A few weeks after my baptism at age 30, the president of our branch in Piura, Peru, asked to interview me to determine my worthiness to receive the Aaronic Priesthood. After I sat down, President Jorge García offered a prayer. Then he asked me, “Do you believe in God?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Do you keep the Word of Wisdom?”
“Yes,” I replied again.
“Are you chaste?”
To this point I had been confident in my answers, but then came the next question: “Do you pay a full tithe?”
I was speechless. In my mind I could see the illustration the missionaries had shown me when they taught the discussion on tithing. They had said that one-tenth of our income belongs to the Lord. Then I heard another question: “Didn’t the missionaries teach you the law of tithing?”
“They did teach me,” I replied, “but I just don’t pay it.”
“I’m sorry,” President García said after a moment, “but you will have to pay your tithing in order to receive the priesthood. Start now, and pay the Lord your tithing.”
I left his office in a thoughtful mood. After reviewing the law of tithing later that day, I entered my room, knelt on the floor, and began to pray. “Heavenly Father, if I have robbed Thee by not paying my tithing, I ask Thee to forgive me. I promise I will never again fail to pay it.”
The following Sunday at church I asked the branch president for another interview. I told him I felt that the Lord had forgiven me and that He had accepted my commitment to pay tithing, which I began doing that very Sunday. “Am I worthy to receive the priesthood?” I asked.
“Yes,” he replied. “Today I will confer the Aaronic Priesthood upon you and ordain you to the office of deacon.”
Today I have a powerful testimony of tithing and the abundant blessings that come from paying it. In countless interviews since that Sunday more than 35 years ago, whenever my leaders have asked me if I pay a full tithe, I have been happy to answer yes!