I am currently the Relief Society President of our Ward in the Mormon Church and my husband and I had an interesting talk the other day about how our tithing money is spent. The State of Hawaii is currently experiencing a teacher’s strike and there are a few members in our ward who are teachers and awaiting the Governor’s decision. My husband felt that going on strike is a personal decision which also puts your family’s welfare at risk. Should the Church be taking money from its members to make ends meet for the families on strike? Isn’t this why we are asked to save money in our food storage plan? The reason why we are asking is because an individual stood up and said he was keeping a food storage and that he had most of the requirements for his family but he would go see the Bishop for what he didn’t have. Is that planning? We feel that only the really needy should be taking from the bishop’s storehouse and if you made this decision to do without a salary and leave your family’s life in the hands of someone else that should be your own responsibility.
There are several questions embedded in the concern that you expressed above. First, you seem to relate tithing monies with assistance from the bishop’s storehouse. Cash assistance given by the bishop to the worthy poor comes from the fast offering fund. Tithing is not normally used for the cash needs of welfare assistance. Secondly, you seem to imply that the bishop is obligated to help those who come to him for assistance regardless of the circumstance. The bishop will provide welfare service according to his own inspired judgment, assessing both the worthiness and the needs of the individual. So regardless of any particular individual’s desire for assistance, I’m confident that the bishop will make appropriate judgments and provide assistance in accordance with church policy, inspired guidance and the needs of the individual.