Tithing shouldn’t be automatic


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has recently introduced a way to pay tithing online in some areas.  I have heard different viewpoints ranging from it being more convenient and less of a hassle to not carry around a checkbook, while some have said it would cause paying tithing to become more of a bill than a personal offering to the Lord.

I find satisfaction in paying tithing.  I’m grateful that my parents taught me to never pay it grudgingly, wondering what I could have done with the extra few hundred dollars a month.  I love walking up to one of the bishopric and shaking their hand and personally being accountable for the commandment.

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While I don’t look down or criticize those who choose to do this, I choose not to.  I’ve even heard that you can have 10% taken out of your pay check and directly deposited to the Church.  Why this turns my stomach is I don’t see Tithing as a bill or something automatic.  I feel it should be a choice each month to help build the kingdom and help those in need.

This is how I see it.  With my auto insurance it’s directly taken out of my account each month.  It’s gotten to the point when I forget I pay for it.  I don’t want Tithing to be automatic, forced or forgotten.  I want it to be a choice.

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I’d rather it be a personal consecration to the Lord.  I understand that it doesn’t matter how you sacrifice as long as you pay the one tenth that’s been commanded. As for me, I’d rather fill out the tithing slip and think about who I can help with what I’ve been given. There’s something special about that.

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Will you use the electronic tithing method when it’s offered in your area?

67 thoughts on “Tithing shouldn’t be automatic

  1. I am all for it. You will not be able to setup “Auto Pay.” even through doing so would still be a sacrifice and still merit blessings. I love that you can pay your tithing if you are on a vacation or traveling for work. You can also donate to any missionary fund for any ward in the world. Such a blessing. Also for those who are to ashamed or have stopped their activity in the church they can still pay tithing and receive blessings.

    The following is from the Church’s Site.

    A15. Online Donations does not allow recurring donations, however you can select a previous donation and click the Reuse This Donation button to quickly make a donation with the same amounts. Donations are a free-will offering and cannot be refunded.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I love the option of online payment. Is there no other way? Can you still give it to your Bishop? I don’t need the approval of my Bishop as an incentive to pay my tithing…even though he’s a wonderful man. I think tithing should be automatic…we should have to even think about am I going to pay it or not once we make a commitment to pay it! I’m so happy that the Church is keeping up with the 21st century.

      Liked by 1 person

      • If Matt Lemon feels that giving his tithing to his bishop strengthens his testimony there is no reason for you to disparage what he is doing. Given the way you wrote this, I doubt that was your intent, but the wording still implies that you think he is weak for the way he does things.

        Liked by 1 person

    • With you there! I found it soooo hard to be able to put it together to get my tithing out and leave it there, it was always getting spent so when i found out about the online tithing i was thrilled cos there’s no handling the money for me and i know that it will be paid even if i am away on holiday or even just travelling or something like that!

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  2. I really enjoyed your thoughts on tithing, and I totally agree. It is a personal choice, and for my husband and I, we like to write out the check and give it personally to a member of the Bishopric. By the way, I enjoy all your posts! Thanks for sharing all your thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I used the new system for the first time on the 1st of the month. I like it because I have medical issues, and writing a check is difficult for me. I have spasms where my hand jerks, so when I am trying to write or print there are problems. Now for those who don’t have my same issues, perhaps they won’t like this. Especially if they can’t type.

    I also like the fact that I can contribute to the same areas by just clicking a previous payment. Such a blessing for those who are disabled. This morning, I helped a neighbor lean how to do it. Even he was impressed. He is older than me, and doesn’t really like computers. LOL. This just might be a blessing.

    I still contemplate who might be helped by what I share, but this way, I know they can get that help much faster. Have a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 1. I do not believe their is an automatic payment option so you would be taking the time to make the payment each time.
    2. As a bishop that had checks stolen from my mailbox (none of the were tithing checks thank goodness ) I would welcome the added safety of online payments.

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    • The clerk and a member of the bishopric bring the entire deposit of checks and cash and place it in the bank night deposit that very Sunday. It’s the process of the deposit in the church account that causes your check to take so long clearing

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  5. My husband wants me to do the auto-system but I had years a long time ago where I didn’t pay. Now the physical thing of writing it out, sealing the envelope, then putting it in the hand of the bishopric reminds me of why I need to pay it. I think it’s a great thing for some people but for some of us- it just isn’t our thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As soon as I moved here, and realized it was offered where I lived (after only hearing about it) I was pretty excited. I can check my account first thing Friday and then hop online and fill out the digital tithing slip right then and there. of course the transaction isn’t finally placed until Monday… but i find joy in just knowing that i’m doing what my Heavenly Father expects of me and that I contribute to the building of His kingdom. I know people who have it done automatically and that’s cool. I like filling out a tithing slip, even if its digital, because I get to ponder about the windows of heaven opening to pour out blessings, just like how i ponder about the atonement and Christ’s sacrifice while I partake of the sacrament. To me, the emblem is more important than the act itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. No, I do not think you can have your tithing directly paid from your pay check. You still have to fill out the online tithing form! My husband and I are so excited and looking forward to continuing to pay our tithing and other offerings via online payment, which is through the church! We’ve done it once already, and it is fantastic. We will continue to give our fast offering to the young men who come around every fast Sunday. I fully support the bretheren in this move and find no fault in it.

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    • Also, Matt Lemon, are you a member of the Church? If so, how can we know you are. I just attended the FAIRMormon conference and learned that they are those non- and ex- members of the church that post topics as you have done to create doubt in the minds of active members.

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      • Mary, It saddens me to think that I’m viewed that way. I am a member of the church in good standing and I love the gospel. I write this blog to make people think, get discussion and uplift each other. In this instance I attempted to portray the importance of paying tithing with a purpose and to share my personal experience of feeling accountable to the Lord. I explained that it should be a choice, not just clicking a button. That’s my personal opinion.

        I’m sorry you got the impression that I am attempting to “create doubt in the minds of active members”

        I encourage you to read my articles “8 ways to strengthen your eternal marriage” and “8 ways The Book of Mormon will change your life.” I love the gospel and I hope it’s clear in my writing.

        Again I’m not against online pay, I simply tried to explain why I choose not to when I have the option to hand it in to the bishopric. If that’s the only option, to pay online, of course I will.

        With Love,

        Matt

        Liked by 2 people

      • You are doing what is known as “making up a story” about Matt. That would also be “false witnessing.” I like to write a check to the Lord myself. Might not have His Name on it, but it is still written to Him in obedience.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve heard that it won’t be automatic. Your information (name, ward, membership number, etc) will be saved in the system, but you’ll still need to authorize/initiate every single payment. I see no difference between that and mailing it to the bishop, which you’ve always been able to do.

    I can’t wait we can pay online in our area. Paying tithing is hard for us, not because of the tithing part but because it’s so hard to hand it to the bishop! Sunday is so hectic – we’re rushing to get to callings and get all our kids to their classes, there’s a line of people waiting to talk to the bishopric and then one of our kids has a bloody nose or a blowout diaper…

    Even though I’d love online, we’d continue having our Primary-aged kids pay their tithing the old-fashioned way. This is for the same reason that when they save up their allowance to buy a toy, I take them to the store and have them physically hand cash to the cashier instead of just doing Amazon. It’s more concrete so they can learn what they’re doing.

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  9. We have had online banking payment available for a decade and I have used it for that long. I still have to manually make a payment every payday and so there is still that conscious choice. The kids still hand over theirs to the bishop though.

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  10. Your sentiment is nice and understand where you are coming from but I don’t completely agree. I see the new electronic deposit system (not auto pay) as a blessing because it allows the finance clerks more time with their families on Sundays, fewer accounting and depositing headaches, security (no more misplaced checks that I wonder when it will clear…) and flexibility to send money to other wards and stakes for assisting family members serving missions. Not to mention, that it is the only check I write anymore! Furthermore, I feel that paying tithing is between myself and the Lord and handing the envelope to the Deacons for fast offerings or to a member of the Bishopric had sort of an alms before men feeling to it. My Bishop doesn’t even look at end of year statements in front of us for tithing settlements and I appreciate that!

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    • Agree. I have had checks that took up to a month to be deposited. Online paying is the way I do everything and takes away a lot of worries. I even once had a mortgage payment arrive late that I had mailed ten days early (this was before online banking) and it was sent to Florida then to New York, then to Maryland (where I lived at the time) and arrived on the 20th of the month. Took a total of 30 days to process and the bank harrassed me for it, threatening to foreclose. I had no way to prove the date I sent the check and they said that the date I wrote on the check could have been made up by me. Took me months to trace what happened. So to make my point, online paying is the only way to go, even for tithing. Coat pockets of the bishopric sometimes are not emptied on the same day at church. I have seen it happen.

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  11. I think paying online cuts down on the people going up on the stand before sacrament meeting to pay, which is something we’ve been asked not to do for reverence purposes, but people still do. Plus, it isn’t actually automatic. It is just online.

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  12. I will use it because I will always be able to pay first no matter what day I get my direct deposit. The only way to pay your best these days is to pay it first. My account is a debit account and unless I want to pay a 3 dollar fee I have to receive cash back from a purchase so tithing is not able to be my absolute first payment each pay week. Now it can be. So grateful.

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  13. key word is ‘option’!
    we all come from different backgrounds, life lessons and opinions. i am grateful for my testimony of tithing and love the new option available. to each his own and God Bless!!

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  14. In Sweden we have paid tithing, fast offering and other things electronically for decades. Checks are not available anymore. My bank will not accept cash deposits or withdrawals over the counter, only in machines. Wages and salaries are paid monthly, directly to bank account, even for laborers.

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  15. Just to put down some rumors. There is not currently auto-pay or direct deposit. You still have to confirm each donation that is made and each donation will be recorded in your local unit so leadership will still be aware of your contribution. This is not meant to be a replacement, only another option and every effort has been afforded to show that your consecration is appreciated.

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    • I have been using automatic payments directly to the church for a few years and love it!. (Contact tithing department to set up through email and billpay.)

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  16. Well, it seems that there is certainly a diversity in opinion about how to pay tithing based on all the discussion. Personally, I will continue to pay tithes and offerings as close to Fast Sunday as I can. I don’t oppose change, but I do get a certain satisfaction in handing my contribution to a member of the bishopric each month. It’s the first and usually the only physical check I write and it certainly is the most important one. As long as this option is available and I am physically able to write my check, I will do so. It seems to me that this is still a matter of agency and I am pleased to exercise it.

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  17. As the financial clerk in our ward, I rejoice in the news that this will becoming to our area soon. It will eliminate a lot of time used correcting errors and other issues that come with the calling. (More time w/ family, & extra.) Obviously not everyone will switch over but it will be a blessing to pay your tithing either way!

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  18. It’s still a choice. Whether writing a check, making a one time deposit, or if/when available setting up an auto pay, one must still make the choice to share.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I see people at church busily writing out their donation slips for all to see. I would rather pay my tithing this way. ‘The left hand should not know what the right hand is doing’.

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  20. I am so happy that the option to pay tithing online is available in my area. I’m a college student and only have a bank account at my credit union back home. In order for me to order checks I would have to physically go into my bank. My only option to pay tithing was to withdraw a large sum of cash from an ATM which made me pretty uncomfortable having that much cash. I still have to log in to my LDS account and pay my tithing. To be honest, even though you say you’re not “looking down” on those that pay their tithing this way, the fact that you even made this blog post shows judgement on your part.

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  21. I’ve been paying my tithing and offerings online for 6-7 years, and yes, my tithing comes out automatically every fortnight. I’ve never thought it cheapened the experience; it’s just in a world where nobody has a checkbook anymore, EBT is a lot easier than having BillPay send a check to my house, then sticking that same check in another envelope and delivering it to the bishop. Each month, the Church sends me an email detailing my donations.

    It’s just as much of a financial sacrifice as it ever was; it’s just no longer an annoyance, which is what it had become before I signed up for direct payment.

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  22. When considering change in Church practices, I sometimes think: “If this ‘change’ were instead a completely new practice being instituted today, how would it be done?” That is, if we had never paid tithing, and now the Church was asking us to start doing so, how would it be implemented? In 2015 I have to think the online capabilities would be fully leveraged for any new practice, it would actually seem weird if the Church came out with a new practice that didn’t have an online presence. This line of thought helps me internally to identify personal preferences based on how I’ve lived the gospel up to now in my life — which I may still hold onto dearly for valid reasons, but at least I better realize that if I grew up in a different age of the Church, my views would likely be different.

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  23. I have been paying tithing online for years. I set up bill-pay with Salt Lake via a form I had to fill out and email to them. It is a major convenience and they send me monthly and year end reports for tax purposes. I do not make it automatic because I enjoy making the decision to pay tithing. In my opinon, the convenience of on-line payment is no different in spirit than filling out a paper slip and handing the bishop a check. I am not paying tithing to the bishop, his counselors, the clerk, or even the church. I pay it to the Lord. That is my mindset.

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  24. You are implying that paying tithing online is somehow a less worthy sacrifice that paying it in paper form? That is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard and borders on pride/self-righteousness. Are we one day going to have Zoramites who stand on a tower and thank God that they are more righteous than their brethren because they pay their tithing with a piece of paper rather than a mouse click?

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    • Not to mention that fact that the online payment method will require less time counting paper by Bishopric members and financial clerks and allow them more time to spend with their families.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. It still is a choice to pay your tithing weather online or in your bishops hand. IMHO it shouldn’t change your attitude of why you pay your tithing. There are so many ways to think about how to serve your fellow man in addition to tithing such as home teaching or just living a Christ centered life. I would say don’t let one little thing like how your tithing reaches church headquarters change your mindset of what paying tithing is all about. Not to sound judgemental but if handing your tithing directly to your bishop is that important there may be other things wrong there. Not to say it is a bad thing to give to your bishop, it’s just the attitude in doing so. I like the option of the online donation and will try hard to continue my Christlike service to others just as much.

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  26. It has been available here in Australia for over five years and I’ve got to say it’s fantastic for a number of reasons:
    1. Money no longer changing hands – always awkward when you go to a church and the collection basket comes around. Imagine being a new attendee and seeing people hand an envelope and shake hands with someone. A little mafioso.
    2. Ward clerk gets to leave soon after church – we have 98% penetration in the ward so there are only a few giving cash which means they get to leave with their families instead of sticking around in the broom closet.
    3. Records are a lot easier to keep digitally
    4. Convenience – I just paid mine then and it’s 6:30am on a Thursday morning.

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  27. I am not sure yet how I feel. It would be nice to have it paid quickly. I have had occasions where our tithing envelope stayed in the pocket of a bishopric member by accident and the cheque was not cashed when we thought it would be (before online banking- in our poor student days) and we had bounced a tithing cheque! That was awkward.
    Also as someone who’s husband has spent many hours processing tithing after church meetings on Sundays I think if it speeds up that process for the bishopric then that is a bonus too!
    I do like the action of giving my tithing slip to the bishop butane that is my pride- I am still giving to the Lord even if no one sees me hand an envelope to my bishopric.

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  28. As the world evolves, so do we. The principle, law and blessings are unchanged. I know a lot of people who easily form opinions about new things and technology when it’s first introduced, only to change their minds later. If you prefer not to pay tithing online, have at it brother. Eventually, we won’t have checks available in our banking system, so this may be the only or best option. As for me, I still prefer to hand my 1 of 10 chickens to the Bishop each week. I didn’t see a chicken option online, but i’m sure we’ll get there.

    I can’t imagine how a bishopric feels being the funds collector each and every week for up to 500 people. I’d bet this is a huge relief to them. Let them focus on more important aspects of their callings.

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  29. I LOVE the option because it’s a very easy way to pay tithing FIRST! -before paying anything else. Otherwise, it’s a pain to have a check “out there” for tithing or to have to go to the ATM.

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  30. Having been a financial clerk for many years and currently a counselor in the bishopric, I look forward to more people paying online. Less time in the clerk’s office will be a blessing! Don’t get me wrong, I love serving in whatever calling I’m asked and whatever duty that I have, but I would rather be out visiting widows or helping my children with their Aaronic priesthood duties than to be in a small room counting donations. I have used the online system and it is very easy and quick. But for those that still want to hand something to the bishopric, that’s wonderful. Options are good! Year end tithing settlement and temple recommend interviews are where you make your declaration of being a full tith payer. Bishoprics don’t generally keep track of who’s paying and who’s not during the year. Ultimately, it’s between you and the Lord where and how you pay your tithing. Blessings will come either way.

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  31. I can hardly believe that Australians are (I’m guessing), about a decade ahead of the U.S on a technical matter.

    We’ve been paying online so long and it makes no more difference to your worthiness. Than if you wear penguin or circus colours on your Sunday attire.

    Seriously.

    Some of the worthiest people I know, have a different hair colour every time I see them. It makes NO difference to their worthiness, their recommend status, or their interactions with other ward members.

    I do see the point in CHOOSING to pay your tithing, ather than, just having it automatically deducted from your pay cheque. That way you are still DOING something each week deliberately.

    However, I really don’t think the question of HOW you paid will even cross the Lords mind; when he meets us up ‘there.’

    So glad you guys have this option now. It makes life soooo much easier.

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  32. 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:4

    Christ teaches the giving of alms in secret. Would not the same apply for tithes and offerings? I love being able to pay tithing online. It’s a more private system that allows for it to truly stay between you and the Lord. The Lord ultimately knows your deeds and the desires of your hearts, so what else matters? Accountability comes at the end of the year with tithing settlement.

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  33. I have used the new system several times this week, as funds from different things came in. I always like to pay the Lords 10th before I use any of the rest of the money. (Besides if you think about it, by paying it first you are only paying 10%. If you owe a $100 and that’s all you have left in your account, then it feels like having to pay 100% )

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  34. My husband is a clerk and we live in a big ward. There are weeks that it takes them hours and hours to do the tithing (especially on fast Sunday). He leaves at 8am Sunday morning and I don’t see him again till 5. We have five small children too. The counting of tithing will definitly take a shorter time and there will less human error (we have had a tithing check lost before–it turned up on the bishop’s desk months later). We are excited for this change and hope people will take advantage of it so my kids will have more time with dad on Sunday.

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  35. I also live in Australia, and I can’t even remember the last time we paid our tithing non-electronically. I love being able to pay it online.

    1. I do not direct debit my tithing- I deliberately sit down each time, work out how much I need to pay (we have a variable income), and then deliberately pay our tithing- online. It is as careful, and as deliberate as paying it in person to the bishopric, and I get just as much satisfaction at being square with the Lord. I also like that it is a private, not public, giving.

    2. For about the first 10 years of married life, the children and I waited after church for an hour or more for my husband to finish counting all the tithing. I am super grateful that nowadays I have the chance to allow ward clerks and bishoprics to leave the building earlier, and spend time with their families.

    I suggest you embrace this chance to move forward with the church- we have heard from the brethren repeatedly how the Lord has given us technology in the last days to move the kingdom forward in ways never seen before. I think this is one of those ways.

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  36. My husband (former branch president and bishop) tells our kids they can not pay tithing directly to our branch president. He is overworked and under appreciated as is. The times he get tithing in his hand he and 1 other has to go to the bank directly after church. They have other things to do that will build the kingdom of God in a better and more needed way. If paying tithing this way isn’t the RIGHT way, I am sure our leaders (under Gods direction) would not make this possible…

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  37. Josh beat me to the punch, but in larger wards it sometimes takes hours for the bishopric and clerks to process all of the tithing – hours that could be spent with family, doing hometeaching, etc. If we can do our part to reduce that burden by paying online, I’m all for it.

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  38. I love the fact that paying online will lessen the work load on our local bishopric, especially on the 1st Sunday of the month. With more members paying online it will require less time to count and deposit on Sunday at the local bank drop off.

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  39. I have been paying my tithing through automatic payroll deduction for over 10 years. This is a service our company provides. It allows up to 2 automatic deposits & 2 automatic payroll deductions. Our HR folks simply mail the check to our bishop. I see the tithing on my pay stubb &, of course, at tithing settlement. I know several members who work for different companies who do this. Specifically regarding the new online option, I have a close relative who works for the church who told me that eventually the new online payment mechanism will be not only be an option, but what the brethren will actually prefer. They are giving people time to grow accustomed to it.

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  40. The choice on how tithing is to be paid is up to the individual members. I travel a lot and this would make it easy for me to stay current

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  41. As a recovered gambler paying tithing for much of my church life was a struggle. Wanting to go to the temple gave me the incentive. For that reason it still feels good to figure the amount and fill out the slip and hand it to the bishopric member….that being said when it gets to Canada I will gladly pay it online as it can never be “just another bill,” but a sacred obligation that I have chosen to take on….also want to address the comment about people “filling out their slips to be seen.” When I do that it means that I forgot to get one for the coming of Fast Sunday or perhaps made a mistake and don’t have another slip at home…I do it knowing that I need to keep my promise to the Lord for the blessings given.

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  42. I am looking forward to online tithe paying coming to the UK. I’ve been asking about it for ages. It’s not an automatic thing that you can then forget about (at least not if it’s the type of online banking I already use to pay most of my bills). You have to act upon it, go into your online banking select where the money comes from and where it’s going. I already pay my rent, council tax, TV licence, Road Tax and most other bills that I get in this way.

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  43. I paid our tithing online for the first time this month and loved it! It is soo much easier and faster! The information is saved for you so that you don’t have to remember membership numbers (I was having to look them up each month). When there is no church because of conference or whatever, I can still pay tithing that week. I don’t need to worry about envelopes, forms or checks either! I know that paying online is not for everyone but it works great for me!

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  44. While it may be nice for you to hand your tithing directly to a member of the bishopric, think about how that impacts their life. Bishopric members and clerks spend hours a month counting tithing. Perhaps you might be willing to pay online so they can have some extra time with their family on the Sabbath.

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