I have a dear friend who is going through hard stuff. Her long-term temple marriage is breaking up. Her soon-to-be ex-husband is messing up their very tight finances with frivolous purchases that are making their bad situation worse. Honestly, she is so tired of the drama, she is looking forward to this being over.

Knowing how bad things are, she asked me an interesting question. She can’t afford to pay a full-tithe to the church. She asked, “Should I pay a partial tithe?”

Her temple recommend is expiring in the next few months and one of the temple interview questions is if you are a full tithe payer. She wants to get a new recommend, knowing that recommends are good for two years. If she can make a miracle happen and somehow have the money to pay a full tithe until her temple recommend interview, she can stop paying after she has the recommend in hand.

I pointed out that there is no credit for partial tithe paying. In terms of getting a temple recommend, it is full tithe or nothing,

She makes too much money for state assistance to pay bills and she is too busy working overtime, taking care of her kids and trying to jump through all the hoops necessary during divorce to ask the church for financial help. She doesn’t have time/energy to do work cleaning the church or whatever to “earn” whatever assistance the church could give. She has volunteered at the church storehouses enough over the years to know the food offered there isn’t diabetic/healthy diet friendly. It is fine if you don’t have special health needs like my friend, but it won’t work well for her or her children.

I don’t know what my friend will do, but I want to double- check my thinking. Am I right? Is there any point in paying a partial tithe? And if you fall behind in paying your tithe, do you just start fresh, paying forward or do you need to make- up the past missed payments to be right with the Heavenly Accountants?