Taking the Tithing of the Poor

Although I’ve written on this matter a few years ago, I’ve not given the practice of tithing any thought for some time.  What’s the point, right?  You either think a church mall is super awesome awesomeness, or is not.

It’s not like I can convince you to change your mind.  So when I had this clear but brief dream the other night, I was a little surprised.  One clear message: There are few things as displeasing to Somebody as taking the tithing of the poor.


From this phrase I understood two meanings:

First, taking the money donated from the poor and receiving it as tithingBad.

Second, taking the money tithed by others and not giving it to the poor.  Also bad.

My conclusion:

Tithing is to be given to the poor, to be used howsoever they see fit.  The poor are not to pay tithes.

So, what wasn’t clear was an answer to the question, “What makes someone, or, how does one determine if one is poor?”

I am stuck working from a monetary perspective on tithing here, but from my own thoughts, I might say: If there is sacrifice involved in payment of tithing, say, resulting in you not paying for X, Y, or Z, you are poor.  Crudely defined, but again, we are working with a tithing-as-money formula.  That’s what I suppose, for now.

Of course, what if we give tithes to the poor?  Aren’t they now rich?  Shouldn’t they now pay tithing?  It remains a strictly personal decision, on the tither’s side.  What about those who receive tithes?  Could be dangerous for them, right?  If they unknowingly receive tithes from the poor?


Now, here’s where the dream took an unexpected turn.  I dreamed of a website where one could submit tithes vicariously, for those who are taking the tithing of the poor, and it would be given to the poor in another person’s name.  In the dream, folks were tithing in the name of Henry B. Eyring, in order to perhaps undo his taking of tithes.

Whether such a charitable work would actually grant mercy to those who take the tithes of the poor, I cannot say.  But certainly one would be pleasing the Lord to give tithes in another person’s name, who cannot himself tithe; or who sins by taking the tithing of the poor.  Consider the man who cannot attend a child’s wedding in the LDS temple because he cannot pay tithes, without sacrificing something else.  Should you pay his tithing, you would lose your recommend, as a non-tithe payer.  But bless another.  A temple is for the rich man.  Make of this what you will.  To speak in a scriptural voice:

Will a man rob God?  In taking tithes and offering, have ye (priests) robbed Him.  Whatsoever thing ye do unto the least of these, ye do it unto God.


  1. The temple is for the rich man.

    When we were paying flat 10 percent we would have got into the definition of poor. Since we started paying 10 percent of surplus, we are actually in the position to give a little away. One day I may not be considered a fullbtithe later by obeying the law of tithing as stated in doctrine and covenants and they may take my temple recommend away. And I think I will be ok with that.

    Good post.

  2. What is a charitable work?

    I want to pay tithing, but I don’t know what to do. There is something that goes by the word, “tithing” but it isn’t *the* tithing. It’s a tithing, but it’s the wrong one, apparently.

    Years ago my bishop inquired whether or not I paid a full tithe to the church, and I said that, no, I gave it to my neighbor instead. My neighbor had lost his job, and I thought maybe he could use some help. I told the bishop I’d rather give my money to the poor whether they deserved it or not, and the bishop said that tithing isn’t for charity. That’s what he told me–my wife was there, she can back me up. It’s for “the church,” you see.

    Tolstoy said that Jesus only twice used a word that we render as “church,” and that by it he probably meant something quite unlike what *we* mean by it. What is this church we speak of, if not us? Are there poor among us? Are they not the church also?

    So apparently this tithing isn’t for charity, but how could it be anyway? Like “tithing,” and “church,” we use the word “charity” to mean something else. It seems to me that the real charity isn’t found in the transfer of imaginarium. Charity isn’t the power that changes the poor into the not-poor, meaning those who have got imagined means.

    For there to be charity, I had to be there or else it wasn’t charity. I was there with one who was the least of these, and I saw the signs and became that thing and understood it and knew how to help. Then I helped. Perhaps means were transferred in that moment, but that isn’t what changed us. We witnessed charity first-hand, that is what mattered; and it fit us out for heaven. No rich soul is getting through those gates anyway.

    But we pass around envelopes or transfer sums from one accounting to the next one, and with any luck somewhere a real thing emerges, but what? Not even the right hand knows what it doeth. Can charity even exist in such an abstract economy as this?

    So I don’t know how to pay my tithing, and I can’t be whole. Maybe tithing is for justice and not charity, and Daymon’s dream-website would be a way to serve justice, making the church (the one made up of real neighbors) a place of equality. I’d use it, if it were real– not caring by whose name justice comes.

  3. Christ never said to pay ‘tithing’ (that was man’s idea & a ‘different’ gospel then Christ’s). And He especially didn’t say give or trust our money to other men or a ‘church’.

    Christ’s main objective was to teach people to ‘relieve the suffering of others’, not build churches, temples or missionary forces or cause people to suffer more by requiring a church tax like ‘tithing’.

    Jesus said that if we want Eternal Life we must search out & give our excess to the poor around us, like the fatherless (single mothers), the elderly, the sick & anyone else who can’t or shouldn’t work or who falls on hard times temporarily. As we relieve ‘their’ suffering we relieve ‘His’ suffering.

    And I agree that the poor are exempt from giving for they need to take care of their own before others.

  4. If one is going to quote ones scripture. Looking at ot carefully with a honest heart, no justification with words, or explanations, from man. Just what is on the papage. Here it gos D&C 119 Verily thus saith the Lord, I require all there surpluse property (Who has surplus property, not the poor) to be put into the hands of the bishop of my church in zion for 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 the church and this shall be the beginning (Do this first) of the tithing of my people and after that those who have thus been tithed shall pay onetenth (also after there tithing of surplus, there is a one tenth not called tithing) of all their interest annually and this shall be a standing law unto them (Whos them “rich” or those who can afford surplus property property thats tithing and onetenth interest annually) forever, for my holy priesthood saiththe Lord.
    Verily I say unto you it shall come to pass that all those (“rich”) who gather unto the land of zion(where is that now?) shall be tithed of there surplus propertys and shall observe this law (“rich”) or they shall not be found worthy to abide amonge you (who, maybe the unrich) and I say unto you if my people observe not rhis law to keep holy and by this law sanctify the land of zion unto me( zion where is that again did he saysay) that my statutes and my judgments my be kept thereon that it may be most holy behpld verily i say unto you it shall not be a land of zion unto you (oh where those people were living at the time he said this to make it a zipn like place maybe?) and this shall be an ensample (not sure if thats a typo or a different word i dont know) unto all the stakes of zion even so amen.

  5. As a former missionary to Nicaragua, I saw firsthand the desperation of people there. Most were lucky to make $20 a week. Yet those who were members of the church still had to pay tithing. In fact, tithing was the #1 thing we as missionaries were instructed to teach: Nicaragua remains as the only country in central america that doesn’t have a temple, and we were told that there won’t ever be a temple unless the members get serious about paying tithing. WTF, seriously? Consider for a moment that in one year, tithing would account for 5 weeks of wages. You’re basically asking a family to starve for a month! And good luck trying to get welfare from the church: it’s like pulling a tooth.

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