Tithing thoughts from Apostle Heber C Kimball Missionary Letter

Below is an excerpt from a letter home from Heber C Kimball serving a mission while Joseph Smith was still alive. You need to decide for yourself what the letter is saying.

Near the beginning Heber C Kimball is saying it is sad that the people are not able to read the word of the Lord, and that causes them to be mislead into errors. I completely agree with that sentiment. If we don’t know the word of the Lord we can and will be enslaved by our enemy.

John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Alma (LDS 35:3) (RLDS 16:242) And it came to pass that after the more popular part of the Zoramites had consulted together concerning the words which had been preached unto them, they were angry because of the word, for it did destroy their craft; therefore they would not hearken unto the words.

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

Next Heber C Kimball is telling us that the people are in bondage just like when the Israelites were in slaves in Egypt because “they have to pay tithes to the priests of every tenth they raise” which is ironic because that is what the LDS / Brighamite church teaches today, that your tithe is calculated before you pay your bills instead of after your bills which is known as SURPLUS. In fact the LDS / Brighamite church  has recently taught that if you don’t have money to buy food and pay tithing, that you should pay your tithing (see The Language of the Gospel by Elder Valeri V. Cordón of the Seventy during April 2017 General Conference; Could Tithing Ease My Worries?, Ensign, July 2009; Sacred Transformations, Ensign, 2012 December). Which is contrary to the scriptures.

The Language of the Gospel by Elder Valeri V. Cordón of the Seventy, April 2017 General Conference, Saturday Afternoon Session

JST Genesis 14:37-39
37 And he lifted up his voice, and he blessed Abram, being the high priest, and the keeper of the storehouse of God; 38 Him whom God had appointed to receive tithes FOR THE POOR. 39 Wherefore, Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed, which God had given him MORE THAN THAT WHICH HE HAD NEED.

Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

D&C (LDS 119:4-5) (RLDS 106) (1844 107)
4 And after that, those who have thus been tithed shall pay ONE TENTH of all their INTEREST annually; and this shall be a STANDING LAW unto them FOREVER, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord. 5 Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be TITHED of their SURPLUS properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you.
(I talk some about D&C (LDS 119:4-5) (RLDS 106) (1844 107) in Mauricio Berger’s supposed Brazil Sealed Portion please take the time to read that portion of it)

Here is the quote from Heber C Kimball Missionary Letter.

We have to live quite short but the brethren are very kind to us. They are willing to divide with us the last they have. They are quite ignorant; many of them cannot read a word and it needs great care to teach them the gospel so that they can understand. The people here are bound down under priestcraft in a manner I never saw before. They have to pay tithes to the priests of every tenth they raise, so that they cannot lay up one cent. They are in the same situation the children of Israel were in Egypt. They have their taskmasters over them to bind them down. It will be as great a miracle to deliver this people as it was the children of Israel.
Apostle Heber C Kimball, Missionary Letter, 1837 September 02; The Elder’s Journal, page 5, column 1

Sacred Transformations, Ensign, 2012 December

Tithing is the subject that worke me up while reading Are We Paying Too Much Tithing?. In other areas in life, people say follow the money to know what is really going on, and you know what that is what did it for me and seeing that the LDS / Brighamite church does not represent what was restored through Joseph Smith. As time permits I’ll keep updating my Tithing resource page from notes I have kept through the years of studying and thinking about it. In fact this post is a variation of a statement I have shared on Facebook multiple times.

9 thoughts on “Tithing thoughts from Apostle Heber C Kimball Missionary Letter

  1. I recently came across one of those nuggets of gold buried on the TSCC’s website.

    “Bishop Partridge understood ‘one tenth of all their interest’ annually to mean 10 percent of what Saints would earn in interest if they invested their net worth for a year”

    Bishop Partridge explained, saying, “If a man is worth a $1000, the interest on that would be $60, and one/10. of the interest will be of course $6” (Edward Partridge letter to Newel K. Whitney, July 24, 1838, in Reynolds Cahoon letter to Newel K. Whitney, July 24, 1838, Church History Library, Salt Lake City). Six percent was a common interest rate at the time (see the forthcoming publication of The Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume 6: February 1838–August 1839).



    • I’ve seen that quote before and I don’t agree with it. INTEREST, SURPLUS and INCOME meant basically the same thing during the revelation known as D&C 119 in the LDS church, check the 1828 Webster’s dictionary.


      • Regardless of the dictionary we have a direct quote from the man set apart to receive the tithes. I feel like if Joseph disagreed with his interpretation we would have a record of him correcting him or teaching otherwise, and yet there is none.


        • people misunderstood JS all the time, dictionaries are very relevant, as if you think a revelation from God doesn’t take into account what words mean, then you can get anything to mean anything you wanted to.


          • I mean do you think Bishop Partridge had gone rogue? Surely that kind of thing would have been noticed and written down


          • I don’t know enough about Bishop Patridge to say what his motives are, but I don’t see how that would work. For example if you own your house, but no surplus money, what Patridge is saying you own tithing, I don’t believe that is the case. I don’t believe the Lord expects anyone to sell ones house to pay tithing if they have no surplus.


    • What someone is worth does not take into account what surplus they have. Just because someone owns their house does not mean they have surplus to give.


  2. Steve, you have some good stuff on your site. Thanks.
    Tithing was not meant to be a burden on anyone. So if a person has an abundance then tithe freely. However, if a person does not have an abundance then they are not bound with a burden from the Lord. I think that was what the Savior was stressing throughout his ministry; that the law was not to be a burden on anyone. Thus, the law of the sabbath was not to be a burden, the law of tithing, etc. Including the law of baptism among others. Thus, if a person is not baptized then it should not to be a burden and they should be accepted in full fellowship baptized or not.

    No burdens in God’s law and that is the easy life. However, church leaders in their infinite wisdom place burdens upon the people and with respect to tithing the Lord calls it “grinding the faces of the poor” (Isa. 3:15).

    Thanks again Steve.


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