I had a coworker who asked me about what happens to the money our church members contribute for tithes and offerings for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I thanked him for asking me about it because I was able to really think about how I feel about my contributions, re-investigate what I know about tithing in the church, and why I have chosen to contribute. Here was my written response to him:
Here are some articles and websites that explains a little more about what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does with tithing, and other items that might demonstrate the financial status of the church. If anything, the links I provided are educational and discuss how the money serves not just our members, but also others who are in need physically and spiritually.
First, it is important to note that tithing funds are, as purposed by the Church: ... always used for the Lord’s purposes—to build and maintain temples and meetinghouses, to sustain missionary work, to educate Church members, and to carry on the work of the Lord throughout the world.
As per revelation, some ways in which the church carries on the work of Christ throughout the world includes:
1. Humanitarian Efforts: LDS Charities: LDS Charities was established by the Church in 1996 to enhance Church involvement in relief and development activities throughout the world to Mormons and non Mormons alike. News article about LDS church explaining its approach to charitable giving.
2. Other ways and things tithing is used for:
- Perpetual Education Fund: The Perpetual Education Fund (PEF) has been established to provide worthy young adults of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with the support and resources necessary to improve their lives through education and better employment to better serve their family, the Church, and their community.
- Church Welfare Plan: a program establish to help all of us become more self-reliant and to follow the Savior in helping people help themselves.
- LDS Employment Resource Services: For the unemployed. This is available to everyone.
- Family History: A free service for all people to begin searching their ancestry and make connections with their family lines
The list mentioned above is intended to help the physical and spiritual well being of its members, which in turn produces a people based on giving....not just to members, but to all.
In addition, a yearly audit report is distributed to the public every year, which can be viewed on the church website.
Might I also point out a quote given by our late prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley: “There are so many who are hungry and destitute across this world who need help. I am grateful to be able to say that we are assisting many who are not of our faith but whose needs are serious and whom we have the resources to help. But we need not go so far afield. We have some of our own who cry out in pain and suffering and loneliness and fear. Ours is a great and solemn duty to reach out and help them, to lift them, to feed them if they are hungry, to nurture their spirits if they thirst for truth and righteousness.”
On a more spiritual note: I have been paying tithing since my youth. It wasn’t until I prayed about its great significance and power that my faith to help build the kingdom of God on earth was stimulated. I am grateful that the church has made it possible to help those around me in need. I may not be able to immediately see the needs of those around me. I also recognized that there are people who are proud and don’t want to let others know that they are in trouble (like myself when I was struggling). I am grateful that I have the opportunity to contribute 10% of my income to a wonderful, Christian cause. I believe in its power not only for the creation of houses of worship, where our wonderful Savior visits its halls, but also in its ability to strengthen my faith and relationship with Christ. I pay my tithing because He has asked me to sacrifice so little compared to His ultimate sacrifice. Each one of us in the church has to realize our own testimony, and will contribute what they will. But as for me, I choose to give, because I know it makes me happy and because I love the Lord.