“Begin with the end in mind.”
That was President Nelson’s message when he was announced as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2018.
What is the end? Elder Boyd K. Packer stated:
The ultimate end of all activity in the Church is to see a husband and his wife and their children happy at home, protected by the principles and laws of the gospel, sealed safely in the covenants of the everlasting priesthood.
Why Some Many Temples Now?
What has led to the increased building of temples? And why is it happening now as opposed to 20 years ago or 20 years in the future?
I’ve asked this question to quite a few people recently and some of the responses are:
- “The work is hastening”
- “People are more prepared”
- “Jesus is returning soon”
- “It’s the last days”
- “We have the means”
All of the above are good answers, but one of them, from a purely logistical perspective, is very critical. Elder Neil L. Andersen touched on this recently when he revealed one of the most important factors of increased temple building in his October 2023 General Conference talk, Tithing: Opening the Windows of Heaven:
The added abundance of the Lord conveyed through your generous tithes has strengthened the reserves of the Church, providing opportunities to advance the Lord’s work beyond anything we have yet experienced. All is known by the Lord, and in time, we will see His sacred purposes fulfilled.
The strengthened reserves of the Church are due to the payment of tithing. Those reserves that are mocked and criticized by so many, are the very thing that has allowed the increased acceleration in the announcement and construction of temples.
Stated again, because YOU are paying your tithes and offerings, because your family and ward and stake members are paying their tithing, the church has added reserves and the ability to hasten the Lord’s work in miraculous ways.
Those who don’t understand God’s blessings and ways think that tithing funds should be used in a different way. They don’t see the value in temples. This scenario reminds me of two scriptures. One is where Judas disagrees with the use of expensive ointment that Mary anointed Jesus with. This account in John 12 reads:
Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.
There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.
Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him,
Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.
For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.
There are so many today screaming the same message. They want to dictate how the Lord’s funds should be used. But the other scripture that comes to mind explains why they are so bothered by the constructions of temples, instead of more money being given to provide other aid. In 1 Corinthians 2:14 it says:
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The wisdom of God is foolishness to those who only see with their natural eyes – and especially for those who feel that this life is all there is. For if this life is all there is, temples would be completely unnecessary.
Because of the need for this welding link through ordinances in the temple, the attacks on temple building and the use of tithing funds for this purpose have been relentless.
Any time a new temple is announced, many detractors flock to the comment sections online to speak ill of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their use of sacred funds. Here is just a sampling of comments that are frequently seen:
“Maybe instead of building more temples we don’t need, they could build decent housing for the homeless, or make sure there are no children going to bed hungry by donating that money to the school system, for meals, supplies and towards teachers salaries. I could go on and on, but what a waste of money that could actually help the needy and save lives.” – Patty G.
Faith in the principle of tithing includes faith in the leaders who are called to oversee the use of these sacred funds.
In David A Bednar’s 2013 General Conference talk, The Windows of Heaven, he said:
The leaders of the Lord’s restored Church feel a tremendous responsibility to care appropriately for the consecrated offerings of Church members. We are keenly aware of the sacred nature of the widow’s mite.
Elder Andersen reiterated this message by saying:
These sacred funds do not belong to the leaders of the Church. They belong to the Lord. His servants are painstakingly aware of the sacred nature of their stewardship.
President Gordon B. Hinckley recounted this childhood experience: “When I was a boy I raised a question with my father … concerning the expenditure of Church funds. He reminded me that mine is the God-given obligation to pay my tithes and offerings. When I do so, [my father said,] that which I give is no longer mine. It belongs to the Lord to whom I consecrate it.” His father added: “What the authorities of the Church do with it need not concern [you, Gordon]. They are answerable to the Lord, who will require an accounting at their hands.”
We deeply feel the weight of being “answerable to the Lord.”
I trust the living prophets to be stewards of these sacred funds. Faith in the Lord and in the principle of tithing needs to include faith in these servants of the Lord and in their dutiful oversight of the expenditures that are approved.
As I watched October’s 2023 General Conference and heard Elder Andersen say, “We deeply feel the weight of being “answerable to the Lord,” (video clip linked here) it was very apparent that he feels that weight and takes it seriously. These men are accountable to God, they know it, and they take that very seriously. They are honest men, and the salt of the earth.
Global Testimonies of Tithing
I reached out on social media and invited people to share their testimony of the principle of tithing. Here are some of their responses.
“As a convert of the church I have a huge testimony of tithing. I never paid it until I became a member. When my husband and I were newly married, we made it a goal to pay tithing. It wasn’t even a question. We were going to pay it and trust the scripture promise. Every pay check that came our way, we gave 10% to the Lord first. Money was tight, we were in school, and as we sat down to make a budget the numbers never added up for us to pay all our bills. But every month we had money to pay every bill. This has continued throughout our early marriage and as we added kids. It’s a phenomenon we call tithing math. We have even had budget lessons with monopoly money to teach our kids what bills we had, how much we made, and there was never enough monopoly money to cover our known monthly bills but we always seemed to have enough each month.” – Aimee
“Tithing has always been a pretty easy law for me to follow. I have never questioned it, but I have heard many miraculous stories of how someone paid their tithing and they got a check in the mail to cover their rent or the exact amount for a car repair. While that has never happened to me, I have always seen the promise that the Lord will protect and provide for my every need. I have seen it, time and time again, that when I follow what God asks of me, which includes paying tithing, my family and I are always taken care of. He keeps His promises when we keep ours.” -Lynette
“The majority of the blessings I’ve seen from tithing have been financial related. Money has been tight my whole life and somehow my dollar always stretches when I pay my tithing. I always have enough. Recently, I’ve let the bills get the better of me and I’ve been behind on tithing for 6 months and the money is not stretching. I actually had to borrow money to cover bills last month. Not all blessings around tithing come in monetary value, but for me, I believe they do. God takes care of those who help take care of His children.” – Anonymous
“For some reason, tithing has never been a struggle for me. Even when I was completely inactive, I still piled away a stash of cash that was for tithing. I told myself that one day I’d pay it and I did. However, I think I’m in the minority on this. My husband has struggled with it and I often feel like a total nag when I ask him repeatedly to make sure we are paying it (I’m a stay at home mom so he deals with most of the finances). What I know is this: even when things are so tight, like we aren’t going to make our mortgage payment, or have enough for gas in the car, when we pay our tithing, we have enough every time. I have had a few small examples of the amazing random checks showing up last minute, but only like once or twice.
Most of the time, it’s just that even though we shouldn’t have enough, we always barely do and we are able to survive for another month. I know many people struggle with tithing and I feel for them and I feel very blessed that I don’t have that struggle (but trust me, I have plenty of other struggles). But I do truly believe that God sees our struggles and will meet you where you are because He knows that you are trying to do what you know is right. Even if you don’t pay a full tithe, some is better than none and I believe you’ll be blessed for your efforts.” – Mercedes
“I have a testimony of the law of tithing. There have been many experiences in my life when I didn’t know how my husband and I would manage to pay bills, finish a remodeling project, or how to even save for emergencies and somehow we were able to accomplish all of that. There have been times when it didn’t make logical sense, but the Lord made a way because we paid tithing. I also believe we’ve been protected from so many things because of tithing.” – Anonymous
“While we were in grad school (and had very little money) we had the choice to pay tithing or be short on our mortgage. It was one of the hardest decisions because we were already in debt with school. We decided to pay our tithing and trust the Lord. A couple days after we paid our typing I received a check in the mail (from an old employer) for the exact amount of our mortgage that month. Not a coincidence! I know that paying our tithing is a physical way of showing our willingness to serve heavenly father, and his children. It shows that our heart is towards him, and because of that we will receive the blessings that we need.” – Beth
“People are reluctant to pay tithing because they justify and rationalize their wickedness instead of learning the Eternal laws of Heaven & understand their endowments. Tithing is a precursor to the law of consecration. Prove me now herewith the Lord says. Pay your tithing and see how the law of consecration works in your favor. My single mother was crying over balancing her checkbook. I was a young child. I witnessed her write the tithing check first and didn’t have enough for rent. She wailed in sadness and prayed for help & suddenly a knock on the door. It was the landlord. He says “Hey I’m leaving out of town so don’t worry about paying the rent” until he gets back. I watched how testimonies are built that day as a young child.” – Mitch
“I think sometimes we receive blessings from paying tithing that have nothing to do with finances. Sometimes our “tithing blessings” are more to do with the faith it took to pay it than anything else. In my life I have an increase in my peace when I’ve paid tithing. It almost feels like a protection I’m given.” – Kara
“I first gained a testimony of tithing probably in a way similar to how many do. I had a brief battle between paying rent or paying tithing. Living paycheck to paycheck as a young single adult was frustrating, but only because I wasn’t focused on Christ. Literally the moment I chose to pay tithing, I noticed my paychecks seemed to stretch farther each month. I put God first in my monetary life, and I knew He was keeping a promise with me that He would protect me. More recently, after being a full tithe payer for almost 20 years, I had a moment when I realized I was murmuring about my temporal wants. I felt behind in the rat race. I make a bit of money here and there as a stay at home mom with side hustles, and one day when I paid my tithing I immediately had the thought “don’t spend so much time worrying about those things. You can’t take them with you.” It became clear that God uses tithes to help, not to play.
To those who pay your tithes and offerings to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, thank you. You are one of the reasons that the Lord is able to hasten his work. To those of you who are not paying tithing, I would invite you to do so. Please trust in God and in His promises. He will open the windows of heaven on your behalf.
Would you comment below with your testimony about the law of tithing? I know that as we share our witness with others we will all be strengthened together.