TITHING BEFORE RENT, WATER, ELECTRICITY, AND FEEDING YOUR FAMILY
I find the following quote in the December 2012 Ensign very disturbing:
If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing. If paying tithing means that you can’t pay your rent, pay tithing. Even if paying tithing means that you don’t have enough money to feed your family, pay tithing. The Lord will not abandon you.
(This quote below is a new addition to the latest CES Letter) This despicably dangerous idea of tithing before feeding your family was further perpetuated in the April 2017 General Conference by Elder Valeri Cordón:
One day during those difficult times, I heard my parents discussing whether they should pay tithing or buy food for the children. On Sunday, I followed my father to see what he was going to do. After our church meetings, I saw him take an envelope and put his tithing in it. That was only part of the lesson. The question that remained for me was what we were going to eat.
CES Letter, Page 117-118
Changes and Blessings
Amado, Evelyn, and Michelle were baptized and confirmed in early June 2011. “From the time that we were baptized,” Evelyn says, “I could feel that everything started to change. My family was united in the Church. We had found the restored gospel. We have had trials and sickness since then, but our Heavenly Father has poured many blessings on us.”
Amado observes: “The first change I noticed was unity in our family. It’s not that we were dysfunctional before, but we started to unite more. The doctrines of the gospel helped us. As Church leaders taught us about the sacredness of the family, we thought more about the value we should place on our family.”
Bishop Orellana explained that tithing was 10 percent of their increase. Amado was somewhat concerned. At the time, Evelyn had a job, but he did not. “We always come up short,” Amado explained to his bishop, “but we want to pay tithing.”
Bishop Orellana responded, “Brother, the Lord has made many promises.” Together they read scriptures about the blessings that come from faithfully paying tithing, including the Lord’s words through the prophet Malachi: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, … 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” (Malachi 3:10).
After reading these scriptures together, Bishop Orellana looked at the new convert and said, “If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing. If paying tithing means that you can’t pay your rent, pay tithing. Even if paying tithing means that you don’t have enough money to feed your family, pay tithing. The Lord will not abandon you.”
The next Sunday, Amado approached Bishop Orellana again. This time he didn’t ask any questions. He simply handed his bishop an envelope and said, “Bishop, here is our tithing.”
Reflecting on this experience, Bishop Orellana says, “Ever since then, they have been faithful tithe payers.” The family received some commodities from the bishops’ storehouse during their financial difficulties. Beyond that, the Lord blessed them to be able to care for themselves. Evelyn received a promotion, and Amado found a good job. Evelyn later lost her job, but they continued to pay tithing and to receive spiritual and temporal blessings for their faithfulness. Once Bishop Orellana asked Amado how the family was doing financially. Amado responded, “We’re doing all right. Sometimes we don’t have much to eat, but we have enough. And more than anything, we trust in the Lord.”
After paying tithing for some time, Evelyn and Amado spoke with Bishop Orellana about the blessings they had received. Referring to Malachi 3:10, they said, “We have proven the Lord.” And true to Bishop Orellana’s promise, the Lord never abandoned them.