Wayne and Nancy Turley are longtime friends from the ten years we lived in Arizona (c. 1970s). Wayne was an instructor of Hannah’s during her flirtation with counselor education at the Harvard of the West, The Arizona State University. While a student of Wayne’s in the spring semester, Hannah invited the two of them to dinner at our first home in Tempe. And a lifetime friendship was born.
I bring up these two dear souls as they are the first Mormons we ever knew. Growing up in New York State (Hannah) and Jersey (Dan), we did not know a single Mormon. Moving to Arizona changed all that and the universe introduced us to Nancy and Wayne. (By the way, Arizona has the third most Mormons of any state. Any idea which states are the Top Two. Okay, Utah is a no brainer as #1. #2? See the answer at the end of this blog.)
As Mormons, Nancy and Wayne give 10% of their income (tithing) to the church. But here’s the cool part, they feel blessed to tithe. In their own words,
I always feel grateful to pay my tithing. I also feel it is a connection to God that is strengthened each time I willingly do this. I am also happy to think that my money will help someone or somewhere else in some small way–and that helps me feel a love and concern for others even if I don’t know them.
Many churches encourage tithing. Sarah Ban Breathnach in Simple Abundance describes tithing as returning some of your wealth to the Spirit. Tithing, which goes back to the Egyptians, Babylonians, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans, allows us to express our gratitude with action.
The mechanics of tithing involve taking one tenth of all the money you receive – from earnings, gifts, or interest/dividends – and regularly donating it to the church, temple, mosque, or other spiritual organization of your choice.
And as an aside, if you don’t know Simple Abundance, go to Amazon before you finish reading this blog and order copies for all the women in your life. It is a daybook of comfort and joy for every day of the year to inspire and blow you away with its wisdom and common sense. Sarah is brilliant! Hannah reads it daily and has gone through it completely seven times in the last 15 years. Click here for a summary of Simple Abundance.
Back to tithing. One recent Sunday morning, Hannah and I listened to Edwene Gaines speak of the four spiritual principles of prosperity. Prosperity is far more than wealth. It includes being happy, having good health and satisfying relationships. Click here to learn more about the four spiritual laws of prosperity.
Number one on her list is tithing. What a concept! One’s prosperity comes by giving! Though typically tithing is giving to support a certain house of worship, Hannah and I have a variation on that theme.
Looking at our income, we came up with a number to give away each month. So, our “tithing” is to find two organizations or people or families to give our monthly donations to.
This past August, we gave to Give Kids the World, which provides a weeklong, cost-free vacation in Central Florida to those families with a child with a life-threatening illness. Our family was a recipient of the generosity of Give Kids The World back in 1988. Click here for the GKTW website.
The other half of August’s tithing was to the Jimmy Fund, an organization that raises money for the care of patients with cancer and research into cures for that disease. This past September I raised $2380 for the Jimmy Fund as a 10K walker. Click here for my blog of that experience.
On our recent travels to the Northwest, we met a wonderful woman on our trip to Mount Rainier. Only later, as we began to communicate by email, we learned that she had a grandchild with cancer. One of our September tithing gifts was sent to her to buy groceries and gas money. How cool is that… for us!
Recently Hannah saw a My Breast Cancer Support fundraiser where we workout at Coastal Fitness in Kittery, Maine. One of our October tithes stays local. Having three loving presences in our lives who are breast cancer survivors, we know that each received a card letting them know Hannah and I have them in our hearts. Our tithing deepens our connection with those three women. Click here for more information on My Breast Cancer Support.
Another local group gets our other October tithe, End 68 Hours of Hunger, which addresses the roughly 68 hours of hunger that some school kids experience between the free lunch at school on Friday and the free breakfast Monday morning. Click here to learn more about End 68 Hours of Hunger.
This December we donated to the St. Thomas More Food Pantry of the Roman Catholic Church in Durham, NH. In light of the recent election with the Republicans about to control all three branches of government and hellbent on defunding Planned Parenthood, we supported this women’s health organization this month. Click here for more information about Planned Parenthood.
You know, Nancy and Wayne nailed it. Tithing is a blessing and our lives, and we are the richer for it. As ones who are very fortunate, we can’t sit idly by.
Top states with Mormons – 1. Utah and 2. Idaho