‘Tis the season … for tithing settlement, the season when bishops and clerks grow a little grayer (or a little balder), when their wives and children start to forget what the pater familias looks like, when ward members with clear consciences rush to sign up for appointments … and others dodge around corners and exit the building via little-used doors, in order not to pass by the sign-up sheets so that they can conveniently “forget.”
Tithing settlement has long been a major annual chore. Let us hope it is easier on bishops and clerks than it was in 1896, when these instructions went out to all wards and stakes – a day when tithes were still collected in kind as well as in cash, and when written orders on the Presiding Bishop’s Office were still a major factor of life in the Mormon economy.
CIRCULAR OF INSTRUCTIONS.
Settlement of Tithes for the Year 1896.
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, Dec. 1st, 1896,
To the Presidents of Stakes, Bishops of Wards and Stake Tithing Clerks in Zion:
BRETHREN: – We forward you blanks for the rendering of your annual statements of tithes received and disbursed for the fiscal year closing December 31st, 1896, as follows:
Blank No. 1. Ward Tithing Record;
[Blank] No. 2. [Ward] Account Current;
[Blank] No. 3. [Ward] Balance Sheet;
[Blank] No. 4. [Ward] Inventory;
[Blank] No. 5. Stake Account Current;
[Blank] No. 6. [Stake] Balance Sheet;
[Blank] No. 7. [Stake] Inventory.
BLANK NO. 1. [WARD] “TITHING RECORD.”
This should contain the names of all the tithe payers and the kind and amounts each pay. The names should be arranged in alphabetical order exercising care in getting the proper and full name of each tithe payer; group similar names together, particularly in the instance of families, entering seniors or heads of families first. This record when filled and returned to us is carefully bound and preserved for refer[e]nce, hence neatness of penmanship and care in arrangement should be strictly observed.
BLANKS NO. 2. [WARD] AND NO. 5. [STAKE] “ACCOUNTS CURRENT.”
Upon these blanks should be entered:
1st. The tithes on hand at beginning of the year, which should correspond with the actual amounts reported on hand at the close of the preceding year.
2nd. Receipts under headings indicated in Balance Sheet. (Give in detail “Receipts from other sources.”)
3rd. Disbursements during year under headings also indicated in Balance Sheet, together with balances on hand:
Separate the “P.B.O.” Orders from receipts, and in listing both, note the series, number, and amount of each, entering them consecutively. All such orders and receipts for the current year should be forwarded with your returns to the Presiding Bishop’s Office.
Tithes disbursed on “P.B.O.” Orders should be separated into two divisions.
First – Entering orders for which the General Office is charg[e]able (Column in Balance Sheet 8a.)
Second – Entering orders for which the Stake or Ward is charg[e]able, under proper sub-headings, as follows: Disbursed on orders to Presidency of Stake, Temple Associations, Charity, Board of Education, Meeting Houses, etc. (Column in Balance Sheet 8b.)
BLANKS NO. 3. [WARD] AND NO. 6. [STAKE] “BALANCE SHEETS”
These blanks give a recapitulation of “Accounts Current” in a condensed form.
NOTE: – Provision is made on these blanks for entering balances unpaid on “P.B.O.” Orders at the close of the year, by placing such amounts yet due, opposite title of “Liabilities” and in column of “P.B.O.” Orders paid (8a and 8b). Such amounts due should be deducted (in total) from balance on hand December 31st, 1896, in the place provided for this entry, at foot of Balance Sheet. The balance remaining, when added to your total disbursements, will equal your receipts. (Same entries should be made in “Accounts Current” when treating these unpaid accounts.)
BLANKS NO. 4. [WARD] AND NO. 7. [STAKE] “INVENTORIES”
These should contain an itemized statement of articles actually on hand, at the close of the fiscal year, together with their respective values.
The total of the “inventory” should correspond with the amount of tithes reported on hand in “Balance Sheet” and “Account Current.”
All “P.B.O.” Orders on wards or Stakes when presented should be TAKEN UP, CHARGED US, AND PAID IN FULL, When this cannot be done, take the order up, credit the party in whose favor it is drawn with the full amount of the order and then charge that account with payments made on same. Make efforts to pay such balances before the close of the year. However, should balances remain unpaid on these accounts at the end of the year, they can be accounted for as indicated in a previous paragraph.
NOTE: – Never endorse payments on our orders.
The Bishops should, as soon as possible after December 31st, commence the settlement of their tithing and make up ONE copy of their “Ward Tithing Record” and TWO c pies each of their “Account Current,” “Balance Sheet,” and “Inventory,” furnishing same to the Stake Tithing Clerk ON OR BEFORE FEBRUARY 1ST, 1897.
Bishops should record int heir Ward Ledger, copies of their “Balance Sheet,” “Account Current,” and “Inventory,” for future reference.
When found correct and properly attested and approved by the Stake Presidency, the Stake Tithing Clerk will forward to the Presiding Bishop’s Office ONE copy EACH of the following reports: Ward “Tithing Records,” Ward “Accounts Current,” Ward “Balance Sheets,” and Ward “Inventory”; Stake “Account Current,” Stake “Balance Sheet,” and Stake “Inventory,” together with receipts, orders, etc. IT IS EARNESTLY DESIRED THAT THESE REPORTS BE SENT TO US ON OR BEFORE MARCH 1ST, 1897.
Vouchers should be taken for all disbursements made under headings of columns 12, 13 and 14 of “Balance Sheet,” and SEPARATE STATEMENTS furnished us of such disbursements, under proper sub-headings, when not detailed in “Account Current.”
In forwarding tithes to the “Bishop’s General Store House,” always send an invoice of same, specifying articles sent and local market value.
Produce and Miscellaneous Tithes, for credit in 1896 must be paid into the Bishop’s General Store-House ON OR BEFORE JANUARY 2ND, 1897. The books of the Presiding Bishop’s Office will remain open until February 1st, 1897, for CASH REMITTANCES ONLY, from Bishops and Stake Tithing Clerks for credit in 1896.
We desire again to call the attention of the Bishops to the necessity of allowing only market values for Produce and Stock Tithing.
When persons pay tithing in a Ward where they do not reside, certificates stating the kind and amount of Tithing paid in that Ward should be furnished them for such credit, so that in settling their tithing in the ward where they reside, said certificate may be shown to the Bishop and entered as a memorandum upon the Ward Book and Tithing Record, with the amount and kinds paid, but not carried out as tithes received in that Ward; this will enable the Bishop to determine the amount of Tithing paid, and avoid the transfer of such amounts from one Ward to another. Blank certificates for use in such cases will be furnished from the “Presiding Bishop’s Office” on application.
The Bishops or acting bishops should designate (as early in January as possible) a time for the final settlement of tithing, and should be present at such settlements; every member of his ward should be notified of the time and place.
The Stake Tithing Clerks, when requested, should assist the Bishops in the rendering of their accounts and see that the instructions relating to the reports are carried out. In many instances Stake returns have not been rendered us until weeks after the designated time for their receipt. This should not occur in the future. If the settlement of Tithes is begun immediately after January the 1st there is no reason why the returns cannot be rendered more promptly.
Very truly, Your Brethren in the Gospel,
GEORGE Q. CANNON,
JOSEPH F. SMITH,
WILLIAM B. PRESTON,
ROBERT T. BURTON,
JOHN R. WINDER,