Read a Summary of the Financial Information Released by the Church
The following is a summary of the materials The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released May 22, 2018, to help clarify how it handles its finances:
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints requires considerable resources in order to fulfill the purpose for which it was established—to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and invite all to follow Him.
- Pulling mainly from tithes and offerings given by Church members around the world, the Church follows three main principles to govern its financial resources and ensure that work continues worldwide: it works within a budget, avoids debt, and saves and invests for the future.
- The Church supports and maintains more than 30,000 congregations with thousands of chapels and meetinghouses across the globe. It operates temples, family history centers, institutes and seminaries, storehouses, employment centers, and universities and other higher education initiatives, as well as oversees the proselytizing and service work of 70,000 missionaries worldwide.
- As the Church is not a financial or for-profit institution, its resources are used for the objective of preaching the gospel and inviting all to come unto Christ. Although the Church doesn’t publish the details of its finances for the public, it provides all financial information required by law.
- While many might think the widespread influence and real estate assets of the Church indicate that it is a financially profitable organization, the current prosperity of the Church only reflects and is measured by the faith of its members as they observe the law of tithing and follow principles for provident living and self-reliance. Buildings owned by the Church are only maintained and updated by the ongoing support of the Church’s faithful members.
- The Church pays all taxes required by law. This is true worldwide as the Church follows the laws required by each nation in which it has a presence. Church-affiliated entities that are organized as for-profit corporations pay all required taxes on their net income.
- In order to prevent any misuse of funds, Church leadership ensures all expenditures are approved by the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the Presiding Bishopric. Certified professionals also perform regular audits to ensure practices adhere to Church policies and principles.
- Following the principle of preparing for the future, the Church maintains diversified reserves, including stocks, bonds, commercial and residential real estate, and agricultural properties. All funds are invested solely to support the Church’s mission and help prepare for the Lord’s Second Coming. The Church carefully chooses its investments with the help of certified professional financial advisers. The majority of the Church’s reserves are funded through the sacred tithes and offerings given by members. Reserve funds of the Church have historically been used when resources have been scarce or when Church growth has deemed extra resources necessary. These funds provide for the future and ensure necessary resources will continue to be available as the Church grows.
- Recognizing an increasing need for welfare and humanitarian needs around the world, the Church has spent billions of dollars to help meet these needs over the past few years. Church-affiliated entities also contribute to these funds and give regularly to various charitable causes. Many Church members donate their own time and resources to also help in these efforts. The Church dedicates significant resources to educational and humanitarian efforts aimed to help people rise out of poverty and achieve self-reliance. As the Church grows, increasing financial means are needed to continue to preach the message of Jesus Christ. The Church continues to maintain and build its reserves in anticipation of this growth.
- Church members donate 10 percent of their income to the Church as tithing. It is through this spiritual principle that the Lord funds His Church. Members believe promised spiritual and temporal blessings follow those who obey God’s commandments.
- All Church funds exist and are used for the singular purpose of supporting the mission of the Church.
The exterior of the Church Administration Building in Salt Lake City. Photo by Adam Fondren, Deseret News.