September Young Women Lesson: Why do we pay tithing?

Introduce the doctrine

Write on the board, “Why do you pay tithing?” Invite the young women to imagine that a friend of another faith asks them this question. How would they respond?

Learn Together

Invite the class to work together to write a list of reasons people pay tithing. Let the young women guide the discussion. As young women provide their answers, share quotes below that reinforce their statements. If they run out of ideas, you might share a quote as a prompt.  In addition to the reasons listed below, the youth may have other ideas.  That is fine.  There are many reasons people may choose to pay tithing beyond those listed here.

Church facilities, and their ongoing utility costs, are paid for with tithing.

Why do we pay tithing?

As a Duty to God

The law is simply stated as ‘one-tenth of all their interest.’ Interest means profit, compensation, increase. It is the wage of one employed, the profit from the operation of a business, the increase of one who grows or produces, or the income to a person from any other source. -President Howard W. Hunter

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. -Malachi 3:8-10

Consider, for example, ten apples. Now, all ten of these apples actually belong to the Lord, but He asks us to return to Him only one-tenth, or one apple. -Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi

As a Spiritual Practice

Perhaps our most pivotal moments as Latter-day Saints come when we have to swim directly against the current of the culture in which we live. Tithing provides just such a moment. Living in a world that emphasizes material acquisition and cultivates distrust for anyone or anything that has designs on our money, we shed that self-absorption to give freely, trustingly, and generously. By this act, we say—indeed—we are different, that we are God’s peculiar people. In a society that tells us money is our most important asset, we declare emphatically it is not. -Anonymous Church Member, as quoted by Jeffrey R. Holland

We should pay them as a personal expression of love to a generous and merciful Father in Heaven.-Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Sometimes we think that because our circumstances are difficult, it is not practical to keep all the Lord’s commandments. There are those, for instance, who feel they cannot afford to pay tithing. But as we obey the commandments, we have the evidence of blessings, feelings of accomplishment, and inner peace. -Sister Barbara W. Winder

To Qualify for a Temple Recommend

In order to enter the temple, you must be a full-tithe payer. -For the Strength of Youth

To Contribute Our Fair Share toward Resources We Use

The rising generation…could now, if we are not careful, grow up in the Church with absolutely no understanding as to how their temples, chapels, seminaries, and socials are provided. Teach your children that many of the blessings of the Church are available to them because you and they give tithes and offerings to the Church. Teach them that those blessings could come virtually no other way. …The buildings, programs, and materials I have mentioned do have an attached cost. That is not an unimportant lesson for our children to learn in their youth. -Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

To Support Church Efforts

In keeping with the biblical practice of tithes, Latter-day Saints offer one-tenth of their income to the Church. These funds are used for:

  • Providing buildings or places of worship for members around the world. We have thousands of such buildings and continue to open more, sometimes several in a week.
  • Providing education programs, including support for our universities and our seminary and institute programs.
  • Supporting the Church’s worldwide missionary program.
  • Building and operating more than 140 temples around the world and the administration of the world’s largest family history program.
  • Supporting the Church’s welfare programs and humanitarian aid, which serve people around the world — both members of the Church as well as those who are not members. -Humanitarian Aid and Welfare Services Basics: How Donations and Resources Are Used, Mormon Newsroom

How to Pay Tithing

Friend Magazine, September 2017

When teaching youth, we sometimes forget to provide practical instruction about how to accomplish tasks that have become second nature to us in our adulthood.  Consider this story that Artel Ricks told about his first attempt at paying tithing as a child.  (It was later retold by President Gordon B. Hinckley at General Conference.):

I … went to the only room in the house with a lock on the door—the bathroom—and there knelt by the bathtub. Holding the three or four coins in my upturned hands, I asked the Lord to accept them. [I was certain He would appear and take them from me.] I pleaded with the Lord for some time, but [nothing happened. Why would He not accept my tithing?]. As I rose from my knees, I felt so unworthy that I could not tell anyone what had happened. …

A few days later at Primary, the teacher said she felt impressed to talk about something that was not in the lesson. I sat amazed as she then taught us how to pay tithing [to the bishop, the Lord’s servant]. But what I learned was far more important than how to pay tithing. I learned that the Lord had heard and answered my prayer, that He loved me, and that I was important to Him. -Artel Ricks

While young women are older than the child in this story, not knowing the procedures for paying tithing could still be a barrier for them.  Take some time to explain.

Using tithing slips

  1. Get a tithing slip and envelope from your ward (usually kept outside the Bishop’s or Branch president’s  office–tell the youth where to find them in your local meetinghouse).
  2. Fill out the slip and keep the yellow carbon copy as your receipt.
  3. Place the cash or check and completed tithing slip in the provided envelope.
  4. Return the envelope in one of the following ways:
  • Hand the envelope to the Bishop/Branch President or the first or second counselor in the bishopric during Sunday church meetings.
  • Pay for postage and mail the envelope to the bishop (his address is printed on the envelope).
  • Give it to the Aaronic priesthood holders (including a fast offering alongside your  tithing) when they come to your door to collect fast offerings on the first Sunday of the month (if they do this in your local area).


Here is an excellent tutorial (with screenshots) about how to pay tithing online:

How Do I Pay My LDS Tithing Online?

Tithing In Kind

While it is unlikely that youth will use this method, the church does accept in-kind donations of financial assets such as real estate and stocks. If any of the youth have questions about this method of paying tithing, more information is available here:

Donations In Kind

April Young Bennett

April Young Bennett is the author of the Ask a Suffragist book series and host of the Religious Feminism Podcast. Learn more about April at

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2 Responses

  1. CBA says:

    I had a bishop chew us out for giving tithing to Aaronic priesthood holders who came around to collect fast offerings. So technically, they should hand any envelope with tithing to a member of the bishopric, even if the envelope has a fast offering too.

  1. September 7, 2019

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