Mormon Newsroom recently published an article that goes in-depth into LDS Church finances. It explains the purposes of the Church, its budget and expenditures, its reserves, its commercial businesses, and its taxes. The article also includes a very helpful FAQ that answers many questions I’d never even thought to ask.
To me, the article seemed to stress above all that the main purpose of the LDS Church (and therefore the main purpose of LDS Church finances) is to invite all people to come unto Christ.
This involves the Church using its resources to further missionary work, build meetinghouses and temples, provide welfare, assist in the educational and vocational growth of those who need it, and support church administration to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Something else that struck me while reading the article is just how important faithful, tithe-paying members are:
Its current relative prosperity only reflects the faith of its members in keeping the law of tithing and the accomplishment in their lives of the Lord’s often-repeated promise that “inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land” (Alma 9:13).
I’m so thankful for the faith of the members who pay their tithing. As a student attending BYU, I’m thankful for them every time I step into a classroom. Because of their faithfulness, my tuition is subsidized, and I can more easily afford to go to school. And I’m not the only one blessed by tithing: everyone who pays it receives blessings beyond just the fact that the Church will be able to continue supporting itself and its members.
I love how the LDS Church finances follow the same principles that the Church teaches, like provident living and self-reliance. We are taught to always save a portion of our income in order to build up a financial reserve that we can fall back on in emergencies. The Church itself does this too, setting aside funds to build up financial reserves for times of need.
The Church is smart with its funds and maintains its reserves as diversified investments such as stocks, bonds, businesses, and property. It reminds me of the parable of the talents. Rather than burying them in the ground, the Church is increasing its funds through wise investing, counseled by financial professionals.
However, while these investments might earn a bit of a profit, President Hinkley said, “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… When all is said and done, the only real wealth of the Church is the faith of its people.”
And at the end of the day, all LDS Church finances go toward inviting people to come unto Christ. I’m happy to know that my tithing is helping to do God’s work here on Earth.