Saturday, December 26, 2020

Jana Reiss Needs to Have Her Temple Recommend Pulled


By Dennis B. Horne

             I have thought for years that Jana Reiss, a dissident blogger that the Salt Lake Tribune unfortunately and foolishly reposts, should have her temple recommend pulled (and also receive membership restrictions or loss). Her loud public criticisms of the church she is allegedly a member of, and of its leaders, should have long ago been cause for forfeiture of temple privileges.

            Now, she has again loudly and openly declared her opposition to paying tithing in the prescribed method, and one must be a full tithe-payer  as defined by the Church to hold a temple recommend. She states in her column for all to see:


            The short version of all this is that while I am still a full-tithe payer, I have not paid a dime of it to the church in 2020.

            That change feels empowering. I love supporting charities that offer humanitarian relief, especially to children around the world. I do research on Charity Navigator about these organizations, giving preference to ones that provide direct relief and practice financial transparency.

            Both of those factors were lacking when I gave to the LDS Church. Even giving to the church’s own humanitarian fund comes with this caveat at the bottom of every tithing slip: “Though reasonable efforts will be made globally to use donations as designated, all donations become the church’s property and will be used at the church’s sole discretion to further the church’s overall mission.”

            That’s not enough for me, not anymore.

            At tithing settlement this year, I declared myself a full-tithe payer and explained why none of that money has gone to the church. I don’t know what fallout there will be from this decision, if any. Frankly, it’s not important whether I continue to hold a temple recommend or not. What’s important to me is that at least a few kids who didn’t have food or access to education will have meals, school and the basics. I should have done this a long time ago.


            Some years ago I wrote a biography of President Lorenzo Snow. He was a senior apostle and President of the Quorum of the Twelve during a time of terrible financial stress on the Church, a time when several factors combined to put the Church deeply in debt, even to the point where it was probably bankrupt and didn’t know it. Then President Snow became the President of the Church, and the Lord used him as His instrument to bring relief. President Snow received a revelation that the path of debt deliverance for the Church was through members paying a full tithing (and that proved true). Today we wonder about that, but in that day, the late 1890s, members had drastically cut back on tithing payment for reasons I won’t go into here, but many were paying no or only a part tithe.

            As President Snow preached tithing to the saints, over and over he declared that the world of the Lord to the people (Zion) was that “a part tithe was no tithe at all.” We must conclude that this includes charitable contributions given to other worthy causes—they are no tithe at all. The bishop receives the tithes in the Lord’s storehouse, and if donated to the United Way or any other fine cause, it is not paying tithing.

            President Snow also began telling the people that those who did not pay tithing or only paid a partial tithing would not be receiving temple recommends either. It took some years but that policy eventually became fixed and remains so today.

            I feel sorry for Jana Reiss’s bishop and stake president, because they have a vocal dissenter on their hands, one willing to use her public blog and Tribune pulpit to criticize the Church and perhaps even them.

            We have seen other misled activist members, on their way out of the Church, use publicity to hurl their spite at their local (and general) leaders, and they sometimes receive national publicity because many journalists despise religion in general and the Church of Jesus Christ specifically. Though I am not her judge, I am one who defends the Church from malcontents and critics like her, that want to preach their own brand of self-righteousness on their way out of the Church. I hope she goes quickly. Her kind of liberal progressive extremist poison can affect others of weak faith too easily. I assume that if or when her recommend is pulled, she will shout to her followers about that also, as well as a membership council, as others have done before her and will after. This apostate won’t be missed or remembered.

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