Mormon Beliefs: Fast Offerings
Fasting is a familiar term among Christians, and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon Church) make it a regular practice to participate in a twenty-four hour fast on the first Sunday of every month. Not only is this fast beneficial to ourselves, helping us draw closer to the spirit and cleanse our bodies, but we find that fasting with a purpose can work like a prayer in seeking out particular blessings for those in need. We help further that purpose by paying a fast offering each month.
Churches are run on donations, and in most denominations a collection plate is passed around for people to place their donations in. Latter-day Saint members are encouraged to pay a tithe of 10% of their income to the Church, but such is not collected during meetings. We can pick up envelopes with tithing slips from our bishop’s office and hand our offerings to a member of the bishopric. The fast offering is a special offering separate from our tithing, and there is a spot on the tithing slip to specify the amount we are paying for a fast offering. We are advised to have the amount of the offering be the amount of money we saved on food by participating in the monthly twenty-four hour fast, making it roughly the cost of two meals. Those with the means are encouraged to be generous and pay more, but the actual amount members pay for a fast offering is entirely up to the individual.
Because we have a lay leadership, all our payments and offerings are used to further the four-fold mission of the Church to “proclaim the gospel, perfect the saints, redeem the dead, and care for the poor and afflicted.” Fast offerings, specifically, are used for this last purpose: the care of the poor and afflicted. Fast offerings help stock what is known as the Bishop’s Storehouse with foodstuffs and basic necessities. Members in need can speak to their bishop about receiving church welfare which can include visits to this storehouse.
I have personally been blessed by the fast offerings of members when I went through a period of about a year where all the food and basic needs for my family was provided by the Bishop’s Storehouse. It was a difficult and humbling time that has heightened my own dedication to the payment of fast offerings and volunteering at the storehouse.
Fast offering funds are also used to provide relief in troubled areas after natural disasters, in third-world countries, and other places in dire need. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is typically one of the first responders after disasters, and we have several locations for the preparing of basic food provisions that go to third-world countries. It is a blessing to know that my offerings go straight to such a good cause, and that I can help in providing relief to those who are suffering by paying my offerings and volunteering my time to aid in this great work.
Learn more about the basic Mormon Belief of fasting.
Request a free copy of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
Attend a local meetinghouse.