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Written by Josh Smith   
Tuesday, 07 October 2008

I am often asked, “What’s it like to work for the Church?”

The short answer is: it is awesome and undoubtedly unlike working anywhere else.

Church employees have the distinctly unique privilege of participating in the Lord’s worldwide work.

Disclaimer: The following is not comprehensive, definitive, or ordered by importance — and it represents only the author’s observations.

Practicing What It Preaches

There are commonalities between the Church as an employer and other organizations. For instance, employees receive a paycheck. Paychecks, however, are not a defining characteristic of Church employment. Consider the following:

  • The Church is debt-free.
  • Temple worthiness is required for employment.
  • There is zero tolerance for pornography.
  • Employees are encouraged to participate in civic responsibilities and other wholesome activities.
  • Departments have devotionals.
  • Weekly enrichment classes are available to review material for upcoming Sunday lessons.
  • Employees are expected to seek the Spirit for guidance.
  • Work meetings begin with prayer and occasionally include hymns, scriptures, testimony, or other spiritual elements.
  • As an employer, the Church utilizes the same scriptural doctrines as revealed in scripture and through modern prophets; there is no double standard.

Things as They Really Are . . . and as They Really Matter

Obviously, walking through the Church Office Building doors will not automatically change someone for the better. What Church employment does provide is ample exposure to the Spirit. Maintaining the Spirit in corporate America is difficult; at the Church, it’s much simpler.

Unity and Individuality

Unity is more easily established between co-workers with similar hopes, aspirations, and experiences. Church employees achieve an amazing degree of unity, yet retain individuality. Both unity and individuality are illustrated by the local sports battles at Church Headquarters. There is wide unity among Church employees that sports are good, but there remains fierce loyalty and individuality. The question remains undecided: Aggies, Cougars, or Utes?

Integrity and Morals

The Church is the only organization that requires temple worthiness for full-time employment. As someone with a mere scintilla of business acumen can attest, employee integrity is paramount to success. History, scriptures, and the media clearly show what happens to financial institutions, businesses, nations, organizations, or individuals without integrity.

Anecdotally, I was briefly perplexed by a Church break room when I was first interviewed. Something was different, but what? Then it registered: there were no coffee machines crowding the walls, no dark stains on the counters, no creamers, no sugars, no little red straws, or other coffee paraphernalia. Coming from the java-guzzling capital of Seattle, some adjustment to non-jittery co-workers was required.

Direction from Church Leadership

We sustain the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators, and we believe that the Lord reveals His will to His prophet. We often see the Brethren and general officers participate in strategic decisions, attend occasional department meetings, chair various groups or committees, and share testimony and witness of the Savior’s divinity.

Financial Security

Tithing expenditures require approval by the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes (see D&C 120:1). Non-tithing expenditures must also be approved by Church officials. Insofar as Latter-day Saints believe individuals to be called of God (see Articles of Faith 1:5), which includes managing director hiring decisions, employees (and Church members in general) have significant security in financial decisions.

Additionally, periodic financial audits occur and provide validation that the Lord’s finances are used appropriately. Despite national or global turmoil, the Church’s programs will continue. Though growth may be slowed by circumstances, the Church will be in continual need of a faithful, skilled workforce.

The Best Part of Church Employment

Participation in more than merely lining shareholders’ pockets is extremely gratifying. Through employees’ contributions, testimonies and the truth of Christ are continually shared with the world. When people ask about my work, it is remarkable to reply that people need what the Church has to offer and that I am a part of making that happen. But the best part is: it feels good.

Josh Smith is a senior infrastructure engineer for the Church.  

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