LDS Church outlines its approach to charitable giving

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  • NinaBirder Green Valley, AZ
    April 14, 2016 12:10 p.m.

    What truly amazes me is that with 15,000,000 members (only about half of whom are active, and so many of those members are from 3rd world countries!) the Church can do so very much good. It's truly staggering, if you stop to think about it. And to me, this is further evidence that the Church is what it claims to be -- Christ's kingdom on Earth. "By their fruits ye shall know them."

  • DirkMo Thousand Oaks, CA
    Sept. 9, 2012 2:04 p.m.

    When it comes to humanitarian aid the church tends to tout what they do well and obscure and ignore what they do poorly. They do a pretty good job of disaster relief and taking care of their own but not a *total* job of it, the Liahona Children’s Foundation estimates 80,000 active LDS children suffer from chronic malnutrition, and about 900 of them die every year! Chronic third-world non-member malnutrition, thirst and easily curable disease is only receiving token help from the church as compared to the size of the problem and to the size of the church's resources. Allowing these people to continue to die is very sad and un-Christian. Given the church's huge income, it's ability to teach foreign languages, call and place trained proselytizing missionaries into so many countries it is well suited to make a big difference in third-world deaths. I pray that it will soon rise to this calling by using it's substantial resources to make a proportionate impact on this on-going life threatening problem.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 29, 2012 9:09 p.m.

    @ Austin Coug wrote:
    "Therefore, if you have concerns about how a certain charity or religion may use your money you are more than welcome to "give" to someone else."

    So, Austin Coug, how do you suggest I determine who that "someone else" should be if nobody publishes any information?

    I submit that compulsory published financial information is extremely helpful.

    For example, let's say I live in the UK and have the urge to provide some humanitarian aid to my fellow man. I can look at the published financial statements (footnote 8) of the UK LDS Church and see that they took in humanitarian aid donations of GBP 508K in 2010 and paid out zero, they took in donations of 344K in 2009 and paid out 11K, they took in 453K in 2008 and paid out 12K. That information is very helpful to me if I want my donations to actually be used to help people (rather than invested).

    I'm sorry, but arguing for less disclosure rather than more disclosure is a losing argument.

  • Austin Coug Pflugerville, TX
    Aug. 29, 2012 6:29 p.m.


    Not sure about you but I really don't care about the balance sheets and income statements for the Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc (religions of which i am not a member). Obviously, i hope they are able to succeed in their charitable efforts but that is as far as it goes. Is there a specific reason why you and others (who likely don't donate to the LDS church) care so much about what the LDS church does with its donations? This is a sincere question.

  • Austin Coug Pflugerville, TX
    Aug. 29, 2012 5:59 p.m.


    I don't know if your story about the two bishops you mentioned is true or not since we have only heard one side of the story (your side). If your girlfriend wasn't paid her last wages, that is more of a legal issue rather than a bishop "not" being charitable. If any boss doesn't pay out per the law, that is illegal. Therefore, that example would be more of a Bishop being stupid rather than uncharitable. In regards to your second example, what kind of tenant were you before you were charged the extra $200 for not paying all of your rent? If this was the first time you were ever late or paid a partial rent, that is disappointing your landlord didn't work with you more.

    In regards to your other complaints, it sounds like you want something for nothing. You don't want to see the bishop to "ask" for help because he is going to require something from you. Isn't it better to teach someone to fish and feed them for a lifetime than to give them a fish and feed them for a day?

  • Aussie Teacher WESTON, VT
    Aug. 29, 2012 5:55 p.m.

    Anybody can spout off about hat they give and do, but where is the proof? I volunteer for an international NGO and am also a Mormon, but I refuse to pay the church any money as they refuse to publish their accounts. They are unaccountable for the vast amounts of money that they receive each year.
    The NGI I work for publish their accounts so the world can see how much they get and where it goes. They even publish the amount paid to the top people in the orgainisation unlike the LDS church which refuses to publish their accounts and won't allow the members to see them.
    So until they acually publish what the 'give' then this is all empty talk.
    How dare they attribute the time that I give, and the money that I donate to this NGO, as art of the churches charitable giving. It has nothing to do with an aged mostly American, unelected elite who consider themselves far more important than the membership which pays their large wages!

  • Austin Coug Pflugerville, TX
    Aug. 29, 2012 4:34 p.m.


    You state "When charities take our money...", you realize that they only accept what people "give" right? Therefore, if you have concerns about how a certain charity or religion may use your money you are more than welcome to "give" to someone else. We all know that if the LDS church published how they spent their money, many of those clamoring for such release would be the first in line to complain about how the money is spent (even though most of those don't donate so not sure why they care in the first place).

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 29, 2012 4:14 p.m.

    The church does not disclose financial records thereby rendering it basically impossible to get a complete picture of their charitable giving because we can't figure out things like percentage of church income going to aid type things. Best I can guess is that it's somewhere around 15-30% which is fairly normal for a church, but certainly is less efficient than most charities (of course this is reasonable since the church obviously has the additional interest of running itself and growing itself). Giving to the humanitarian aid or fast offering parts of the church has a much higher charitable efficiency rate (probably order of about 90%) but tithing... the church itself says that that's mostly just for church buildings, utilities, etc and since tithing is the bulk of church income that's why it falls to around 15-30%.

    The only definitive number given is the 700 billion in humanitarian aid the past 20 years. Actually it's kinda like Mitt Romney. The charitable giving stuff is readily noted but all the other stuff... not anyone's business.

  • Ron Madson Alpine, UT
    Aug. 29, 2012 1:40 p.m.

    Tornogal, you have a great idea. For 128 years our church published annual Financial Reports for their members to see as well as the world. This was and is consistent with our doctrine and no money is to be taken from the treasury unless by "voice and common consent" of the members. With annual publication we can remove all doubt and show that of the 8 billion donations alone the lion share goes to Jesus. And by Jesus I mean Jesus says in Matthew 25 when we give to the least, the hungry, the naked, the oppressed we are giving it to Him. Otherwise, we are probably just building up a financial empire for power and control as the gentiles do. So surely we can commence transparency to remove all doubt. I hear tell there is a Petition out there but I can not link it here but I can tell you it takes its name from the doctrine "by Common Consent" and it is an org and not a dot com or dot net.

  • Tornogal LITTLE ROCK, AR
    Aug. 29, 2012 1:04 p.m.

    The LDS church undoubtedly does many good things. But what is frustrating is that it refuses to publish financial reports. Why?

    The answer I have most commonly heard is "The law doesn't require it."

    Well, the Mormons say they follow Jesus Christ. I am having a hard time imagining him saying "I refuse to let people know how much I take in and where it goes, because I don't have to."

    It seems if the good works added up, the LDS church would be happy to share that information. My guess is there are things in the finances they don't want the public to know. They can disabuse me of that notion if they will let us see.

  • Balan South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 29, 2012 12:29 p.m.

    Wow Scientist. The problem with posts is magnified by what you say - you can say anything you want with absolute anonymity and expect everyone to believe and accept what you say - hook, line, & sinker. I don't know if what you are telling us has any shred of truth to it. But what is clear is that you have an ax to grind with the Church - which will lead many people out there to say almost anything.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Aug. 29, 2012 12:13 p.m.

    If you have ears to hear, let me illustrate what is wrong with LDS "giving".

    justamacguy wrote:

    "Dear Mr. A Scientist. Would you please publish the charitable organizations you represent. Because with an attitude like yours I would like to know who NOT to donate to."

    This is a typical LDS attitude. It is all about "good PR for the Church". This person would boycott my charities because he/she thinks I am "anti-Mormon", making people suffer rather then help someone who is NOT LDS. It is an attitude of tribalism, partisanship, and self-promotion rather than true charity.

    And that spirit - you may call it the spirit of "missionary work" - permeates and taints LDS "giving".

    Jesus said, "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven."

    My giving and my charities are anonymous and will stay that way. They are not part of a "marketing budget" or PR campaigns for a Church that operates more like an MLM than a charitable organization.

    ...if you have ears to hear...

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Aug. 29, 2012 12:06 p.m.

    Kenny and others,

    "Do you ever consider or have you ever been willing to work WITH the LDS church in this effort as you seem to be fighting AGAINST it."

    Who says I am fighting against the LDS Church? Why are Mormons so presumptuous and paranoid?

    Yes, I have worked/partnered with the LDS Church and its welfare and humanitarian aid programs. After several decades of such work, with only a few exceptions, I have found their "volunteers" to typically be untrained, unprofessional, inefficient, and their "help" is more for show and marketing than for actually making a difference in people's lives.

    But no Mormons will state such truths openly because when you are honest you get ostracized and persecuted. It is a shame that Mormons are such "yes-men", ingratiating themselves to their "leaders" and telling one another only what everyone wants to hear: that Mormons are the best and greatest at everything!

    It is really off-putting.

    And NO, what I do is NOT "religion" in any way, shape or form. No god, no church, no "faith", and none of the superstitious fables that go along with it.

    Just helping less fortunate people, and doing it well.

  • sigmund5 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 29, 2012 11:17 a.m.

    My experience with Mormon charity. MyGirlfriend was working for a non-profit until they hired a bishop to run the place-He fired her and didn't pay last week's wages. Our landlord who is a bishop charged us 200 bucks in late fees when we payed 80% of rent.We talked to him-he knew she worked at a non-profit childcare for refugees. He said TOUGH LUCK.Yes help but with LOTS of conditions. You have to go to the Bishop and you are humiliated. "Go get a job at McDonald's-they are paying 11 dollars an hour". They will help you IF you go tochurch 5 times and then expected to work in one of their factories at the rate of $8 bucks an hour. NONE of the 10% tithing goes to help the poor Their help can be seen as an investment to get more converts who will then give 10% of their income to the church.If the church wants to help the poor they would raise the minimum wage to a living wage. But if they did that they wouldn't have supplicants. I am pretty sure this will not see the light of day on the board.

  • Utah Businessman Sandy, UT
    Aug. 29, 2012 10:48 a.m.

    As an LDS member who has a desire to be charitable and to follow Christ's example (although certainly falling FAR short of it), I have great admiration for the LDS church's efforts and ALSO the many, many other people and organizations that do much good VOLUNTARILY. A Methodist church building a few blocks from our home did a renovation of their landscaping a few years ago--after it was done, their message board showed this message: "Thanks LDS neighbors for your help." That really warmed my heart--I am sure that those good Methodists who expressed appreciation to their LDS neighbors are also involved in serving their neighbors of all religious (or no religious) affiliations.

    My hat is off to all of those who give from their hearts--I am especially impressed by those who run homeless shelters and other places that try to take care of those who are truly "down and out"--God bless you!

  • JRJ Pocatello, ID
    Aug. 29, 2012 8:53 a.m.

    What all of this amounts to in my opinion is: we gather information, we analyze things, we begin a lifetime of change and alteration. Experiences we have with others help make us more tolerant and compassionate. If we begin by donating because it's a "law" and end our lives with a donation of heart and soul and money, we have achieved what our earthly life is all about - progression toward God. For some it takes a lot of hard knocks. At times I marvel that God can love the worst of us, but He does. And my "job" is to become like Him even if it takes a 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years or more. There is NO way the news media of the world will ever report the spiritual affairs of the church accurately so don't expect it to happen. Continue donating, serving, caring, helping, learning, loving and leave the judgment to God.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 29, 2012 8:40 a.m.

    Thank goodness for organizations such as churches of all kinds and beliefs that show charity or the love of God to others by caring. People have a hard enough time in this world without having to die without knowing that someone cared for them. People's hearts are turned to these people and even though some would demean those that give from their hearts and souls, I am grateful for all that is done for all people.

    We live in a hard world that would criticize religions and churches for the good they do without having the government give handouts. The Deseret Industries has provided so many jobs and good for others especially when combined with Humanitarian Services. That is such a well run program and helps people help themselves in many communities.

    The Utah Legislature, on the other hand, wants to keep it so far from having the appearance for doing good to all citizens, such as the Church does, that it is almost anti-help to people. They are required to do somethings due to federal funds but they do not show appreciation to others that are not of their in-power party. They are a club.

  • kenny Sterling Heights, MI
    Aug. 29, 2012 8:11 a.m.

    To A Scientist

    Sounds to me you are saying that your efforts are somehow better than the LDS church efforts since you were eager to mention the boards you sit on and the groups you have formed. I congratulate you. Do you ever consider or have you ever been willing to work WITH the LDS church in this effort as you seem to be fighting AGAINST it. How charitable is that. I contribute a fast offering because I know that no money will be taken off the top for adminastrative cost. Also I know of the people my dollars are helping in many cases. They are the very people I attend church with. There have been times that I would have wanted to recieve but I would rather be on the giving side. Giving is a good place to be, and that is where we should all find ourselves. If you are there then so be it and if you are not then I hope you can find your way.

  • Balan South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 29, 2012 7:52 a.m.

    Funny how the Church gets castigated the same way Mitt Romney does - for being successful! Then all the naysayers ooze out of the woodwork self-righteously promoting how they would spend the Church's money. Typical anti-Mormon Rhetoric.

    It doesn't matter how much good the Church does. For many they will never be able to see past their own prejudices and hatred to admit that the Church does any good at all.

  • DonP Sainte Genevieve, MO
    Aug. 29, 2012 7:14 a.m.

    Okay all you naysayers. We have just heard from someone with boots on the ground. That should just about wrap up this discussion.

  • Moderate Thinking Bogota, Colombia, AA
    Aug. 29, 2012 3:11 a.m.

    I work for a federal government agency whose purpose is to provide humanitarian and development assistance to the poorest countries of the world. Each year we manage billions of dollars, trying our best to make sure that we get the most bang for our buck, and that as many lives are changed for the better as possible. I believe in the work that I do and stand by it.

    I have also taken a strong individual interest in the program developed by the Church around the world. I've toured many facilities, met with officials at the Church Office Building, and talked to humanitarian representatives abroad in several countries. Moreover, I've seen hundreds of other organizations doing similar work - for-profit, non-profit, faith-based, and secular. Based on this experience, I can say this much without question - If all well-inteded organizations, including my own, were half as organized and efficient as the Church program is, we would see a drastic reduction in the poverty and suffering in the world. The Church program isn't perfect, but it is truly an impressive site to behold, and deserves the credit it is due.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 29, 2012 1:04 a.m.

    When charities take our money, I think the least they can do is explicitly (by publishing exact numbers) let us know what happened to the money. I think that should be a condition of obtaining Section 503(c) status.

    Just think, if all charities did this (published their numbers) then they wouldn't need to "explain their approaches to charitable giving" because we would clearly be able to see it without explanation.

  • across the sea Topeno, Finland
    Aug. 29, 2012 12:27 a.m.

    Joe, once again a great article!

    Too bad that so many people comment on this and really did not read the article, but seeked a way to express their own grievances.

    So where is the Lord's tithing money being used - in global GROWTH and opportunity to millions. It will benefit the people who accept the Lord's Gospel and invite the holy Ghost to be their constant companion - AND - as the prophets have told us "take themselves out of the slums (spiritual, material, social)" with the Lord's help.
    It also benefits hundreds of thousands who never will know which organization helped them.

    Sadly a great possibility of discussing how we could do MORE (as individuals) is hampered by competition on terminologies (such as what is religion).

  • justamacguy Manti, UT
    Aug. 28, 2012 11:34 p.m.

    Dear Mr. A Scientist. Would you please publish the charitable organizations you represent. Because with an attitude like yours I would like to know who NOT to donate to.

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    Aug. 28, 2012 10:40 p.m.

    Religion is living by rules and a code.
    Dong the best to never sway.
    And also being baptized in a true church.
    But, I know lots that aren't baptized and they are doing very fine.
    Great people everywhere!
    But, I love being lds.

  • snowman Provo, UT
    Aug. 28, 2012 10:38 p.m.

    A Scientist: You obviously don't have a clue as to how much good the church does

  • Pendergast SLC, UT
    Aug. 28, 2012 9:57 p.m.

    re: the truth 9:32 p.m.

    "What is religion?... Religion is the individual doing as much good as they are able."

    No. Religion is nothing more than a political party wrapped around some guy's beliefs.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Aug. 28, 2012 9:32 p.m.

    RE: A Scientist

    NO religion required?

    What is religion?

    A building?
    a book?
    a prayer?

    No. you are living religion.

    It is about loving and caring about your fellowmen, doing all you are able to do for others.

    How can you say no religion is required when it‘s fully ingrained into your life?

    However, anyone can sit on a board and give away someone else's money, it‘s about what you do with your own money, time, and talent.

    You are wrong about the church, all the money is used for the Lord's purpose and kingdom which has many many expenses.

    It‘s wisdom to be profitable and not operate in debt.

    Helping the poor and those need and in distress is not all about just giving them money. The church provides a broad spectrum of services that are an expense to the church, the profitable side helps pay for that.

    The money is used to help as many as possible, to build people up so they are able to help others.

    The church is to help not be a sugar daddy.

    Religion is the individual doing as much good as they are able.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Aug. 28, 2012 9:11 p.m.

    Granted, religion is not a necessity for charitable giving, but can we not appreciate the fact that the LDS church and other religious groups do indeed contribute to the poor. Skeptics can always argue that religions should give more, but those making such demands usually are missing some of the key facts and figures.

    Another positive aspect of the LDS Church's view on welfare is that such programs should be administered in a way to help people get back onto their own feet and not encourage them to be permanently needy. Up until recently, the United States Government also had in place a policy which required welfare recipients to donate some of their time and labor to society. Such stipulations help people feel that they are of worth and not merely a faceless entity that needs to be endlessly supported.

    Let's express our appreciation to anyone and everyone who tries to help; even when we don't think it is enough.

  • Baccus0902 Leesburg, VA
    Aug. 28, 2012 7:40 p.m.

    I find the LDS church one of the best administered organizations in the planet.

    I find the leaders of the church attempt to live the gospel and make the church a true Christian entity.

    I cannot explain however, where is the disconnect between the preaching of the leaders and the di the feelings of many of the Saints. While they are willing to share their material blessing with those less fortunate. On the other hand many tend to close their minds to the freedom of others.

    I see the Saints eager to fill the stomach of a poor person. While limiting the free agency of those who happen to live their lives in a way that conflict with their "perception of the word of God".

    However, I believe that the holy spirit is changing minds and attitudes among the Saints and others so called followers of Christ and love and social justice will prevail.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Aug. 28, 2012 6:45 p.m.

    ute alumni,

    Not that your ad hominem deserves a reply, but I founded and continue to sit on the Boards of three charities that provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in assistance to people with special needs and challenges in life.

    And NO religion is required!

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 28, 2012 6:12 p.m.

    What I like is the charitable work done via the mall.

  • ute alumni Tengoku, UT
    Aug. 28, 2012 6:11 p.m.

    da scientist
    nice analysis. too bad you haven't a clue of what you are talking about. love to know what you do and how charitable you are. i suspect i know the answer........not much

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Aug. 28, 2012 5:19 p.m.

    What is there to explain?

    Take in billions of dollars each year; operate very profitable businesses; and give a pittance to charitable stuff.


  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Aug. 28, 2012 3:33 p.m.

    The news outlets with recent incomplete stories have had full access to and even collected far more complete information for their stories than they reported. Tours of facilities and interviews where a more complete picture was articulated to the reporters. But when the actual article surfaced, there was deliberate omission of important information that was gathered. So, in the case of at least Bloomberg's joke of a journalist, misinformation. lack of information, and twisted information was given to support a less-than-favorable agenda by the organization. And the following day, Bloomberg representatives touted the story as an 'amazing' and 'informative' and educational' work of professional journalism at its finest. And many anti-Mormon enthusiasts agreed. Funny how that works. Deliberate spin on the truth. I hope that the Church, led by prophets, continues in its living by righteous principles.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Aug. 28, 2012 1:32 p.m.

    I find it somewhat interesting that those who claim they want to delve into the LDS practices of religion, charitable giving, missionary service, temple worship, daily lifestyle, etc are all too willing to do a partial analysis or look at those on the peripheral areas and ignore either the main stream or the entire story. This suggests to me, at least, that they have a forgone conclusion and they intend to seek just enough information to confirm their preconceived notions and biases. THat's not to say that we don't enjoy a few warts or have a few misguided individuals in either our history or in the fold currently, but certainly one wouldn't get a true picture of Jesus by interviewing only Judas.

    And I think educating the curious is a good thing, which describes most of what is happening.