Members of the Mormon church are required to pay the church a tithe. This tithing is understood to be ten percent of the member’s income. This is the same for children who earn $5 for mowing the lawn to wealthy lawyers and doctors in the church. The church makes much of the sacrifice and blessings members receive when paying tithing. They even push the matter of tithing in places of poverty, no one is exempt from giving their money to the church. They don’t allow members to pay other charities for tithing, or at least not officially. The church is made to be the same as God, so they want members to feel that giving tithing to the church is giving God an offering.
What is tithing in the Mormon church?
Mormon tithing is not optional for members, it is required for members to join in full membership and participate in the temple ceremonies. Members commit to paying tithing early in discussions with missionaries and even as small children. The church does not exempt anyone from paying tithing, they repeatedly state that if you can’t afford to feed your kids or pay your rent, pay your tithing first, and then the Lord will provide. Members sacrifice immensely by paying tithing because they trust the church needs the funds and also is a benevolent entity that is trustworthy with these funds. The church has interviews with members to ask them annually if they pay a full tithe (meaning 10% of all their income) to the church, and they also have interviews to obtain a temple recommend which also asks members if they are full tithe-paying members.LDS Church’s Misstated Filings to SEC Approved by First Presidency
Who pays tithing in the Mormon church?
After reading these scriptures together, Bishop Orellana looked at the new convert and said, “If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing. If paying tithing means that you can’t pay your rent, pay tithing. Even if paying tithing means that you don’t have enough money to feed your family, pay tithing. The Lord will not abandon you.”
The next Sunday, Amado approached Bishop Orellana again. This time he didn’t ask any questions. He simply handed his bishop an envelope and said, “Bishop, here is our tithing.”
Reflecting on this experience, Bishop Orellana says, “Ever since then, they have been faithful tithe payers.” The family received some commodities from the bishops’ storehouse during their financial difficulties. Beyond that, the Lord blessed them to be able to care for themselves. Evelyn received a promotion, and Amado found a good job. Evelyn later lost her job, but they continued to pay tithing and to receive spiritual and temporal blessings for their faithfulness. Once Bishop Orellana asked Amado how the family was doing financially. Amado responded, “We’re doing all right. Sometimes we don’t have much to eat, but we have enough. And more than anything, we trust in the Lord.”Sacred Transformations By Aaron L. West, Ensign Magazine, December 2012
This isn’t limited to some random local leaders only, from the top when President Russell M Nelson visited poverty-stricken African nations he preached that tithing would solve their poverty.
While recently traveling on the Africa continent, President Russell M. Nelson stated: “We preach tithing to the poor people of the world because the poor people of the world have had cycles of poverty, generation after generation. That same poverty continues from generation to another, until people pay their tithing.” It is living the law of tithing that will break the cycle of poverty. Those who live this law will join the millions of faithful members of the Church who bear solemn and joyous testimony that the Lord keeps His promises to those who love Him and keep His commandments.Tithing: A Blessing from Heavenly Father to Help Us on Our Mortal Journey
Elder Marcus B. Nash
President, Africa West Area Presidency
Does the church treat the money as God would?
General Authorities receive a “living stipend” or what most people call a paycheck, but the church claims it is not from tithing and the leadership is not “paid” for their service. This would be what the church defines as evil priestcrafts. This stipend is at least $120,000 annually, which very much resembles a salary. Leaders are also able to “expense” many things to the church, or receive reimbursements for things such as living expenses, travel, etc.
Missionaries pay their own way, and prices went up from $400/month to $500/month, making every full-time missionary responsible (or their family) for $12,000 over the course of a 2-year mission. This increases the cost from $9,600 for two years. Families must pay this for their missionary unless the missionary has saved up to pay themself, or the church will track them down through the ward financial clerks. This, of course, is paid with funds after the tithing has been paid. So in order to earn the money and pay tithing on the income, a young man must earn $13,200 before setting off on their mission. At a time when they are encouraged to serve this mission at a mere 18 years of age, or even a few months shy of their 18th birthday. How many graduates of High School have saved this much money for a volunteer service trip lasting two years? Returned missionaries then return home and need to worry about paying for college! That’s one reason why the church subsidizes tuition at church-owned BYU schools.
Once the church gets the money, though, it’s theirs. The tithing slip even includes the fine print!
Tithing was originally sold and enforced on a temporary basis. Under Lorenzo Snow, the church was in major financial trouble. It owed a lot of money, and was close to collapsing. Tithing was pushed as a temporary measure to get the church good, with the idea that eventually the church would have enough money and businesses that it would never need to ask the members for money again. The church continues to remind the members that early in the church it suffered financially, and they quote President Snow in lessons about tithing, but they chop up his statement to make it align with what the church teaches today with liberal use of ellipsis.
…I plead with you in the name of the Lord, and I pray that every man, woman and child who has means shall pay one tenth of their income as a tithing…”Conference Report Oct 1899
Compare the actual quote to how the church uses this quote in lesson manuals today:
“….I plead with you in the name of the Lord, and I pray that every man, woman and child … shall pay one tenth of their income as a tithing….”Teachings of Lorenzo Snow manual, page 160
The use of the word every completely changes meaning when we leave off the conditional “who has means”.The Tithing … Ellipsis
Success With Tithing
After President Snow pushed members to tithe, Joseph F Smith declares saints were righteous because they tithed, and announced that the church was no longer in debt and that it could finally pay its bills. He again reiterated that one day the church would have sufficient in the storehouse to pay for its needs and tithing wouldn’t be required.
Today the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owes not a dollar that it cannot pay at once. At last we are in a position that we can pay as we go. We do not have to borrow any more, and we wont have to if the Latter-day Saints continue to live their religion and observe this law of tithing, It is the law of revenue to the Church.
Furthermore, I want to say to you, we may not be able to reach it right away, but we expect to see the day when we will not have to ask you for one dollar of donation for any purpose, except that which you volunteer to give of your own accord, because we will have tithes sufficient in the storehouse of the Lord to pay everything that is needful for the advancement of the kingdom of God. I want to live to see that day, if the Lord will spare my life. It does not make any difference, though, so far as that is concerned, whether I live or not. That is the true policy, the true purpose of the Lord in the management of the affairs of His Church.Joseph F. Smith
April 1907 General Conference
Multiple leaders of the past have indicated that tithing would not be required or forever. But just like income tax and toll bridges, the church got used to the money. Tithing was normalized. And it morphed into the eternal commandment members are familiar with today of giving ten percent of your income to the church.
Even though the church no longer needs the funds, since it has sufficient in the storehouse. As whistleblowers have leaked the Mormon church has hundreds of billions of dollars invested, and until recently invested secretly. They have used creative yet illegal ways to hide these investments and obfuscate the wealth of the church via numerous shell companies. The only reason ever given as to why the church would work so hard to illegally hide the massive wealth is that the leaders were afraid that “public knowledge of the fund’s wealth might discourage tithing”!
Where does this leave us today? The church leaders were not wrong. Many members are reporting that this stockpile of money which is greater than the GDP of many countries the church has simply called their “rainy day fund” has made them reconsider their tithes. Many members are sharing that they are diverting their donations to other charities that are transparent and where they feel that their contributions will make a difference today, rather than be socked away for some unknown future. They have questions like
- “What use will money have during the Millenium?”
- “Do we need billions of dollars to fund the second coming?”
- “If the church didn’t use any of these rainy-day funds during the global pandemic, what would they use it for?”
- “If the church didn’t use any of these funds to aid world poverty, what would they use it for?”
- “If they didn’t use the rainy day fund to aid victims of the war in Ukraine, what would they use them for?”