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Article Re: Payment of Tithing


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5 minutes ago, Ahab said:

No, I am making a distinction between my own perception and what God assures me is true. 

If God assures you something is true (as in take my word for it), without revealing that thing to you in some way, than that is called "faith" and not perfect knowledge.  That is exactly what I said, you can have "faith" that something exists beyond perception, but you can't know it until you perceive it.  The scriptures state that perfect knowledge only comes by tasting of the fruit (experience/perception).  We can't know beyond perception.     

You can't make a distinction between your own perception and a revelation from God, however.  If God "reveals" something to you, then it is your perception. To receive revelation is to perceive - to have one's "eyes opened". 

 

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42 minutes ago, Amulek said:

But from the perspective of the UK Saints, that doesn't really matter. 

How do you know?  I think it would matter to me if the church finances were not what they seemed. 

42 minutes ago, Amulek said:

the church hasn't had any major financial scandals during that time frame. 

You mean there haven't been any KNOWN financial scandals, right?  How could you know if it is all hidden?  Remember, you already acknowledged that you can't?

42 minutes ago, Amulek said:

And we can have confidence that the latter is being addressed because, in addition to making use of their own internal audit division, the church hires an independent accounting firm to come in and audit their policies, practices, and procedures every single year. And it's not some fly-by-night, no-name, rubber stamp shop either. It's literally one of the largest four firms in the entire flipping world. 

If they are already paying for it, why not make available what they have already paid for?  Financial problem solved!

Yes, this gives confidence that nothing illegal is happening, but I don't think many are really concerned about that.

 

 

Edited by pogi
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41 minutes ago, pogi said:
1 hour ago, Amulek said:

But from the perspective of the UK Saints, that doesn't really matter. 

How do you know?  I think it would matter to me if the church finances were not what they seemed. 

I was responding to your comment that "[...] the information available says little about how the church uses their tithing." (emphasis added)

That is factually incorrect. We do know how the church uses their tithing, because they don't donate more money to the church than what gets spent there in the UK.

As such, everything you (or them or anyone else) might like to know regarding expenditures relating to the monies received from Saints in Great Britain is contained within that document. 

 

1 hour ago, pogi said:
1 hour ago, Amulek said:

the church hasn't had any major financial scandals during that time frame. 

You mean there haven't been any KNOWN financial scandals, right?  

No, I meant what I said. The church has had no major financial scandals during the last 20 - 30 years. 

 

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How could you know if it is all hidden?  

Because the church audits itself and then reports those results to its members - every single year. And this has been going on for decades.

Here's the Church Audit Committee Report which was delivered during the 1990 General Conference:

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For the purpose of evaluating the adequacy of controls over receipts and expenditures of the general funds of the Church and its controlled organizations, we have reviewed the system of budgeting, accounting, and auditing, and the related financial statements of the Church for the year ended December 31, 1989, and the manner in which the funds are received and the expenditures are controlled.

Expenditures of general Church funds for the year were authorized by the Council on Disposition of Tithes, composed of the First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve, and the Presiding Bishopric, as prescribed under revelation of the Lord. The Appropriations Committee, in weekly meetings, administers major expenditures under the budget.

The general fund accounts of the Church are maintained by its Finance and Records Department, which uses modern accounting technology and equipment to keep abreast of the rapidly expanding and varied activities of the Church.

The Auditing Department, which is comprised of a staff of certified public accountants and similarly qualified auditors, is independent of all other departments and performs financial audits, operational audits, and audits of the computer systems employed by the Church. These auditing services are performed on a continuing basis for the Church departments and other controlled organizations of the Church engaged in worldwide operations, including missions, schools, administrative offices, and departmental activities.

The audits of local funds of wards and stakes are performed by stake auditors. The audit procedures are established and the audit reports are reviewed by the Church Auditing Department. Incorporated businesses owned or controlled by the Church for which accounts are not maintained in the Finance and Records Department are audited by the Church’s internal auditors, independent professional auditing firms, or government regulatory agencies.

Based on our review of the system of financial controls within the Church, together with continuing discussions with personnel of the Finance and Records and the Auditing departments, we are of the opinion that budgeting, accounting, and auditing controls are adequate for Church needs and purposes, and that in all material respects the general funds of the Church received and expended during the year ended December 31, 1989, have been controlled and accounted for in accordance with established Church policy and procedures.

 

That last bit is the money quote. That "in all material respects" bit is accountant-speak for 'we didn't find anything significant out of order.' 

You are welcome to go back through all of the audit reports for the last 30 years and see if you can find a single adverse audit report. 

When you find one (spoiler alert: you won't) then we can talk about the potential of there being a major financial scandal in the recent past. 

Until then, I stand by may statement. 

 

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Remember, you already acknowledged that you can't?

No, I acknowledged that we can't know that nothing has ever happened. In other words, we can't know that there has never been any mishandling or mismanagement of funds at all.

There invariably have been. As I said before, no person or organization (especially a large one like the church) is capable of making absolutely zero mistakes at all, ever. 

We can, however, be quite confident that nothing significant has happened in the last several decades though. Sorry if that wasn't more clear. 

 

1 hour ago, pogi said:

If they are already paying for it, why not make available what they have already paid for?  Financial problem solved!

Um...because that's just not how it works. They are performing an audit of the church's policies and procedures for the church's own internal use.

If the church wants to release something publicly with DT's name on it, there's a hefty upcharge for that. 

 

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Yes, this gives confidence that nothing illegal is happening, but I don't think many are really concerned about that.

Then what on earth are people concerned about? And how would seeing an audited financial statement alleviate those concerns?  

 

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4 hours ago, Amulek said:

No, I was just attempting to put the lie to your nonsense about how openness and transparency are some sort of objective good in any form of "government." 

So I asked if you were transparent with your own finances within the "government" of your own home. Are you (it's a sincere question)?

Again, there are none so blind who will not see.  You are not even capable of discerning the shame of your purely paternalistic or nanny approach.  Such shamelessness does not become you, Amulek.

4 hours ago, Amulek said:

...................................

As I said before, if you would like to substantively address any specific point / argument that either the author of the article or I have made, you are more than welcome to do so. 

Of course, anyone who knows anything at all about accounting and finance in large corporations recognizes that the article correctly enumerates the limitations inherent in the usual annual reports and even in the raw data.  It is, after all, the crunching of those data which is important -- the interpretation -- and which you want to avoid at all costs.  The author of the article knows that he has strung together a childish litany of irrelevant excuses for his paternalistic approach.  Like you, his conclusion is a non sequitur.  A substantive discussion would have dealt with the notion of transparency as a public good, or as bad policy -- and why that is so.

4 hours ago, Amulek said:

I would much rather have a discussion about actual arguments, but if you want to persist in just labeling anything you happen to disagree with as "childish" then I will abandon any further attempt at serious discussion with you on this topic and just return in kind.

There is no discussion possible with anyone who merely assumes what has to be proved, and who automatically dismisses the profound difference between closed and open societies.  Of course open societies can be more dangerous and unpredictable.  The average person is frightened of such openness, as are you, Amulek.  Like coming to Earth to be tested, it carries with it grave dangers.  Yet it also carries glorious promise.  Too bad that you don't opt for dealing with the adults in the room, but instead are only comfortable with blatant paternalism.

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