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'On Faith' Blog: Mormons and the Practice of Tithing

A Latter-day Saint meetinghouse


Michael R. Otterson, managing director of public affairs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), dedicated his On Faith blog post this week to addressing the Latter-day Saint practice of tithing.

“Tithing and other financial offerings are less about finances and more about personal attitude and commitment,” Otterson said. “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.”
In addition to explaining that most faithful Latter-day Saints follow the biblical principle of tithing and donate “one tenth” of their increase, Otterson explained how these Church funds are utilized.
“There are nearly 30,000 congregations throughout the world,” he said, “and simply providing them with buildings in which to meet and classrooms to teach in absorbs a large part of the Church’s income. Educational programs, including Church-owned universities, also require funding, as do many other programs throughout the world.”

Yet members also make other charitable donations called “fast offerings,” which go directly toward helping the local poor and needy and the Church’s humanitarian aid efforts.

Otterson quoted former president of the Church Gordon B. Hinckley, who commented on the weighty responsibility of allocating Church funds. “We know that these funds are sacred,” President Hinckley said.  “We have a compelling trust to use them carefully and wisely. … I keep on the credenza in my office this genuine widow's mite. … I keep it as a reminder of the sacrifice it represents, that we are dealing with the consecration of the widow as well as the offering of the wealthy.”

Of course, all donations are offered voluntarily and tithing is given on the honor system. “It is an honor system that works very well,” Otterson said, “because each member has a sense of consecrating a portion of his or her means to God’s work. Since the entire Church depends on its members to serve as lay ministers and provide service in a myriad of ways, paying tithing is simply another private yet tangible affirmation of that spirit of sacrifice.”

Read the full blog post at the Washington Post.

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