Sunday, September 22, 2013

LDS in Nigeria: Tithing

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we give 10% of our income to the church to fill the ancient law of tithing. When we moved out here, one of the things we wondered was how we would pay our tithing. There wasn't a bishop to give it to; we never see the mission president; what do you do?

Answer: you pay online. Our mission president helpfully sent us a set of instructions to set up bill pay. There is also a short electronic form to fill out. We had our credit union in the US pay our tithing straight to church headquarters - at least until Joy and the kids settled down in Utah. As Superstar began earning an allowance this year, he saved his N5 and N10 bills until we could get to the US where I exchanged them into quarters and nickels so he could pay his tithing too. We wanted him to have the experience of actually handing it in.

June 2001 three Nigerian members wrote in to the Church magazine to answer a question about tithing: why pay if you earn so little that your contribution won't make a difference? While I don't know if these particular Nigerians were among the 80+% living on less than $2/day, the odds are pretty good at least one is. These were their thoughts:

Serving in the Lord’s house is one of the many blessings I have received from paying an honest tithe. Our beautiful temples are blessings that come from paying tithing.
Anthony L. Ekpezu, Calabar Second Branch, Calabar Nigeria District 
We should always remember the admonition of our Savior not to lay up treasures on earth but to lay up treasures in heaven (see Matt. 6:19–21). We should not always expect more money as a blessing for paying our tithing. There are many blessings we receive from God for paying tithing. A great blessing for me is serving full time building His kingdom.
Sister Mustapha Tina, Nigeria Enugu Mission 
We don’t receive any blessings from God if we pay our tithing with a double mind. When we feel we are forced to pay our tithing or if we pay out of fear, we pay with a grudge and perhaps shouldn’t expect any blessings. Sometimes we are sincere in paying our tithing but don’t see any physical blessings. It is not that God has forgotten us, but we may have to wait. He has infinite blessings for His children who obey His commandments, but these blessings will be manifested in the Lord’s time. We should endure to the end.
Ihuoma Chidiebere, Umunwanwa Branch, Umuahia Nigeria Stake
There was also this answer from Ivory Coast:
It is a test of our faith. He doesn’t need our gifts to finance His Church, but we do need His gifts. If we pay a full tithing, we will be the happiest people on earth, the harvest of our fields will be abundant, and the work of the Lord will go forward.
Elder Armel F. Severin Ikoue, Ivory Coast Abidjan Mission
More from the LDS in Nigeria series.