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Scott commented on Saving money (and souls?) at religious centers

Shane: thanks for the push to go ask some questions!

I had a chance to interview some of the Ward officials for my local Mormon Church—I picked them because I know that they have a sophisticated system whereby every member of the Ward has a “job” within the community.

The Ward here in Palo Alto does do some educational programming for members and would consider doing financial literacy training, but there isn’t a big need for it in this particular community (would be interesting to check with other Wards to see if this is different). One interesting program I heard about was their Perpetual Education Fund (link below). This Fund is seeded by developed-world Mormons, used by Mormons in developing countries to pay for education and then paid back the loan through increased earnings.

In general, the Ward members I met here liked the idea of helping members of their Church financially, but an unexpected challenge I discovered was that programming for highly organized churches (like the Mormon Church) tends to come from a central organization. This means that there might be a trade-off between the positive aspect of tight bonds in highly organized religions with the challenge of dealing with a complicated bureaucracy.

Perpetual Education Fund: https://www.lds.org/topics/pef-self-reliance/perpetual-education-fund?lang=eng