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Dear Gramps

I have a sister that I am assigned to visit. At our last visit we talked about paying tithing. She got quite upset because she said they paid their tithing for two solid years and things have gotten progressively worse for them financially. They can no longer pay their tithing as her husband has lost his job and because of her health she has had to cut back hours at her part-time job. I bore my testimony concerning paying tithing, but she wanted to know WHERE ARE OUR BLESSINGS for paying tithing for the past two years? She also said she hates it when someone gets up on fast Sunday an talks about the check that came in the mail when they just given their last money to the Bishop for tithing. She said nothing like that ever happened to them. I told her possibly her blessings were other than monetary. I asked her what the Bishop says and she said “He doesn’t know why”. I’ve been reading articles on Tithing in hopes of finding something that will help her. Do you have any words of wisdom that I might share with her. She is really struggling right now.





Dear Linda,

It looks like your friend’s faith was tried and she was found wanting. Moroni made the following wise statement—

And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith (Ether 12:6).

Your friend says that they can no longer afford to pay their tithing. All those who keep a budget Prioritize the debts that they must pay each month. And no doubt those debts are prioritized in one way or another–the most pressing bill first, the next most pressing next, etc. They owe to the Lord ten percent of their gross income. They ALWAYS have ten percent of their gross income at the beginning of the month. They simply have given other obligations a greater priority than their sacred obligation to God, their Father in Heaven. How can the Lord pour them out a blessing that there shall not be room to receive it if they don’t qualify for the blessing (see Mal 3:10)?

Because the Lord looketh on the heart, He judges them by the way are, not merely by the things that they do. We read in Doctrine & Covenants 58:29 that he that—

doeth not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned.

So the attitude in complying with the word of God is all important. Your friend does not really have a problem with tithing, but she and her husband have a problem with faith. If they live worthily in all respects, having faith in the Lord, they will without any doubt whatsoever receive the Lord’s blessings. We cannot demand of the Lord the nature of those blessings, but we live our lives in obedience and with faith, and then take whatever comes our way, knowing that it is the will of God and that it is designed for our blessing and eternal good.
On the practical side, one would prioritize one’s bills, putting our debt to the Lord FIRST ON THE LIST. Then do the best we can with what we have left. If we cannot make ends meet, it would be well to consult with the bishop as to what he would recommend. Frequently the bishop is the very one who opens the windows of heaven in the Lord’s behalf and assists the family with their needs and wants. But the bishop would be hard pressed to provide for them out of the Church Welfare Program if they are non-tithe payers.






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