People leaving Greater Mount Moriah Baptist Church after receiving mandatory tithing letters.

After the Greater Mount Moriah Primitive Baptist Church sent out letters to its congregation saying tithes were mandatory, some members are confirming the authenticity of the letters:

…a Tampa women told ABC Action News her church says she must pay more than $1,000 a year in donations or don’t come at all.

And some are now leaving the church altogether (presumably for other churches that extort 10% of their income with implicit threats of hell rather than overt threats of being removed from the church roster):

“People were really friendly there, and I really enjoyed being there,” said Candace Petterson.

Petterson said finding the Greater Mount Moriah Primitive Baptist Church was a blessing. The single mother had been looking for a church closer to her new home and six months in, things were going perfect. That is until she received an odd letter at her home last week.

“To be a member in good standing and have the right to vote, adults are to contribute the minimum amount of $50 per month,” read Petterson.

To her surprise it was from the church stating she was delinquent in her financial support.

“Fifty dollars per month, now this shocked me because I haven’t heard about the $50 per month. So where did this come from?” asked Petterson. “Then Mount Moriah day is on there, $150.”

The letter goes on to tell Petterson along with those two charges, she would also be on the hook for a yearly church anniversary fee of $250– a total of $1,000 in required donations a year. Petterson says she was told one of the fees is to help pay off debt held by the church.

Even Petterson’s 11-year-old child would have to meet the finical obligations, or also face possible scrutiny.

“My child don’t have a job, I’m her parent. She’s 11 years old. Why would you charge a child $5 a month to be a member of a church?” said Petterson.

We reached out to church leaders who acknowledged the letter had come from them, but did not offer any other explanation.

We also left several messages for the churches pastor, but so far, have not heard back. At this point, Petterson says she’ll now try and find a new place of worship. But worries others might be being taken advantage of.

“It’s like you say to me, if you want to be a member of this church, you need to pay this. If you want to find God, it don’t say anything like that in the Bible,” said Petterson.

While I can appreciate Petterson’s disgust to an extent (like I said, I don’t think other churches are much better for implicitly doing the same thing), she’s simply wrong about what the bible says.  The bible explicitly says followers must tithe and implies that the tithe must be 10%,

This is something I appreciate about groups like Oasis in the atheist community.  They’re usually very clear about what’s going to happen with the money you give and do not obligate people to give or create some miserable idea like hell to coerce people to give.  Giving to organizations you believe in is awesome, but groups coercing people into giving their money is pretty shitty.

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