In a revelation given through Joseph Smith, the first prophet of the Church, the Lord taught how to properly give tithes.
- "And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord" (see Doctrine and Covenants, section 119 ).
Tithing is seen as giving only a small part back of what is already God's. All that a person has is really the Lord’s; so giving a tenth part back is really not too much for the Lord to ask. Paying tithing with the right attitude is also a way that people can show their love for God and all that He has given them. Most members of the Church of Jesus Christ who pay a full tithing do so first before they pay any other bills, symbolizing that the first ten percent belongs to the Lord.
It is shown in several scriptures that blessings from the payment of tithing are both temporal and spiritual, and failure to pay an honest tithe is a form of robbery (see Malachi 3:8–12; Doctrine and Covenants 64:23–25; 85:3,) In Malachi 3:10 it says,
- "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."
In this verse it is obvious that the Lord promises blessings to those who willingly pay an honest tithe.
- "President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., a General Authority, said over and over again that the Lord would never let one of his Saints who had been faithful in the payment of tithes and offerings go without the necessities of life." (See Marion G. Romney, “The Blessings of an Honest Tithe,” New Era, Jan.–Feb. 1982, 45.)
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ who faithfully pay tithing are promised spiritual blessings as well.
- "I think it is not well known in the Church that payment of tithing has very little to do with money. Tithing has to do with faith"(A. Theodore Tuttle, in Conference Report, Apr. 1970, 86).
- "Obedience to the law of tithing . . . brings a deep, inward joy . . . that can be won in no other way. . . . The principles of truth become clearer. . . . Prayer becomes easier. . . . The spiritual sense is sharpened [and] . . . man becomes more like his Father in Heaven."
- Elder John A. Widtsoe as cited in, "The Best Investment", April 2008 General Conference.
Tithing is used to help maintain and build up the Church. After it is given to the bishop, the congregation leader, it is sent to the Church headquarters. Then it is combined with other tithes and distributed to pay for building and maintaining temples, meetinghouses, and other Church property. Latter-day Saint donations are also used to pay for printing books and other materials that are used to teach the gospel. Some of it is also used to help support missionaries and family history work. Critics of the Church claim that since Latter-day Saints must be full tithe-payers to attend the Temple, that means they must pay to enter temples. This claim misrepresents the paying of tithes. In the temple, Latter-day Saints make higher covenants with God, the highest of which is called The Law of Consecration. A person willing to live the Law of Consecration is willing to give everything back to the Lord, not just 10% of his increase. Thus, faithfully paying tithing is a prerequisite to this higher law. A person who will not pay tithes surely cannot commit to this higher law.
Another criticism is that the paying of tithing was confined to Old Testament Mosaic law and doesn't pertain to us today. But the Lord gave this law anew through modern prophets. Also, though animal sacrifice was done away by Christ's sacrifice, Christ did not "destroy" the Law of Moses but fulfilled it. Thus, Aaronic law (sacrifice, repentance) became a foundation for higher law (consecration, sanctification). Paying tithing is one way of sacrificing.
Latter-day Saint charity continues with other donations used for humanitarian aid, Church welfare, and charitable efforts in educating its poorer members.
At the end of each year, members of the Church of Jesus Christ have the privilege to meet with their bishop or branch president and declare their tithing status.
Members are given a printed record of their contributions of the year. They review those contributions to make sure they were correctly recorded. “An important part of the Church’s audit procedures is to have individuals check whether their personal records match the Church’s and whether contributions were properly distributed in the categories selected on the donation slips.”
After reviewing their contributions, members sign up for a tithing declaration interview with the bishop or branch president. They can contribute more funds at that time, if desired. They declare themselves full, part, or non-tithe payers at that time. If a member hasn’t paid any tithes, or not enough tithes or offerings, the interview is a time for the member to commit to begin to pay or to be more exact in the payment of tithes and offerings.
Until August 2022, this interview was called "tithing settlement."
Tithing declaration allows all members of the Church the chance to demonstrate their obedience to the principle of tithing. Entire families often come to tithing declaration in one interview and parents can use that time as a teaching moment. Children who hear their parents’ declaration of their tithing status may learn that paying tithing and fast offerings is important to their parents and to the Lord.
“We are accountable for what we have been given by God. . . . At the end of the year, the bishop or branch president is asked to record on the records of the Church the tithing status of each member in his unit. It is our privilege to exercise our accountability by declaring to him our own tithing status.”
Videos about Tithing
- How Mormon Tithing is used
- Latter-day Saint Charities
- Church Welfare Program
- Fast Sunday
- Is the "Mormon Church" Wealthy?
- Mitt Romney's Mormon Tithing