By ERIC D. SNIDER
Paying tithing is essential in order for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be happy and content, said President James E. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency of the church, in the Sunday morning session of general conference.
“Tithing is a principle that is fundamental to the personal happiness and well-being of church members worldwide, both rich and poor,” President Faust said. “Tithing is … a key to opening the windows of heaven.”
President Faust said he was taught the importance of tithing by his grandfather, whose farm he worked on during the Great Depression. Though a drought was causing cows and horses to die for lack of grass and hay, “Grandfather told us to take the wagon to the corner of the field where the best stand of hay stood, fill the wagon as full as we could, and take it to the tithing yard as payment of his tithing.”
President Faust expressed deep respect and amazement at his grandfather’s dedication.
“I wondered how Grandfather could use the hay to pay tithing when some of the cows that we were depending upon to sustain us might starve,” he said. “Ultimately, I marveled at his great faith that somehow the Lord would provide…. He never became wealthy, but he died at peace with the Lord and with himself.”
Later, when he was a bishop, President Faust learned more about “the spirit of tithing” from President Henry D. Moyle, then a counselor in the First Presidency. President Moyle lived in Bishop Faust’s ward, and he once said in a tithing settlement, “Bishop, this is a full tithe and a little bit more, because that’s the way we have been blessed.”
“I didn’t understand (tithing) fully until it was taught by Grandfather and President Henry D. Moyle,” President Faust said.
He said that though paying 10 percent of one’s income is sometimes financially difficult to do, he believes the statement made by LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley to members in the Philippines: “If members, even living in poverty and misery … will accept the gospel and live it, pay their tithes and offerings, even though those be meager, … they will have rice in their bowls and clothing on their backs and shelter over their heads. I do not see any other solution.”
President Faust said the benefits of paying tithing outweigh the economic concerns.
“Many of us have had the windows of heaven open up for us, so we do not look upon tithing as a sacrifice, but rather a blessing and even a privilege,” he said.
President Faust also assured church members that tithing funds are used appropriately, as set forth in the scriptures.
“The 18 church leaders designated in the 120th section of the Doctrine and Covenants meet together to administer these sacred funds,” he said. “Those of us who sit on that council know that this sacred responsibility is done in accordance with the Lord’s voice unto them.”