The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints approved an online outlet for members who wish to pay their tithes and charitable donations electronically, according to the Mormon Newsroom.
This offers members in the United States with an alternate method to submit tithes and charitable donations, in addition to the traditional submission of a tithing slip to the ward bishop or other priesthood leader.
The Online Donation system will be available to wards across the US, through 2015.
Local church leaders will be notified when the electronic option is available in their area, according to Mormon Newsroom.
The Church is currently inviting wards to participate in a dry run of the online system as they pilot the program before it becomes available to wards throughout the U.S., according to the LDS Living website.
Michael Silva, first counselor of the Rexburg married 1st ward of the first stake, said the Beta testing is focusing on those who will begin to use the program immediately.
Silva said his ward is one of the few wards that has been selected for the trial of the program before it is available to members across the country.
“The Church selected mostly married wards because they’re a little older, but also because the Church knew that they would start using the program right away,” Silva said.
There are multiple features both members and non-members will have access to, including the ability to replicate previous donations, access donor statements and access information about how long each transfer will take, according to the LDS Living website.
Silva said although the Online Donation system has not been activated in the Rexburg married 1st ward yet, students are excited to start using it.
“Members of the ward keep asking when it’s going to be activated,” Silva said. “They know that the new system will be a relief to them, the ward clerks and members of the bishopric as well.”
The online version of tithe-pay and charitable donations submission will allow some freedom for local leaders and clerks who process the donations, according to Mormon Newsroom.
“I definitely think the new system will take some responsibility off the ward financial clerk,” Silva said. “He sometimes tays and hour or two after church removing tithing slips from envelopes and entering that information into the computer. Now we can better focus on the individual needs of the members.”
The site will not only simplify tithe paying, but the donation process as well, according to the Church’s Finance and Records Department.
Members will now have the option to transfer money to a missionary in financial need through the new online system.
Bishop Gerald Williams, of the Rexburg 18th ward, said this option will simplify things for all members in the U.S.
Brother Dale Sturm, a religion professor at BYU-Idaho, said although the website is a new concept, the tradition and religious culture behind tithe-pay and charitable donations will remain the same.
“There will still be people who will pay in a lump sum once a year, like farmers,”Brother Sturm said. “As long as we all still go to tithing settlement, I supposed you can pay tithing however you want.”