The Church has joined in more than 200 major disaster assistance efforts, including the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2010 Chile earthquake, the 2010 Pakistan flooding, the 2009 Samoa tsunami, the 2009 Philippines typhoon, the 2009 Indonesia earthquake, the 2008 Ethiopia famine and many others.
A recent study sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice focused on the charitable donations and volunteerism of active Latter-day Saints in the United States. Professor Ram Cnaan and a team of researchers analyzed survey data from a large sample of church-attending Latter-day Saints living throughout the country. Based on their findings, the authors concluded that active Latter-day Saints “volunteer and donate significantly more” than the national average.[iii],[iv] “Regardless of where they live, they are very generous with their time and money,” Cnaan, an expert in faith-based social services and the lead researcher, said. “Through a theology of obedience and sacrifice and a strong commitment to tithing and service, Latter-day Saints are model citizens.”[v]
Breakdown of Donations and Resources
The following are some of the ways in which LDS resources and donations are utilized:
In keeping with the biblical practice of tithes, Latter-day Saints offer one-tenth of their income to the Church. These funds are used for:
Providing buildings or places of worship for members around the world. We have thousands of such buildings and continue to open more, sometimes several in a week.
Providing education programs, including support for our universities and our seminary and institute programs.
Supporting the Church’s worldwide missionary program.
Building and operating nearly 140 temples around the world and the administration of the world’s largest family history program.
Supporting the Church’s welfare programs and humanitarian aid, which serve people around the world — both members of the Church as well as those who are not members.
On the first Sunday of the month, healthy members of the Church are encouraged to fast for two consecutive meals and donate to the Church the money they would have spent on food. These funds help those in local congregations, where Mormon leaders confidentially allocate funds to the needy, with the ultimate goal being eventual self-reliance.
The Church has joined in more than 200 major disaster assistance efforts, including the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2010 Chile earthquake, the 2010 Pakistan flooding, the 2009 Samoa tsunami, the 2009 Philippines typhoon, the 2009 Indonesia earthquake, the 2008 Ethiopia famine and many others. Naturally, the Church undertakes these projects without regard to the nationality or religion of the recipients.
When a disaster strikes, Latter-day Saints work with local government officials to determine what supplies and food are needed. Materials are then purchased or assembled locally or shipped from LDS storehouses. After urgent needs are met, the Church looks for additional ways to aid in long-term efforts. Our approach is always to help people become self-reliant by teaching skills and providing resources for a self-sustained life.
All of these efforts are made possible by the generous donations of Latter-day Saints and many other charitable individuals and organizations. One hundred percent of the donations given to the Church’s Humanitarian Services go directly to those in need; the Church absorbs all of its own overhead and administrative costs.