Skip to comments.Ernest L. Wilkinson and the BYU tithing police fiasco [a campus admin scandal from a generation ago]
Posted on 11/18/2011 3:21:38 PM PST by Colofornian
(To see Cal Grondahls cartoon that goes with this post, click here) In the latest issue of Sunstone magazine, Gary James Bergera has a very interesting article, The Moniteering of BYU Faculty Tithing Payments, 1957-1963, that involves yet another historical nugget of mirth created by the universitys late president, Ernest D. Wilkinson. Wilkinson, upon assuming the presidency of BYU in the 1950s, was outraged that some BYU professors paid only a partial tithing, and some paid none at all.
(I digress here to admit that I too, was surprised that there were/are tithing shortfalls among BYU professors. I would have that giving the Lord 10 percent was something that one wouldnt have to worry about at the Lords University. But it was, and had been for most of the 20th Century. Wilkinson was determined to use an individuals tithing history to help determine raises, promotions, and even continuing employment, writes Bergera.
At one point, Wilkinson told LDS Church President David O. McKay that 27 percent of BYU faculty were either part tithing payers or paid no tithing at all. Wilkinsons efforts, though, to get detailed reports of faculty tithing records descended into J. Edgar Hoover spoof when he encountered opposition from local bishoprics and stake presidencies. They understood better than Wilkinson the ethical aspects of the Law of Tithing, that taught that it was a private matter between a church member and his ecclesiastical leader. Eventually, Wilkinson was able to get the names of partial and non-tithe payers, but was stymied in his efforts to get specific details.
Wilkinson also received considerable opposition from faculty at BYU, who balked at having their academic credentials be determined by how much tithing they paid. Many faculty members, including department heads, resigned over the rule. At one point Wilkinson groused in his journal that it was primarily English, political science and history departments that were in opposition.
One faculty member who found himself in Wilkinsons aim was Kent Fielding, a BYU instructor who had admitted he no longer had a testimony of the Gospel. When asked how he been approved to teach at BYU, Fielding replied that in his interview, apostle (and future LDS President) Harold B. Lee had asked only two questions: Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?; and, Have you ever been unfaithful to your wife?
Wilkinson confronted Lee on Fieldings claim that his testimony had not been probed during his interview, and Bergera reports, using Wilkinsons own notes, that it led fiery words between the BYU president and the LDS apostle.
Wilkinson wrote, I had told Brother Lee about this at the time, and Brother Lee, whose main weakness as far as I can see is that he cannot accept criticism, had interpreted it as serious criticism on my part of him Lee, according to Wilkinsons recollections, sneered that the BYU president was naive if he was unaware that many BYU faculty did not have testimonies of the Gospel. Wilkinson further wrote, He (Lee) was smarting very much under what I thought was my criticism of him for not having properly interrogated Brother Fielding.
Fielding, after refusing to pay tithing and answer questions as a protest against Wilkinsons policy, eventually had his employment terminated.
The policy that Wilkinson eventually crafted and tried to follow was that partial tithe payers would have their raises decreased by the amount they owed on a full tithing. For example, if Wilkinson determined that a professor had robbed the Lord of $600 in his tithing payments, a $1,000 raise for said professor would be decreased to $400. Professors not paying any tithing would be in danger of losing their employment at BYU. Wilkinson insisted more than once that no one was forced to pay tithing, while also insisting that any BYU professor who wanted to teach there would pay his tithing.
The policy prompted panicky attempts by some BYU faculty to try to turn back the clock. As Bergera reports, Wilkinson noted in his writings that one professor insisted in his interview that he had paid a full tithing.
When Wilkinson had the matter looked at, he discovered that the professor had gone to his bishop after the New Year and much to the Bishops confusion had begged that his tithe payment be applied retroactively.
Bergera estimates that over eight years, at least two dozen (probably more) teachers were dismissed or resigned due to church problems that had their genesis with Wilkinsons tithing crackdown.
The BYU leader left the university in 1963 to run a failed U.S. Senate campaign. When he returned, he discovered a church leadership more resistant to the tactics he had advocated during his first term at BYU. As Bergera notes, current BYU policy strictly prohibits the release of faculty tithing information to university administrators.
Although I oppose any Wilkinsonian efforts to force tithing payments on any faculty, I am, I confess, surprised that anyone employed by the LDS Church (and that is the employer of BYU faculty) does not pay a full tithe. Maybe its because Im a born in the baptismal font member, but before I read Bergeras piece, I just assumed BYU workers were tithe payers the LDS Church Presiding Bishopric didnt have to worry about.
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Would have been more accurately titled, , 1957-1963."
Here we have exactly the opposite problem of the Penn State admin issue. Instead of a laissez faire hands-off approach to cracking down, you get an FBI surveillance of personal tithing records of professors to see if they are financially supporting "Zion" [the Mormon church]...And look out when these professors didn't! [Some fired; others had raises confiscated]
From the article: ...Wilkinson, upon assuming the presidency of BYU in the 1950s, was outraged that some BYU professors paid only a partial tithing, and some paid none at all...At one point, Wilkinson told LDS Church President David O. McKay that 27 percent of BYU faculty were either part tithing payers or paid no tithing at all. Wilkinsons efforts, though, to get detailed reports of faculty tithing records descended into J. Edgar Hoover spoof when he encountered opposition from local bishoprics and stake presidencies.
From the article: Wilkinson also received considerable opposition from faculty at BYU, who balked at having their academic credentials be determined by how much tithing they paid. Many faculty members, including department heads, resigned over the rule. At one point Wilkinson groused in his journal that it was primarily English, political science and history departments that were in opposition.
From the article: One faculty member who found himself in Wilkinsons aim was Kent Fielding, a BYU instructor who had admitted he no longer had a testimony of the Gospel. Fielding, after refusing to pay tithing and answer questions as a protest against Wilkinsons policy, eventually had his employment terminated...Bergera estimates that over eight years, at least two dozen (probably more) teachers were dismissed or resigned due to church problems that had their genesis with Wilkinsons tithing crackdown.
The sheer legalism of Mormonism!
This sounds like more than a tit-for-tat confiscation. Why? Because raises each year are predicated upon a base level that rises accumulatively.
If $1,000 raises were reduced to $400, that would not only impact the ensuing year but years forever down the line!
According to Mormon writings, what makes you "worthy?" Your perfection (3 Nephi 12:48; Mt. 5:48)
[Whereas, in contrast, a good definition of a "Christian" is someone already perfect in the Father's eyes thru Jesus sacrificial death (Heb. 10:14) -- where His perfect righteousness is substituted for our imperfect righteousness. (1 Cor. 1:30). Heb. 10:14 ...because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.]
Just to be sure, I looked up "worthiness" (a key Lds concept) in the 1977 "Topical Guide to the Scriptures of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" published by church-owned Deseret Publishers.
I found verses like Doctrine & Covenants 59:4: "And they shall also be crowned with blessings from above, yea, and with commandments not a few, and with revelations in their time--they that are faithful and diligent before me."
"Commandments not a few"? -- sounds like a long checklist to me.
I then looked at the 1979 "Topical Guide" in the Lds version of its KJV -- and turned to the "worthiness" entry there: It tells me right up top its related to the concept of "qualifying for" & then proceeds to verses like D&C 31:5: "Therefore, thrust in your sickle with all your soul, and your sins are forgiven you, and you shall be laden with sheaves upon your back, for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Wherefore, your family shall live."
Ah. There it is: The Mormon "strategy." Don't "trust" for your salvation, "thrust in your sickle"
So it sounds like the Mormon god wants plenty of soul labor -- paid labor -- spiritual hirelings -- earned labor for salvation. No free gifts here. No grace here. Just follow the rules, ma'am.
Indeed, the LDS are the "rules oriented" ones: The purity and perfection we seek is unattainable without this subjection of unworthy, ungodlike urges and the corresponding encouragement of their opposites. We certainly cannot expect the rules to be easier for us than for the Son of God... (Lds "prophet" Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 28)
Just look @ all the "rule extensions" Lds have imposed upon their followers in order to make it to the highest degree of afterlife:
(1) You have to be obedient to all the commandments & ordinances of the Mormon god
(2) You HAVE TO TITHE -- what Lds reference as the "Law of consecration"
(3) You have to obey the "Word of Wisdom" -- not drink coffee, etc.
(4) You have to get married -- sorry, no never-married single people allowed
(5) You have to have as many children as possible
(6) You have to perform temple work for the dead
(7) You have to perform endowments essential for this highest degree of salvation
(8) You have to be a member of the right church (Lds)
(9) You have to receive & perform the rites and ordinances established by that church
(10)You have to have Joseph Smith's consent to enter into your highest afterlife
That is 19th-20th-21st century legalism!
Any counter-campaigns pointing out that God's truth is "the concept of free and full forgiveness through Christ" rather than the "earned forgiveness taught in Mormonism" are needed!
In the same way that that lying scum Romney put his church before his country during Vietnam, and basically dodged the draft to go on an LDS "mission", he will submit to these evil cult leaders in questions regarding our nation if elected president.
What was so provocative about religious legalism to Jesus?
Let us to look at some of his words on the subject:
* Matt. 15:9: But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
* Matt. 16:12: ...guard against the yeast...against the TEACHING of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
* Luke 11:52: ...you have taken away the key to knowledge.
* John 8:44,47: You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your fathers desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.
* Mark 7:6-8,13: He replied, Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules. 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.
* Matthew 23:2-7, 13-15; 23-34 : 2 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other peoples shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. 5 Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called Rabbi by others.
13 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in peoples faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
15 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.
23 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spicesmint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the lawjustice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.
25 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
27 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
29 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets. 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!
33 You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.
Here's the apostle Paul on the same subject:
* 1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 4 Have you experienced so much in vainif it really was in vain? 5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 6 So also Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.
10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: Cursed is EVERYONE who does not continue to do EVERYTHING written in the Book of the Law. (Gal. 3:1-6, 10)
Are/were there non-Mormon faculty and staff at BYU? Do/did they have to pay the tithe?
I also know of several instances where "inactive" fathers were made to pay years worth of back tithing or they would be kept from attending their children's temple marriages.
Well, that's Mormonism. It went from promoting communism -- inadvertently world-wide (in the late 19th century)...to condemning communism (Ezra Taft Benson, Harold B. Lee)...to your picture that you show.
Just like Mormonism went from condemning polygamy in 1830, beginning to practice it in 1831, openly promoting it by 1852, declaring the government could never make them give it up (1880), to putting on the breaks in 1890...starting more internal crackdowns in the early 1900s...and then had all of its polygamists die off by the early 1960s...yet still telling their followings starting in the late 50s/into the 60s and all thru 70s that polygamy would be re-instituted when the mormon jesus returns...and telling people that polygamy is STILL practiced on other planets.
Hard to keep track of the current Mormon position on communism/socialism + polygamy vs. monogamy + if skin color matters for the priesthood...on that one, yeah, they say "yes" now...but they still left intact one Book of Abraham passage and five Book of Mormon passages that are overtly skin-colored racism.
Oh...and for those who don't think the Mormon church promoted communism in the late 19th century...think again. They did it thru their "United Order" cities:
ALL: Even the Mormon author mentioned below described Brigham Youngs communist-built community of Orderville, Utah as pure communism: "When Brigham Young established Orderville and similar United Orders, John Taylor was less than enthusiastic. He realized that enterprises such as Orderville were pure communism and not the law of consecration. He made this plain after he became President, when in 1882 he sent an epistle to all authorities of the Church in which he bluntly stated: 'We had no example of the 'United Order' in accordance with the word of God on the subject...Our relations with the world and our own imperfections prevent the establishment of this system [i.e. the system of consecration and stewardship spoken of at times as the 'United Order'] at the present time, as was stated by Joseph in an early day, it cannot yet be carried out.'" (George W. Givens, 500 More Little-Known Facts in Mormon History, 2004, p. 169)
The truly unfortunate thing for world history is that John Taylor didnt go far enough, for while he dismantled Orderville, he left another United Order community (Brigham City, Utah) alone. Here is Givens again (a faithful Mormon author):
"One of the most famous utopian books ever written was Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, published in 1889. Some scholars believe Looking Backward had considerable influence in the making of Lenin's Soviet Russia. If this is true, then [ensuing Lds "prophet"] Lorenzo Snow and the Latter-day Saints must receive some of the credit--or blame. Hearing of the success of the United Order in Brigham City, Edward Bellamy made a special trip to Utah in 1886 to study its operation. There he spent three days with Lorenzo Snow, Brigham City's founder and forty-year resident. Impressed with the thirty to forty industries run by its 2,000 inhabitants and the vitality at that time of one of the most successful United Orders, Bellamy returned home and wrote his influential book." (500 More Little-Known Facts in Mormon History, p. 185).
Way to go, 19th century Mormon leader-prophets of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor & Lorenzo Snow!!! They all unwittingly fueled Soviet Communism!
Smiths original idea of a United Order, something he falsely prophesied would be everlasting- see Doctrine & Covenants 82:20; 104:1 I mean you havent taken scissors to those verses yet, have you Rip? So that must mean you still embrace these concepts as Mormon truth
followed by Youngs implementation of these communistic ideas into Utah communities like Orderville & Brigham City
with Lds prophet Snow being the founder & long-term dictator of Brigham City, which in turn, influenced Bellamy, who in turn influenced Lenin!!!
and while Taylor didnt like the orders, he only did a half-mast job of taking apart Orderville, but leaving Brigham City untouched.
Yes, there is/are (at least one non-Mormon...perhaps a few)
There's a woman with a Christian background who is the advisor to the Christian group on campus. [BYU allows a certain % of non-Mormons to attend; many of whom are of a Christian background]
Do they have to pay the tithe? (No)
Where is that written?
I agree that the Lord Jesus made it clear that people who were focused on the letter of the law ('tithing mint and cummin'), and not the spirit ('helping the naked, fatherless, and widows'), were at gross fault.
But He also said, 'Think not that I have come to destroy the Law and the Prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say onto you, til Heaven and Earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled'.
So, He didn't come to abrogate the Law of God - He fullfilled it.
That said, I don't see tithing as a law. It was a tax specific to maintain the Levites who were dedicated to perform the Religious rites of the Hebrew nation. I don't read it as a law that was timeless (like all of God's laws). It served a specific purpose for a specific nation in a specific period of God's time-line.
In the New Testament time (Christ crucified, risen, and sitting at the right hand of the Father), we recognize that all that we have belongs to God (that has always been the case -- but it must even be more obvious to us understanding that the precious Son of God ransomed us with the payment of His priceless blood). We are to be cheerful givers. Whether that is 90% or 1%, its up to the giver. No tithing, but all we have belongs to the Lord.
Paul did not collect tithes he couldn't because he was not a Levitt Jesus could not receive them either He was of the house of Judea.
The NT tells us to give as the Spirit leads us and that is not to be out of compulsion or undo stress.
Show me where the pastor or church has become the temple or the Levitt.
I agree with that statement. Be a cheerful giver.
That is what the Lord wants is a cheerful giver if one looks at the history of Israel they continually with held that tithe and did not give it, that is why the Malachi reference of the curse upon them if they did not give of the land. The temple was in disarray the poor were not being taken care of. Jesus does not curse His Bride the Church today. Just like you or I would curse our spouses.
Wait a minute. We were just told on another thread that lds do not require tithes, and no one checks your income.
If that’s true then why is there an issue?
(hum, apparently the men of lds do care and find out how much you make otherwise there would not be a statement “not full tithe payers”, because if it were not required to prove your income no one would know one way or the other) - just saying
They teach little children THEY WILL BE BURNED TO DEATH at the second coming if they miss any tithing payments.
Amazing isn’t it. When I said my lds family and friends told me they had to show proof of income, I was called (not exactly liar) but pretty darn close. I pointed out that for me to be told that put the lds group in a bad light, so why would they lie about it. My lds family and friends are very matter of fact about it as though it is a normal thing to do.
Ok, I did not know about the “children burning to death”, total sick.
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