Mormonism and church finances/No paid ministry/General Authorities living stipend
Some General Authorities receive a modest living stipend
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.
Some positions in the Church, namely a call to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles or the First Quorum of the Seventy, are “for life” positions, meaning that the man chosen to fill the position serves until the end of his life. In such cases, if required, they are also given a modest living allowance. While many members of the Church are unaware of these allowances, that they exist and that they are comparatively modest was acknowledged in general conference by President Gordon B. Hinckley: “... the living allowances given the General Authorities, which are very modest in comparison with executive compensation in industry and the professions, come from this business income and not from the tithing of the people. Calls to other Quorums of the Seventy do not require the same full-time commitment, therefore those who serve these positions do not receive a living allowance.
A call to serve as a General Authority usually comes later in life, and none of these men has depended upon their Church service for their "career" or "income." Given the high caliber accomplishments of those called to full-time service, it is reasonable to expect that they could make a lot more money (with less trouble) in some other field of endeavor.
The fact that this stipend exists has not been hidden. As President Hinckley noted in General Conference:
- Merchandising interests are an outgrowth of the cooperative movement which existed among our people in pioneer times. The Church has maintained certain real estate holdings, particularly those contiguous to Temple Square, to help preserve the beauty and the integrity of the core of the city. All of these commercial properties are tax-paying entities.
- I repeat, the combined income from all of these business interests is relatively small and would not keep the work going for longer than a very brief period.
- I should like to add, parenthetically for your information, that the living allowances given the General Authorities, which are very modest in comparison with executive compensation in industry and the professions, come from this business income and not from the tithing of the people.
Many Church General Authorities come from respected professions from which they make a substantial living. Dedicating themselves full time at the sacrifice of substantial careers, these leaders live modestly, work tirelessly, keep grueling travel schedules, and continue doing so well past an age when others retire. They are also demonstrably men of education and accomplishment; one can hardly claim that they were unsuited for work in the world given their accomplishments prior to being called to full-time Church service. No tithing funds provide for stipends; such funds are drawn from business income earned by Church investments.
A Scriptural Basis
Although some General Authorities receive a living stipend, DC 42:71-73 does account for the potential support of individuals called to full time service in the Church. Latter-day Saints care for their members through a resource known as the Bishop's Storehouse. This storehouse is filled through the contributions of members and includes temporal resources to assist individuals who have unmet temporal needs. It is administered through the office of the Presiding Bishopric of the Church and through the local administration of ward Bishop's. While the Church does not currently use the Bishop's Storehouse to provide for the temporal needs of General Authorities, as mentioned above, it does indicate a scriptural basis for them to receive support when warranted and according to their needs.