Cost of Temples

How much does a temple cost to build?

Probably between $7 million and $70 million, depending on the size and location.[1] With one exception,[2] the Church hasn't published the cost of building temples since 1981,[3] so estimates are speculative.

Why does the Church spend so much money on a building?

The Church teaches that temples are "literally the house of the Lord,"[4] so they might feel like it's not a place to count the cost. Temples are made with high-quality materials and are built to last for generations.[5]

Couldn't they build less expensive temples and feed people instead?

Yes, but they don't.

Why doesn't the Church just make small, inexpensive temples?

In 1997, the Church started building significantly smaller, less expensive temples.[6] The new smaller design could be constructed for "about the same cost it took just to maintain a large temple in a single year."[7] However, starting in 2002 the size of temples shifted back towards more moderate-sized buildings.[8]

Are temples built 100% with tithing funds?

Mostly yes.[9] The Church also never goes into debt to fund temple construction.[10]

What kind of economic effect do temples have where they are built?

There have been no broad studies on the economic impact of temples. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that temples have a positive impact on property values;[11] one academic study showed no effect either way from the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple.[12]

Some People Say . . .

"Yes, temples can be expensive."

— overheard in Sunday School

The Facts

  • Temples typically cost tens of millions of dollars, depending on size and location.

  • The Church started building smaller temples in 1997, although they still build some large ones too.

  • Temples are typically paid for with tithing funds, or direct donations from members.

Our Take

When we think of churches, sometimes we think about their role in charity—in serving others or giving to the poor. With that in mind, seeing a church build expensive buildings, like temples, can seem unnecessarily extravagant.

Temples are spiritual places, but their construction is temporal—so it's not unreasonable to be concerned with the cost of temples, especially when weighed against other things the money could be spent on.

Temples are dedicated to the highest forms of worship and making covenants with God. The Church has to balance temporal realities, like the cost of a building, with the spiritual purpose of the temple. It's okay to have a different take on what the balance should be. Small or large, temples are designed to bring us closer to God.

What's Your Take?

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These takes are curated for a general audience and may contain minor edits when posted.
  • Lincoln W.
    John 15:5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? 8 For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always. Judas’ query is a type of weaponized compassion. He takes a Good and tries to make it into the highest Good.
  • Jordan W.
    It’s not fair at all to suggest that the church is spending too much on temples instead of welfare. It can and does do both, to the tune of $900 million on welfare and humanitarian aid in 2021 alone.
  • Tanner H
    How much has the church donated in humanitarian aid? Fighting hunger, disaster relief, poor and needy, etc.
  • Marylyn E
    One day the Lord Himself will visit these buildings in His second coming. That is why they are built as they are. They bring out the best in each of us.
  • Richard K
    Yeah I'm in full support that temples are built and dedicated to the Lord, therefore, it has to be nice and expensive so I personally, I'm cool with its high cost.
  • Piper F
    I think we have a lot of money problems, as a society. It's the root of all evil, after all. I bet we could make temples a holy place with less money. However, if there was ever a good place to spend money it would be the actual house of the Lord on earth.
Footnotes