Whether or not you believe it, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is reportedly the richest religion. So says a Kenyan news and entertainment website.
When it comes to money, we beat out the Catholic Church in Vatican City, the Catholic Church in Germany, and the Church of England, to name just a few.
Not that this is anything to brag about. It’s just surprising that a raggedy bunch of pioneers who dragged themselves into a desert 173 years ago should pull down more today than churches that have been around for a couple of thousand years.
We also beat out other relative newcomers like Scientology, Pete’s House of Voodoo, and the Kenneth Copeland Ministries.
Ken Copeland, a “prosperity gospel” shouter, claims to have brought over 122 million people to God, for which God presumably blessed him with $300 million and a private jet. Not bad for a beginner.
None of this is really worth bragging about. But it does raise some interesting questions, including one of particular concern to me.
If the LDS Church is indeed the richest church in the world, with enough cash on hand to buy a few small countries outright, when is it going to start issuing stimulus checks to its members?
We are in a time of crisis. The devil — and by that I don’t mean any particular political candidate — has come among us in the form of the coronavirus. Millions of people, including Mormons, have lost loved ones, jobs, even hope.
The government is shelling out stimulus money to ease the woes on the economy and the people. Why shouldn’t the LDS Church do likewise with its members? Both have money to spare.
I already received a stimulus check from the government. I don’t know how much it was because my wife immediately took it and did something with it. Since the lights in the house still work, it was probably something responsible.
But my wife attends a different church. So any Latter-day Stimulus check that my church sends out is mine.
Don’t even start. I wouldn’t spend it frivolously. I already have enough gunpowder, a moose trap, buffalo jerky, and all of Joe Bonamassa’s recordings.
I would use the stimulus money constructively. For example, I’m working (still in the thinking stage) on a baptism squirt gun for special issue to missionaries being sent to arid countries.
Also in early development — so early that I just thought of it — would be a virtual gospel ordinance program.
You’re sick. Well, you would arrange a Zoom linkup with a worthy priesthood holder. While your head is placed against your computer monitor, he places his hands on his screen. And — presto — a healing blessing is conducted wirelessly.
All of this would require an investment of capital. I’ve invested much of my life in the church — marriage, mission, Sunday school, home teaching, and a bunch of other stuff. It’s time for the church to protect my continued ability to help it in a commensurate manner.
To prove my faith, I’ll be waiting by the mailbox. This is money that I have coming, so there’s no way someone from a whole other church is taking it.
I’m not sure what I’ll do with $18 ($16.20 after tithing) but hopefully inspiration will come with the check.
Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.