President James E Faust
“Tithing is a principle that is fundamental to the personal happiness and well-being of the Church members worldwide, both rich and poor. Tithing is a principle of sacrifice and a key to the opening of the windows of heaven.”
1. My Heav’nly Father gives me all good and lovely things:
The sun that shines, the rain that falls, the meadowlark that sings.
2. I’m glad to pay a tithing, one-tenth of all I earn;
It’s little when I think of all God gives me in return.
1. Do what is right; the day-dawn is breaking,
Hailing a future of freedom and light.
Angels above us are silent notes taking
Of ev’ry action; then do what is right!
Battle for freedom in spirit and might;
And with stout hearts look ye forth till tomorrow.
God will protect you; then do what is right!
2. Do what is right; the shackles are falling.
Chains of the bondsmen no longer are bright;
Lightened by hope, soon they’ll cease to be galling.
Truth goeth onward; then do what is right!
3. Do what is right; be faithful and fearless.
Onward, press onward, the goal is in sight.
Eyes that are wet now, ere long will be tearless.
Blessings await you in doing what’s right!
*For All Family Members* Read or summarize points from the following article “Why Tithing Settlement?” (taken from December 2009 Ensign). Testify of the importance of attending tithing settlement each year.
After commanding His people to pay their tithes, the Lord promised to “open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10; see verses 8–12). Those who have seen the fulfillment of this promise can testify that the blessings are often more spiritual than financial, but the Lord also promises, “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” (Malachi 3:10).
Tithing is an important test of our personal righteousness. President Joseph F. Smith (1838–1918) said: “By this principle it shall be known who is for the kingdom of God and who is against it. … By it shall be known whether we are faithful or unfaithful.” 1 If we are satisfied in our hearts that we have paid an honest tithing, why is it necessary to declare it to the bishop? There are several important reasons.
Declaration of tithing status. We are accountable for what we have been given by God. And we shall be judged “out of those things which [are] written in the books, according to [our] works” (Revelation 20:12; see also 3 Nephi 27:26). President James E. Faust said, “One of the great blessings the people of this Church have is to meet with the bishop once each year, settle their tithing, and report that what they had paid in contributions constitutes a tithe. It is also a great blessing for the bishops to have this experience.” 2
At the end of the year, the bishop or branch president is asked to record on the records of the Church the tithing status of each member in his unit. It is our privilege to exercise our accountability by declaring to him our own tithing status.
A time to show our commitment. Tithing settlement allows all members the chance to demonstrate their obedience to the principle of tithing. Parents can use it as a teaching time. Children who hear their parents’ declaration learn that paying tithing and fast offerings is important to their parents and to the Lord.
An audit of personal and Church records. Reviewing your records of contributions helps you ensure they are correct. An important part of the Church’s audit procedures is to have individuals check whether their personal records match the Church’s and whether contributions were properly distributed in the categories selected on the donation slips.
A time for commitment. If you are not a full-tithe payer or if you haven’t paid any tithes or offerings, the interview with the bishop can be the beginning of repentance, a time to commit to begin or to do better.
Great blessings come to those who faithfully pay tithing and to those who faithfully attend tithing settlement.
Testify of the importance of attending tithing settlement each year.
*For Younger Children* Read or tell the following story: “Is My Tithing Too Small?” (taken from the January 2009 Friend). Testify of the importance of paying tithing & attending tithing settlement, even when you are young.
Ali looked glumly at her tithing jar. Every time she earned money, she divided it into a jar for tithing, a jar for savings, and a jar for spending money. She had worked hard helping a neighbor stack firewood and pull weeds, but her older sister Carrie had tended the neighbors’ dog and worked picking raspberries for a whole week during the summer. Carrie had earned more money, and her tithing jar showed it.
Today the family would be attending tithing settlement and discussing whether or not they had each paid a full tithe that year. Before church, Ali watched Carrie pour her money into a tithing envelope and fill out the slip. Ali tried not to cry when she counted out her own tithing, but tears burned the corners of her eyes. She didn’t want the Lord to be disappointed in her for paying less. Maybe she could ask her parents for a little extra money to put in her tithing envelope.
Timidly, she crept into the den where Dad was reading.
Dad looked up and motioned for Ali to come and sit on his lap. “Tell me what’s on your mind,” he said.
Ali bravely held the tears back. “Daddy, is my tithing too small?” she asked in nearly a whisper. “I earned $22.50 this year, so I only have $2.25 in tithing to give the bishop today. Carrie has way more than I do. Will Jesus or the bishop be mad at me?”
Dad smiled and looked into her eyes. “Ali, tithing is one-tenth of what we earn. Carrie did a lot of different jobs over the summer. She worked hard for what she earned, don’t you think?”
Ali remembered Carrie coming home from picking raspberries, looking tired and a little sunburned. She also remembered Carrie taking care of the Hamiltons’ dog. Ali nodded.
“You also worked really hard for your money,” Dad said. “Those pieces of firewood that you stacked were heavy and hurt your hands. You were even more tired after you weeded the garden. Isn’t that right?”
Ali easily remembered how heavy her arms had felt carrying all those huge pieces of wood, and how her hands had stung when she washed them after pulling weeds. She had worked hard.
“Ali,” Dad said, “it doesn’t matter to the Lord how much money a person earns as long as he or she works honestly for the money. Then He asks us to give back to Him just one-tenth of what we earned. It doesn’t matter if we earned a lot or a little, as long as we give 10 percent to the bishop.”
“So the bishop will be happy with both me and Carrie even though we have different amounts of tithing?” Ali asked.
“That’s right,” Dad said. “And Heavenly Father and Jesus will be pleased too.”
Ali could hardly speak because she was so happy. It all made sense. As long as she obeyed the commandments, the Lord would be happy with her. Now she could give the bishop $2.25 and feel just right about it in her heart.
Testify of the importance of paying tithing & attending tithing settlement, even when you are young.
*For Teenagers or Adults* Read or summarize the following article “The 10 Percent Solution” by Douglas M Brown (taken from January 1990 New Era). Testify of the importance of attending tithing settlement.
“I didn’t think that tithing settlement was such a big deal, but Brother Jacobs, our home teacher, seemed pretty excited about it. He and his son Brian were over and, like always, they asked for my dad’s permission to have a prayer. My dad grunted yes and Brother Jacobs gave the prayer. As he prayed, something he said caught my attention. Brother Jacobs said, “And bless Brother Johnson that he will respond to our message.”
My dad is really a good man, but he didn’t go to church or even want to talk about it. It had taken almost a year of the home teachers knocking on our door for my dad to let them in the house, but I’m glad he did.
I wondered what Dad would do. It was rare that he would even stay in the room when the home teachers were there, but he did nothing. Brother Jacobs was pretty brave to say what he did with my dad listening. He was lucky Dad didn’t leave the room.
Dad was his usual self. He was willing to talk about most things—sports, his yard, the weather—but not about the Church. We were talking about Dad’s favorite football team when Brother Jacobs blurted out, “Brother Johnson, we want you to come to tithing settlement.”
I thought Brother Jacobs had made a big mistake because Dad got very quiet and looked uncomfortable. Finally he said, “Why should I come totithing settlement? I don’t pay tithing.”
Now I got quiet and felt uncomfortable. How was Brother Jacobs going to answer Dad’s question?
Brother Jacobs said, “Because the Lord loves you.” Brother Jacobs said the bishop had asked all the home teachers to go to every member and invite them to tithing settlement. He told Dad that he wanted him to go because he wanted our family to have the blessing of going. My dad got quiet again.
Brother Jacobs told Dad that tithing settlement was a simple way for the Lord to bless our lives. If we paid tithing or not the Lord would bless us for going to tithing settlement. Tithing settlement only takes a few minutes, he said, and the bishop does not make anyone feel ashamed or guilty. Brother Jacobs also promised that if Dad took his family to tithing settlement, he would have a happier home and each one of his family would become a better person.
Dad didn’t say much. He really loves us and wants to do what is right for us. When Brother Jacobs asked if he would go to tithing settlement, Dad said yes.
The end of the month came, and my Dad took us to tithing settlement. Just before the bishop called us in, I wondered what Dad was thinking. He was awfully fidgety. I think he didn’t want to be there. I remembered Brother Jacob’s promise and wondered if our lives would change.
When the bishop asked us in, he greeted Dad like his best friend. I don’t know if that made Dad feel at ease or more uncomfortable. The bishop talked to us briefly, then asked my youngest sister, Suzie, if she knew what tithing was.
Suzie said yes, tithing was when you get ten coins, you give one to the bishop. The bishop said that was true, but it was the Lord’s money and he, as the bishop, received it for Him. The bishop asked Suzie if she had received any money this year. Suzie said she had gotten some money for her allowance. The bishop asked Suzie if she paid a full tithing. She said yes.
The bishop then asked Maggie, my older sister, if she was a full-tithe payer. Maggie said yes like she was Joan of Arc going off to be burned. She said every bit of money she got was tithed and she was a full-tithe payer. Maggie was always too dramatic.
Now it was my turn to say if I was a full-tithe payer. I was about to say yes, but then I remembered that I had done some yard work last summer and hadn’t tithed the money I got for it. I had to tell the bishop no, I wasn’t a full-tithe payer.
The bishop asked me if I wanted to be a full-tithe payer. I said yes, I guess so. Then he asked if I had the money now. I pulled out my wallet and gave him what I had. It still wasn’t enough. Then I felt some pressed into my hand. It was my dad giving me the money needed to pay a full tithing. I looked at my dad and he said I could pay him back later. I gave the bishop the rest of my tithing, and he wrote down that I was a full-tithe payer. It was a pretty good feeling.
The bishop then asked my mom if she paid a full tithe. She said yes. She had tithed the money she got for watching the neighbor’s children.
It was Dad’s turn to declare. He is a proud man, and I knew he hadn’t paid any tithing this year, so I was surprised that he had come at all. What really surprised me was when my dad pulled an envelope out of his pocket and gave it to the bishop. Dad said it wasn’t a full tithing but it was a start.
The bishop became quiet. He just stared at my dad. After what seemed to be forever, the bishop told my dad he was glad that my father had set a good example for his family and as long as my father kept his promise, the Lord would keep his.
We were all pretty quiet on the way back home. I wondered what the bishop meant about promises. My dad looked pretty surprised when the bishop said it. I didn’t find out what the bishop meant until three months later, but I did find out that Brother Jacobs was right almost right away. Two weeks after tithing settlement Dad came to church for the first time in years. And he has kept going. Just last fast Sunday I found out what had happened.
It was a real spiritual meeting. Even I got up to bear my testimony. And before I was able to sit down, Dad got up to bear his testimony. He told how five years ago he had got out of the habit of going to church. Back in November he began thinking seriously about his children and how the world would affect them as they were growing up. He saw how his children’s friends were influencing them to start to do things that he knew would lead to trouble. This is what he was thinking when the home teachers came over. When Brother Jacobs promised Dad that his family would be better people if he took them to tithing settlement, he knew he had to take the opportunity.
As the time for tithing settlement got close, my dad began to think about why he didn’t pay tithing. He used to pay it and didn’t miss it at all. He only stopped paying because he stopped going to church. My dad thought that if he could believe going to tithing settlement would help his family, then he could believe that paying tithing would also help. My dad said a silent prayer where he promised the Lord that he would start paying tithing and he expected the Lord to keep his promise. Right at that moment, my dad began to change.
My dad then told the ward that when he met with the bishop, it really felt good to give, even though it wasn’t a full tithing. He learned that starting was the important part. He also told the ward that when the bishop had told him the Lord would keep his promise, my dad knew the Lord had answered his prayer. He also found out what Brother Jacobs had said about tithing settlement was true. My dad said that if he hadn’t gone totithing settlement he would not be in church today. After going to tithing settlement my dad began to think where he was headed. He realized that it wasn’t too late to change his life, so he started by coming to church.
He told everyone that tithing was a true principle that had changed his life. And, you know something, he’s right.”
Testify of the importance of attending tithing settlement.
Thumbprint Cookies or Caramel Thumbprints
Yields 6 Dozen Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Seedless strawberry or apricot jelly
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar and stir in the vanilla extract. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour and salt. Combine the flour mixture and the butter mixture until the dough is crumbly but holds together when pinched.
2. Take a walnut-sized piece of dough in one hand. With the thumb of the other hand, gently knead it three times. Roll it into a ball and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. With your knuckle or thumb, press a well in the center and fill with 1/2 teaspoon of jelly.
3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. (Taken from Spoonful)
Yields 26 Servings
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, separated
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup finely chopped pecans
26 chocolate-covered caramel candies, such as Dove or Rolo
1- Make & decorate a Tithing Jar.
2- Take a trip to one of the locations tithing pays for & walk around (ie. church building, stake center or temple). Enjoy the beauty and blessings from tithing
3- Practice calculating 10% with several objects (ie candy, toys, money).
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.