What figure should we base our tithing on?
April 1974

“What figure should we base our tithing on?” Ensign, Apr. 1974, 17–18

My wife and I want to fully obey the Lord’s commandment to pay tithing, but we are confused as to what figure we should base our tithing on. Can you help us?

Bishop Victor L. Brown, Presiding Bishop of the Church Since we learn in the Book of Mormon that Abraham paid his tithing to Melchizedek, we know the law of tithing was lived in ancient times. This law was reestablished in the Church in this dispensation through a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith at Far West, Missouri, on July 18, 1838, as recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 119, verses 3–4:

“And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people.

“And after that, those who have been thus 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.”

On March 19, 1970, the First Presidency sent the following letter to presidents of stakes and missions, bishops of wards, and presidents of branches in answer to the question, “What is a proper tithe?”

“For your guidance in this matter, please be advised that we have uniformly replied that the simplest statement we know of is that statement of the Lord himself that the members of the Church should pay one-tenth of all their interest annually, which is understood to mean income. No one is justified in making any other statement than this. We feel that every member of the Church should be entitled to make his own decision as to what he thinks he owes the Lord, and to make payment accordingly.”

At the close of each year, each member of the Church has the responsibility of attending tithing settlement with his bishop. At this time, each member has the opportunity to declare whether he is a full, part, or non-tithe payer. The payment of tithing is a matter between the individual and the Lord. The bishop is merely the Lord’s servant who receives and accounts for the contribution.

The Lord has promised that he will open the windows of heaven to those who pay their tithes and offerings. We read in Malachi:

“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.” (Mal. 3:8–10.)

When one has been completely honest with the Lord, a feeling of peace and tranquility enters his heart and he knows that he is a full tithe payer.

Pay your tithing on the basis on which you wish to be blessed.