This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Despite the fact that I have in ways large, small, and painful, worked for the LDS Church my entire life, I've never received a penny from it. Not even a coupon.
Note: This includes the time I had to go to the hospital because I was knocked down twice in five minutes by the same church welfare cow.
For my church, I've cleaned ditches, roofed houses, vaccinated livestock, fixed plumbing and even canned chili. I've also held various time-heavy jobs like being in bishoprics and serving as an Elders Quorum president. Not a pay stub to show for any of it.
It gets even crazier. I once worked for two years as a full-time missionary in a faraway land, the privilege of which I had to pay for myself.
Actually, I didn't. My parents paid for it. Prior to receiving a call to work for free, I'd blown every nickel I had on riotous living. Pleased that I was still alive and not incarcerated at the age of 20, my parents were happy to kick in.
For all the free work I've done, it has never bothered me that I didn't get paid. Being a worker bee is part of the Mormon gig. We don't flaunt that beehive emblem around for nothing.
When the church wants some work out of us, it simply asks. The request comes as a "calling," which is not the same thing as a job offer. There's no negotiating of benefits or stock options.
Among Mormons, there are only two proper replies to a church calling, both of which are "Yes." The difference between them is actually following through and doing the job, and just pretending to.
We are counseled to never say "no" to a calling, although I have. Several times, in fact. But always to the future benefit of the church. They have no idea how many PR bullets I've helped them dodge by saying, "Oh, hell no. I'm not doing that."
But some Mormons do get paid. My sister worked for the church. She got paid. I ride TRAX with both LDS missionaries (unpaid) and church employees (paid). None of them has ever complained about what they get paid.
I don't recall when I realized that LDS general authorities were compensated for their work. This almost certainly means the news didn't bother me enough at the time to file it away for future grousing. It still doesn't.
When it comes to general authorities getting paid, I don't really care how much it is so long as they don't flaunt it like some rapper/pimp. Lots of bling, tricked-out rides, pinky rings, and gold grills are not the best delivery method for telling people to behave themselves.
Now that we seem to know what LDS leaders are paid, it's still OK with me. I say this because I wouldn't do it for that much. Not even close.
If you were to pay me for wearing a necktie even to bed, while simultaneously trying to keep people on the straight and narrow without a machine gun, it would have to be at least seven figures, each and every one of them a nine.
I earn a lot less than that as a newspaper columnist. How much? Well, it's none of your *&#@% business, is it? I do what I do for what I make because it's an acceptable bargain between myself and a tough editor.
Come to think of it, I don't know what I make. I get paid by direct deposit. My wife handles it from there. She seems fine with it, so that's all that really matters in my life.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.