From the Life of Lorenzo Snow
Watch the 11 minute movie “The Windows of Heaven.” Ask the women to think about Lorenzo Snow’s willingness to travel to St. George and the people’s readiness to obey the law of tithing.
After the movie, ask the sisters what their thoughts are about the movie and what we can gain from the account.
President Snow had repeatedly assured the Saints that they would be blessed individually, both temporally and spiritually, as they obeyed the law of tithing. He also promised that obedience to the law of tithing would bring blessings to the Church as a whole. He felt certain that the tithes of the faithful would enable the Church to break free from its indebtedness, which had come largely as a result of persecution. This promise was fulfilled in 1906, five years after he died.
In the April 1907 general conference, President Joseph F. Smith announced: “There never has been a time in the history of the Church, I believe, when the law of tithing was observed more universally and more honestly than it has been observed by the Latter-day Saints of late. The tithes of the people during the year 1906 have surpassed the tithing of any other year. This is a good indication that the Latter-day Saints are doing their duty, that they have faith in the Gospel, that they are willing to keep the commandments of God, and that they are working up to the line more faithfully perhaps than ever before. I want to say another thing to you, and I do so by way of congratulation, and that is, that we have, by the blessing of the Lord and the faithfulness of the Saints in paying their tithing been able to pay off our bonded indebtedness. Today the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owes not a dollar hat it cannot pay at once. At last we are in a position that we can pay as we go. We do not have to borrow anymore, and we won’t have to if the Latter-day Saints continue to live their religion and observe this law of tithing.
Earl C. Tingey said, “The Lord has established the law of tithing as the law of revenue of His Church. It is also a law by which we show our loyalty to the Lord.” (“The Law of Tithing,” Ensign, May 2002). I believe that the law of tithing goes hand in hand with the law of sacrifice, which is to test our obedience to the Lord and to help us come unto Christ. How can we come unto Christ by paying our tithing?
The law of tithing is easy to understand and can be obeyed by all.
I plead with you in the name of the Lord, and I pray that every man, woman and child…shall pay one-tenth of their income as tithing.
Tithing is not a difficult law…If a man receives ten dollars, his tithing is one dollar; if he receives one hundred, his tithing is ten…It is very easy to comprehend.
In what ways is tithing “not a difficult law?” Why might some people thing the law of tithing is difficult to obey?
A part of a tithing is no tithing at all, no more than immersing only half a person’s body in baptism.
Brethren and sisters, we want you to make this a matter a subject of prayer…instead of having such groveling ideas as some have in regard to money, we should pay our tithing…what the Lord requires of us is to pay our tithing now. And he expects every person in the future to pay his or her tithing. We know what one-tenth is; let us pay that to the Lord. Then we can go to the Bishop with an open face and ask him for a recommend to go to the temple.
President Snow went on to say, “I say to you in the name of the Lord God of Israel, if you will pay tithing from now on, the Lord will forgive you for all the past [nonpayment of tithing] and the blessings of the Almighty will be poured out upon this people.
I want to have this principle so fixed upon our hearts that we shall never forget it. As I have said more than once, I know that the Lord will forgive the Latter-day Saints for their past negligence in paying tithing, if they will now repent and pay a conscientious tithing from this time on.”
How might President Snow’s teachings help someone gain a testimony of paying a tithing?
When we pay tithing, we contribute to the work of the Church.
This Church could not go on unless there was revenue, and this revenue God has provided for [through the law of tithing]. Our temples, in which we receive the highest blessings ever conferred on mortal man, are built through revenue. We never could send the…Elders out into the world to preach the Gospel, as we are now doing, unless there was revenue to do it…Then there are a thousand other things constantly occurring for which means are required.
In order for the Church to grow and progress in its work, it requires faithful members to pay their tithing. President Snow explained that if some Latter-day Saints had not paid tithing, the four temples they had in 1899 never would have been erected. He taught, “The first principle of action to the Latter-day Saints is to sanctify the land by keeping this law of tithing and placing themselves in a position where they can receive the ordinances that pertain unto exaltation and glory of our dead.”
Paying tithing is a way to sanctify a land, which opens the door for the Lord to bless the people of that land with temples in which they can receive sacred ordinances.
My husband served his mission in Rome, Italy and has seen how tithing can affect the growth and progression of the Church. While he was there, he said the Italians had been praying and looking forward to a temple in Italy because they had to travel either by train or bus to Switzerland or by plane to Madrid. It was very costly and time consuming. But at the same time, there was concern about the Saints paying their tithing. Many had struggled with the law of tithing for a long time due to poor economies, and as a result, stakes were slow in being organized. Many districts had the population and the Melchizedek Priesthood members, but were unable to be organized because they struggled to pay their tithing. There were some areas that had as many as 12 branches, but no stakes. This is what Brad observed on his mission when he came home Fall 2007. A year later, we met and started dating. We had discussed several times how awesome it would be to hear the church announce a temple in Rome. But I remember several times Brad saying that it would only be possible if more members were faithful in paying their tithing so that stakes could be organized and a temple could be built. Little did he know that the Saints in Italy had been working hard that year since he left the mission. To our surprise, (and I’m sure everyone else’s) It was only 4 days after we had this discussion that President Monson announced in 2008 that there would be a temple built in Rome. We have since learned that church membership and faithfulness has grown rapidly in Italy. More stakes have been organized and the members in Italy have become stronger in their faith and paying their tithing.
What are some blessings you and loved ones have received through the buildings and programs funded by tithing?
Why is it a privilege to pay tithing?
The Lord will bless us temporally and spiritually as we obey the law of tithing.
The law of tithing is one of the most important ever revealed to man…Through obeying this law the blessings of prosperity and success will be given unto the Saints.
If we will keep that law…the land will be sanctified and we shall be counted worthy to receive the blessings of the Lord and to be sustained and supported in our financial affairs and in everything we do, temporal as well as spiritual.
I believe truly if the Latter-day Saints will conform with this law we can claim deliverance from every evil that may come upon us.
President Snow testified that we will be blessed as we obey the law of tithing. What are some blessings the law of tithing has brought into your life? Into the lives of family members and friends?
Everything we have is a gift from God. Paying an honest tithe is a way to show gratitude to Him and help build His kingdom here on earth. Tithing on our increase is a test of obedience and our willingness to put aside the things of mortality for loftier, more spiritual pursuits. It doesn’t take money to pay tithing…it takes faith! We can tithe our time, in addition to money, as we live the principle of sacrifice. As with all commandments, we are blessed when we have an attitude of obedience. Tithing supports the many wonderful programs and facilities the Church offers us and our families. Brad and I often say that we can’t afford NOT to pay our tithing. We have found that we can do more with 90 percent of our money and the Lord’s help than we can with 100 percent of it on our own!
Bear testimony and close.
There is a section about teaching children about the law of tithing, but there aren’t very many young members in Relief Society in our ward. I am the youngest Relief Society member in my ward (That’s saying something seeing as I’m closer to 30 than I am to 18 years old) and most of the ladies I teach are grandmothers and great-grandmothers. I just felt like we could spend more time discussing the other topics in this lesson.
As always, I would love to hear feedback and continue the discussion of tithing! Thank you to those who read through my lessons. I hope to be able to touch just a few more lives with what I have learned.