The Church recently granted an interview to the Deseret News and Church News to provide further insight into the use of the Lord’s sacred funds. Learn more below.
In 1991, then Church President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “The tithes of the Church are sacred. They are appropriated in the manner set forth by the Lord Himself. We have become a very large and complex organization. We carry on many extensive and costly programs.”
He continued, “But I can assure you that we will not exceed our income. We will not place the Church in debt. We will tailor what we do to the resources that are available” (October General Conference, 2001).
As the Church has grown, the financial needs of the Church have accelerated. This has meant billions of dollars spent each year in support of facilities and activities, including the cost of building and operating places of worship, such as chapels and temples for congregations of more than 16 million members; sharing the message of Jesus Christ through its global missionary program; undertaking welfare and humanitarian efforts that bless God’s children around the globe; educating hundreds of thousands of students at various colleges and universities, seminaries and institutes; and providing world-class family history resources to anyone, without regard for their religious beliefs. The Church does all these things and much more.
The Church teaches its members to live within their means and set aside money for life’s unexpected obstacles. And the Church practices this principle. It sets aside a portion of the sacred funds received from its faithful members. No matter how strong or weak the global economy, the Church needs to carry on its divinely appointed mission, even in difficult times.
The faithfulness of the members of the Church who live God’s Law of Tithing and other financial donations reflect the selfless love and sacrifice Jesus Christ asks of all His followers. Thus, the Church considers every cent it receives from Latter-day Saints as sacred. Church leaders know that these funds are God’s, not their own. That’s why they handle tithes and donations with the care, prudence and wisdom such offerings require.
Deseret News Coverage
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doubled its humanitarian spending over the past five years and now annually provides nearly $1 billion in combined humanitarian and welfare aid, the church’s Presiding Bishopric said this week in a rare interview.
But the church’s work and missions cannot be reduced to its humanitarian spending and charity efforts, said Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé and his counselors, Bishop Dean M. Davies and Bishop W. Christopher Waddell. Those represent just one function of a sprawling global faith that funds 30,000 congregations, more than 200 temples and educational opportunities for hundreds of thousands of students while also providing food, clothing and shelter for hundreds of thousands of people a year.
“It’s no surprise we are talking about billions of dollars,” Bishop Caussé said. “Nobody should be surprised, given the number of members, millions of members, 16 million members in so many countries. This is a church that has become quite large, and so there’s a large budget, and we are grateful for that because that’s an opportunity to expand the reach of all the good that the church can do around the world.”
The bishopric gave a unique look at the breadth and depth of the financial dealings of the global faith in a sit-down interview with the Deseret News and Church News two weeks after the bishopric spoke to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) answering critics’ charges that the church is amassing wealth.
To the contrary, church leaders said it is fulfilling its mission to care for the poor, spread the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world, strengthen the spiritual foundation of its members and live the principles of self-reliance it teaches to all.
The church’s investment arm, Ensign Peak Advisors, reportedly has grown to $100 billion, a figure claimed by the brother of a former worker at Ensign Peak. The members of the bishopric said they were aware that those reports drew both praise from some about the way church leaders are managing what they and members consider sacred donations as well as criticism and questions about what the church is doing with such a large amount of money.
They did not confirm whether that amount was accurate, but they said they expect leaner economic times will come in the future and also acknowledged that the church’s needs and expenditures are accelerating as the faith grows around the world. They also rejected the notion they are hoarding money for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Instead, they said, they are making prudent, diverse investments to protect against economic downturns and prepare for the future.
What follows is a look at the faith’s holdings through the eyes of the men tasked with receiving and distributing donations to the church.
To read the full article by Tad Walch on the Deseret News, CLICK HERE
Church News Coverage
The financial prosperity of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a reflection of the faith of its members, said Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé during a rare interview Thursday about Church finances and reserves.
“If you look at the Church as a financial institution, you will never understand it,” he said. “You have to look at it as an organization of consecrated followers of Jesus Christ with a mission.”
Together with his counselors, Bishop Dean M. Davies and Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, Bishop Caussé sat down in a joint interview with the Church News and the Deseret News to discuss the “accelerating and expanding” work of the Church of Jesus Christ, the organization’s vast holdings and the tithes and offerings donated by members. They said the funds contributed by members “belong to the Lord,” and detailed how and where they are spent, as well as how the Church’s investment process is overseen. Care for funds is a sacred, serious role, Bishop Caussé said.
“It’s no surprise we are talking about billions of dollars,” said Bishop Caussé, speaking of the Church’s holdings and its 16 million members living in 190 countries. “Nobody should be surprised, given the number of members.”
The Church’s size and large budget also provide the “opportunity to expand the reach of all the good that the Church can do around the world,” he said.
“It is a Church. It is not a financial institution.”
The education of Latter-day Saints and the Church’s four divinely appointed responsibilities — helping members live the gospel of Jesus Christ, gathering Israel through missionary work, caring for the poor and needy, and enabling the salvation of the dead by building temples — account for the majority of Church expenditures and provides the spiritual backing for decision-making, said Bishop Caussé.
The Church has doubled its humanitarian donations over the past five years, spending almost $1 billion annually to care for the poor and the needy. The costs associated with running the Church are also increasing. The organization provides support for 30,000 congregations, educates 850,000 students in seminary and institute, and is engaged in aggressive temple construction — maintaining 167 temples with another 50 announced or under construction. And the cumulative expenditures of the Church’s universities is about $1.5 billion per year, said Bishop Caussé.
To read the full article by Sarah Jane Weaver on the Church News, CLICK HERE