$6 for every $1000 of Net Worth Is the Proper Tithe


The heading to section 119 of the Doctrine and Covenants says the following:

Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Far West, Missouri, July 8, 1838, in answer to his supplication:

“O Lord! Show unto thy servants how much thou requirest of the properties of thy people for a tithing.”

The Prophet asked the Lord how much of their property He required for sacred purposes. The answer was this revelation.

Here is the text of the revelation:

D&C 119:1Verily, thus saith the Lord,

I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop of my church in Zion, 2for the building of mine house, and for the laying of the foundation of Zion and for the priesthood, and for the debts of the Presidency of my Church.  3And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people.  4And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood,

saith the Lord.

5Verily I say unto you,

it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you.

6And I say unto you,

if my people observe not this law, to keep it holy, and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me, that my statutes and my judgments may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy, behold, verily I say unto you,

it shall not be a land of Zion unto you.

7And this shall be an ensample unto all the stakes of Zion. Even so. Amen.

The individual judges what is surplus property

An excerpt from “The Tithing of My People”:

Shortly after Joseph received the revelation in section 119, he assigned Brigham Young to go among the Saints “and find out what surplus property the people had, with which to forward the building of the Temple we were commencing at Far West.” Before setting out, Brigham asked Joseph, “‘Who shall be the judge of what is surplus property?’ Said he, ‘Let them be the judges themselves.’” (“Discourse,” Deseret News, June 20, 1855, 117; punctuation modernized. )

That covers “the beginning of the tithing of [the Lord’s] people,” now what about the standing law, which concerned the meaning of interest?

Interest = interest; (plain and precious knowledge lost)

Apparently, the revelation said what it meant and meant what it said.  In other words, the words were plain to the understanding of the men who lived in the day in which the revelation was given.  As Joseph had asked regarding “how much the Lord required of the properties of His people for a tithing,” he received an answer regarding their properties, and this is why we find Bishop Partridge explaining the plain and precious meaning of the words in terms of property in a letter written a few days after the revelation was received:

“Bishop Partridge understood ‘one tenth of all their interest’ annually to mean 10 percent of what Saints would earn in interest if they invested their net worth for a year,” Harper wrote. He cited an example from Partridge who was reportedly in the room when Smith received the revelation.

“If a man is worth a $1000, the interest on that would be $60, and one/10. of the interest will be of course $6. thus you see the plan,” Partridge wrote in a letter just days after the revelation was received.

According to Harper, six percent was a common interest rate at the time.  (New historical information reveals original meaning of LDS tithing – KUTV.com)

Unfortunately, the saints apparently did not obey the law of tithing, as evidenced by Lorenzo Snow’s much later administration, in which the church found itself in dire financial straits.  As a result of this disobedience on the part of the saints, a gospel principle was invoked:

Alma 12:9And now Alma began to expound these things unto him, saying:

It is given unto many to know the mysteries of God; nevertheless they are laid under a strict command that they shall not impart only according to the portion of his word which he doth grant unto the children of men, according to the heed and diligence which they give unto him.  10And therefore, he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full.  11And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now this is what is meant by the chains of hell.

1 Ne.13:26And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away.  27And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men.  28Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.  29And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them….40And the angel spake unto me, saying:

These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.

2 Ne.28:30For behold, thus saith the Lord God:

I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say,

We have enough,

from them shall be taken away even that which they have.

D&C 1:33And he that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received; for my Spirit shall not always strive with man,

saith the Lord of Hosts.

D&C 43:8And now, behold, I give unto you a commandment,

that when ye are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other, that ye may know how to act and direct my church, how to act upon the points of my law and commandments, which I have given.

9And thus ye shall become instructed in the law of my church, and be sanctified by that which ye have received, and ye shall bind yourselves to act in all holiness before me—10that inasmuch as ye do this, glory shall be added to the kingdom which ye have received.  Inasmuch as ye do it not, it shall be taken, even that which ye have received.

D&C 60:3And it shall come to pass, if they are not more faithful unto me, it shall be taken away, even that which they have.

D&C 83:39And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.

So the Lord took away from His saints the plain and precious meaning of this scripture, removing this light from them, because their minds had become dark, through disobedience.

Interest = increase; (from Brigham Young onward)

After Joseph Smith’s death, we find this new meaning of the revelation’s use of the word interest among the saints.  This is the meaning that I used for my 4-part tithing series on this blog, it being the earliest meaning I could find to Joseph’s time.

Interest = income; (1970 First Presidency statement onward)

Here is the part of that First Presidency letter that deals with tithing:

What is a proper tithe?

For your guidance in this matter, please be advised that we have uniformly replied that the simplest statement we know of is that statement of the Lord himself that the members of the Church should pay one-tenth of all their interest annually, which is understood to mean income. No one is justified in making any other statement than this. We feel that every member of the Church should be entitled to make his own decision as to what he thinks he owes the Lord, and to make payment accordingly. (First Presidency Statement, 19 March 1970)

Interest = interest; (plain and precious knowledge restored*)

On 13 January, 2016, the scholars broke the news of their new historical research, which essentially restored the light we had at the first.  So, now we are posed with a question, even the same question that the First Presidency of 1970 asked in their letter: In the light of this newly restored knowledge, what is a proper tithe?

6% is the divinely approved rate for calculating tithing

I suppose it will be tempting for people to think that since interest rates fluctuate, that one can use whatever is the current interest rate to calculate tithing, whether it is smaller or greater than 6%, and still be in full compliance with this law.  But not necessarily.  We don’t know whether the Lord approved of any other interest rate for calculating tithing, other than the one which was had among the saints in the day the revelation was given.  So, using any other interest rate would be using an unknown variable.  In other words, you’d just be guessing.  It may be that the Lord would be okay with using fluctuating interest rates to calculate tithing, but it also may be that the Lord would not be okay with that.  So, why venture into unknown territory?

What we know is this: the revelation was given according to the circumstances of the people of the day it was given in.  During that day, 6% was the common interest rate, and this is the rate that had divine approval for calculating tithing.  Regardless of what the current fluctuating interest rates may be, six percent will always be a known, divinely approved rate for calculating tithing.  So, use it!

The individual judges what is net worth

Just like the surplus property, you, the individual, must be the judge as to what is your net worth.  This assessment must be made on a yearly basis, for all stewards must and will give an accounting of their stewardship, and assessing is one of the functions of stewards.  This, then, is the only part of the equation that may fluctuate from year to year.

Once you know your net worth, you just multiply that number by 0.006, and that is what you give to your bishop as tithing.  That will satisfy the law of heaven and you can then answer truthfully to your bishop, “I am a full tithe payer,” without either under-paying or over-paying.

What is a proper tithe?

To recap: you first assess what is your surplus property, and give that to the bishop.  Then you assess, on a yearly basis, your net worth, and for every $1000 of net worth, you give $6 to the bishop.

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*This same “light given, light removed, light restored” pattern and process can also be seen in regards to D&C 89, which is the revelation known as the Word of Wisdom.  When that revelation was given, it was understood to be, in its entirety, a revelation of God.  Later on light was removed and the first three verses were thought to be “originally written as an inspired introduction and description by the Prophet.”  Thus, when Brigham Young used the law of common consent to cause the church to make D&C 89 a commandment of God, the saints could (and did) conveniently ignore those first three verses.  But then light was restored, and we now know that those verses were and are part of the revelation, which verses (and knowledge) nullify the common consent commandment the saints made, reverting the revelation back to a word of wisdom, and not a word of commandment!

Learning of the Real Meaning of Tithing Should Be like Finding the Book of the Law


I am a little late to this party.  I found out just yesterday that there has been new historical research done and published on the church web site (lds.org) about the original meaning of the word interest as found in the revelation on tithing (D&C 119).  I have come across three online articles about this, so far:

“The Tithing of My People” – LDS.org, posted on January 13th, 2016

Understanding “Interest” in Joseph Smith’s Original Tithing Revelation – Juvenile Instructor, posted on February 2, 2016

New historical information reveals original meaning of LDS tithing – KUTV.com, posted on February 9th, 2016

Here is a relevant quote from the KUTV news article:

“Bishop Partridge understood ‘one tenth of all their interest’ annually to mean 10 percent of what Saints would earn in interest if they invested their net worth for a year,” Harper wrote. He cited an example from Partridge who was reportedly in the room when Smith received the revelation.

“If a man is worth a $1000, the interest on that would be $60, and one/10. of the interest will be of course $6. thus you see the plan,” Partridge wrote in a letter just days after the revelation was received.

According to Harper, six percent was a common interest rate at the time.

Each of the articles above are quick to note that this has no bearing, whatsoever, on modern Mormons, who practice the law of tithing in a different way, according to how their leaders currently dictate and understand it.  In other words, they treat this revelation as just an interesting historical note, of no possible bearing on the current crop of LDS.

Compare that response to king Josiah’s reaction to the finding of the Book of the Law.

Josiah

(1) King of Judah, 641–610 B.C. (see 2 Kgs. 22–24; 2 Chr. 34–35). While still young, he made, under the guidance of Hilkiah, a thorough religious reformation, which extended to the northern tribes. He restored the temple, destroyed idolatrous images and the high places, put down the idolatrous priests, and celebrated a great Passover (2 Kgs. 23:21–23). During this reformation a book of the law was found by Hilkiah (2 Kgs. 22:8–9; 2 Chr. 34:15–16). It made at once a great impression and led to the centralizing of all sacrificial worship at Jerusalem and the abolition of local idolatrous sanctuaries or high places.  (Bible Dictionary entry on Josiah.)

2 Kings 22:8-13 says,

8And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe,

I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord.

And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it.  9And Shaphan the scribe came to the king, and brought the king word again, and said,

Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of the Lord.

10And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying,

Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book.

And Shaphan read it before the king.  11And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.  12And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king’s, saying,

13Go ye, inquire of the Lord for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us.

So then king Josiah sets to work getting the people to covenant to obey the laws found in the newly discovered Book of the Law, so that their forms and rites of worship would exactly match what the Lord had previously revealed.

Again, compare that to the current situation among the latter-day saints.  The very best understanding of the original intent and meaning of how the law of tithing was intended by the Lord to operate among His latter-day saints is discovered and published last month (Jan. 2016), and we get a *ho-hum* and yawn.

My take on this

There are factions who are trying to “take back the restoration” and create a reformation of some sort among the saints.  But, I have been expecting not a reformation, but an actual restoration.  And it seems to me that this historical research publication is the hand of the Lord, starting to work a restorative preparation among the saints.

Remember the new research on the Word of Wisdom revelation, where we learned that the first three verses were as much a part of the revelation as the rest?  And the implication of that was that now we could partake of all those “prohibited” things mentioned in the revelation?  That, also, in my view, was the hand of the Lord, beginning to do a Josiah and Book of the Law thing among the saints.  (And I suppose that all of this, and perhaps more stuff to come, is a preparation by the Lord for the appearance of His Josephite restorer among us, perhaps as a sort of new Josiah to set us right in the eyes of the Lord again.)

So, everything I said about the meaning of the word interest on this site, is now null and void.  I wrote with limited understanding and knowledge, just as everyone else did. We now have a fuller and more complete understanding, due to better facts.  My recommendation to the saints, then, is to conform to Bishop Partridge’s understanding, and not to the one I put up on this blog previously, nor to anyone else’s.

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The law of tithing (part four)


Continued from part three.

Inevitably, when talking about the blessings that come from paying tithing, a speaker will quote the following scripture:

Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3: 8-12)

In fact, so pervasive is the use of this scripture, that I’ve heard tithing talks where it is the only scripture used. It is practically a guarantee that these verses are quoted, even if D&C 119 is never mentioned, at all. We are taught on every level, that Malachi contains the expected blessings that come from paying tithing. But does it?

Normally, the Lord puts the blessings that come from obedience to a law in the same area as where the law is stated. For example, the modern charge to keep the Lord’s day (Sunday) holy is found in D&C 59: 9-14. Then in verses 15-19 of the same section the Lord details the expected blessings to be received upon obeying this law:

And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances, not with much laughter, for this is sin, but with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance—verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth; yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards; yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul. (D&C 59: 15-19)

Likewise, the Word of Wisdom, written in D&C 89, contains the promised blessings that will be received, blessings that are enumerated in the very same section:

And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones; and shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures; and shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint. And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen. (D&C 89: 18-21)

The revelation on tithing, section 119, follows the same pattern. Written in the 6th verse of the revelation are the promised blessings that come from obeying this particular law:

And I say unto you, if my people observe not this law, to keep it holy, and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me, that my statutes and my judgments may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy, behold, verily I say unto you, it shall not be a land of Zion unto you. (D&C 119: 6)

The purpose and blessing of living the law of tithing, then, is to sanctify the land of Zion (or stake of Zion) unto the Lord, that his statutes and his judgments may be kept on the land, and that it may, indeed be a land of Zion (or stake of Zion) unto us. That is the stated blessing. That is the stated purpose. Sanctification of the land upon which we live.

Additionally, the Lord mentions two penalties for not living the law of tithing. One is mentioned above in verse 6, namely, that the land of Zion upon which we live (or the stake of Zion to which we pertain, see verse 7) will not be a bona fide land of Zion and will not be a bona fide stake of Zion. In other words, it will be the land of Zion in name only, having no sanctification and hence no power. “They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (JS—H 1: 19.) And the unsanctified stake of Zion in which we live will also be a stake of Zion in name only, with no godly powers attending it.

The second penalty for not living the law of tithing is mentioned in verse 5:

Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you. (D&C 119: 5)

There are only two punishments a religious society can inflict upon its members: disfellowship or excommunication. (See D&C 134: 10.) Regardless of whether this particular penalty means excommunication or disfellowship, we currently inflict neither penalty upon non-exempt people who do not pay tithes.

All of this brings me to the following questions: Why do the leaders never mention the Lord’s stated purpose and blessing of the law of tithing, found in D&C 119? Why do the leaders never enact the penalties associated with non-payment of tithes for those who are not exempt? And why is Malachi 3: 8-12 the scripture of choice when talking about the importance of tithing and the promised blessings upon the people who obey this law?

I have my own ideas as to why I think the leaders speak the way they do in relation to tithing. But they are only ideas, speculation. I do not know the real answer, but I still find it awfully strange that this section is virtually avoided.

Now, one last thing. Malachi 3: 8-12 is talking about a different law of tithing, which existed under the Mosaic law, which has absolutely no relation and nothing to do with our present law of tithing, found in D&C 119. This was a tithing known as the “whole tithe,” which in our KJV of the Bible is translated “all the tithes,” which was collected once every three years, stored at home, and used to feed the Levites and the poor. For a detailed understanding of Old Testament tithing, visit the following online web page:

The Truth About Tithing—Old Testament Perspectives

The blessings associated with that particular law of Moses were specific to that people, just as the blessings associated with our D&C 119 law of tithing are specific to our people. Why the mix-up by our priesthood leaders?

Admittedly, the language of Malachi 3: 8-12 is so powerful, that it is natural for a person (who wants to instill a desire in people to pay tithing) to lay hold on it and assume (and teach) that it applies equally to the law of tithing stated in D&C 119. In my own opinion, though, I find the blessing of D&C 119: 6 quite appealing, as I desire that my land is sanctified.

In conclusion, I want to bring one more thing to your attention. I quoted Malachi 3: 8-12 and D&C 59: 15-19 in their entirety because both promised blessings appear similar and I wanted to show the similarities. The Lord promised his latter-day saints “the fulness of the earth” for keeping his day holy. He essentially promised the same thing to the ancient Jews for paying the mosaic “whole tithe” law. Why do we need to resort to a law of Moses blessing when we have already been promised the same things for fulfilling a law of Christ? It is strange, indeed.

Previous Tithes and Offerings article: The law of tithing (part three)

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The law of tithing (part three)


Continued from part two.

“And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord.” (D&C 119: 4)

Only First Presidency statements can officially interpret scripture and only those interpretations are binding upon the church, even as binding as the scriptures themselves. The First Presidency has already interpreted the meaning of the word interest in a letter written on 19 March 1970. Here is the quote of that letter dealing with tithing:

What is a proper tithe?

For your guidance in this matter, please be advised that we have uniformly replied that the simplest statement we know of is that statement of the Lord himself that the members of the Church should pay one-tenth of all their interest annually, which is understood to mean income. No one is justified in making any other statement than this. We feel that every member of the Church should be entitled to make his own decision as to what he thinks he owes the Lord, and to make payment accordingly. (First Presidency Statement, 19 March 1970)

The above quote is found in the Church General Handbook. Go up to your bishop and ask to see the section on tithing. It quotes from this First Presidency Statement. Those who understand the doctrine, such as the prophet, merely re-iterate this same statement:

President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “The Brethren have interpreted the word interest to mean income. Beyond that they have not given interpretation.”

The word income, however, is open to interpretation. Who decides what it means? You do. It could mean gross income or net income, after expenses. It could mean profit, surplus or bank interest, etc. During the time of Brigham Young it was defined as increase. Get out your Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young manual and search out what he said about tithing.

Once or twice a year, a GA or two will speak on tithing. Occasionally, they will define the word interest beyond what the First Presidency has stated. Don’t take it as gospel. It’s merely their opinion, and their hope that you will interpret the word interest the same way as they do.

My personal opinion is that interest (income) means surplus. I have come to this conclusion for the following reasons:

  • JST Genesis 14: 39 states, “Wherefore Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him more than that which he had need.” Abram paid tithes on his surplus.
  • The saints are to pay tithing annually. Not monthly, not weekly, not whenever they get more gross income. When you pay tithing annually, the reason must be because you are doing an accounting of what came in, what went out, what was consumed and what is now left over (the interest, increase, income, surplus.) At the end of the year, you can make a determination of how much surplus you have and then give the tenth-part to the Lord.
  • Webster’s 1828 dictionary defined interest as “5. Any surplus advantage.” Webster’s 1828 dictionary defined advantage as “7. Interest; increase; overplus.” Both of these definitions equate to surplus. D&C 119 came out in 1838, so this was the dictionary in use at the time.
  • The RLDS (now Community of Christ) church defines it as surplus. They tithe after deducting their living expenses.
  • The law of tithing is not meant to oppress the poor. The scriptures define poor as anyone who has no surplus, yet has sufficient for their needs. (See Mosiah 4: 24.) Those who don’t have sufficient for their needs are also considered the poor.
  • When you make your tithing declaration at the end of the year, you can declare yourself a full tithe payer, a partial tithe payer, or exempt. Obviously some people can justifiably declare themselves exempt. Who are they? They are the poor, as defined by scripture, meaning those who have no surplus.

When interest is understood to mean surplus, the law of tithing becomes exceedingly easy to obey. Nevertheless, this interpretation is just my opinion and belief. As the First Presidency stated, You are “entitled to make [your] own decision as to what [you think you owe] the Lord, and to make payment accordingly.”

There is more to come in part four.

Next Tithes and Offerings article: The law of tithing (part four)

Previous Tithes and Offerings article: The law of tithing (part two)

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The law of tithing (part two)


Continued from part one.

The Lord, when talking about who is required to pay tithing, speaks of three groups of people. Those who already are in the land of Zion, those who are gathering to the land of Zion and those who are in the stakes of Zion:

“…my church in Zion.” (D&C 119: 1)

“…those who gather unto the land of Zion…” (D&C 119: 5)

“And this shall be an ensample unto all the stakes of Zion.” (D&C 119: 7)

The law of tithing has only two parts to it. The first part requires the donation of our surplus property:

“I require all their surplus property to be put into the hands of the bishop…and this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people.” (D&C 119: 1, 3)

“Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties…” (D&C 119: 5)

The second part requires the payment of one-tenth of our interest (income) annually:

“And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually…” (D&C 119: 4)

The second part is known as the standing law:

“And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever…” (D&C 119: 4)

“Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law…” (D&C 119: 5)

Only those who pay the first part are the ones who pay the second part:

“And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people. And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually…” (D&C 119: 4)

Both the first and second parts must be paid:

“Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you.” (D&C 119: 5)

All of the above requirements apply equally to the saints who live in the stakes of Zion.

“And this shall be an ensample unto all the stakes of Zion.” (D&C 119: 7)

It appears to me that we LDS are not fully complying with the law of tithing. Even those of us who give 10% of their income annually are not fulfilling the requirements set forth above by the Lord. Tithing is begun with a donation of one’s surplus properties, but we don’t do this.

I’ve been taught that when section 119 was first received and presented to the saints, that hardly anyone donated their surplus and so the leaders just stopped asking for that part of tithing and instead focussed on the standing law, which is 10% of interest (income) annually.

Now, some people are fine with giving only what the leaders are asking for (the 10%,) but I have a hard time pushing aside the rest of this revelation and feeling good about myself. The revelation is, after all, still canonized and therefore binding upon us. So once I realized that tithing came in two parts, that the leaders had been ignoring the first part for decades and that I had been paying only the second part since my baptism (as that was what I was taught to pay by my leaders,) I made a personal correction and began paying tithing as the revelation defines it. In other words, I took an inventory of my surplus property, converted it into cash (the Church will not accept payment in kind anymore,) and anonymously donated that to the church as tithing.

Some might consider this unnecessary, but I’m not so sure. The Lord requires both the letter and spirit of the law. If he didn’t require the letter of the law, why even have section 119 written before us? Why even give the definitions of the law of tithing that he did? If the first part of the law of tithing wasn’t important, why even mention it in the first place?

My feeling is that the Lord will deal with his priesthood leadership in his own due time. If they are not doing a proper regulation of the church and teaching the doctrine he has revealed and canonized, they will be corrected by him when he is ready to clean up the church and leadership. But we members do not covenant to follow every whim of the leadership. We covenant to obey the commandments of God, which laws are written and canonized in the scriptures.

I’d rather use the CYOA* principle of the gentiles and follow the letter of the law, as that is what the letter of the law is for. (It is written down so that we can follow it.) Only if we don’t have that law before us are we not required to follow it. I just don’t know that the excuse of “I was just following the orders and counsel of my current priesthood leadership and since they never said I had to pay the surplus, I never paid it!” is going to be sufficient to justify my ignoring the written law in section 119.

I suspect that at the last day (the day of judgment) the Lord is going to point to section 119 and ask me if I followed his words as they were written there. I am reminded of 2 Kings 18 when the book of the law was discovered (verse 8.) When the book was read the king rent his clothes (verse 11) because he realized that God was angry with his people because his written words found in the book of the law had not been followed to the letter.

So, I ask the reader, since the leaders have stopped even mentioning the surplus part of tithing, are we off the hook in paying it? Or, is the fact that the revelation is still canonized going to condemn us at the last day, despite the fact that the leaders don’t care whether we are complying with the first part of tithing or not? What do you think?

I, personally, believe that the Lord is going to use the Standard Works to measure both us and the leadership. And if we are found to be partially complying, it will be the same as not complying, at all. The truthfulness of our answer to the temple recommend question of, “Are you a full tithe payer?” will be judged by the Lord according to whether we complied with the entire section of 119, and not just a portion of it.

That is my opinion. What’s yours?

There’s more to come in part three.

*Note: CYOA=Cover Your Own A__

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