“Because the General Authorities are obliged to leave their regular employment for full-time Church service, they receive a modest living allowance provided from income on Church investments.” – Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 510

“What of the Mormon clergy? . . .There is no paid or professional ministry. 39 general officers and the presidents of missions are given living allowances.” – Gordon B. Hinckley, “What of the Mormons?,” p. 4

The dishonesty behind these statements is shocking.

The LDS church remains completely secret about its finances unless forced to be transparent by certain countries’ laws, so our access to information about general authorities’ “modest living allowances” is limited. However, this leaked Mission President Handbook from 2006 gives us a fascinating look at what the church apparently considers “modest”. Apparently, a “modest” living allowance for a mission president includes, but is not limited to:

  • Financial support for their children serving full-time missions
  • Flights for their children to come and visit
  • Christmas, birthday, and anniversary gifts between the mission president and his spouse
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • All school expenses for children
  • Undergraduate tuition for their kids who are in college up to the value of tuition at BYU (Tuition totally waived if kids go to BYU)
  • Family activities
  • Rent
  • Medical expenses
  • The cost of a babysitter “occasionally”

Here’s a gem direct from the handbook:

“Any funds reimbursed to you should be kept strictly confidential and should not be discussed with missionaries, other mission presidents, friends, or family members.”

Hmm. I wonder why.

With all that in mind, it’s safe to say that the church’s idea of a “modest living allowance” is not limited to under 6-figures, and that’s just for mission presidents. Higher-up general authorities are known to receive property and other assets from the church too. (Post on that in the future, perhaps.)

Further reading:

LDS Tithing: Bare Necessities, Thoughts on Things and Stuff

When Tithing Settlement Goes Horribly Wrong, Pure Mormonism


Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young
Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young
Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young would have been a millennial blogger, but she died in 1901. The wife of Brigham Young, and prior to that Joseph Smith, and prior to that Henry Jacobs, who was sent on a mission by Brigham before he married her, Zina loves writing, long walks on the beach, and playing the field.

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