How would the LDS church appear if tithing abruptly quit flowing in?
It probably wouldn't take long for temples to be boarded up & perhaps sold off. No member can enter, work in or pass through the temple if they stop paying tithing. Likewise, meetinghouses would suffer for lack of support to pay utilities, up-keep and ”learning materials”. BYU campuses would raise tuition, drop classes, close down some facilities and run on bare costs. Visitor centers, institutes, seminaries and genealogy libraries would probably lock their doors.
But the LDS City Creek Mall would still retail fine apparel, gold watches and fifth-gen IPhones. Condos looking over the mall would still collect fees. The church-owned cattle ranches and Polynesian theme park would still sell beef, punch tickets and host luau dinners. Insurance agents would collect premiums. Deseret would still line the shelves with new books. LDS radio & TV stations would keep broadcasting advertisements.
Without tithing, the church would most definitely go on in a form much like many other conglomerate corporations.
What about missionaries? Would they still seek out new tithe payers? What about LDS charities? Would they still disperse aid?
Perhaps, but we don't know since the church has little financial transparency on these endeavors.
Now compare this scenario with another thought experiment. What if UNICEF - one of the largest secular charities - abruptly stopped receiving government & private donations?
UNICEF receives about $3.5 billion a year in donations (about a third privately). It has financial transparency, listing its internal audits in complete, showing that it disperses just over 90% of its receipts back into charitable programs & services. The other ten percent pay to run and advertise its mission.
If UNICEF stopped receiving donations, it would likely disappear in a year. Just evaporate. Because it's a true charity and has no profit making agenda.
Not that it isn't without criticism, but it hands out well over $3 billion at present per year in aid and services. That's about twice what the LDS church has done in a quarter century, even though the church collects closer to twice what UNICEF does in a year.
Think about that. The church collects much much more in donations and takes about fifty years to disperse as much in charity as UNICEF does in a single year.
The LDS ”church” is a business. We really should be questioning its tax exemption.