the thinker

Paid Clergy

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"The only principle upon which they judge me is by comparing my acts with the foolish traditions of their fathers and nonsensical teachings of hireling priests, whose object and aim were to keep the people in ignorance for the sake of filthy lucre; or as the prophet says, to feed themselves, not the flock."

- Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 315

"How much tithing do you pay? The professing Christians, apostates and others have a great deal to say about the Saints paying tithing. Now let us compare notes. The Elders of this Church travel and preach without purse or scrip, and labor at home as Bishops, Presidents, High Counselors, and Ministers, free of charge. Now take the Christians, how many of their Ministers preach without pay? Go to their meetings, in their churches, halls, schoolhouses, or any of their public gatherings, and you have a box, a plate, or a hat put under your face, and it is, 'Give me a sixpence, give me a sixpence, give me a sixpence!' Show me the Elder of this Church that does this? We preach the Gospel without purse or scrip and work for our own bread and butter. Yet the Christian world whine about our paying tithing. The Saints should pay the tenth of their income with glad and thankful hearts, and help to bring home the poor. We have supported and helped the poor to the amount of millions."

- Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 16, p. 44 - p.45, May 18, 1873

“While all this has been done for our country, and we have comparatively tamed the savage and held in check his wild and blood-thirsty nature, that the inhabitants of the world could travel across the deserts without being robbed and murdered, we have been the subject of vile scandal, simply because our religious views were different from those of the hireling clergy who occupy the pulpits of Christendom. We taught that men should preach the Gospel without pure or scrip--preach it freely; and a man who depended upon a congregation for a salary by which to obtain his black coat and fit-out, was ready to denounce preaching without purse and scrip as a heresy; why? Because it would reduce him to the necessity of going to some useful calling, instead of making merchandise of the Gospel, which God has made free."

- Prophet George Albert Smith, Journal of Discourses, v. 11, p. 179, October 8, 1865

"A few weeks ago a lady physician came to our office, ...She said, ‘Will you be kind enough to have an interview with one of our ministers and tell him how he can work along these lines.' I remarked to her that I would willingly do so, but that I was afraid he could not live to it or teach it to his congregation. Why? she asked. My answer was, ‘He requires a salary to preach the Gospel. Whenever he arises to preach to his congregation and says that which they do not like, they say that he will have to stop preaching that way or they will stop his salary.' ‘Now,' said I, ‘when I preach to the people, I do not care whose toes I tread on; I do not care who I strike; I teach the truth, and no matter where it hits they cannot come to me and say, "We'll stop your salary" because I haven't any to stop. That is the difference between your minister and me.' That is one great difference between the ministers of the world, who are professing to preach the Gospel unto the people, and the Elders of the Lord Jesus Christ. I would sooner be a humble Elder preaching the Gospel unto the people, bearing testimony that Jesus is the Christ and that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God, than to be the greatest‘divine'upon the face of the earth."

- Joseph A. McRae, Conference Report, October 1902, p. 11

"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward." (

- Holy Bible, 1 Timothy 5:17-18

"What of the Mormon clergy? ...There is no paid or professional ministry. Thirty-nine general officers and the presidents of missions are given living allowances."

- Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, What of the Mormons?, p. 4

"Because the Church has no professional clergy, it is administered at every level through LAY PARTICIPATION AND LEADERSHIP, and officials other than the General Authorities contribute their time and talents without remuneration. ...Because the General Authorities are obliged to leave their regular employment for full-time Church service, they receive a modest living allowance provided from income on Church investments."

- Encyclopedia of Mormonism, p. 510

"The $1.2 million condominium at 40 N. State that is home to the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be exempt from property taxes, Salt Lake County commissioners ruled Tuesday."

- Salt Lake Tribune, Dec. 8, 1988

"The calling [to be a Mission President] is not a regular remunerative position,...The family involved gives of its time and energies without salary, though there is a modest allowance for living expenses."

- Encyclopedia of Mormonism, p. 914

“In all particulars, it is difficult to discuss the financial status of the LDS Church. Precise information is lacking. The Church has a policy of secrecy on financial matters that makes it difficult to check the accuracy of reports picked up from non-Church sources.”

- Wallace Turner, The Mormon Establishment, 1966, p. 105

"It can be said also that the officers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who labor without salaries coming out of the pockets of the members, are just as spiritually minded, have just as good judgment and wisdom in directing the temporal as well as the spiritual welfare of the people, as are any of the ministers who spend their entire time in what may be called spiritual counsel. For instance, the bishops of our wards and the presidents of our stakes and other officers give their time freely without any monetary compensation paid by members of the Church. It is equally true that the young men and women who are distributed over the face of the earth as missionaries of the Church pay their own way, or their parents do. We do not have a paid ministry, yet these brethren put in as much time in spiritual and Church duties, as do ministers of other denominations who devote their entire time, and in addition, they are under the necessity of earning their own living by their daily employment in industry. They do this because they have an abiding testimony of the divinity of the work the Church requires of them.”

- Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, v. 3, p. 79