Mormon Bishop Average Salaries and Benefits


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.

Jim Harmer

I own an online company where I create websites which are read by millions of people. I'm a non-practicing lawyer, husband and a father of three little kiddos. My faith in Christ is the most important aspect of my life, and this blog is where I get to share my beliefs. The rest of the time, I'm riding dirt bikes or traveling the world taking pictures. I live in St George, Utah where I attend my local congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Each month, over 30,000 people come to this site to learn about the basic beliefs of my religion, and it's my privilege to share about it. The opinions expressed on this website are not necessarily those of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as this blog is not an official source of church information. However, every effort is put into providing accurate information in support of the church.

10 thoughts on “Mormon Bishop Average Salaries and Benefits

  1. All I have to say about the tithing law is that to “tithe” or offer a “tenth” of what you have is one of the Mosaic laws given to the people of Israel. After His death and resurrection we were unchained and freed from the many laws of the Old Testament and we are now under the Grace of Christ. We are not bound to give 10% of our income by any law of commandment of Jesus in the New Testament. We are however, commanded to be charitable and told that God loves a “cheerful giver” for this reason I no longer refer to the money I donate to the Church as my tithe (it is often more than 10% anyway) but as my “offering”. Heavenly Father promises to bless what we surrender unto Him! Not a criticism! Loved the article!

    1. Hi Rachel, Thank you for your comment. I’m not sure I see anywhere in the Bible where Christ abolishes the law of tithing. You’re certainly right that there was a major change from the law of Moses, but as you mentioned, not all of the old law was done away. For example, I’m pretty sure “Thou shalt not kill” was still in effect 🙂

      But you’re absolutely right. It’s far more important to give from the heart than it is to give to the law.

  2. Jim Harmer, I am a member of the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints. If you will look at Hebrews 7 and in particular vs 18, you will notice Paul says that the Mosaic law has been disannuled and uses tithing as the example and why. Furthermore, if you read the Old Testament, you will find that tithing was instituted for Hebrews who were living on the land in Israel. This was done because all increase was from GOD’s land, Israel. I have been struggling with this since I found it. I hope you have no struggles. If you bring it up with a General Authority could you get back to me? I would like to hear an explanation. Please.

  3. The answer to this question is a simple one. It may not be palatable to most Christian religions however there is a living prophet on the Earth today. Christ\\\’s Church was reorganized by a living prophet Joseph Smith. These living Prophets have corrected a number of inaccuracies that were perpetrated in the Bible since the time of Christ, and they continue to do so.
    I believe you were accurate in your response that not all things changed when the law of Moses was replaced with faith, repentance, and receiving the gift of the holy ghost, which may lead to eternal salvation through grace, which comes to men by way of the atonement.
    If self-proclaimed Christians choose to ignore a living prophet they should at least rely on doctrine which is pure and correct. The most correct information we have today is the book of Mormon, accompanied by modern-day revelation. If any person has a sincere desire to know the truth about God and is willing to exercise their faith they will know of the divinity of The Book of Mormon, and the reality of our living prophet on the Earth today.
    It is commonly quoted throughout our church that \\\”faith without works is death\\\”. The atonement will provide Resurrection for ALL people, Christians included, with few exceptions. This is Christ\\\’s gift to us to help all men overcome physical death.
    A second benefit of the atonement is the ability to overcome spiritual death, which is defined as being unable to reside in the presence of Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ. Overcoming spiritual death requires work on our part in the form of: developing our faith in Christ; developing a repentant spirit, which we need to exercise continually; experiencing a change of heart or otherwise known as developing charity; and then after all we\\\’ve done we receive eternal salvation through the grace of Jesus Christ.
    The law of tithing is easy to comprehend if we address it with a proper perspective. When we study the scriptures and pray for understanding through the holy ghost we learn that everything has been created by God, primarily for the blessing of man. The Book of Mormon makes it very clear that when we provide an offering to God we are just returning something to him that he has given to us in the first place. All of our increase would not be possible without God. So he gives us 100% of what we have and only asks 10% back in return as a sign of our faith in Him. When we embrace this personal attitude it makes it much easier to provide a generous fast offering and be charitable to our brothers and sisters at every possible opportunity, whether they are members of this church, another church, or no church at all.
    As children of God we do not have the power to convert other people. However we do have the opportunity to lead them to truth, where they can develop conversion and a change of heart, of their own free will. This blog has the potential to lead many people in the correct direction, to Jesus Christ.
    Members and non-members alike can benefit from studying and comprehending the Articles of Faith. More importantly mankind should use mortality to learn of and comprehend the purpose of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

    1. To Mr. Chase, I understand what you are saying about the HOLY GHOST showing us through the BOM, that the Law of Tithing is real. However, I have asked and received only to work this out for myself. But using logic, why would the SAVIOR, put an end to the dispensation of law and open the dispensation of Grace, only to close grace and reopen the old law, when He had disannulled the commandment in Hebrews 7:18? GOD, is not a GOD of confusion, that is why this one has me stumped. I am a convert and have been a member for 39 years in Decenber. The KJV of the Bible is what brought me to the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day Saints. It’s hard for me to pick through the KJV and only adhere to the verses that serve my belief and ignore the rest. I have to obey the whole Bible. This isn’t some obscure remnant of parchment from the 4 Gospels, this is Paul stating very clearly about the Law. This commandment is to be disannulled, the commandment of Tithing. If you read on we are still supposed to give and maybe even more than 10%, it’s just not supposed to be tithing, which is a covenant and law for the Jews who live in Israel. So why then, if GOD, is supposed to be the same yesterday, today and forever is the Law of Tithe reestablished in the Latter Day era? Was there a commandment by any of the Latter Day prophets reinstituting the Law of Tithing? If so, can you show me where that is? If not, has the church just simply assumed the Law of Tithing is still in effect? I do feel it is important to get this straight. Thanks for any light you can shed on the subject for me.

  4. Joseph Smith was a living prophet?

    Seems to me he should have been able to reproduce the 116 pages of the Mormon bible then sir that he translated from the golden tablets so nicely buried near his house.

    You know the ones that conveniently were whisked back up to the heavens , witnessed only by family members .

    I mean seriously , the story is so ridiculous I find it amazing that anyone could believe any of it.

    1. From your comment, it seems that you’re more interested in showing contempt for other’s religion rather than engaging in a respectful discussion, but I’ll answer your question anyway.

      It seems pretty clear that you don’t quite know the story of what actually happened. The 116 pages were not whisked back up to heaven at all. That was the golden plates. The 116 pages were not re-translated for the reasons stated in the Doctrine and Covenants.

      1. The law of sacrificing, rituals and performances, all of which had meaning in representing and pointing to that great sacrifice that was going to be made when God would send his son, Jesus Christ, and allow him to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. Those were the laws that were done away, and it is explained that the Saviour fulfilled the law by finishing his sacrifice. What is now required is a broken heart and a contrite spirit seeking forgiveness for our own sins, then being baptized in water as a representation of Christ’s body being brought down into the grave and then lifted up again, and that for the remission of our sins. And then the receiving of the gift of the Holy Ghost, the spirit of God, by the laying on of hands. And that done by the servants of God.
        It is still required of us to keep the commandments of God not only outwardly but also spiritually as well. And by the spirit of God a person can ask the Father in the name of Christ, with faith believing that he will receive an answer, about the things that pertain to their own salvation, study the scriptures, consider and ponder upon them, then ask the Father in the name of Jesus Christ for understanding and he will give it to you.
        The law of tithing was first understood by the newly converted Latter Day Saints as the law of consecration, in which they turned over all of their excess properties that were beyond there own needs, and that to build up the poor and the needy, to acquire lands for church communities and so forth. It was later given by revelation to Joseph Smith, further understanding upon the law of tithing, that 10% of one’s incomes or increase should be tithed and that if one still had more than what was needed then it should be given freely by consecration to the poor, or to Lords store house in order to feed and take care of the poor.
        Remember, first seek to obtain the spirit upon you, many times we lose the spirit by our sins, getting upset, most of us have many faults. But if we humble ourselves before God, confess to him our faults, seek forgiveness, then we can obtain the gift that was was promised unto all who would diligently seek the spirit of God. And by the spirit, the mysteries of the Kingdom of God can be revealed to the children of men.

    2. Seems to me anyone could say anything is ridiculous. Like Jesus being resurrected or Jesus raising the dead. I could pick any number of things in any scripture and throw it at you. I’m sorry you have such a hard time in believing that miracles happen today just as yesterday. If I were you I would spend time building up your own faith in whatever religion you are part of instead of trying to break others down because you have such little faith of your own. I would never belittle another religion just because I didn’t understand it and don’t have my facts straight. You can spend a lifetime learning about one faith and still never have all the facts so I wouldn’t expect you to have any facts about this one. We will all pray for your faith!!!

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