The Missionaries Will Teach...
One of the best parts of being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints is the privilege of contributing to the growth of God's
kingdom by paying ten-percent of your income to the Church. Tithing is
an ancient and sacred law.
If you pay ten-percent of your income to the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, the Lord promises that he will "open...the windows of
heaven, and pour...out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to
receive it" (Malachi 3:10). These blessings may be temporal or
spiritual. But if you obey this divine law, the blessings will come.
Tithing means ten-percent. The scriptures mean that we are to give
10-percent of our "increase", which is interpreted to mean income. The law
of tithing gives us the opportunity to help build God's kingdom. If
you pay an honest tithe, God promised to bless you abundantly. But if
you don't pay an honest tithe, you are robbing God (see Malachi 3:8).
Ten-percent of your income rightfully belongs to God, and if you don't
surrender it to the Church you are keeping for yourself that which is His.
Our first obligation is to seek the kingdom of God, and paying tithing is an
important way of doing that. Furthermore, paying tithing is an
expression of faith; it is a sign of our belief in God.
The funds from tithing are used to support the ongoing operations of the
Church, such as building and maintaining temples and meeting houses,
missionary work, temple work, and many other activities. Local Church
leaders don't receive any payment, including money from tithing.
You pay your tithing to the local Church leaders. Every week, they
send the funds directly to the Church's headquarters. A board of top
Church leaders determines specifically how the money will be used.
Some Additional Thoughts...
Good Decision Making
Many would consider it prudent to carefully consider your income and
existing financial commitments before committing to pay 10% of your
income to anything; even to a charity. They might even suggest that you shouldn't
make such a large, ongoing charitable donation unless you can honestly
In the Mormon Church, the doctrine is that you pay 10% first, without
regard to other needs and obligations.
Here is an interesting story that Gordon B. Hinckley recently told.
A woman in Brazil was in a very tight financial position. She
was a college student who was also working to support her family. She
was paying for college as she went and if her tuition payments weren't
up to date, she would be forbidden from taking exams. On a
Thursday of the week before a major exam, she received her monthly salary and
realized that she didn't have enough money to pay both her tuition bill
and promptly pay her tithing. She had a tough choice to make:
either fall behind in her commitment to pay 10% of her income to the
Mormon church, or not pay her tuition. If she failed to make this
tuition payment, she would lose credit for the entire year of college.
After wrestling with the situation for a couple of days, she decided
to pay her tithing and gave the money to the church that Sunday.
She asked her Heavenly Father to forgive her for having agonized over
The next day at work, her employer was walking out of the office and
was telling her goodbye for the day. He suddenly stopped and asked
her, "how is your college?" She said it was all right, and the
boss nodded, and spontaneously decided that he would fully pay the full
cost of her tuition and books.
Hinckley says the lady profusely thanked God for His generosity. He
didn't say whether or not the lady also thanked the employer (see
We Walk By Faith in the May 2002
Stories like these are extremely common. As
Robert D. Hales said, "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."
In contrast, I believe this approach is foolish. In reality,
basic food, clothing, shelter, insurance, medical care, and savings is
more important than charitable donations. Ensure that your
responsibilities for the well being of your family and yourself are
taken care of before you pledge a significant percentage of your income
to a charitable organization. Some might argue that it is actually
God himself who wants your payments to the Mormon Church to take
priority over the needs of you and your family. If that is true,
what does it say about God?
Before you make significant contributions to any charity, you
should investigate specifically what will be done with the money.
This isn't just a right--it is a personal responsibility you have as the
steward of your donations. According to the
Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability,
GOOD CHARITIES WILLINGLY ANSWER TOUGH QUESTIONS. Before you give to
any charity, ask these questions. Nonprofit organizations should be
willing to supply the answers.
- Does the organization have a clear and strong commitment to a
certain project area?
- Does an independent board accept responsibility for the
activities of the organization and oversee its operations?
- Are the financial records audited annually by certified public
- Does the charity practice full disclosure?
- Is a copy of the audited financial statements provided to anyone
who makes a request?
- Is information provided to donors about any program that the
donors have supported?
- How does the organization avoid conflicts of interest?
- What are the guidelines and standards for fund-raising?
- Is there a review procedure to assure compliance with
fund-raising standards and guidelines?
Before you agree to pay ten-percent of your income to the Mormon
Church, obtain an audited financial statement from the Church and make
sure you believe the money is being spent appropriately.
Why We're Going Broke:
Bankruptcy in Utah has Complex Causes by By Steve Oberbeck and Tony
Semerad. Published in The Salt Lake Tribune on 2/25/2005.
The reasons Utahns file
for bankruptcy in such prodigious numbers are complex, but one thing is clear:
In Utah, national economic forces and local culture combine to create a problem
worse than anywhere else in the nation. A statistical analysis by The
Salt Lake Tribune of bankruptcy cases filed from July 1, 2003, to June 30,
2004, indicates many of the pressures individuals face prior to filing are
closely linked to Utah's unique heritage.