A Return on Your Investment

Contributors: Hank, Walker, DC, Bryce

Think about all the money your average LDS tithe payer puts into the Church over the course of their lives. Obviously, the True Believers are convinced that they have gotten more than a fair return on their investment, whether this return be in greater spirituality, material blessings that would not have been gained otherwise, use of lovely Church facilities, or in being able to achieve the highest level of celestial glory. But once you stop believing, the return on your investment drops to zero.

This is frustrating to many ex-Mormons. Ten percent of their income over some gosh-awful number of years adds up to quite the chunk of change. But it's not like there is some way to get it back.

Is there?

This subject came up on the RFM Bulletin Board, and it was decided that there are plenty of ways to get something back. For convenience, they have been rated on a scale of 0-3, depending on the level of return of the activity involved.

Level 0: No real financial gain, unless you consider the money that would have to be spent for alternate forms of entertainment.

Level 1: Small financial gain. Probably not worth the effort.

Level 2: Good financial gain.

Level 3: Extreme financial gain. Every one of these would bring a stiff jail sentence, and I will not be held responsible if anyone is dumb enough to actually try one of them.

In fact, I'd better cover my backside: Just about all of these are illegal to some degree or another. Just sit back, laugh if you can, fume if you must, but for your own sake, don't do anything stupid.

Getting Your Tithing Back:

- Sneak into restrooms and fill up bottles of liquid soap. Take them home for personal use. (2)

- Load up on toilet paper and paper towels.(2)

- Use the toilet while you're there. This will save water, as well as wear and tear on the facilities in your own home.(1)

- Haul garbage to the ward dumpster at night.(2)

- Use the gym and ball fields, if that interests you.(0)

- Bang on the pianos. No real monetary benefit, but it will make you feel better.(0)

- Take home chalk, erasers, and pencils from the ward library.(2)

- Volunteer to help the teachers clean up the sacrament. You get to eat the extra bread. Often, you can find butter in the kitchen fridge to make it taste better.(1)

- Wait until sacrament meeting clears out, then comb the benches and floors for spilled Cheeri-os and raisin fruit snacks. First come, first serve.(1)

-Lurk around the kitchen on Tuesday nights. Often the relief society has delicious things to share. If you get no immediate response from just standing and looking hungry, try pushing a broom around a little as if to help clean.(2)

- Stuff a couple of plugs of lawn grass in your pockets to take home and patch up the bald spots in your lawn. Bonus: watch for free earthworms to take as fish bait.(1)

- Take a few pebbles from the parking and use them to build up your gravel driveway.(1)

- You know that fountain in Temple Square with all the coins in it? I'm guessing some ambitious soul could get twenty smackers right there. It might not pay for the scuba rental, but it's a matter of principle. (0)

- The flowers at Temple Square are quite lovely in the springtime. Snag a few of them, take them across the street to Crossroads, and woo the woman of your dreams. Or steal them one petal at a time and make some exceptional potpourri. (1 (3 if the girl happens to be rich))

- Sign up for dozens upon dozens of Book of Mormons. Whether starting campfires, squashing bugs, or creating tasteful piniatas, anyone with imagination can find dozens of uses for them.(1)

- Or take them up to the top of the Church Office Building, rip out a few pages, wet them down, and nail defenseless elderly genealogy workers. There may not be any permanent economic advantages to this, but ask yourself, "Where can I pay for this sort of entertainment?" (0)

- More Book of Mormon "liberation." To get all the Books of Mormon you could want, simply go to the Marriott hotel, follow the cleaning lady around for a few hours, and snag a book every time she starts scrubbing down a bathroom. There may even be a few dozen on the cleaning cart, so don't pass it up. (2)

- Need a cable for your printer? The Genealogy Library has dozens. They also have plenty of paper, pens, and plenty of other stuff that isn't nailed down. (2)

- Other sources of paper include hymnals, tithing slips and envelopes, and if you're feeling adventurous, the Ward Library. Pick up a felt board while you're there, though I can't imagine what you're going to use it for. (1)

- Need wire to hang pictures with? Steal the five highest and lowest strings on the piano. Nobody uses those keys anyways. The second B sharp is also a prime candidate. (1)

- We all figured the Bishop was embezzling some of that tithing money to finance his trips to Wendover, Nevada, right? Anything on his front lawn can be considered fair game. (0 to 3, depending on what's lying on the lawn)

- Stealthily remove fallen seed pods from church grounds to seed your own shrubberies for your home and friends' homes. (1 or 2, depending on how good a gardener you are)

- How about we just liberate a major church building. A temple? There's a mighty purdy one out here in California - it'd make a nice headquarters for the revolution. (3)

- I hear security is pretty lax around the Joseph Smith Papyri. Just fold them up, slip them in your pocket, and whistle as you leave. Then hold them for ransom. . . Never mind. What are the odds that the Church would actually WANT them back? (3)

- Put on a pair of glasses and a white wig. Walk into Zions Bank. Introduce yourself as Gordon B. Hinckley, and ask to withdraw one billion dollars. They may ask for ID, so be prepared. Also, hiring a few beefy guys in suits and dark glasses would make things more convincing. Just tell them to wear somber expressions and hold their hand up to their ear once in a while. (3)

- Rent a helicopter, find a sturdy rope, and a few explosive charges. It would take about ten minutes to "liberate" the Angel Moroni from atop his prison in downtown SLC. (3)

- With a welding torch and a Ryder truck, it wouldn't be too difficult to get Brigham Young, either. But plan ahead so you don't get caught in Downtown SLC traffic. (3)

- Y'know, you could probably make off with one of the smaller temples this way. . . (3)

- Gulfstream jets bring top dollar on the black market. (3)

- Convince ten members that Hinckley is a fallen prophet, that you are God's anointed successor, and that they should pay you ten percent of their increase (but shouldn't ask about where it's going). Then each of them will convince ten members of the same thing, and each of those hundred will convince ten members, and. . . whoa! Amway flashback! (3)

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