Again, Mitt Romney’s presidential run brings questions about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints into the spotlight. Yesterday, we addressed “Mormon underwear” and today, we’ll address Mormon tithing.
A recent Washington Post article from Michael Otterson, Managing Director of Public affairs for the Church), explains the history of Mormon tithing, some of what LDS tithing monies are used for, as well as what the principle of tithing means to us.
Here, I want to focus mostly on the latter.
At the end of his article, Otterson explains:
[T]ithing and other financial offerings are less about finances and more about personal attitude and commitment. It is difficult to pay tithing and be selfish at the same time. For the millions of people who participate, there is something in the act of voluntary giving that is innately enriching to the human soul.
The law of tithing [for Mormons, that means 10 percent of our increase] ties into to the principle of sacrifice that was recently discussed in an article by Tami, a Mormon woman. We believe that in following such laws as the law of tithing, God blesses us. Blessings aren’t always temporal; in fact, often the blessings that come from living the law of tithing are spiritual.
Tithing is not unique to Mormons, of course. Many churches practice it in one form or another. Jewish observance of tithing long predates Christian communities. … At the close of the Book of Malachi, the Old Testament prophet wrote:
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. (Malachi 3:10).
As we pay tithing, we are reminded that all that we have comes from God, and we trust Him that in being obedient, He will bless us, in His way and in His time. And the “windows of heaven” that can be opened on our behalf manifest themselves in many ways. Tami talked about one of the most important blessings of being willing to be committed to our faith — having God’s Spirit with us. That Spirit is a vehicle of peace, power, and personal revelation — directly from God — in our lives. Other blessings can come as well, including the blessings that flow from being able to attend the temple and from the places of worship we have to meet in. It’s also a small way to try to humble ourselves and put God first in our lives. Money is a necessary medium to survive in life, but sometimes it can be a very jealous master. Paying tithing helps remind us who our Master really is — the Lord, Jesus Christ.
Besides the spiritual blessings that can come into our lives, many Mormons also can testify of temporal blessings they have received that they believe are tied to the blessing of paying tithing. For example, see the following posts on our site: “Testimony of Tithing,” “We Believe: Tithing” and “…How has tithing blessed your life?”
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For more information about Mormon tithing, see the following articles:
From mormon.org: Why are Mormons asked to donate 10% of their income to their church? (read several Mormons and their responses on the topic there as well)
From lds.org – index article on tithing