Observing the Law of Tithing
December 1998

“Observing the Law of Tithing,” Ensign, Dec. 1998, 63

The Visiting Teacher:

Observing the Law of Tithing

In 1838 a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith instructed members of the Church to “pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever” (D&C 119:4). President Brigham Young later declared, “The law of tithing is … an eternal law that God has instituted for the benefit of the human family, for their salvation and exaltation” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young [1997], 155).

A Commandment with a Promise

If we pay our tithing with faith, willingly and joyfully, the Lord promises that He will “open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Mal. 3:10).

During the Great Depression, one sister, who lived on a farm in the United States, grew strawberry plants; her family’s income depended on the sale of their crops. During one season, the $40 earned from their sales was the only cash they had seen for a long time. Their $4 in tithing seemed a small sum to offer, and with a family of four children the money was desperately needed, but she was determined to pay her tithing, and she did. Although she was not aware of any immediate blessings other than the satisfaction of having obeyed, the following year when a strawberry-leaf blight struck the area, only her family’s plants remained healthy. When asked what special care they had given their plants, family members simply explained they had tithed their income the previous year. She reflected that “at a time when the economy was at low ebb, our blessing of a good crop was to us an irrefutable example of the blessings that come from paying tithing” (“Divine Law of the Tithe,” Ensign, June 1981, 69).

Spiritual Blessings Come from Paying Tithing

“The payment of tithing,” said Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “also brings the individual tithe payer unique spiritual blessings. Tithe paying is evidence that we accept the law of sacrifice. It also prepares us for the law of consecration and the other higher laws of the celestial kingdom. The Lectures on Faith [teach]: … ‘A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation’” (“Tithing,” Ensign, May 1994, 34).

President Gordon B. Hinckley has observed that “there are many ways in which the Lord can bless us beyond the riches of the world. There is the great boon of health. … There is promised in modern revelation a great blessing of wisdom, of knowledge” (“The Sacred Law of Tithing,” Ensign, Dec. 1989, 4).

This knowledge and wisdom often comes in the form of revelation—revelation to help parents preside righteously in the home and lead their children in righteousness, revelation to help individuals make decisions that lead to peace and assurance in their lives.

These and many other blessings, both spiritual and temporal, come as we pay our tithes and willingly give the best we have, including our time and talents, in building up our Heavenly Father’s kingdom on earth.

  • What promises has the Lord made to those who pay their tithing?

  • How can we consecrate that which we have to build the kingdom of God?

Illustrated by Beth M. Whittaker