President James E. Faust said, “One of the great blessings the people of this Church have is to meet with the bishop once each year, settle their tithing, and report that what they had paid in contributions constitutes a tithe.” (James E. Faust, “Opening the Windows of Heaven,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 59.)
From October 15 until December 31, bishops and branch presidents are asked to meet with members of the Church in a tithing settlement.
All members should attend tithing settlement to make sure their contribution records are correct and to declare to the bishop their status as tithe payers. If possible, all members of a family should attend tithing settlement.
In addition to reviewing records of members’ tithing, fast offerings, and other donations, during tithing settlement the bishop can discuss the principle of tithing with them, encourage them to give a generous fast offering, and discuss other relevant matters. At the time of tithing settlement, a clerk or a member of the bishopric could also review the Individual Ordinance Summary with members. (Handbook 1, 188.8.131.52)
Below are some tips gathered from bishops and clerks on how to hold effective tithing settlement meetings:
Tithing Settlement Tear-off Sheet. The line-up at the bishop’s office can get out of hand as members try to juggle their calendar in order to write down the appointment. An article in Latter-day Saint Life Hacker offers a downloadable tear-off sheet that allows members to quickly write down their name (for the bishop’s record) and tear of the slip (for the member’s record). Simple and neat.
Before the Appointment. In preparation for the appointment, ask members to review their donation history online at ChurchofJesusChrist.org/donations. On that site, they can see all their donations, regardless of whether they paid them online, directly to the ward, or to a previous ward. For those who don’t have online access, ask them to contact the finance clerk before the appointment to print their donation history.
Update Records. When members arrive for their appointment, the clerk should take the opportunity to review their membership records with them to make sure that recent ordinances have been recorded and that phone numbers and email addresses are up to date.
Take Photos. If the member doesn’t have a photo attached to his or her membership record, the clerk takes a photo and uploads it to the online directory. Having photos of all members really helps the leaders and other ward members to get to know everyone.
Church Account Set-up. If the member doesn’t have an account on ChurchofJesusChrist.org, the clerk helps him or her set it up. The clerk demonstrates how the member can update his or her own contact information if it changes.
Tithing Settlement in Two Days. One ward dedicates a full Saturday and Sunday and schedules all appointments during that time.
Stay on Task. Stay on task for the purpose of tithing settlement. At the end of the scheduled appointment time, the clerk knocks on the door. If the bishop or the member wants more time to discuss other concerns, the executive secretary or clerk makes a follow-up appointment.
Appointments. The executive secretary reviews the Action and Interview List and sets up appointments for any interviews needed in the near future. He could also review the list of temple recommends and set up appointments for any that are about to expire.