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I’ve met some incredibly compassionate, generous people since leaving the church. I also met compassionate and generous people in the church, but what was surprising to me when I first left was how good people are when they become “apostates”. This is not something that most members of the LDS church seems to be aware of—they believe those outside of the church can be good, yes (and fawn over other religious people who are doing good things in a “look how unified us super moral religious folk all are!” kind of way), but when someone has “rejected the greater light” they don’t see it the same way. Because how could someone who was deceived by the devil be a better person outside of the church?!

I took to an ex-Mormon forum I’m a part of the other day to ask people what they’ve done with their extra 10% of income and more free time. Here are some of the responses.


 

“This Christmas I set up a Giving Tree for my office with a local elementary. They gave us names of kids and some gifts they needed. We picked 2 names and are getting them clothes and gifts.

I also am signed up to help a coworker distribute propane to local homeless in the metro.

I plan to give to a couple international charities and to a couple local ones. I have my international ones picked and I am researching local.” – Seth

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“I pay my tithes and offerings by sponsoring the Liahona Foundation Stake each year. That way I cut out the middle man (men) and various entities that comprise the corporate church that for some reason can’t seem to trickle anything down to these malnourished LDS children. I also donate to some to other charities here and there.” – Ron

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“I have a friend who’s created small winter packages with things like wool socks and hand warmers, and given them to the homeless on the street.” – Kayla

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“We paid off some debt we had. Helped with a giving tree, helped my parents who are older and financially struggling to get their care fixed, helped my friend a little who is saving to get her husband a grave stone (he passed away unexpectedly earlier this year).” – Desiree

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“I now donate to the Humane Society and ASPCA.” – David

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“Instead of fighting kids to get ready for church and then sitting in church for three hours we make cookies as a family and take them to someone in need.” – Carson

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“We volunteer time and give money where we see need, sometimes to family members if they get laid off or something. Local interfaith ministry, blood bank, battered women’s shelter, and we’re raising another puppy for Guide Dogs for the Blind, which is non-profit and doesn’t charge the blind person for the dog.” – Lauren

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“My still believing, but frustrated, wife has redirected her tithing revenue to charity. This month, it went tithe local shelter for woman who are victims of domestic abuse.” – Nick

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“We have donated to causes we would have contributed to whether in or out of the church. Not paying tithing has allowed us to be more generous in our donations. Next year, though I would like to save to funnel all our charity donations to one cause.” – Nilla

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“I joined the Peace Corps. I did more manual labor service as a missionary, but I feel like I did more good in total as a Peace Corps volunteer.” – Corey

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“We sent our son on a volunteer abroad (orphanage in Ghana) for six months, and we all fell so in love with the kids and the beautiful founder that we are helping them raise money for a newer, more modern building, and sponsoring the kids with the schooling and stuff. We are planning on taking all of the kids there on a future trip to work and play and help them build their new house/school.

Before that, we took the money we would have given to tithing and gave each child the task of researching a charity that they wanted to support. Each kid was able to donate a portion to that charity, and they came up with some really awesome ones that reflected their personal passions and values (this year we gave everything to the orphanage, but as the other kids start their own service projects, we’ll help them with their’s too). I also started a nonprofit that follows my passion, and was able to expand it to help the orphanage in Ghana.” – Tiffany

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“Last year my “tithing” went to the Himalayan Cataract Project and Utah Food Bank.” – Nicholas

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“We have donated to the under ground railroad and Mayan families. Also I try to help friend and family when they need it .” – Melissa

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I now donate my $$ to family preservation groups like the Hope House of Colorado and Saving Our Sisters. They are both organizations that help mothers avoid unnecessary adoptions by providing them with the support they need in the first couple of years of single parenting.

If this had been the church’s model of “helping” me as a single mother, I would have ended up raising my daughter instead of relinquishing her. As it is, the convinced me I couldn’t raise her on my own and that she “deserved” more than me. And most likely, I would still be a member of the LDS church.” – Melinda

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“I replaced the artificial “sisterhood” of Relief Society with facilitating a postpartum support group, which has been functioning as a community of service for four years now! It has grown to include around 100 women who are connected and constantly reaching out to comfort and help each other. It has been amazing to be part of a secular sisterhood. 🙂” – Rachel

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“I spend a sizable chunk of change to go to third world countries to do surgery for impoverished women at no cost.” – Douglas

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“I think we have a moral obligation to help those less fortunate than ourselves. I think this goes hand in hand with an obligation to give our time, money, and other efforts as effectively as possible. Peter Singer’s books The Life You Can Save, and The Most Good You Can Do are the best that I’ve found on the subject and significantly impacted my own lifestyle and choices.
I direct nearly all my charitable giving to the organizations recommended at thelifeyoucansave.org and givewell.org.” – Ryan

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“I donate money for medical research.” – Jeanne

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“I still pay ‘tithing’. I just don’t pay it to the church, and I don’t believe there is any god commanding me to do so who will reward/punish me based on my decision. I just think it’s a good thing to do, and I’m lucky enough to be in a financial position to do it.

I tell you, it’s a lot easier to just write a check and forget it, in the ignorant security that your money will be put to use where god deems best. It’s a lot harder to become passionate about a cause or causes, find charities that share your vision, and conduct the due diligence to ensure your money is being used prudently and effectively. But wow, it is so much more rewarding to know where your money is going and seeing the tangible results of its impact.” – Brent

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“I like giving my tithing money to those in need. Now that I don’t give it to the church, I feel good that 100% of it is doing good and going towards what Christ would do and not just $5 annually, while the remainder goes to corporate waste.” – Bryce

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“I bought gifts for a child in need through the Sub for Santa program.” – Connor



Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young
Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young
Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young would have been a millennial blogger, but she died in 1901. The wife of Brigham Young, and prior to that Joseph Smith, and prior to that Henry Jacobs, who was sent on a mission by Brigham before he married her, Zina loves writing, long walks on the beach, and playing the field.

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