Mormon Leaders Worthy of Hire

The Mormon Church and its members seem to take pride in the fact that the Church has no paid clergy. This pride also extends to include the strong sense of volunteerism within the Church. Virtually every active adult Mormon receives a “church calling” – a responsibility like teaching children’s Primary, working in a temple, or genealogy work – which most members fulfill without any financial compensation. This selfless Mormon service is admirable, though it should be remembered that the same kind of selfless service is also found in non-Mormon churches and other charitable organizations all over the world. In the Mormon culture, this fact is often forgotten. Many Mormons take such pride in the idea of an unpaid clergy that they get a bit carried away and insist that nobody in the LDS Church gets paid. On Mormon.org the question is asked, “Why don’t Mormons have a paid clergy?” Members answer (for example),

April: “Oh! I love this question. I love belonging to a church where everyone works for free. Everyone from the top clergy members down to the people who take out the trash do it for free.” Bradford: “We have ‘clergy’ in the sense that we have leaders on local and worldwide levels, but all leaders serve on a voluntary basis. This helps to ensure that our leaders’ motives are pure, and that they are serving out of love rather than greed.” Neils: “All positions of leadership in the church is done voluntarily.” Christian: “Every member of the Church volunteers their time and talents to make the Church go. Nobody gets paid because we’re all in it together!”

Mormon responder Brandon offered this explanation of why it’s important that Mormon leaders are not paid:

“As we read the scriptures, we see that Christ’s disciples gave up everything they had to follow Him. This is what’s called consecration, when you dedicate yourself to whatever calling the Lord gives to you. The Lord never paid His disciples. The only one who was given money was Judas Iscariot because he betrayed the Savior.”

Wow. Brandon must be unaware of the fact that LDS Apostles (unlike Christ’s apostles) do receive financial compensation from the Mormon Church. The Mormon apologetic group FAIR explains,

“Some members of the Church are unaware that at least some General Authorities do receive a modest living stipend. While it is true that some Church leaders receive a living allowance while they serve in a given position, it cannot be said that the Church has a professional ministry in the traditional sense.”

Gordon B. Hinckley (who became the 15th Mormon President) clarified in a 1982 pamphlet published by the LDS Church,

“What of the Mormon clergy? …There is no paid or professional ministry. A small number of general officers and the presidents of missions are given living allowances. Add to this the necessary specialists and clerks who give their full working time to the Church. These constitute all who may be classified as paid personnel.” (What of the Mormons, printed September 1982, 5)

Mormon apologist and author Eric Shuster, responding to bloggers who claim some Mormon leaders are paid well for their church service, wrotein part,

“There are about 450 international, full-time LDS Church leaders who are offered a ‘living allowance’ (more like a stipend) when they are called – of which many to [sic] do not accept the allowance as they are often financially secure. In many cases the allowance is hardly enough to live on and only a token payment for incidentals.”

The Mormon Church does not release its financial information in the United States because the law does not require it. But in some countries it does, so this sort of information for the Church operating in Great Britain, for example, is available to the public. According to the most recent reporting (for year end 2009), the LDS Church in Great Britain employed 456 people in the broad categories of “teaching function” (23), “office administration” (202), and “building cleaners” (231). Nineteen of these employees each earned over $97, 000 US (broken down further in the report as follows [using currency conversion data from August 10, 2011]: 12 employees earned between $97,000 and $113,000; 7 employees earned between $114,000 and $129,000). If I did my math right, the remaining 437 employees earned an average of approximately $30,000 each. I don’t know who the 19 highest paid Church employees are in this report, but Jon at Mormon Discussions claims they include Mission Presidents and Temple Presidents (also see a relevant discussion here). As an average Church member at Mormon.org, Andrew seems to have a better grasp of the Mormon unpaid clergy issue than others posting there, acknowledging some pay for some leaders. He wrote,

“The highest leaders in the LDS church do receive a ‘living allowance,’ Church-funded housing, subsidized/discounted meals at Church-owned cafeterias, and an automobile or car pool service, all of which has a monetary value. Many individuals who teach Mormon doctrine or history receive payment from the Church as professional teachers, such as religion professors at Church-owned schools and seminary instructors who teach in Utah. However, local church administrators, and seminary teachers outside of Utah, are not paid anything of monetary value for their countless hours of service to the Church.”

I do not begrudge the LDS Church the right to hire (or not hire) as many people as they want, or the right to pay (or not pay) their employees whatever they choose. But I find it curious that so many Mormons insist on the superiority of their church borne out in the erroneous belief that nobodyno Church leaders–are paid. Or, if a Mormon admits that there is some financial remuneration for certain callings, he insists it is only a small living allowance that “is hardly enough to live on and only a token payment for incidentals.” I know a lot of people (my pastor included) who would love to receive a token living allowance of $113,000.

For more information see Mormonism’s Paid Ministry at mrm.org.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.

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111 Responses to Mormon Leaders Worthy of Hire

  1. Mike R says:

    Kate, it interesting to know that the Southern Baptist denomination has offically
    apologized for their views on Negroes in the past. We’re still waiting for the one true
    Church to join them in this act. What makes this even more sad is that the one true
    mouthpiece of God on earth , Brigham Young, borrowed his racist views from groups
    like the Southern Baptists , yet claimed that his teachings / his spiritual witness was
    from the Holy Ghost . Thus this ” gospel” taught thru God’s “appointed channel ” , was
    far removed from what Jesus directed His apostles to take to all the world—Acts 10:34 ,
    and this is what followers of Jesus were to preach. Helen is trying to ignore the claims
    of Mormon leaders here . Perhaps she will ask her prophet to issue an apology on this
    issue. That would help.

  2. Kate says:

    Mike,
    I fear that we will be waiting a long time for the “one true church” to apologize. You see, they believe that God commanded them to be racist and then in his own time he changed his mind and decided to command them not to be racist. The Mormon god seems to be wishy washy and just can’t make up his mind on anything. Either that or he gets a kick out of keeping the Mormon people guessing! I know what it’s like to have to actually “think” for myself on Mormon teachings. It was really hard for me when I realized that the LDS prophet is just a man and no better than anyone else. Learning that LDS prophets did and taught unspeakable things was very disheartening. So I understand these Mormons who post here. Facing the fact that these men are no more inspired than anyone else is frightening. Especially if one has been a Mormon for many years. One thing that really upset me is that I felt that I had wasted 40 years of my life. It’s not easy denouncing Mormon prophets or Mormonism, but it is oh so worth it! Jesus is God incarnate and he is the ONLY one who can Save.

  3. Mike R says:

    Kate, those 40 years you spent as a Mormon will be used by God to minister to others
    whether still in Mormonism or those who are just out and need a helping and understanding
    hand. I don’t fit those two categories but you have sure blessed me with our input here.
    My wife and I will never cease praying for your family.

  4. grindael says:

    Helen you are completely mistaken. The Dedication was ongoing, and finished on the 21st. (I have his Journals, do you?) They ‘consecrated the stone on the 18th. On the 21st, Woodruff wrote:

    21 May To day is the dedication of the Manti Temple. I went to the Gordo at 4.30. I signed 53 Recommend. I received 45 Letters. I wrote 6 public Letters.

    It was over a period of days. The public dedication took place on the 21st. Here is a link to a Programme, made just for the occasion, with the date, notice it is AFTER the incident with the stone, which took place after the first dedicatory prayer on the 17th, and the ordination of the Temple President on the 18th. “Fact, not speculation”, from one who actually has copies (and has read them) of the actual documents in question.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/EXRare-1888-MANTI-TEMPLE-DEDICATION-MORMON-HYMNS-WOW-/120765310430

  5. Okay, so I know I’ve been quiet lately. And I’m a tad late in the game on this one. But here’s my 2 cents on this topic.
    For a Christian, tithing IS important. God promises to bless us above and beyond if we give. However, here’s the difference between Mormonism and Christianity…
    In the LDS church, it’s required for exaltation, admission into the temple, etc. It’s commanded. You’re considered unworthy if you don’t tithe. According to the Bible, however, God asks us to give so that he may bless us so much that we can hardly handle it all. It has nothing to do with money. It’s a heart issue. Tithing/giving is a way for a Christian to say to God, “I understand that everything I have is Yours. And I want to dedicate this to You, to thank you and honor You.” It teaches us to give, and to understand that it’s all His anyway. I’ve never heard anyone say that they went broke by giving to the Lord. But here’s the thing… He certainly will not punish if you don’t give. He’s not going to refuse your entrance into His kingdom because you were short $25. Everything on earth belongs to Him. He doesn’t need our money!. You won’t be demoted or miss out on extra brownie points if you miss a few weeks of tithing. Tithing was a way for God to bless those who give. It’s the only place in the Bible where God asks us to test Him. As for the paid clergy, every pastor I’ve ever had has always given way above 10%. And trust me, the majority of pastors are not in it for the money. That’s like saying I became a teacher for the money.

  6. Mike R says:

    MaM , Wow ! You’ve just shared more truth per square inch on this subject than all
    the Mormon prophets and apostles have in the last 180 years. Thanks for articulating
    this subject so well .

  7. Aww, thanks Mike. 😉
    If only people (Christians included) realized the true purpose and plan of tithing. It’s all there in the Bible. Just takes opening it. 🙂

  8. Helen has already posted six comments today, but has submitted another one in which Helen expresses concern over name-calling here at Mormon Coffee. Helen brings up 1 Peter 3:15. I ask everyone to please consider this directive found in God’s Word and season your speech accordingly. Thank you.

  9. Ok, now having gone back and read some of the comments… here’s a little more food for thought:

    On the topic of the cross: ironically, it was stated that the apostles and disciples would not have viewed the cross with high regards, since it was an instrument of toture and pain. Yet, we find these verses in the NT which are very forthright about their views on this topic.

    “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Cor 1:18
    “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ…” Phil 3:18
    “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Col 1:20

    The apostles and early followers were well aware what the cross was used for. They watched it. Yet they did not hesitate to emphasize the message of the cross. We do not worship the actual cross itself, no more than we worship the mountains when we stand in awe of their beauty. We worship Who was on that cross, defeated death, and is now alive forevermore.

  10. Ralph says:

    Just an interesting observation – I went past 3 Traditional Christian Churches this past couple of days. All 3 claimed to be Evangelical in nature on their billboards but ALL THREE did not have a cross anywhere on the outside of their churches in any way shape or form (ie sculpture or painted, etc). I have been inside one of them and there were still no crosses anywhere. So if you all say that the focus is on the cross, where is it?

  11. Again, we don’t worship crosses. We worship Christ and what he did for us ON the cross. If Moroni wasn’t on top of a temple and you visited it, would that make you less Mormon? I wouldn’t think so. Just means that particular temple doesn’t have Moroni. Same thing. Those particular churches just don’t happen to have a cross. Doesn’t mean they don’t believe in the message of the cross.

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