The Church Newsroom article How the Church of Jesus Christ Uses Tithes and Donations is a clear and welcomed explanation of how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints uses tithes and donations.
It’s not only great new information for those who don’t have any idea about how the Church operates, but it’s also a great reminder for those of us who already know, at least in part, of how wisely the Church is directed and organized.
The news release includes three videos by church leaders and a summary of the ways the Church uses tithing and donations. It explains how its approach was misrepresented in recent media stories about a former church employee who filed an IRS complaint about the church’s financial reserves.
Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé, who helps manage the faith’s temporal affairs, explains in the videos that the Church has a reserve fund of $100 billion.
“It’s about building a reserve of the church, and ultimately, all of those funds will be used for church purposes,” he said. Investing the reserves to make sure their value increases so that it can be used in the future for the same purpose, it’s simply sound financial practice.
As Senator Mitt Romney said after learning of these reserves,
“I just noted that my church has $100 billion safety fund,” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, told a reporter. “I’m happy that they’ve not only saved for a rainy day, but for a rainy decade.”
FROM THE PRESS RELEASE
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints uses the sacred tithes and generous donations of its members in worldwide efforts to love God and neighbor. In light of recent media stories that have misrepresented the Church’s approach, the Church provides the following summary.
The Church is committed to helping the poor and needy. Latter-day Saint Charities is a global program that primarily benefits those who are not Latter-day Saints. In times of need and during other emergencies, Latter-day Saint Charities partner with many global organizations like the Red Cross to provide assistance. President Russell M. Nelson spoke recently about some of these efforts. And this represents only a small portion of what the Church spends to care for those in need. The most recent annual report shows that the Church’s humanitarian arm has given more than $2.2 billion in aid in 197 countries since it was created in 1985. In addition, through the Church’s welfare program, leaders of the faith’s 30,000-plus congregations regularly help men, women and children with food, housing and other temporal needs, totaling billions more dollars in assistance.
The Church builds temples and connects families through family history. The Church is heavily focused on the doctrinal principle of connecting families across generations. This spiritual work is done in 217 announced or operating temples, an effort supported by the faith’s nonprofit family history organization, FamilySearch, which also freely offers its genealogical resources to anyone.
The Church provides worship and gathering space for its members. The Church must fund facilities, education and activity programs for its 30,500 congregations. Meetinghouses also serve as spaces for community education, family history research and emergency response.
The Church supports a global missionary program. Currently, more than 65,000 Latter-day Saint missionaries around the world are preaching the good news of Jesus Christ — an effort that requires significant financial support from the Church beyond the missionaries’ personal or family contributions. The faith’s approximately 400 missions include mission homes, apartments, offices and automobiles — all funded by the Church.
The Church invests in education. The Church believes that both secular and spiritual learning are eternal, and it invests significant financial resources in education. The Church’s Seminaries and Institutes program provides daily religious instruction to some 400,000 high school students and 300,000 university students each year. The Church provides higher education opportunities globally through its expansive PathwayConnect program, which paves the way to a university degree for those with limited opportunities or resources. And the Church operates several universities and a business college serving a combined 93,000 students.