Ye are My Disciples?


Are we the Lord’s Disciples? Many weeks ago I was reading a post over on LDSA about the L-DS Church’s missionary program. Some scriptures were referenced that talked about what attributes and manifestations a missionary should have. At the end of the reference it said:

Doctrine and Covenants 84:91

91 And he that doeth not these things is not my disciple; by this you may know my disciples.

A questioned popped into my head. If the lord has said we are not his disciples if we are not doing these things, are we the Lord’s disciples if we are not doing them? The answer seems an obvious, No. But yet L-DS tradition and policies indicate otherwise. Could tradition be right? I could maybe see that, if this was an isolated scripture. If this was a lone statement and had since been overturned, I could maybe understand that we are exempt. But another thought came to me. What if this is not the only statement of its kind? What if there are many statements of what attributes Christ’s disciples must have. If so, are we meeting them?

And thus began my quest. I set out in search of similar statements in the Doctrine and Covenants, to the one above. My criteria was anything that says, “not my disciple”, or something similar. I’m sure there are MANY more statements of what a disciple of Christ must be, but I have only included those that met my criteria.

While reading these scriptures ask yourself these questions:

Does this apply today?

If no, why, when, and how was it changed?

If yes, are we doing it?

If we are not doing it, and it applies to us, can we then call ourselves Christ’s Disciples?

Obey God’s Law

Doctrine and Covenants 41:1-5

1 Hearken and hear, O ye my people, saith the Lord and your God, ye whom I delight to bless with the greatest of all blessings, ye that hear me; and ye that hear me not will I curse, that have professed my name, with the heaviest of all cursings.

2 Hearken, O ye elders of my church whom I have called, behold I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall assemble yourselves together to agree upon my word;

3 And by the prayer of your faith ye shall receive my law, that ye may know how to govern my church and have all things right before me.

4 And I will be your ruler when I come; and behold, I come quickly, and ye shall see that my law is kept.

5 He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple, and shall be cast out from among you;

Here the Lord tell us that if we receive his law we are his disciple. I interpret this to mean that, not only do we read the law, but God confirms that law unto us. It goes on to say that if we receive the law but do not do it, then we are not His disciples. This seems pretty cut and dry. So what I will focus on here is, What is the law?

I once again scoured the scriptures and here is what I came up with(I’m sure there are many more references than what I have here):

- God’s law is given in the scriptures(D&C 42:28).

- The things which have been given in scripture is Gods law to govern the church(D&C 42:59).

- God’s word is his law(D&C 132:18).

Even with these few references it is clear that God’s law is His Word, which is in the Scriptures. So open up your scriptures. There is God’s law. Anything that is NOT in the scriptures is thus NOT God’s law. I found a conspicuous lack of references stating that First Presidency statements and ensign articles are God’s law. Maybe that is significant.

Now in case you are still a little unclear on what God’s law is, let me use the scriptures to define what the scriptures are:

- The holy scriptures is the Bible(D&C 20:35).

- Scriptures are the revelations given by Joseph Smith, Jr.(Sorry, I lost the reference for this one).

- A fulness of the scriptures is forthcoming(D&C 42:15).

- Whatever elders speak, while preaching the gospel abroad, when moved by the holy spirit, is scripture(D&C 68:4).

So simply put open up your Quad and there is God’s law. This idea was confirmed by Harold Lee:

I say that we need to teach our people to find their answers in the scriptures. If only each of us would be wise enough to say that we aren’t able to answer any question unless we can find a doctrinal answer in the scriptures! And if we hear someone teaching something that is contrary to what is in the scriptures, each of us may know whether the things spoken are false-it is as simple as that. But the unfortunate thing is that so many of us are not reading the scriptures. We do not know what is in them, and therefore we speculate about the things that we ought to have found in the scriptures themselves. I think that therein is one of our biggest dangers of today.

Now comes the challenge. Read your scriptures. The D&C specifically applies to us today, but don’t let that downplay the importance of the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Also remember that more scriptures are coming. The records from the nations of the world, brass plates, etc. are forthcoming and contain God’s law.

When you read God’s law for us today, given in D&C, did you read anything we are not doing today?  If so, then we are not obeying God’s law and are thus NOT his disciples.

Care for the Poor and Needy

Doctrine and Covenants 52:40

40 And remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple.

In what ways have you helped the poor, the needy, the sick and the afflicted? I can honestly say in my own life I am not doing what I should. If we are not taking care of them, then we are not his disciples.

But here’s a hint, the best way to care for those who are less fortunate than us, is a program the Lord instituted about 180 years ago. It’s name starts with an “L” and ends with an “aw of Consecration”.

Miracles will Follow

A slight side track from the disciple thing, but it is in the same vein. The Doctrine and Covenants give a list of signs that will follow believers. This parallels a list of signs given in Mark 16:17, 18.

Doctrine and Covenants 84:65-73

65 And these signs shall follow them that believe–

66 In my name they shall do many wonderful works;

67 In my name they shall cast out devils;

68 In my name they shall heal the sick;

69 In my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf;

70 And the tongue of the dumb shall speak;

71 And if any man shall administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them;

72 And the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them.

73 But a commandment I give unto them, that they shall not boast themselves of these things, neither speak them before the world; for these things are given unto you for your profit and for salvation.

When was the last time you saw a member of the church do many wonderful works? Or cast out devils? When have you seen someone heal the sick(without a priesthood blessing; D&C 42:43, 44)? What about someone who caused a blind person to see or a deaf person to hear(without the aid of technology)? Or cause someone who can’t speak to speak? Have you seen anyone drink poison and not be hurt(Hahaha, sorry, I just remembered that scene in Princess Bride)? Have you seen any member of the Church take a bite from a snake and not be hurt(this may be literal or figurative, but I’ll leave that up to you)?

I can honestly say that I can count the number of times I have seen many of these things on…well…I’ve never seen many of these things. So if these signs accompany believers and I have not seen them in myself and others what does that say? Well the outlook doesn’t look that great for me, at least.

Now I know what you’re saying, of course you haven’t heard of them, these things are too sacred to be shared. But did you read verse 73? These things are given for our benefit. Sure we shouldn’t boast of them before the world, but they should be openly talked about amongst believers.

This presents an interesting parallel though. In my Silent Revelations post I talked about how, since public revelations are not given anymore, the only way for modern revelation to still happen is for it to be mundane boring revelation that is not released publicly. That has become our scapegoat for a lack of revelation. Isn’t it also interesting that since the public manifestation of the Gifts of the Spirit and Signs of Believers has stopped. We have made a scapegoat out of others by saying that these things are too sacred, so one talks about them. It is the only way we can claim these things still occur and explain their lack of public manifestation.

When things stop being manifest the only way we can maintain our belief that we are on the right track is to confine these things to the quiet regions of, other people’s experiences.

But maybe there is anther possibility. Maybe these things are not manifest publically be cause we are not meeting the qualifications of being believers, or Christ’s disciples. Just a thought.

Prepare for Missionary Service

Doctrine and Covenants 84:77-91

77 And again I say unto you, my friends, for from henceforth I shall call you friends, it is expedient that I give unto you this commandment, that ye become even as my friends in days when I was with them, traveling to preach the gospel in my power;
78 For I suffered them not to have purse or scrip, neither two coats.
79 Behold, I send you out to prove the world, and the laborer is worthy of his hire.
80 And any man that shall go and preach this gospel of the kingdom, and fail not to continue faithful in all things, shall not be weary in mind, neither darkened, neither in body, limb, nor joint; and a hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed. And they shall not go hungry, neither athirst.
81 Therefore, take ye no thought for the morrow, for what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, or wherewithal ye shall be clothed.
82 For, consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they toil not, neither do they spin; and the kingdoms of the world, in all their glory, are not arrayed like one of these.
83 For your Father, who is in heaven, knoweth that you have need of all these things.
84 Therefore, let the morrow take thought for the things of itself.
85 Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.
86 Therefore, let no man among you, for this commandment is unto all the faithful who are called of God in the church unto the ministry, from this hour take purse or scrip, that goeth forth to proclaim this gospel of the kingdom.
87 Behold, I send you out to reprove the world of all their unrighteous deeds, and to teach them of a judgment which is to come.
88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.
89 Whoso receiveth you receiveth me; and the same will feed you, and clothe you, and give you money.
90 And he who feeds you, or clothes you, or gives you money, shall in nowise lose his reward.
91 And he that doeth not these things is not my disciple; by this you may know my disciples.

I apologize for another mission story, but I can recall explaining to people how we as missionaries were not paid to preach the gospel. That we left home without purse or scrip and traveled to their land to preach the gospel. But at the same time, every month, 5600 Philippine Pesos was there in my missionary bank account waiting for we to withdraw it.

At the same time we spent massive study time reading Preach My Gospel to know just what to say to people. That sounds just like the missionaries described in these verses, right?

I’m going to go out on a limb and wager that having family, friends, and a church provide a monthly sum of money to support a missionary is not going without purse or scrip. Rather it is tying the missionary into a massive world wide recruitment program. Section 84 tell us that missionaries are to just leave. You’re not even supposed to take an extra set of clothes. Your family is not to provide for you. Rather the Lord is to provide for you. God’s angels will be there to bear you up. The people who receive you are the one who will clothe and feed you and give you money.

But that’s not really needed. We have a massive church program to pay for missionaries, and pay for their apartments. Just make sure they are dressed in their nicest suit and tie. Nothing says humble servant of Christ like a nice olive suit, white shirt, and tie strolling into a neighborhood where people can’t afford clothes, food, or clean drinking water. And don’t you dare give any of your monthly allowance away to help them!

But wait, there’s that pesky verse 91 again. Using Section 84, which is available in any missionary’s D&C, we can reasonably conclude(now it’s not our place to judge)that not a single missionary, serving in the L-DS Church’s missionary program, is a disciple of Christ. I didn’t make that up or interpret it to fit my views. There it is if a person does not leave without purse, scrip, two coats, etc. then they are NOT His disciples.

Must Receive Inheritance by Consecration

This is one that surprised me.

Doctrine and Covenants 85:3-5

3 It is contrary to the will and commandment of God that those who receive not their inheritance by consecration, agreeable to his law, which he has given, that he may tithe his people, to prepare them against the day of vengeance and burning, should have their names enrolled with the people of God.

4 Neither is their genealogy to be kept, or to be had where it may be found on any of the records or history of the church.

5 Their names shall not be found, neither the names of the fathers, nor the names of the children written in the book of the law of God, saith the Lord of Hosts.

I’ve mentioned this in previous posts But it deserves mention here. If we do not receive our inheritances through consecration our names will NOT be enrolled with the people of God.

Now if you are wondering what an inheritance is, just do a search for it in the Doctrine and Covenants. But simply put an inheritance as a parcel of land that a person receives after consecrating his/her property to the Bishop. It is upon this land that you build your house, grow you garden, raise your family, etc. It is the Lord’s land that He has given to you to be your stewardship.  If you look at any of the plats of the cities of Zion you will see they are divided into lots. These are inheritances. This is another reason to gather to Cities of Zion.

Now make a guess as to how many people in the church today have received their inheritances through consecration. My guess is ZERO! Now I could be wrong but, ya know.

Conclusion

As I mentioned earlier these are just four things. There are MANY more in all the scriptures. As I look at these things it strikes me personally that I am not doing ANY of them. I’m trying to, but my trying is not getting very far. It is scary to think that I am not numbered among God’s people. I think this is a fear which resides in a great many members of the church. Down beneath the surface. Beneath the strong front and “solid” testimony.

Here we have God telling us that if we do not do these things then we are NOT his disciples. We as a people either just ignore these things and open up the Ensign; or we confine them to relics of the past; or we find some way to wrest these square pegs into the round holes of our modern traditions and programs.

But perhaps there is another possibility. Maybe, just maybe, there is a small, teensy-weensy, sniggly, smidgen of a little chance, that we are not the Lord’s disciples, because we are not doing what He has commanded.

The thought is scary, I know. But this is a fear that we must embrace. We must grab it by the horns and use it to help us change, and repent. We must use this fear as a motivation to bring our lives into harmony with the Laws of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Which of these possibilities would be worse?

1. We ignore this fear, reassure ourselves that the Brethren will never lead us astray, continuing on our merry way. And then when the Judgement day comes Christ says to us, “Ye know me not.”

Or

2. We look at this fear and realize that we are not doing what we should. Then we read the scriptures and repent of our wickedness. After that we do what God has commanded, regardless of what friend, neighbor, or Church leader says. And then when that final days comes Christ says unto us, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

Sorry, but for me option #2 is the best. I cannot, nor will I, allow any person to keep me from God. I don’t care what opinion they have. I don’t care what their title in a corporation is. My salvation rests between me and God alone. I was taught at church to stand for righteousness and to obey God at all costs. Is that now suddenly wrong because God has told be something different that what the Brethen have spoken? I don’t think so!

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12 Responses to Ye are My Disciples?

  1. NomNom says:

    Zo:

    I posted this question on Rock’s blog, but thought I’d pose the same question here since this discussion is about what a disciple is/isn’t.

    We, at ward conference yesterday, were told two separate times in two separate meetings, by two members of the Stake Conference, that members of the Qof12 and First Presidency (examples of both current men, and past, were given) were both “sacred” and “holy” men. Each comment was seemingly made in passing (i.e. it wasn’t the subject of the discussion, it just came out in part of the discourse). “Sacred” and “Holy” were the exact words used.

    So, can someone (anyone, really), be defined as both “sacred” and “holy,” and, if so, what does that really mean?

  2. Dave P. says:

    I don’t have much to add, but I left the mission field right after they “raised the bar” and before Preach My Gospel was introduced. I never liked that book because it’s gotten to the point where a lot of members claim that people who haven’t read it can’t be good missionaries, full-time or otherwise. And since it was more likely written through correlation and not revelation, relying on it as a teaching tool has turned the entire concept of serving a mission for the Lord into trusting in the arm of flesh to teach people.

  3. John Ellis says:

    The question I have is, do you know anyone that you would consider to be the Lord’s Disciple, based on the the criteria you have listed above? Is it even possible?

  4. Toni Bate says:

    I have heard that argument about no purse or scrip enough times, usually among people who are making their way out of the Church because of all of the discrepancies they think they are finding. But none of my friends pay any attention to Luke 22:35-36. In it, Jesus says this to his apostles:
    And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But NOW, HE THAT HATH A PURSE, LET HIM TAKE IT, AND LIKEWISE HIS SCRIP: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

    The modern day church was simply following what Jesus did, when they first went without scrip or purse, then later went with it.

    As far as not obeying the law of consecration, the people weren’t willing to do it, as you well know. Even though we covenant to obey it, we cannot do it right now because the church is not set up to take all we have and give each of us a piece of property. These scriptures come to mind:

    D&C 56:4 Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good; and all this to be answered upon the heads of the rebellious, saith the Lord.
    D&C 58:32 I command and men obey not; I revoke and they receive not the blessing.

    Now, is God (who is just and merciful) going to punish us because it was withdrawn for a time when it was our collective fathers who sinned? Read Ezekiel, chapter 18. I am quoting only verses 19-20 below.

    ¶ Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.
    The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

    So, what do we do? We obviously want to obey all of the laws.

    I submit that you have very valid arguments as far as they go. I would suggest that we live the law as far as we can. We cannot give all of our physical belongings to the church and expect them to give us land and such for our support, but we can share our excess with the poor or with the church so they can help the poor. I submit that if we are millionaires, we are in the fix you are concerned about because we are obviously not giving away all that we do not need. We can also serve in the church, using our own supplies and refuse the reimbursement that is offered (or even insisted upon). We could even refuse to make our church service tax deductible (gas and time transporting ourselves or others in regards to our callings, money spent, tithes and offerings).

    I know a man who seemed so generous with his time, so willing to transport scouts and such. It was a shock when I heard him say that he took all of the miles and deducted them as donations so he wouldn’t have to pay so much in taxes. So much for generosity and so much for the covenant of consecrating time, talents, and everything you have. So, yes, I do see your point about how far away we have gotten as a church, but we can do as much as we can do in our individual circumstances and that is enough. We cannot do more than we can do and I am sure God perfectly understands this.

    I think so many people want to live these laws (myself included) because God is sending spirits to earth that are willing to live them. God knows what he is doing, of that I am convinced. We are not under condemnation for doing what we cannot do, only for what we will not do.

    Zeal without knowledge (NOT accusing you of this). Not so cool. I’ve seen far too many people leave the church because they refused to see (or did not look for) scriptures that would have helped them retain their testimonies. Not saying you are looking for a way out, but it is a pet peeve of mine that people get all hot under the collar about the no purse, no scrip thing and totally ignore that Jesus later told them to take a purse and scrip (and a sword). Obviously this post touched one of my buttons.

    Thank you for your time.

  5. George says:

    “The modern day church was simply following what Jesus did, when they first went without scrip or purse, then later went with it. … it is a pet peeve of mine that people get all hot under the collar about the no purse, no scrip thing and totally ignore that Jesus later told them to take a purse and scrip (and a sword).

    It might be your pet peeve, but one of my pet peeves is to assume that the Church(tm) is doing something to “simply [follow] what Jesus did” when there is absolutely no evidence to point to that that I’m aware of. When the church switched practices, is or was there anything demarking the change as a revelation, or what the Lord intended? Or, was it just another change that happened without further discussion? You paint that change as following Jesus’ example. Your painting, however, is lacking any corroborating evidence to suggest it was indeed done to follow Jesus’ example.

    Today, the church brings in approximately $25 million in required missionary monthly payments per month, or nearly $300 million annually. This is strictly from the required missionary monthly payment and doesn’t include any ancillary donations. This $300 million annually is what helps buy and furnish lavish mission homes, millions of dollars in car leases, gas receipts, apartment leases and on and on. It’s most definitely a business (everything in the church is a business) that is required to make ends meet and make a profit. Is that profit motive also in line with “following Jesus”?

  6. Toni Bate says:

    George, you bring up some excellent points. I honestly do not know if the church followed revelation when they began having missionaries take money with them. I don’t understand, though, what all of this is that you’re saying about “required missionary monthly payments” being used for lavish mission homes, cars, etc. When I went on a mission, the monthly payments were sent to me, not to the mission, and I used that money for food, rent, and so forth. So, this is a new one on me. What are the missionaries using to pay rent, utilities, buy gas and food, then?

    Also, you condemn me for supposing that the church was simply following Jesus’ example. Is that really such a wicked thing to follow Jesus’ example? Is it such a wicked thing to suppose that the church is trying to do that? The scriptures are plain: they went without purse or scrip and, later, they did. The modern church is doing the same thing.

    As for missionaries’ money going to the church instead of to the missionaries, I would like sources for your information, please. I am open to your point of view, even though you are not open to mine.

  7. zo-ma-rah says:

    Toni you brought up some some good points. I didn’t know about that verse. I’ll talk about some of your other points later. But about the Purse and scrip thing I just did a bit research. I’m not trying to say I know everything but this is the opinion I have thus far formulated.

    After you brought up that verse I looked it up online. Most discussions I found centered on what the word sword meant. Was it a literal sword or not. But one thing that kind of made sense is that, when the Lord told them to take their purse and scrip, he was doing so because people would now be more hostile toward them.

    I then searched for purse” and “scrip” in the scriptures. There are seven verses the mention purse and scrip. Out of those seven verses only one mentions taking purse and scrip. That verse is Luke 22:36 that you mentioned. Also in this regards there are three verses in the Doctrine and Covenants which tell us not to take purse and scrip.

    This seems to reinforce the idea that taking purse and scrip was a command given only to the Apostles at Christ’s time. Now, since there has not been a published revelation telling us to take purse and scrip we must still go by God’s most recent word of the subject which is what is in the D&C.

    Now of course this is all just my opinion. But I’m glad you brought this stuff up.

  8. Toni Bate says:

    @zo-ma-rah, Well, I looked, and you are right. There is nothing (as far as I can find) in the D&C where Jehovah is saying to take a purse and scrip. My question, then, is how do we know it was never revealed by God to take purse and scrip? What is the history of the decision? Does anyone have access to church recordings on this subject? Do we, the general membership of the church, have access to all of the revelations God has given? (I’m not being snarky. I really am wondering these things.)

    Thank you for taking my “pet peeve” seriously. I don’t mind someone having differing opinions from me – and I don’t mind learning more. What I didn’t like is that some of my friends have picked that subject up and run with it, without ever noticing that there is another scripture there, so when I saw the same thing happening here I wanted to say something about it.

    Thank you for your time.

  9. George says:

    Toni:

    No one (myself especially) condemned anyone. I made the observation that your comment was lacking in corroborating evidence. Nothing more. I do think we LDS have an issue with assuming that changes are the result of revelation, when Zo made it abundantly clear in his “Silencing Revelation” post that revelation has been, and is, virtually non-existent these days. The Church™ makes changes on fairly substantial issues by reaching unanimity, but nowhere in there is revelation present. And, if it is or has been, the Body of Saints has a right to see, read and listen to it.

    As to your questions on the missionary program, Henry Moyle was responsible for a number of the references to the lavishness present in Mission Homes throughout the world. In David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, Gregory Prince relates the following story:

    “…Moyle fell out of favor with McKay over irregularities in the missionary program, which Moyle supervised, … . The complaints [about Moyle] went beyond the amount of money that was being spent. … One of the first came from Apostle Mark E. Petersen, then serving as president of the West European Mission, who complained about the expensive furnishings in mission homes. As McKay recorded his report to the First Presidency shortly after April conference 1963, Petersen “could not” feel good about the expense: “He said he would not furnish his own home in such luxury, nor would the Mission Presidents furnish their own homes as such, because they could not afford it. He said some of the mission homes on the continent, and in England, have taken his breath away. He said that when the people look at these furnishings, they must think that their tithing supports such luxury. He said the people receive only $30 a week, and the women come tot the Church with holes in their stockings, and the children are poorly clad.” Already chilled toward Moyle because of perceived mismanagement of the missionary program, McKay responded “What President Petersen says must be true; that they are extravagant.”

    “Moyle defended the expenditures, citing “the people received by the mission presidents in the mission homes; the public officials, prominent people, governors, and mayors of cities. …” (See pages 214-215 of that book)

    As to the financial aspect, monthly missionary payments are required of each family with a son or daughter on a mission. Currently, that figures is $400US per month. I don’t currently have access to the new 2010 CHI, but the 2006 version describes it this way:

    “The Church has equalized the contributions required to cover the service-related expenses of many missionaries from the United States, Canada, and some other countries. These equalized contributions apply regardless of where such a missionary serves. Equalized missionary contributions do not apply to full-time missionary couples, full-time single missionaries who are not serving proselyting missions, and Church-service missionaries. To the extent they are able, these missionaries pay their expenses directly from their own resources.

    For each single full-time proselyting missionary from his ward, the bishop ensures that the monthly equalized contribution is available in the ward missionary fund. The current amount is identified in instructions from Church headquarters. These contributions are made by individual missionaries or by their parents, families, and friends. If necessary, the stake president or bishop may ask stake or ward members to help support these missionaries by contributing to the ward missionary fund. However, Church leaders are not to solicit funds for any purpose, including the support of missionaries, outside the boundaries of their own Church units. Budget and fast offering funds may not be used for missionary support.

    Each month Church headquarters or the local administration office withdraws the equalized contribution from the ward missionary fund and sends the amount approved for the mission to the mission president. Each mission president distributes to his missionaries the funds necessary to cover their service-related expenses. He has discretion to distribute the money according to established policies and his understanding of the needs of the mission.

    Ward missionary funds should not be used to send additional money to missionaries who are covered by the equalized contributions. Nor should they be used to fund any other ward or stake missionary activities.

    Missionaries who are not covered by equalized contributions may be assisted from the ward missionary fund if they do not have adequate means and if the funds are available. However, they may not contribute to the ward missionary fund for their own use.”

    In countries where missionary contributions are not equalized, missionaries who are able are asked to contribute either the equivalent of the U.S. dollar equalized contribution or the amount of the mission base of the mission in which they serve, whichever is less. Instructions will be sent from the Missionary Department.

    If missionaries who are called from these countries need financial assistance to supplement contributions from themselves, their family, and the ward missionary fund, bishops may request partial financial support from the General Missionary Fund. This assistance is available only to single elders ages 19 through 25 and single sisters ages 21 through 39. To request it, the bishop submits a Request for Supplemental Financial Assistance for Full-time Missionary form with the missionary’s recommendation papers.”

    Maybe someone can post what the 2010 edition states, but I doubt it varies much from this. Taking the equalized amount of $400US per month multiplied by the 51,000 – and change – missionaries currently serving and you get an annualized income stream of nearly $250 million. There’s probably some deviation from that total given that the non-equalized nations monthly figure probably differs from the $400 per month, but I don’t have any of those figures. If anyone has access to those figures, I’d love to see them.

    As for the lavishness of the houses themselves, Moyle’s comments are instructive. Moyle, if you remember, was responsible for the vast building program of the church in the 1950s and early 1960s. He was quoted as saying, in reference to the purchasing of the site for the Washington, D.C., LDS Temple, “we cannot go wrong by getting property that is properly located.” The same mindset held true when buying any church property – including mission homes.

    In my former mission, the mission home was located in one of the most exclusive gated neighborhoods in one of the most expensive towns along the Mediterranean. It wasn’t the nicest home in the neighborhood, but it was very nice, with well manicured lawns and a large swimming pool. If I had to peg a value to the home, I’d put it at well over $750k in today’s dollars, accounting for location, size, amenities, etc. Likewise, other mission homes I’ve known (in the midwest and a major metropolis in the Northeast), the homes were much nicer than most – and the one in the Northeast was valued (confirmed by a property record search) well into the millions of dollars.

    Here’s a LDS Church News statement on that mission home:

    “In 1937, the New England States Mission was created, with headquarters in Cambridge and responsibility for six states and Canada’s Maritime provinces. Mission president Levi Edgar Young, a member of the First Council of the Seventy, bought part of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s estate in 1941, including a thirty-room mansion used as a mission home, with the house next door being purchased as a meeting place for the Cambridge Branch. President David O. McKay dedicated the new facilities in 1943. President Young’s hope for a chapel on the site was realized when a modern structure was built to house the Cambridge Branch, the offices of the New England Mission, and eventually the Cambridge Institute of Religion. President McKay returned in 1956 to dedicate what quickly became the hub of LDS activity in Massachusetts.”

    To be fair, I don’t presume to think that all mission homes are extravagant, lavishly furnished and valued into the millions of dollars… but I do know for certain that that total is > than 1, which, IMO, is probably > than 1 too many. Especially considering the concerns Mark E. Petersen (of all people) noted above.

  10. Toni Bate says:

    @George, thank you for the extensive information. Now I know a lot more than I did before.

  11. Trinity Leff says:

    Greetings! I’ve been following your weblog for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the good job!

  12. Toni says:

    I have been reading extensively on Denver Snuffer’s blog and have really been getting an education. I see that the concerns raised in this blog have more basis in fact than I had ever before supposed.

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