As we saw in our last episode, the LDS Church makes perhaps $40-50 billion per year between tithing and church businesses. Dr. Michael Quinn has noted that church members no long pay building fund, ward budget, and many other expenses due to this large income. Is there enough income to support a paid ministry? Is there a scriptural prohibition against paid ministers?
Michael: Even though the 19th century church frequently used the insulting phrase “hireling priests” for Catholic and Protestant ministers, the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants which maintain these “thus sayeth the Lord” documents that Joseph Smith provided during his lifetime. They provide for a paid ministry. They say the laborer is worthy of his hire and that could justify having a thorough paid ministry all the way down to the local level. However, there has always been this discomfort with providing for the living of the leadership of the church, whether it’s general leadership or the local leadership.
How much money does the LDS Church spend in foreign countries?
Michael: In 2006, the LDS Church headquarters gave a cash supplement to the church in the United Kingdom of nearly half a billion dollars, $450,000,000 and change. And that was in one year to one of the countries in which the church has had a significant presence since 1837. It is an industrial country. It is not a third world country. Its members are generally thought of as being comfortable.
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