Tithing

(also see “Obedience” and “Prosperity gospel”)

 

Pros of Mormonism from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
Many active Mormons believe that they cannot afford to not pay tithing. Paying an honest tithe opens up the windows of heaven, and we will be blessed. It can be satisfying for many believers that they are contributing to building up the kingdom of Heaven. Paying tithing can also help foster a sense of commitment and belonging that improves one’s sense of community.
 
There are also some practical benefits to tithing: paying tithing qualifies one for tax deductions and helps teach budgeting.
The nonbeliever is not likely to pay tithing, but they might acknowledge that there are some practical benefits to tithing: paying tithing qualifies one for tax deductions and helps teach budgeting.
 
Cons of Mormonism from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
Although many believers gladly sacrifice in order to pay tithing, many admit that it is, at times, a struggle. 10% of one’s income is a lot of money that could otherwise be spent on your family, paying bills, having fun, and so forth. Spending so much money on tithing can also make one feel that they are unable to afford giving money to other causes, like schools, girl scout cookies, the red cross, and other charities, making one feel stingy and cheap.
10% of one’s income is a lot of money that could otherwise be spent on your family, paying bills, having fun, and so forth. Spending so much money on tithing can also make one feel that they are unable to afford giving money to other causes, such as schools, girl scout cookies, the red cross, and other charities, making one feel stingy and cheap.
 
The nonbeliever might acknowledge that much good can come from those with means giving money to churches. However, many nonbelievers question the morality of the unconditional requirement in Mormonism to pay tithing, and having tithing be a prerequisite component to things like temple attendance and welfare. To nonbelievers, it appears immoral and like an abuse of power to prevent family members from attending the wedding of a family member or close friend if they don’t pay 10% of their income. To some nonbelievers, it appears unethical to insist that even those who cannot afford to pay rent or to feed their children should pay tithing in order to be worthy before the church. Paying tithing even when one cannot afford to do so is frequently taught within Mormonism, such as this counsel in the strength of youth: “Pay [tithing] first, even when you think you do not have enough money to meet your other needs. Doing so will help you develop greater faith, overcome selfishness, and be more receptive to the Spirit”. Another example is this counsel to new converts: “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.
 
Insisting that parents put the church first and their family second, with the promise of unnamed blessings, sounds like abusive behavior. In many situations, church welfare is only given when the recipient pays tithing, which can be psychologically traumatizing.
 
The nonbeliever is also much less likely to trust that the church is spending tithing money wisely, especially because the church does not release how it uses it. This is in direct contrast to the transparency of many other charities and churches.

 

Comments relating to your lived experience with Mormonism are welcome. Although it can be difficult to distinguish at times, please focus on how the church helps and harms rather than it being true vs untrue.

Top