I’m a Mormon, So…

I’m a Mormon, so I attend church each Sunday* as part of a ward; the wards (or branches) are grouped into stakes (or districts), then areas. There is a man called to preside over each level, leading up to the president of the entire Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (currently President Russell M. Nelson).

Like school boundaries, an LDS ward or branch (if there aren’t enough church-goers to form a full ward) is a geographical area drawn to include 150 to 500 members. That group is assigned a building and a time to meet each Sunday. A man is called to be the bishop; he, in turn, calls two counselors and a secretary. Those three men are known as the bishopric.

The bishop holds the priesthood keys to lead the work of the Church in the ward (see 3.4.1). He and his counselors form a bishopric. They receive guidance from the stake presidency. They care for ward members with love, helping them become true followers of Jesus Christ (see Moroni 7:48).

LDS General Handbook, “The Bishopric

The bishop is like a pastor, rabbi, or priest. None of the bishopric is paid, however, and each is usually married.

The bishoprics in a stake are presided over by a stake presidency, which also has a president and counselors. They are also not paid and are usually married.

Stake presidencies are presided over by an area president and counselors. Again, unpaid. Again, usually married.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has many, many councils, counselors, presiding members, general authorities, presidents of specific levels and groups, members of the Seventies, etc. above the local level of leadership. For an explanation, read the General Handbook on “Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Above it all is the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The head of the LDS Church and the Twelve is President Russell M. Nelson, the current president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Unlike the majority of callings in the LDS Church, those filling the positions in upper management levels do receive a monetary stipend. In 2000, the pay of one of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve was estimated at $89,325.05.

General Authorities, as these upper-level leaders are referred to, serve full-time as their only job. They often travel. They oversee operations all over the world.

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.

Eric Hawkins, reported in “MormonLeaks web page posts documents about ‘living allowance’ of LDS general authorities

©2022 Chel Owens


We Mormons are officially members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are to drop any name but that. Since many recognize the nickname of ‘Mormon’ and it works with the alliteration so well, however, I will use the term.

My other note is that I will keep to official doctrinal practices. I will add my own application of them, especially in response to comments.

My final note is that I LOVE discussing anything I write. Don’t be rude, obviously, but any and all queries or responses are welcome.

My final note beyond the final note is that I do not seek to convert anyone. I am motivated by forming connections, answering curiosity, and straightening pictures. So, you’re safe.

31 thoughts on “I’m a Mormon, So…

  1. Tippy Gnu September 12, 2022 / 10:46 am

    Interesting. I imagine that if you’re going to leave your career for full-time devotion to your church, some sort of living allowance would be in order.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens September 12, 2022 / 3:10 pm

      Exactly. And, I neglected to mention that those positions are ones the person gets selected for instead of applying for.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tippy Gnu September 12, 2022 / 6:28 pm

        That happened to my stepfather’s grandfather, Christopher Layton. He was prospering in Utah, back in the 1800s, when he was selected to establish a Mormon colony in Thatcher, AZ. I guess when you’re drafted, they don’t allow you to refuse.

        Liked by 1 person

          • Tippy Gnu September 12, 2022 / 8:43 pm

            I’d have to pray very hard, before giving up a successful business and leaving most of my family behind. When I read about this, I was surprised the church could order its people around this way. But if praying could get me out of it, I’d be praying.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Chel Owens September 12, 2022 / 11:36 pm

              😀 😀
              Don’t worry; the church can’t “order its people around;” we’re good little sheep. It’s all part of what we agree to.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Geo. Raymond September 12, 2022 / 1:23 pm

    My cousin joined the LDS church a few years ago. He seems to have found in them what he was searching for, but, at the same time, he has spent his life like Kane on the TV show Kung Fu, wandering from place to place. Though I seriously doubt he is solving anybody’s problems, as Kane does, with or without the kung fu.

    Yet, the church has continually reached out to him and helped him try to better his situation. As it is, they are probably the only people to do so, and for that, I have nothing but respect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens September 12, 2022 / 3:13 pm

      That sounds wonderful. No organization is perfectly operated, but we members are strongly encouraged to be friends to everyone since we’re all God’s children.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jason Frels September 12, 2022 / 1:37 pm

    I guess that being unpaid and with a family, they have full time careers outside of these responsibilities?

    Liked by 1 person

      • Jason Frels September 12, 2022 / 3:33 pm

        For my part, I have a Catholic background. In the Catholic church, the priest (or bishop for that matter) is not married and has no family to tend, lives at church provided quarters, and is a priest 24/7. My grandfather was a Catholic deacon and obviously had a family. I would be considered a lapsed Catholic at this point though as my divorce kind of threw me off spiritually, but that is a different topic.

        My aunt was a Methodist minister, and I think that was a paid position but I am not sure. She was married and had a son.

        Just an observation of the contrast in how things are done.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chel Owens September 12, 2022 / 6:03 pm

          That’s good to hear. I’ll admit I lumped “pastor, rabbi, priest” all together and mostly mentioned the “married” thing since I knew the Catholic faith had a few unmarried positions.


  4. Nope, Not Pam September 12, 2022 / 2:15 pm

    Hey Chelsea, just wondering about inclusiveness. Obviously the three pictured are white, is the upper echelon diverse in heritage

    Liked by 2 people

    • Chel Owens September 12, 2022 / 3:20 pm

      That’s a good question. Although the LDS Church excluded Blacks from holding the Priesthood for a time in its early history, there is no exclusion based on race. The predominance of men of European-descent has much more to do with that group’s being the majority group in the membership AND proximity to Salt Lake City, Utah, USA and/or ability to travel to Salt Lake City for meetings. Many of the upper leadership speak at General Conference (a big meeting we all listen to or attend twice a year) and speak in English; I’ve been wondering, lately, if it’s therefore a literal requirement to be fluent.


      • Nope, Not Pam September 12, 2022 / 3:39 pm

        That could be true, the need to communicate clearly would be paramount

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Annette Rochelle Aben September 12, 2022 / 2:43 pm

    Most interesting. I do believe that the Ministers who caretaker and lead our church receive no payment for their services. All the tithing goes directly to the utilities and other upkeep of the building. Members volunteer to maintain the cleanliness of the interior and exterior.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens September 12, 2022 / 3:22 pm

      That’s a nice setup. Volunteering often creates a sense of pride one doesn’t quite get with paid employ.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jim Borden September 12, 2022 / 8:37 pm

    thanks again for these insights into LDS. Do the bishops go through special religious training, like a priest would do when he enters the seminary? also, can women be bishops, or hold any of the management positions?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens September 12, 2022 / 11:35 pm

      Bishops do not go through training, per se, although they do receive a manual and support and information from the stake president.

      No, women cannot be bishops, nor hold the Priesthood.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. petespringerauthor September 12, 2022 / 8:48 pm

    I appreciate your posts, Chel. I try to pay attention to other religions, but I’m pretty uneducated about most. You did not refer to women in your post, so I wonder where Mormons stand regarding the church and leadership positions. Has this evolved over the years, or has the policy remained unchanged?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens September 12, 2022 / 11:38 pm

      I don’t know details of other religions, either! I’m looking forward to getting into some of the real-life quirks I face living in this community with these standards.

      Women do not hold the Priesthood; they therefore cannot hold Priesthood positions like bishop, stake president, area president, apostle, or president. Women are in charge over the women’s organizations: Relief Society, Young Women’s, and Primary.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. CarolCooks2 September 13, 2022 / 1:59 am

    Nope not Pam raised an interesting Q…It seems only 6% of 16 million members worldwide are people of colour(I hope) that is the correct term plus not one serves in the highest levels of global leadership…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens September 13, 2022 / 2:35 pm

      Agreed. As we become more of a worldwide church, we’ll have more worldwide leadership.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Chel Owens September 14, 2022 / 2:00 am

      It is quite structured! I hadn’t even realized till I wrote it out.

      Liked by 1 person

      • hbsuefred September 25, 2022 / 1:03 pm

        I’ve known that for quite a while, mainly as a result of trying to learn more about my idiot-ex and what the church and/or his churchly family did (to him) to make him who he is/was. I must say, to me the most confusing part is/was trying to figure who/what is in charge at any level i.e. God or man/men.

        My confusion over that question continues at a much lower level now that idiot-ex has taken on wife #4! I think she’s a church member but I’m not sure and it really doesn’t matter.

        The most gratifying upshot for me is that his action, though not unexpected, has finally and completely put the coffin of our marriage into its final grave/resting place. He is her problem now which leaves me totally liberated! For that I thank God and my deceased Jewish ancestors.

        Yeah, he said my mom’s house was too Jewish for him. This was one of the many creative excuses he gave for never visiting her and for justifying to himself his total lack of support for me in caring for her, even though he “loved” us both so much. I doubt his deceased Mormon ancestors would find that any more acceptable than I did!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Chel Owens September 25, 2022 / 10:10 pm

          I doubt that as well. I grew up in an era of the LDS Church that was not as close-minded and strict as some have expressed to me existed in the generation before. I’ll try to go into as I write more about it, since I wish to cover the culture of living with so many Mormons around.


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