This is actually a question that stems from some information that I found when reading this article. The article claims that Mormon Mission Presidents receive each a lot of tax free benefits, and it says the following:

Unlike other church members, this family can receive temple recommends without paying tithing on “income.”

So I looked up what the "temple recommends" are and based on this article and this article, it seems that it is a paper slip that allows a person to enter the temple (both of these articles briefly mention tithing as one of the requirements receiving the "temple recommends").

Anyway I did also find this SE question which has some answers according to which the only consequences from non-tithing are the loss of temple access and participation in some "important saving ordinances".

One of the articles referenced in an answer to that question is this First Presidency Message "Concerning Tithing" (By President Marion G. Romney, dated June 1980). This article says among other things:

Tithing is not a free-will offering; it is a debt, payment of which brings great blessings...it is apparent that tithing is a debt which everyone owes to the Lord as rent for using the things that the Lord has made and given to him to use. The Lord, to whom one owes tithing, is in a position of a preferred creditor. If there is not enough to pay all creditors, he should be paid first.

So this question is about these "important saving ordinances". Does all of this mean that a Mormon who does not pay tithes cannot visit the temple and consequently will not be able to reach salvation?

Note: I am looking for an official opinion by the Mormon Church on this matter. If the official opinion is indeed that "Anyone can attain salvation. Anyone can be denied salvation. It's all up to Our Lord." then that is fine, although it begs the question why anyone would spend their time or money to support this or any other religious organization.

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    The parents of a friend of mine were excommunicated for not tithing.
    – user3961
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 20:55
  • You'd need to go through the rituals in the temple if you were to believe you were going to the celestial kingdom. The other 2 levels I don't think required temple action, which is, so much as I know, the only point where anyone checks whether or not you tithe at all. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degrees_of_glory - and as for what fresbend says, it may be possible from ward to ward or territories that some may make a bigger deal about it than others. I've never heard of anyone being excommunicated for not tithing. I'm not mormon though
    – Bubbles
    Commented Oct 24, 2015 at 0:53
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    @fredsbend: I think you have been misinformed. Failure to pay tithing is not something that one can be excommunicated for. And individual wards or stakes can't make their own policy on this. Commented Oct 24, 2015 at 2:08
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    To support my comment, allow me to quote Elder M. Russell Ballard: "Disciplinary councils are not held for such things as failure to pay tithing, to obey the Word of Wisdom, to attend church, or to receive home teachers." See lds.org/ensign/1990/09/… Also, I'm a 32-year member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. I have served as a counselor to a Bishop and on a few disciplinary councils. Commented Oct 24, 2015 at 2:47
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    As a Missionary, I was not expected to pay a tithe on the funds I received while on my mission. The reason is that, as a missionary, I paid into a General Missionary fund. The rates are set at a flat value regardless of where the missionary is serving. An Elder serving in New York City pays the same as an Elder serving in Ghana. The funds received for proselyting in the assigned area have already been tithed and there is no expectation to pay additional tithing on saved funds (only on any increase of those saved funds).
    – Tavrock
    Commented Oct 29, 2016 at 3:48

3 Answers 3


First, the word salvation needs to be defined. In the LDS church, salvation "means to be saved from physical and spiritual death." (See Salvation and Exaltation by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.) In the LDS church, members strive for exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom, which is the highest glory one can obtain in the next life, and is usually also considered part of "being saved" in LDS rhetoric. In order to be saved, you have to have lived "a life of obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel and service to Christ." (See: The Guide to the Scriptures: Salvation.)

In order to receive full celestial glory (or exaltation) after this life, you must receive the ordinances of the temple: "The principal purpose of temples is to provide the ordinances necessary for our exaltation in the celestial kingdom." (See True to the Faith: Temples.)

One of the questions in the interview to receive a temple recommend asks if you are a full tithe payer. Therefore, to enter the temple, "The person must certify that he or she is . . . paying a full tithing." (See: Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple).

In the temple you make sacred covenants that require you to live worthily to enter the temple. "The ordinance consists of a series of instructions and includes covenants we make to live righteously and comply with the requirements of the gospel." (See: True to the Faith: Temples.) Therefore, one must keep the commandments, one of which is tithing, in order to be saved and exalted. See Tithing.

(All links are to www.lds.org: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)


Your question is a good one but I don't think there's a clear black or white answer. For instance, the doctrine in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints states that children who die before "the age of accountability" which is age eight are "automatically saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven" (Doctrine & Covenants 137)...even if they didn't pay tithing. ultimately, we'll be judged with love and fairness by our Savior.


The short answer (partly) is yes, they cannot visit the temple. My husband and I lost our temple recommends for not paying tithing (for one year, we paid tithe for around 15 years at this time) and my 16 year old at the time was also questioned about his tithing.

Whether they would definitively say that you can or cannot receive salvation is another story since mormons believe that many will have other chances in life and after death to receive the gospel and ultimately fulfill all ordinances and promises to enter the Celestial Kingdom (top level of heaven). However, if in this life a person has the access and has learned about the gospel, rejects it and doesn't fulfill temple ordinance, they theoretically will not make it to heaven. (That would be me)

After losing my temple recommend for failure to provide the church with funds I was so hurt. Something I have given a large portion of my life to and was raised in was taken away because we live paycheck to paycheck and didn't for one year pay tithing. I wasn't excommunicated but not being able to participate in what was suppose to be the most important ordinances, was such a rejection.

After this, I allowed all the questions I had bubbling under the surface for 40 years of my life to come up. I knew and still know that it was all wrong. There were many more issues I found I didn't support, but because I wouldn't give money to a church that then found it necessary to build a luxury shopping center in SLC, I couldn't go to the temple? That is insane.

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