For Latter-day Saints, the end of the calendar year is as busy a time as it is for anyone else, with festivities, travel, and shopping. On top of that, however, is the annual opportunity to declare one’s tithing status. Called “tithing settlement,” this longstanding practice gives members an opportunity to meet with their bishop individually and as families to account for their tithing payments for the year and get a little one-on-one time with their local leader.
But now, tithing settlement is no more! A letter from the First Presidency has declared tithing settlement dead. Long live tithing settlement!
In reality, tithing settlement is now “tithing declaration,” and the process can start much earlier in the year.
Why the change? According to the letter to “[emphasize] that the primary purpose of this interview is to provide members with an opportunity to declare their tithing faithfulness, not to ‘settle” an account. The focus should be on the member’s covenant relationship with Heavenly Father and teaching the spiritual nature of tithing, especially to children and youth.”
Semantics? Arguably yes, but it puts the emphasis away from an accounting exercise and more into the realm of spiritual stewardship.
Additionally, wards can now begin holding tithing declaration as early as September 1 each year to “offer bishops additional time to meet with individuals and families.” Previously, waiting until November was commonplace, and the scramble to get the entire ward shuttled through tithing settlement consumed the executive secretary and ward clerk (and issue compounded with the rush to get priesthood ordinations ready for January 1).
To be clear, tithing declaration still involves a meeting with the bishop and is not a watered-down version of tithing settlement. Nor are Latter-day Saints being asked to simply declare their tithing status via an app or email and be done with it.
Regardless, it’s not the venue to do this:
But certainly do this:
Latter-day Saints pay tithing—one-tenth of their income or “increase”—as an exercise in faith. Tithing funds pay for Church facilities, temples, educational facilities, and other purposes.
Also, you see that, Deseret News? We didn’t make the headline, “What’s Replacing Tithing Settlement?” with the hope of clicks. You can do this!