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Clearing the Financial Record


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#201 calmoriah

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Posted 18 March 2005 - 01:53 PM

I am all for the church giving lots and lot of money and resources. But I also believe it prudent to have a very solid asset base with little debt to provide means not only for the current generation but for those to come. I guess for this reason mainly the leaders really don't want the balance sheet public knowledge. And in a way I can understand this.

I think the biggest problem with a full disclosure package (and I am unsure anything less would be sufficient for the majority of people interested in this) is that most people would take just a superficial look at the very complicated financial picture and come away with an incorrect idea of what is going on, thus it would not be more informative, but less. For one thing, there are international holdings, incomes and expenses all operating under different laws depending on the country. How many people are going to be able to get whether or not the Church is actually meeting all the codes as well as the needs in the most efficient manner possible? Then there is all the property and employees involved. Isn't the Church the biggest employer in Utah? And that's just one state in one country.

There is also the PR aspect to take into account when it comes to measuring cost and benefits. IIRC, someone familiar with the Church motor pool gave the information that while it would be more cost effective over the long term for the Church to use BMWs, that the choice was made to use a less expensive initially, but more expensive long term because of the suspicions and grumbling that BMWs would draw. We're not just talking about the PR cost, but also the cost of resources and employees' time required to answer these types of complaints. Yet how does one justify this type of choice on paper without including so many details that the whole thing gets bogged down?

The Church has also taken the course to keep overhead costs down by covering insurance (vehicle, building, personal, etc) and some other stuff (so the money is there working for us, not someone else), but to do so they must have a rather large 'nest egg' if legal requirements for organizations are anything like individuals.

I'm assuming that in order to remove the threat of the 'red', that they have a substantial cushion where they draw off of the interest much like universities do for endowed chairs, etc. When a university is given an endowment in the millions it looks like a lot more until one realizes that all they really get is the yearly interest which may only amount to the salary for one professor--less than a tenth of the endowment.

I'd like to see if those who think short term (like Blink) over long term (like yourself, Teancum) would be satisfied with just knowing how the money was divided up and what the percentage of those that are curious belong in each group (or hold another opinion). Personally I'm very grateful that the Church doesn't run their business anything like the Government does. Anyone know how much of our income tax goes toward just paying interest these days? I've lost track.

There will most likely be a huge difference for the Church between available assets and the full assets that would be reported on the paper when one considers the reserves (insurance, principle to draw interest off of) and the actual income from property, etc.

Finally, I would like to see some data on how much having the information available to the general public cuts down on actual fraud in large corporations with multiple holdings compared to private companies. I am curious as to whether or not this really does cut down fraud, which usually involves cooking the books in some rather complicated, 'takes a huge amount of work to uncover' way according to what I've seen in the past, and if it actually has a signficant effect on PR (in that those who are really suspicious aren't likely to be mollified by disclosure unless they are willing to put those hours into it). Who are the whistleblowers generally--the public or some insider or government person whose job it is to find this stuff?
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#202 Golden Tapir

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Posted 18 March 2005 - 02:00 PM

I was surprised one year when I read in the "report" (if one could call it a report) that the "Daughter's of the Utah Pioneers" information was included.
I don't think that's a legit inclusion; I haven't lived in Utah much/long, and I don't think it is right to fund outside orgs. (just me?)

What about the "Daughters of the Florida Pioneers"? are they also a legit church function- interest?
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#203 Moksha

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Posted 19 March 2005 - 10:12 PM

All other Churches give an open accounting of their books.


Are openness and honesty in financial matters a sign of a false Church?

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#204 calmoriah

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Posted 19 March 2005 - 11:46 PM

I was surprised one year when I read in the "report" (if one could call it a report) that the "Daughter's of the Utah Pioneers" information was included.
I don't think that's a legit inclusion; I haven't lived in Utah much/long, and I don't think it is right to fund outside orgs. (just me?)

What about the "Daughters of the Florida Pioneers"? are they also a legit church function- interest?

Maybe if you provided some specifics? The Church has a humanitarian foundation which provides funding for many organizations as part of their service to the communities. The Ds of the UPs are involved in a variety of things, including perserving historical records. The Church may have contributed to this aspect of the organization which ties in nicely with its own inclination to do the same.
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#205 calmoriah

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Posted 19 March 2005 - 11:48 PM

All other Churches give an open accounting of their books.

Not from what I've heard. How about some hard data to back up this claim.

Question--why the need to have such large type? Do you yell when talking across the dinner table too?

Edited by calmoriah, 19 March 2005 - 11:49 PM.

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When you climb up a ladder, you...begin at the bottom...ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top...so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first...go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world. Joseph Smith
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#206 Golden Tapir

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Posted 20 March 2005 - 09:09 AM

Cal: (my memory) this was presented as though the church was the 'guiding hand' BEHIND the DUP, not just a contributor (have they ever reported donations to other/outside orgs?) I think the report read DUP and other consilidated orgs/operations. I don't remem the date, that would be difficult to look up.

kinda/sorta strengthens the case for accurate reporting, doesn't it? (to end speculation and the resulting loss of attention/energy). People deserve the Truth, as I said, partially to strengthen their 'common consent', also for other reasons.
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#207 wenglund

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Posted 20 March 2005 - 01:00 PM

People deserve the Truth, as I said, partially to strengthen their 'common consent', also for other reasons.


I still find it interesting that the ones calling for full disclosure, and claiming that people "deserve the truth," as well as trumpeting "openness and honesty," are the ones here keeping their identity and personal information secret.

I am sure they have their good reasons. It just that I can't see why they don't grant the same as probably true for the leaders of the Church. Why don't they presume that the leaders have equally good reasons to keep portions of the Church's financial records discrete, confidential, sacred, private, etc.?

But, rather than explore this seeming double standard (since it is doubtful that they will ever see it as such), I would like to investigate why I, as an active tithe-paying member of the Church, and other members, as well as the leaders of the Church, don't have the same need as others for addition financial disclosure by the Church in order to informedly exercise my "common consent?"

Why do we believe we now have all the "truth" we "deserve" on the matter, and others believe we "deserve" more?

Why doesn't the lack of full disclosure not trouble us in the least, or even register on our radars (until the subject is raised), while it seems to be of at least some concern to others--such that they feel a need to raise the issue and press it on public forums?

Why do some of us believe the Church is doing the "right thing" in keeping the financial records partially discrete, confidential, sacred, private, etc., whereas others believe the "right thing" is full disclosure (whatever that entails--even corporations are not legally required to disclose each and every financial transaction)?

If it is not suspicion and distrust, then what explains the difference?

And, given these differences, whose preferences should prevail? Why?

And, how far down the road of full financial disclosure should the Church go? Why there? What difference will it make? What if there are members who think the Chruch should disclose more than what you believe they should?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund, 20 March 2005 - 02:22 PM.

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#208 calmoriah

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Posted 20 March 2005 - 01:09 PM

If it is not suspicion and distrust, then what explains the difference?

I think some may be explained by personal experience with others' suspicions and distrust and wanting the Church to appear in the most positive way to others as possible--letting its light shine on that hill, so to speak.
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When you climb up a ladder, you...begin at the bottom...ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top...so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first...go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world. Joseph Smith
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#209 wenglund

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Posted 20 March 2005 - 02:42 PM

If it is not suspicion and distrust, then what explains the difference?

I think some may be explained by personal experience with others' suspicions and distrust and wanting the Church to appear in the most positive way to others as possible

I figured that as well (at least for some). But, it is still about suspicion. Catering to the suspicions of others, whether intended or not, validates those suspicions (even when not reasonably warranted).

Anyway, if the concerns of others is what may be driving some people's position, then maybe we should explore whether it is beneficial to have Church policy controlled on that basis. Should the Church cater to the unwarranted suspicions of others? Why should the leaders care what other's may think on this matter?

--letting its light shine on that hill, so to speak.


I am not sure that full disclosure of Church finances is the "light on a hill" that Christ had in mind. As indicated earlier, we werent' given even a hint of the Church finances during the Savior's mortal ministry or even in the first century thereafter. In fact, the light that has been shown in the scriptures is really where our attention should be focused. That is, in part, my point.

I realize that you aren't stating your own position, but simply providing probable answering for others. So, my response is more intended for them than you.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-
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#210 vistamod

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Posted 20 March 2005 - 04:07 PM

I figured that as well (at least for some). But, it is still about suspicion. Catering to the suspicions of others, whether intended or not, validates those suspicions (even when not reasonably warranted).

Anyway, if the concerns of others is what may be driving some people's position, then maybe we should explore whether it is beneficial to have Church policy controlled on that basis. Should the Church cater to the unwarranted suspicions of others? Why should the leaders care what other's may think on this matter?



What is behind the whole, " avoiding the appearence of evil" council and mindset in the church?
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#211 Moksha

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Posted 20 March 2005 - 05:58 PM

You know an issue is convoluted when you are trying to talk a Church into doing the right thing.

Usually, they are telling us to do what is right and to avoid the appearance of impropriety .
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#212 Golden Tapir

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 04:55 AM

[QUOTE] Mok:
You know an issue is convoluted when you are trying to talk a Church into doing the right thing.

Usually, they are telling us to do what is right and to avoid the appearance of impropriety .


One word: AGREE
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#213 wenglund

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 09:35 AM

Moksha, Tapir, and Vistamod.

Will you be "doing the right thing" by answering my questions?

Or, is that something (besides your identity) that you wish to hide while ironically proclaiming the virtues of full disclosure?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-
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#214 calmoriah

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 12:21 PM

You know an issue is convoluted when you are trying to talk a Church into doing the right thing.

That statement of course makes the assumption that a particular action is the "right thing" and has been applied in multiple situations where the action really isn't the "right thing."
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When you climb up a ladder, you...begin at the bottom...ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top...so it is with the principles of the Gospel--you must begin with the first...go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world. Joseph Smith
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#215 Golden Tapir

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 12:48 PM

[QUOTE]Del March
Then why do so many people on this thread insist that the church should do this or that because that's what others do, because that's the right way to do things in the world, and so on? Why do people argue that disclosing the books would protect the church and its leaders, if we don't care about what others say?

As long as I'm on this...Wade England: If you insist on 'bullying' us to answer "YOUR" questions...I don't think that's productive. We each & all come here with different ideas & perspectives. The 'correct' answer/response to disclosure or non-disclosure is one mostlya matter of opinion, not of facts or some "Absolute" truth.

Oh come on now, that's simple:

because we each have slightly different views / perspectives of this question/situation. If the church is going to maintain the 'only true and living church thing'.... then how could what other churches do be relevant?

right and wrong, according to many apols here, are Absolutes, not matters of comparison.
I'm not a clone of anyone else, or their thinking/mentality.
the church insists on conformity and compliance at the same time many of the words of the earlier prophets are minimyzed/ignored. The church, through its surrogates contends with the teensy-tinsy bits of doctrine and history...such as wether or not JS had nookie with his wives other than Emma...

(ME): Marriage is 'mostly about' bonding with your spouse, read the posts regarding Maries questions about having children/the purpose of marriage.

me: Love, Repentance, and Forgiveness cover 99% of the Gospel of Christ.

If what the previous 'prophets' did with their responsibilities in-for gospel is consistant with LRF, then fine. If not, they haven't added to my life experience, they've detracted from it. if JS married anyone other than Emma, that was against the law, which JS was telling to obey & sustain. Saying one thing & doing another (opposite) does NOT add to my faith/confidence in Anyone. we expect more/better of our leaders, else WHY 'follow' them?

Edited by Golden Tapir, 21 March 2005 - 01:12 PM.

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#216 Teancum

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 05:22 PM

Moksha, Tapir, and Vistamod.

Will you be "doing the right thing" by answering my questions?

Or, is that something (besides your identity) that you wish to hide while ironically proclaiming the virtues of full disclosure?

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Sorry Wade I gotta chime in.

Again, disclosing ones identity on a public internet chat page is about 100 million light years away from a Multi Billion dollar a year revenue generating Church that requires for admittance, advancement, good standing and entrance as into its most sacred structures as well as eligibility to receive its most highest and sacred ordinances at least 10% of ones income.

I thought I had convinced you of this but I guess not as you are repeating it again. So I had to chime in.

One cannot with a straight face use this as any compelling reason for those who wish, on a public board, to remain anonymous to disclose themselves just because they are of the opinion that the LDS Church should disclose its finances.

I know you are very smart so I am still surprised to see you use this argument as it is really a bad one.

Teancum
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#217 vistamod

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 05:29 PM

Sure Wade,
What do you want to know about me? I haven't checked this thread for a couple of days.

Edited by vistamod, 21 March 2005 - 05:42 PM.

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#218 vistamod

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 05:36 PM

Wade you can go to one of my websites My Webpage and click under Family/Who we are.

You can see pictures of myself and wife and children and also find out my name and address. This is an art business I have. I am also a painting contractor in Salt Lake and Summit County Utah and own several rental properties. Anything else you would like to know about me?
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#219 wenglund

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 05:39 PM

As long as I'm on this...Wade England: If you insist on 'bullying' us to answer "YOUR" questions...I don't think that's productive.

Huh?

How my one quite mild follow-up query to you "full-disclosurists" about whether or not you will be disclosing your answers to several brief, though thoughtful questions, can in any reasonable way be considered as "bullying," is a mystery.

We each & all come here with different ideas & perspectives.  The 'correct' answer/response to disclosure or non-disclosure is one mostlya matter of opinion, not of facts or some "Absolute" truth.


My previous questions essentially asked why we think differently on this matter. Your answer is that we have different ideas and perspective. So, in other words, what you are saying is that we think differently because we think differently.

Very profound and illuminating!!

Whether intended or not, you certainly made your point about it not being productive to ask you certain questions. What a waste of time your answer was.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-
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#220 wenglund

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 06:06 PM

Wade you can go to one of my websites My Webpage and click under Family/Who we are.

You can see pictures of myself and wife and children and also find out my name and address. This is an art business I have. I am also a painting contractor in Salt Lake and Summit County Utah and own several rental properties. Anything else you would like to know about me?

Uhmm....my questions weren't about your identify. They were about your seeming double standard, and why it is that you have come to a different conclusion about what is supposedly "right" on this matter than I have as well as other members and leaders of the Church.

If you need a refresher as to what those specific questions were, they are available by clicking here:

http://www.fairboard...ndpost&p=186045

By the way, I enjoyed visting your company web site. It was very nice. I was especially interested to see how fully you disclose your company finances. Unfortunately, though, I couldn't find any disclosure of finances at all. Did I somehow overlook a prominent link to that material. I know how important such things are to you.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-
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My Blogs; Good in the World and  Leftist LUNCs (Law of Unintended Negative Consequences) of the Week

For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted. (Helaman 5:2}



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