“Father’s Tithing Labor,” Ensign, Apr. 1994, 55
In the early days of the Church in Utah, many children grew up in agricultural economies without ever seeing cash. The tithing yards of the Church allowed the Saints to meet their obligations to the Lord in the currency they best understood: wheat, chickens, flour, hay, molasses, horses, potatoes, canned fruit, butter, cattle, eggs—in short, anything grown or produced in their own farms and homes. Sometimes even physical labor was accepted: many roads and the Church’s telegraph line were built with tithing labor.
One year our family was quite destitute. We had no potatoes or wheat or anything else to donate. So my father went to the tithing yard empty-handed but open-eyed. He noticed that the yard’s barn door hinges were loose, the back fence was out of line, and the windows of the office needed puttying and painting. With a list of suggested tithing yard repairs in hand, he went to his bishop and offered his labor as payment of his tithing.
The bishop accepted my father’s donation of labor, and my father worked many hours to complete the tasks he had volunteered to do. In this way, my family was able to keep our covenants and continue receiving the blessings of faithful tithe paying.
Because today’s economic systems allow members to pay their tithing via cash or check, the old tithing yards have been closed. No matter how we contribute, though, we are blessed when we help build the Lord’s kingdom with our tithes.