"Tithing is a commandment with a promise," said Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve at the April 1994 general conference.

"The words of Malachi, reaffirmed by the Savior, promise those who bring their tithes into the storehouse that the Lord will open 'the windows of heaven, and pour [them] out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.' The promised blessings are temporal and spiritual. The Lord promises to 'rebuke the devourer,' and He also promises tithe payers that 'all nations shall call you blessed, for ye shall be a delightsome land.' (3 Ne. 24:10-12; see also Mal. 3:10-12.)"Elder Oaks said he believed that these promises are to the nations in which members of the Church reside. "When the people of God withheld their tithes and offerings, Malachi condemned 'this whole nation.' (Mal. 3:9.) Similarly, I believe that when many citizens of a nation are faithful in the payment of tithes, they summon the blessings of heaven upon their entire nation. The Bible teaches that 'righteousness exalteth a nation' (Prov. 14:34) and 'a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.' (Gal. 5:9; see also Matt. 13:33.)"

The payment of tithing also brings the individual tithe payer unique spiritual blessings, Elder Oaks declared. "Tithe paying is evidence that we accept the law of sacrifice. It also prepares us for the law of consecration and the other higher laws of the celestial kingdom. The Lectures on Faith, prepared by the early leaders of the restored Church, part the curtain on that subject when they say:

" 'Let us here observe that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things.' " (See Lectures on Faith 6:7.)

In explaining the proper way to pay tithing, Elder Oaks said: "In the Lord's commandment to the people of this day, tithing is 'one-tenth of all their interest annually,' which is understood to mean income. The First Presidency has said, 'No one is justified in making any other statement than this.' (First Presidency letter, March 19, 1970; see also D&C 119.)

"We pay tithing, as the Savior taught, by bringing the tithes 'into the storehouse.' (3 Ne. 24:10; Mal. 3:10.) We do this by paying our tithing to our bishop or branch president. We do not pay tithing by contributing to our favorite charities. The contributions we should make to charities come from our own funds, not from the tithes we are commanded to pay to the storehouse of the Lord."