Charging Money for Spiritual Gifts
This is a post about charging money for the use of spiritual gifts. WOW! Talk about a TOUCHY TOPIC!
When my "gift" of intuitive Sight first showed up, the idea of charging money for "spiritual gifts" was the big drama in my life. I was spending all my time using my "gift" in valuable service to others, and feeling guilty about even ASKING for money in exchange. Asking for ANYTHING in exchange. I spent a lot of time in a space of GUILT and SHAME and CONFUSION.
When I started having too many clients to manage, and I was so poor I realized I was going to have to get a real job instead of helping people all day if I was going to make ends meet, that was when I finally felt like it was appropriate to ask for donations. When I prayed about it I felt like that was the right choice, but even then, that still got me in hot water with people who felt that all "spiritual gifts" should only be shared for free.
Including myself, because at that time, I pretty much felt that way--even when God was directly telling me it was okay to ask for an exchange for my time.
Isn't charging money for the use of spiritual gifts--priestcraft?!
Well, let's talk about it. Here are some thoughts on priestcraft from the main website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
NEPHI'S DEFINITION OF PRIESTCRAFT
"Priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the Welfare of Zion." ( 2 Nephi 26:29)
SPENCER W. KIMBALL'S THOUGHTS ON PRIESTCRAFT TO CES TEACHERS “I want our youth never to be taught by mercenaries. Should any of you be teaching in this program merely as an occupation, almost wholly for the compensation, then I hope you will be assigned to one of the other areas. But if your salary is incidental and your grand and magnificent obsession is our children and their growth and development, then I hope you will be teaching in New York and Michigan and Wisconsin and Utah where my loved children are” (“What I Hope You Will Teach My Grandchildren and All Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to religious educators, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, 8).
CES ADMINISTRATOR PAUL V. JOHNSON'S TAKE ON PRIESTCRAFT The desire to get gain can be manifest in our regular duties and our salary. It can also be manifest with outside related interests such as publishing or continuing education. I ask a question: Can a person receive a salary in CES and not be involved in priestcraft? Yes, definitely. Can a person publish, get pay for continuing education, or take advantage of other opportunities and not be involved in priestcraft? Yes, they can. It is a matter of the heart. What is the motivation? What President Kimball said is a key in this area. When our hearts are set on money, it clouds our view and leads to bad decisions. ~~~
Let me say it in caps: IT IS A MATTER OF THE HEART. What is the motivation?? THAT is what makes something priestcraft or not priestcraft. It is INTENTION.
If a person's motivation for charging money is to selfishly get rich off the backs of others by setting themselves up as a charismatic light, that's priestcraft.
If their motivation is to make money to support their family--or to limit their working hours--or to help them focus on their clients most dedicated to healing-- and they have their hearts set on God, even if they are getting paid more than ::you:: think they should be, it is not priestcraft.
HEART! IS! EVERYTHING!
In the meantime, TRUE priestcraft is hardly limited to MONEY.
True priestcraft also has to do with fame and praise and building people's faith in a person instead of in God.
In my opinion: one reason priestcraft is a sin because it encourages people to violate the commandment to put God first. Priestcraft, to me, is setting yourself up to become an idol. Whether money is involved or just the praise and fame of the world, it's about the intention to be loved and rich and praised due to a cult of personality that distracts people from God and His key messages.
For me, my work is about SERVING THE WORLD and not about me being important. You can believe that or not believe that--your judgment on me is your own business.
But as far as I am concerned, the real person I'm obsessed with is JESUS!!!! because He is the ultimate best. So if there's a choice between you trusting me and my word on something, or you trusting your own intuition and the Holy Spirit on something, I am always, always, always going to vote in favor of the latter. ~~~~
YOU CAN'T CHARGE MONEY FOR USING THE PRIESTHOOD
Weirdly, people have brought this up a TON of times in the context of my work and work similar to mine. I wrote a draft of this post weeks ago, and deleted this section out of it--right before the Church handbook was changed to call out healing practices that imitate the priesthood, and the energy healing community was thrown into another mini-uproar. So I added it back in!
To me, there is nothing to be confused about--but plenty of people are still confused about so-called "gifts" and the Priesthood. Like my bishop who said, "Remember that this is NOTHING like the Priesthood--but treat it EXACTLY like the Priesthood." What does that even mean?
Even HE said, "I don't know what that means." Ugh.
Well, let's define some terms.
According to the Church website, "The priesthood is the eternal power and authority of our Heavenly Father. Through the priesthood, God created and governs the heavens and earth. Through this power He redeems and exalts His children. He gives worthy priesthood holders authority to administer ordinances of salvation."
The REAL problem with talking about the Priesthood and money is that too often, people making judgment calls do not have very firm and accurate ideas about what the Priesthood actually IS--and what the difference is between "the Priesthood" and "Priesthood holders" and "holding the Priesthood."
When people argue that you can't charge money for using the Priesthood, what they are literally saying is that it is wrong to charge money for administering the ordinances of salvation. Which is accurate.
Charging money to baptize someone or give them a priesthood blessing would obviously (to me) be wrong.
Since my own work does NOT involve any priesthood ordinances, I don't feel my work fits under this strange umbrella, as some people have confusingly accused, without apparently being aware of what the priesthood actually IS.
But most people bringing this up at all bring it up because they do not clearly differentiate mentally between "the priesthood," and priesthood functions, and the functions of priesthood holders. It is wrong for a priesthood holder to charge money for performing ordinances. But to conflate any and all intuitive healing work with the performing of sacred ordinances is nonsensical and irrelevant.
To claim that intuitive healing is at all similar to the use of priesthood authority shows that the accuser has no understanding of the priesthood OR intuitive healing work.
To put it bluntly, when people say things like "Remember this is NOTHING like the Priesthood, but treat it EXACTLY like the Priesthood anyway," to me it is a sign of a disordered mind. I don't mean like a clinical mental disorder, I just mean: this is not clear thinking, the verbiage is conflated and confusing, the terms are undefined, it is not logical, and this person is clearly not being orderly in their thoughts.
God is a God of order. If your thoughts on the interplay between money and spiritual gifts
and the Priesthood are not clear and orderly and logical--to me you probably need to do a little more thinking and research about it.
The issues surrounding Priesthood holders charging money for the administration of ordinances are NOT (to me) related at all to the issues surrounding charging money for the use of so-called "spiritual gifts."
Spiritual gifts are DISTINCT and SEPARATE from the priesthood--and the power of the priesthood is just as distinct and separate from the authority to perform, and the performance of, sacred ordinances. Confusing and conflating all these things is just inviting disorder into your sacred mind. These things are not the same.
And to be clear: I do not personally perform ANY priesthood ordinances, and therefore I also do not charge for that activity. I also do not claim to use the priesthood, I do not imitate it, and the fact that this is even a discussion we have to have is a little bit weird to me. ~~~~
CHARGING FOR SPIRITUAL GIFTS?
When people get all worked up over charging money for spiritual gifts, I think it's really important that they get REALLY CLEAR about what a spiritual gift even is.
Most people think they are the same thing as talents, and that is how I'm going to use this term in this essay, because that is how people generally think of them. But just FYI, our talents and natural aptitudes are NOT the same as spiritual gifts, per the definitions put forth by various church leaders like Joseph Smith and others.
I'll say it again: SPIRITUAL GIFTS ARE NOT THE SAME AS TALENTS. I believe my abilities are TALENTS and NOT "spiritual gifts" as defined by their ::actual:: definition. Literally anyone can view the human energy field. Literally anyone can do what I do if they choose to put in the work. So I do NOT view or count my own work as a spiritual gift, or using spiritual gifts, according to prophetic definitions, but I am using this term incorrectly ::on purpose:: for the sake of this essay because so few people have bothered to understand the true prophetic definition of spiritual gifts.
If we all understood the actual definition of spiritual gifts, we would never have this discussion and people would never get upset about work like mine--so for now I'm just going to use the term incorrectly, as it is typically used. For more information on actual spiritual gifts, I'll link you to my friend's group about this in the comments.
So, assuming that spiritual gifts are identical to talents for the sake of this essay, let's hear what the Apostle Paul has to say about it in 1 Corinthians 12 (NIV):
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different
kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. ~~~
So let's list out these spiritual gifts Paul has listed.
- Knowledge - Wisdom - Faith - Healing - Miraculous powers - Prophecy - Distinguishing between spirits (or discerning of spirits, in other translations) - Speaking in tongues - Interpreting tongues
Okay. So how many of those fit the bill for normal jobs?
- Teachers and educators of all types ideally use gifts of knowledge and wisdom - Doctors, surgeons, acupuncturists, therapists all ideally use the gift of healing- Translators and speakers of multiple languages may enjoy the gift of tongues - In the US military, the Army's psychic espionage program was literally like 40% Mormon and all their bishops were cool with it. So we can add prophecy, miraculous powers/remote viewing and discernment of spirits to the list of legit paid jobs that involve "spiritual gifts"
A lot of people also say that musical ability is a spiritual gift. And artistic talent. And mathematical ability. That basically any talent a person comes with already in them is a sort of spiritual gift. (Again, this is incorrect according to the actual definitions of the terms, but this IS how most people typically understand what spiritual gifts are.)
So now what will we say? No one can charge money for the use of their natural spiritual gifts/talents?
Educators: you can't charge money for your knowledge. Doctors: you can't charge money for your healing. Therapists: you can't charge money for your wisdom. Remote viewers: you can't charge money for psychically spying on the Russians for the Army. Artists: you can't charge money for your art. Musicians: you can't charge money for your time. Engineers: you can't charge money for your engineering ability.
Hopefully we can see how it can be very ridiculous to make a blanket statement against charging money for the use of ANY spiritual gift/talent. What about the "normal" spiritual gifts many people charge money for using?
So then what. Maybe it's just wrong for people with unusual gifts to charge money for their time, efforts, and expertise. That must be it!
For me, that kind of mental gymnastics doesn't fly.
What if God sends us spiritual gifts/talents to SUPPORT us? For us to USE to support both others AND ourselves? What if it is actually okay to pray about our natural abilities and how God wants us to use them TO make money? What if God actually WANTS us to use our talents to make money?
Money is just a symbol of VALUE. Does God want us to use the gifts and talents HE gave us to create meaningful VALUE for others?
Or does God NOT want us to use our natural gifts and talents to support ourselves as well as others?
How should we support ourselves while avoiding the use of the special abilities God sent us?
Or should we be okay with charging money for one person's time and efforts with one gift, but not another person's time and efforts with another gift? ~~~
For me, charging money came of necessity, when I became too busy to run my household and too poor to afford a bottle of vitamin C for myself and my children.
Today, if people want my time in the form of a personal session or coaching or training and so on, they HAVE to pay for it, because at this point, if they don't, I HAVE to get a "real job" somewhere else.
For me, that is the serious and literal option. People can pay me for my time and I can afford to share my time and talents with them, OR I can get a Real Job so that I can afford to buy food every month, and then I will not have time to share my talents with others.
THE TOUGH DECISIONS Some people say they're cool with me doing my work for money if it's just by donation.
That's what I felt, too, until I had dozens of people on waiting lists and was making $1/hr.
For real, there was a huge swath of time where I was making about $1/hour because I didn't want to charge people and they would donate either nothing or maybe ten bucks for my time. Between the "nothings" and the $5-$10 people, I was making essentially nothing. I was not making enough money to cover the cost of the internet I was using to do the sessions over email.
At this point in my life, I'm raising and homeschooling 4 children, my oldest just barely turned 9 last week and my youngest just turned 2, I have a house payment, I like to buy food, I have things to pay for--and JUST as importantly, I have other things I want to spend my TIME on.
If I have a choice between teaching my 4yo how to read and snuggling him on the couch, or helping some person I don't even know through their life traumas for free for an hour, which one is more important?
Obviously, my 4yo.
(It becomes more obvious when you have literally hundreds of people clamoring for your time and you have to choose between serving people you've never met, or taking your kid to the park.)
However, if that person is willing to pay the money that will go towards feeding my 4yo and paying the mortgage, then all of a sudden it's worth sacrificing my motherhood time to go and serve someone else.
That is the reality of it.
Does that make me a bad person? Should I just cycle through my list of hundreds of people for free and tell my 4yo to wait and wait and wait, or to put himself to bed, because I don't have time for him? I've got to serve others?
Should I sit there every day and do my own mental gymnastics over who is more important--the masses who want my help, or my OWN CHILDREN?
I am going to vote: no.
Charging money is an easy way to set a boundary on my time. If someone wants to buy some of my time, I am willing to sell it to them. But I will not throw away my children's childhoods at any random person who needs help, for nothing in exchange. If I am going to make sacrifices of my own time and energy and insight and expertise and focus and effort to help someone, they can make a sacrifice in return as well.
This is known as exchange, and it is what makes things fair. If I am the only one to serve others, and others do not provide an exchange, that is not fair.
If my service is voluntary, that's fine and a gift and blessing to the world and to myself and the person I choose to serve. I typically choose to do my work as a voluntary service for those who are related to me or who live within my ward boundaries, or who are very close friends, because I feel they are in my stewardship, so if they ask me for help I will typically engage with that as service. There are occasionally other times and situations where I do feel it is appropriate to do my work as a gift.
But beyond that, I'm too busy to WANT to do this work many times, unless there's an exchange involved.
So prospective clients can pay me my asking price for my time, or else I will go enjoy my time with my family and pursue my other interests. And I really feel like God is okay with that arrangement. This principle of exchange and sacrifice is a gift from HIM to me and to my clients--and really, to everyone in the whole world--for us all to make sure that we are able to experience what it means to prioritize, to sacrifice, to engage in meaningful exchange.
I know that when it's right for me to do a personal session for someone, God will make sure they will be able to afford it. So I don't need to feel bad about it when someone claims they cannot afford to work with me. When it's the right time, I trust that God will send them the money.
And side note: I recently had a first-time client who saved up her money to work with me--and then immediately knew she wanted another session.
She just booked again, and told me that she had started DONATING PLASMA to pay for this session.
I was totally blown away at that level of sacrifice. You better believe she is going to value this next session--and this next session is going to be AMAZING. It really can be true that we get out of something what we put into it. So this experience was really impactful to me: people REALLY CAN find solutions to make these things work.
Like my friend who held a yard sale to pay for her first bottle of TRS.
When people REALLY WANT something, they can make it happen.
THE "RIGHT THING TO DO" In the meantime, I do still feel like it is the right thing to do to make many things available to people who "need it most," the people who are in the mindset that they cannot afford anything.
So I do. I have a whole website of classes, where many of my classes are free.
I have a Youtube channel where I teach and do free pre-recorded sessions.
I have an email list that I use to teach my readers the basics they need to know to accomplish the healing goals they have set for themselves right now--even if they can't afford one on one time with me.
Recently I've started doing by-donation group work from time to time so that during this stressful COVID time, everyone who wants work done with me can access it for what they can afford, in a group setting.
It is really important to me that EVERY interaction my students and clients have with me is educational and illuminating. It is a priority to me to serve everyone who wants my service--but it does have to be on my own terms, in a way that is respectful of my boundaries.
My time IS valuable and my knowledge is valuable.
I am an expert.
So I offer free classes, and I also teach higher-end classes that will run you thousands of dollars. And they will change your life and give you tools to help yourself and your family and others. They are worth the money.
I don't feel guilty about the cost of these things. When it's the right time for them, my ideal clients can always afford the classes and sessions and series they feel drawn to.
To me, this is a good balance. I have used my time to create free materials and affordable materials for the people who need it: YouTube videos, classes, and I have also published two full-length books on healing at home that are available for about $10 on Amazon (Deep Past Resolution and The Scribbling Solution by Allie Duzett).
So the people who really need help but "can't afford it" can always afford SOMETHING I have available for them. I have created an abundance of free materials for them because I do want people to have access to the basics they need to take their first steps forward on this sort of path. If a person is willing to DO THE WORK, I have created a wealth of resources available to them for free.
In the meantime, my time really and truly is at a premium--and now more than ever, as I am now preparing to homeschool my children AND manage my literal hundreds of clients.
At this point in my life, with only a few free hours of time in my day to devote to my work and sessions, I feel just fine about charging money for those hours. If people don't want to pay my rates, they can easily just keep continuing on with what they are doing, or find someone else to work with. There are tons of energy workers who will be happy to work with you for $35/hr, or even less.
But I am not like those energy workers. I am an expert. I have put thousands of hours into my craft. I am an artisan with the energy field. So I don't charge $35/hr. And what you get with me is BEAUTIFUL and QUALITY and LIFE-ALTERING. What you get with me is worth the money. ~~~~
Money is just energy. It's just a symbol. It's symbolic of VALUE.
I find that typically it's people with serious issues around value and money who have the most trouble with people like me charging for their time--especially charging higher-than-average amounts.
If you feel judgy about experts charging what you feel is "a lot of money" for their time, whatever that means to you, I do encourage you to do some self-healing work on the issue, because that sort of attitude WILL and ALREADY DOES hold you back from succeeding financially yourself. Guaranteed.
If you hold a belief that charging "lots" of money for service to humanity is bad--well, you are guaranteeing you will never be paid the kind of money you want in return for the use of your own talents you enjoy using to serve others.
(What is "lots of money" to you anyway? I used to cringe at paying $75 for a session, and earlier this week I paid almost $600 for an hour of someone else's time and felt it was fair. It's all PERSPECTIVE.)
If you believe it is wrong for people to charge money for using their innate talents that you [probably incorrectly] assume are spiritual gifts--how will that show up in your own life? Will you be chained to a job you hate, waiting every minute to get out of it so you can get back to something you love but could never bear to do for money? Will you guilt-trip yourself or lie to yourself and say that you couldn't or wouldn't or shouldn't make money doing the thing you love to do, the things you love to do?
The things you love to do are your "spiritual gifts"--at least in the totally incorrect sense in which I'm using the term for the sake of this essay.
Is it wrong to use them to provide for yourself and your family?
Or, contrarily, might it be the highest calling for your spirit--to use the talents God gave you to serve the world in your most thorough capacity while providing for yourself and your family in a way that makes you happy?
These are philosophical questions that have serious, potentially life-altering ramifications. They are worth your time to think about. They are worth your time to pray about.
For me, I feel like men are that they might have JOY! And to me, one of my joys comes from using my talents to bless the lives of others! I love hearing from my clients about how their lives have improved after a session--be that a session they paid for or a free one from Youtube.
But in a world made of TIME and MATTER, where time is finite and energy is finite and I have bills to pay and children to raise and food to buy and dinners to cook, I do need to charge money for the time it takes me to use my talents.
I can choose between charging people money for the time spent using my intuitive Sight on their behalf, or I can charge people money for me to flip their burgers at McDonalds or to greet them at Walmart.
You can see what I have chosen. I do think the world is a better place because I charge money. I think the world would be a little sadder of a place if I opted to stop taking paid clients and stop teaching classes in favor of earning my money at Walmart.
What gifts has God given YOU in this world? Is it possible He sent you YOUR innate gifts and talents with the hope that you might use them to find joy in every moment you are providing for yourself and your family? Could He have sent you your talents in the hopes that you would use them to serve the world AND create abundance in your life in every way?l
Is it possible God is inviting you in this moment to let go of your judgments of how people use their "spiritual gifts"--so that you can step more fully into using yours?