In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we pay a 10% tithe. Brigham Young, the second modern-day called prophet of the Lord in the Mormon Church, taught us some good thoughts on the principles of tithing and consecration.
“If we live our religion we will be willing to pay tithing (DBY, 176).
“We are not our own, we are bought with a price, we are the Lord’s; our time, our talents, our gold and silver, our wheat and fine flour, our wine and our oil, our cattle, and all there is on this earth that we have in our possession is the Lord’s, and he requires one-tenth of this for the building up of his Kingdom. Whether we have much or little, one-tenth should be paid in for tithing (DBY, 176).
“When a man wishes to give anything, let him give the best he has got. The Lord has given to me all I possess; I have nothing in reality, not a single dime of it is mine. You may ask, “Do you feel as you say?” Yes, I actually do. The coat I have on my back is not mine, and never was; the Lord put it in my possession honorably, and I wear it; but if he wishes for it, and all there is under it, he is welcome to the whole. I do not own a house, or a single farm of land, a horse, mule, carriage, or wagon … but what the Lord gave me, and if he wants them, he can take them at his pleasure, whether he speaks for them, or takes them without speaking (DBY, 175).” (Teachings of the Presidents: Brigham Young, Intellectual Reserve, Inc., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1997, Chapter 22 155)
In Malachi 3:10 we read, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
Our Savior suffered for us, made it possible for us to be resurrected and progress pass mortality into eternal life and our eternal reward. He asks of His followers a 10% tithe to run His kingdom on the earth. It is something I willingly and lovingly pay.
I pay tithing because it is a commandment of the Lord. But the Lord always blesses those who follow His commandments. And when one pays an honest tithe, 10% of one’s increase, then the Lord “will open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing.” Are we all doing so well that we cannot afford additional blessings? Are our testimonies of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Redeemer solid enough to realize that tithing helps to build the Lord’s kingdom and it is our privilege to pay it?
And so one might ask, what do Mormons use tithing for? Well, I’ll tell you. It is used to build temples and churches across the world, sustain missionary work and educate Mormons wherever they may be in the world. Simply put, it is used to build up the church wherever it may be. Mormons also donate additional funds for welfare, missionary, education, humanitarian, and others options. Our church is completely out of debt and the living, breathing physical functioning of the Lord’s Church on the earth. It is paid for completely with tithing from the members of the Church.
We pay our tithing to our local leaders. The funds are immediately transferred to Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, where the funds are dispersed under the discretion of The First Presidency.
“Here is a character—a man—that God has created, organized, fashioned and made,—every part and particle of my system from the top of my head to the soles of my feet, has been produced by my Father in Heaven; and he requires one-tenth part of my brain, heart, nerve, muscle, sinew, flesh, bone, and of my whole system, for the building of temples, for the ministry, for sustaining missionaries and missionaries’ families, for feeding the poor, the aged, the halt and blind, and for gathering them home from the nations and taking care of them after they are gathered. He has said, “My son, devote one-tenth of yourself to the good and wholesome work of taking care of your fellow-beings, preaching the Gospel, bringing people into the Kingdom; lay your plans to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves; direct the labors of those who are able to labor; and one-tenth part is all-sufficient if it is devoted properly, carefully and judiciously for the advancement of my Kingdom on the earth” (DBY, 176).
“If the Lord requires one-tenth of my ability to be devoted to building temples, meetinghouses, schoolhouses, to schooling our children, gathering the poor from the nations of the earth, bringing home the aged, lame, halt and blind, and building houses for them to live in, that they may be comfortable when they reach Zion, and to sustaining the Priesthood, it is not my prerogative to question the authority of the Almighty in this, nor of his servants who have charge of it. If I am required to pay my tithing it is my duty to pay it (DBY, 174).” (Teachings of the Presidents: Brigham Young, Intellectual Reserve, Inc., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1997, Chapter 22 155)
What an incredible attitude Brigham Young had, I wish to only have a portion of that and cheerfully, even faithfully, pay my fair share of what the Lord needs to build up His kingdom on the earth.
A few of the Lord’s prophets and apostles have addressed the topic of tithing, I want to share them here:
President N. Eldon Tanner (1898–1982), First Counselor in the First Presidency: “Tithing is … a commandment with a promise. If we obey this commandment, we are promised that we will ‘prosper in the land.’ This prosperity consists of more than material goods—it may include enjoying good health and vigor of mind. It includes family solidarity and spiritual increase” (“Constancy Amid Change,” Ensign, Nov. 1979, 81).
– and –
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “Contributing a generous fast offering blesses the givers richly and allows them to become partners with the Lord and the bishop in helping relieve suffering and fostering self-reliance. … Perhaps we should evaluate our offerings and decide if we are as generous with the Lord as He is with us.” (“Inspired Church Welfare,” Ensign, May 1999, 78)
– and –
Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “The strict observance of the law of tithing not only qualifies us to receive the higher, saving ordinances of the temple, it allows us to receive them on behalf of our ancestors. When asked whether members of the Church could be baptized for the dead if they had not paid their tithing, President John Taylor, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, answered: “A man who has not paid his tithing is unfit to be baptized for his dead. … If a man has not faith enough to attend to these little things, he has not faith enough to save himself and his friends.”
“Tithing develops and tests our faith. By sacrificing to the Lord what we may think we need or want for ourselves, we learn to rely on Him. Our faith in Him makes it possible to keep temple covenants and receive eternal temple blessings. Pioneer Sarah Rich, wife of Charles C. Rich, wrote in her journal after leaving Nauvoo, “Many were the blessings we had received in the House of the Lord, which [have] caused joy and comfort in the midst of all our sorrows, and enabled us to have faith in God, knowing He would guide us and sustain us in the unknown journey that lay before us.”” (Robert D. Hales, “Tithing: A Test of Faith with Eternal Blessings,” Ensign, Nov 2002, 26)
Tithing is a privilege the Lord has allowed us to pay. In doing so, we play an integral part in the building up of His kingdom. And this, my friends, is something I am only too willing to do.