Lorenzo Snow, Dec 1, 1899

-- Dec 1, 1899
General Instructions on Tithing-- Salt Lake City.

These were the first General Instructions on tithing settlement issued after the revelation on tithing of 1899 had been received and sustained by the priesthood of the Church.

GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS to the Presidents of Stakes, Bishops of Wards and Stake Tithing Clerks in Zion.

Salt Lake City, Utah, December 1st, 1899.


1. In view of the importance of the subject of Tithing and its bearing on the welfare of the Latter-day Saints, we direct the attention of those who have charge of tithing affairs, in the several Wards and Stakes of Zion, to this subject, and issue the following instructions concerning the receiving and disbursing of the tithes.

2. The Bishops, as stewards of the Lord's Storehouse, are responsible for the receiving, caring for and disbursing of the tithes in their respective Wards, and should give the matter their personal attention. They should see that the tithes are kept in good condition and nothing allowed to waste for want of proper attention. Tithing premises should be kept in good repair, sidewalks graded: and if water can be obtained, treesplanted around the side-walks, so that the appearance of the Bishops' Storehouse will be in keeping, at least, with the general surroundings of the neighborhood. Where new buildings are needed for the proper care of tithes, the Bishopric should forward an application to the Presiding Bishops Office with an estimate of the cost. Blank forms of application will be furnished by the Stake Tithing Clerk.

3. As the time is now approaching for making the annual reports, we request the Bishops to designate a date for settling tithing, not later than January 10th, 1900, who should be present on that occasion with their counselors. Every member of the Ward should be notified by the teachers on their visits from house to house of the time and place appointed for settling tithing. The Bishop's General Storehouse will be open to receive produce and miscellaneous tithes, for credit in the year 1899, until January 6th, 1900, but the books will remain open for cash remittances for credit in the year 1899, until January 31st, 1900. Bishops and others desiring credit at the general offices should forward advices before the dates mentioned.

4. An inventory of the tithes on hand should be taken at the close of the annual settlement, by weights, measurements and descriptions, and a fair cash valuation placed on each article or kind. An estimate of the present cash value of tithing real estate, buildings, improvements, fixtures, implements, etc., is also needed. This should be done by each Bishop and his Counselors, who are expected to certify to the correctness of all Ward reports. Should tithe-payers wish to pay cash in lieu of other kinds of tithes, it should be accepted, so as to reduce the loss and expense of handling produce. In all matters connected with the receiving and disposing of the tithes, the Bishops of Wards should consult freely with the Presiding Bishopric.

5. The Bishops will please remit monthly, to President Lorenzo Snow, Trustee-in-Trust, all cash received by them on tithing, as also the cash proceeds from sale of other kinds of tithes.

6. The Bishop is the proper person to fix the value of all kinds of tithes received in his Ward, which should be credited at a fair cash market price at the time it is received. This will insure an equality of credit for tithing.

7. Receipts should be given the tithe-payers and the stub accurately made out. This will materially assist in making a correct and satisfactory settlement with each tithe-payer. Vouchers must be taken for all disbursements on account of compensation of Bishops and Clerk, improvements and general expenses of the Bishops' Storehouses. No payments should be made on any other account unless authority, in writing, is first obtained from the Presidency of the Church or the Presiding Bishopric.

8. A blank will be furnished in which should be given a list of the persons who ought to pay tithing, but whose names are not on the record of 1899; together with their occupation and Priesthood (if any). The Bishopric should also state, opposite the name of each person, the reason why he or she has failed to pay tithing, if known. Great care should be exercised in making up this report, so that no injustice will be done any member of the Church.

9. No tithing credit should be given persons or promises to pay at some future date, nor should the tithes be loaned or persons allowed to draw from the Tithing Storehouse, unless they have written authority from the Presidency of the Church or Presiding Bishopric. This is intended to apply to officers as well as other members of the Church; but the Bishops are not restricted from selling produce, etc., to responsible parties for cash on short time credit.

10. All orders issued on Wards or Stakes should be taken up when presented for payment, properly endorsed by the owner, charged to the Bishop's General Storehouse and paid in full in the kinds specified on the order. If this cannot be done, in consequences of the amount or conditions of its payment, credit the party or account in whose favor it is drawn with the full amount of the order and then charge all payments thereon. Every effort should be made to pay all orders in full before the close of each year.

11. Orders payable in "assorted produce" should be paid with a fair proportion of the kinds of produce received (including perishable articles) at the office or offices on which the order is drawn. In making payment on orders chargeable to the Stake, sufficient at least should be charged for the article or kind to cover the original tithing credit allowed and the cost in handling, so that no loss will be incurred by the Storehouse.

12. The Presidency and High Council of each Stake of Zion will please make a distribution of the 10 per cent allowed the Bishops for handling the tithes, which should he done not later than April 1st of each year, and submitted to the Presiding Bishopric for approval.

13. The Ward and Stake Tithing Clerk should act in harmony with the Bishops and under their direction. The Stake Tithing Clerk should compile the Ward reports and make up the general tithing accounts of the Stake. This clerk is selected by the Bishops of Wards and Presidency of the Stake; he shouldbe a good penman and accountant, and have the confidence and goodwill, not only of the Stake officers, but of the Latter-day Saints generally.

14. The Presidency of each Stake should see that the Bishops of Wards receive, store and disburse the tithes agreeable to the instructions contained in this letter; that tithing premises are kept in good condition, as outlined in paragraph No. 2. As the Presidency of the Stake are required to certify to the correctness of the annual tithing reports, they should satisfy themselves that these accounts are correctly and properly kept.

15. In order that tithing affairs may have the necessary attention, it is very important that the Bishops of Wards be prompt in making monthly cash remittances, quarterly estimates of tithes on hand, half yearly charity account statements, and other information required from time to time.

16. In conclusion, we desire to impress upon the presiding officers in the Wards and Stakes of Zion the necessity of diligently teaching and observing the law of tithing, urging its importance to the temporal and spiritual welfare of the Latter-day Saints and the many blessings promised to those who observe this law in the spirit and meaning thereof.

Praying that the blessings of the Lord may rest upon you continually in your labors among the Saints,

We remain your brethren in the Gospel, LORENZO SNOW, GEORGE Q. CANNON, JOSEPH F. SMITH, First Presidency. {1899-December 1-Original pamphlet, Church Historian's Library,} (1)

-- Saturday, Dec 2, 1899
[Apostle John Henry Smith Diary] Salt Lake City

The question as to whether the Church should put up more money for the Sterling Mines came up and it was decided to let the property Co. Some options to lands at Cedar City were also passed upon and it was decided to let them lapse. President Lorenzo Snow, Geo. Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith, Franklin S. Richards, James Jack, John M. Cannon, John R. Winder and myself being present. (2)

1 - Clark, James R., Messages of the First Presidency (6 volumes)
2 - Jean Bickmore White (editor), Church, State, and Politics: The Diaries of John Henry Smith, Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, Salt Lake City, 1990, http://bit.ly/johnhenrysmith

LDS History Chronology: Lorenzo Snow

Mormon History Timeline: the life of Lorenzo Snow


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