“Would You Deny Me a Blessing?”

Joseph F. Smith, Conference Report, April 6, 1900

Mary-Fielding-SmithI recollect most vividly a circumstance that occurred in the days of my childhood. My mother was a widow, with a large family to provide for. One spring when we opened our potato pits she had her boys get a load of the best potatoes, and she took them to the tithing office; potatoes were scarce that season. I was a little boy at the time, and drove the team. When we drove up to the steps of the tithing office, ready to unload the potatoes, one of the clerks came out and said to my mother, “Widow Smith, it’s a shame that you should have to pay tithing.” He said a number of other things that I remember well, but they are not necessary for me to repeat here. The . . . name of that tithing clerk was William Thompson, and he chided my mother for paying her tithing, called her anything but wise or prudent; and said there were others who were strong and able to work that were supported from the tithing office. My mother turned upon him and said:

“William, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Would you deny me a blessing? If I did not pay my tithing, I should expect the Lord to withhold His blessings from me. I pay my tithing, not only because it is a law of God, but because I expect a blessing by doing it. By keeping this and other laws, I expect to prosper and to be able to provide for my family.” Though she was a widow, you may turn to the records of the Church from the beginning unto the day of her death, and you will find that she never received a farthing from the Church to help her support herself and her family; but she paid in thousands of dollars in wheat, potatoes, corn, vegetables, meat, etc. The tithes of her sheep and cattle, the tenth pound of her butter, her tenth chicken, the tenth of her eggs, the tenth pig, the tenth calf, the tenth colt—a tenth of everything she raised was paid. Here sits my brother, who can bear testimony to the truth of what I say, as can others who knew her. She prospered because she obeyed the laws of God. She had abundance to sustain her family. We never lacked so much as many others did; for while we found nettle greens most acceptable when we first came to the valley; and while we enjoyed thistle roots, segoes and all that kind of thing, we were no worse off than thousands of others, and not so bad off as many, for we were never without corn-meal and milk or butter, to my knowledge. Then that widow had her name recorded in the book of the law of the Lord. That widow was entitled to the privileges of the house of God. No ordinance of the Gospel could be denied her, for she was obedient to the laws of God, and she would not fail in her duty when though discouraged from observing a commandment of God by one who was in an official position.

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“Where Do I Pay My Tithing?”

The Lord Blesses a Faithful Woman for Her Sacrifice

photo-scaled-50013This experience comes from Julio Cesar Merlos of Texas, and was published in the September 2009 Ensign.

I was serving in the mission office of the El Salvador San Salvador Mission when the mission president transferred me to an area that had been closed for many years. The leaders of the branch there had not only prayed and fasted that missionaries would return, but they had also prepared for that day.

When I arrived, every family in the branch had friends who were ready to receive the missionaries. One member introduced us to a lady named Ana Oviedo, who sold fruit and homemade food on one of the busiest street corners in the city. While she was there selling food one Saturday morning, we asked if we could visit her at her home and share a message about Jesus Christ. She accepted.

When we arrived that night, Ana and her four children were waiting for us. We introduced ourselves and started teaching them. We felt inspired to teach about the blessings of keeping the Sabbath day holy. We also taught the family about tithing and the promises made by the prophet Malachi (see Malachi 3:10–12).

In response, Ana told us that she had already prepared to sell food the next day—Sunday—just as she always did. We then offered a prayer, asking Heavenly Father to bless this poor family, which needed the mother’s income.

The following day we were surprised to see her come to church with her children. We welcomed them and asked her what had happened with the food she had prepared to sell.

“Elders, I spent last night pondering God’s promises,” she said. “He will bless me.” Then she added, “Elders, where do I pay my tithing?”

We were moved by her show of faith, and we prayed that the Lord would answer our prayers for this family.

The next evening we went by her house again. She was crying tears of gratitude because God had blessed her so greatly that day. She said she had been selling food on that corner her whole life—Monday through Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.—and that she always had leftover items that didn’t sell. But that Monday she had sold all of her food by 1:00 p.m.
Heavenly Father had answered our prayers. The Lord continued to bless Ana, and she no longer needed to sell food on the Sabbath. Her children were soon baptized, but Ana’s husband would not consent to her baptism. Nevertheless, she remained faithful to the gospel and attended church until the day she died.

I know Heavenly Father keeps His promises when we obey His commandments with all our heart.

My Tithing Couldn’t Wait

“Prove Me Now Herewith”  The Principle of Tithing is Put to the Test

malachiThis story comes fromDavid Erland Isaksen of Norway and was published in the February 2011 Ensign.

In my late teens, as I started spending time with the full-time missionaries, I realized how crucial it was to have a testimony of the principles I would soon be teaching as a missionary. I decided that one of the principles I wanted to understand better was tithing.

Many people gain a testimony of tithing during times of financial hardship. But growing up, I always had more than enough. If I ever had a financial need, my parents took care of it. I was grateful for that, but while I knew that they would pay for my mission, I decided that I wanted to finance half of my mission myself through my work as a part-time teacher.
About the same time, I realized that I hadn’t paid a full 10 percent tithing from my last paycheck. I decided that with my next paycheck, I would make up the difference so that I could be a full-tithe payer.

When I was paid for the month, however, the amount was less than I had expected. The work I did was somewhat irregular, so my salary varied from month to month. I quickly realized that the paycheck would not cover my expenses and allow me to pay the balance of what I owed the Lord in tithing from my previous paycheck.

I considered my options and then thought, “I’ll just have to catch up on tithing next month.” But then I remembered an institute of religion lesson on tithing. I particularly remembered what the Lord says in the Old Testament: “Prove me now herewith” (Malachi 3:10). This was an opportunity for me to put the principle to the test and to gain a stronger testimony of what I would soon be teaching others.

When I paid my tithing, I felt good about being caught up. But the opportunity to “prove” the Lord came the very next day—much sooner and in a greater way than I could have ever expected—when I was offered a full-time job as a kindergarten teacher. I would be able to work right up until I left for my mission, and the money I would earn would be more than I needed to pay half of my mission expenses. This blessing dramatically increased my testimony of tithing. That testimony was bolstered again and again as I shared it with the people I served in the Germany Munich/Austria Mission over the next two years.

I know that the principle of tithing is true and that the Lord does “open [us] the windows of heaven” and pour out a blessing so great “that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10).

I quickly realized that my paycheck would not cover my expenses and allow me to pay the balance of what I owed the Lord in tithing.

I Couldn’t Believe My Eyes!

A 16 Year-old’s Faith in Tithing Leads to a Remarkable Coincidence

tithing-336426-printThroughout my life in the church, I’ve heard the testimonies of many people who had the faith to pay tithing in spite of financial hardship.  Frequently, these acts of faith are accompanied by stories of God “opening the windows of heaven,” so that they are able to overcome or endure their financial difficulties.  I love this story because it teaches of God’s mindfulness of our actions and obedience to His commandments.  It comes from James on his profile at mormon.org.

When I was a young man, about 16 years old, I needed to find a summer job so I could buy clothes for the upcoming school year. Jobs were hard to find that summer and I knew I needed God’s help. In my closet I had $40 dollars left from some birthday money I had received. I decided to place the $40 dollars in an envelope and give it to the Bishop that Sunday at church.  After giving him the envelope, I said a prayer and told Heavenly Father that I had paid my tithing in advance so He could help me find a job the next day. Monday morning arrived and I left my house looking for work. Amazingly, I found a job by noon that day. I was overwhelmed with gratitude towards my Heavenly Father and thanked Him in prayer. Outstandingly the miracle didn’t end there.  Later I got my first paycheck.  I couldn’t believe my eyes! When I looked at my check it was $400. The tithing I had paid in advance was exactly 10% of my first paycheck. I knew then with a sure knowledge that paying my tithing (10%) was not just an act of unselfishness, but a commandment of God. I also discovered that God hears and answers the prayers of the faithful.