Mormons go Keynesian (?)

That is his title, not mine, I would instead refer to doubling down.  Matthew Crandall reports:

Despite high profile investments and for profit businesses owned by the LDS church, it is primarily dependent on member donations (tithing, or 10% of one’s income) for its operational budget. Tithing revenue has currently flat-lined due to demographic and geographical factors both inside and outside of the United States. As baby boomers retire, their incomes decrease significantly. Families are having fewer kids and younger people are taking longer to get going in their careers. This coupled with high unemployment for the last five years or so (and likely the next five years or more) all have a negative impact on tithing revenue.

Geographically more and more members are joining from poorer places in the world (Africa for example) and even in the rich parts of the world, like Western Europe, it is immigrants who are more likely to join who tend to be relatively poor. This also has negative consequences for tithing revenue.

Meanwhile demands on tithing revenue continue to increase. New missions need new mission homes and rapid church expansion in many remote areas means more chapels and temples that need to be built. Run-away costs in higher education make subsidies at BYU, BYU-Idaho, and BYU-Hawaii go up as well. The spreading of the gospel to every nation and tongue also means an increase in spending on translation and publishing. What strategy does the church have to combat this problem?

…Overall, the church has not engaged in harsh austerity measures. Rather, it has implemented Keynesian economic principles of targeted spending that it hopes will result in church growth and hence a growth in tithing revenue.

For example the resent “surge” in missionary force will likely increase the number of missionaries from around 58,000 to 90,000 by the end of the year. Currently there are already more than 75,000. This resulted in the creation of 58 new missions which will result in a significant increase in expenses for the church.

Presumably the view is that the “[non-animal] spirits” are on their side.  The article is interesting throughout, and for the pointer I thank Paul Edwards.


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