The Pryor Times


January 26, 2012

Details on Mormon tithe

Mitt Romney's newly released tax returns provide more than an accounting of the Republican presidential candidate's remarkable personal wealth. The documents also give a rare glimpse into tithing to the Mormon church by one its most prominent members.

Romney reports he will give a total of $4.13 million to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over two years as part of his overall charitable donations. The former Massachusetts governor reported income of about $43 million for the two years. Separately, over the past decade, Romney and his wife, Ann, have given more than $4.7 million to the denomination through the Tyler Charitable Foundation, a multimillion-dollar trust the couple leads.

The LDS church famously seeks a high level of commitment from its members — in prayer, study, service to others and charity. A lifelong Mormon, Romney served as a missionary in France as a young man and as a top Latter-day Saint leader in the Boston area.

However, the Republican candidate's commitment to the church is a double-edged sword in the contest for the presidential nomination. Many GOP voters are Christians who do not consider Mormons to be part of historic Christianity. Romney supporters worry that details of his church donations contained in the tax returns could fuel opposition to him based on his religion.

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