Comments about ‘Mitt Romney hopes millions he tithes to LDS Church isn't politicized’

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Published: Tuesday, Jan. 24 2012 11:50 a.m. MST

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1aggie
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

@Casguy
Does the word "stipend" mean anything to you?
General Authorities and Mission Presidents receive living stipends. According to Merriam-Webster, synonyms for "stipend" include emolument, salary and wage.

Excess fast offerings are swept by wire transfer to Salt Lake.

selway
Paul, Idaho

130 Bishop storehouses 2000 canneries hundreds of thousands of acres of welfare farms and the personel who run it plus a multitude of grain elevaters and bean packaging warehouses. All of these were paid for in tithing dollars not just fast offerings. A standard Bishop storehouse has at least one paid employee and 30 volunteer's who are considered welfare missionaries. It is mind boggleing to see the truckloads of charitable fast offering food dispersed by each storehouse every week of the year. Go see one of the storehouses and you will be shocked with the size and scope of each one. The additional volunteer labor and expense by individuals in all facets of this work is incredible. Thousands of rent and house payments and electric bills etc are paid monthly by these sacred funds.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

I have generally been in a situation where I owe no taxes in the end. In fact I have even managed to benefit from earned income credits on occasion. Mitt Romney's tax rate is thus much higher than mine has ever been.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

Despite some odd claims, it appears that for 2010 and 2011 Romney paid virtually a 10% tithe, and any discrepancy seems to have been the result of figuring his income differently for tithing purposes than for the purposes of tax filing.

Romney's charitable fund made additional $875,000 in donations to the LDS Church that appear to have been given to items other than tithing. I am still a bit skeptical about the accuracy of many of these early reports. I was hoping to get an indepth report on Romney's income and expenditures, but have not lucked out so far.

selway
Paul, Idaho

Only the ones who have no other income including Mission Presidents and it is very very small. You are splitting hairs aggie as all are volunteering their time most at considerable personel expense. Excess fast offerings account for the hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarion at the local,national and worldwide levil annually. No program in the world compares to it especially by such a relativly miniscule number of people.

1aggie
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

So, John Pack Lambert, you're one of those that Republicans talk about, the 50 million that don't have "skin in the game"?

BTW
I looked at Romney's actual 2010 return, which the Washington Post had a link to. What you are saying makes no sense. The return is pretty straight forward.

vic
Colorado Springs, CO

Please note to those that itemize their taxes, and quote the following: You can deduct contributions or gifts you gave to organizations that are religious

Note those two words, gave and religious.

that means you can itemize on your taxes tithing, fast offerings, or anything that is on that yellow slip. Which includes boy scouts, new temples, etc.

Cowboy Dude
SAINT GEORGE, UT

@Don17 "And Gingrich is a Cheap Skate who has little compassion for the poor or suffering? Check! And Vice President Biden and the President are even cheaper? Check!"

Wrong, check the graphs in the article again. I am no fan of Pres. Obama, but I am impressed that as a percentage of income, the Obama's paid more than Mitt Romney. It shouldn't be compared but there it is.

You were right about Gingrich. Biden basically gave nothing and he goes to Church.

Cowboy Dude
SAINT GEORGE, UT

Amazing that no one has asked for Santorum's or Paul's tax return after they said they didn't plan on making it public.

Claudio
Springville, Ut

Re: Casguy

Absolutely General Authorities and Mission Presidents are paid. They receive a stipend for living expenses every year in addition to having all their travel paid for. Saying the LDS Church does not have a paid clergy is an urban legend. By the way, missionaries also receive a living stipend in addition to having their travel and housing paid for. 10K is not nearly enough to cover all of those expenses in quite a few areas. Does that diminish the Church or the veracity of its message? Well, that's one that you can decide for yourself.

For those asking, leftover Fast Offerings in a ward are first sent to the Stake, where they are re-allocated to wards that request additional aid. Any leftover funds in the Stake are sent to SLC, where they are re-allocated to other stakes that request additional aid. It should also be noted that tithing is not mixed in with fast offerings nor does it pay for the stipends received by Church leaders. The Church's independent investments cover those. This has been attested to several times by Church leaders and the auditors so the members can know their tithing is not mishandled.

Aggielove
Junction city, Oregon

If you think its not tax deductible, it proves you never donate to any cause.

Bill in Nebraska
Maryville, MO

Ok all fast offerings go to Salt Lake City to Church Headquarters. Each ward/branch has needs and as such the offerings paid for housing, medical, utlities, and others all come from the funds. When a Branch/Ward exceeds the amount they take in The Church gives the difference to the Ward/Branch. Also, as has been mentioned tithing goes to much more than just the building of the kingdom. Tithing pays for the building upkeep and replaced the budgets for each ward/branch. This was because the donations in tithing now surpassed what was necessary for these budgets and thus they no longer were needed. Tithing pays for each temple, new or additions church or branch building, new stake centers, institutes, seminaries, manuals and other things needed in the ward/branch.

People who get so caught up in how their tithing is used are those who are not giving freely. It never was your money. The Lord gave us all we have and he commands that we give only 10% back in return. That is right all you make or do is not yours and never was. Each ward/branch/stake is audited twice a year.

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

Archi asks:

"So why would the missionary fund not be a tax deduction or tithing funds not directly used towards humanitarian aid effort."

---

Archi;

(1) (the majority of) Mormons donate to the "Mission Fund" ONLY when they have a son/daughter on a mission. Once the mission ends, so does the donation. The money is going to support THEIR child and not the church's missionary program overall.

(2) Taking a tax deduction on Missionary Fund donations means that Non-Mormons have to help SUBSIDIZE the LDS Missionary program (because the Mormons end up paying less taxes as a result).

Tithing funds (to ANY religion) should not be called a "charitable" deduction. If you want to give to Charity, give to a REAL Charity. Churches are not charities.

@floridian; if you are "commanded" to pay it, then it certainly is NOT charity, is it!

@JNA; ;)

Mike in Cedar City
Cedar City, Utah

I suspect that careful scrutiny of Romney's tax records will show that he took his charitable donations as a tax deduction as allowed by the code. With taxes, the guiding principle is that you should do whatever is legally available to minimize what you must pay. That some of you believe the it's immoral to follow the tax code in this regard is a surprise to me. I try to take every legal deduction that I can. If some of you think that this is wrong, I suggest you work to get the tax law changed. The code needs to be changed anyway to eliminate the dual rate approach where a Romney is taxed at 15% on investment income, while a well paid secretary is taxed at 25% because her income comes by way of salary or wage.

nhsaint
PETERBOROUGH, NH

Some have questioned whether Mr Romney is paying a full tithing, as the amount reported on his taxes does not seem to be 10%. Not really any of our business of course, as this is between him and God. But I did read that he pays the remainder of his tithing amount from a family trust- this would not be reported on his taxes, as the money in an irrevocable trust has already been taxed upon its rendering, and all funds removed from it are not liable for taxation, as long as they following the guidelines originally set up for the trust (this is strictly regulated by the trust's agent, who is not a member or beneficiary). He is paying a fixed amount from the trust, and the remainder with stocks that he owns, a common practice that is both legal and ethical. It saves paying a middle man to liquidate the stock, hence ensuring that no funds are lost in that process.

nhsaint
PETERBOROUGH, NH

Many may be impressed that Mr. Romney pays a full and generous tithing, but I am actually more impressed that he pays a substantial amount to other charities on top of the tithing. As has been reported everywhere, other political figures with similar income do not even come close to such generosity.

And for those who believe that tithing does not include social justice-related church organizations, you are mistaken. The bishops' warehouses (providing food to those in need) and the family services organizations do receive funding from tithing, and our LDS institutions of higher education (BYU) are subsidized by tithing, as well, providing an affordable education to every student, regardless of family income. Religious organizations like the LDS church provide many services that relieve the government of the responsibility to provide for those in need, and this is why tithing is tax deductible.

JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT

Re Pagan: We all understand that you oppose the church's stand against homosexual behavior and so you criticize it and any other charity that "discriminates against gays" by not openly endorsing the gay lifestyle.

I have a solution for you (other than just complain what others are doing). Start your own church. It can cater exclusively to gays. It can establish a great welfare program that meets the needs exclusively of poor gay people. It can even teach that heterosexuality is a sin. You can get it registered as a non-profit organization providing it meets all the same kinds of requirements that other churches and charities do.

Get lots of people to donate to your church and have them deduct those contributions from their taxes. Problem solved. Then you wouldn't need to complain about the LDS Church all the time.

RanchHand could also take a similar approach to solving his criticisms of the church and its tithing funds.

O'really
Idaho Falls, ID

@ Ranch Hand How do you know what the majority of Mormons do? How are you privy to their donations? We don't deduct the monthly payment for supporting out sons' missions. Never have. How do you know what others donate or deduct besides your generous contributions? I didn't realize you had ever been a bishop or ward clerk. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Casguy
Rigby, Idaho

@1aggie

No not quite. I personally know a General Authority and he actually still works full-time. He has spoken in conference before and is an area authority. He does NOT receive one penny from the church above reimbursement expenses and travel expenses which by the way he hardly ever has travel reimbursed because he lives in the area he serves in. You can call this stipend, reimbursement, or paid if you want but he does not get paid an income above expenses related to his duties in the calling. Why does he do this? Because he has a testimony that the Lord has called him to serve in this capacity. Stake Presidencies, Bishoprics and every other calling in the church is the same way. Much like a ward budget is not used to pay anyone who accepts a calling an income.

Casguy
Rigby, Idaho

@1aggie cont.

That leaves the Prophet and his Apostles and you and I both know they are not paid. That just about covers it except seminary and institute teachers where some are paid and some are not depending on if they teach full-time courses at High Schools or Institutions where teaching certifications are required. Those that work in the genealogical libraries are also not paid. Missionaries try to pay their own way, but yes, some receive donations from fellow ward members and even those funds are used for living expenses only. So you are reaching on this one. Mission Presidents do have some expenses reimbursed or paid like a stipend but unlike a standard stipend, like what a college athlete might receive, they do not POCKET what is not used for expenses. None of them get fat checks at the end of their service either. So no it is not an urban myth. There is NO paid clergyman in the LDS Church. Can you name one calling that I did not mention above where that is not the case?

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