Nate doubts that many people gossip about tithing, as I had previously suggested. Let me explain a bit more (this is awkward to discuss). It’s certainly hard to pin down for me where I am being told information due to my calling, or where there is an over-sharing going on. I will give a few general examples of situations where it often arises:
Situation 1: Asking for help in callings.
Me: “We need a new [home teaching supervisor / primary teacher / assistant secretary / etc].”
Leader: “Hmm, I’m not sure if anyone is available. Do you have anyone in mind?”
Me: “Well, Brother X and Brother Y don’t have callings.”
Leader: “No, they can’t. Brother X has problems with chastity, and Brother Y isn’t paying tithing. . . ”
Situation 2: Missionaries over for dinner.
Me: “So, how are things?”
Missionary: “Well, our recent baptism, brother Z, is having problems with [tithing / smoking / chastity / etc].”
[Often added, along the lines of] “And the worst part is, his brother / neighbor / friend is a member, but they don’t pay tithing either!”
In both cases, I may be getting some information because of my calling, but I’m not sure (it varies, case by case). I know I do get lots of information about the ward members due to my calling. I am also certain that I get more than I should, because people have a hard time keeping things secret. There are certainly instances where information is shared to try to help, but it seems to me that in many instances the tone is more of “can you believe what Brother X is doing!” rather than “we need to help Brother X.”
It is certainly more prevalent in my current ward than elsewhere that I’ve seen. This may be a function of being in a high-baptism, low-retention ward where members are constantly looking over each others’ shoulders.
In Situation 1, why would â€œLeaderâ€? choose to reveal the specifics of why that particular member was unworthy to be extended a calling? Why wouldnâ€™t he just say â€œNo, Brother X and Brother Y canâ€™t having callings right nowâ€? (which still, I think, reveals too much), or even better, just, â€œCan you suggest some other possible members for this calling?â€? In both situations, the â€œLeaderâ€? seems to be in a breach of confidence. Perhaps it depends on who else is present when these things are said.