Two Green Apples

I like faith-promoting stories that are more than just rumors but come from sources I know and trust. Recently in talking with the mother of a missionary currently serving in Russia, I learned of the experience of one of his investigators with the principle of tithing. With the kind permission of the family, below is the story, straight from the missionary’s letter home. Out of respect for Russia’s laws on privacy, he has withheld the name of
woman, and I am likewise not sharing the name of the missionary or his
specific mission.

Friday, we met with one of our investigators…. The last lesson we taught (tithing) was not the best. She was crying the whole time and our member present was less than helpful. We planned just to watch the restoration video and have a lighter lesson. She walked in and declared that she wanted to pay tithing right then. When we explained it was only required after baptism, she didn’t really care and demanded to pay. When we asked what caused her to accept the law of tithing, she told us an awesome story. She said after the previous lesson, she walked home crying and praying for faith to accept tithing. She walked into the store and looked at her favorite green apples, saw the price, and walked distraught out of the store. She couldn’t afford them, even not paying tithing. “How will I be able to live if I pay tithing?” she asked God. Then, on the way home, she looked down into a nearby snow bank to see two shining green apples. After asking around, finding that nobody had lost them, she took them home as a testimony to her that if she pays tithing, God will provide. What a miracle! We then watched the restoration video and she asked to be baptized finally.

Two green apples in the snow. What a kind and simple gift to let someone know that He understands and loves her. And what a beautiful image to remind us that we can live the law of tithing without fear.

Author: Jeff Lindsay

100 thoughts on “Two Green Apples

  1. That's no more than a fairly tale. What if she hadn't found 2 green apples? What if, as in the real world, she doesn't find 2 green apples every time tithing is due? What if she found 2 abandoned small children who needed care or 2 bills she hadn't expected?
    What if she buys the myth and gets baptized and then find the new church essays? Or that she's gay?

    If this event ever actually took place I wish this young lady well in whatever decision she makes but if she makes a core decision like this on the basis of finding apples she's in for a life challenged by her propensity to make decisions on the basis of superstition and she'll need all the luck she can get. A life already on the margins of desperation and emotional decisions don't bode well.

  2. I was a faithful tithe payer for years. Always on the gross. And I often had to put entire loads of groceries on my credit card to feed my kids. And I had no health insurance, so doctor's visits went on the credit card, too. I did exactly what the church expected. I went on a mission, I got married while a sophomore in college. I had two kids before I graduated with a Bachelors. Another kid while in grad school. I worked full-time, went to school full-time. Wife was primarily a stay-at-home mom, just like a good Mormon family.

    In 2011, we had nearly 10,000 dollars worth of credit card debt. I was giving money to the church and going into debt for food.

    The church is a crook.

  3. Here's a thought….

    If money is so tight, don't pay tithing. Get back on your feet, start paying tithing again.


  4. Yes, you either have faith or you don't. That's the rub, isn't it? Faith really means something, it's not just an abstract "I believe that" Well, do you? Do you actually believe in Jesus or not? I note that tithing and the LDS church's main message on tithing relies on Malachi and other Bible scriptures; so there's no need to think tithing is an LDS concept alone (several other denominations also preach tithing).

    Faith is more than mere belief, despite our Protestant friends protestations to the contrary. Jesus has always demanded that we change and sacrifice for Him. Consider the rich man, whom Jesus said to sell all he had and give to the poor and follow Him. That's a far greater demand than what the LDS church asks.

    What price are you willing to pay for Jesus? Apparently, the anonymous posters in this thread aren't willing to pay that price.

    That widow woman, the one who paid in 2 mites, which was all that she had. Think she could have used that money for food? Or something else? Of course she could. Not all blessings of tithing are financial, you know. Faith demands sacrifice.

    Tithing is hard, no question. Likely, at the moment it may well be the hardest sacrifice the Lord demands of us. Sadly, I fear that soon in today's world, we will look back with longing at being asked to pay only 10%, instead of paying with our lives, to follow Jesus. And that is not just an LDS thing: I suspect that all Christians will have to decide whether they really have faith enough to follow Jesus, even if it costs them everything including their lives…. or whether they put their own selves first and Jesus second.

    I hope that the greatest sacrifice I am ever called on to make is a mere 10%. But I fear it will not. And if you cannot find the faith to pay 10%, when that is a hard thing to do: will you have the faith to stand up for Jesus if your job is on the line? Your good name being smeared as a "bigot" because you follow Christ? How about if you have your life at stake?

    No, I count it a privilege to pay tithing. It helps build faith; you do get blessings, and, frankly, it is a great reminder that everything on this earth is the Lords, not ours. And I at least need that lesson occasionally.

  5. We often hear that tithing is paid with faith, not with money. I have heard a few tender stories like the green apples in the snow, & have experienced a few myself. I also have first-hand knowledge in extended family of instances where the last funds were used to pay tithing, & the kids went hungry, even tho the bishop knew about it.
    In the scriptures, we are told that if our offerings are given grudgingly, they are not acceptable. I believe that applies to tithing as well. We are commanded to pay tithing, & I have always found it easier to pay tithing as the very first bill paid. I have children who choose to have the tithing amount direct deposited into an account, before they even receive the paycheck, & who then pay once a year the contents of that account. I don't think the Lord cares as much whether we pay on the gross or the net, or every paycheck vs all at once, as he does that the tithing comes willingly from our hearts.
    We have had times where it was hard financially to pay tithing, & where the grocery budget was more than a little boring with inexpensive, repetitive meals, but the experience taught us to be grateful to be able to eat multiple meals per day, something many on earth do not experience. Paying our tithing first sometimes required that other purchases not be made downline, due to the absence of funds, & our family learned a great deal about needs vs wants. In our first-world experience, many of us confuse our wants with needs. – M

  6. Steve,

    Sure…that is exactly what the Church teaches. And thus, that is what a faithful Mormon who follows the prophets would do.

  7. My point is, before succumbing to be utterly disgusted with the Church and pronounce "pray, pay, and obey," how about take stock as to what you are capable of doing. Fall down, get back up. I'd rather take a sabbatical from paying tithing than reaching a breaking point and chuck the Church out altogether. Church is for the imperfect, making their way through life. There will be road bumps, repentance will be involved. Keep going, repent when needed, lift others up, allow yourself to be lifted, keep the faith.


  8. That is a great way of looking at it, Steve, but seriously…this is not the spirit of the messages coming from the top. You know this. Thus, you shouldn't expect the average attentive member to feel that your route is a spiritually safe one. Thanks, though.

  9. "Do you actually believe in Jesus or not."

    Vance. Paying tithing isn't a matter of believing in Jesus. It is a matter of believing in Joseph Smith and the whole line of modern "prophets."

  10. *shrug* EBU, your position that God doesn't actually want anyone to do what He has commanded us to do seems rather perilous to me. I said before that the church teaches tithing based off of Malachi, and last I checked, that has nothing to do with Joseph Smith.

    But lets be honest here: Tithing is not the preferred method. Jesus taught the Law of Consecration. I somehow doubt that EBU would be happy if the LDS church was teaching exactly what Jesus said to do, which was sell everything, give it to the church, and live in a completely church dominated economic system. After all, Peter was instrumental in having two people suffer the ultimate penalty for lying about how much money they had.

    Tithing is less "onerous" than what Peter and the early church demanded. And we Mormons tried it… and found out that most people today still are not capable of such discipline. So the Lord rolled back to Tithing.

    But hey, who thinks that Peter knew anything about what the Lord wants, right? He must have been confused, because God would never, ever want anyone to sacrifice anything and follow Him–why, perish the very idea! It's a doctrine of Satan to actually follow God's commandments!

    EBU, you are seriously on spiritual shaky ground with your incessant dismissal of the idea that God wants us to actually obey Him; and that there are actual spiritual consequences for breaking God's commandments.

  11. The spirit of the message coming from the top is that it is all important. The specific complaint was that $10,000 credit card debt happened because of groceries with the final remark that the Church is a crook. My response is, don't pay tithing. You wouldn't be the first nor the last to have troubles paying tithing. Now if we were to look at the scenario and implement church welfare, it seems that the $10,000 burden would not have been so high because of the assistance that is available from the Church but I am not familiar at all with the scenario.


  12. The church also counsels against going into debt. I don't think you should be blaming your financial difficulties on any outside person or entity. The church didn't create or administer your monthly family budget, you did.

  13. Anomynous;

    "In 2011, we had nearly 10,000 dollars worth of credit card debt. I was giving money to the church and going into debt for food. "

    I'd say that shows some very poor financial planning on your part. Paying yithing has always shown me how to be wiser with finances. Weird how you got a different result.

  14. Darren,

    What is your annual income?

    Do some math. If your income falls below a certain level, a continuous payment of 10% of your paycheck will create a situation in which you cannot meet the most basic needs of existence (food, shelter, medical care). Each month will pass, and you'll find yourself deeper and deeper in the hole.

    The basic needs of life are basically the same for all. The larger the family, of course, the greater the expense. If this basic expense is below a certain level, the 10% payment of tithes will cause a deficit each month. Each month that deficit will grow, because the basic expenses and the 10% tithe is static.

    It's simple.

    As for my financial planning…we were a family of five renting a two-bedroom apartment at the cost of $435 a month. That is dirt cheap. We couldn't even afford to buy our kids clothes. We clothed them with hand-me-downs for years. This breaks my wife's heart that she never got to dress her own children. For some of these years, our kids were covered on the state-sponsored Medicaid program, but eventually we were kicked off. The state's program was basically bankrupt, and thus we were considered not poor enough. So, with no health insurance available through my employer (except for me), we put money on the credit card to take care of basic medical expenses.

    So, yea…maybe my financial planning was terrible. But my mission president told me in my exit interview not to put off having a family for schooling. So being a good priesthood holder, I followed his admonition. In this and in similar ways, the church and its leaders get very involved in the everyday financial decisions of its members, and any Mormon who has been awake for the past 40 years knows that this is true.

    1. The good thing about 10% is that it's the same for everyone regardless of income. The church didn't tell you how many kids to have. It didn't tell you what education to get. It didn't tell you what job to take. And even if it did, those were ultimately your decisions to make. No one can, or should, live your life for you. Displacing blame and responsibility ultimately disempowers you as an individual. Take responsibility, and take control–be the captain of your own ship!

  15. Anonymous 7:11

    You crack me up.

    No…the church doesn't tell us we HAVE to pay tithing, either. It just tells us that we won't be with our families forever if we don't.

    I have learned that the Mormons who seem to thrive the most as Mormons, do so because they really don't take it all that seriously.

  16. Vance,

    Too bad the Lord didn't roll back the Law of Consecration for Ananias and his wife like he did for you. Obviously, they weren't strong enough to live it.

    And once again, you fail to listen to what I am saying. I never said that God doesn't want us to keep commandments. I just don't agree that he commanded us to do most of what the LDS church says he commands us to do.

  17. Anomynous;

    "What is your annual income? "

    My tax filings show about $24,000. That's married with fiv children. The Bishop's storehouse has been a lifesaver…literally. Food stamps works great too. Whatever works best.

  18. Anomynous;

    We also have two dogs.

    Whenever you can, buy a home. It's financially better…much better than renting. Financially speaking renting is only good for the landlord (which I hope to become someday). Wjen your kids are old enough, have them work. Babysitting, lawn mowing, house cleaning, etc are great ways for them to eanr money and value it. Your wife can babysit as well. My wife surrers from chronic sucidal depression so while she
    looooooves the babies, home sitting with her in charge is not the best idea. We live with what we can do.

    Not putting off family for school is correct but that does not mean to put off school, which I suspect you did. And, even if you did not get post secondary schooling abd will not get it, work hard and find what you can so skill wise and do it. My cousin did not go to college and partied hard for years after high school (almost killed him by by God's grace, he was spared). Despite this, he was an excellent tool maker. When he discovered this skill he eventially opened his own shop crafting specialized tool.s for hospitals as per doctro's soecifications and became our amily's first self made millionaire. He's bi polar (not formally as farcas I know but he sure acts like it) and divorced but is raising four great kids.

    My best friend in high school dropped out of high school (I would have too had it not been for my parents, provding me with parenting he never really had growing up). He had his first child at 17 or 18 and despite not knowing if his girlfriend was pregnant with his baby or sombody else's, he kept the child and raised her very lovingly. She's in college with a very bright future. He's in charge of a plant in Galvaston, TX (a bit south of Houston) and makes about $20,000 more per year than when Inwas teaching ful time in the public school system which, of course, required a college degree. Good for him!

    It's quite challenging not doubt but also quite possible to make it and make it well. Stop blaming the Church and wise leaders for your problems. Wise up, butch up, and get work. Pray and rely upon God for guidance and I *promise* you success.

    PS – hand be downs and thrift store clothes have been the staple for our own kids forever. Nothing wrong with it. We've also been through several couches which those plus our two tables and chairs (many broken as per the joy of having five kids) and we never paid for any of them. Nor our bedframes or bed cousionsand only recently actually bought our first cousion. The Lord provides when you're prayerful, mindful, and put forth effort.

    Pps – Do you live in California, Illinois, or Michigan? Anyway, get to Texas as soon as you can. We know how to run a state far better and any of those three states and by and large better than any other state save perhaps Utah.

  19. Darren,

    Thanks for the advice. Things are better now. We worked through it. I didn't put off school, by the way.

    I don't think I'd have done anything differently even if I could go back now. We no longer have 10,000 grand credit card debt. We aren't out of the woods, yet, but things have improved.

    God was there every step of the way. My only point is that I do not believe the payment of tithing wins anyone special blessings. I have sat through too many Sunday School lessons about tithing in which the general focus was on paying tithing in order to get the blessings. Sometimes, there aren't any discernible blessings. Sometimes there are. It all seems so random and arbitrary to me that there is no way to predict what will happen by writing out that check.

    And trying to convince potential converts that tithing will bring blessings seems unethical to me. I won't get into that now, though.

    I wish you well in your life, and good luck with those kids. I have three. My heart is beginning to break because my oldest will be moving on in her life soon, and it just doesn't seem fair that this is what all those years come to. But that is life. We raise 'em and then watch 'em walk away into their sunset.

  20. EBU, I listen just fine to what you are saying. You claim that it's faith alone that is required to be saved. And that commandments are really just suggestions: nice things to do, yes, but ultimately it is your faith alone that saves you. All that other stuff–tithing, baptism, even going to church–is recommended but not required and you will not suffer any consequences for failing to do any of them. That's your belief, and that's the belief of just about every "faith alone!" Protestant who ever comes along and tells Mormons that we are going to hell because we think we can earn our way to heaven. That somehow God hates the idea of people following Him so much that He will thrust Mormons (and Catholics, too: this isn't just anti-Mormon bigotry) down to hell for thinking they need to do what He commanded us.

    In your world, and you've admitted it EBU, there is no consequence for sin, once you have "saving faith." No matter what you do, you cannot fall (I note that is not technically true: apparently Protestants can rape and murder and go to heaven, but convert to Mormonism or Catholicism and you go to hell). That's the only logical consequence of your side's arguments about how we evil Mormons think we can earn our way to heaven; when it's only faith that gets you there–as if paying tithing when it's hard; or leaving your home and being cast out by your family doesn't require faith.

    Yes, EBU: I know you think God hasn't commanded you to do, well, anything. Certainly not pay an honest tithe, despite Abraham doing it. I recall Martin Luther once called the Sermon on the Mount a speech from the devil. He's the lead Protestant. I wonder: do you agree? Because Jesus sure demanded an awful lot of His followers in that sermon. Of course, Paul came along and canceled those demands as commandments, reducing them to suggestions, right? Do them or not, no big deal.

    By the way, why did the Lord smite down Annais in your world, EBU? I thought all you needed was faith alone to be saved… so why did God slay Annais for failing to do something? That almost seems like God requires us to do *gasp!* works and keep His commandments? And after Jesus's resurrection, no less, when the Law of Moses had been repealed! Surely the Lord couldn't possibly expect His saints to actually do anything, right?? Right? Didn't Paul say we are free to do whatever we want, because the Law is dead? Yet God enforced a law on Annais! How could this be?

  21. It's like this, Vance.

    You tell me what God's commandments are according to the teachings of your church. I simply don't agree that God commanded us to do some of this stuff, and then you accuse me of denying the need to obey the commandments.

    You need to convince me first that God actually commanded me to wear special robes in a ritual in a temple.

    The Muslims would tell us that God has commanded us to not eat pork. Vance, by eating pork, do you deny the commandments of God? No you don't, because you don't accept that pork consumption is wrong.

    You seem unable to view the world outside your own belief system. You judge me based upon your own belief system, as if your belief system is obviously and so clearly correct.

    As for Malachi, if you read the entire book of Malachi you'll see that he was speaking only to a very specific audience. He wasn't speaking to the general laymember. He was speaking to the Priests. It was the Priests he was condemning for their failure to properly use the Lord's money.

    Now, considering that your church is using sacred funds to build skyrises, cities, and malls; is operating radio stations that play music that would not be allowed at a church dance; and is operating hunting preserves for the wealthy (you have to hand over $8000 for the chance to shoot an elk), I believe that Malachi is very relevant to the LDS Church today.

  22. EBU,

    I'm curious as to where you got your specific information as to the Church's disposal of "sacred funds."