Mormons donate 10% of their income (“tithing”) to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often misnamed the “Mormon Church”).
Why do Mormons have to give 10% of their money?
The commandment of tithing, or giving 10% of one’s income to the Church, has actually been around for thousands of years, since it was given in Biblical times. In Malachi 3, it reads:
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.
When The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was restored, the commandment of tithing was reinstituted after the commandment to live the Law of Consecration was not kept. The Law of Consecration is the law of heaven, that requires all people to be treated equally. There are no rich and no poor. Excess materials are given to the bishop to redistribute as necessary, and all people live in the same manner. When the early Saints failed to live up to this law, the law of tithing was given to them instead, which requires faithful members to donate 10 percent of their annual increase to the Mormon Church.
However, members of the Mormon Church are not forced to pay tithing; rather, it is done voluntarily and privately. One must be a full tithe payer in order to enter Mormon temples, but no one searches through invidivuals’ records to ensure they have paid a full tithe. The evalution is a self-evaluation. If an individual says he or she is a full tithe payer, the bishop takes that person’s word for it.
If a person is not a full tithe payer, he or she is not punished. While those who do not a pay a full tithe cannot enter the temple, no other action is taken against them, and no one else will know whether they are full tithe payers or not. This is a matter between the individual and the Lord. It is a principle of faith. Those who pay a full tithe will testify of increased faith and blessings from the Lord in direct correlation to their obedience.
What is tithing used for?
Mormon tithing is used to further the purposes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to build the kingdom of God on the earth. Tithing funds are used to build meetinghouses and temples throughout the world where people can gather together and worship God. Additionally, tithing helps support the vast missionary effort which Mormons undertake to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with others and to run the organization of the church.
Other donations are used for humanitarian efforts and to care generally for the poor and needy.