Defined as one-tenth of our income, tithing is a divine law that we need to observe as we are walking on the covenant path to eternal life with our Heavenly Father. It is one of the requirements for everyone to receive the blessings of and qualify for exaltation.
As a divine principle, tithing has been taught since the beginning. In Alma 13:15 we read: “And it was this same Melchizedek to whom Abraham paid tithes; yea, even our father Abraham paid tithes of one-tenth part of all he possessed.”
Jacob, who is the grandson of Abraham, vowed to the Lord to pay his tithe: “and of all thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee” (Genesis 28:22).
In Deuteronomy 12:6 the children of Israel were invited to bring their tithes to the Lord. This principle is still taught in this dispensation in modern scriptures and by living prophets.
Doctrine and Covenants 119:3–4 states: “And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people.
“And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord.”
Tithing is a Principal of Faith
Tithing has been established in these latter days as an essential law for members of the Lord’s restored Church. It is one of the basic ways we witness our faith in Him and our obedience to His laws and commandments. Tithing is one of the commandments that qualifies us, by our faith, to enter the temple—the house of the Lord.1 It is not about our social or economic situation but about faith.
Tithing is a Law of Loyalty to the Lord
When we pay our tithing willingly and with joy, we are thanking God and showing that we love Him, and we will continue to follow Him.
As we are loyal to our commitment to pay tithing, we are following our Savior Jesus Christ who was loyal to His Father. He showed us the way during His own life by obeying the will of God. Our loyalty will lead us to the blessings of heaven.
Tithing is a Principle of Trust
God has invited us to prove Him, to show our trust in Him. In Malachi 3:10 we read: “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.”
Tithing is a principal that brings personal happiness and well-being for all mankind. We trust God as He opens the windows of heaven, and He provides to mankind what is necessary for our life and all our needs. He is the one who is giving all we have because everything has been created by Him and belongs to Him.
Tithing is a Principle of Salvation and Exaltation
We will be saved and will enter into exaltation as we perform sacred ordinances. Among them are temple ordinances. We perform temple ordinances for our own salvation and exaltation and for our ancestors because “their salvation is necessary and essential to our salvation” (D&C 128:15). The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches us that we may become saviors on the mountain as we go to the temple and perform ordinances on behalf of our ancestors who have not had that opportunity.
To go to the temple requires each of us to be worthy to access the house of the Lord. When we receive or renew a temple recommend, we are asked by our local leaders (bishop and stake president) if we are obedient to the Lord’s commandments. Among the recommend questions, one is related to the payment of tithing: “Are you a full-tithe payer?” And for new members seeking a limited use recommend: “Are you willing to obey the commandment to pay tithing?”
When asked whether members of the Church could be baptized for the dead if they had not paid their tithing, President John Taylor, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, answered: “A man who has not paid his tithing is unfit to be baptized for his dead. . . . If a man has not faith enough to attend to these little things, he has not faith enough to save himself and his friends.”2
My family has a strong testimony of paying our tithing. We have been blessed in many ways as we are obedient to pay our honest and full tithe. God is a God of promises, and He doesn’t lie. I testify that this principle is true, and I am inviting everyone to observe it. Living this principle will increase your faith, your loyalty to God and your testimony about the Savior and His gospel. It will discharge you from the debt and you will not be considered as robbing God.