Do Mormon General Authorities devoutly work for free; or pay tithing; or otherwise put in a honest day of divine labor for their ultimate pay-off in Mormon heaven.
Or are they, in the here-and-now, sucking off the gullibly-faithful in-the-pews Mormon membership for their unsaintly sustenance?
RfM poster, 'heretic," asks:
"Does anyone know if any of the GAs (i.e. the 15, Seventies) pay tithing?Someone, who is struggling with their continued membership in Mormonism, asked me this."
("Does Anyone Know If Any Of The GAs (i.e. the 15, Seventies) Pay Tithing?," posted by "heretic," on "Recovery from Mormonism" discussion board, 2 January 2014, at: http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,1126541,1126541#msg-1126541
For an answer, let's first go to the article, "General Authority (GA) Salary, Stipends, Living Wages, Stock, Loan Payments, That Have Solid Sources":
“[Quote from Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie]:
“'The calling [to be a Mission President] is not a regular remunerative position, . . .The family involved gives of its time and energies with out salary, though there is a modest allowance for living expenses."
(Bruce R. McConkie, 'Mormon Doctrine,' p. 914)
“[Quote from McConkie]:
"Because the Church has no professional clergy, it is administered at every level through LAY PARTICIPATION AND LEADERSHIP, and officials other than the General Authorities contribute their time and talents without remuneration. . . . Because the General Authorities are obliged to leave their regular employment for full-time Church service, they receive a modest living allowance provided from income on Church investments."
(McConkie, '(Mormon Doctrine,' p. 510, emphasis added)
“This is backed up by scripture:
“'And if ye desire the glories of the kingdom, appoint ye my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and uphold him before me by the prayer of faith.
“'And again, I say unto you, that if ye desire the mysteries of the kingdom, provide for him food and raiment, and whatsoever thing he needeth to accomplish the work wherewith I have commanded him.
('Doctrine & Covenants,” 43:12-13)
“And also that bishops should receive a living wage:
“'And the elders or high priests who are appointed to assist the bishop as counselors in all things, are to have their families supported out of the property which is consecrated to the bishop, for the good of the poor, and for other purposes, as before mentioned;
“'Or they are to receive a just remuneration for all their services, either a stewardship or otherwise, as may be thought best or decided by the counselors and bishop.
“'And the bishop, also, shall receive his support, or a just remuneration for all his services in the church. “
(“Doctrine & Covenants,” 42:71-73)
“Now, Thomas S. Monson has a small house still, to be sure, but:
“In the 'Salt Lake Tribune,' Dec. 8, 1988, we read:
“'The $1.2 million condominium at 40 N. State that is home to the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be exempt from property taxes, Salt Lake County commissioners ruled Tuesday.'
“This is also backed up by scripture:
“'And it shall be for a house for boarding, a house that strangers may come from afar to lodge therein; therefore let it be a good house, worthy of all acceptations. . . .
“'And now I say unto you, as pertaining to my boarding house which I have commanded you to build for the boarding of strangers, let it be built unto my name, and let my name be named upon it, and let my servant Joseph and his house have place therein, from generation to generation.'
(“Doctrine & Covenants," 124:23, 56)
“[Quote from Mormon church leader Gordon B. Hinckley}:
"'What of the Mormon clergy? . . .There is no paid or professional ministry. 39 general officers and the presidents of missions are given living allowances."
(Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, “What of the Mormons?,” p. 4)
"'For several decades only the Patriarch had a set compensation, while other General Authorities depended on haphazard donations from the rank-and-file or ad hoc appropriations from general Church funds. In 1835 the Presiding Patriarch was authorized a salary of $10 ($200+ in today’s currency) a week, plus expenses.
"'Both the Presiding Patriarch and local stake patriarchs charged a fee. In the 1840s the fee was $1 per patriarchal blessing at Nauvoo; by the end of the nineteenth century it had increased to $2 per blessing. Joseph Smith, Sr., gave patriarchal blessings without payment of a fee, but would not record them. 'Uncle' John Smith commented that he "lived very poor ever since we left Kirtland Ohio" in January 1838 until January 1844. Then his nephew Joseph Smith ordained him a patriarch "through which office I obtained a comfortable living."
"'In addition, patriarchs received fees for giving unrecorded blessings of healing to the sick. In fact, Apostle Francis M. Lyman commended Patriarch Elias Blackburn for "doing a great deal of good among the sick, without receiving very much pay for his services."
"'Patriarchal blessing fees ended in 1902, although patriarchs were allowed to accept unsolicited donations. Not until 1943 did church authorities prohibit patriarchs from accepting gratuities for giving blessings.'
“So how much is a living allowance? . . .
“[Figures from] Canada, where finances for non-profits have to be reported:
“Compensation: In 2009, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Canada had 248 part-time workers who earned a total of $1,807,140 for the collective. They also had 184 full-time workers who split a total of $15,237,479, of those full-time workers, two of them made between $80,000-$119,999; six of them made between $120,000-$159,999; and two others made between $160,000-$199,999.
(“Registered Charity Information Return,” T30303 form, 2009, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Canada, at: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/ebci/haip/srch/t3010form21-eng.action?b=119223758RR0001&e=2009-12-31&n=THE+CHURCH+OF+JESUS+CHRIST+OF+LATTER-DAY+SAINTS+IN+CANADA&r=http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca:80/ebci/haip/srch/advancedsearchresult-eng.action?n=The+Church+of+Jesus+Christ+of+Latter-day+Saints+in+Canada&b=119223758&q=&s=registered&d=&e=+&c=&v=+&o=&z=&g=+&t=+&
“The two who made between $160k to $199k were probably the regional authority Seventies in the area, although it is POSSIBLE that those are high tech jobs.
“Now the rumor that some GA’s give back the living stipend started with Joseph F. Smith when Bishops no longer received wages. Back in the 1920’s and before the Bishops were paid a tenth of the total tithe, and Stake presidents 1/5 of the remaining tithe. But the church cut that payment and as part of the cost-cutting measure, Joseph F. Smith said he would forgo his living allowance. He had over $1.25 million. (sourced from Church Archives minutes of First Presidency meetings) . . .
“In 1884 Church president John Taylor limited bishops to 8% of tithing they collected (now primarily cash), while stake presidents got 2% of tithing collected by all the bishops of the stake. In 1888 Wilford Woodruff established set salaries for stake presidents and provided that a stake committee would apportion 10% of collected tithing between the bishops and the stake tithing clerk. At April 1896 General Conference, the First Presidency announced the end of salaries for local officers, in response to the decision of the temple meeting 'to not pay Salaries to any one but the Twelve.'"
(D. Michael Quinn, “Extensions of Power;” [for more on Mormon Church use of member tithing to pay General Authority living expenses, see the following also excerpted from Quinn, “Extension of Power,” Chapter 6, as found at]: "LDS Church History--A Topical Tour through LDS history. Current topic: The Life of George Albert Smith,” at: http://lds-church-history.blogspot.com/2010/12/lds-history-summary.html
“In addition to this living stipend the church has 14 (15 if you include the $3 billion City Creek Mall) for-profit organizations:
(“Finances of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finances_of_The_
“City Creek Mall:
(“City Creek Center,” at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_Creek_Center
“The Prophet is automatically chairman of the board of all 14 corporations, with various apostles sitting on the boards of various corporations (Russel M. Nelson is only over one, all the others are over two or more). They are paid as boards of directors both an amount in money as well as in stock.
"In addition to that, all of the Quorum of the Twelve’s children get free educations at BYU:
(“Mormons Talk: Friends Working Toward Understanding,” at: http://mormonstalk.wordpress.com/2007/12/01/byu-has-no-entrance-requirements-for-gas-kids/
“More information here:
("Finances of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finances_of_The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints
“More information here:
“In addition to all of this, the [Mormon] Church has paid General Authorities' personal loans:
"'. . . [O]n occasion Church presidents have personally benefited from Church finances by simply canceling their indebtedness to Church funds. On 23 April 1834 a revelation ended the Kirtland United Order and distributed its real estate assets among Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, Martin Harris, Newel K. Whitney and John Johnson. The revelation said, "It is my will that you shall pay all your debts" (D&C 104:78). However, Joseph Smith privately required Whitney to balance "in full without any value received." The $1,151.31 Whitney had loaned to the prophet, as well as $2,484.22 of the other men's debts to Whitney. Bishop Whitney had to personally absorb this loss 'because Joseph said it must be done.
"'The next two Church presidents did likewise. Three weeks before he died in August 1877, Brigham Young obtained a cancellation of his debts in Ogden, Utah, extending back to 1849. Despite the previously stated objections of his own counselor, John Taylor also persuaded the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1880 to allow him a $10,000 claim for sugar machinery, which claim Brigham Young had refused since 1853." By contrast, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, and Joseph F. Smith did not use their office as Church president to cancel their personal indebtedness, yet they allowed tithing funds to serve as a loan pool for prominent Mormons. In a sharply-worded report in 1911, the Church auditors noted: "If certain members of the Church are entitled to borrow money for private ends, is this not a right of all members, for the same purpose? If this policy is admitted, would it not result in confusion, jealousy, loss and consequent wrong?" The committee observed that "the debtors frequently look upon their obligations as being due to a rich and indulgent relative, to be paid (if at all) at their own convenience." Among the debtors was Apostle Heber J. Grant for a "cash loan of $34,000." In 1913 the committee renewed the subject of Church loans to individuals, and commented that "it is not within the purview of the Trustee-in-Trust to make advances of this kind . . . And any loans made on plain notes are legally uncollectible."
"'It is important to recognize that General Authorities borrowed from the Church's general fund because their living allowances were insufficient to meet their needs. In 1910 Apostle Anthony W. Ivins recorded that the following members of the Twelve were in debt: Francis M. Lyman, George Albert Smith, Heber J. Grant, Rudger Clawson, Hyrum M. Smith, George F. Richards and David O. McKay. Grant was the most candid about his apostolic indebtedness: “A president of the stake begged and pleaded with me to quit paying tithing. He said I did not owe any tithing until I got out of debt. Would not that have been a fine record for a man who now stands as president of the Church, not to have paid tithing for 32 years?”'
(Quinn, "Extensions of Power," from Church Archives Notes [of] First Presidency)
--The above sourced here:
("General Authority (GA) Salary, Stipends, Living Wages, Stock, Loan Payments, That Have Solid Sources,” under “General Authority Pay,” 1 February 2012, on “Exmormon Related")
Below is information on GA pay assembled during my own reading and research:
--Misleading the Mormon Masses & the Mainstream Media: How LDS Inc.'s Leaders Have Historically Siphoned Money from Their Members to Support Their Own Lifestyles & Cover Their Debts
And that's not the whole of it.
Anyone who claims that leaders of the Mormon Church have not, as a matter of historical LDS practice, raided member wallets and dipped into Church funds in order to (among other things) cover their personal expenses or to receive a Church salary is either:
(a) deliberately not telling you the truth; or
(b) not up to speed on the truth.
(The following comes from D. Michael Quinn, "The Mormon Hierarchy--Extensions of Power," Chapter 6, "Church Finances" [Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, in association with Smith Research Associates, 1997], see pp. 198-225 and footnotes for Chapter 6, pp. 502-513); also, from Richard N. Ostling and Joan K. Ostling, "Mormon America: The Power and the Promise," Chapter 7, "Mormon, Inc." [San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 1999], pp. 119, 127)
--Mormonism's Badly-Kept Secret of a Paid Clergy: LDS Scriptural Excuses for Putting Joseph Smith and Subsequent General Authorities on the People-Provided Payroll--
"Before the Church even had a tithing requirement, it had a paid ministry. In November 1831 a revelation declared: 'He who is appointed to administer spiritual things, the same is worthy of his hire . . .' (D&C 70:12). This was the doctrinal basis for giving financial support to Joseph Smith, and later to a hierarchy of General Authorities."
("Paid Ministry and Voluntary Service," p. 204)
--But Wait There's More!: Mormon Church Justification for Pay-Outs to the First Presidency, the General Authorities and Other High-Ranking Officers
"In May 1835 an official Church council voted that the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and First Council of Seventy 'have particularly to depend upon their ministry for their support, and that of their families; and they have a right, by virtue of their offices, to call upon the churches to assist them.' When Bishop Edward Partridge gave the first definition of tithing in December 1837, part of the tithing was for 'remunerating the officers of the Church for the time which they were necessarily employed in doing the business of the same.' Six months later the stake high council voted 'to instruct the Bishop to pay the First Presidency, J. Smith, & Sidney Rigdon, whatever sum they agree with them for.' However, there was 'such an uproar' over this decision that the First Presidency dropped its request for a fixed annual salary."
(ibid., p. 205)
--The Laying On of the Wallet: Mormon Church Patriarchs Get Cash and Donations for Giving Blessings
"For several decades only the Patriarch had a set compensation, while other General Authorities depended on haphazard donations from the rank-and-file or ad hoc appropriations from general Church funds. In 1835 the Presiding Patriarch was authorized a salary of $10 a week, plus expenses.
"Both the Presiding Patriarch and local stake patriarchs charged a fee. In the 1840s the fee was $1 per patriarchal blessing at Nauvoo; by the end of the nineteenth century it had increased to $2 per blessing. Joseph Smith, Sr., gave patriarchal blessings without payment of a fee, but would not record them. 'Uncle' John Smith commented that he 'lived very poor ever since we left Kirtland Ohio' in January 1838 until January 1844. Then his nephew Joseph Smith ordained him a patriarch 'through which office I obtained a comfortable living.'
"Financial incentive is another explanation for the fact that individual Mormons received more than one patriarchal blessing in the 19th century, often at the invitation of the patriarch. In October 1877 John Taylor criticized the monetary motivation of some stake patriarchs. He said they were using their patriarchal office as 'a mere means of obtaining a livelihood, and to obtain more business they had been traveling from door to door and underbidding each other in the price of blessings.'
"In addition, patriarchs received fees for giving unrecorded blessings of healing to the sick. In fact, Apostle Francis M. Lyman commended Patriarch Elias Blackburn for 'doing a great deal of good among the sick, without receiving very much pay for his services.'
"Patriarchal blessing fees ended in 1902, although patriarchs were allowed to accept unsolicited donations. Not until 1943 did church authorities prohibit patriarchs from accepting gratuities for giving blessings."
--Also Eating from the Tithing Table: Local Mormon Church Leaders
"In the 19th-century American West, local officers of the LDS church obtained their support from the tithing they collected. As early as 1859 Brigham Young wondered 'whether a Stake would not be better governed when none of the officers were paid for their services.' During Young's presidency, ward bishops drew at will from the primarily non-cash tithing Mormons donated. He complained at October 1860 General Conference 'against a principle in many of the Bishops to use up all the Tithing they could for their own families.'"
(ibid., p. 206)
--Tracing the Tithing-Takers to the Tracters: Funding Full-Time Mormon Missionaries--
"Even full-time missionaries benefited from tithing funds in the 19th century. The senior president of the First Council of Seventy commented in 1879 that the families of married missionaries should be supported from tithing funds. However, at best that practice barely kept struggling wives and children out of abject poverty while their husbands and fathers served two-year missions."
--Bellying Up to the Tithing Trough: The Quorum of the Twelve Gets Its Turn, While the Local Leaders Feed Bag Gets Turned Off
"In 1884 Church president John Taylor limited bishops to 8% of tithing they collected (now primarily cash), while stake presidents got 2% of tithing collected by all the bishops of the stake. In 1888 Wilford Woodruff established set salaries for stake presidents and provided that a stake committee would apportion 10% of collected tithing between the bishops and the stake tithing clerk. At April 1896 General Conference, the First Presidency announced the end of salaries for local officers, in response to the decision of the temple meeting 'to not pay Salaries to any one but the Twelve.'"
--Tithing-Funded Salaries of Stake Presidents: Put on Hold (Temporarily)
"Nevertheless, ending salaries to stake presidents in 1896 was temporary. For a while stake presidents and their counselors were allowed to draw 'from the tithing fund . . . no more than the limit which had been previously specified, and not to entertain the idea that a stipulated compensation attached like a salary to certain offices in the Church.' By April 1897 the First Presidency spoke about 'the subject of compensation to presiding men' in a meeting with stake presidents and other local officers. The First Presidency urged 'the brethren to give their services so far as possible to the church without remuneration.' In 1898 'the regular 10% of tithing [was] allowed Bishops and clerks for handling the same,' but the First Presidency balked at allowing even more to cover expenses for supplies.
"By 1904 set salaries were back again for stake presidents, who were allowed $300 per year. As late as 1910, local officers continued to receive 10% of locally-collected tithing 'for handling tithes.' Recently a Mormon said that his father received a cash allowance as bishop in the 1920s, which was a later period of such compensation than my own research has verified."
--Raking It in for Retirement: Church Allowances Given to Stake Presidents and Bishops
"In addition, since the 1880s stake presidents and bishops of long tenure had received retirement allowances in monthly or annual payments. In 1901 even the parsimonious Church president Lorenzo Snow said that a financially-struggling
stake president 'ought to receive his remuneration after he was released as well as before.' Retirement allowances for stake presidents continued into the early 1900s."
(ibid., p. 207)
--Regular Payouts for General Authorities: Complaining Rank-and-File Church Members Told to Quit "Whining"
". . . [F]inancial compensation for Church officers began with the General Authorities in the 1830s but did not become systematic until 1877. During these decades there was evidence of rank-and-file dissatisfaction with the Mormon hierarchy's financial privileges. In 1847 Brigham Young told a public meeting: 'Be contented with your lot and station and stop whining and babbling about the Twelve, saying that Brigham oppresses the poor and lives off their earning and that you can't see why you can't have some of his good living, and so on. Did Brigham Young ever get anything from you, did you ever help him to any of his fine living, you poor curses, or was it through Brigham's influence that thousands of the poor have been fed?' After Young and the Apostles spent the next 12 years directing the expanding settlements of the Great Basin, 'Erastus Snow spoke Concerning the feelings of many of the people against seeing the Twelve prosper in temporal things.'"
--Mormon Church Leaders Eventual Cave to Protests and Lower Their Demands for Member Money: (They Resume Taking More Soon Enough)
"Following discussion of this criticism in February 1859, the First Presidency and Apostles restrained their financial activities. For the next five years Salt Lake County's annual assessments showed a steep decline in the wealth of Brigham Young, his Counselors, and the Apostles. By contrast the assessed wealth of the Presiding Bishop and his counselors initially increased and then only gradually tapered off during the same period. The rank-and-file expected the Presiding Bishopric to have extensive financial activity. In fact, the pendulum had swung so far that in December 1865 Apostle John Taylor '[p]rophesied that the Twelve should be delivered from the bondage of poverty under which they have been weltering for years.'"
--Making Out Like Bandits: Brigham and His Inner-Circle Buddies Hit the Jackpot
"Although the rate of this financial decline had been equivalent for the First Presidency and Apostles, the burden was far less on Brigham Young and his Counselors who had massive personal wealth compared to the Apostles. In 1859 Young's own property assessments were only slightly below those of the entire Church for Salt Lake County. Young's totaled $100,000, while the Trustee-in-Trust's was $102,250. In
First Counselor Heber C. Kimball 'observed that Mormonism had made him all that he was: he was worth $20,000 now; and if he had remained in the States he would have been a poor man to this day.' Brigham Young estimated his personal wealth at about $600,000 in a legal deposition of 1875. That was three years after he paid $100,000 in 'the tithing of his own personal means.' By contrast, during Young's presidency the Twelve's average assessed wealth reached a high of $6,672 in 1874, and several apostles individually had only $500 to $2,000 in assessed wealth annually from 1860 to Young's death in August 1877."
(ibid., pp. 207-08)
--Ringing the Dinner Bell: General Conference Announcement of General Authority Compensation (Overdrafts Follow)
"At the October 1877 General Conference, the hierarchy announced a policy of 'reasonable recompense for their services' to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and to the First Presidency, when organized. In John Taylor's view, this was actually a way of stopping the previous abuses in the personal use of tithing funds. 'Some of my brethren, as I have learned since the death of President Brigham Young, did have feelings concerning his course,' Apostle George Q. Cannon wrote. 'It is felt that the funds of the Church have been used with a freedom not warranted by the authority which he held.' Of General Authorities still living, Joseph F. Smith wrote in December 1877: 'One man, for instance, who has drawn $16,000 per year from the tithing office for his support, has been cut down to 2,000 per year. Thus some of the leaks are plugged up and we hope to be able by and by to build the temple.' Smith was apparently referring to Brigham's son John W. Young, who served as his father's Counselor for 13 years (first secretly and later with public acknowledgment).
"However, Taylor's 'reasonable recompense' of 1877 did not cover the needs of the Apostles. At an Apostles' meeting on 3 May 1880, '[t]he question of over-running salaries was brought up. Several of the brethren had overdrawn their allowance . . . ' They voted to forgive the overdrafts and to increase their annual allowance. In addition, the Apostles decided to give an allowance to the Presiding Patriarch in addition to his per-blessing fee."
(ibid., p. 208)
--Setting Up a Salaried System of Siphoning: Members, and Even Apostles, Complain That It's Getting Out of Hand
"In September 1887 this became fixed allotments, which one Apostle opposed Twelve draw a salary.'In April 1888 the First Council of Seventy also began receiving financial allowances, to which one council member replied: 'I would prefer to receive no salary.' A 'permanent' allowance to members of the First Council of Seventy was not established for another decade."
--Pangs of Conscience?: Mormon Church Presidents Start Feeling Guilty About the Gluttony
"Nevertheless, LDS presidents themselves expressed discomfort about using their allowances. When the First Presidency and Twelve discussed the salary system again in 1896, President Wilford Woodruff said that he had not drawn money from the church until after 1877. Apostle Lorenzo Snow, Woodruff's presidential successor, said that despite the allowance system, he had not drawn from Church funds for 40 years. This resistance to making personal use of Church funds reached its climax in President Heber J. Grant, who rode public street cars rather than use tithing funds to have an automobile and chauffeur for the First Presidency."
(ibid., pp. 208-09)
--Mormon General Authorities Put Aside Their Guilt: Member Money Is Kept Flowing Their Way
"Despite discomfort over receiving tithing funds for living allowances, a salary system for LDS General Authorities continued without significant interruption from 1882 on. As indicated by Joseph F. Smith's 1877 letter and by Wilford Woodruff's diary, the Apostles received $2,000 to $2,500 annually during the first five years of the salary system. Then significant financial stratification occurred, with the senior apostle receiving $5,000 annually, Apostles of middle seniority $3,000, and junior Apostles $2,000. In September 1887 the Apostles adopted a uniform compensation, with each receiving $3,000. Although there was not yet a fixed allowance for the First Council of Seventy, in 1888 the Presiding Patriarch's 'annuity' increased from $1,000 to $1,250."
(ibid., p. 209)
--Power and Seniority Rankings: Setting of Salary Levels for Mormon Top Leadership
"By the turn of the 20th century, the hierarchy's allowances were stratified by ecclesiastical position and seniority. In 1890 the monthly allowances of the Quorum of the Twelve and Presiding Bishop were identical, with the counselors in the First Presidency receiving $50 more a month and the church president receiving another $100 monthly. By 1907 the monthly allowances were stratified into a six-tiered system: (1) the lowest allowance for junior members of the Seventy, (2) the next higher allowance to mid-level members of the Seventy and the Presiding Patriarch, followed by (3) the eight junior members of the Twelve, (4) the Presiding Bishopric, two senior members of the Seventy, and four senior members of the Twelve, (5) the counselors in the Presidency, and (6) the president of the church. In those 1907 allowances, $100 monthly separated the top two tiers, and only $50 monthly separated each of the lower tiers. By 1932 there were only four strata in the monthly allowance system: (1) the lowest allowance was for counselors to the Presiding Bishop and for the entire Seventy, (2) an extra $50 monthly allotment for the Presiding Bishop, the Presiding Patriarch, and all members of the Twelve, (3) an additional increase of $100 monthly for counselors in the First Presidency, (4) and a $150 monthly bonus for the Church president. David O. McKay's presidency (1951-70) adopted uniform allowances for all general authorities, regardless of quorum or seniority."
--More Riches for the Rulers: Fees Charged for Divorces, Cancellations of Sealing and Setting Apart of Missionaries
"There were also miscellaneous fees which the General Authorities collected for ecclesiastical services. Brigham Young charged men 'ten dollars for each divorce' or cancellation of sealing, which policy continued until the end of the century. In addition, until 1899 the General Authorities charged a fee for setting apart all departing missionaries."
--Wanting More, More, More: Mormonism's Highest Keep Insisting on Competitive Compensation
"Periodically the Mormon hierarchy has made a significant increase in monthly allowances to General Authorities. In 1950, for example, there was a 30% increase. Nevertheless, in view of the financial empire administered by the LDS General Authorities, their compensation from Church funds has always been paltry compared to the salaries and perks of corporate America. In 1949 First Presidency Counselor J. Reuben Clark wrote that 'the General Authorities of the Church get precious little from the tithing of the Church. They are not paid as much as a first-class, stenographic secretary of some of the men who run industry.' That disparity was probably the reason for the next year's increase
in allowances to the General Authorities.
"For example, as a newly-appointed Assistant to the Twelve in 1941, Marion G. Romney found that his Church 'allowance amounted to less than half of what he was earning from his law practice when he was called as a General Authority.' Appointed an Apostle that same year, Harold B. Lee found that his financial allowance was less than the salary of some staff members at LDS headquarters. As was true in the 19th-century hierarchy, a significant drop in income and personal wealth occurred when a man accepted the calling of LDS General Authority."
(ibid., pp. 209-10
--Big General Authority Bonuses: The Book Business
"Although not a formal salary, General Authorities can also receive significant income from the books they publish. When he published 'The Way To Perfection' in 1931, Joseph Fielding Smith specified that all its future royalties would go to the LDS Genealogical Society. However, he was not as generous with the royalties from his dozens of other books. For example, when President Smith died in July 1972, his royalties from Deseret Book Company totaled $9,636 for the previous six-month period. Presiding Bishop (and later Apostle) LeGrand Richards set a remarkable example by accepting no royalties for his 'Marvelous Work and a Wonder' which had sold 2 million copies by the time of his death in 1983. However, a president of the LDS church's publishing company has observed that very few General Authorities have declined royalties for their books. Mormons purchase books written by General Authorities primarily because of the church office the author holds, rather than for the book's content. Although many General Authorities do not write books, such royalty income is a direct consequence of being an LDS leader."
(ibid., p. 210)
A RfM poster recently posed the question, “[Is] Thomas S. Monson . . . an employee (i.e. salary)?,” then adds the following details about Monson's book deal earnings:
“Below is the info from the Library of Congress from one of Thomas S. Monson's book.
“As an author myself, I am aware that a 'work for hire' does not require an employer-employee relationship, but an 'employer for hire' on a copyright application often (not always) does.
“It's interesting to note that he doesn't hold the copyright, but TSCC [The So-Called Church] does through its IP arm. Typical book deals have the author holding the copyright, and they license it to the publishing house or whatever for a period of time.
“There are other books that Monson has written where he holds the copyright and Deseret Book published it, so he, like other GAs, probably still draws royalties from said books. But for this project below, it appears he was acting as an employee.
?Nothing earth-shattering here, but it was intriguing to me as I know this process from registering my own works with LOC.
“'Type of Work: Text
Registration Number / Date: TX0005330861 / 2001-05-29
Title: Three gates to open / by Thomas S. Monson.
Description: 1 v.
Series: CES fireside for young adults
Copyright Claimant: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Date of Creation: 2001
Date of Publication: 2001-01-14
Authorship on Application: Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, employer for hire.'”
(“Thomas S. Monson Is an Employee (i.e. Salary)?,” by poster “Oh Tommy Boy...,” on “Recovery from Mormonism” discussion board, 10 January 2013, at: http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,757272,757272#msg-757272
--Hiding the Financial Facts: Gordon B. Hinckley Fudges on the Extent of General Authority Living Allowances
"Speaking of LDS Church-owned businesses and stock-portfolio in 1985, First Presidency Counselor Gordon B. Hinckley said 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. However, tithing was the source of these 'living allowances' from the 1830s until the Church's corporate success in recent years.
"Moreover, President Hinckley's description of the hierarchy's income as 'very modest' depends upon one's own concept of wealth. For example, when Joseph Fielding Smith died at age 95 in 1972, he had worked nearly all his adult life at LDS headquarters, first as a paid employee in the Historian's Office and then as a General Authority with a Church living allowance. At his death, President Smith had $245,000 in bank deposits, $120,000 in cash, $120,574 in stocks/bonds, and $10,688 in uncashed checks (including Deseret Book royalties of $9,636). Even 25 years after his death, few rank-and-file Mormons have such 'modest' amounts of cash and liquid assets available to them in old age."
(Quinn, pp. 210-11)
--Wiping Out Personal Debt with Mormon Church Money: Another LDS Presidential Perk
"The LDS ministry is still a volunteer, lay ministry. In the 20th century, Church offices have become unpaid to a degree they never were in the 19th century. Of more than 160,000 ecclesiastical leaders at the beginning of 1996, fewer than 500 were authorized a living allowance from church funds. Many of these LDS officials decline to use their authorized allowances.
"However, on occasion Church presidents have personally benefited from Church finances by simply canceling their indebtedness to Church funds. On 23 April 1834 a revelation ended the Kirtland United Order and distributed its real estate assets among Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, Martin Harris, Newel K. Whitney and John Johnson. The revelation said, 'it is my will that you shall pay all your debts' (D&C 104:78). However, Joseph Smith privately required Whitney to balance 'in full without any value recd.' the $1,151.31 Whitney had loaned to the prophet, as well as $2,484.22 of the other men's debts to Whitney. Bishop Whitney had to personally absorb this loss 'because Joseph said it must be done.'
"The next two Church presidents did likewise. Three weeks before he died in August 1877, Brigham Young obtained a cancellation of his debts in Ogden, Utah, extending back to 1849. Despite the previously stated objections of his own counselor, John Taylor also persuaded the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1880 to allow him a $10,000 claim for sugar machinery, which claim Brigham Young had refused since 1853."
(ibid., p. 211)
--Presents to the Prominent: Floating Church Loans to Big-Name Latter-day Saints
"By contrast, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow, and Joseph F. Smith did not use their office as Church president to cancel their personal indebtedness, yet they allowed tithing funds to serve as a loan pool for prominent Mormons. In a sharply-worded report in 1911, the Church auditors noted: 'If certain members of the Church are entitled to borrow money for private ends, is this not a right of all members, for the same purpose? If this policy is admitted, would it not result in confusion, jealousy, loss and consequent wrong?' The committee observed that 'the debtors frequently look upon their obligations as being due to a rich and indulgent relative, to be paid (if at all) at their own convenience.' Among the debtors was Apostle Heber J. Grant for a 'cash loan of $34,000.' In 1913 the committee renewed the subject of Church loans to individuals, and commented that 'it is not within the purview of the Trustee-in-Trust to make advances of this kind . . . And any loans made on plain notes are legally uncollectible.'
"It is important to recognize that General Authorities borrowed from the Church's general fund because their living allowances were insufficient to meet their needs. In 1910 Apostle Anthony W. Ivins recorded that the following members of the Twelve were in debt: Francis M. Lyman, George Albert Smith, Heber J. Grant, Rudger Clawson, Hyrum M. Smith, George F. Richards and David O. McKay. Grant was the most candid about his apostolic indebtedness: 'A president of the stake begged and pleaded with me to quit paying tithing. He said I did not owe any tithing until I got out of debt. Would not that have been a fine record for a man who now stands as president of the Church, not to have paid tithing for 32 years?'"
(ibid., pp. 211-12)
--Bankruptcy: A General Authority Way to Get Around Paying Off Personal Debts
"Many General Authorities repaid their debts after long years of effort, while others died in debt. On the other hand, some chose to declare legal bankruptcy. In 1842 Joseph Smith, his counselor Sidney Rigdon, Presiding Patriarch Hyrum Smith, and Presiding bishop-designate Vinson Knight sought relief from their indebtedness by filing for bankruptcy. Seventy's president J. Golden Kimball was the next current General Authority who filed for bankruptcy. In 1899 he had $11,126 in debts but only $2,031 in assets. By 1902 the First Presidency was unwilling for a member of the Presidency or Twelve to declare public bankruptcy, and Apostle Reed Smoot quietly persuaded the creditors of John W. Taylor to settle the Apostle's $140,000 debts at ten cents on the dollar."
(ibid., p. 212)
--Putting the Squeeze on Church Finances: General Authorities Accept Stock to Cover What They Owe
"On 27 December 1919 recently sustained Heber J. Grant obtained the approval of his Counselors to accept $30,000 worth of his stock (at par) in the Utah-Implement Vehicle Company to cancel loans he received as an Apostle from the Trustee-in-Trust. However, accepting stock to cancel personal loans caused enormous losses to the Church during Grant's administration. In 1930 First Counselor Anthony W. Ivins computed that the Church lost $900,000 in personal loans to Presiding Bishop Charles W. Nibley. Upon his appointment as Second Counselor in the First Presidency in 1925, Nibley had used stocks and bonds to repay his indebtedness to the Church."
--Mormon Church Volunteer Work: It Only Goes So Far
Richard N. Ostling and Joan K. Ostling, in their book. "Mormon America: The Power and the Promise, " write that "in the Mormon system there is that large amount of free administrative and mundane labor from lay volunteers at the lower levels, which remains a huge-costing saving factor."
Note that the Ostlings confine that observation to the unpaid Mormon worker bees at "the lower levels." No mention is made of the long and significant payment history of Church members at other levels--from bishops, stake presidents, patriarchs and missionaries up to the highest LDS leaders in the General Authority ranks.
The Ostlings do mention, however, that "Mormon Inc.'s" administration of member welfare services includes the operation of "[f]acilities [by] paid professionals as necessary . . . ."
(ibid., p. 127)
That "as-necessary" commodity in the supposedly "we-work-for-free" LDS Church. Now, what were you saying about that non-paid, non-professional Mormon thing?
On a personal note, I am sometimes not only asked how much Mormon General Authorities make or receive in terms of financial compensation from the LDS Church for their lifestyles, I am also asked about my grandfather Ezra Taft Benson's financial situation.
Of course, LDS Inc.'s bean-counters don't provide me updates relating broadly to the General Authority hierarchy or, specifically, to ETB's financial circumstances and support from the Mormon Church. However, this much I do know from observations over the years based on my personal and direct experience:
My grandparents Ezra Taft and Flora Amussen Benson lived in upper middle class comfort in quarters operated and furnished by the Mormon Church.
Before moving into Church-run living quarters, they lived in a well-furnished, spacious, two-story home in a well-to-do section of Salt Lake City known as Parley's Way.
After my grandfather became President of the Quorum of the Twelve, he and my grandmother relocated to the Bonneville Towers high-rise apartments near downtown Salt Lake City, near the Avenues.
Later, when he became President of the LDS Church, they were moved to the Eagle Gate apartments, in an upper-level floor, overlooking nearby Temple Square.
There they enjoyed round-the-clock, double-doored security service and 24/7 domestic help.
They also were favored with Church-provided first-class air travel and limo-comparable ground travel; as well as wardrobe, food and other living expenses covered for them by the Mormon Church.
They certainly were not hurting financially but (at least from my vantage point in spending time with them and visiting their living locations on many occasions), they did not seem to be living in a blatantly extravagant manner.
That said, I never personally knew, or was made aware of, the money-changing details of how their lifestyles were precisely financed via channels of Mormon Church money connections and benefits.
I will say, nonetheless, that I was informed that one of ETB's children brought some of ETB's old suits and other clothes into a used Mormon bookstore, inquiring as to what kind of price they might fetch in the Mormon collectibles market.
I also was told by reliable sources that my grandfather lost tens of thousands of dollars in a get-rich-quick scheme, supposedly involving a special machine touted as being able to convert material into super-efficient energy. This poor investment, it was reported to me, resulted in ETB having to sell the Benson family cabin which he owned up in Salt Lake City's Mill Creek Canyon back in the 1960s.
I have also heard rumors--never confirmed--that ETB allegedly invested in the unproductive so-called "Dream Mine," located in Utah's Wasatch Front mountain range, visible from the I-15 freeway.
On another sidenote, I have also been asked if I received any kind of tithing inheritance from my grandfather. The answer is no.
For the record, my grandfather did pass on to me in death, or earlier gave to me, a small piece of the Berlin Wall, a decorative license plate from Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidential inaugural parade ceremonies, a small metal elephant paperweight that ETB used to keep on his government office desk when he was Ike's Secretary of Agriculture and a guest lapel ribbon from eventually-impeached Arizona Mormon governor Evan Mecham's own swearing-in ceremony, along with a copy of Mecham's inauguration program.
Oh, and over the years he also gave me some nice framed Japanese artwork and a Samarai warrior helmet that Japanese Mormons had initially gifted to him when he was touring through Asia.
Also when I was a youngster, he gave me a Boy Scout weather barometer featuring a plaque bearing his name that had been first given to him (which I really liked, since I once wanted to be a meteorologist).
He also gave me a small pocketknife when I was a kid, along with some cufflinks, some belt decorations from a National Boy Scout Jamboree and a necktie with a bunch of Angel Moronis sewn into it.
In addition, he gave me a tie clasp that said "Hold to the Rod," that had originally been given to him by Spencer W. Kimball, as well as a zippered suit traveling bag when I left on my mission to Japan.
In my early 20s, he also gave me approximately $4,000 to purchase my first car, a small, lime-green Datsun F-10.
He also gave me a ton of books over the years, largely from his personal library and relating to either the Mormon Church or far-right politics--most of which I have since gotten rid of.
Years ago, he also subscribed me to wacky John Birch magazines--all of which I have thrown away.
A lot of the remaining knick-knack stuff is in a cigar box in storage, the artwork is hanging up in my house and the rest of it is packed away somewhere, including in places I haven't re-discovered yet. Maybe I could use a peepstone to find it--and then get back to you.
As far as a tithing inheritance that ETB is said, along with the other GAs, to have stolen from the rest of the Mormon Church membership and then supposedly passed along to me, nope, never saw any of that.
Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2014 06:51PM by steve benson.