In the excellent new Latter-day Saint publication Public Square, Aaron Miller has provided a lucid and extremely useful response to the current controversy about the finances of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I recommend it highly:
However, I offer a quibbling footnote to just one paragraph in Professor Miller’s article, which reads as follows:
“Related to this, and arguably the most revealing is the fact that those who control these assets are not getting wealthy from them. Part-time volunteer Church leaders are not paid. Full-time Church leaders are given an annual stipend that is frequently much less than what they were earning prior to their ministry. It’s speculated that some or many of the wealthier full-time leaders simply donate much or all of their money back to the Church. The lack of transparency, whatever its motivation, doesn’t appear to be driven by greed.”
Two or three years ago, when an earlier controversy about Church finances had broken out, specifically regarding compensation for General Authorities, the widow of a former member of the Seventy with whom I happen to be acquainted told me that, at the time that President Gordon B. Hinckley invited her husband to serve as a general Church leader, he also asked whether he would require financial compensation. No, her husband answered. He would not. He had been a successful corporate leader, and could survive on his savings and investments. “Wonderful,” President Hinckley replied. So her husband served for several years without drawing any money from the Church. (Thus, it’s not mere “speculation” “that some . . . of the wealthier full-time leaders simply donate much or all of their money back to the Church.”) Moreover, she told me, she was aware of several other General Authorities who did the same, and she suspected that there were still more. It wasn’t a topic that was much discussed among them.
In the meantime, there seems to be discord between the “whistleblower” and his anti-Mormon activist brother:
Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé, whose responsibilities include oversight of the temporal aspects of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and whose new house is shown in the photograph above, is a principal source for the significant article below:
Posted from Richmond, Virginia