While on my mission I would see humble believers of Christ giving a lot of money to their preachers. Their preachers were supported by the people, and lived lives better than many in their congregation. It would disturb me, but I would find great comfort in the idea that no one in our church was paid. One day I came across the Mission President Handbook online https://archive.org/details/MissionPresidentsHandbook2006
In the handbook there's a section that talks of costs reimbursed to Mission Presidents. It includes food, rent, dry cleaning, family activities, secondary school tuition and fees, extracurricular activities for kids, college tuition for kids, cost of mission for kids, air fare for kids to visit, gardener, maid, and modest gifts. In this section there were also instructions to never hint in anyway that you are paid for your service. As I reflected this, it made me think of the many sacrifices that people make to pay their tithing, which is told by their leaders is their responsibility and expected by god. There are members that have many kids because that's what they are told to do by their leaders, even though I've never seen that commandment in the scriptures. These families avoid many family activities and their kids extracurricular activities are limited so they can pay their tithing which is paying for these reimbursements that the Mission Presidents receive.
My Mission President was a successful business man, and in talking to many of my friends I learned theirs were too. The brethren tell us in General Conference that we need missionaries. Young and senior missionaries go out of great sacrifice made by them and their families, and live very humbly. If members don't feed the missionaries one meal a day they at times don't eat 3 meals a day. The church acknowledges that the General Authorities are paid a " modest stipend" Is it possible that the General Authorities stipends are better than the Mission Presidents? We would have no way of knowing. Did you know the requirement of tithing to enter the temple wasn't added until 1910? http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2012/12/are-we-paying-too-much-tithing.htmloriginally Did you know that we were asked pay 10% of our surplus meaning that we would pay 10% after our needs were met? " those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties." D&C 119:5
It's a little confusing to me when the savior taught " Freely ye have received, freely give" Matthew 10:8 Shouldn't we all be following that? I remember one time in my mission, we were in a big meeting and the Mission President said " We need to quit focusing so much time and attention on those that will deplete the church's resources. We need to find those that will help us financially and be kingdom builders." When he said this I was looking around the room, thinking to myself " Does anyone else think that's wrong?" I don't judge my Mission President, because I believe he was being instructed by his leaders, and was doing what he felt was right.
It seems odd to me that his leaders, the General Authorities have never said such a thing in General Conference, but could they have given him these instructions? "They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up." 2 Nephi 28:13. In our church we're quick to say that this scripture is talking about other churches. What if it's talking about us? The prophets wrote the Book of Mormon for those they knew would have it. Elder Holland gave a talk this last General Conference on helping the poor, encouraging us to be generous with our fast offerings. In the Mission President handbook they don't pay tithing on the stipend they receive. They get all their living expenses tithing free. A lot of people don't have money left after paying their bills. I want to give the brethren the benefit of the doubt. I hope that they don't take stipends, unless they absolutely need to. Even then I would hope that they would take the church's welfare food that they give to those struggling, before they would take tithing money. But I'm honestly not sure, because there's not transparency on where our tithing money goes. " the lord god worketh not in darkness." 2 Nephi 26:33 Does the General Authorities receiving stipends contradict this scripture? "Yea, and all their priests and teachers should labor with their own hands for their support, in all cases" Mosiah 27:5
We as a people have been trusting man. " Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man." 2 Nephi 28:31 I along with family, friends and other good people have been paying this money, because we relied on someone else to tell us god's will. and now I'm seeing the church buying 5 billion dollar malls, spending more money than ever on marketing; such as making Meet the Mormons, and now I'm learning of these stipends. I'm planning on paying 10% on my surplus, and giving more money to the poor. I invite all to pray about it, and see what god would have you do. Whenever someone asks for large amounts of money we should be cautious. Did Christ or his followers ever ask for money? After Joseph Smith died tithing was changed from 10% of surplus, to 10% of all income. In 1910 it was changed so that we must pay a full tithe to enter the temple. I had a friend remind me of what the savior had to say.
" My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves." Matthew 21:13 Let us forgive others of their sins, and the lord will do the same for us
Additional scriptures JST Genesis 14:39 D&C 51:13 Deut 26:12