Manuscript Releases, vol. 1 [Nos. 19-96]


MR No. 48a—Use of the Tithe

[Release requested by Elder W. H. Branson for use in the study of this problem in connection with a forthcoming council.]

In the night season I am laboring earnestly with persons who do not seem to understand that in the providence of God the medical missionary work is to be as the right hand of the body.—Manuscript 58, 1901, 1. (“A Union of Ministerial and Medical Missionary Work Essential,” July 7, 1901.) 1MR 188.1

The tithe is to be used for one purpose,—to sustain the ministers whom the Lord has appointed to do His work. It is to be used to support those who speak the words of life to the people, and carry the burden of the flock of God.... 1MR 188.2

Those who have charge of our church buildings are to be supplied with the means that is necessary to keep these buildings in good repair. But this money is not to come from the tithe.... 1MR 188.3

The use of the tithe must be looked upon as a sacred matter by our people. We must guard strictly against all that is contrary to the message now given.... 1MR 188.4

The impression is becoming quite common that the sacred disposition of the tithe no longer exists. Many have lost their sense of the Lord's requirements.... 1MR 188.5

When a man enters the ministry, he is to be paid from the tithe enough to sustain his family. He is not to feel that he is a beggar.... 1MR 188.6

Many ministers are lying in their graves, brought there by sorrow and disappointment, and by the hardship brought upon them because they did not receive sufficient for their labors. 1MR 188.7

Let us remember that God is a God of justice and equity. There would today be many more ministers in the field, but they are not encouraged to labor. Many workers have gone into the grave heartbroken, because they had grown old, and could see that they were looked upon as a burden. But had they been retained in the work, and given an easy place, with a whole or part of their wages, they might have accomplished much good. During their term of labor, these men have done double labor. They felt so heavy a burden for souls that they had no desire to be relieved of overwork. The heavy burdens borne shortened their lives. The widows of these ministers are never to be forgotten, but should, if necessary, be paid from the tithe.—Manuscript 82, 1904, 1-3. (“The Use of the Tithe,” 1904.) 1MR 189.1

Our conferences should see that the schools are provided with teachers who are thorough Bible teachers and who have a deep Christian experience. The best ministerial talent should be brought into schools, and the salaries of these teachers should be paid from the tithe.... 1MR 189.2

God's ministers are His shepherds, appointed by Him to feed His flock. The tithe is His provision for their maintenance, and He designs that it shall be held sacred to this purpose.... 1MR 189.3

If the members of a church exercise economy and self-denial in dress and in all their expenses as God requires, there will be no lack of funds. The tithe will be increased, and there will be donations sufficient for all church expenses.—Manuscript 139, 1898, 24-26. (An Appeal for Missions, October 21, 1898.) 1MR 189.4

And if there is a surplus of means in the treasury, there are many places where it may be used strictly in the appointed lines. In many places the dearth of means is so great that the workers cannot be employed to do missionary work. Every dollar of the money put into the treasury is not needed in _____. Let the Lord's money be donated to support the ministers in foreign countries where they are working to lift the standard in new fields. This is God's money, and He designs that it shall be used in sustaining the ministry, in educating a people to prepare to meet their God.... 1MR 189.5

If you have more means than you need to settle [with] your ministers in a fair, liberal, Christian manner, there are other places where you can help, where there are but few people and poor, and the tithe is limited. Send the Lord's money to them. This I have been repeatedly shown is the way to do.... 1MR 190.1

When the people will, as in the church in _____, excuse themselves from sustaining their own church demands, that church is in deep need of a ministry that is of a different order than that which it has had. The men who are handling sacred things will need to discern more clearly spiritual things, and if they will begin to rely upon the tithe money to use in the several places where there is a gap and where means are needed in Battle Creek and Oakland, the Lord will surely remove His blessing from these churches. 1MR 190.2

You know nothing experimentally of the poverty in foreign countries. We need some of your abundance here. When men shall be properly exercised to present to the people their duty as Christians to support their church expenses; when they shall themselves present more abundantly their gifts and offerings to carry forward the work, then God will bless the faithful messenger, and He will bless the members of the churches; for He says, “I know thy works” (Revelation 3:8). 1MR 190.3

Then who will be aroused to sense their duty in this respect, and act their part in the fear of God. Self-denial is to be presented to the people, and offerings called for in donations. Said the messenger of heaven, “It is not the Oakland church, the Battle Creek church, the Healdsburg church, or the San Francisco church who should draw from the treasury of God to supply their weekly incidental expenses, incurred in accommodating the people as they assemble together to worship God. Let every soul consider, and humble himself before God.” Letter 81, 1897, pp. 1-6. (To Brother Jones, May 27, 1897.) 1MR 190.4

There are exceptional cases, where poverty is so deep that in order to secure the humblest place of worship, it may be necessary to appropriate the tithes. But that place is not Battle Creek or Oakland. Let those who assemble to worship God consider the self-denial and self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Let those brethren who profess to be children of God study how they can deny themselves, how they can part with some of their idols, and carefully economize in every line. In each house there should be a box for the church fund, to be used for the needs of the church.... 1MR 191.1

Let not those to whom are entrusted responsibilities, allow the treasury that God has appointed to sustain the ministers in the field, to be robbed to supply the expenses incurred in keeping in order and making comfortable the house of God. Thousands upon thousands of dollars have been taken from the tithes and used for these purposes. This is not as it should be. The gifts and offerings that have cost some self-denial are to be brought in. A separate fund for the purpose of defraying the expenses which every church member should share according to his ability should be instituted in every place where there is a church.—Manuscript 24, 1897, 1, 2. (“Tithing,” March 15, 1897.) 1MR 191.2

In the sixth chapter of Acts, we are shown how, when men were to be selected to fill positions in the church, the matter was brought before the Lord, and most earnest prayer was offered for guidance. The widows and fatherless were to be supported by contributions from the church. Their wants were not to be relieved by the church, but by special donations. The tithe was to be consecrated to the Lord, and was always to be used for the support of the ministry. Letter 9, 1899, p. 2. (To those Occupying Important Positions in the General Conference, January 24, 1899.) 1MR 191.3

I have been instructed that there is something wrong in the way that financial matters have been carried in some of our conferences. I was shown that spiritual interests have been lost sight of, and that the very work that is most essential and urgent has been neglected, and bears the mark of imperfection. The zeal exercised by some in gathering and hoarding as much means as possible to make a good showing financially, and that men in important positions might appear as good generals, was a sad mistaking of the true interests of the work. 1MR 192.1

More and more we must come to realize that the means that comes into the conference in the tithes and gifts of our people should be used for the support of the work not only in the American cities, but also in foreign fields. Let the means so zealously collected be unselfishly distributed. Those who realize the needs of mission fields will not be tempted to use the tithe for that which is not necessary. All may be tempted to be selfish in the use of their means, but they will gain strength to resist these temptations as they study the needs of the fields that have little labor given them. My brethren, let your means be freely given, and the Lord will bless your offerings. God is looking for these offerings, and angels of God are impressing the hearts of those for whose sake they are given.—Manuscript 11, 1908, p. 7. (“The Regions Beyond,” February 15, 1908.) 1MR 192.2

That there will always be a temptation to divert the tithe money to other channels, we know; but the Lord has guarded this, His own portion, to be sacredly used for the support of the gospel ministers. There may be such measures taken as shall reduce the working force that bears the message of truth, as is being done, and in America has been done to meet the measurement of the tithe in the treasury; but this is not the Lord's plan, and if entered upon and continued, will reduce God's blessing to the churches that work upon such a plan. There may be a great dearth of means if there is a departing from the Lord's plan. The Lord regards the tithe as His own, to be used for a certain purpose, and it is an easy matter, in the place of practicing the self-denial that we should, to help in educating students, or in the temporal matters, as providing conveniences for the church, which is necessary, to dip into the Lord's consecrated portion which should be used only to sustain the ministers in new fields as well as in other places.... 1MR 193.1

Now in regard to educating students in our schools. It is a good idea; it will have to be done; but God forbid that in the place of practicing self-denial and self-sacrifice our individual selves, to do this work, we should subtract from the Lord's portion, specially reserved to sustain the ministers in active labor in the field, and to [keep] at work those who are already ordained for the work. We can easily consider these matters, how much it requires to support our own families according to the members of that family. Then let those whose business it is, act in accordance with this rule. Look not upon our own things, but upon the things of others. Let us practice the golden rule, and do unto others as we would that they should do unto us, were we in like circumstances. 1MR 193.2

The fibrous roots of selfishness will root themselves wherever they are given a chance. We want to cut out and exterminate every fiber of the root of selfishness.... 1MR 194.1

All these things are to be done, as you propose, to help students to obtain an education, but I ask you, Shall we not all act in this matter unselfishly, and create a fund, and keep it to draw upon on such occasions. When you see a young man or a young woman who are promising subjects, advance or loan the sum needed, with the idea that it is a loan, not a gift. It would be better to have it thus. Then when it is returned, it can be used to educate others. But this money is not to be taken from the tithe, but from a separate fund secured for that purpose. This would exert a healthy uprightness and charity and patriotism among our people. There must be thoughtful consideration and a skillful adjustment of the work in the cause of God in all its departments. But let there be no meager, stingy plans in using the consecrated portion for the sustaining of the ministry; for then the treasury would soon be empty. Letter 40, 1897, pp. 1-4. (To Elder A. G. Daniells, March 16, 1897.) 1MR 194.2

White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

August 22, 1951.