The First Presidency sent out the following letter Thursday, June 27, 2019 announcing an increase to the missionary living costs for those serving in eighteen nations.
The letter from the First Presidency reads:
To: General Authorities and General Officers; Area Seventies and Stake, Mission, and District Presidents, Bishops and Branch Presidents in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Monthly Payment Increase for Missionary Living Costs
Since 2003, the monthly amount that a missionary, family, ward or branch pays to help cover a missionary’s living costs has remained unchanged. This amount has been the equivalent of $400 USD.
After careful consideration, missionaries and those who provide financial support will be asked to pay a monthly contribution of $500 USD (or the local equivalent) beginning July 1, 2020. For missionaries from countries not listed above, the monthly amount will remain the same as determined by each area.
We love and are most grateful for the many young men and young women who answer the call to serve the Lord as full-time missionaries and express appreciation for those who support them. We know that many sacrifice greatly to help share our Heavenly Father’s love and the Savior’s restored gospel.
Russell M. Nelson
Dallin H. Oaks
Henry B. Eyring
Tad Walch of the Deseret News shared the following history of equalized payments for missionary costs:
In 1991, the church equalized payments for missionary costs to a flat monthly rate of $350 a month to address “a great and growing disparity in the cost of missions in various areas of the world.” Before that, some missionaries were spending as much as $900 a month while serving in expensive countries like Switzerland while others paid less than $50 a month in places such as Micronesia.
A dozen years later, the church raised the monthly cost of a mission to $400. Since that cost update in 2003, the consumer price index has risen 39 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ consumer price index. That means the purchasing power of $400 in 2003 is equal to about $556.72 today.
Under the equalized contribution system, the missionary and his or her family and friends and members of the congregation (called a ward or branch) contribute to the ward or branch missionary fund. Every month the $400 payment is deducted from the ward missionary fund of the missionary’s congregation.
Most missionaries rent apartments, and rent is one of the biggest drivers of inflation today, especially in larger markets.
We know that many sacrifice greatly to help share our Heavenly Father’s love and the Savior’s restored gospel.
Thanks to thechurchnews.com for making us aware of the letter.
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