(KUTV) The website Mormon Leaks has published private documents it says indicates how much LDS leaders receive in an “living allowance.”
The site posted a document that it says is a 2014 memo from Gary B. Porter, secretary to the Presiding Bishopric, to Elder Bruce D. Porter of the First Quorum of the Seventy, said to outline that the 2014 living allowance would go up to $120,000 a year.
The document reads:
In accordance with approved procedures, the annual General Authority base living allowance has been increased from $116,400 to $120,000. This will begin with your paycheck issued on January 10, 2014 (pay period 1).
If those numbers are accurate, general authorities’ living allowance rose about three percent a year.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that 89 men make up the top-tier of the church that is paid the annual allowance.
In 2013, the allowance had been $116,400, according to the memo.
A Charity Navigator report on pay of charity CEOs showed some worked for less than half the LDS $120,000, but they headed smaller organizations. For larger charities, most of which still aren’t as large as the LDS Church, CEO pay often fell between $500,000 and $1 million.
The website also posted what it says are Elder Henry B. Eyring’s pay stubs from the year 2000, showing a living allowance just above $80,000. The eight-page document, embedded below, had Eyring's social security number redacted and shows tax deductions, a living allowance and parsonage (housing) on the bi-weekly stub.
LDS church spokesman Eric Hawkins did not confirm the authenticity of the leaks but did comment generally in a statement on church officials being supported by funds from the church.
General Authorities leave their careers when they are called into full time Church service. When they do so, they focus all of their time on serving the Church, and are given a living allowance. The living allowance is uniform for all General Authorities. None of the funds for this living allowance come from the tithing of Church members, but instead from proceeds of the Church's financial investments.
Ryan McKnight, a Las Vegas resident, publishes Mormon Leaks. He didn’t gather the information, but provided a platform to publicize what someone else likely obtained from private records.
The Tribune spoke to McKnight and he told the newspaper in a phone interview:
"We cannot guarantee 100 percent they are real, but we are very confident that they are legitimate."
Last October, Mormon Leaks posted confidential videos of discussions among church leaders on political and social topics. The leaks provide no information about other sources of income for the officials such as book royalties, insurance, housing, health care or travel expenses.
"We are interested in transparency, pure and simple," McKnight said Monday. "Let the public decide whether this reflects positively or negatively on the church."
Local clergy in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serve as volunteers, without pay.
But “general authorities,” the top leaders in the church, serve full-time, have no other job, and receive the living allowance.
Prior to 1960, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provided its membership an annual report to account for the income and expenses of the Church. These financial reports are not available to the general membership today.
"Many charitable organizations and other religious institutions operate in a fully transparent manner. We feel that an organization that purports to be “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” should operate in the same way.
"MormonLeaks™ provides a safe, secure, and anonymous way to submit documents, videos, or any other information regarding the Church."
The allowance does not give details about other possible benefits such as royalties on books, health insurance or travel considerations.