JOEL - It depends on each one's situation. Some are more financially independent than others. Some get more, some get less depending on their own personal resources.
JEREMY - Since no amount is given to the general church membership, how can you be sure that a "modest" amount isn't a very large amount to a regular church member?
JOEL - Because there are no regular church members. Some are extremely poor and get help from the Church through the Fast Offereing program. Others like John Huntsman, are multi-millionares that donate millions of their own money to the Church. Everyone else is scattered throughout the range. The General authorities dedicate their entire lives to service in the church. Their expenses must be paid for somehow. They get enough to do what needs to be done, and nothing more.
JEREMY - I am aware that this money comes from the churches investment income and not tithes paid by members, but the investment income is earned with the members tithes that have made these investments. Seems to me that this investment income is considered to be the personal money of the church leadership, especially since the amounts are not released to the people that have helped earn this money with their tithes.
JOEL - These investments we are talking about were started over 130 years ago. Some of the returns on the investments are reinvested and some are used for the living expenses. At present time, no one's tithing is used to make investments and none of it is used to pay for any of the General Authorities living expenses.
JEREMY - Please help me understand how you can give your hard earned money to something when you have no idea how it is being used, other than the church buildings and temples that are being built and for their upkeep?
JOEL - The money I give as tithing is NOT my hard earned money. It belongs to God. The rest of the money I have IS hard earned money and I am careful how I spend it.
I know exactly what the tithing money is being used for: As you said, building and upkeep of Temples, Church buildings, and Administrative buildings; Administrative expenses(telephone, office supplies, postage, printing manuals and books etc.); building and maintaining colleges and universities; Church Education System(CES); Missionary work; Missionary training centers; Temple Square; Church historical sites; insurance; accounting expenses; legal expenses; welfare farms; Deseret Industries buildings; Church Welfare program; Family History Centers, genealogy libraries and archives; and taxes; all of which are money-consuming assets and not money-producing assets. Frankly, I am amazed that the tithing we give is enough to pay for all this.
JEREMY - Shareholders in corporations at least get yearly financial information showing where their money is going....don't you think the church should do the same?
JOEL - We are not shareholders. The Church does not belong to us nor does the tithing we pay. It all belongs to God. I trust the people who manage and spend the tithing I donate. I know who they are. I know the kind of lives the General Authorities have had to live to get in the positions they are in now. They are sincere honest people who are there to serve God and ther fellow man, not to serve themselves. What else would they do with the money? With the busy schedule they keep, they certainly would not have any time to spend it on anything else.
Usually the only people who really want to know exactly where the money is going are those who are beginning to distance themselves from the Church and are looking for reasons to justify their leaving. Most of the faithful members simply trust those who are in charge and therefore really don't feel a need to know. If they were told what the numbers were they would probably say, "Oh, that's interesting!" and then think no more about it. They understand that once the money leaves their hands, they have done their duty in obeying the commandment of God. They have paid their tithing; it belongs to God now; and they no longer need to concern themselves with it.
By the way there is an extensive internal auditing program within every organization of the
Church. There are many auditing commitees composed of many members who conduct quarterly audits and fill out reports to document exactly where all the money goes. When I was a finance clerk for my Ward and my Stake I was audited every quarter, and was required to account for every penny that was spent or taken in.
As a private non-profit organization the Church is not legally obligated to report its financial matters to the rest of the world. Although there may have been some problems in the early days of the church, we don't really need to worry about it any more because of the extensive auditing system within the Church today.
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