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Mitt Romney

Is Mitt Romney Shortchanging the Mormon Church on Tithing?

Why won’t Mitt Romney allow the American People to see his tax returns?   Only one reason makes much sense: whatever he is hiding will hurt his chances of winning.  Oh what could it be?  If the ONLY tax return Mitt Romney has released to the public is any indication, Mitt Romney may be in big trouble.

Mitt Romney’s political opponents have been publicly charging that he hasn’t paid any taxes.  Maybe the facts contained therein would contradict statements and claims he’s made in the past.  He could have made much more money than we now believe.  It could have something to do with where he’s invested money, his affairs at Bain Capital, or possibly something about unscrupulous deductions.  We can only speculate at this point.  Only Mitt Romney can answer these questions, but perhaps there are clues.

Let’s just take it from what he’s already released to the public.  We know from his 2010 tax return (the only filed tax return he’s released to the public) that he paid 7% of his income in tithing to the Mormon Church.  The minimum requirement of the church is 10%.

Let’s just assume with a conservative estimate that he made the same amount of income he reported in his 2010 tax return, every year for the past ten years.  At $20 million annually, he would have made over $200 million during the past ten years.

If Mitt Romney’s 2010 tax return is any indication of how Mitt Romney acts, he’s shortchanged the Mormon Church out of $6 million dollars.  That’s a lot of money to shortchange your church.

Once asked whether his tithing payments were relevant to the election, Mitt nervously replied: “If people want to discriminate against someone based upon their commitment to tithe, I’d be very surprised.”  He might be surprised, but I wouldn’t be.  As a member of the Mormon Church, I can tell you it matters to Mormons.

Faithful members of the church willingly pay 10% of their income to tithing, whether they make $20 Million, or $30 thousand a year.  The members paying 10% of $30K are making a huge sacrifice.  When Mitt Romney shortchanged the Church by paying 7% in 2010, he still had over $18 million to play with.  Geez!

Mormons commit to pay a full and honest tithe as part of their temple covenant.  Not only has Mitt Romney taken that covenant, he has served as a bishop and president of a stake (the equivalent of diocese bishop) in the Mormon Church.  Part of his duties included asking members if they were paying a full and honest tithe before giving them permission to attend the temple.  He judged people for not paying their full tithing (something we know he didn’t do himself in 2010).

If supporters in places like Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico see him as a hypocrite, it could certainly put his chances of winning those states in jeopardy.  He absolutely needs to win one of those four states to have a chance of winning the election (most likely Arizona).  If not, Obama could lose Ohio and Florida and still win the election by winning the same states John Kerry won in 2004.

George Romney

Let’s not forget his own father George Romney was totally dismissive of a candidate for president releasing just one year of tax information:

“Release of the document, while it might serve a political purpose, would not prove very much, he argued. One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show, and what mattered in personal finance was how a man conducted himself over the long haul.”

George Romney was much more generous with his wealth than Mitt has been.  George refused tax loopholes and paid over 40% of his income to taxes.  He also paid nearly 20% of his income to the Mormon Church in tithes.  George Romney sought to live with what he needed, and use the rest to help others.  That is what Mormon thought teaches.

We can only judge Mitt Romney by what we know about him.  What we do know is he shortchanged his Church in 2010.  How can we be expected to believe he didn’t do so during the previous years?  How can we be expected to believe he won’t shortchange the American People, if he’s willing to do so to his own church?  Only Mitt Romney can clear this up… by releasing his tax returns.

About Justin McAffee:
Justin is the publisher The Nevada View, which has earned the recognition in the Washington Post’s “Best State-Based Political Blogs,” as well as being awarded the “Most Valuable Blogger Award” by the local CBS affiliate in 2011. Follow him on Twitter @McAffee

Discussion

38 Responses to “Is Mitt Romney Shortchanging the Mormon Church on Tithing?”

  1. The man can’t even follow in his fathers footsteps (or is a lousy 2 good enough)..

    Let’s not forget his own father George Romney was totally dismissive of a candidate for president releasing just one year of tax information:

    “Release of the document, while it might serve a political purpose, would not prove very much, he argued. One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show, and what mattered in personal finance was how a man conducted himself over the long haul.”

    George Romney was much more generous with his wealth than Mitt has been. George refused tax loopholes and paid over 40% of his income to taxes. He also paid nearly 20% of his income to the Mormon Church in tithes. George Romney sought to live with what he needed, and use the rest to help others. That is what Mormon thought teaches

    Posted by Jeff Seussalias | August 26, 2012, 8:56 pm
  2. I feel the author’s analysis is quite valid (and agrees w/ my own though of course it is based on few hard facts, just gut feeling). Unfortunately it really is a “Mormon issue” and a “trust me”..
    I do NOT believe he paid 10% in the prior years. The implications are between him and his church. The problem for the rest of us is do you want someone who judges others based on yardsticks they themselves bend for their own personal gain.. In other word is he a hypocrite?
    It would not surprise me from him saying “hey 7% is a big number and good enough”……
    Funny that in his NOT EVEN finished 2011 tax returns that he so conveniently is playing “catch up” w/ 12%..then refuses to release any other returns.. Question is does he “fear” the US citizens or the church more??
    Important question to answer… if you believe he should release more..
    Personally finding out he paid <13% IRS "tithing" would not surprise me. Being wealthier than he says wouldn't surprise me. And foreign investments also not a surprise.. leaving me to assume he is only worried about "saving face" w/ the church..

    Posted by Jeff Seussalias | August 26, 2012, 8:51 pm
    • THEN AGAIN hypocrisy is really par for the course, isn’t it:

      It what is the 997th case of blatant hypocrisy in this campaign, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney told a group of contributors in Minnesota Thursday that “big business is doing fine.” While he was speaking, his campaign was running attack ads blasting and mocking President Obama for saying the exact same thing calling him “out of touch.”

      What is “sauce for the goose” is not “sauce for the gander”, to use Romney’s favorite expression, when the gander is President Obama. That is nothing new for Mitt, however.

      President Obama, speaking about a recent jobs report earlier this summer said that the “private sector is doing fine.” In the context the remark was made, the President was technically correct. The private sector has added jobs for 24 straight months, but the public sector has laid off workers for more than 30 months. The public sector lay-offs are offsetting gains in the private sector keeping unemployment high.

      Despite the deceptive and self-serving attack ads, Romney agrees with Obama.

      Posted by Jeff Seussalias | August 26, 2012, 9:19 pm
  3. I am reminded of two commandments

    Thou shalt not covet, and thou shalt not bear false witness.

    Posted by Brother French | August 22, 2012, 9:00 am
    • Great point. Mitt Romney is coveting the White House, and has bared false witness against President Obama on several occasions. Thanks!

      Posted by Justin McAffee | August 22, 2012, 10:09 am
      • Justin, I think you and everyone else knows that isn’t what I meant.

        Posted by Brother French | August 22, 2012, 3:44 pm
      • Come on Justin, you never met the man and you don’t really have the slightest idea as to the intentions of his heart.

        I’m betting on him unless you gave a higher percentage of your earnings to charity than he did. That would be over 20% just in case you forgot. Hope that helps.

        By the way, I’m not going to play your tit for tat game again. So, don’t expect me to reply to your answer.

        Posted by Brother French | August 22, 2012, 4:14 pm
  4. All this regard for beliving on God, by the so called Mormons. Showld be call MORONS, nothing that a bunch of idiots looking afther their best interest.

    Posted by Adolfo Torrescano Sr. | August 18, 2012, 10:34 am
  5. This article is a joke. The author claims to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but never once correctly names it, and doesn’t even seem to be familiar with LDS practices of tithing, or perhaps is deliberately ignoring relevant information.

    The idea that the “minimum requirement” of tithing is 10% is no more accurate than saying that the “maximum requirement” is 10%. This may be pre-tax or post tax, depending on the individual, and it’s obviously complicated when income is non-monetary. Also, tithing and taxes don’t necessarily follow the same year to year schedules, as one would likely pay tithing on a Christmas bonus in the following year.

    Posted by Brian | August 18, 2012, 9:30 am
    • Looks like Brian and the other Mormon apologists are out in force. Problem is that tithing is one of the critical things in Mormonism. You ARE asked if you pay a full tithe as a temple recommend question.

      Beware of the Mormon spin machine, they have been asked to go online and try to refute articles like these.

      Posted by mike | August 18, 2012, 9:31 pm
  6. Governor Romney’s tithing issues, if any, are between his Bishop and Ann and him. They are none of your concern.

    Posted by Timothy-Allen Albertson | August 18, 2012, 7:07 am
    • Actually his integrity is a concern to everyone.

      I see he has converted his missionary training of Lying For The Lord, to Lying TO The Lord.

      Ten percent versus seven percent – and having the hypocrisy to ask other people if they paid an HONEST tithe, while Ann and him weren’t.

      Daddy had morals – 40 percent tax, 20 percent tithes, and still lived a comfortable life on the remaining 40 percent.

      But the Apple RAN far from the Tree in Mitt’s case.

      Posted by Timothy Unrine | August 18, 2012, 7:29 am
      • To T. Unrine.

        Come on Timothy, you are worse than Justin. If I remember right, you are an atheist. Right? I wish all you anti-Mormons would identify yourselves in your posts. Especially when attacking our Church. It would make it much easier to respond in a proper fashion to you.

        Posted by Brother French | August 22, 2012, 3:57 pm
  7. The problem with this article is that the author does not understand the doctrine of tithing for the Mormon Church. Your do not pay 10% of your income but 10% of your increase. What a persons increase is depends an a variety of factors. It is personal so you could not calculate tithing from a tax form.

    Posted by firecracker | August 18, 2012, 6:09 am
  8. Ignoring the fact that this whole topic is frivolous, the article itself is also ridiculous. First of all, nobody cares, including the LDS Church, how much tithing Romney pays. If he honestly thinks he made 10 dollars, and he pays a dollar of tithig, when in reality he made a 1000 dollars, nobody cares. It’s between a person and God, the Church is just there to make sure the person doesn’t forget about it. Tithing teaches people to value things other than money.

    There has never been a definition given by the Church of whether net or gross income should be tithed, whether gifts from other people should be tithed, whether long term capital gains for a business, which are then liquidated, should be tithed, etc. It’s not about the money or the percentage or how it’s calculated, it’s about the honest and willing heart of the believer. Someone who pays two cents tithing and someone who pays 200 million tithing are treated the exact same way by the Church; they are simply asked whether they paid a full tithe and if they yes they are trusted. It seems enormously unlikely that Romney would give 20 hours+ per week to his Church community, give millions in tithing over the course of his career, raise his kids in his Church, and be willing to loose one or two presidential elections because of his faith without renouncing it, if he were insincere. I don’t find it hard at all to believe that Mitt pays a full tithing, if his returns said he paid 10 dollars one year I assume he would make up for it the next year, and that his calculations were just different. And even if he didn’t pay tithing, nobody cares and it’s nobody’s business, it’s between Him and God and none of us are him or God.

    The Book of Mormon talks about a great society that existed somewhere in the Americas, that declined in part because there was a large educated segment of the population who spent their time doing nothing but stirring up discord and calling everything into question; the legal system benefited lawyers based on the number of cases they brought forward, so they would seek and create frivolous cases. This led to a more partisan and plain angrier society, and eventually they declined. Sometimes when I read ridiculous news articles, reporters seem analogous to the lawyers of that society- stirring up the pot over nothing, just to cause waves for insincere and pointless purposes. Pieces like this, to put it rudely, remind me of what Bob Knight once said, that “Journalism is only one step above prostitution”. I have seen some admirable journalism, but this piece is a joke.

    Posted by Dan | August 18, 2012, 1:13 am
    • I would add that tithing is not mentioned in temple covenants, as the author alleges (although willingness to tithe is seen as a precursor to being ready for temple covenants). The author doesn’t seem to be very Mormon either.

      I would also add that Romney is too much of a politician for my taste, and that I am sad that he is what people think of when they think or hear “Mormon” these days; politicians are divisive figures and often associated with pretensions for power, both of those feelings are opposite to true religion. Nor do I agree with Romney’s stated policies, I will be voting for Obama in November. That said, insulting Romney for his beliefs or religious practices is uncalled for and not helpful to any productive conversation.

      Posted by Dan | August 18, 2012, 1:22 am
    • Clearly tithing has not helped Romney put mammon in perspective then. Outsourcing people’s livelihoods out from under them to make his hundreds of millions at Bain Capital. I have issues with anyone running for president who doesn’t submit his or her tax returns as every other modern president has. Only one reason: there is something big he’s hiding. Americans paying 28% in taxes want and deserve to know.

      Posted by Connie Snyder | August 18, 2012, 8:00 am
      • Except that the IRS has already combed through all or Romney’s taxes, which sort of implodes your argument. Obama’s campaign has already proven they’re willing to lie and make up false charges against Romney regarding his tax returns, believing the general public is too stupid or too gullible to challenge their claims.

        Romney has already released about 500 pages of tax returns. How many of them have you personally read?

        Posted by Brian | August 18, 2012, 9:39 am
        • It implodes nothing because the IRS wouldn’t be telling us about it… it’s confidential. Besides, I listed several reasons why he would want to hide his tax returns other than the possibility he didn’t pay taxes. Quit drinking the Romney koolaid, and face up to the reality that the guy is a total cheapskate.

          Posted by Justin J. McAffee | August 18, 2012, 9:53 am
        • Saul Alinsky, Obama’s source of political action, has as one of his ‘Rules’ that his adherents will “make charges and counters the enemy simply can not refute”.

          In the tax return guilting and bogus shaming efforts, as with other sealed records Obama and his henchmen have obtained – the objective is to get ANY records and simply lie about what the Obama people PERCEIVE are there and thus fulfill Alinsky’s ‘method’ and force the Romney campaign to refute lies and innuendo – using the cover of the returns to do it.

          Romney owes NOTHING more at all in regards to returns. McAffee’s missive – after examination and not just rush-to-judgments – is weak gruel in the guilting and shaming and now, since McAffee errs in his analysis of what factors go into Mormon tithing, well, this story can now be easily dismissed as propaganda.

          Posted by M.R. Heeman | August 18, 2012, 9:54 am
          • Of course it is just a propaganda piece! Just look at the picture accompanying the article. The author also uses completely nonsensical numbers to support his overly speculative claims.

            Using the same logic, NASA successfully landed one Mars rover last week, but many news outlets never told us how many Mars rovers landed in the previous weeks. Let’s just assume with a “conservative estimate” that NASA averaged one rover per week for the last ten years, which means there are at least 500 NASA rovers on Mars.

            Posted by Brian | August 18, 2012, 4:21 pm
      • @Connie: Few Americans 28% in federal income taxes. Some of them pay a *marginal* rate of 28%, but their average rate will me much much lower.

        Posted by Nayajja | August 18, 2012, 8:49 pm
  9. This is ridiculous. It is not unusual for members of the Church to find out at tax time that they overpaid or underpaid their tithing, then make an adjustment. It is only Romney’s business. I have made contributions directly to Church headquarters in Salt Lake City. I receive a receipt directly from them. I am free to declare or not declare it. Let’s start discussing some real issues like the economy.

    Posted by Rodney Ross | August 18, 2012, 12:09 am
  10. Whether or not Mitt paid a full tithing or not is not for you to judge a true Later Day Saint Knows that this is between the Individual and God. This is a faith based law and should remain private thats why the Church does not publish this info.

    Posted by jason | August 17, 2012, 10:44 pm
    • Oh please… It’s for me to know if my president is a man of integrity, or a hypocrite stingy man. He isn’t half the man his father was. Yes, typically it isn’t for me to know how other members of the Church are paying tithing, but he is running for PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. He brought the scrutiny upon himself.

      Posted by Justin McAffee | August 17, 2012, 10:56 pm
      • IF tithing and giving is really that important, let’s look at Obama’s and Biden’s, well, there is no record of church tithing = but we can look at charitable giving, eh?

        Obama = < 1% average over the 6 years (reported) prior to being POTUS. 15% average since, but he gave his Nobel Peace Prize money to charity, which skews the average. See, cheapskate before being POTUS; giving others' money away after (and a bogus NPP to boot). Typical!

        Biden – .01% average over the last 10 years. Cheapskate then, cheapskate now!

        I'll be happy to provide links if you challenge this. Would be my pleasure.

        Compared to Obama and Biden, Romney is a prince of charity to others among men (let alone tithing).

        Posted by M.R. Heeman | August 18, 2012, 11:33 am
        • Don’t confuse the man with facts. He must have a hard enough life if he spends his time writing propaganda pieces for Obama.

          Posted by Brian | August 18, 2012, 4:29 pm
        • Oh yeah, Mitt Romney made over $20 million compared to Obama’s 1 or 2. It’s a little different when you donate 2 million and have 18 left over to play around with. Give up dude, Romney is a greedy 1 percenter, and that’s all there is to it. Anyone who is Republican who earns less than 200K is insane. Peace.

          Posted by Justin J. McAffee | August 18, 2012, 10:34 pm
          • Face facts, I thrashed and trashed your whole piece.

            Liberals are cheapskates and miserly skinflints except when it comes to OPM!!

            Your propaganda piece, after a splashy start, is now dead.

            Posted by M.R. Heeman | August 20, 2012, 6:31 pm
  11. Is this just another distraction from the intentional failure Obama has been?

    Why not write about the positive accomplishments for the nation of the Obama-era?

    Are there any?

    Posted by M.R. Heeman | August 17, 2012, 9:49 am
    • Plenty. But for the last two years, Republicans have blocked everything that could have fixed the economy. Why are you so blind to think it’s Obama’s fault?

      Posted by Justin McAffee | August 17, 2012, 4:19 pm
      • So, there are no ‘accomplishments’ to turn to in giving the electorate a positive reason to vote for Obama? Reads like it.

        You don’t even list anything for which Obama bypassed congress through regulations choking the economy, executive fiat re: ‘Fast and Furious’ or simply ignoring existing law as “Emperor Barack” (too many examples libs cheered on then) – to ‘accomplish’? None of those things were ‘accomplishments’ I presume!

        Republicans were not interested, in the national interest, in approving several permutations of ‘stimulus 2′, make-work/sugar-high temporary overspending, when the original ‘stim-u-less’ was such a failure.

        Where, also, are the national budgets? Harry = none in >3 yrs. Barack = NOT A SINGLE VOTE FOR HIS in 3 yrs. Romney looks downright sterling in comparison.

        Anyway, when Bush43 and other (Rs) were POTUS, liberals worked 24/7 to make sure they were “one-term Presidents” as well. It’s called “Big Boy Politics” and to paraphrase a famous movie, there’s “no crying in politics”; which is what your response seemed to convey. Obama simply could not deal with the hand he dealt himself.

        Barack and Joe = gone. ObamaCare = gone. Alinskyist regulations = gone.

        And, Romney’s tithing levels, which are between he and his God and his church, are not a factor at all.

        Posted by M.R. Heeman | August 18, 2012, 9:22 am
  12. There are some misleading things in here. First of all, the LDS Church does not ask for members’ financial records to check on their full tithe-payer status. I believe that much earlier in the primary season Romney indicated that if his tithing dips one year compared to income, he makes up for it the next year. And what business is it of yours, anyway?

    Posted by E B | August 17, 2012, 9:15 am
  13. Great article but why are you the only one reporting this?

    Posted by Barry | August 17, 2012, 5:39 am
    • Probably because it’s a completely jerky article. The man has donated millions to charity and this idiot has the gall to question whether or not it is enough? Tithing is based on faith, it is not up to anybody else to decide whether or not Romney paid a full tithing. It is between him and God. No one else! Not even church leadership. If the author of this article was an actual Mormon he would know that. Which means not only is Mr. Mcafee a jerk but he is a liar as well.

      Man sometimes people just suck.

      Posted by Rhino40 | August 17, 2012, 11:53 am
      • Romney talks about keeping his tithing private today and news media are treating it well. And apparently, he actually gives more than 10% since he donated another 4.8 m through his tyler charity. The author is aping Harry Reid, another Mormon. I think that Romney is really hurt by their reference to his father’s charity which i think is ridiculously excessive. Being catholic, I share with strangers as well. I never talk about it as it would defeat the whole purpose. I could just imagine what Romney is going through. When I was younger, i felt embarrassed whenever my friends would ask why I do it. Worst, I felt embarrassed by my embarrassment. Let us just hope the author has a religion and retract his malice after he has prayed politics out his system.

        Posted by dolores | August 24, 2012, 2:01 pm

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