Mitt Romney hopes millions he tithes to LDS Church isn't politicized

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • pamtxstate round rock, TX
    July 19, 2012 8:45 p.m.

    I'm LDS and although technically tithing under our tax code is a charitable contribution I don't consider it as part of my charitable giving. Tithing is a commandment and we are required by Heavenly Father to pay 10%. The money I give in fast offerings, humanitarian assistance or to other charities like the Red Cross, etc. are what I consider charitable giving. This is what I choose to give out of love and to follow the example and teachings of Jesus Christ. I know to others, especially those who are not LDS, 10% can seem like a very generous contribution but frankly when you are LDS that is the bare minimum the Lord requires.

  • Prep Fan Cedar City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2012 10:54 a.m.

    South Carolina maybe upset that Mitt pays tithing to the "Mormon Church" but I wonder how they will feel when a natural disaster strikes and it is the "Mormon Church" to the rescue with all the humanitarian aide.

  • Canyontreker TAYLORSVILLE, UT
    Jan. 27, 2012 10:29 a.m.

    I have a mutual fund manager that picks my investments which saves me time and money.

    The LDS Church also picks some of my charities. Currently, they are The American Red Cross, Primary Children's Hospital, The United Way, and All For Good. There are many more, especially in Muslim Africa, but they are no longer on the LDS website so I won't name them.

    The LDS Church requires lots of volunteers for their charities and only give to frugal and effective organizations. In the 70's the United Way was not selected due to their overhead, now they are a partner with the Church.

    I believe it is our duty to give responsibly. Giving a large charity contribution to my Church saves me time and research.

  • Razzle2 Bluffdale, UT
    Jan. 27, 2012 10:18 a.m.

    UtahBlueDevil "Why is something we should be doing for our faith anyway need a tax deduction."

    First reason why is the idea that we should be able to give to the charity organization of our choice and not have the government make that choice for us. Tax incentives and deductions are made to move our behavior. If we gave more to taxes the thinking is there would be less to give to charity. Cut out the middle man, in this case the government.

    Second reason why is because the government likes to know what you did with your moneyso do the voters.

  • The Taxman Los Angeles, CA
    Jan. 26, 2012 9:56 p.m.

    @Bill in Neb and Workerbee

    intlbizman is correct. A stipend is considered taxable income and must be reported on a W-2 or 1099. A parsonage (or housing allowance is tax-free.

    IRC Sec 61 defines taxable gross income as all income unless specifically excluded. A parsonage, or housing allowance, is specifically excluded, but living expenses (even from donations) are not. If stipends are given to cover living expenses other than housing, they are taxable.

    If you look back at my posts you will see that I never said the word "salary", so it is you who are putting words in my mouth. That said, in the tax law, there is no difference between a modest living allowance and a salary (they are both taxable income to the recipient).

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 26, 2012 8:15 p.m.

    I guess I would loop back around and ask why is Tithing tax deductable. Why is something we should be doing for our faith anyway need a tax deduction. Wouldn't it be nice if our tax system was equitable enough that things like deductions for tithing were not needed. Wouldn't it nice if peoples tax burden was balanced, and deductions were not needed?

    I think we are all asking the wrong questions. I know we don't want to loose this deduction. I use turbotax, I do my own taxes, and I love to see the tax payable number dive when I enter that deduction and the mortgage one. But it would so much nicer to know in January what my tax burden will be for the rest of the year, that day, and not need to plan my finances to take advantages of holes in the the tax code.

    We simply need to fix the cause of the problem, not focus on the results of flawed policy.

    Just my opinion.... I may be wrong.

  • floridadan Palm Bay, Fl
    Jan. 26, 2012 12:59 p.m.

    It is rediculous to be discussing a persons tithing. Mabe people should look to where their tithing money is going to. Is it to build churches, help the needy, or going into the pocket of a minister who lives in a mansion !

  • WorkerBee RIGBY, ID
    Jan. 26, 2012 9:15 a.m.


    Bill in Nebraska is right.

    Directly from the IRS: Ministers Audit Technique Guide, publication date April 2009

    "A minister is frequently provided a parsonage or is paid a housing allowance, which is exempt from income tax under IRC § 107."

    Just for clarification, they may actually still have to report it. My only point was a stipend is treated differently than a regular paid salary required to be reported as wages on a W2 form. Fair enough?

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Jan. 26, 2012 6:39 a.m.

    To intlbizman2: Read my comments above. They are not wages. This stipend is not a salary. Therefore, it is not subject to W2 wages. They are not being paid to preach or anything. It is paid by donated funds, so their is nothing that needs to be reported to the IRS. As I said it is for living expenses and travel expenses only. A home for some is even provided for them to stay whether it is an apartment or an actual house. Most General Authorities that are provided a place to live will be an apartment. The Mission President and the Temple President are furnished a house. Bought and paid for by the LDS Church. In fact, if one looks carefully at current aerial views of the KC Temple area, the single house built currently is the Temple Presidents house. It is nice and conveinent to the temple. The other homes will resemble this one.

    Don't worry about taxes as it really is none of yours or mu business. The Church has sufficient lawyers and CPAs to determine if there are any taxes.

  • bluejean Farmington, UT
    Jan. 26, 2012 1:20 a.m.

    I was somewhat critical of Romney's hesitation in releasing his tax info but after reading these posts and others, I completely understand. I feel for the Romneys. I'm sure that it was a sore realization as they debated the consequenses that would surely come from the disclosure of their taxes, charitable donations, but particularly their sacred tithing offerings.

    Protecting the privacy of this matter may have cost him the election. But there was no other option but to disclose and then hope that it would not be politicized. Which request has not been honored. In the end its clear that Romney had nothing to hide, that there was nothing wrong or illegal. We learned that the Romneys are nonetheless faithful tithe payers and give the full Biblical tenth of their sizable income. Something that really should be between them and God.

  • intlbizman2 SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
    Jan. 25, 2012 11:11 p.m.

    Please cite your authority for your statement "Especially since stipend payments are not considered wages and have no Federal withholding tax deducted from them and are not reported as wages on a W2 form."

    I am a CPA with an Masters in Taxation and I believe cash renumeration payments made to priests, ministers, etc. in whatever form are generally subject to federal income tax (and includable on Form W-2 or 1099). The only exclusion relates to housing (parsonage).

  • don17 Temecula, CA
    Jan. 25, 2012 10:22 p.m.

    Bill in Nebraska: A very good explaination of the topic.

    Its too bad Mitt Romney has to have his charitable donations attacked. Doing good is bad? Hmm.

  • WorkerBee RIGBY, ID
    Jan. 25, 2012 10:12 p.m.

    @Just Another Guy

    I agree with you but watch out. From reading the previous comments there are some posters who would love to argue with you endlessly about why they think a stipend is the same as a regular paid salary. Let the spin begin right.

    Especially since stipend payments are not considered wages and have no Federal withholding tax deducted from them and are not reported as wages on a W2 form.

    But it is really a moot point since tithing is not used to provide the stipends as LDS business income and other large endowments to the church cover those.

    And tithe paying LDS consider their donations the Lord's money anyways.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Jan. 25, 2012 10:02 p.m.

    It is true that some General Authorities and some Mission Presidents receive a modest stipend. What isn't being said is that it depends on where these individuals live and the mission. Mission Presidents are called for three years, this is not a permanent calling by any means. Temple Presidents are called for three years as well and are furnished a home within easy walking of the temple itself. What is this stipend? Basically room and board for living expenses. It also pays for their travel around the world. Who pays for this? Members Tithing. However, all stake presidents, bishops, branch presidents and others are not paid for their service. The General Authorities are generally members of the Quorum of the Twelve and First Presidency. Very few members of the Seventy although there are some.

    This is not a salary but strickly for living expenses and travel expenses. To say it is a paid clergy at all is totally wrong. They are not being paid to be members of the Twelve or the First Presidency. So it is wrong and even misleading to say such.

  • Just Another Guy Washington, Utah
    Jan. 25, 2012 9:25 p.m.

    Just a note: Their may be other good charities to donate to but the LDS Church has no paid ministry and what the LDS Church takes in and how they use the funds are taken very seriously.
    Unlike most other non profits and charities the funds given to the LDS Church are actually used for charitable causes and not wasted or paying salaries to Non profit officers.

  • vic Colorado Springs, CO
    Jan. 25, 2012 8:44 p.m.


    You bet he is policizing this by releasing his tax forms. It is only to satisfy the anti-Romney or the anti-Mormon crowd.

    It is just like in the last election when he made the statement referred to as the JFK speech. It was to satisfy the anti-mormon crowd.

    Afterall, you do not see any other politician releasing their tax forms or their "JFK" speech - right? It is to satisfy the anti-mormon crowd.

  • Christy Beaverton, OR
    Jan. 25, 2012 7:59 p.m.

    Darn. I'm late to the game here.

    When he himself equates his 'charitable giving' with the taxes he paid, in order to make his 'contribution to society' appear larger than 15%, HE is politicizing his 'tithing', which also, isn't the same thing as 'charitable giving'. He _has_ to tithe (not saying he doesn't want to) to be in good standing as a member of the Church.

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    Jan. 25, 2012 7:55 p.m.

    @ Ranch Hand Hundreds? Did you interview them all and take a poll?

  • intlbizman2 SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
    Jan. 25, 2012 7:07 p.m.

    During my career, I have twice lobbied Congress to change a law (which included travelling to DC, hiring lobbists, and drafting the change we wanted).

    It amuses me to read some of the above comments like "don't blame Mitt for his low rate" because I know how the system works. If you have enough money you can get about any provision you want into the Internal Revenue Code (and Mitt and his private equity buddies had enough money) and then kill any attempt to change it.

    The history is clear. Mitt has actively tried to influence legislation to benefit himself (his pocketbook) personally. This disqualifies him from recieving my vote for the most important office in the world, because based on past experience (and his current behavior) he has no compunction against dipping his paws in the cookie jar.

  • intlbizman2 SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
    Jan. 25, 2012 6:54 p.m.

    rightascension said, "Don't blame Mitt: blame Congress for concocting the tax law."

    Here's a little history. In 2007, Congress tried to change the rule that lets Mitt pay 13.9%. Mitt came out publicly against the change and Bain Capital (along with a group of 11 similar firms who call themsevles "The Private Equity Council") lobbied heavily against the change. The bill was killed and the plunder continues.

    So I think it's appropriate to hold Mitt a little responsible for the 13.9% tax rate he pays on the $57K he earns each day.

  • rightascension Provo, UT
    Jan. 25, 2012 5:37 p.m.

    Mitt Romney's tax return, which ran to 500 plus pages, teaches us a couple of things. 1) the tax law is such that his 13.9% tax rate is completely legal. Don't blame Mitt: blame Congress for concocting the tax law. 2) The rich can use tax codes and various offshore and Swiss banks to define profits such they can tithe at 6.74%.

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    Jan. 25, 2012 4:58 p.m.

    I hate to shake your faith, but 1aggie is right and casguy is wrong. It is extremely naive to think that all general authorities and mission presidents are independently wealthy and don't take an "income" or a "stipend" plus travel or church related expenses. These are full-time callings so I really have no problem with it. In fact I know mission presidents and general authorities who have received such a stipend, and I know how much, but I am not going to fan the flames by mentioning it here. Yes it is modest by today's corporate standards, but it is decent.

  • awsomeron Waianae, HI
    Jan. 25, 2012 3:09 p.m.

    If you make so little income that you can fill out the short form or the EZ (means broke) form, then you do not have much to say in this manner.

    Instead of finding out from pros what can be decuted from you income, you ask people like yourself who like you lack knowledge and or income.

    It is not the fault of the Tax Payer that the Government allows deductions and has loop holes. The Tax payer did not write the Tax Code the Government did. In part to encourage certain types of spending such as buying a house.

    If I take my Mortage Interest it knocks me down several tax brackets, then the kids, then uniforms then some other things. So instead of paying or breaking evan, we get thousands back, which we then use to pay bills and buy things, save, and Tithe. Right Now Medical Co-Pays are eating me alive so i have to start tracking those. You can also deduct sales tax. The idea if you can is to pay 0, and the Government sometimes lets you.

    Like my sister in law going to the store with coupons.

    Jan. 25, 2012 1:49 p.m.

    Re:The Taxman

    And you still will not admit there is a difference between a modest living allowance and a salary. So I understand full well who I am dealing with.

    I can't speak for the other posters, but I think most LDS know their leaders are NOT paid regular salaries, so do not put words in people's mouths.

    You can't pound a square block through a round hole.

  • The Taxman Los Angeles, CA
    Jan. 25, 2012 1:02 p.m.


    I'm glad to see you have apparently done some research and are now backing off of your assertion above that "it is inaccurate to say they [GA's] are paid".

    However, your recharacterazation of the original point being "the church has plenty of other business income and endowments that are used to pay these modest stipends" is not correct. If you look carefully above, you will see that the discussion of stipends began when Archi said "clergy are not paid" and Truthseeker correctly pointed out that GA's are paid. This cause a stir among some posters who apparently don't know what goes on in their own religion. For example Casguy said "LDS paid clergy? Not a chance." You said "I think you are trying to make the way stipend is defined to imply GAs are paid."

    Now perhaps some of us have learned something and we can move on to substanitive topics like perhaps Romney's attempts to call his service income "capital gain" income just because it gets taxed at the same preferential rate. I can understand why he wants to keep the gravy train going, but as a tax professional, I find it deceptive.

  • DRay Roy, UT
    Jan. 25, 2012 12:54 p.m.

    overall Romney shows great character, interesting that so many do not view that as important in a seems that lately the voters like the edgy candidate, one that has some mistakes in the past, as compared to one who has been conistent and steadfast.

    Jan. 25, 2012 12:36 p.m.


    I think we are basically saying the same thing. The difference is that you are getting worked up about it.

    The important point is there is a group of GAs that MAY receive a modest living allowance provided from LDS business income and endowments.

    Implying that most LDS clegy are paid a corporate salary from general tithing is what is wrong.

    Jan. 25, 2012 12:18 p.m.

    Re: Taxman

    The problem I have is those that talk about a very small group that receives a stipend and imply that all LDS clergymen are paid salaries. What is being asked for is a little honesty on how the information being provided actually relates to the truth.

    As some have already stated on this comment board, the church has plenty of other business income and endowments that are used to pay these modest stipends and do not use tithing funds for these expenses. That was actually the original point.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Jan. 25, 2012 11:44 a.m.

    Sorry, you are wrong.
    "living allowances"
    Pres. Hinckley didn't say "travel allowances" Why would Pres. Hinckley not characterize it as travel expenses if that's what it was? The Church pays missionaries travel expenses, that is understood. But Pres. Hinckley specifically said "Living allowance" implying a (modest) salary to pay for household expenses whether it be rent, food or whatever.

    The fact is that some/most (who knows?) GAs get/offered a living allowance, ie. modest salary to pay living, not travel, expenses. I don't have a problem with that. If my spouse had given up a lucrative profession to work full-time for the Church I would think it fair to receive some compensation. What I do have a problem with is that people, such as yourself, seem to be inaware of that and continue to deny it.

    It would be accurate to say that most LDS leaders (ie bishops, stake pres. etc) are not paid. However, those at the top of the leadership (General Authorities) may (not must) receive a modest stipend/salary/living allowance.

    last post

  • t702 Las Vegas, NV
    Jan. 25, 2012 11:38 a.m.

    Thanks Mitt for showing to the world a great example of being a full tithes payer. Tithes are commitment to God you pay it whether you are sick, poor, rich, famous, republican or democrat.

  • Dart Thrower Ogden, UT
    Jan. 25, 2012 11:34 a.m.

    Based on the 144 comments already under this article, it looks like the can of worms is fully open. Now it will go National. Viral. I also noticed on the airplane this morning that the man to my left reading the New York Times had an article on Mormon cuisine, including a recipe for Funeral Potatoes. The man on the right was reading the USA today with an article on the growing acceptance of the LDS church nationally. Scrutiny is something you bear when you get more of an audience and certainly the church wants a larger audience.

  • Ponch# OGDEN, UT
    Jan. 25, 2012 11:34 a.m.

    This whole comment thread has gotten off point.

    The politicizing of his tithing has more to do with the Church he is tithing to. In Florida (where I have a lot of family; some who are Baptist), the LDS church is seen more as resembling the Church of Scientology than anything else (which has a strong presence in the Tampa/Clearwater area; and a corresponding negative connotation despite their celebrity membership).

    So if Romney is seen tithing to a church that is "weird" (from the Floridian point of view), then people are likely to hold their vote against him. Especially in a state with such a strong Evangelical element.

    If he doesn't win Florida. It's over.

    Jan. 25, 2012 11:29 a.m.

    I get a big kick out of those commentators who say that tithing does not help the poor.
    They say that it goes for business and such.
    I have a question for them?
    What about all the employees who have a job and hence a paycheck and are off of the welfare roles because of all of these jobs that the business have?
    One way or the other.. it is helping people!

  • The Taxman Los Angeles, CA
    Jan. 25, 2012 11:27 a.m.

    1aggie is correct. GA's receive stipends to live on. In addition, their traveling expenses are paid. This is fact. The church makes no attempt to hide or conceal this, so I don't know why some members are confused about it.
    I suggest you do some basic research (on Wiki or wherever) rather than relying on what you recall somebody said or whatever. You will quickly discover that we are right.

  • Cowboy Dude SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Jan. 25, 2012 11:10 a.m.

    Regarding tax deductions for church missionaries that have no income...

    If you sponsor a young man or young woman for the Peace Corps the expense is tax deductable.

    If you sponsor your own son or daughter to live in Italy and study art full time the expense is tax deductable.

    I see no conflict here.

  • Herby Hurricane, UT
    Jan. 25, 2012 11:10 a.m.

    To: atl134 "When it comes to the national debt, there isn't one bit of difference. A dollar more expense or a dollar less revenue is still a dollar more to the bill for future generations."

    Isn't it a bit naive to believe that if taxes are raised that the government is going to spend it wisely. It is so much easier to spend so one else's money than your own. The only way to reduce the deficit is to decrease the amount of people within the government who think it is fun to spend money. There are two types of people in America: 1. Those who produce in society. 2. Those who consume. Besides the basic road repair/services (which is greatly outsourced now anyway) as well as other civic services, what other value does the government provide? For the most part the federal government does nothing but waste our tax dollars and spend it on their frivolous lifestyles.

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    Jan. 25, 2012 11:04 a.m.

    Re: Casguy

    You're statement on your associate who is an area 70 not receiving a stipend is accurate. Your assertion that he is a General Authority is not. That explains that difference.

    Jan. 25, 2012 10:53 a.m.


    I think you are trying to make the way stipend is defined to imply GAs are paid.

    Let me give you an example of why it is inaccurate to say they are paid.

    A person works for a regular job for the government. They receive a salary. As part of their job the person goes on a long business trip. He flies across the country and receives funds for lodging, food, and air travel expenses. His government work either gives him advance funds or reimburses him for this travel.

    Those funds provided for travel is NOT considered being paid. In fact, the reimbursement is not taxed. There is a reason for this. That is because it is not considered income as part of his paid salary.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Jan. 25, 2012 10:39 a.m.

    JoeCapitalist2 says;

    "I have a solution for you ... Start your own church. It can cater exclusively to gays. "


    If we follow your advice and our "church" performs Marriages of Same-Sex couples, WILL YOU RECOGNIZE OUR RIGHT TO MARRY AS A RELIGIOUS FREEDOM?

    I don't care how much money one gives to their church or other charities. That is their business, but please ONLY call the actual Charity a Charity. Churches are NOT charities. Period.

    O'really says:
    "We don't deduct the monthly payment for supporting out sons' missions."

    Oh really? I know hundreds of Mormons who do deduct it. All of my family and the family of my partner are active Mormons. Several of our close neighbors (yes, we do actually SOCIALIZE with Mormons - heaven forbid they might actually socialize with a couple of gays) . All of them currently deduct or did in the past, the amount they gave to the Missionary Fund.

    One of the problems with all of you is that you take anything critical of Mormon things as "anti".

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Jan. 25, 2012 10:28 a.m.

    I think that the best thing that could happen to Romney is for Gingrich to call him a commie for giving to the perpetual education fund and to fast offerings. Please Newt, shoot off your mouth one more time, for all time sakes.

  • Canyontreker TAYLORSVILLE, UT
    Jan. 25, 2012 10:25 a.m.

    To add to my comment above; the fact that Joe Biden didn't claim deductions for Church donations although he claims he regularly attends does not mean he didn't give. Many Catholics pay in cash anonymously.

    Don't be quick to judge.

  • Canyontreker TAYLORSVILLE, UT
    Jan. 25, 2012 10:20 a.m.

    Tithing is private between you and God. Your Bishop won't look into your finances. A full tithe payer can confidently say "yes" if asked if they paid a full tithe.

    On the other hand, if you claim a tax deduction for public funds, as I do, then it is now the governments business too.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Jan. 25, 2012 10:15 a.m.


    The fact that this stipend exists has not been hidden. As President Hinckley noted in a General Conference:
    "Merchandising interests are an outgrowth of the cooperative movement which existed among our people in pioneer times. The Church has maintained certain real estate holdings, particularly those contiguous to Temple Square, to help preserve the beauty and the integrity of the core of the city. All of these commercial properties are tax-paying entities.
    I repeat, the combined income from all of these business interests is relatively small and would not keep the work going for longer than a very brief period.
    I should like to add, parenthetically for your information, that the living allowances given the General Authorities, which are very modest in comparison with executive compensation in industry and the professions, come from this business income and not from the tithing of the people."

    "living allowances" ie stipends
    Game, set, match.

  • Woodyff Mapleton, UT
    Jan. 25, 2012 10:08 a.m.

    'Pagan - why are you so interested in Mitt Romney providing private information but excuse Obama from providing his personal information?' - Woodyff | 4:05 p.m. Jan. 24, 2012

    You mean...

    Obama's long form birth certificate??

    Pagan - I'm not obsessed about his birth certificate but I have read many posts here where it appears you are! I have never once posted anything, anywhere about his birth certificate. He doesn't release his health records, other presidents have. He doesn't release his transcripts, other presidents have. He is the most flawed president in history. He has just broken the law again by not presenting a budget. His state of the union was more class warfare.

    You don't even express your own opinion, just list quotes from the Obama media.

  • The Taxman Los Angeles, CA
    Jan. 25, 2012 9:58 a.m.

    Let me propose a hypothetical.

    Suppose some wealthy people use their power and influence to have a special little rule inserted into the Internal Revenue Code. This special rule (let's call it 'carried interest') allows them to recharacterize their personal service income as capital gain income and obtain a major tax advantage over all other service providers. Over the years their wealth (as a result of this rule) compounds exponentially and they use their money and influence to lobby like crazy to keep this rule every time it is challenged.

    Now suppose a person who benefited greatly from the misclassification of service income decides to run for office and this little rule comes to light. Rather than admit he was paying a low rate of tax on personal service income, he continually deceptively refers to it as 'investment income'. Of course the only reason for the confusion was caused by his lobbying efforts to
    create/maintain the confusion.

    He says 'I pay what is legally required' but the real question is whether someone who has the power to influence the law and does so for his own benefit, then claims he is just following the law, is acting honorably.

  • LDSareChristians Anchorage, AK
    Jan. 25, 2012 9:57 a.m.


    I think you misunderstood John. LDS Employment Services do not give drug tests,(John must know of places which do, stopping folks at front door) helping all regardless of status in life.

    You also said: We have no right comparing this. Nor do we have a right to compare monetary gifts by others in various religious groups,

    Me: Mitt didn't want to release his tax info, because he is modest and didn't want to "flash" his donation practices to the world. Now that he was force too , it's all up for discussion. People really should have just left alone.

    To others: Tithes are not used to pay the few modest General Authority stipends. Those funds come from investments, which originated from an endowment from a wealthy member back in the 1920's. It's grown to were it is footing the City Creek Mall development, an investment, to contiune/grow the portfolio.

  • Casguy Rigby, Idaho
    Jan. 25, 2012 9:40 a.m.

    @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?

  • Casguy Rigby, Idaho
    Jan. 25, 2012 9:34 a.m.


    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.

  • O'really Idaho Falls, ID
    Jan. 25, 2012 9:25 a.m.

    @ 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.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    Jan. 25, 2012 9:04 a.m.

    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.

  • nhsaint PETERBOROUGH, NH
    Jan. 25, 2012 8:26 a.m.

    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.

  • nhsaint PETERBOROUGH, NH
    Jan. 25, 2012 8:22 a.m.

    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.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Jan. 25, 2012 7:29 a.m.

    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.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Jan. 25, 2012 7:20 a.m.

    Archi asks:

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



    (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; ;)

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Jan. 25, 2012 6:37 a.m.

    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.

  • Aggielove Junction city, Oregon
    Jan. 25, 2012 6:19 a.m.

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

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    Jan. 25, 2012 5:45 a.m.

    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.

  • Cowboy Dude SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Jan. 25, 2012 2:02 a.m.

    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.

  • Cowboy Dude SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Jan. 25, 2012 1:56 a.m.

    @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.

  • vic Colorado Springs, CO
    Jan. 25, 2012 12:54 a.m.

    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.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Jan. 25, 2012 12:36 a.m.

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

    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.

  • selway Paul, Idaho
    Jan. 25, 2012 12:10 a.m.

    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.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Jan. 24, 2012 11:58 p.m.

    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.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Jan. 24, 2012 11:55 p.m.

    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.

  • selway Paul, Idaho
    Jan. 24, 2012 11:38 p.m.

    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.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 11:26 p.m.

    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.

  • MoJules Florissant, MO
    Jan. 24, 2012 11:20 p.m.

    When we pay our small amount of tithing, which isn't even 10% of Romneys 10% he pays, I think about where all of the tithing donations go. I also think how great it is, that there are the Romney's, Huntsman's, Beck's and so on in the church who make a great contribution. There are many lives that are blessed because of those with wealth who pay a honest tithing. And there are many lives blessed when we who make much less combine our faith and efforts and pay our full tithing. The LDS church has done a great deal to help in natural disasters and to bring temples closer to the people. I respect Romney for being willing to reveal something that has always been so private and personal, he is not one who likes to flaunt his stuff.

  • kargirl Sacramento, CA
    Jan. 24, 2012 11:06 p.m.

    It's bad enough to be making judgments about other brothers and sisters, even oneself, in what is given in monetary gifts to the Church. And let me state, I'm not declaring my vote here. It could be for Donald Duck. In November...but I digress. We have no right comparing this. Nor do we have a right to compare monetary gifts by others in various religious groups, or who belong to none, since different modes of giving apply to other denominations, and other people give in other ways. And, as someone mentioned, how about gifts to homeless srangers, to hungry people just because one cares, a day's work to someone who could use a day's pay, money in an envelope, a kettle, a collection plate---there are more ways that never get counted. Please, this is not a contest, and Romney may not care--maybe he does, I don't even know. But the Lord does, and we should because we post to each other and the readers of this board. Let's care for that reason and because the next hungry person could be your best friend's cousin and you won't know that. It is something to consider.

  • Casguy Rigby, Idaho
    Jan. 24, 2012 10:49 p.m.


    As far as I understand excess fast offerings are kept in a local fund for future needs. Although it is hard to know for sure I think Archi is mostly right.

    LDS paid clergy? Not a chance. There are paid employees like at the church office building etc but even the LDS cannery gets many volunteers.

    Church leaders probably have their expenses paid for trips and so on but none are paid salaries as clergymen. Church leaders are suppose to have their finances in order before accepting that type of calling and a lot of them have retirement income.

    Unless you define a seminary teacher as clergy your statement about LDS paid clergy is not true.

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 10:36 p.m.

    If this is going to make headlines for Mitt Romney, I would like to see ALL the candidates' charitable deductions in print side by side in the newspaper for the same period of time: Obama, Biden, Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, and Rand. Let's just line them up and see who is charitable and gives what to whom and call a spade a spade. What's the big deal if Mitt Romney tithes 10% plus gives to charity? I'll bet that most don't give much to charity. Mitt Romney should be applauded and singled out as a man of principle and character. No other comment needed.

    Mitt in paying his taxes in full according to law is more than Obama's trusted Secy of the Treasury did!

  • Casguy Rigby, Idaho
    Jan. 24, 2012 10:31 p.m.

    @Midwest Mom

    OK, so everyone else in the country can look at and discuss Mitt's confidential donations, but Mormons cannot?

    I am not sure who your post was intended for but most of us are trying to stand up for what we believe.

    Try it some time.

    It is an old trick to point the finger and say someone is not allowed to respond in a discussion because that would not be Christlike. Quite frankly it is overused by those who have no interest in being Christlike. Anyways the only perfect mortal to ever walk the earth was Jesus Christ and we all are far from it. But even He was willing to stand up for what is true and for example threw merchants out of the temple when they had no respect for sacredness. So do not act like LDS members cannot respond to questions or misinformation about what we believe.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Jan. 24, 2012 10:27 p.m.

    According to a study by Indiana University Center on Philanthropy, only 20% of money donated to religious organizations is used for helping the needy.

    I wonder how that compares with other charitable organizations.


    To be clear, Romney's tithing is not with as much in the eyes of the Lord as the widow's mite. The widow gave all that she had, she gave of her "want." Romney, like the others in the parable, gives a portion of his immense abundance. I'm not judging Romney, not my place, I'm merely pointing out the misinterpretation of the Widow's mite.

  • kargirl Sacramento, CA
    Jan. 24, 2012 10:22 p.m.

    John Pack, I didn't know LDS Employment helped everyone, I thought it was only for members. Thank you for educating me. I also appreciated the comment about drug testing there. It is good to know that also. I think it's a little precious, the assumption that poverty=addictive behaviors. I know differently, and I know what our Savior would think. The hymn, "A Poor, Wayfaring Man of Grief", a favorite of many, comes to mind. Again, thank you. I will keep it in mind as we have the service here.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Jan. 24, 2012 10:15 p.m.

    What happens with the excess fast offerings?

    There are some paid clergy in the LDS church--General Authorities, for example.
    Churches in the U.S. are not required to publicly disclose their finances, so mostly we don't know how the LDS church uses it's funds. However, public disclosure is required in other countries like Canada and Britain. Some other denominations in the U.S. give a more thorough accounting to parishioners.

    I remember a time when tithing settlement included a ward budget assessment. LDS ward members contributed to the costs associated with maintaining the ward programs and facilities.

  • JNA Layton, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 10:12 p.m.

    Ranch Hand states:
    "Is it really "charity" if it isn't going to the poor and needy?

    In my opinion it isn't."

    I say "imagine my surprise" (sarcasm off)

  • Archi Mclean, VA
    Jan. 24, 2012 10:08 p.m.


    You have to be kidding.

    Yes it is charity because you are not obligated to pay it. It is called free will duh!

    If a homeless guy asks you for money is that all of a sudden not charity because he asked for it?

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    Jan. 24, 2012 10:06 p.m.

    I am offended that members are sitting around talking about this man's confidential donations. Use the spirit of the law, folks, and mind your own business.

  • floridian navarre, fl
    Jan. 24, 2012 10:03 p.m.

    @ Winston:

    You are not asked to pay it -- you are commanded to pay it, and not by the Church but by the Lord. Big difference, no?

  • Winston Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 9:52 p.m.

    Is it charitable if you are asked to pay it?

  • Archi Mclean, VA
    Jan. 24, 2012 9:50 p.m.

    Some of you have got things mixed up. Fast offerings are collected locally and are first used to support the local needy of the ward/area where they are received and mainly covers expenses. But the local funds may not be enough and so additional funds are provided from Church Headquarters. The needy also receive food not just money and that food comes from the Bishops Warehouse. Tithing is used to support operations used to produce the food and many other massive humanitarian aid efforts. Granted tithing is also used for other things directly related to administration Church things but clergy are not paid, which means those funds are not used the way they might be by other denominations and churches.

    The donations made to other Christian churches are tax deductable too. So why would the missionary fund not be a tax deduction or tithing funds not directly used towards humanitarian aid effort.

    Many posters have commented that the LDS Church Presidency along with other churches across the country agree with the tax deduction available for ALL charitable donations given to churches. So what makes you the authority on whether or not tithing should be a tax deduction?

  • New Yorker Pleasant Grove, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 9:39 p.m.

    @ A1994 and others,

    Newt must be the biggest liberal in the world. He must be expecting the government to take care of the poor because he certainly isn't giving his share. Maybe he just doesn't care about the poor, needy, widows, orphans--no, I think that's liberal blood flowing in his veins.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Jan. 24, 2012 9:06 p.m.


    We really can't assume because people don't declare charitable contributions on their tax return that they aren't charitable. People can give donations to individuals without being able to donate it on a tax return. If you donate money for someone's cancer treatment, or the homeless person on the street etc. it isn't tax deductible. Only donations to 5013c organizations are tax deductible.

    As for Joe.
    Joe has very modest wealth compared to his colleagues.
    Joint income between Biden and his wife Jill rose from $215,000 to $249,000 between 1998 and 2006. These numbers reflect the total of Joe Biden's Senate salary, his Widener University School of Law teaching salary, and Jill Biden's teaching salary.

    When Joe was a Senator he commuted on Amtrak between his home in Delaware and D.C.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Jan. 24, 2012 9:05 p.m.

    Romney makes way less money in a year than Obama spends with our money for a vacation. Does BO pay taxes on the money he takes from us? You know, pay a little more.

    I wonder who gives more to charities?

  • A1994 Centerville, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 8:21 p.m.

    The Democrats love to spend other people's money. Interesting that, while Mitt Romney has paid MILLIONS to charity, Joe Biden donated about $5000 during the same period.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Jan. 24, 2012 8:13 p.m.

    Utah probably derives a lot of benefit from everybody's tithing. Foe example, the LDS Church is probably one of the biggest employers in the state when counting BYU employees, Deseret Industries etc. The LDS Church also has a lot of building and construction jobs in the state and other commercial endeavors including Deseret News!

    I don't consider tithing a charitable donation since it doesn't go to help those in need.

  • Gregg Weber SEATTLE, WA
    Jan. 24, 2012 7:51 p.m.

    The idea that charity is only that given to the poor means that the shewbread, or whatever it was that was for the support of the Levites wasn't (and isn't?) charity since there is nothing that said that they were poor. Support of a church was and is charity. This even applies, in my humble opinion, to strictly religious costs.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 7:21 p.m.


    I don't have a problem with him paying tithing. The problem is that tithing is not charity. Tithing goes to support the CHURCH not the PEOPLE.


    I am saying that Tithing does not go to the needy. That is "Fast Offerings".

    Tithing should NOT be tax deductible; nor should the Missionary Fund.

  • mecr Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 7:06 p.m.

    The public wanted him to disclose his financials and he agreed. If you disclose your taxes, everyone will see how much money you earn, pay, donate, investments, properties, etc, etc. I guess the reason why he didn't do it before is precisely because of the tithings. As members, we consider tithing a sacred personal action (I mentioned action and not duty because it's not a duty, we do it freely and willingly). Whatever I pay for tithing is between me, the Lord and the current bishop. Bishop only asks if I paid a full tithing. He doesn't ask if I paid only 10% or more. It looks like Romney pays more and thanks for that and being an example. His tithings are as valuable and worth to the eyes of the Lord as the widow's tithings. That's the beauty of the gospel. We don't brag about it, we are humble and grateful for it.

  • Slic Layton, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 6:58 p.m.


    A $300 tax deduction does not equate to an additional $300 tax refund.

    Also, if you pay tithing on your gross income, you do not have to pay tithing on your refund. Get with the program. ;) But then again, that is a personal decision.

  • Slic Layton, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 6:41 p.m.

    To most LDS, Romney's charitable contributions means something because it shows he understands what the word commitment means. Something perhaps Gingrich still needs to understand.

    Paying 10% tithing is not easy, something those who have never done it, may not get. So it could be easy for them to dismiss what it actually entails and how difficult it can be to continue to pay tithing every year. And don't give me the holier than thou bologna because bills are bills and unless you are a presidential candidate no one knows (accept your church leaders and the Lord and OK maybe the IRS too) what you donate to charity.

    Also, it was Gingrich and others that planned to use Romney's tax returns against him which totally backfired. If anything his tax returns show a generosity that is uncommon.

    As others have said, Romney did not volunteer his returns and it was actually his opponents that screamed and kicked for Romney to release them. So it is funny to say anyone other than those trying to smear Romney politicized the results of his returns.

  • PAC Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 24, 2012 6:32 p.m.

    Who Cares what he paid....It is his business not anyone else!

  • LDSareChristians Anchorage, AK
    Jan. 24, 2012 6:28 p.m.

    Oh, alt134,

    I might add. Last year I contributed a good chunk of my tax return to Japan relief efforts. A return I wouldn't have had if I hadn't claimed my charitable contributions.

  • LDSareChristians Anchorage, AK
    Jan. 24, 2012 6:24 p.m.

    alt134 posted:
    I have never thought about that possibility until someone a few posts ago mentioned it.

    LDS: Consider this. generally speaking, every $1,000 you contribute to charity, you get about $300 reduction in taxes. $300 more you can contribute to your favorite charity next year. Your refusing to take the tax break "takes" $300.00 from the charity of your choice. Think about that. ;-)

  • opinion 47 SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 6:22 p.m.

    Proud of Mitt and what he stands for

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    Jan. 24, 2012 6:19 p.m.

    I've "enjoyed" reading the words of many commentators on here tonight expressing their sadness that some people will politicize this and it isn't fair because Mr. Romney is being a true Christian and living his faith and doing a wonderful thing. All those may be true. However, please note that if you are or are not voting for Mr. Romney because of his faith or because of his tithing status, YOU, yes you not everyone else, have politicized this. This article was not written for the at-large American audience (no pun intended) but for the LDS community that wanted to be able to say "See! Mitt is an amazing person because he pays a full tithe!"

    Also, anyone who speaks out of one side of their mouth decrying the politicization of Mr. Romney's faith while using the other side to demean Mr. Huntsman for his honest characterization of how he practices his faith hardly has any room to talk.

  • Fred44 Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 24, 2012 6:08 p.m.

    Yes it will be politicized by the so called conservative republicans, but they will blame it on the democrats.

  • Archi Mclean, VA
    Jan. 24, 2012 5:44 p.m.

    By the way and for example. If you fall in the 25% tax bracket, for every $100 dollars you donate, the Federal Government gives you roughly $25 dollars back. No way our shining example of efficiency government can spend your $100 better than you and do it for $25. That is the concept behind the charitable tax deduction. In fact, the charitable tax deduction is probably one of the only efficient programs the federal Government has.

    On a side note, if Elder Oaks (LDS Apostle) and leaders from other churches accross the country feel it is OK to deduct your tithing and fast offering donations, than I am pretty sure the Lord thinks it is OK.

  • Archi Mclean, VA
    Jan. 24, 2012 5:40 p.m.

    Im convinced that the Lord knows peoples hearts. Not us. And I am pretty sure that 90%, if not more, of the active LDS who pay tithing would continue to pay tithing regardless of the tax deduction. By the way, that is pretty much what Elder Dallin H. Oaks (LDS Apostle) said when he went before congress last year to support tax deductions for charitable donations.

    He supported the tax deduction with many other leaders from various churches enough to address congress. He felt, and I am paraphrasing, the tax deduction was a significant incentive to support the principle and role of American society as a people to give to others. And effort not put the burden of welfare entirely on the Government. He also noted discontinuing the deduction would mostly effect other qualified charitable organizations, but not the donations received by the LDS Church. It has little impact on the decision of an active LDS memeber to pay a full tithe.

  • ksmith Sacramento, CA
    Jan. 24, 2012 5:38 p.m.

    I think that every person that lives in the United States of America should pay income taxes. Yes - even those on the dole of welfare and food stamps. Everyone should pay their fair share.

  • jdh_md NEW YORK, NY
    Jan. 24, 2012 5:21 p.m.

    The irony of this article's title is hilarious.

    That said. I sincerely hope Mitt wins the election and think he is clearly the best candidate. Newt will get killed by Obama if he goes on.

  • idablu Idaho Falls, ID
    Jan. 24, 2012 5:15 p.m.

    LDS Liberal

    You better check your math before you make false allegations. In 2 yrs Romney made 41.6 million. He "gave away $7 million in charitable contributions over the past two years, including at least $4.1 million" to the LDS Church." That is NOT 5.5% as you stated, more like 10 %.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 5:12 p.m.

    Yes, they will be politicised.

  • Zamok Layton, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 5:09 p.m.

    What a desperate attempt to spin something praiseworthy. Giving away your own income towards a noteworthy cause that you believe in should be commended. Although some of the LDS charitable donations are used towards operational expenses, a great deal is used to support one of the largest welfare and humanitarian aid programs in the world.

    And I dont believe for one second Romney decided to donate millions of dollars a year (a good portion of his life) to charity so he could strengthen his presidential campaigning efforts. And it is not like he volunteered this information. There are less expensive things he could have done. It was his republican counterparts, the media, and many others who demanded and insisted that he release his tax records ASAP.

    Ironic though that it is now Gingrich that is coming under scrutiny for questionable tax records, while the tax records of Romney are being confirmed as fair and legit.

  • speed66 Heber City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 5:05 p.m.

    @CougarKeith - Oh yes, please do what CougarKeith will make for an even shorter career!

    I live in Utah, most of my friends are members of your faith. That said, suggesting that anyone who thinks your religion is a bit off is a propagandist is a bit of a stretch. Your absolutism is what is wrong with the debate. It's not a debate of whose religion is best or whose god can beat up the other gods. In fact, Mitt's real problems have nothing to do with his faith but rather with his character and his here-today, gone-tomorrow positions.

    But by all means try to convince us all that yours is the only right church. I always enjoy a good laugh.

  • Sego Lilly Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 5:04 p.m.

    tything is suppose to be a sacrafice and IMO it isn't one if you claim it as a deduction on you tax forms at the end of the year. It's like telling Heavenly Father, "I'm giving this to you now because I know that at the end of the year when I file my taxes I will get it back."

    I for one have never claimed my paying of tything as a tax deduction and I have been blessed all the more for it as it is a sacrafice.

  • So. Cal Reader San Diego, CA
    Jan. 24, 2012 5:03 p.m.

    BTW- Checking to see if Hunstman released his tax return as well prior to him dropping out? If so, was any tithe donations listed? Who knows, perhaps that "tithing thing" is just too tough to define.

  • So. Cal Reader San Diego, CA
    Jan. 24, 2012 5:00 p.m.

    RE: Brother Chuck Schroeder-- Romney had no other alternatives. He's running for the highest National office. He HAD to disclose all, including his tithing donations. I commend him for making these tax returns public, and only wish he did them prior to the SC Primary. I think he waited too long. I hope he can now break Newts momentum.

    RE: Pagan-- Your responses make me smile. They really do. I tried to find 5 other articles to show they make me smile, so I could copy and paste them into my reply, but couldn't find them. Perhaps next time. Seriously, thanks for the chuckle!! :o)

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 4:52 p.m.

    This IMO is a non-issue.

    How, other than privacy, does it differ from dropping funds into a collection plate being passed around?

    The Cayman Islands account and tax rate MR pays are bigger issues. Though, nothing to get all hot & bothered about regarding of religious or political leanings.

  • Victor Layton, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 4:52 p.m.

    This comment board started off on the wrong foot by someone who made an absolutely absurd statement that charitable donations are not tax deductable. Then you have a bunch of people who take the standard deduction on their taxes and who never itemize their taxes preaching their own false doctrine about how society should never take the charitable donation deduction on their taxes when they itemize.

    You are kidding me right? Maybe none of us should deduct our mortgage interest when we itemize our taxes because we are causing everyone else to pay us back for the loan interest rate and payment that we signed up for. What a joke.

    You completely lose credibility when you declare utterly false statements as fact.

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    Jan. 24, 2012 4:48 p.m.

    Romney hopes tithing isn't politicized: Too late; we have this story and all these posts. It already is!

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 4:33 p.m.

    'Pagan - why are you so interested in Mitt Romney providing private information but excuse Obama from providing his personal information?' - Woodyff | 4:05 p.m. Jan. 24, 2012

    You mean...

    Obama's long form birth certificate??

    **'Obama shows birth certificate' - By Ben Feller - AP - Published by DSNews - 04/27/11

    And 'yes' it actually WAS after the state of Hawaii verified Obama's birth certificate, more than two YEARS earlier:

    "I, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the Hawaii State Department of Health, have seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen."
    - Hawaii: Obama birth certificate is real - USA Today - 07/28/09 - By Dan Nakaso, The Honolulu Advertiser

    But conservatives kept asking for it, anyway.

    **'Trump on Obama's Birth Certificate: 'Maybe It Says He's a Muslim' - Fox Nation - 03/30/11

    Making themselves look foolish.

    So, 'what' information, are you talking about?

    You don't even know.

    If you don't like the very SAME standards used on yourself that you use on others.... (i.e. Romney's tax records)

    they are not very good values.

    i.e. A Double Standard.

  • speed66 Heber City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 4:22 p.m.

    First, the title of this article is absurd. Of course he wants it politicized...provided it makes him look good. That was clear from his comments. To assert that he would prefer to keep all this private is unlikely at best.

    Second, who cares? I know the DN likes to make much ado about anything mormon but the rest of the country is only wondering how this rich kid can really relate to their circumstances. Yeah, I know, Mitt was only modestly rich before and he really had to struggle to get really, really rich.

    I don't care that he is rich. Donald Trump is rich and he is completely unqualified to be president. My problem with Mitt isn't his money it's his integrity. This is a guy that will say whatever is popular at the moment to get ahead. He wants to be president more than anyone else wants him to be president. In fact, I can't remember a candidate in the GOP towards which there was this much trepidation.

    His background and having grown up with a silver spoon in his mouth and wearing khakis out to play only reinforces the belief of the masses that this guy doesn't understand what it's like for the majority of Americans who actually have to earn their way through life. He won't do well with staunch conservatives, won't do well with libertarians, won't appeal to the masses...don't worry, Wall Street Bankers love him and that's what will keep him in the hunt.

  • don17 Temecula, CA
    Jan. 24, 2012 4:20 p.m.

    So the result of all of Gingrich's blathering is that it shows Romney made money? Check! That he donated a substancial Sum to Charity? Check! That Romney was honest in paying his taxes? Check! 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!

  • Convert Cedar City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 4:19 p.m.

    It is unfortunate that tithing is being dragged into the political conversation. It should be a confidential and sacred act, not used as a symbol of politics or judging others or he's-better-than-the-other-guy talk.

    I grew up a Protestant. As a convert of long ago, I know there is a great difference in religions regarding what tithe means. There is no stigma or reward or blessings from donations and offerings in most other Christian churches.

    However, in our Church, there is a great deal of emphsis placed on tithing. It is a commandment. It is tracked. It has determination as to what assignments members can have. And if they advance in the Priesthood. If they can enter the Temple.

    There is a huge difference between what tithing means in the Church versus outside.

    Again, tithing should be kept confidential. It should not even be discussed out in public. It is a sacred trust.

  • screenname Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 4:11 p.m.

    LDS Liberal,

    "Besides -- Romney only paid ~5.5% Tithing based on his income tax."

    Very Christian of you to point something like that out.

  • screenname Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 4:06 p.m.


    Your charity, however large or small, is commendable. I doubt anyone would sincerely scoff at that. However, I will scoff at your idea that taking a deduction is immoral, and that not paying money that is not owed is somehow increasing expenses.

    By your line of reasoning, my company offering a sale on my product is giving money away to my customers. It's not. It's not reducing my revenues. My customers don't owe me anything for it.

  • Woodyff Mapleton, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 4:05 p.m.

    Pagan - why are you so interested in Mitt Romney providing private information but excuse Obama from providing his personal information? Why isn't Obama accountable? You seem to have a double standard.

  • Woodyff Mapleton, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 4:04 p.m.

    LDS Liberal - I disagree that tithing isn't charity. I don't think there is enough money paid in fast offerings, etc to help people around the world when disasters occur.

  • LDSareChristians Anchorage, AK
    Jan. 24, 2012 4:03 p.m.

    Comparing Mitt to Newt
    From Bloomberg:
    The Gingriches reported $81,133 in charitable donations, according to tax documents they released Jan. 19. The sole named benefactor, the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington, received $9,540, and it paid wife Callista Gingrich $5,918. She is a member of the choir. Another $68,493 in charitable deductions were listed as gifts from Gingrichs companies to unidentified charities. The rest, $3,100, was labeled miscellaneous donations.

    Newt donated $9,540 to his church, and $5,918 of that came back paying his wife's choir position. Net for their church about $3,600. 0.1% to his church. If he'd paid 15% tax (like Mitt), do you think he'd do his church any better?

    Mitt's 17% to church and charities is astounding!

  • bricha lehi, ut
    Jan. 24, 2012 3:57 p.m.


    While we rarely agree I have to applaude you for your posts here. They have been both intelligent and sincere.

  • Woodyff Mapleton, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 3:55 p.m.

    RanchHand - are you saying donations to the LDS Church don't help the poor and needy?

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 3:42 p.m.

    You can bet with 100% certainty that it will be politicized. I have to give Mitt alot of credit for hanging in there among all the trash and misinformation that he has to put up with. I think I would just live off my investments, get back to my family and say to heck with this running for president ain't worth it! It seems like all the GOP and Tea Party folks want is a "showman" instead of a real CEO problem solver anyway. I trust Mitt more than anyone to turn this economy around but he will never get the chance. Gingrich is more of the pure politician and showman and Mitt is just sort of vanilla. Obama was elected 100% on fluff in 2008 and zero substance and maybe that is an indictment of the American people and how shallow and clueless we have become.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Jan. 24, 2012 3:34 p.m.

    Mitts tithing is commendable. Anyone looking to make a negative out of it is misguided and partisan.

  • Anon 808 Waianae, HI
    Jan. 24, 2012 3:27 p.m.

    Most Americans are not thought tithing and it shows.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 3:11 p.m.

    @Simple Man
    "wouldn't it be ironic if the real reason ClarkKent or atl134 so "nobly" don't take a tax deduction for their charitable contributions is they take the standard deduction because they don't have enough deductions to take advantage of itemizing? "

    I have never thought about that possibility until someone a few posts ago mentioned it. It's new information to me. I have been working on the assumption that I am giving up something by not reporting the charitable contributions I make. Since I am thinking I am giving something up (regardless of whether or not I actually am) then my motive is sincere, though possibly misguided. If you must know I donated 2% of my income to charity last year, an amount that I am sure will now be scoffed at.

  • CougarKeith Roy, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 3:09 p.m.

    So what if he pays a Tithe to the Savior Jesus Christ's Church? What is wrong with that? This is his chance to STAND FOR THE RIGHT! Anyone who criticizes him for it ought to be ashamed of themselves! Here is a chance to stick win the "Evangelicals", Catholics and all "Christians". Stand for your moral character Mitt and be proud of the fact that you pay your tithes and offerings to the Church of JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS! That is exactly how I would phrase it, put the "MORMON" phrase on the Media and correct them, Tell people to do research on members of the CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LDS for themselves and dare them NOT to take the word of someone else, tell them straight up, would you go to a NAZI to learn about the Jewish people, or would you talk to a Jewish Person, The Savior Himself said, By Their Fruits you shall know them. Almost all of those claiming Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS to be members of a cult have gotten they're information from Propogandaists who tell half truths and distorted facts. Learn the facts!

  • awsomeron Waianae, HI
    Jan. 24, 2012 3:04 p.m.

    Yes they are. Always have been. I don't count mine because I think that doing that makes the Tithe Count Less. However that is just me. I don't deduct stuff I give to Goodwill or Kidney Cars but that is just me. It is Tax Deductable.If you do not have my hang up about it take it, its legal.

    I do take my mortage Interest.

    In my case I would not want everyone to know just how little I do give. That is not braging just a fact of life. We are at around 3% and as a result do not have TR's. Not planning on going to the Temple any time soon, or giving more money to the Church. I am not mad or anything just cheap and suffer sometimes for it.

    I am still as Mormon then Mitt will ever be.

    Yes it is private but when you are running for public office everything is public. Mitt knows this.

    Back in the day people used to Tithe with Chickens and Livestock as there was little cash.

    Titheing with things other then Cash goes back to the Start of Religion.

    Mitt did nothing wrong.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 3:04 p.m.

    Tithing ISN'T Charity.

    Charity are the OTHER little boxes on the slip.
    You know:

    Fast Offering
    Humanitarian Aid
    Perpetual Education
    Other (Specify) [i.e., Japan Tsunami, Haiti Earthquake, ect.)

    Besides -- Romney only paid ~5.5% Tithing based on his income tax.
    But I'm sure his Accountant/Lawyers told is it was a perfectly "Legal" tithe -- and not $1 more.

  • Simple Man Riverton, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 2:55 p.m.

    Just a guess, but wouldn't it be ironic if the real reason ClarkKent or atl134 so "nobly" don't take a tax deduction for their charitable contributions is they take the standard deduction because they don't have enough deductions to take advantage of itemizing?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 2:54 p.m.

    "I believe you've mentioned that you're currently or were recently a student, which means there's very little chance that itemizing your deductions (which is the only way to take advantage of charitable contributions) was more lucrative than just taking the standard deduction, so it's a little disingenguous for you to take a moral stand on that. "

    You may be right, I'm not sure since my dad takes care of my taxes and I've just neglected to mention charitable contributions over the years. However, I've been operating under the assumption that itemizing those would have helped me so even if they wouldn't have, I thought they would and chose not to list them so it's not disingenuous.

    "there is a world of difference between reducing revenues and increasing expenses. "

    When it comes to the national debt, there isn't one bit of difference. A dollar more expense or a dollar less revenue is still a dollar more to the bill for future generations.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Jan. 24, 2012 2:48 p.m.

    Adoption placeing is done to help the children, not for the good of the parents. Most adoption agencies have policies that limit what parents can adopt.

    On the other hand, the use I mentioned, LDS Employment Services, is open to all who wish to use it. They do not make inquiries about any background, they just seek to help those who show up to get jobs. They do not even give people drug tests.

  • screenname Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 2:45 p.m.


    Afraid it's not just religious charities that discriminate. Think of all the scholarship foundations that help people based on certain demographics, such as race, gender, or career aspirations. Or charities that help women who need prenatal care or abortions.

    All these examples would also be deductible under tax law, and they also discriminate.

  • screenname Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 2:38 p.m.


    I believe you've mentioned that you're currently or were recently a student, which means there's very little chance that itemizing your deductions (which is the only way to take advantage of charitable contributions) was more lucrative than just taking the standard deduction, so it's a little disingenguous for you to take a moral stand on that. Besides, why is it immoral to claim a charitable contribution deduction but not immoral to take the standard deduction, or claim a deduction for property taxes paid, or claim a deduction for mortgage interest paid, or claim expenses in your personal business, etc., etc., ad nauseam. Get my drift?

    And again, there is a world of difference between reducing revenues and increasing expenses.

  • IDC Boise, ID
    Jan. 24, 2012 2:36 p.m.

    Good job clark and alt, living the law at a higher level and then judging others by the new standards you have created. I almost ex-communicated myself for lusting over a can of coke one time.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 2:33 p.m.

    "By your logic, you should be writing extra checks to the government each month to try to pay down that debt. It's the moral thing to do. "

    Then conservatives should give up gov't services because they believe it's immoral to be spending so much.

    Personally I support both spending cuts and tax increases to work towards a balanced budget.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 1:51 p.m.

    'One reason to provide tax deducations for donations to charitable organizations is that they reduce the tax needs of the state.' - John Pack Lambert of Michigan | 1:31 p.m. Jan. 24, 2012

    And this, is true.

    ...unless you are gay.

    **Catholic charities ends Illinois adoption civil unions dispute By Sophia Tareen AP Published by the DSNews 11/15/11

    The group had wished to continue its state contracts, while also referring unmarried couples who want to be adoptive or foster parents to other agencies, citing principles of religious liberty and freedom of conscience.
    The state of Illinois had said that longstanding practice is discriminatory, a violation of the new law, which allows unmarried couples gay or straight to legally enter into civil unions. - article

    Hard to claim religious charities 'help' Americans...

    when they are selective as to WHICH Americans, they will assist.

  • johnnylingo62 Gray, TN
    Jan. 24, 2012 1:36 p.m.

    Tithing is a charitable contribution so it is tax deductible.
    Charitable donations are given free-will. As long as the entity receiving the donation is a registered non-profit with the proper category in the IRS code, your donation to that entity is tax deductible.
    If you think the government would do more good with your money than you, or your charitable organization could do with it, then by all means give more to the government - they know how to spend money - they're just not so good at getting serious with their budget, so out of every dollar they take in ($2.8T Revenue)will go to pay just interest on our National Debt ($0.8T interest), so almost 30 cents of every tax dollar goes to paying interest only on the national debt.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    Jan. 24, 2012 1:31 p.m.

    One reason to provide tax deducations for donations to charitable organizations is that they reduce the tax needs of the state. For example LDS Employment Services, which is largely funded through tithing dollars, reduces the cost of state employment services. I can give several other examples.

    This is definantly the logic behind making many donations tax exempt. If you do not think donations should be tax exempt, lobby for a change in the tax code. However it is neither unethical or immoral to take tax exemptions. Next people will be claiming the per child tax exemption is unethical.

  • oldasdirt Grantsville, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 1:24 p.m.

    atl134. If that is how you feel then that is great. But trying to apply a moral or immoral qualifiers to what the government actions are or allow you to do is a very slippery slope.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 1:20 p.m.

    Is it really "charity" if it isn't going to the poor and needy?

    In my opinion it isn't.

  • ClarkKent Bountiful, Utah
    Jan. 24, 2012 1:16 p.m.

    @alt134, I completely agree with you. I don't deduct any charitable contributions, including money I give to my church for the reasons you give and also because I think that true charity must be given without the expectation of any reward.

  • UteMiguel Go Utes, CA
    Jan. 24, 2012 1:12 p.m.

    By your logic, you should be writing extra checks to the government each month to try to pay down that debt. It's the moral thing to do.

  • UteMiguel Go Utes, CA
    Jan. 24, 2012 1:10 p.m.

    You need a new accountant if you think charitable donations are not tax deductible.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 12:38 p.m.

    " they also art not tax deductable either. "

    How are they not? I thought that was the entire purpose of the tithing slip having the second copy, so that you could keep it for tax receipt purposes. Personally I never attempted to take tax deductions on them though because I think it's immoral to make a donation and then pass along part of the bill to future generations (you taking a tax deduction means less revenue for the gov't which means a higher deficit which means a larger national debt).

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 24, 2012 12:35 p.m.

    This IS a matter of public record.

    Mitt Romney is running for a PUBLIC office!

    Mitt Romney is now finding that he is accountable to the people...

    **'Romney campaign battles Dems, Press over issue of transparency' - By Barrett Haake - NBC News - 11/17/11

    "There it was this morning, on the front page of the Boston Globe, a headline no campaign ever wants to read: Before leaving office, Romney staff wiped records."

    **'Firm dissolves after giving pro-Romney PAC $1 million' - By Ken Thomas - AP - Published by DSNews - 08/04/11

    In SPITE of his actions.

    **'Romney opens up a bit more to media scrutiny' - By Charles Babington - AP - Published by DSNews - 12/07/11

    'Numerous Romney supporters had expressed concern over reports of him dodging reporters.'

  • Brother Chuck Schroeder A Tropical Paradise USA, FL
    Jan. 24, 2012 12:17 p.m.

    I'm a Mormon and I know that tithing records are viewed as a confidential matter between members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the lay leader of their church congregation, they also art not tax deductable either.

    Now a can of worms are opened up not only for the Romneys in the midst of a presidential campaign, that those donations are now a matter of public record, but with all other's that make one fill out a "MEANS Test" and on all tax returns.

    That's what is good about America, it's called equal.

    Then we'll all have to show it as well.

    Thanks Mitt.

    This financial crisis raises questions about capitalism itself. Capitalism has always, and will always be, prone to traditional market failures.

    This failure was compounded by the view held by some that finance could even constitute the next phase in the natural evolution of capitalism (from agriculture to industry, services and, ultimately finance), illusions that were abetted by patchy prudential regulation, bad incentives and horrid compensation practices.

    Society as a whole produced and consumed too much finance, especially through a disruptive technology that was insufficiently understood and tested.

    My views.