Romney wants to keep Mormon tithing private

Holly Bailey

Mitt Romney says one reason he doesn't want to release additional tax returns is because he doesn't want the public to know how much he and his wife Ann have contributed to the Mormon Church.

Per the Salt Lake Tribune's Thomas Burr, Romney tells Parade magazine in an interview set to be published Sunday that he doesn't want to disclose his charitable donations.

"Our church doesn't publish how much people have given," Romney tells Parade. "This is done entirely privately. One of the downsides of releasing one's financial information is that this is now all public, but we had never intended our contributions to be known. It's a very personal thing between ourselves and our commitment to our God and to our church."

But Romney has disclosed at least some of his charitable giving. His 2010 tax returns released in January revealed he and his wife had given $3 million to charity that year—including half to the Mormon Church.

While he has yet to disclose his full 2011 tax returns, a summary released through his campaign revealed he gave $4 million to charity last year, including $2.6 million to the Mormon church. A charitable foundation run by Ann Romney gave another $4.8 million to the church.

As Burr notes, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encourages its members to tithe at least 10 percent of their annual income.