MormonLeaks released four sets of documents purportedly related to the operations of the LDS Church on Monday, two related to the living allowances provided to General Authorities within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
On Monday night, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said the church will not confirm the authenticity of any “leaked” document.
“General Authorities leave their careers when they are called into full-time church service,” said Eric Hawkins, spokesman for the church. “When they do so, they focus all of their time on serving the church, and are given a living allowance. The living allowance is uniform for all General Authorities. None of the funds for this living allowance come from the tithing of church members, but instead from proceeds of the church’s financial investments.”
Two of the supposedly leaked documents seem to be payroll records. According to the Deseret News:
The records report that the church provided about $90,000 to President Eyring in 2000. A second document posted on Monday, a letter from the faith’s Presiding Bishopric to Elder Bruce D. Porter on Jan. 2, 2014, appears to be a memo stating that “the General Authority base living allowance has been increased from $116,400 to $120,000.
President Eyring’s biweekly allowance was shown to be $2,192.31 for living expenses, $826.92 for parsonage (housing for an ecclesiastical leader) and $76.92 for a child allowance.
Matthew Bowman, author of “The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith,” said the amount of money the leaks appear to show is provided to General Authorities is unsurprising.
“The most relevant comparison might be the income of other clergy, and from my understanding, those totals are not dissimilar to what Protestant clergy make,” said Bowman, a history professor at Henderson State University. “It doesn’t strike me as anything even newsworthy. The question of newsworthiness isn’t about the amount but whether they should be public at all.”
Read the entire article at the Deseret News.com
While the church hasn’t made any official comments, members around the world are chiming in on the issue.
Mhenshaw – Leesburg, VA
There’s a difference between a salary and a living allowance. Living allowances aren’t negotiated; they aren’t based on one’s job title, previous experience, or personal qualifications; there are no raises or performance bonuses, retention bonuses, stock options, no promised pensions, etc. But even if you consider them “paid, the amount they receive is small relative to work they’re asked to perform. Show me another organization in this country with 15 million+ members whose board of directors works 6 days out of 7 for less than $100,000/year. Given their professional qualifications, I’d say we’re getting a bargain.
I also note, BTW, that if the Church didn’t give the full-time General Authorities a living allowance, then the only people who could be full-time General Authorities would be people who are personally wealthy. Then Church critics would complain about *that*, saying the LDS Church is just led by a bunch of rich people. There’s no satisfying the critics.
PacificCreek – Puyallup, WA
President Monson was in his 30s when he was called as an apostle, President Hinkley was in his 40s. How many of us could accept a lifetime calling at age 30, 40 or even 55 and live out your life on savings? I would guess the answer is very close to none. The fact is that these General Authorities work their tails off…They make a huge sacrifice to do so in travel, time away from family and for many of them cutting their careers short. A living allowance is more than reasonable for these leaders.