help us to know.

In what ways is tithing a principle of faith more than a principle of finances?

The Lord does not need our money to take care of his people, he has all power to take care of the saints. What the Lord needs, is our obedience to this principle to show our faith. In modern revelations, the Lord has told us, “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. (D&C 64:23)” When we choose to give of that which we have earned, to further the work of the Lord, we submit our will to the Lord’s will. Every time we give, we are using our faith in God, hoping that our obedience will be pleasing to the Lord. For some it literally is an act of faith, that we will receive even greater blessings than the financial benefits of that money or goods.

What can parents do to teach their children to pay tithing and understand its importance?

Leading by example is a great way to teach this principle and its importance. We need to show that we consider paying tithing to be a vitally important thing to us. Also, we teach our children by having lessons about tithing, by giving them opportunities to earn money themselves, and showing them how and why they should pay tithing for what they earn.

Why is our attitude important as we pay tithing?

Our attitude in paying tithing, reflects our attitude toward obeying the Lord. When we pay with an ungrateful heart, or unwillingly, we are not learning the principle that the Lord wants us to learn. The act of paying tithes and offerings is so much bigger than just giving money to the church. It is our proof to the Lord, that we choose and have a desire to sacrifice something for Him. The promised blessings can only come, if we have the right attitude about paying tithes.

What does it mean to you to be a “cheerful giver”?

According to the Apostle Paul, we need to be a “cheerful giver” when we pay our tithing (see 2 Corinthians 9:7). Being a cheerful giver is being happy about paying tithes and offerings. I find it easiest to do this, when I choose not to consider that tenth as my money. When I earn my income, or when my husband does, I start first by thinking about returning what the Lord has earned through my work, to him. It was never mine to begin with, so I need to give it to the Lord so that he can bless others with it. Knowing that it will help to further God’s work, brings me happiness.

To take it a step further, we should have a desire to give more, in fact to give all that we possibly can. Our offerings, should also be given cheerfully. It is not right to boast of the things we give, but it is always good to give what we can. In Omni 1:26 we read, “And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and offer your whole souls as an offering unto him, and continue in fasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.” Whether our offerings are monetary or service, they should be done with all our hearts and souls, and with happiness.

In what ways does the Church use tithing funds and other offerings?

Tithes are used to build church building and temples, to help the missionaries, to provide more church materials for learning, and so on. Fast offerings are used to help the poor and needy. Specific offerings are for missionaries, for helping others with education, for relief to those who suffer from disasters, and so much more. Sometimes we are not able to give financial offerings, but we can give offerings of our time and energy in many ways, such as serving at food storehouses, where the church works to help the needy.

What are some blessings you, your family members, or your friends have received through the payment of tithing and other offerings?

Continuing in Malachi 3:10, we read, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” The most obvious blessings to my family from paying our tithings, has been that we have never had to go without the necessities of life. We have been greatly blessed to always have our needs met, even when all practical ways have shown we should be going without food or something. Every time we feel like we are getting to a place where our kids are going to go without something, someone has felt prompted to bring something to our home that they no longer needed. At these times, I cannot truly express just how blessed we felt for paying our tithing. I know that we are also blessed also in the spirit in our home, being worthy to go to the temple (which provides amazing blessings on its own), and many other spiritual blessings. We are always taken care of. I know that just because we pay tithing, it does not mean that we will receive some physical thing in return, but I know that blessings will come that help us to deal with certain trying situations. I cannot imagine even considering not paying tithing in my life. It is a sacrifice for us, and we have gone without a lot of things so that we could pay our tithing, but I know that the strength and comfort I receive through obedience to this principle, is greater than any of the struggles that may come.

Honesty

View the entire chapter from the Gospel Principles manual here: Honesty

I’ve been trying to help my seven year old gain a better understanding of honesty and why we do not lie, so I think that I can benefit a lot from studying this chapter. To me, honesty is one of the core principles to the gospel that a lot of other things rest on. Why? Because the Lord is honest and Satan is the father of all lies and deceit. In the beginning of the life of man, he lied to Eve to get her to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. In 2 Nephi 2 Lehi taught his family about this.

17 And I, Lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose that an angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven; wherefore, he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God.
18 And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind. Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies, wherefore he said: Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil.

Since he is the father of all lies, we choose to become his children when we are dishonest. We give Satan the power when we lie and deceive others as he has done.

What would society be like if everyone were perfectly honest?

My mind is not fully capable of imagining what that society would be like, but I believe that when all people are perfectly honest, they are living a life of peace and happiness. Honesty goes to our very core, it is in our hearts, thoughts, actions, and all that we are. When we are honest with others and with ourselves, we are certainly honest with God. Honesty bring harmony and unity, which is the way that it will be in heaven. When we are honest, we can be trusted. This type of society would be in harmony with God, and would probably be allowed to be with Him forever.

As I said above, lying is a form of dishonesty. When we lie, we intentionally deceive others or ourselves. In the ten commandments we are told, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour (Exodus 20:16).” To bear false witness is to lie. Therefore, we are given a commandment that we must not lie. I would take it even further and suggest that we lie when we purposely hide truth, in order to get our own way. I think they call this a lie by omission, and it is just as deceitful as a straight-out lie spoken to another. I’m not perfect in this, but I am a huge supporter of honesty. Most of my friends know that if they ask me a question, I will tell the truth, even if it means saying more than they would expect to know. (I suffer from TMI syndrome – Too Much Information) I would much rather be honest, then possible not be. In proverbs 12:22 we read, “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight.” I have hope that people will gain a greater desire to delight the Lord, by dealing truly.

Another form of dishonesty is stealing. To steal is to take something that belongs to another, and claim it as your own. One of the definitions I found for the word “honest” said, “gained or obtained fairly”. When we steal, we are not being fair. It is only fair to allow the person who has earned or paid for something, the owner of that belonging, to keep it until they decide to no longer have it. This is also a commandment found in Exodus, chapter 20. “Thou shalt not steal (v. 15).” My husband and I have talked a lot about this lately, because it seems that some leaders are insisting on taking things that have rightfully been earned from some, to give to others. A better society and a better people, come from them being willing to give of themselves to those in need, not being forced to give. Being forced to have things taken from us, will only encourage more dishonesty so that people can keep what is rightfully their own. This in not the way that God would have us live because it is dishonest.

Finally, cheating is a form of dishonesty. Words that I have found to describe cheating are swindle, defraud, elude, violate (as in rules), and to be unfaithful. All of these things relate to using deceit to get your own way or to satisfy your own desires. Cheating occurs all the time, when things are gained that are not deserved. Lying, stealing and cheating go hand-in-hand, and they are all tactics that Satan uses to tempt people to be dishonest.

What happens to us spiritually when we excuse our dishonesty?

When we excuse our dishonesty, we excuse a sin. If we justify why we lie, cheat and steal from another, we truly give Satan control in our lives. These things have a snowball effect. One lie leads to another, cheating once leads to cheating again, and stealing encourages more stealing. Likewise, cheating can easily lead to stealing, which almost always involves lying to someone along the way. This continues until we realize that we no longer have control over our own lives, and eventually great costs will have to be paid, especially spiritually. In Doctrine and Covenants 3:2 we read, “For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.” Nothing that is dishonest is acceptable to God, because he is perfect in honesty. There are no exceptions to this. There is no excuse of anything dishonest being deserving of any blessing. If we cannot be honest with our fellow men, we are not able to be honest with God, and therefore we must be separated from him. We cannot have the spirit to guide us in our lives, if we choose to be dishonest.

What does it mean to be completely honest?

My favorite definition of complete as far as honesty is concerned, is “perfect in kind or quality” (dictionary.com). Therefore, to be completely honest means to be honest to perfection. It means that there is nothing in our lives that is dishonest. It means that every fiber of our being is truthful: every word we speak is truth, every thing we imply is truth, every thing we own is truly ours, every thought we have is true, every promise we make is kept, and so on. It means that we are like God in honesty. Complete honesty requires repentance, because no person is perfect. We can become completely honest through repentance. This is a possible goal in this life. We may not be perfect in all things, but we can become perfect in this. We know this because it has been done before. We know of the people of the city of Enoch, who were taken up to live with God. We can also read in Alma 27:27, that the people “were perfectly honest and upright in all things”. This is a goal that we should reach for continually.

In what ways does our honesty or dishonesty affect how we feel about ourselves?

Being honest has the added blessing of the spirit, which will testify to us that we are doing what is right. It can lift our mood and strengthen our confidence in our actions. Honesty helps us to stand a little taller and feel better about ourselves. On the other hand, dishonesty brings guilt, shame, and the feeling to withdraw from others, especially those who are trying to live righteously. “Wickedness never was happiness”, and so there is no lasting happiness that will ever come from being dishonest (Alma 41:10).


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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