FACT CHECK: Did The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints Refund Three Years Worth Tithes During COVID-19 Pandemic?

Jonathan Fonti | Fact Check Reporter

An Instagram post claims the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints refunded its members three years worth of tithes during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

What church can do this in Nigeria? Oh, I’m sorry, 3 years? They would have spent it nau.

A post shared by Tunde Ednut (@tundeednut) on

Verdict: False

There is no evidence the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints refunded three years of tithes.

Fact Check:

The image appears to be a screen-grab of an article about a purported letter sent by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, widely known as the Mormon church, outlining a new “Tithing Refund Program to serve as a help in these difficult times.”

“US Church ‘refunds members three years tithes’ as help during COVID-19,” the headline reads. (RELATED: Did The Church Of The Holy Sepulchre Just Close For The First Time Since The Bubonic Plague?)

However, the Daily Caller could find no credible evidence that the faith refunded its members three years worth of their yearly donations. Announcing such a large refund would have been picked up by major media outlets, yet none have reported on it. Nor could a statement to that effect be found on the faith’s website. In fact, the online donation page explicitly states that “donations are a free-will offering and cannot be refunded.”

Contained within the “General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” a guide for church leaders, are rules governing tithing, including rule number 34.4.9 which states tithes and other contributions cannot be refunded.

“The essence of all such contributions is that they are freewill offerings, made without reservation of purpose, retention of control, ownership in any form, or expectation of any benefit by the donor other than the Lord’s blessings,” part of the rule reads. “It is therefore improper to refund contributions given to the Church.”

The claim appears to stem from a fabricated letter that circulated among African news websites, some of whom have previously published misinformation.

Jonathan Fonti

Fact Check Reporter
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