Five privileges of membership you probably weren’t aware of

12 May

You can just pay 10% from your surplus, and pay it directly and anonymously to Salt Lake, and still be classed as a full tithe payer

There is a strong case that tithing is supposed to be paid from the 10% left over after meeting basic essential needs:

JST Genesis 14:39: “Wherefore, Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him more than that which he had need.” (see Alma 13:15)

1 Corinthians 16:2: “On the first day of the week each of you should set aside whatever he can afford”

D&C 119:4: “And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord. [5] Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you.”

You can pay your tithing electronically directly to the Church headquarters, and they will only tell your Bishop that you paid something, but not how much. To get the instructions and forms email the Church at

I will leave the final word to the First Presidency:

“the members of the Church should pay one-tenth of all their interest annually, which is understood to mean income. No one is justified in making any other statement than this. We feel that every member of the Church should be entitled to make his own decision as to what he thinks he owes the Lord, and to make payment accordingly.” (19 March 1970 letter to Stake, Mission, and local leaders.)

See a previous post with links to several articles on this subject .

You can have an altar in your home and pray in the way you do in the temple

J. Stapley gives an overview of this subject in his article on the By Common Consent blog. It is also worth seeing see D. Michael Quinn’s article on the subject in BYU Studies 19:1.

To summarise the early Presidents and Apostles of the Church taught that “The family altar should be in every man’s house; he is the patriarch of the family, and everything should be done under his direction. He should offer prayer; his wife and children also should offer prayer in turn around the family altar.” (George Teasdale General Conference, 5 October 5, 1903.)

Absent from the article is this description of the family altar given by Brigham Young: “The altar is 2 1/2 feet long X 2 1/2 feet high x one foot wide rising from a platform about 8 or 9 inches high and extending out on all sides about a foot forming a convenient place to kneel upon. The top of the altar and the platform for kneeling upon are covered with cushions of scarlet damask cloth; the sides of the upright part or body of the altar are covered with white linen.” (Manuscript History of Brigham Young, p. 8)

From the following quote it is clear that this home altar was intended for similar prayers as those in the temple, for “President Young said the family altar was the same as an altar in the prayer circle. It is for parents and children to join hands over the altar and pray.” (Journal of Wilford Woodruff, 25 April 25 1858.)

Although such prayer circles for quorums were discontinued by the Church in 1978, it still remains the “true order of prayer”, and these teachings of Joseph Smith illustrate that it was intended to be used by individuals and families:

“He spoke of delivering the Keys of the Priesthood to the Church, and said that the faithful members of the Relief Society should receive them with their husbands, and the Saints whose integrity has been tried and proved faithful, might know how to ask and receive an answer.” (Teachings, p. 226)

“we did not know how to pray and have our prayers answered. But when I and my husband had our endowments … Joseph Smith presiding, he taught us the order of prayer.” (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 54)

It seems to me that this would be conducted differently with unendowed children, and would not be done outside your own family.

A wife can give her husband or children blessings

The Prophet Joseph tells us there is no harm in it, that anyone – whether they have priesthood or not – do not sin in blessing others:

“Respecting females administering for the healing of the sick, he further remarked, there could be no evil in it, if God gave His sanction by healing; that there could be no more sin in any female laying hands on and praying for the sick than in wetting the face with water; it is no sin for anybody to administer that has faith, or if the sick have faith to be healed by their administrations.”  (History of the Church 4:602-4.)

The First Presidency under John Taylor even gave an official statement on the subject:

“It is the privilege of all faithful women and lay members of the Church, who believe in Christ, to administer to all the sick or afflicted in their respective families, either by the laying on of hands, or by the anointing with oil in the name of the Lord: but they should administer in these sacred ordinances, not by virtue and authority of the priesthood, but by virtue of their faith in Christ, and the promises made to believers: and thus they should do in all their ministrations.” (First Presidency, Circular Letter, 6 October 1880.)

Some Mormon Feminist Housewives have discussed this subject, and there is a more in depth article in Sunstone(PDF), and an overview in another blog.

Most people I know who do this do it discretely, as they are afraid of others not understanding.  But what a blessing it could be to jointly administer to your children.

You can give your own children their Patriarchal Blessings

If the Father of the family is not a Patriarch then who is?

“Every father, after he has received his patriarchal blessing, is a patriarch to his own family; which blessings will be just as legal as those conferred by any patriarch of the Church: in fact it is his right; and a patriarch in blessing his children, can only bless as his mouthpiece.” (The Gospel Kingdom, p. 146)

Joseph Fielding Smith sustained this teaching too.  The only difference between the blessing given by the father and a Stake Patriarch, is that the latter’s are held on record in the Church offices.

If you only attend just Sacrament once a month you are still classed as active

At least thats what Armand Maus tells me.  However, according to another source, it seems that officially those who attend church at least once a quarter are considered “active”.  But you may have a hard time convincing your Bishop of that, especially at Temple recommend time.

Early LDS congregations only administered the Sacrament once a month.  Members may have had it at home with their family or in other meetings more often.

I bring this up – not because I am encouraging you to skip meetings – as I know there are some great distances from their local branches, and others whose work involves travel a lot, or are full time carers for loved ones.

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Posted by on May 12, 2009 in History


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