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LANA - My husband is self-employed and we are in disagreement with the issue of paying tithing for this year. My husband states that in the scriptures it says pay tenth of our "increases". So after calculating my husbands income (gross and expenses) for the year and including the drop in the value of our home as part of our loss (which is $90,000.00), since the home is our investment, we therefore are in the negative and have no "increase" for this year. What does the church say about how to calculate tithing for the self-employed? I just have a very hard time with the concept of not owing nothing in tithing. Is this being a full tithe payer? What will happen to my temple recommend if my spouse does not pay tithing and won't let me pay? Also, I was laid off a year ago and received unemployment benefits this year. Do I pay tithing on my unemployment benefits?

JOEL - First a few quotes from the prophets:

President Spencer W. Kimball;
“Inquiries are received at the office of the First Presidency from time to time from officers and members of the Church asking for information as to what is considered a proper tithe.
“We have uniformly replied that the simplest statement we know of is the statement of the Lord himself, namely, that the members of the Church should pay ‘one-tenth of all their interest annually’ which is understood to mean income (see D&C 119:4)” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1980, 113; or Ensign, Nov. 1980, 77).

President Gordon B. Hinckley;
"Tithing is a principle that is fundamental to the personal happiness and well-being of the Church members worldwide, both rich and poor. Tithing is a principle of sacrifice and a key to the opening of the windows of heaven. In Primary I memorized the tithing poem: “What is tithing? I will tell you every time. Ten cents from a dollar, and a penny from a dime."
"For many years, presidents of the Church have interpreted “interest”(D&C 119:4) as “income.” Beyond that, they have not elaborated. That fourth verse consists of thirty-five words. Contrast that with the cumbersome and complex tax codes enacted and enforced by governments."(Ensign, Dec. 1989, 5)

A 1970 letter from the First Presidency of the LDS Church stated that, notwithstanding the fact that members should pay one-tenth of their income, "every member of the Church is entitled to make his own decision as to what he thinks he owes the Lord and to make payment accordingly" (Mar. 19, 1970; Doxey, Roy W. Tithing: The Lord's Law. Salt Lake City, 1976).

Hence, the exact amount paid is not as important as that each member feels that he or she has paid an honest tenth. The Church says nothing on how self-employed members should calculate tithing besides what I quoted above, but notice that the Church leaders interpretation of "interest" is "income"; they don't get into things like loss or depreciation of homes or unemployment benefits. I can't tell you what to do; it has to be between you and your husband and God. In my opinion including the drop in price of the home should not be included in figuring tithing. If everyone did that the church wouldn't have gotten any tithing for the past couple of years from anyone. When the value of your house starts to increase again does your husband intend to pay tithing on the increase in value? If he does then maybe it's OK. Those who are self-employed must look at what it cost them to run the business and how much income they took in from the business and pay tithing on the difference if it's a positive number. That's one logical way to look at it.
Noone's temple recommend will be taken away from them because of what a spouse will not allow.

Most people would pay tithing on unemployment benefits, but again the choice to do this is up to you and whether you feel you are being honest with the Lord whichever way you choose. It's between you and Him. It might help to talk to your Bishop about this.

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