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Church spends nearly $1 billion in humanitarian, welfare aid, leaders say

Feb 15, 2020, 5:15 PM

Multiple Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints buildings are featured in the photo. The churc...

The John Witmer Historical Association claims to have released the first photo of, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith. Photo: Getty Images

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints now gives nearly $1 billion dollars in humanitarian and welfare aid around the world. That’s double the spending in just five years, church officials said.

The church’s Presiding Bishopric provided the numbers and context in a rare interview this week to the Church News/Deseret News.

Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé said they cannot reduce the work of the church or its missions to just humanitarian aid and charity efforts. The worldwide church also funds 30,000 congregations, more than 200 temples and educational opportunities for hundreds of thousands of students.

And he said the church provides food, clothing and shelter for hundreds of thousands of people a year in the form of welfare and humanitarian aid.

“It’s no surprise we are talking about billions of dollars,” Bishop Caussé said in the interview. “Nobody should be surprised, given the number of members, millions of members, 16 million members in so many countries. This is a church that has become quite large, and so there’s a large budget, and we are grateful for that because that’s an opportunity to expand the reach of all the good that the church can do around the world.”

The unique look at finances came after criticism that the church is amassing wealth.

The faith’s leaders say their mission is to care for the poor, spread the gospel, and strengthen members while also practicing self-reliance.

Read more in the Deseret News here, or in the Church News here.

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Church spends nearly $1 billion in humanitarian, welfare aid, leaders say