Modest Living Allowance for Mission Presidents – Everything covered

The Mission President’s Handbook page 80

Things covered 100%

  • Living expenses (Food, tourist spots, christmas presents, etc.)
  • Medical expenses
  • Mission expenses for children serving
  • One round trip per child to come out and visit you on your mission
  • K-12th school costs
  • College tuition for kids
  • A house with furnishings
  • A house keeper (20 hours per week)
  • All home maintenance
  • Babysitting
  • A car
  • Use of any mission car for the wife for “Shopping and Errands”
  • Fuel and Car Maintenance
  • Travel within the Mission
  • Life insurance

All this 100% tax free (There is a whole section on this)

All this 100% Tithing free

Average expenditures 

  • Food ……………….6,599
  • Housing …………16,887
  • Apparel……………1,736
  • Transportation…..8,998
  • Consumables…….3,556

On average, the Mission president would receive about an income of  37,776, although I would guess that the travel expenses and clothing would be higher expenses

Average cost of a Housekeeper per hour (U.S.) $30 an hour – $31,200

So a 68,976 living allowance add on  22.% for Federal and state taxes would be the same as an $84,495 income.  Add on 10% tithing that doesn’t need to be paid and you get


Now that’s assuming that the Mission president lives like an AVERAGE american.  I would guess that many of the homes/cars/details could cost more or less.  This also doesn’t count having family members fly (first class) to come and visit their family

Of course, each Mission President’s take will vary due to location, cost of maids in the country, cost of the mission home (Which is probably nicer than the average american home), cost of medical expenses (Which I didn’t include) in foreign countries, expense at eating, etc.

I think this is a VERY low estimate of the cost per mission president in the United States, but gives a good feeling to what a “Modest Living Allowance” probably means.

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Last edited by Mithryn on June 13, 2014 at 5:38 pm

10 Responses to Modest Living Allowance for Mission Presidents – Everything covered

  1. FHL says:

    To be fair, the MP’s wife is expected to take on certain duties to support her husband. I have family members who are in that role, and the wife does a lot of admin tasks – medical treatment for all of the missionaries, organizing food for mission events, that sort of thing. My impression of them, not that I have visited them in the mission, is they are living modestly. One child on a mission, the rest are adults on their own. I don’t believe they make use of the housekeeper, either.

    And this is the husband’s full-time, 24/7 job. It seems disingenuous to call it “lay clergy” by providing reimbursements rather than salary. But, consider the alternative – having only wealthy people who can not-work a regular job for three years. (Or yes, calling it a salary, which makes it less “peculiar”.)

    They are genuinely good people and so I have a hard time painting the position with a wide brush stroke. I’ve certainly heard stories about the bad ones.

    • Mithryn says:

      I don’t think this is wrong, or even bad. Certainly people do this kind of thing in other organizations and have expense accounts.

      But I think the idea that “Mission presidents are humble people giving everything” is deceptive and dishonest from a “Lesson 31:Honesty in the priesthood manual” kind of way.

      Can we go to saying they are salesmen with corporate expense accounts. Even “Corporate Evangelists with expense accounts” because that’s far closer to what is happening that a “Modest living allowance” if the very very generous prediction is about 100k a year.

      I’m sure I could do a calculation based on what the 1% typically spend on food and clothing instead of the average american and this would “blossom like a rose” to north of 200k very easily. Given that Tom Phillips saw the numbers and reported an average of $170k, I think “Corporate Evangelist with an expense account” is pretty accurate.

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  3. JamesStrang says:

    My MP lived in the penthouse of one of the nicest skyscrapers in the city (South America). I can assure you that 16,887 a year is far below the actual cost at least for that housing. Everytime we went to his house it was like watching MTV Cribs.

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  7. Jim Bown says:

    I know a lot about being a Senior Missionary and what Mission Presidents and their wives do. They both seriously put in 16+ hour days 7 days a week. By the standards of the world they are seriously ‘under paid’. So, two of them (husband-wife) 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Even including the perks (and a bit of time off) their ‘pay’ is very modest. I doubt any of them do it for the money.

    • Mithryn says:

      Regardless of “Do it for the money” the line “We have a lay clergy” or “No one is paid in the church” is a lie.

      That’s the problem. If they were honest and said “We pay our clergy terribly for the hours they put in” I don’t think it would be an issue.

      Why do they feel the need to lie?

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