mormon.org used to have a page entitled “Why don’t Mormons have paid clergy?”
As of April 8, 2017, the page was missing.
This is the web archive of that page from 2016:
The removal of the page may have something to do with the very public leaks of the pay for Mormon General Authorities.
I’ve reproduced the text from the web archive link below:
Why don’t Mormons have paid clergy?
Members are organized into local congregations called wards or branches. These congregations are organized geographically, and members attend a ward or branch near their home. Congregations meet together on Sundays to worship. The leader of a congregation is a bishop or a branch president. He is not paid for his service, but he donates his time to serve the congregation.
Members are called by their leaders to serve in various positions in their congregation. Leaders seek divine guidance when making such callings. Positions to which one might be called include teachers, youth leaders, clerks, etc. A member’s service blesses others and provides opportunities for the member to learn and grow.
A ward or a branch is a community in which members develop friendships and help each other. Members try to follow the teachings of an ancient prophet who taught that when we are baptized, we are “willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light” and “willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Book of Mormon, Mosiah 18:8-9).
Through service, members lift one another’s burdens and express their love.
Read other answers contributed by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Answers are the sole responsibility of the members
Isn’t this awesome? One of the things I love the best about the Mormon church is that everyone takes a part in teaching and administering in the church. Every member has opportunity to serve, we serve two year missions when we are 18, teach lessons, and organize fun and spiritual activities. The more opportunities I take to teach and serve others the deeper my understanding of the gospel becomes. Serving together in the church makes everyone a participant in the work of the Lord and it brings the message of Christ to life as we take part in His work. I am grateful to be in a church where I am an active participant in teaching, learning and serving.
Jesus didn’t get paid to serve, why should we?
Latter-day Saints are all expected to generously give of their time to serve in the church. Service opportunities vary greatly and can include being a congregation’s pastor, teaching classes, helping congregants gain employment, or helping watch toddlers in the nursery. These volunteer opportunities are temporary and Mormons often gain a wide variety of experiences throughout their lifetimes. Specific assignments are not sought after, but rather delegated out to a congregation’s members after those presiding over the congregation have prayed over the matter.
No one participating in this service is compensated financially, as we all are personally committed to help one another and assist in the church’s growth. I believe that this way of organizing a church is ideal because it allows congregants to become closely acquainted with one another through service, frees up funds given to the church to go to more important projects such as building chapels and advancing missionary efforts, and greatly reduces any potential for corruption in the church by removing financial incentives.
The Book of Mormon warns us about a thing called Priestcraft. Priestcraft is preaching for the sake of getting money and power. The Book of Mormon also extensively descripes how the priests, teachers, and even their king, labored with their own hands for their support. Accepting a paycheck for preaching is a disturbing and forgin concept to most Latter Day Saints.
There are a number of problems with a paid ministry. A paid priest must answer to both his supervisors and to the local church board, and can’t risk being too unpopular. Otherwise may lose his job. He must do all this while preparing a sermon each sunday and trying to personally tend a flock of hundreds, maybe thousands, all by himself. Things shouldn’t be done this way.
Casey Lee answered…
We all know that Jesus Christ shared His gospel for free with all people poor, middle class, and wealthy. There was never payment asked for His services of healing the sick, feeding the thousands, and giving people hope. That’s the same way as we know it should be today, just like Jesus did so do we. We share the message that God loves us, and His sin Jesus Christ died for each of us for free cause that is how it was when Jesus was here, and that’s how it is today.
Paid clergy do not exist in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Members of the Church have jobs in the world to sustain their lives. We believe that all members of the Church are clergy and called to serve in various capacities to serve as God’s servants on the Earth. We do this work as teachers, missionaries, clerks and organization leaders. It is taught in the Book of Mormon that we are to serve one another with love and kindness but not for money. While we respect the paid clergy of other faiths, we do believe in the words of Our Lord and Savior when he said “Ye cannot serve God and mammon (money)”
As a reactivated member of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints. My life has been blessed beyond measure because I have had the opportunity to receive callings in my ward and stake and sacrifice time and talents to help bless the lives of others. Having the opportunity to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ and study the scriptures has changed my life. I now live a more Christ like life and as a family we have witnessed the joy and happiness that serving in the church brings. The blessings that come from service are fulfilling! It was the service of members in our community that gave me the desire to become active.
As I have studied the scriptures and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. My desire to share it with others has strenghtend my testimony and serving in the church gives me the opportunity to continue to learn and grow closer to my Savior, Jesus Christ.
What of manner of men ought you to be? Jesus said “Verily I say unto you, even as I am.
By serving in the church allows every one the opportunity to become more like Jesus.
the church does not pay for leadership for the same reason Christ did not pay his twelve apostles. Chirst and the 12 gave up their lives to serve to show others the way to God’s kingdom, because of that they had the devotion that that was required to know God’s will for the people.
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we believe that each member is called to serve in some capacity in the Church. Some may be called to teach a class, or to lead music, etc. Members may also be called to leadership positions. The leaders each serve for a period of a few years and are then released from that position. While serving in any role members continue to hold a regular job outside of church. By giving a piece of the work to each person there is no need for a full-time cleric at any level. We share the work and therefore nobody is paid for their service.
A side benefit of this is that we tend to willingly donate our time in other areas of our lives as well, offering to help others on a purely volunteer basis. This helps us to learn to serve as Jesus did during his ministry and to feel charity for others.
A ward or branch is the local unit of the church. This is the place where members have the opportunity to develop friendships and to help one another. We get support and lessons on the scriptures and how to improve our family relationships.
Our Heavenly Father expects us to lift and serve one another in this life. This is the principle behind a volunteer clergy. The local leader of a ward or branch calls on various members on the ward/branch to volunteer their services in teaching and leading the other members. We all donate our time and thus are able to lift and serve on another. The leaders seek divine guidance in making these callings. We who have been called to also seek divine guidance in fulfilling our positions.
We each try to follow the teachings of an ancient prophet who taught that when we are baptized we “are willing to bear one another’s burdens, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.” (Book of Mormon, Mosiah 18:8-9).
Through our volunteer service, members lift one another’s burdens and express our love to one another.
Other profiles that answered the question
Other mormon.org profiles answered the question “Why don’t Mormons have paid clergy?” As many answers to the question I could find were reproduced below. (Retrieved 2017-09-02)
Again the simplest answer is that we do not have a paid clergy because god told us we should not have a paid clergy. Beyond that I see real drawbacks in a church having a paid clergy. here are some that have concerned me ofer the years:
When there is no paid clergy everyone is required to atain a levelof doctrinal understanding sufficient to preach the sunday sermon or teach the various lessons at church, with a paid clergy the congregants are allowed to neglect this relationship with God as they know they have a preacher to do this work for them.
We received the gospel from Christ and his prophets free of charge to sell what they gave us to make a living seems like stealing, or at least defrauding. Everyone is a child of God and as such has a right to the gospel that he freely gave us. Did not the profet refuse Namon’s payment for makeing him clean?
If we are not allowed to work on behalf of the Lord, to serve him how will we be his servants? Did he not send all his disciples unto all the world, not just the 12 apostles? Doesn’t a paid clergy rob me and the other congregants of the opportunity to serve God with all our hearts, mights, minds and strengths?
If it was not wise for Moses to judge all of israel by himself, why would it be wise for the paid clergy to serve the congregation by themselves?
It seems to me that the paid clergy through their common educational experience, of neccessity, have a lack of diversity of perspective on the gospel and this leads to dogma
Our lives are enriched greatly by not having a paid clergy. Because we do not have paid clergy, each member of the church has opportunities to learn and serve. It’s true that we are able to build friendships through this interaction, but there’s a more important aspect to this as well.
Because we take turns teaching, we have greater reason to study and apply the scriptures in our lives. As we do this we gain a clearer understanding of our Heavenly Father and our relationship with Him. Along these same lines, we are able to have spiritual experiences through our service and ministering to each other that we would miss out on were we to rely on a paid clergy.
Latter Day Saints, or Mormons, do not have paid clergy for one particular reason. We don’t have paid clergy because that is not the way that Christ set up His Church during his Ministry. When the Apostles were called, they had jobs as common people, whether it be bankers or fishermen. Christ did not set up a way to pay these men and women, due to the fact that He did not want them to be paid. In the modern day church, we do not have paid clergy for that same exact reason. Furthermore, we do not pay them because everything in the Church is volunteer and people learn to willingly serve their fellow man.
Our Church has no paid clergy because Christ never intended His Church to have a paid clergy. When he was on the earth, in Jerusalem, he received no pay for his ministry, and expected his Apostles to do the same. In the restored Church of Jesus Christ, it is the same organization as when Christ was on the earth 2000 years ago.
[working to scrape other profiles]