Originally Posted by ShaggyDaddy
I know of one large church that does an annual "tithing settlement" which is an audit, adults and children alike have a private meeting with leadership in which they pray, go over financial records, and pledge their worthieness to be a full member of the church.
Members, of course do not see it as a guilt audit as someone on the outside might, but as a helpful guidance session to assist them in following the laws.
No matter how you phrase it, there are churches that put a very large effort into making sure they get their 10%.
As a PP said, there is no prayer or "pledge of worthiness" or any other conversation that could be construed as guilt inducing language or behavior. There is simply a statement about whether or not, to you, this represents a full tithe. As the PP said, people's interpretations vary on what a full tithe means. I know some people who pay on their gross, and others who only pay 10% on what is left over after the bills are paid, which is what they interpret as their "increase." It is a "private meeting" in the sense its not open to the public, but I've always attended with my family, never in a one-on-one situation with a member of the clergy.
It is not a "helpful guidance session" or to "assist in following the laws" in any way. I've gone to tithing settlement every year for my entire life and I've never experienced that. It's completely voluntary, and I've never ever recieved any sort of counseling about my finances, obedience to church laws or any other conversation-oh wait, they do ask things like "how are you doing? Can the church help you with anything?" and this year my Bishop did ask how we like the new house/neighborhood.
The whole thing lasts about 5 minutes-they give you a print out, ask if it coincides with your records of what you have donated for the year, ask if it represents a full, part, or non tithe, ask if you have any more to contribute that you want to have show on the records as a tax deduction for the year, and if you do they edit the report & give you a temporary receipt. That's IT. A week or two later you get a formal record for filling taxes with, based on the final report from the settlement.
It amazes me how people are so determined to make something sinister out of something that really is not. I appreciate that the LDS church allows us the opportunity to compare records. This year in fact, my print out was wrong. Most of our contributions had been recorded under my 6 year old sons membership record. We are new in the area and the person recording the donations in the computer wasn't sure who was who in the family. Had we not caught this error at tithing settlement, this would have had huge tax implications for us.
Tithing settlement is open to people who aren't members-if you really are curious about what it entails go sign up and attend one.