The Lord manages his Church through the same principles we should follow in our own lives.
Have you ever wondered how tithing is used? And what about the Church’s commercial ventures and massive humanitarian program? The Church’s finances is a topic many people are curious about. Undergirding it all are the same basic principles that the Lord has taught his people to live individually. At the 2018 Church History Symposium, Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé gave the address “In the Lord’s Way: The Spiritual Foundations of Church Financial Self-Reliance,” in which he reviewed financial principles and gave examples of how the Church has followed them throughout its history.
The law of tithing. As the Church struggled financially in its early history, the Lord revealed the law of tithing as the main method for funding his work. “Today,” says Bishop Caussé, “the law of tithing continues to be an essential practice of Latter-day Saints, regardless of where they live, their social standing, or their material circumstances. It is also the foundation of the financial stability of the Church.”
Self-reliance. Early pioneers developed self-reliance as they settled in the western United States, independent of outside assistance. Self-reliance also has a spiritual nature: we increase our ability to provide for our own needs as we exercise our moral agency righteously. Bishop Caussé explains that the Church as an organization remains self-reliant by following two simple policies:
- The Church won’t spend more than its forecasted revenue.
- The annual budget for operating expenses won’t increase more than tithing contributions are expected to increase.
Provident living. This principle guides the Church’s preparation for unforeseen challenges. Church members are advised to gradually build up a reserve of money and necessities. Similarly, the Church invests some of the revenues of its commercial businesses to ensure that it can always fulfill its mission. Expounding on this principle, Bishop Caussé references the “wicked and slothful servant” in the parable of the talents, who did not choose to earn interest on what the Lord had given him (see Matthew 25:14–30).
The Lord’s own way. Finally, while the Church adheres to best practices for running its businesses and operations, Bishop Caussé emphasizes that when the Lord’s way diverges from the wisdom of man, the leaders of the Church put their trust in God.
The Church isn’t a business, and its purpose isn’t to make money. Rather, by practicing financial independence, the Church can focus on its mission of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, helping people come unto Christ, and caring for those in need. Likewise, as we become financially secure, we are in a position to bless more people around us.
Read Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé’s entire address, “In the Lord’s Way: The Spiritual Foundations of Church Financial Self-Reliance,” for further explanation of these principles.
Source: Mormon Newsroom
—William Adams, Mormon Insights
feature image courtesy lds media library
Find more insights
Read Leah Davis’s Mormon Insights article “Be a Financial Guru” for specific steps you can take to develop financial self-reliance and to practice provident living.
Read about the Church’s business and financial enterprises in the Gospel Topics article “Church Finances—Commercial Businesses.”
Watch, read, or listen to Elder David A. Bednar’s general conference address “The Windows of Heaven” to learn the doctrine and blessings of living the law of tithing.