While there are several troubling things about the recent GA stipend issue, I think what is most tiresome for me is the feeling of constantly being left out in the cold when it comes to controversies that church leaders refuse to comment on, or send Newsroom cronies to do an inadequate job of commenting on. I’m tired of having to watch ostensibly progressive Mormons and Mormon scholars having to carry the water and perform the sometimes impossible gymnastics required not only to help themselves maintain some kind of sanity in the midst of so much distance and dissonance, but also to help others stay afloat. No comment no comment no comment no comment: oh wait here’s a comment, at last: be obedient, follow the prophet beyond all reason like a cult and I’m so angry when people leave. Decades of leaving it to others to fill in the gaps, provide the context, offer assurance, suggest novel ways to think about this or that, etc. I don’t think leaders should be constant hand-holders and explainers, but they either don’t care at all when there is some kind of moral or intellectual issue that needs serious attention, or they know they can rely on certain of the stalwart to bear the burden alone out on the front lines. It’s ecclesiastical bullshit of the highest order and it’s one of those things that makes me feel nothing but sympathy and understanding when I hear that someone is thinking of leaving for good. I think it’s often this feeling–not merely that there might be lying or obfuscation, but that you’re on your own against the wolves of orthodoxy who will defend the party line to the death and there is no help forthcoming–that often makes people feel betrayed and depleted.
On the General Authority Stipend Issue
by Jacob Baker | Jan 16, 2017 | Corporate Church, Featured | 8 comments
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“that church leaders refuse to comment on”
Do they have to legitimise every insatiable malcontent blabber-mouth who can’t be bothered to read the previous comments made by church leaders?
It’s just one long round of “What about that, well then what about this?” until they have to stop and go to work, and then a new one comes along.
There is no end to it.
Let those who want answers read the answers; and let those who don’t want there to be any answers keep squawking.
To avoid coming under the same condemnation as the church: http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_church_finances/No_paid_ministry/General_Authorities_living_stipend
hint: follow the footnotes
I see the point the Fair article is making- the stipend is not that lavish relative to a CEO’s pay, and it wasn’t ENTIRELY hidden. It was, however, de-emphasized to the point of being effectively hidden. The idea of living allowances was never once mentioned in a single place I, as an active, believing Mormon, would see it. The conference reports from the 40s, 50s, and 60s are not available through lds.org or any source members might commonly find them. I was 3 in 1985, so forgive me for not remembering GBH’s talk.
After the leaks, I did find two other references to the living allowance on lds.org. They were both ONLY in teachers manuals, and they were buried at the very bottom of the optional extra materials section. These optional materials were NEVER covered in any class I attended. How would I have known to look for this information?
However, the idea that we have “no paid ministry” was drilled into my head for as long as I can remember. It is mentioned in MANY lesson materials and talks from conference. In my mission, I taught that this was an essential characteristic of the true church. I and other elders even denigrated other churches that “preached for money” (many of whom get less than 120K, I’m sure).
Call me naive, but I know I’m not the only one who has had this experience. Out of curiosity, I recently chatted with the mormon.org missionaries four separate times, and asked them if ANY church authorities recieve money from the church. I specificly asked about General Authorities, the Q12, and President. 3 out of the four sets emphatically claimed that NO ONE recieves money from the church. Some told me that the GAs live on their retirements (this is also what I told people on my mission). 1 set knew about the stipend.
I hope that you and others can at least see why a person like me may feel betrayed or even deceived. This one seriously bothers me.
In chapter 5 of the Preach My Gospel manual it states, “All of the work in the Church is voluntary. No one is paid for such service.”
No distinction is made between administrative or ministerial work.
Growing up, I never remember seeing any distinction made.
From the Mormonnewsroom.org site…
“As there is no paid professional clergy, sharing congregational responsibilities and duties instills the values of community and fellowship.”
Amen. I am attempting really distill what my angst and issues are with the church. For me it is boiling down to the leadership. I have lost faith in them and even respect for them.
One example, Elder Ballard spoke at a Utah stake conference a year or so ago. Someone recorded it (and all the kids in the congregation 🙂 and that was put on the internet. I don’t see that as a crime. But one of the things he said really bothered me. He related a story about how a young man came in with questions and Elder Ballard said, “come back with your questions and I will answer them, but before you return read the BOM.” The young man returned and Elder Ballard said, “So what are your questions?” The young man answered, “I have none after reading the BOM.” Great for this young man. I am glad for him that he found answers.
But it is clear that a lot of lifelong dedicated members are searching for some answers. Elder Ballard seems to indicate he has answers for these questions. If Elder Ballard as an apostle of Christ has answers to questions people are wetting their pillows night after night with, why the HELL isn’t he sharing them? Doing so is more than just failing at his calling – it is doing the opposite of what an apostle should be doing.
Yes, the longer the brethren stay silent the more it seems they’re perfectly happy letting the masses believe they speak with Christ every Thursday in the temple, and they’re more than happy to be idolized and practically worshipped while people hang on their every word. They could put an end to all this TODAY, but they don’t.
What Gary W. said.
Current leadership does nothing to address real issues, doesn’t accept feedback (letters go back to SPs, who are usually the issue), and are content to let faith-promoting rumors (unpaid clergy) and unsubstantiated “doctrine” and “policies” go unchecked. Each SP basically has his own fiefdom to run without serious oversight. The top leadership could fix it, but they don’t.
Several years sitting on that realization made me finally consider that The church may not be true. Continuing to perform mental gymnastics and serious compartmentalization just didn’t make sense after that.