“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, … 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.”
Your Heavenly Father loves you and wants to bless you in all aspects of your life. The commandments He gives through His prophets will help you live a happy life. The commandment to pay tithing, which was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith, gives you an opportunity to participate in building up the kingdom of God on earth. Obedience to this commandment is a requirement for baptism into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
What Is Tithing?
Tithing is the donation of one-tenth of one’s income to God’s Church. This commandment has been known since Old Testament times. The prophet Malachi taught the importance of tithing and the blessings that come from obeying this law:
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, … 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” (Malachi 3:10).
In 1838 the Lord reiterated this commandment through the Prophet Joseph Smith:
“My people … shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever” (Doctrine and Covenants 119:3–4). Interest is understood to mean income.
Your tithes are holy to the Lord, and you honor Him by paying tithing. Paying tithing is an expression of your faith in God and His work.
Why Should I Contribute Tithing?
Everything that is good in your life is a gift from your loving Heavenly Father. When you contribute 10 percent to Him in return, you express your love, faith, and gratitude. You show God that you will follow Him even when it may be difficult; you show Him that you will rely on Him rather than trusting in money or material things. Because of your faithfulness, your Heavenly Father promises you blessings that are far greater than anything you give up.
Although some people have difficulty believing that they can afford to contribute one-tenth of their income, faithful tithe payers learn that they cannot afford not to pay tithing. In a very real and wonderful way, the windows of heaven are opened, and blessings are poured out upon them. As one widowed mother explained to her son, “I cannot [raise you children] without the blessings of the Lord, and I obtain those blessings by paying an honest tithing. When I pay my tithing, I have the Lord’s promise that he will bless us, and we must have those blessings if we are to get along” (Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, May 1994, 33).
Spiritual strength comes from relying on the Lord. As we face the serious trials of life, we need increased faith, inspiration, and courage. These blessings can be poured out of the windows of heaven as a result of obeying the law of tithing.
In addition, many people find that because they are faithful tithe payers they are better able to manage their finances and meet their needs. Paying tithing teaches us to control our desires for material things and to be honest with our fellowmen. We learn to trust that what we have been given, through the blessings of the Lord and our own diligent efforts, is sufficient for our needs.
No matter the amount of your income, you will be blessed as you pay tithing. When Jesus saw a woman put her few coins into the temple treasury, He told His disciples, “This poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: for all they did cast in of their abundance; but she … did cast in all that she had” (Mark 12:43–44).
How Are Tithing Funds Used?
Tithing is the Lord’s law of finance for His Church. Tithing donations are always used for the Lord’s purposes, which He reveals through a council of His servants. Some of these uses are:
Building and maintaining temples, chapels, and other Church buildings.
Supporting the activities and operations of local Church congregations.
Supporting the programs of the Church, including education and family history research.
Tithes are paid privately, and information about donations is kept strictly confidential.
Fasting and Fast Offerings
In addition to paying tithing, we are commanded to give of our substance to assist the poor and needy. One way to do this is by fasting and going without food and drink for two consecutive meals. The Lord restored the principle of fasting through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the Church designates one Sunday a month as a day of fasting. Fasting, which has always been an indication of the true church, is an opportunity for spiritual renewal and growing closer to our Heavenly Father.
As part of the fast, members of the Church contribute a generous fast offering for the care of the poor and the needy. This offering should be at least the value of the two meals the Church member went without while fasting. These funds are used to provide food, shelter, and other necessities to people in need, both locally and worldwide.
There is no standard donation amount for fast offerings. As you contribute generously to these funds, you will be blessed both spiritually and temporally for your desire to help others.