SALT Lake City’s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has directed that all of its members be refunded the tithes they have paid over the last three years to enable them cope with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
With 1.32m affected people, the US is the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic and has suffered more casualties than any other nation on earth with 78,616 deaths. As a result, several US states have had to introduce lockdowns, which has had a devastating effect on the economy, with huge job losses expected.
In a letter dated May 3, the church in Salt Lake City, the capital of the state of Utah, directed that members be refunded of their three years of tithes to cope with the situation. Apparently, the president of the church directed that members who have been paying tithes since May 2017 be refunded to serve as help during this coronavirus pandemic.
“The ongoing pandemic has created serious challenges for many members of church, especially for those who suffered loss of employment and other financial setbacks due to economic problems. Our hearts go out to all members of the church during these trying times.
“The Lord has blessed his church greatly during prior years of prosperity. We have felt impressed to consider what more the Lord would have us do to care for those in need.
“After much discussion, earnest pleading and heartfelt prayer to know the will of the Lord, we feel strongly that Lord’s storehouse should be opened for a season for the blessing of His saints. We are pleased to announce a general tithing refund programme to serve as a help in these difficult times.
“The church will refund up to three years of tithing payment directly to members who have contributed in the past. Eligible recipients include all active and less-active members, as well as all former members who paid tithing on or after May 1, 2017. Members should contact their Bishop or branch president to request a refund,” the letter read.
It has been reported in some quarters, however, that the letter is not authentic and an official response is being awaited from the church. Often informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints considers itself to be the restoration of the original church founded by Jesus Christ.