Q&A: Questions and Answers

“Q&A: Questions and Answers,” New Era, July 1999, 17

Questions and Answers

Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

I don’t make money very often, and when I do I pay a full tithing. But I don’t feel like what I’m paying makes much difference. Should I worry about paying tithing yet?

New Era

Since tithing is used to pay for things like meetinghouses, temples, missions, materials, and many other operating expenses of the Church, it might be discouraging to think about what your contribution will pay for. After all, if your only income comes from the occasional baby-sitting or lawn-mowing job, your tithing hardly covers the cost of one doorknob on one door in one meetinghouse. Does that mean you shouldn’t pay tithing? Absolutely not.

As members of the Church, we are often called on to pool our talents, our time, our resources, and even our money. The combined contributions—large and small—of many are what keep the Church thriving. It’s a cliché, but when it comes to tithing, every little bit counts.

But paying tithing isn’t primarily about dollars and cents. It’s about faith, commitment, obedience, and sacrifice. Paying your tithing, even if it’s a very small amount, is important because it’s a commandment of God. In the New Testament, Jesus told of a widow who contributed just two mites. And although her contribution was small compared with the contributions of others, the Savior commented that hers was one of the greatest contributions of all, saying, “For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living” (Mark 12:44).

Another reason we’re commanded to pay tithing is that it makes us eligible for the blessings of our Father in Heaven. Regardless of the amount, we’re promised that if we pay a full tithing, Heavenly Father 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).

Paying tithing can bless your whole life. Paying a full tithing now, even if it’s just a small amount of money, gets you in the habit of automatically deducting 10 percent of the money you make without being tempted to spend it.

President Gordon B. Hinckley tells of learning about the importance of paying his tithing when he was very young, so young that he learned the following rhyme to help him remember how to figure his tithing: “What is tithing? I will tell you every time. Ten cents from a dollar, and a penny from a dime” (Ensign, Dec. 1989, 5). If President Hinckley paid tithing as a young child, you can be sure it’s a good idea to do the same.

Remember, there are many reasons to pay tithing, and none of them requires that you be wealthy. When you pay your tithing, you show by your obedience that you love the Lord. That realization is worth more than the actual amount you pay, no matter what the actual amount is.


Alma 37:35 states, “Learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God.” As Alma counsels, the younger we begin to obey the commandments, the better.

Dyelle Fairbanks, 16
Pensacola, Florida

You should pay your tithing; it makes a difference. If you don’t get much money, then you don’t owe much tithing and paying it shouldn’t be hard, especially since it’s the right thing to do.

Ryan Chapple, 14
Snowflake, Arizona

The Lord blesses you when you pay your tithing. When you turn in your tithing, remember you are fulfilling a part of your responsibility to keep the commandments.

Christine Thomas, 14
Salt Lake City, Utah

The Lord isn’t interested in how much money you have; He is interested in how willing you are to sacrifice. It may not seem like your tithing makes much of a difference, but remember that the Lord doesn’t measure the quantity of your money; He measures the quality of your heart.

Jason Bell, 20
Houston, Texas

Your tithing makes a difference. Even if it’s only 50 cents, it’s your contribution and that makes it important.

Josh Donat, 17
Clearview, Washington

Paying what little tithing you have now will help you form a habit so that later on, when you earn more money, you won’t be tempted to spend your tithing money on something else.

Tiffanne Christensen, 16
Bunkerville, Nevada

Keeping the law of tithing now will only make it easier to follow in the future. If you will keep this commandment, the Lord will pour out both spiritual and temporal blessings.

Lance Hamner, 16
Franklin, Indiana

The purpose of tithing isn’t just to give money to the Church; it is also to test our faith and see if we will put God first in our lives. If we obey the law, we will be blessed.

Laura Jessop, 14
Glenorchy, Tasmania, Australia

Remember that tithe paying is a commandment. The scriptures don’t tell us to pay tithing only if we have a lot of money. Each of us is commanded to give one-tenth of our earnings to the Lord, no matter how small our earnings may be.

Karen McKnight, 15
Tallahassee, Florida

Photography by Allexis Duce; posed by models

Jesus taught His disciples about tithing when He observed a poor widow contributing two mites (a very small amount of money). Although her actual contribution was small, it proved her great faith. Christ told His disciples, “This poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury” (Mark 12:43). (Detail from painting The Widow’s Mite, by Harold Copping. © Providence Litho.)