Relief Society Dues

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 StumbleUpon 0 Email -- Filament.io 0 Flares ×

I recently discovered that until 1970, the Relief Society used to collect dues from its members. I have not been able to fin anything in-depth about it, but based on what I read, I presume that operational expenses were funded by these dues.

President Harold B. Lee announced in July 1970 that the collection of dues were to be stopped, and whatever money was in possession of the Relief Society to that point was to be handed over to the Church. I’m not sure I see the logic in this decision.

First of all, this decision meant that the Relief Society would need to cover operational expenses through the tithing fund, which would place more stress on such a system.

Secondly, this decision meant that the Church was eliminating an additional revenue stream.

Why would any organisation want to cut off a viable revenue source just to place extra burden on other revenue sources?

65 thoughts on “Relief Society Dues

  1. OK, I’ll bite again.

    President Young encouraged people to “inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him,” and to “know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not.”

    I agree with President Young wholeheartedly. I think asking the Lord for a spiritual confirmation of President Lee’s decision would have been a great thing for you to do. But that isn’t what you’ve done here.

    What you have done is tell everyone who visits your page that President Lee’s decision was wrong and illogical for the reasons you gave. Then you said (in the post before this one) that there’s no reason to sustain President Lee in this particular matter because covenant to sustain him doesn’t extend to administrative decisions. (Let’s put aside the point of whether Laman and Lemuel were perfectly OK in withholding their labor from Nephi because his boat-building revelation was administrative and not doctrinal.) What you’ve done here is not quite the same as seeking confirmation from the Spirit as President Young recommends. It’s not inquiring of the Lord. It’s just throwing criticisms at President Lee.

  2. “What you have done is tell everyone who visits your page that President Lee’s decision was wrong and illogical for the reasons you gave.”

    Where did I say that President Lee’s decision was wrong or illogical?

    “you said (in the post before this one) that there’s no reason to sustain President Lee in this particular matter because covenant to sustain him doesn’t extend to administrative decisions.”

    Actually, what I meant to say is that I don’t remember making a covenant to sustain him in any regard.

    You’re missing the point of President Young. He was saying that we should not follow prophets blindly; he is saying that we should make up our own minds whether they lead us according to God’s will. The point he was making was not about whether we pray about it or not.

  3. Kim:

    1. “Where did I say that President Lee’s decision was wrong or illogical?”

    Take a look at your original post where you say, “I’m not sure I see the logic in this decision. First of all, this decision meant that the Relief Society would need to cover operational expenses through the tithing fund, which would place more stress on such a system. Secondly, this decision meant that the Church was eliminating an additional revenue stream. Why would any organisation want to cut off a viable revenue source just to place extra burden on other revenue sources?”

    I have to leave it to others to decide whether I’m guilty of exaggerating when I say that you were calling his decision wrong and illogical.

    2. “You’re missing the point of President Young. He was saying that we should not follow prophets blindly; he is saying that we should make up our own minds whether they lead us according to God’s will. The point he was making was not about whether we pray about it or not.”

    Really? You could have fooled me. Somehow my puny brain thought that when President Young said, “I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him,” he meant that people should inquire for themselves of God whether the leaders are led by God. Amazingly, I also reached the conclusion that when President Young said, “Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not,” that he actually wanted people to seek this knowledge by the whisperings of the Spirit of God. Somehow I failed to recognize that his comments weren’t about whether we pray or not.

    What a moron I must be to have thought that when he said we should seek confirmation from the Holy Spirit he meant we should seek confirmation from the Holy Spirit. It takes a keener mind than mine to see that what he really meant is, we should open up a forum of public criticism.

  4. Because I do not see the logic in a decision does not absolutely make it illogical. I am flattered that you think definitions of words revolve around what I think, but I have to break the news to you that this is not the case.

    “Somehow my puny brain thought that when President Young said, “I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him,” he meant that people should inquire for themselves of God whether the leaders are led by God.”

    He did mean exactly what eh said, but that wasn’t the point he was trying to make. This is a topic he had discussed in the past. Some more examples:

    “What a pity it would be, if we were led by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken the influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually.” (my previous quote, but without the ellipses)

    “How easy it would be for your leaders to lead you to destruction, unless you actually know the mind and will of the spirit yourselves.” (JD 4:368)

    “Suppose that the people were heedless, that they manifested no concern with regard to the things of the kingdom of God, but threw the whole burden upon the leaders of the people, saying, ‘If the brethren who take charge of matters are satisfied, we are,’ this is not pleasing in the sight of the Lord.” (JD 3:45)

    “Now those men, or those women, who know no more about the power of God, and the influences of the Holy Spirit, than to be led entirely by another person, suspending their own understanding, and pinning their faith upon another’s sleeve, will never be capable of entering into the celestial glory, to be crowned as they anticipate; they will never be capable of becoming Gods. They cannot rule themselves, to say nothing of ruling others, but they must be dictated to in every trifle, like a child.” (JD 1:312)

    Again, President Young’s message extends to far more than whether we pray about our leader’s words or not.

  5. Well, as seems almost always to happen in our little chats, I’m afraid this has become an unproductive and contentious exchange. I don’t really know whose fault this is–probably mine, since I seem to resort to sarcasm first.

    I don’t think what we’re doing here is getting us any closer to God or enhancing our understanding of the truth.

    I hope there’s a way to discuss these things in a better way, but I’m not sure I’ve found it yet.

    I suppose blogging just naturally sets up an environment of debate and argumentation, and I suppose that most of the time, such an environment is not conducive to spiritual growth.

    I don’t know what else to say that won’t be more of the same.

  6. ltbugaf and Kim, wouldn’t you agree that the hallmark of civil discourse is the ability to determine when it’s no longer productive, or civil?

    :)

    I think it’s great that discussions can be passionate and complete, and that it’s totally okay if nobody ‘converts’ the other party to their perogative.

    If we all agreed immediately, wouldn’t life be dull?

  7. ROFLMBO Rick!!!! Although I am more partial to a pink hat myself but I can understand a man not wanting to wear that… you realize that at next GC I will remember your comment and it will make me chuckle and people will look at me wondering what is so funny about hearing someone talking about death!!

    On another note… thank you again Kim for making me think deeper and stronger.. I always enjoy your thoughts on the topics. I think this one I will leave up for your dad to read when he gets home tonight. Although I had to change monitors as mine “blew up ” last night and stanlk to high heavens in the process so he might he working on it instead. Now I am using this huge dinosaur of a monitor!!

  8. Well I must say Kim and itbugaf, I have enjoyed your debate from my third party position.

    Wilfred Woodruff informed us that a prophet will not be permitted to lead us astray (lest he be removed by God through death), however Joseph Smith said “a prophet is only a prophet when acting as such”.

    I think the difficulty here is determining when the prophet is acting as 1)a prophet (“as such”) or 2)just an inspired man acting in an administrative role or 3) just a man trying to use his best judgement.

    I think Joseph Smith was pretty clear that if a prophet is acting “as such” (ie introducing new doctrine or commandments, or prophesying) he will let you know it’s official, no colorful hat required (though I like Rick’s idea). As for options 2 or 3 I’d say it’s pretty tough for us to decide on our own whether or not an action or statement was inspired(at least when lacking clarification of such from the prophet, or when lacking our own spiritual confirmation).

    Interesting debate…

  9. Nermalcat: I agree with you. I also think that because it is “pretty tough for us to decide on our own whether or not an action or statement was inspired,” we should be giving the Prophet the benefit of this doubt. I didn’t think Kim was doing that.

  10. Recognizing that the inspiration leaders at all levels receive is a mixture of thinking things out in ones own mind, being anxiously engaged in good causes and work, and inspiration/ revelation doesn’t mean that we disregard or spurn direction from leaders that is more based on the former than the latter influences.

    I used to think that we sustained leaders and covenant to abstain from evil-speaking to set them above us as somehow less prone to human error. Now I believe the opposite. The whole point of not evil speaking is that we all have as part of our human character flaws and evils that can distract others (and ourselves) from the work of building the kingdom that we are called to do. Accepting the human facets of church leadership has made me much more able to follow in faith, in spite of imperfections and (sometimes) poor decisions.

    That said, correlation is almost a more difficult subject for me than polygyny, and I hope it is discovered to have been an error, or at the very least, only a temporary expediency in getting the gospel out to all the world. To me it’s not an economic issue so much as an exercise of agency issue. Who controls the purse make the final decisions. If women are to become as divine (as able to act and not be acted upon) as men, this will have to change at some point, either in the world or beyond it.

  11. Just to be perfectly clear, I do not consider discussing possible factors going into or impact of various policy changes to be evil speaking (least someone jump to a fabulous conclusion about my view of this discussion or misuse my introduction of the topic of evil speaking). Contrarywise, I believe such discussions lend to understanding and greater faith.

  12. LisaB: Maybe you can provide me with more information about why you feel there was a significant loss of women’s independence through the correlation of the Church. I don’t see how the Relief Society was significantly separate from the Church or not subject to Priesthood authority. The Society was founded by Joseph Smith, organized through the exercise of his Priesthood keys. The Presidents of the Relief Society were called and released by Presidents of the Church. I just don’t see the part that was lost, perhaps because I don’t know something you do.

  13. RS was founded by women independent of the church. JS then brought RS under the umbrella of the church, and gave them authority to function as a kingdom of priest(esse)s–to preach and bless in addition to the charitable work they were already doing.

    RS presidents were originally self-selected. Then selected by the president of the church but for life. Then reduced to shorter terms (leading up to correlation).

    They used to receive their own revelation. They used to write their own curriculum. They used to have their own magazine. They used to run their own programs (including bazzars to raise money, which were discontinued only very recently. I remember going to them as a child) without having to get approval from male priesthood leaders.

  14. I think you’re equating ‘revelation’ with ‘doctrine.’

    No, I’m equating revelation with revelation. Revelation is God’s will revealed to us (or to the Church through the prophet).

    there are plenty of revelations that don’t introduce new doctrines.

    Right.

    My duty, and yours, is to SUSTAIN him.

    I do sustain him as a prophet, a seer and a revelator. That doesn’t mean, however, that I cannot question is decisions as an administrator. Frankly, I find it somewhat offensive that you would even suggest that I do not sustain him as a prophet, seer and revelator.

    Personally, I prefer adhering to the following council from Brigham Young. Doing so, has brought me much peace.

    “I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security….Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [1941], 135).

    the Lord still expects us to sustain the Prophet in those decisions. We’ve covenanted to do so.

    Really? I do not remember making a covenant to sustain the prophet in his administrative decisions.

    Rick: I think that’s a great idea.

Leave a Reply