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Stormin' Mormon

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About Stormin' Mormon

  • Birthday 05/23/1977

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  1. They did manage the assets assigned to them. They had "investment authority" (as defined by the law in question) but not "sole investment authority" (as defined by the SEC regulation in question). This was bad legal advice, not perjury. This was failing to adhere to federal regulations, not breaking the law. And that's still bad optics and not a great look for the church. I'm not really trying to deny that. But perjury? Coercion? Violation of federal law? That really is jumping to the worst possible interpretation.
  2. I sympathisize with people who want more financial transparency from the Church. But that discussion must go beyond simply pointing to the principle of transparency and saying that it's good. The value of transparency lies on a continuum, a spectrum, it's not all or nothing but rather a line drawing exercise. And once we recognize it as such, we (hopefully) come to realize that we actually agree on a lot of things; we just disagree on where that line should be drawn. I am reminded of the old joke, often misattributed to Churchill or Wilde: If we all agree that 100% transparency is a ridiculous ask, that some amount of obfuscation is necessary and desirable, well then, now we're just haggling over price.
  3. Or a less extreme example: Even states with robust open meeting laws allow governing bodies to meet in executive session away from the public eye on defined, specific issues.
  4. Ah yes, I see how I misread that. My apologies. I would posit on my own then that the optimal level of transparency for fraud prevention is somewhere less than 100%. For example, being transparent about account user names, passwords, or security questions would be foolish in the extreme. That optimal level may very well be 99.9% transparency, and there's valuable discussion to be had on where that optimal level is. But I (personally) don't think it's 100%.
  5. Or something similar. I was trying to point out the irony of claiming to not be jumping to the worst possible interpreation immediately after jumping to the worst possible interpretation.
  6. I think this is the crux of this discussion. We seem to agree that 100% transparency is not desirable, so now we simply quibble over the proper place to draw the line. The Church is getting dinged for drawing the line in a spot that critics (and the SEC) said was inappropriate. But the fact that they drew a line AT ALL shouldn't be shocking or scandalous.
  7. Hide assets from who? Which assets weren't reported on any 13f? Which assets did the SEC claim should have been reported but weren't? Edited to add: I won't argue that the Church didn't obscure the assets from the public, but that's a far cry from hiding assets from the SEC.
  8. I'm not really making an assumption, just interpeting events through the lense of my own experience. That's a pretty big assumption, though. I will invoke a milder form of Hanlon's razor here: there's no need to presume malfeasance when ignorance, untested presumptions, and bureaucratic inertia explain events just as easily.
  9. It wouldn't have been so much a lack of internal oversight, as a lack of external feedback. They do it that way once, twice, thrice, and get no feedback from the regulating agency, what conclusion are they supposed to come to? That leaves unresolved the question of whether the motivation was innocent or nefarious. I agree that the facts could be interpreted through either lense, so I look elsewhere for help in contextualizing these events. Generally, I see the Church as being run by honest people who are trying their imperfect best. After all, a saint is just a sinner who keeps on trying.
  10. At my previous job, I was responsible for ensuring our organization complied with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Every three years, we had a sit-down review with the Civil Rights Office of our state's DOT to review what we were doing and how we were doing it. I worked in the job long enough to have gone through several of those tri-annual reviews. And every stinking time, we got dinged on something, either because the personnel at CRO were now interpreting things differently or because they had overlooked something in our previous review. We were lucky. I doubt that the SEC has such tri-annual sit-downs with every agency filing filing a 13f. In that job, we did the best we could and corrected ourselves when asked to do so by the regulating agency. We figured CRO couldn't drive a parked car and action, even imperfect action, was better than not even trying to comply at all. The two situations aren't completely analogous, but those experiences have colored my views of this issue. I imagine that fund managers at EP tried something a little novel (though within the current guidance and/or statutory language), got no pushback or correction, and then just kept doing it figuring that if no one was squawking their 13f reporting was probably kosher.
  11. This part of a verbose Smac post way back on page 11 was where my thoughts on the matter solidified. And I don't think I've seen this point actually addressed since then. It appears that the black-and-white definition of investment discretion in the US code literally says a person has investment discretion "even though some other person may have responsibility for such investment decisions." Smac further lays out a case that the requirement for "sole" investment discretion appears to be a regulatory interpretation of the law, an interpretation that could very well be overturned by the courts as outside the statutory language. But that would only happen if some entity would rather try their luck in court. My shrug at that point wasn't because I necessarily agreed with the Church in its interpretation of the statute, but because I could see how a good faith effort at reading and applying the statute could have lead them down that road. I have no way of knowing whether the Church actually made this good faith effort or if their interpretation was simply self-serving and cynical. But I continue to believe that the Church is guided by fundamentally decent human beings who are trying their best. So I believe that this was a mistake in statutory interpretation, a reliance on misguided legal advice, and not some nefarious scheme to circumvent the SEC.
  12. I love what the Lord says in the first section of the Doctrine and Covenants: I believe that when the Lord says he speaks to us "after the manner of [our] language," He means far more than that He speaks to us in English, or in Spanish, or what have you. The manner of our language encompasses how the language is filtered through our cultural understanding and biases. As those cultural filters change and evolve, the Lord changes the manner of the language with which He communicates to us. It's not so much about "keeping everyone comfortable," but rather trying to ensure that our ever-evolving cultural filters don't alter the Lord's message too much beyond what He intends.
  13. That is how I read Moses 3. Seems like Satan is promising a world without consequences, not a world without choice. A lack of consequences would just as surely "destroy the agency of man" as would a regime of forced obedience.
  14. The prohibition (or discouragement) on cremation never made much sense to me. If God needs the physical material from my mortal body in order to craft a resurrected body for me, I am left to wonder, which physical materials? The molecules that make up my body at age 45 are not the same ones that made up my body at age 15 or will make up my body at age 75. Heck, given the number of people that have lived on this planet, I probably have molecules in my body right now that belonged to someone else, now centuries in the grave. So, Ima gonna be cremated and save my heirs a bundle of cash. (On a side note, my father passed away about 8 years ago, and a favorite story I often tell to exemplify his sense of humor occurred the week before he died. He had gone to the funeral home that morning and made arrangements (including a $1500 payment) for his eventual cremation. That night, he was talking to my sister on the phone, who was having severe car problems, to the point that she was contemplating just giving up and buying a new car. She didn't want to, though, because such a move felt indulgent, like she was spending money on herself. My dad replied, "I know how you feel. I spent $1500 on myself today and it really burns me up.")
  15. As I understand it, the Millenium will be a period of terrestrial law. Whereas, we are currently in the earth's telestial existence, and post-Millennium the earth will be Celestial, the Millenium will be a period of transition between the two states. Economics and commerce at that time will be more elevated than it currently is, but it won't yet be the perfect law-of-consecration ideal either. As such, I don't see why we shouldn't expect a terrestrial-law level of economics and commerce during the Millenium.
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