Why Does the Church Spend So Much Money on Temples?


By Hollie Wells

I don’t claim to know anything about the inner workings of the church, especially its finances. There have been a lot of rumblings about such things lately, and it has had me pondering on a question that I have heard asked often about the church: 

Why do we spend so much money on temples? 

Here are some possible answers. 

Expanded access 

The growing number of nationalities in the church also means growing distances between the members and the nearest temple. To make the temple accessible even once in a lifetime, the church needs more locations. To make the temple accessible for somewhat regular attendance, we need yet more temples. 

But some critics ask, why such elaborate, expensive buildings? We surely could make them out of basic materials or consolidate designs into more cost-effective options. They’re right. 

We could. 

But that’s not how the church views building temples. They are the houses of God. We promise to give our all to Him inside those buildings; the beauty and craftsmanship of the temple should reflect that on the outside. 

I think of the example of Nephi, who “labore[ed] with [his] hands” to build the first temple in his land with limited resources, built a temple “like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.” (2 Nephi 5:16-17) If the Nephites with such primitive resources could give so much and build a temple of fine workmanship, why should we not now give God gorgeous and elaborate buildings from the plenty that we enjoy? 

Redeeming our Dead 

The work of redeeming the dead is of the highest priority and it is time-intensive! Every temple counts in the great gathering of Israel! The more temples we build, the more we can accomplish now! We will need as many temples as possible– even through the millennium– to ensure all of God’s children have the opportunity to accept sacred ordinances. 

Building Zion 

Some questioners say the church should use those large sums of money for the poor and needy. Such critics don’t have an understanding of what happens inside the temples. Temple-goers make and repeatedly remember sacred covenant obligations to give all they have

and are to God. Covenant consecration makes people duty-bound to God and fellowman to feed the poor, visit the sick, and care for neighbors. The covenants made inside make us better people, who will probably do more than the church can in the long run on a private and individual basis. The church is building a Zion people, not a humanitarian organization.


  • Roger

    Indeed the Church is building a Zion people and not humanitarian organization; however, millions and millions of dollars are donated to directly and to other organizations engaged in humanitarian efforts around the globe. Church members serve the body of the Church and surrounding communities without and professionally paid clergy or compensation, whatsoever. This enables the Church to not only buildup Zion, in part through more Temples, in His name but to be blessed with a far greater amount of money and resources to help with others in need, while sharing the Saviors Word and Love to the four corners of the world and beyond.

  • Elaine King

    The people of Zion are one in the same with being the people who love God and help one another in need.

  • Katie

    Great thoughts. Thank you!

  • Shann

    Repair one wrong statement…. the church DOES have a Humanitarian Center and supplies items to poor and needy as well as disaster area ALL OVER THE WORLD. Including food to those in far away areas that have no food. The church is not ‘showy’ and does not need everyone’s praise when they assist someone. They are doing so all the time – all over the world. Temple building being beautiful is a way to honour our Father in Heaven. All religions build beautiful edifices to honour God – so do we.

  • Diana Johnson

    We are consolidating designs and using less expensive methods. That’s why the Church went to building smaller temples. Also, they are now using Boxable to build Temple much faster, and much less expensive. See the YouTube video https://youtu.be/DYeL42qckOs
    My son-in-law helps build temples. They are always looking for ways to cut costs, while still building a beautiful building!

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