After my mission, my Grandparents had a surprise for me. As my Grandpa had recently purchased a new more reliable vehicle for themselves, they had saved their former vehicle for me, a Gold Ford 4 door in good working order. For technical reasons, the law required a payment to transfer ownership. So, in order to officially sell it to me, we wrote up the paperwork and I paid him the minimum legal asking price = $1. Once that transaction was complete, I was a happy 100% car owner. A new world had opened up to me.
Similarily, after our missions in the pre-existence, our Father in Heaven had a wonderful surprise for us. He had prepared an entire new world for us to live in. He had provided not only the world itself, but everything in it, including our physical bodies. The minimum legal requirement for us to use this gift is called the Law of Tithing.
“The Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation on tithing on 8 July 1838 at Far West, Missouri. The revelation came in response to the following question: “O Lord! Show unto thy servant how much thou requirest of the properties of thy people for a tithing.” (History of the Church, 3:44.)
President Joseph Fielding Smith explained: “The Lord had given to the Church the law of consecration and had called upon the members, principally the official members, to enter into a covenant that could not be broken and to be everlasting in which they were to consecrate their properties and receive stewardships, for this is the law of the celestial kingdom. Many of those who entered into this solemn covenant broke it and by so doing brought upon their heads, and the heads of their brethren and sisters, dire punishment and persecution. This celestial law of necessity was thereupon withdrawn for the time, or until the time of the redemption of Zion. While suffering intensely because of their debts and lack of means to meet their obligations Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, November 29, 1834, in solemn prayer promised the Lord that they would give one tenth of all that the Lord should give unto them, as an offering to be bestowed upon the poor; they also prayed that their children, and the children’s children after them should obey this law. (D.H.C., 2:174–5.) Now, however, it became necessary for the law to be given to the whole Church so the Prophet prayed for instruction. The answer they received [came] in the revelation [D&C 119].” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 2:90–91.)
Although tithing had been mentioned in earlier revelations, this revelation established a new and exacting law to replace the law of consecration, which had been revoked by the Lord. “The law of tithing, as understood today, had not been given to the Church previous to this revelation. The term ‘tithing’ in the prayer … and in previous revelations (64:23; 85:3; 97:11), had meant to them not just one-tenth, but all ‘free-will offerings,’ or ‘contributions’ to the Church funds.” (Headnote to D&C 119; see also Smith and Sjodahl, Commentary, p. 749.)”
Elder Robert D Hales taught (Oct 2002 Tithing: A Test of Faith)“Tithing is a test of faith with eternal blessings. In the Old Testament, Abraham proved his faith by paying tithes to the great high priest Melchizedek. Abraham’s grandson Jacob vowed to the Lord, “Of all thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.” Tithing has been established in these latter days as an essential law for members of the Lord’s restored Church. It is one of the basic ways we witness our faith in Him and our obedience to His laws and commandments. Tithing is one of the commandments that qualifies us, by our faith, to enter the temple—the house of the Lord.
Just over three months after the Martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith, at the time the Saints were building the Nauvoo Temple, Brigham Young wrote on behalf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “Enter steadily and regularly upon a strict observance of the law of tithing, … : then come up to the House of the Lord, and be taught in his ways, and walk in his paths.”
The strict observance of the law of tithing not only qualifies us to receive the higher, saving ordinances of the temple, it allows us to receive them on behalf of our ancestors. When asked whether members of the Church could be baptized for the dead if they had not paid their tithing, President John Taylor, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, answered: “A man who has not paid his tithing is unfit to be baptized for his dead. … If a man has not faith enough to attend to these little things, he has not faith enough to save himself and his friends.”
What is Tithing?
Some time ago I acquired a old white van that I call our tithing van. It runs on tithing. Shauna found and bought it at a garage sale for $500. It is not new, but it works and has kept on working for many years so far. Being a full tithe payer is like being in my tithing van. If you have paid your tenth you are fully inside the van with the door closed and seatbelt safely in place. Otherwise, when the van is ready to drive away somewhere, say to church .. if you are just touching the outside of the van, you are not really in it. If you are inside the house still doing your hair and make up, you are not 'in the van'. Even sitting on top or hanging out the window is not really being 'in the van'. The patient driver of the van can only softly toot the horn to encourage you along. Being a full tithe payer is like that – you are either fully in or you are not.
President Joseph Fielding Smith explained: “.. it has been the requirement according to the covenant, that they pay the tenth. It is remarkable how many excuses can be made and interpretations given as to what constitutes the tenth, by many members of the Church. It is written, however, that as we measure it shall be measured to us again. If we are stingy with the Lord, he may be stingy with us, or in other words, withhold his blessings. Then again, we have those among us who are hoping for the coming of the law of consecration thinking that in that day they are going to profit by the equalizing of the wealth of other members of the Church. It is definitely true, however, that all those who will not obey the law of tithing, will not be entitled to enter into the covenants of consecration, but when the day comes for the establishing of Zion and the redemption of the earth, such people will find themselves removed.” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 2:92.)
D&C 119:4. What Is an Honest Tithing?
Elder John A. Widtsoe explained: “Tithing means one-tenth. Those who give less do not really pay tithing; they are lesser contributors to the Latter-day cause of the Lord. Tithing means one-tenth of a person’s income, interest, or increase. The merchant should pay tithing upon the net income of his business, the farmer upon the net income of his farming operations; the wage earner or salaried man upon the wage or salary earned by him. Out of the remaining nine-tenths he pays his current expenses … etc. To deduct living costs … and similar expenses from the income and pay tithing upon the remainder does not conform to the Lord’s commandment. Under such a system most people would show nothing on which to pay tithing. There is really no place for quibbling on this point. Tithing should be given upon the basis of our full earned income. If the nature of a business requires special interpretation, the tithepayer should consult the father of his ward, the bishop.” (Evidences and Reconciliations, 2:86.)
D&C 119:5–6. Warning to Those Who Disobey the Law of Tithing
To the faithful tithe payer, this earth becomes a 'land of Zion' unto us.
D&C 101:7,8-9 Tithing a Preparation for Consecration
Heavenly Father has blessings to give us, much like the gift my Grandfather wanted to give me. By accepting and fulfilling the law of Tithing, we can be blessed and prepare to move on to the next level.
Not only does disobedience influence one’s blessings now, but it also affects one’s future eternal inheritance. Elder Melvin J. Ballard gave this counsel: “Do we not hope and expect to have an inheritance in the celestial kingdom, even upon this earth in its redeemed and sanctified state? [D&C 88:25–26; 130:9.] What are the terms under which we may obtain that inheritance? The law of tithing is the law of inheritance. It leads to it. No man may hope or expect to have an inheritance on this celestial globe who has failed to pay his tithing. By the payment of his honest tithing he is establishing a right and a title to this inheritance, and he cannot secure it upon any other terms but by complying with this and other just requirements; and this is one of the very essential things.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1929, p. 51.)
President Joseph F. Smith testified: “By this principle (tithing) the loyalty of the people of this Church shall be put to the test. By this principle it shall be known who is for the kingdom of God and who is against it. By this principle it shall be seen whose hearts are set on doing the will of God and keeping His commandments, thereby sanctifying the land of Zion unto God, and who are opposed to this principle and have cut themselves off from the blessings of Zion. There is a great deal of importance connected with this principle, for by it it shall be known whether we are faithful or unfaithful.” (Gospel Doctrine, p. 225.)