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LDS Church
Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve speaks at the Saturday morning session of general conference, Oct. 5, 2013.

The honest payment of tithing is more than a duty — it is an important step in the process of personal sanctification, declared Elder David A. Bednar in his Saturday morning talk.

A member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Bednar testified that individuals can enjoy significant but sometimes subtle blessings when they follow the Lord's commandment to pay tithing. Dutiful tithe payers might not receive any sudden or obvious additions to, say, their household incomes. Instead, a loving Heavenly Father typically bestows simple blessings in seemingly ordinary ways.

"Often as we teach and testify about the law of tithing, we emphasize the immediate, dramatic and readily recognizable temporal blessings that we receive. And surely such blessings do occur. Yet some of the diverse blessings we obtain as we are obedient to this commandment are significant but subtle. Such blessings can only be discerned if we are both spiritually attentive and observant" (see 1 Corinthians 2:14).

He said the prophet Malachi utilizes the imagery of windows to teach of the blessings that come from paying tithing. Windows allow natural light to enter a building.

"In like manner, spiritual illumination and perspective are poured out through the windows of heaven and into our lives as we honor the law of tithing," Elder Bednar said.

He testified that those who are spiritually attentive will be blessed with an illuminated recognition of the Lord's blessings in their lives.

"Sometimes we may ask God for success, and He gives us physical and mental stamina. We might plead for prosperity, and we receive enlarged perspective and increased patience, or we petition for growth and are blessed with the gift of grace. He may bestow upon us conviction and confidence as we strive to achieve worthy goals. And when we plead for relief from physical, mental and spiritual difficulties, He may increase our resolve and resilience."

The Church leader said he has gained a greater appreciation and reverence for the Lord's law of finance for individuals, families and for His Church since receiving his call as an apostle. Latter-day revelation teaches that the disbursement of Church tithes is overseen by the Presiding Bishopric and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

"These sacred funds are used in a rapidly growing Church to spiritually bless individuals and families by constructing and maintaining temples and houses of worship, supporting missionary work, translating and publishing scriptures, fostering family history research, funding schools and religious education, and accomplishing many other Church purposes as directed by the Lord's ordained servants."

Two basic and fixed principles are observed in the financial operations of the Church: First, the Church lives within its means and does not spend more than it receives. Second, a portion of the annual income is set aside as a reserve for contingencies and unanticipated needs.

Elder Bednar said his own faith has been strengthened as he has witnessed the lives of devoted members across the globe. "Your goodness and willing obedience to the law of tithing inspires me to be a better man, husband, father and Church leader."