When is enough enough? My husband of 27 years and I are converts, of over 28 years. We were sealed in the temple and have held various callings. In the last 15 years I have been the more active member, but he knows the Mormon Church is true and once loved the scriptures. Work for him is exhausting since we are from the south and he works in hot environments a lot. The toll has been decreased health and increase blood pressure. To get to the point, he refuses to attempt to pay tithing. He is honest with his bishop, he says the money doesn’t go far enough so he can’t pay. But our finances and luck is increasingly running out. I am looking for another job to help but have not found anything suitable for an older person. I also don’t feel the extra money is the problem, faith is . I feel increasingly alone at church because his strength and knowledge is not there. A bishopric member once said that we would be better leaving a spouse than letting him take us to hell out of disobedience to gospel principles. Is that right?
At a crossroads, from Walker, Louisiana
As you know, paying tithing takes a little faith and understanding. The fact is that what we have is not our own. It all belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ, He said–
It is wisdom in me; therefore, a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall organize yourselves and appoint every man his stewardship; That every man may give an account unto me of the stewardship which is appointed unto him. For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures. I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine. And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine. But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low. For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves. Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment. (D&C104:11-18)
So the little that your husband has is not his own. He is only allowed to manage it. It belongs to the Savior. If he will only follow the Savior’s direction with respect to the management of what he calls his own he will be abundantly blessed, and will receive sufficient for his needs.
So the truth of the matter is that he cannot afford NOT to pay his tithing and fast offerings. He will be better off financially if he does so than if he does not. The Lord has also said–
Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 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. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. (Mal 3:8-11)
If you do get a job, you should surely honor your commitment to the Lord to pay tithing on your own income. I would keep encouraging your husband to have faith and obey the principles of the gospel. If in doing so there is still not enough money to support the family, he should go to the bishop and ask for relief. Then the Lord will bless his by providing what he needs from the Lord’s storehouse. That is usually the first manifestation of the blessings of the Lord. By being willing to receive, he will later be empowered to provide for the poor because the Lord will have blessed him with a surplus.