In an answer to prayer, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the following revelation, which is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 119. "This shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people. And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever."
Tithing is not a new commandment for members of any Church. Throughout time, however, it has been interpreted differently and means something different to many people.
To pay a full tithe, the members of the Mormon Church have been commanded to give one-tenth of their income, or one-tenth of their increase, to the Lord through His Church. Tithing is submitted to a member of the bishopric and given directly to the headquarters of the Mormon Church. Once there, a council comprised of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the Presiding Bishopric, determine specific ways to use the funds. Tithing submitted by the members is used only for the Lord's purposes. Some of those purposes are: building and maintaining temples, meetinghouses, and other buildings; operating funds for stakes, wards, and other units of the Church; sustaining missionary work; educating young people in Church schools, seminaries, and institutes; printing and distributing lesson materials; and helping in family history and temple work.
The Mormon belief is that it is a privilege to pay tithing. By living the law of tithing, each member participates in building up the kingdom of God on the earth. It is a commandment that helps members prepare to live in the presence of our Father in Heaven. Everything we have belongs to a loving Father in Heaven—He has blessed us with everything. Tithing is a way to thank Him for our blessings and to show Him how much we love Him.
Paying a full tithe is showing our obedience to a loving Father in Heaven. The blessings received from doing so are boundless in that the Lord promised: "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."1
The commitment to pay tithing may be illogical to the payer. On paper it may not look like it can be done. But, the Lord has promised that if tithing is paid first, doing so with faithfulness and obedience, He will bless us beyond our capacity. "Prove me now herewith… 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."1
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1 "Old Testament", Malachi 3:10