See also: Malachi 3
One of the important things the Lord has told us to do is to be liberal in our payment of fast offerings. I would like you to know that there are great rewards for so doing – both spiritual and temporal rewards. The Lord says that the efficacy of our prayers depends upon our liberality to the poor. (Marion G. Romney) — Book of Mormon Student Manual, p. 125
I appeal to the Latter-day Saints to be honest with the Lord and I promise them that peace, prosperity and financial success will attend those who are honest with our Heavenly Father. . . . When we set our hearts upon the things of this world and fail to be strictly honest with the Lord we do not grow in the light and power and strength of the gospel as we otherwise would do. (Pres. Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, Oct. 1929, pp. 4-5.) — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, May 1994, p. 33
Prepare for your life’s work, be the best teacher or best accountant or best in whatever occupation you choose. Marry in the temple and always remain active in the Church.
I will give you a formula which will help to guarantee to a large extent your success in fulfilling that commitment to remain active. It’s simple. It consists of just three words: Pay your tithing.
Every bishop can testify from personal experience that when members of the Church pay their tithing honestly and faithfully, they have very little difficulty keeping the other commandments of God. — President Thomas S. Monson speaking to BYU students at the annual First Presidency devotional assembly October 15, 1991
Tithing is a debt which everyone owes to the Lord for his use of the things that the Lord has made and given to him to use. It is a debt just as literally as the grocery bill, or a light bill, or any other duly incurred obligation. As a matter of fact, the Lord, to whom one owes tithing, is in a position of a preferred creditor. If there is not enough to pay all creditors, he should be paid first. Now I am sure you will have a little shock at that, but that is the truth. Other creditors of tithe-payers, however, need to have no cause to worry, for the Lord always blesses the person who has faith enough to pay his tithing so that his ability to pay his other creditors is not thereby reduced. — President Marion G. Romney, The Blessings of an Honest Tithe, BYU Speeches of the Year, November 5, 1968, p. 4
When a friend of President George Albert Smith asked him what he thought of his friend’s personal plan to take what would have been tithing and donate his tenth in charitable donations of his own choice, President Smith’s counsel was:
“I think you are a very generous man with someone else’s property. . . .
“. . . You have told me what you have done with the Lord’s money but you have not told me that you have given anyone a penny of your own. He is the best partner you have in the world. He gives you everything you have, even the air you breathe. He has said you should take one-tenth of what comes to you and give it to the Church as directed by the Lord. You haven’t done that; you have taken your best partner’s money, and have given it away.” — Elder Robert D. Hales, “Tithing,” Ensign, November 2002, p. 28
Said President Lorenzo Snow: “Teach the children to pay tithing, so that it may be perpetually observed. If we observe this law, no matter what our enemies may do, the Lord will preserve us.” — Elder Robert D. Hales, “Tithing,” Ensign, November 2002, p. 29
The Law of Tithing was given to supersede, for the time being, a greater law known as the Law of Consecration (D&C 42:30-42), the object of which was and is to sanctify the Lord’s people and prepare them for a place in the celestial world (D&C 78:7). To that end it was designed to help all the ills that spring from such conditions. None of these things will build Zion nor can they continue or be admitted into the kingdom of heaven. . . . Those who obey the Law of Tithing will be prepared to live the Law of Consecration. Those who do not obey it will not be prepared. That is the whole thing in a nut shell. — Elder Orson F. Whitney, Conference Report, April 1931, pp. 65-66
Do we not hope and expect to have an inheritance in the celestial kingdom? . . . What are the terms under which we may obtain that inheritance? The Law of Tithing is the law of inheritance. It leads to it. No man may hope or expect to have an inheritance on this celestial globe who has failed to pay his tithing. — Elder Melvin J. Ballard, Conference Report, October 1929, p. 15
Would any of us intentionally reject an outpouring of blessings from the Lord? Sadly, this is what we do when we fail to pay our tithing. We say no to the very blessings we are seeking and praying to receive. If you are one who has doubted the blessings of tithing, I encourage you to accept the Lord’s invitation to “prove [Him] now herewith.” Pay your tithing. Unlock the windows of heaven. You will be abundantly blessed for your obedience and faithfulness to the Lord’s laws and commandments.” — Elder Robert D. Hales, “Tithing: A Test of Faith with Eternal Blessings,” Ensign, November 2002, p. 26
President Spencer W. Kimball related the following true story:
“Some time ago a sister said to me, ‘Why is it, Brother Kimball, that those who do the least in the building of the kingdom seem to prosper most? We drive a Ford; our neighbors drive a Cadillac. We observe the Sabbath and attend our meetings; they play golf, hunt, fish, and play. We abstain from the forbidden while they eat, drink, and are merry and are unrestrained. We pay tithing and other church donations; they have their entire large income to lavish upon themselves. We are tied home with our large family of small children, often ill; they are totally free for social life – to dine and dance. We wear cottons and woolens, and I wear a three-season coat, but they wear silks and costly apparel, and she wears a mink coat. Our meager income is always strained and never seems adequate for necessities, while their wealth seems enough to allow them every luxury. And yet the Lord promises blessings to the faithful! It seems to me that it does not pay to live the gospel – that the proud and the covenant breakers are the ones who prosper.’
“Then I said to her, ‘Yours is an ancient question. Job and Jeremiah made the same complaint.’ And I quoted for her the Lord’s answer through Malachi [Malachi 4:1–2].
“Then I said to the disconsolate sister, ‘But for many rewards you need not wait until the judgment day. You have many blessings today. You have your family of lovely, righteous children. What a rich reward for the so-called sacrifices! The blessings that you enjoy cannot be purchased with all your neighbor’s wealth.’” (Faith Precedes the Miracle, pp. 221–22.) — Old Testament Student Manual, 1 Kings – Malachi, p. 354
Paying tithing is not a token gift we are somehow charitably bestowing upon God. Paying tithing is discharging a debt. Elder James E. Talmage once described this as a contract between us and the Lord. He imagined the Lord saying: “You have need of many things in this world – food, clothing, and shelter for your family . . . , the common comforts of life. . . . You shall have the means of acquiring these things; but remember they are mine, and I require of you the payment of a rental upon that which I give into your hands. However, your life will not be one of uniform increase . . . [so] instead of doing as mortal landlords do – requiring you to . . . pay in advance, whatever your fortunes or . . . prospects may be – you shall pay me . . . [only] when you have received; and you shall pay me in accordance with what you receive. If it so be that in one year your income is abundant, then . . . [your 10 percent will be a] little more; and if it be so that the next year is one of distress and your income is not what it was, then . . . [your 10 percent will be] less. . . . [Whatever your circumstance, the tithe will be fair.]”
“Have you ever found a landlord on earth who was willing to make that kind of [equitable] contract with you?” Elder Talmage asks. “When I consider the liberality of it all,” he says, “. . . I feel in my heart that I could scarcely raise my countenance to . . . Heaven . . . if I tried to defraud [God] out of that [which is rightfully His].” — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Like a Watered Garden,” General Conference, October 2001
If we decide now to be a full-tithe payer and if we are steady in paying it, blessings will flow throughout the year, as well as at the time of tithing settlement. By our decision now to be a full-tithe payer and our steady efforts to obey, we will be strengthened in our faith and, in time, our hearts will be softened. It is that change in our hearts through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, beyond the offering of our money or goods, that makes it possible for the Lord to promise full-tithe payers protection in the last days. We can have confidence that we will qualify for that blessing of protection if we commit now to pay a full tithe and are steady in doing it. — Elder Henry B. Eyring, “Spiritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Steady,” General Conference October 2005
I am thankful for the law of tithing. Surely it is divine. The Lord has made it universal in its application among all of His people. It is miraculous in its simplicity. No certified public accountant is needed to determine what is owed to the Lord. When we were children, we learned the principle:
What is tithing?
I can tell you every time—
Ten cents from a dollar,
And a penny from a dime.
I see the struggles of other churches to raise funds, and wonder why they do not do that which the Lord has outlined. I see the complexity, almost beyond comprehension, of government systems of taxation, and I thank the Lord for the magnitude of His wisdom in making things simple concerning the financing of His kingdom.
I am grateful for the promises that He has made to those who walk in faith. I am constantly aware that it is He who has given the commandment concerning tithes and offerings and that it is He who has given the promise concerning opening the windows of heaven. Furthermore, I know that His is the power to keep that promise. I am grateful for the testimonies of legions of Latter-day Saints who bear witness that the Lord has and does keep His promises, to which I add my own testimony. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Rise to a Larger Vision of the Work,” Ensign, May 1990, 95
The payment of tithing also brings the individual tithe payer unique spiritual blessings. Tithe paying is evidence that we accept the law of sacrifice. It also prepares us for the law of consecration and the other higher laws of the celestial kingdom. The Lectures on Faith, prepared by the early leaders of the restored Church, part the curtain on that subject when they say:
“Let us here observe that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things” (Lectures on Faith, 6:7). — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Tithing,” Ensign, May 1994, p. 33
“I bear witness – and I know that the witness I bear is true – that the men and the women who have been absolutely honest with God, who have paid their tithing, . . . God has given them wisdom whereby they have been able to utilize the remaining nine-tenths, and it has been of greater value to them, and they have accomplished more with it than they would if they had not been honest with the Lord. — Elder Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, April 1912, p. 30
Tithing is a debt which everyone owes to the Lord for his use of the things that the Lord has made and given to him to use. It is a debt just as literally as the grocery bill, or a light bill, or any other duly incurred obligation. As a matter of fact, the Lord, to whom one owes tithing, is in a position of a preferred creditor. If there is not enough to pay all creditors, he should be paid first. Now I am sure you will have a little shock at that, but that is the truth. Other creditors of tithe-payers, however, need to have no cause to worry, for the Lord always blesses the person who has faith enough to pay his tithing so that his ability to pay his other creditors is not thereby reduced. — President Marion G. Romney, “The Blessings of an Honest Tithe,” BYU Speeches of the Year, (November 5, 1968), p. 4
In these hard times financially, I want to repeat to the Latter-day Saints my firm belief that God our heavenly Father prospers and blesses and gives wisdom to those men and to those women who are strictly honest with him in the payment of their tithing. I believe that when a man is in financial difficulty, the best way to get out of that difficulty (and I speak from personal experience, because I believe that more than once in my life I have been in the financial mud as deep as almost anybody) is to be absolutely honest with the Lord, and never to allow a dollar to come into our hands without the Lord receiving ten per cent of it. — President Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, October 1921
I want to state here that which is in my heart. You may call it a prophecy if you will. Those who are and continue to be enrolled in the book of the law of the Lord – on the tithing records of the Church – will continue to prosper, their substance will increase, and they will have added unto them in greater abundance everything that they need; . . .” — President Joseph F. Smith, Conference Report, April 1901, p. 70
If we will keep that law [of tithing] . . . the land will be sanctified, and we shall be counted worthy to receive the blessings of the Lord and to be sustained and supported in our financial affairs and in everything we do, temporal as well as spiritual. — Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Lorenzo Snow, p. 162
Often the question is asked, “What is a tithe?” Joseph L. Wirthlin, a former Presiding Bishop of the Church, gave a clear definition when he explained: “The very word itself denotes one-tenth. A tithe is one-tenth of the wage earner’s full income. A tithe is one-tenth of the professional man’s net income . A tithe is one-tenth of the farmer’s net income, and also one-tenth of the produce used by the farmer to sustain his family which is a just and equitable requirement, as others purchase out of their income such food as is needed to provide for their families. A tithe is one-tenth of the dividends derived from investments. A tithe is one-tenth of net insurance income less premiums if tithing has been paid on the premiums.” — Elder Henry D. Taylor, Ensign, May 1974, p. 107 [quoting Conference Report, April 1953, p. 98]
My mother was a widow, with a large family to provide for. One spring when we opened our potato pits she had her boys get a load of the best potatoes, and she took them to the tithing office; potatoes were scarce that season. I was a little boy at the time, and drove the team. When we drove up to the steps of the tithing office, ready to unload the potatoes, one of the clerks came out and said to my mother, “Widow Smith, it’s a shame that you should have to pay tithing.” . . . He chided my mother for paying her tithing, called her anything but wise or prudent; and said there were others who were strong and able to work that were supported from the tithing office. My mother turned upon him and said: “William, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Would you deny me a blessing? If I did not pay my tithing, I should expect the Lord to withhold His blessings from me. I pay my tithing, not only because it is a law of God, but because I expect a blessing by doing it. By keeping this and other laws, I expect to prosper and to be able to provide for my family” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1900, p. 48). — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “Tithing,” Ensign, May 1994