The Sacred Disposition of the Tithes

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City Creek Skybridge

My dearest brothers and sisters,

As I travel around the world, I always make certain to admonish the saints regarding the importance of paying a full tithe. I often explain to these humble members that the tithe was instituted as part of the Law of Moses, and thus we see this holy practice throughout the Old Testament. While the adversary would have us believe that the Law of Moses was fulfilled by Christ, we know through modern revelation that many parts of this inspired law remain in effect today, including the sacred and holy law of the tithe.

Recently, after I taught this principle, I received a letter from a member inquiring about my remarks. I will include his letter, along with my response:

Dear Elder Delaney,

Thank you for speaking at our Stake Conference and instructing us on the importance of tithing. My wife and I have been wondering if it would be okay if we paid our tithing directly to charity instead of through the Church. We have been reading the Old Testament and have come across several scriptures that talk about tithing being meant for the poor:

  • —“When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes [for] the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled.” (Deuteronomy 26:12)
  • —“And he lifted up his voice, and he blessed Abram, being the high priest, and the keeper of the storehouse of God; Him whom God had appointed to receive tithes for the poor.” (Genesis 14:37-38, JST)

We also did the math and figured out that less than a percent of our tithing money was actually going to the poor! Here is how we figured this out:

My wife and I donated about $7,000 in tithing last year, which means that only about $45 was used for the poor. We are very disappointed. Wouldn’t it be alright if we donated our tithing directly to the poor or to a charity that is more efficient?

Sincerely,

Chace Wheelwright

PS. Please don’t post my name online, as I do not want people to know our annual income as per the amount we pay in tithing.

Dearest Brother Wheelwright,

Thank you for your inquiries regarding this important matter of righteousness. You must not take lightly the seriousness of this situation, and I feel I must warn you. As you know, tithing is a very important law and commandment of the Restored Gospel. Why? There are many reasons. First, it is through paying a full tithe that we are able to enter the holy and sacred temples of the Lord, and thus receive our exaltation in the mansions prepared for us in the kingdom of heaven. If one does not bestow a full tithe, then he is at peril of losing this heavenly real estate due to delinquent payments—much like losing a home to foreclosure if regular payments are not made. This is why the Church dutifully holds our annual tithing settlement meetings, in order to lovingly assist each precious member in maintaining this most essential payment of eternal significance. Your current temple recommend may be revoked if you do not fully tithe—denying you the eternal blessings provided therein. Furthermore, we know from our holy scriptures that failure to pay a full tithe puts one at risk of a most agonizing punishment: “for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.” (D&C 64:23)

Notwithstanding, it is also important to remember that the payment of tithes is always completely voluntary, Brother Wheelwright. Certainly a loving God would never threaten or coerce people into keeping His commandments. What a great blessing and privilege it is to pay these sacred tithes! Elder David A. Bednar has testified: “The honest payment of tithing is much more than a duty; it is an important step in the process of personal sanctification.” Clearly, Brother Wheelwright, you cannot become sanctified (pure and holy) without making these most essential payments to the Church. After all, we must remember, it is not our money to begin with. It is the Lord’s money. His authorized representatives, the modern-day prophets, have assured us of this fact.

You have inquired regarding the possibility of paying your tithes to another charity rather than the Church. This cannot be. All tithing payments are carefully recorded by faithful ward and branch clerks in a state-of-the-art electronic system that monitors each member’s current payment status. If you send your payments elsewhere, Brother Wheelwright, then these payments would not be recorded in the Church system and all your “charitable” donations would therefore become null and invalid before the Lord. You would then be at risk of losing your temple recommend, the blessings of exaltation, and the promised protection from fires at the last day. And this, of course, you must not do.

Now, dearest brother, you have erroneously assumed that the other 99.35% of the tithes are not used for charity. This is a terrible mistake. Much of the good we do in the world cannot be measured in terms of money. However, if you insist on knowing what happens to your tithes, then fortunately I am in a good position to provide a reassuring response.

You see, Brother Wheelwright, these funds may not be given to the poor in the secular sense of the word, but they are certainly given to the poor in spirit. For example, think of the consecrated and sacred salaries paid to the Lord’s chosen and anointed leaders, His beloved General Authorities, the auxiliary leaders, and the many faithful mission presidents across the globe. All willingly give their time, talents, and all that they possess in order to travel the world and graciously visit multitudes of worshipful Latter-day Saints. Would you expect them to do so without monetary compensation? Of course not. Also consider the many operating expenses associated with the Lord’s university—even Brigham Young University. Running a university costs many hundreds of millions of dollars, Brother Wheelwright. Just think of the many humble college students which this fine institution services with quality education that strengthens and solidifies each student’s life-long devotion to the Church and which is free from the misguided philosophies of the world! Furthermore, I am personally acquainted with many of the Church accountants, full-time lawyers, “search engine optimization” experts, full-time apologists, and professional Public Relations experts employed by the Church! Why anyone would not want to contribute to these noble causes is beyond me.

In addition, there are the holy temples of the Lord—those beautiful and spacious buildings occupied by only the most devout—which cost many hundreds of millions of dollars, Brother Wheelwright, that we might enter therein to find a haven of peace apart from the worldliness of the rich and proud. Could we forgo these essential edifices and still maintain the salvation of all mankind? Certainly not.

And finally, let us not forget the many benevolent real estate investments made by the Church, that we might further the work of the Lord through their continuing returns. This includes a first-class mall which benefits the citizens of Salt Lake City on a daily basis. Malls are not inexpensive, Brother Wheelwright, and this mall happened to cost several billion dollars. But certainly this was a small price to pay considering the many homeless citizens who are now able to peacefully seek alms outside its many entrances. During my last visit to downtown Salt Lake City, my soul was filled with a supreme joy as I beheld this magnificent structure and realized how many of our dear homeless are now able to find shelter and refuge beneath the protection of its outstretched skybridge. At one point, Sister Delaney and I witnessed a faithful mall shopper lovingly place a coin within the hat of a poverty-sticken vagabond sitting on the sidewalk. Tears streamed down our faces as we realized that this heartfelt donation would never have been possible without the presence of the Lord’s mall. How glorious are the works of the Lord!

Brother Wheelwright, I testify that the wisdom of our prophets, seers, and revelators not only greatly surpasses our own, but is able to manage our tithes to a degree of glory that most of us cannot conceive. You can rest assured that the inspired Council on the Disposition of the Tithes is vigilant in caring for your contributions.

May the blessings of heaven shower upon you as your faithfully subject yourself to all the laws of God as taught through His authorized representatives upon the earth, even insomuch that there might not be room enough to receive them.

Lovingly,

Elder Delaney

Brothers and sisters, some time later I received this inspiring reply from the Wheelwrights:

Dear Elder Delaney,

We couldn’t have been happier to receive your reassuring letter regarding the use of our tithing donations, as well as the inevitable consequences of not paying them, which we hadn’t initially considered. We have decided to continue to pay a full tithing directly to the Church, with full faith and gratitude that these funds are being used to benefit the monetarily poor as well as the poor in spirit. We will also be making extra donations to the real estate and mall division of the Church, that more of our homeless brothers and sisters may be benefited.

With thanks and gratitude,

Chace & Anne Wheelwright

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17 thoughts on “The Sacred Disposition of the Tithes

  1. Filled with the Spirit

    Oh Elder Delaney, I feel so filled with the spirit when reading your post on tithing that I have determined to increase my giving to 15%. I have spoken with my six children and they are all behind this decision, even though they must sacrifice considerably (orthodontics, school supplies and activities, clothing and shoes which are now to be purchased at the second hand stores). What a blessing for us!

    I did notice, however, that your tie seems to be Hermes….however did you purchase that at D.I.? I am thrilled for you.

  2. Ryan W.

    Elder Delaney, I just read your post but it raised more questions than answers. Are you sure that our tithing is being used for all the things you mentioned? I had always thought that most of my tithing was going to the needy.

    • Steve

      Tithing does not and has not for decades gone to the needy. It was set up that way in the D&C but things were changed by church leadership acting outside the law of common consent. Now tithing is used to create multi billion dollar malls, temples that cost over 100 million and to buy real estate in Florida.
      The LDS church hasn’t matched (or just barely matched) it’s mall in charitable donations in the last 40 years.
      As for the coin in the hat story, with the 1.5+ billion dollar mall, the homeless people in Salt Lake and around the world could have received homes, jobs and a heckuva lot more than a coin.
      Frankly, I find the post quite disturbing.

  3. Dear Elder Delaney,

    After reading about the struggles of LDS children in Ecuador and Guatemala, brought to my attention by Mormon Dialogue,

    https://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V35N04_105.pdf

    I feel like Oskar Schindler as portrayed by Liam Neeson. “This car. Goeth would have bought this car. Why did I keep the car? Ten people right there. Ten people. Ten more people.”

    According to Dr. Bradley Walker, $150 will feed and educate a young LDS child in the developing world for a year. $50 could mean the difference between life and death.

    http://bycommonconsent.com/2011/01/27/approaching-zion-solving-the-problem-of-malnutrition/

    While the new Gilbert, AZ temple is beautiful and the size of the chandeliers are awe inspiring, looking at them makes me feel guilty. How many lives could have been saved if we went without such an impressive light fixture? As I write my tithing check, I wonder if it would be more Christ like to send the check to a worthy charity instead.

    If I tithe 10% of my income to charity, am I still worthy to enter the temple?

    Sincerely,
    Gilbert Gripe

  4. Brother Smith

    Elder Delaney, thank you for your inspiring words. Every time I drove past President Packer’s well-groomed multi million dollar estate, I would wonder how someone who used to be a seminary teacher before becoming an apostle could afford such a beautiful and expansive residence in such a desirable location in the valley. Now I understand. Is it possible for me to make extra donations for specific apostles? I would love to contribute more to this noble cause.

  5. Let Us Obey

    I would just like to testify that Elder Delaney’s words are true. I could feel it with every fiber of my being. As he explained the consequences of not paying tithing to the church I felt within myself a righteous fear and knew that I am doing what is right by paying my tithing in order to secure for myself a lot in heaven, and to avoid being burned at the last day. Thank you, Elder Delaney, for once again saving another soul!

  6. Randy

    Your authoritative insights are so true, Elder Delaney. I am so glad that my tithing helps pay for malls and real estate across the world. Rather than some business tycoon building malls with his own capital, I would much rather have my church build these malls with my money! It brings a tear to my eye to think I may have paid for one of the awnings at the mall that may provide shelter for the poor!

    • Dearest member,

      Thank you for your righteousness in these important matters. As you can see, it is much better for the Lord’s true Church to own the mall that it may promote its mission, than for the mall to be owned by worldly persons of monetary wealth. Not only will the Church use the mall for higher purposes, such as expanding its influence, but it also gives non-members who shop there a way to support the work of the Lord. It is also very important to keep in mind that the Church is protecting a private business tycoon from profiting from the mall and thus bringing upon himself eternal misery and damnation, for we are plainly told that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24) How glorious are the works of the Lord!

      Elder Delaney

      • John

        Surely you know that the church is a Corporations Sole which means the prophet alone owns all of the assets of the church making him one of the richest persons in the world. If we really believe that “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God”, maybe the assets should be return to be held in common by the members as it was in the early church.

  7. As a member of the the LDS Church for several years,I understand that the thithes belong to our Heavenly Father,however what our Church leadership do with those tithes reflect on the Church.and that’s why I pray that the president of the LDS Church will have the wisdom to follow Christ’s Teachings,especially when it comes to using God’s money.and as far as I know Christ set an example of living a MODEST life, not a life of OPULENCE

  8. I CAN’T STOP LAUGHING AT THE IDIOCY OF THIS COMMENT FROM YOUR BLOG POST. Somehow I don’t think that Mother Teresa would agree. You, Elder Delaney said “And finally, let us not forget the many benevolent real estate investments made by the Church, that we might further the work of the Lord through their continuing returns. This includes a first-class mall which benefits the citizens of Salt Lake City on a daily basis. Malls are not inexpensive, Brother Wheelwright, and this mall happened to cost several billion dollars. But certainly this was a small price to pay considering the many homeless citizens who are now able to peacefully seek alms outside its many entrances. During my last visit to downtown Salt Lake City, my soul was filled with a supreme joy as I beheld this magnificent structure and realized how many of our dear homeless are now able to find shelter and refuge beneath the protection of its outstretched skybridge. At one point, Sister Delaney and I witnessed a faithful mall shopper lovingly place a coin within the hat of a poverty-sticken vagabond sitting on the sidewalk. Tears streamed down our faces as we realized that this heartfelt donation would never have been possible without the presence of the Lord’s mall. How glorious are the works of the Lord!” Thank you for reminding me why I am no longer a member of the sham religion that I was raised in.

  9. James E.

    Elder Delaney,

    Thank you for sharing. I have firsthand experience of the church supporting those in need. I have a good friend whose father passed away unexpectedly when he was a young man. His family not only suffered the emotional burden of losing their father so suddenly, but the financial burdens were overwhelming. However, they maintained paying a full tithe and the Lord’s church.

    I have a testimony that the church is true and I know that the use of tithing funds is inspired and directed by the Lord and have perfect trust in Him.

    Regards,
    James

  10. jsmith

    I’m a bit concerned my friend.

    Why do I get the prompting that this teaching you spoke of to the missionaries,

    “The enemy will tell you that God will forgive your weaknesses and mistakes, but then he will tell you that you will be forgiven only if you obey his false teachings to the letter, and especially only if you pay large sums of money to his representatives. Certainly this will remind you of the Church of Scientology, which charges their members thousands of dollars in exchange for access to their greatest blessings and rites. How anyone could regard a church as “true” which engages in such fraudulent practices is beyond me.”

    is hypocritical and condemning of our own practices?

    What you are telling these young missionaries about is no different than to withhold temple blessings and rites from Latter Day Saints who do not pay a full tithe.

    Please expound on the doctrine of tithes being linked to temple rites and blessings.

    I am concerned with what I am feeling as I read through that talk, that possibly the very elect could be us, and that the very devil is doing the same thing to the “true” church as you are stating he is doing to others claiming to be the “true” church.

    May the Lord open our eyes and may the richness of the temples and the conference center and shopping malls not be the warning spoken of in the Book of Mormon, that of grinding upon the face of the poor with our fine dress, adorning of buildings, etc..

    Do you honestly feel that the Christ would be in the finely adorned temples as much as he would be in the street with the poor?

  11. B

    Is this blog satirical or are you being for real because its almost like a Saturday night Live sketch and I’m having a hard time knowing if you are for real? Can you please honestly reread your blog post elder, and ask yourself what this has to do with anything “poor” related? My favorite part of your blog was the part about the mall! While all the rich people go into Tiffany’s to buy their jewelry they may be nice enough to stop and give a homeless person a dollar or something, but good grief–listen to the insanity coming out of yourself! I’m sorry, I’ve been to Haiti, I’ve seen children walking around the streets naked–and your church built a mall??? I talked to a homeless lady outside that mall once and she did go there to make a bit of extra cash,- (which was good for her) but What about the other homeless man I saw down the street later that day who didn’t have shoes and told me his name was Satan–he certainly didn’t find shelter in the “outstretched sky bridge.” I’m sorry but its like all of this stuff you’ve written is bad breath and its time for you to put your hand up to your face, breathe out and inhale the toxic smell–its time to face it. This church build a multi billion dollar MALL and there are people in North Korea who are living in prison camps without shelter, water–who have been so malnourished their bones don’t develop correctly; who are so brainwashed they are almost like animals–Do you even know what the poor are? Its time to reach deep and do a gut check. I’m sorry but your blind sincerety is frightening; it did give me a good laugh, but then I felt bad for laughing because you were freaking serious. Please….Please…please do a gut check–but maybe your gut is so frosted over with sugar covered Mormon malls that you can no longer see reality, I don’t know but please reread your whimsical post and ask yourself if there’s something seriously wrong with this picture, I mean for real, I mean for real for real.

  12. Nate

    Wow…reading all this reminded me of why I left the church…..if one can justify a billion dollar mall as helping the poor by providing a safe area to beg and where one is brought to tears when one gets a coin thrown in their hand, rather than investing the billions in actually working to get them back on their feet is amazing.

    I am also quite sure God would be fine with a humble temple building that did not cost millions in gold overlay.

    Your verbosely spun stories that justify the wealth of the church being spent how it is goes against all that Christ taught.

    “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”

    I am quite sure I would not want a God who would deny entry to his kingdom because someone helped the poor instead of helping build a mall where they could beg.

    God does not need an LDS accountant to tell him when someone has tithed in the true law of the gospel.

  13. Name Withheld

    Working for a CPA who works for the Church, the President earns $1.2M per year plus every imaginable expense and luxury. Pay your tithes. It’s expensive supporting the top.

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