I recently did a Google search about Mormon bishop salaries and was shocked at how much misinformation and outright lies there are on this topic. It never ceases to amaze me how many people spend their lives trying to destroy the faith of others.
I have worked closely with two bishops, and while growing up my father was a bishop multiple times. So I feel very confident that I can give you a straight answer to this question.
All Mormon bishops serve completely and totally unpaid. They spend approximately 20 to 30 hours per week serving in the church and are never given one penny in return. In fact, Mormon bishops choose to donate 10% of their earnings from their day jobs to charity.
I guess the short answer to this question is if you’re looking to be a Mormon bishop for the financial benefit… I’d probably look elsewhere. Nobody becomes a bishop for the money, because it doesn’t pay. You become a bishop because you devote your life to Christ and are willing to give anything to build up God’s kingdom on the earth.
What Exactly Does a Mormon Bishop Do?
Mormons go to church in their geographical area closest to them. These congregations are called wards and are typically made up of 200-600 people. The leader of a ward is called a bishop.
Nobody applies to become or lobbies to become a bishop. The leader of the stake (collection of 7-10 wards) picks the bishop and simply asks the person if they are willing to serve. The bishop generally serves for 3-6 years.
The bishop is the spiritual leader of the ward. When someone in the ward has committed a serious sin and needs to talk through the problem with someone, they go to the bishop. The bishop also picks people in the congregation to help out in certain ways. Everyone pitches in doing different things so that the church doesn’t have to pay for professional clergy.
The bishop picks someone to play the piano, someone to make sure the building is locked up each night, someone to take care of the kids, lots of people to teach primary classes, to teach the teenagers, etc. Everyone pitches in for free to help everyone else. It’s really a beautiful thing. No one is ever forced to serve. Everyone does it just because they want to help out.
A bishop generally has meetings one night a week with the teenagers, one night per week to meet with his secretary and counselors, one morning meeting with the leaders of different organizations in the ward, spends about 10 hours per week meeting with individuals to give them support, etc.
Do ANY Mormons Get Stipends or Pay In Return for Their Service?
Yes, there are a select few Mormons in the world who are paid for their service in the church. Some general authorities are paid a stipend or modest salary for their work, as are mission presidents.
Gordon B. Hinkley, deceased president of the church, said “I should like to add, parenthetically for your information, that the living allowances given the General Authorities, which are very modest in comparison with executive compensation in industry and the professions, come from this business income and not from the tithing of the people.”
To be clear, the church is an extremely large worldwide organization with millions of members. The church employs thousands of people who build and clean churches, run the church website, work at any one of the church’s four universities, organize funds, etc. These are full-time and part-time employees around the world. HOWEVER, none of these people are paid for their ecclesiastical service. They aren’t paid for being the leader of a congregation, for being a priesthood holder, for teaching sunday school, etc.
Ecclesiastical leaders are those who are assigned (not volunteer and do not apply for a position) to preach the gospel and mentor others in growing closer to God. They are those who exercise priesthood leadership or other stewardship.
Why Do Mormon Bishops Give 10% of their day job income to charity?
All faithful Mormons, including all bishops, give 10% of their total income from their day jobs to charity. Actually, it’s more than that. In addition to the 10%, they also give a generous offering to the poor once a month while fasting.
In the Bible, in the book of Malachi, chapter 3 and verse 8, it says, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.”
That verse makes it quite clear what God expects of man–a tithe. There are dozens of mentions of the law of tithing in the Bible, which means that Christians of any denomination should give a tithe of their income to God.
God doesn’t need your money. He created the world. However, he does need a people who are willing to put Him first, and do God’s work on the earth. Paying tithing is an act of faith which I have personally seen improve and increase my connection to God.
Tithing funds are not used to line the pockets of church leaders. Church leaders have spent their entire lives in most cases in service of the church. I have personally known many leaders of the church and have seen their unyielding and relentless schedules for serving in the church.
Tithing funds are used in many ways to build up God’s kingdom. For example, to support missionary work, to build temples and churches around the world, to preserve historic sites, for family history work, etc.