Friday, July 13, 2012

Why I Pay Tithing to the LDS (Mormon) Church

When I was a child, my parents taught me budgeting. Of every dollar I made, a dime went to tithing, fifty cents to long-term savings (for education/mission/marriage,) twenty cents to short-term savings (like that camera or art supplies I was saving up for,) which left me twenty cents to spend right away, should I wish.

When I was a kid, I hated watching my money ticking away like that. Of course, that was before I started working, and realized that a tenth of my money goes to tithing, a third goes to the government, and at least half goes to bills, leaving me even less than twenty percent to spend on food, etc. Who would have thought it was so realistic?

But that isn't why I pay money to the Church, including tithing, fast offerings, and occasionally other funds. My reasons are much more personal than that.

When I was about twenty-two years old, I felt a desire to go on a mission. I didn't have the money. I remember praying earnestly with the Lord to find some way to raise the necessary money. An amazing friend of mine stepped forward, and donated $25 per month. Then my aunt offered $100, and finally my parents, who did not agree with my decision to go, decided they would help. This experience was my first real opportunity to witness the power of material generosity. That mission shaped my life in ways that have not even yet completely paid out.

But that experience only provided a quick sketch. I didn't really get it then. My real education started only a little over three years ago, when my now ex-husband left me. I was three months pregnant, terrified because of the circumstances of his leaving. Shortly after that, I examined our finances and discovered that he had left three months of utility bills unpaid. Not long after that, I found that he had deposited our entire tax return into his own private account only a few days before he left. I was pregnant, with only a month or two of food storage, a two-year old, and only my job to try to make ends meet. I was able to barely cover all my bills with what I had, but was left with nothing for food.

Mortified, still terrified of what would happen to my daughters, born and unborn, I went to my bishop and confessed my circumstances. He comforted me, counseled me, and arranged for two weeks worth of food which I managed to stretch out with a $10 per week food budget and the food in my pantry to a month and a half, until everything reached an equilibrium and I was able to buy nutritious food again. Because of the church, I didn't have to worry about how I would feed my children. At that time, with the amount of stress which had been dumped into my frequently nauseous and pregnant lap, that was a literal lifesaver.

Now, I am able to passionately testify to the amazing blessing that the Church, with its frugal and selfless management of its resources, was able to give to me, and is able to give to so many others who find themselves at the mercy of the Destroyer.

But that isn't all.

Not long ago I was laid off. As a single mom with two little ones counting on me, but fortunately with the ability to have built a small fallback fund, I was nevertheless panicked about what I could do to find a job in this economy.

Pacing the floor in my home with tears streaming down my face, I was only able to offer a prayer of emotion without words. With clarity, the thought came into my mind to go to LDS Employment Services. So I did.

They took me by the hand, comforted me, guided me, and helped me find a job in only two weeks, a job that is far better for my emotional state than the one I had before.

Again, because of the Church, my extreme stress was limited to only a few weeks, and I was able to provide for my family seamlessly. More importantly, the missionaries at LDS Employment Services loved me when I felt lost and afraid. Total strangers, who didn't know me before, were volunteering their time so that the money donated to the effort by others who pay tithing might be stretched as far as possible.

I love this Church. They do an amazing, unseen work. I am certain there are millions of other people in this country alone who can point to the Church as their temporal saviors when they needed it most. There are probably more who don't even realize who their benefactor is.

This temporal support is merely a symptom of a greater truth. People in this Church, whatever their specific beliefs are, whatever their struggles, take seriously the call to follow in the footsteps of Christ to minister spiritually and temporally to their brothers and sisters on this earth. They are not mere Sunday Saints. Their faith permeates their lives.

And for that, my children and I are deeply grateful. My witness of this is where my testimony in my Savior has truly begun. How can you not come to know Him, when He surrounds you, manifesting in the hearts of those who are so anxiously engaged in this good work?

LDS Provident Living


  1. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your experience with the blessings of paying tithing.


  2. Excellent SilverRain, very inspirational testimony of tithing! :) -- Joyce Anderson

  3. Nice! Great to see a new post from you!

  4. SR, you continue to speak right to my heart. Great post. Thanks for sharing your faith and experience with us.

  5. I have not been allowed to pay tithing since my husband left the church 5 or 6 years ago. I miss it. I am allowed to pay fast offerings and try to be generous there. There have been a few times we needed financial and food help over our 22 year marriage. My gratitude for the programs of the church during those times is huge. I don't know how we'd have made it without.

    Thank you for sharing your testimony. And the budgeting your parents taught you. What a great thing. I'll have to try to pass that on to my kids. I wasn't taught anything about money. I sure wish I had been.

    Have a great weekend.


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