I was going over the budget this week, as I often do, and I took note of something that I often don’t think much about. I noticed that the amount of money we pay to The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon Church) is really quite a nice chunk of money (at least for us recent graduates). It is 10% of our income, to be exact. The reason I don’t think about this donation (known as tithing) much is because paying it has become second nature to me. I have done this my whole life. This time looking at it though, I tried to take a step back and to think about paying tithing from a different perspective. I tried to analyze how I really feel about it. I don’t view it as a financial burden, which at first may seem like the natural thing to do. Maybe if I explain the reasons why we pay tithing it will become clear why I feel it is not a burden at all.
First of all, we believe that God has given us everything. He has provided my family with employment; he has provided us with means to live in a warm and comfortable apartment. He has provided us with all of our material possessions, our health, our happiness, our families, etc. We view tithing as a way to give back to God so that God’s work can be done. When you think about it in those terms, 10% of our income doesn’t really seem like that much. Everyone in our church pays the same percentage of tithing, no matter how rich or how poor. We believe that if we act on faith and pay 10% of our income to the church then we will be blessed with the things that we need according to God’s will. So far, this has happened in my own life. We have never suffered because we paid our tithing. When my husband and I were students and not making very much money, we paid our tithing. The check was small, but we believe that God has blessed us for our small offering. We feel that my husband found his current job because we paid our tithing. The blessings God gives us for paying tithing are always personal and individual.
Now that we have graduated and my husband is working and even though it can be hard to give away a decent amount of our income, we still pay our tithing and we still feel God’s blessings. Just to be clear, the money that is paid to the church is not going toward any clergy’s paycheck. All of our clergy work is done on a volunteer basis. Church leaders have day jobs and they do their church service in addition to their employment. The money that is given to the church through tithing is used to build churches, temples, to provide relief to the poor and hungry (of all faiths), to support church programs such as the youth programs and seminary programs, to support the missionary program, and to provide affordable education to the universities run by the Mormon church: Brigham Young University (in all of it’s locations: Utah, Idaho, Hawaii, London, and Jerusalem). Paying tithing every time we get a paycheck has become second nature because I know that is where I want my money going. I am willing to sacrifice a nicer apartment, new clothes, and fancy dinners because I want to do my part in helping people know their Savior, Jesus Christ.