Why Faith is Good for your Health

Dan Peterson shares the sad story of a young man who left the Church and later took his life.  Dan points out positives associated with faith.

Peterson quotes Bertrand Russell’s dreary thoughts about the pointlessness of life.

Bertrand Russell

“That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave;

that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the débris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand.

Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”


The best solution to lack of faith and despair is a return to faith and hope.

Among other things, Peterson shared research by Harvard scholars and compared C.S. Lewis’ life to Freud’s.  They correlated better mental health with faith and church attendance.

Latter-day Saints do well, according to Pew Research data in 2013:

Paid? Mission Presidents’ Financial Benefits

Mission presidents receive neither stipends nor any income from the LDS Church. But their expenses are paid.

How could any — except the wealthiest of Latter-day Saints — afford to serve for three years without financial support?

My first mission president was an accomplished attorney. The second was a train conductor.

Let’s read directly from the (leaked) handbook on this topic.

I found these explanations on via Google just this morning.

Critics may think gotcha. Accountants and tax attorneys see routine, sound, legal practice.

Leaks only confirm what members have long believed: we’re led by honest, inspired, prudent, law-abiding individuals.

Critics quibble over terms necessary and living expenses. But most such critics are neither tax attorneys nor mission presidents who left their employer for three years.

More from Google.  A critic scanned in the entire Mission President Handbook.

Fine with me. Nothing to hide. See anything damning or controversial below?

Are mission presidents getting wealthy? Nope. Only focusing on their objective:  missionary work.

Should the prez ride a bike?

As described in detail below (quoting the IRS rulings on this topic), mission president expenses and reimbursement are not considered income.  Therefore, such events, transactions, and items are not taxable.  What critics suggest is “sneaky” or malevolent is nothing of the sort.  Instead, it’s obviously legal, measured,  and appropriate tax advice.

Anyone in business, finance, and accounting see what’s in the handbook as routine. Not controversial. At all.

Any surprises here?  My mission president had neither a cook nor a housekeeper.  I imagine the office elders helped clean.

In other missions, including Latin America, employing cooks and others is more common.

No income equals no tithing. Simple.

These — all leaked but boring items in the handbook — are common practices by other faiths whose members serve full-time.

All these practices are in line with the IRS and other countries’ tax laws.


An LDS accountant posted this at Common Consent:  “Mission Presidents and Taxes

– the IRS ruled in the 1960s that missionaries and associated leaders do not pay taxes on their financial support if such support is reasonable

– expenses above are widely considered reasonable by the IRS for religious, government, and other representatives

– mission reimbursement for the above expenses is not considered income (therefore, no taxes are to be paid)

*** Don’t forget to read the comments below this tax blog. Very insightful!