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whistleblower on Church finances


Nofear

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1 minute ago, strappinglad said:

Would that we followed the Israelites when they brought their tithes to the temple and watched the priests burn them up, literally go up in smoke. There is a lesson there about how to regard the tithes given to the Lord. 

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Bear in mind that many sacrifices were not fully destructive, and the priests ate from the leftovers -- which were sumptuous.

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Some observations: 1.  The article is strangely incoherent.  It is difficult to see exactly what the wrong is that is alleged.    2.  The fact that the whistleblower is out for the money is

https://www.deseret.com/opinion/2019/12/17/21026103/the-washington-post-mormon-church-whistleblower-says-billions-thank-goodness Another perspective. " In an age of ballooning federal defici

I'm still trying to figure out why I should feel the church misled me by turning a portion of tithing dollars into a reserve fund for a rainy day. Sounds like smart money management and what the churc

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9 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

Lets say that this allegation is true.  What negative is it that the church uses my tithing money to invest in a for profit fund? 

Because the majority of tithe payers cant afford the basic necessities of life in places like Latin America, Africa, and a good portion here in the US. Requiring them to pay 10% just to use it to operate shopping malls is evil. 

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5 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

I'm still trying to figure out why I should feel the church misled me by turning a portion of tithing dollars into a reserve fund for a rainy day. Sounds like smart money management and what the church teaches the members to do with their own funds. This guy doesn't have all the facts of the bailout money so we will see if anything was done inappropriately but I think the church using earning on this fund to keep from having beneficial life go bankrupt and leaving its policy holders high and dry, was a good thing. I think the scandal of a 'wealthy' church stiffing policy holders would be worse. Also, the church has an interest in downtown development and rejuvenation...I wonder how these 'bailout' dollars were categorized and how exactly how they were spent. I'm not sure the church's accountants are totally inept so will reserve all judgement.

They misled you because they’ve maintained for years that tithing funds are not used for business endeavors, such as propping up shopping malls and bailing out insurance firms. Turns out they are. 

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15 minutes ago, carbon dioxide said:

Lets say that this allegation is true.  What negative is it that the church uses my tithing money to invest in a for profit fund?  If the money is not being pocketed by a person to buy cars and homes, is that not good?  The church is taking my money and amplify it.  Now in that case they should pay tax on that profit.  Got to stay with the law.  If they are not paying tax, they need to pay the tax along with interest not paid.  My only loss of trust with my tithing money is if its going to buy cars, homes, jets, and other things to enrich individuals personally.  If the church is banking my tithing money for a future period of trouble, that is good.  We should all have a good savings account to protect us when bad times hit. And bad times will hit at some point.  This bull market and economy will not go up forever.  If the George Albert Smith prophecy is correct and at some point we will see another depression far worse than the Great Depression of 1930s, then the Church better build up its position as much as possible.

It sounds like you won’t feel a loss of trust should the allegations be true. Others, as this thread had already demonstrated, will.

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54 minutes ago, Michael Sudworth said:

I am absolutely devastated at this level of deception that has been carried on for so many years.

I phoned all of my adult children tonight, instructing them not to pay any further tithing until President Nelson makes a comment why the Church has amassed 100 Billion dollars by misappropriating sacred tithing funds.

:crazy:

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7 minutes ago, 10THAmendment said:

They misled you because they’ve maintained for years that tithing funds are not used for business endeavors, such as propping up shopping malls and bailing out insurance firms. Turns out they are. 

Are earnings on principal (tithing funds), principal? I know with my Roth 401k, those things are considered very differently by the irs.

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39 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

Are earnings on principal (tithing funds), principal? I know with my Roth 401k, those things are considered very differently by the irs.

Non profits and government entities use funds based accounting, which is much different than accounting used for normal companies. There isn't profits, just fund growth (or decline).

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2 hours ago, Duncan said:

apparently there is a video

The fact that he made a video greatly lowers the credibility of this allegation, in my opinion.

Have any of you participated in any of the church's Personal Finances for Self-Reliance groups?  I was a facilitator for that topic in one session, and also for the Starting and Growing Your Own Business group in a different session.  The principles taught in those groups are very helpful.  But for those who have participated in the Personal Finances group, you will remember the Financial Stewardship Success Map:

1479101708_FinancialStewardshipSuccessMap.thumb.JPG.b5e452879851ce978dc69489b3d8f049.JPG

Shouldn't we allow the church to practice these same principles?  What is wrong with that?

 

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2 minutes ago, rchorse said:

I have a testimony of tithing independent of how the church uses the funds. I would continue to pay, even if the money were to be spent on lavish homes, extravagant vacations, and expensive cars for church leadership.

Having said that, though, I also have a testimony that leaders are in every way accountable to the Lord and legally accountable for how the funds are managed, and I believe no one is more conscious of and concerned about that accountability than the church leaders. When the full story is known, my guess is that no laws were broken, no one was materially misled, and this whistleblower is missing or misunderstanding some key facts.

But if there was any breaking of heavenly or earthly laws, those involved should be punished according to the laws of the land and the church, and I will continue to pay my tithing as always.

Having been a ward finance clerk in the past, I know how strict the church is on using the Lord's funds appropriately, and misuse of funds by anyone is considered to be a serious sin.  So I think you are right on in what you said here.

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2 hours ago, Danzo said:

Non profits and government entities use funds based accounting, which is much different than accounting used for normal companies. There isn't profits, just fund growth (or decline).

So does the fund growth side of things viewed as identical to the original source of the fund, Iow as far as the irs is concerned is the part of the fund that is from investment (iirc someone had calculated $68 billion) consider tithing just as the ($32 billion) actual tithing or is it seen as a different form of income and therefore available to be used in other ways that tithing might not be?

Tithing has never been set aside for humanitarian purposes overall, our fast offerings and humanitarian donations are. Tithing is stated to be used for the purpose of building up the Kingdom of God.  My understanding is that some tithing is used for humanitarian purposes, basically paying any overhead so that all offerings and humanitarian donations go to those in need and not to pay salaries of those handling the funds or other overhead expenses. 

I can see complaints of why aren’t they building more temples faster as that comes out of tithing funds, but I don’t see reasons to build temples just to build them.  Plus the last big financial scandal the Church had as far as I know was a result of an overly ambitious building program, so building as needed rather than as able makes sense as learning from experience. 

One of concerns I could see as having higher validity would be the closing of educational institutions run by the Church that the locals wanted to keep going (I believe the New Zealand school complex was one) due I believe to it not being seen as cost effective.  Another school in Mexico City iirc was discontinued and iirc turned into a MTC.  I don’t think given the current low cost of tuition at the BYUs that more subsidizing of those should be a concern as only a small percentage of church members have access to BYU and most of those are on the wealthier end of church membership.  Now using funds to raise faculty salaries to attract more of the higher quality professors...I think that could be considered (especially in areas of science and tech where research investment can yield monetary rewards, so as to eventually pay for itself to a certain extent).

Another area that might be seen by some as problematic is raising the cost of missions which are included as part of the expenses tithing funds are meant for (though I was surprised they had gone up so little in the 15 years since my son went out, so I would be interested to see how much was due to rising costs).

And I can see members who are frustrated by 4 wards in a building thinking the Church could afford to build more, but that policy might have come into play in anticipation of shifting to a two hour Sunday schedule, which makes it relatively easy. Considering how many chapels there are in Utah already, I think it reasonable to find ways to slow building.  Having a chapel within walking distance means there is spare time and resources available that can be used in accommodating overlaps, etc...the inconveniences of sharing space balances by the convenience of little travel time. 

If there is a similar issue outside of Utah where travel time is more significant, then I can see some members might feel it appropriate for the Church to build more chapels to fit needs of wider spread congregations if there is that much money in an investment fund. 

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Outside of tithing and missionary funds and two meals worth fast offerings, are there any other donations the Church is expecting of its members?

It would be worthwhile to compare what percentage of income was expected in the past when we had ward budgets and such and see how much a drop over the years is related to that. Also how much it would cost to completely fund the missionary program out of tithing. 

Though I think the latter is a bad idea given how many go already just because it is expected and their parents will pay for it. I wonder if the cost of a mission in the US and Canada and other wealthier areas was raised in part to encourage a greater sense of commitment. 

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5 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

And when the US government fails, how much will the church’s portfolio be worth do you think? Serious question. 

Probably would take a huge hit in that case if it was a relatively quick failure as opposed to a slower decline.  In a slow decline, a massive fund might be much more effective in softening the fall...especially if there were things that could be done if only there was funding available.  I think it wiser to look at the future in terms of just expected changes based on changing demographics, relocation of populations whether from wars, economic struggles, or rising waters, disasters....the normal ups and downs of life on earth.  

I know church members tend to look at the tribulations associated with the second coming (investment money would be helpful in early stages, land and storehouses and actual productive businesses such as farms and communication in the longer run, imo), but I think the world as it is tends to be enough to justify prudent savings (not savings just because they can, but if there is a plan of when to use the funds rather than just waiting for something bad enough, I would feel more comfortable because there is always the justification not to spend because something worse is coming...and then disaster hits and money loses value, imo money needs to be spent to soften coming disaster if one has foresight).  I think we have cycles of 7 years of fat/7 years of lean kind of thing though it is complicated by a global economy now and technology that can react to changes better.  Think for US and other Western nations Saints we have been in the fat for quite awhile.

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9 hours ago, Nofear said:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/mormon-church-has-misled-members-on-100-billion-tax-exempt-investment-fund-whistleblower-alleges/2019/12/16/e3619bd2-2004-11ea-86f3-3b5019d451db_story.html

Prediction: Even after the Church is cleared of any illegalities, the nay-sayers will use this as fuel for complaint and criticism for a long time.

 

edit: if you've reached your monthly limit of free post articles, clear your cookies for their sites and you should be good to go. I would change the unique identification url to be generic but haven't yet looked into their new technique. Stupid trackers.

Predicition: OP will assume that there have been no illegalities.

...Prediction fulfilled in OP!  ;)

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7 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

If all this climate change stuff is really true, it is good the church is stock piling.  We need more than just the government to depend on.  The government will always fail in the end.

And no Big Guy to count on when the Second Coming comes around, eh? 

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7 hours ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

And when the US government fails, how much will the church’s portfolio be worth do you think? Serious question. 

Indeed. It's hard to believe that anyone would seriously believe the church needs to save US currency for the Coming of Christ. It's cartoonish at best. 

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6 hours ago, bsjkki said:

You know, as a member, I always knew it wasn't my job to decide how tithing funds should be appropriated. In my personal life, I've been told to save for a rainy day and also accumulate 20 years worth of finances for my retirement. I guess, in your opinion, the church should spend all their money every year and not make any earnings on the tithing they receive. Is that what you are saying? Did you watch the video? This guy is not credible...he has an agenda with possibly a huge payday. He makes assumptions based on very limited knowledge of all the facts. IMO, I do not want the government involved in any way with tithing funds. What you tax, you can control. I give my ten percent and it is gone from my mind to be used as the church leaders deem the most necessary. There is no evidence of fraud or personal enrichment because of these funds. 

Of course there was an understanding that it would be used for charitable purposes in the way the church directed. There were many times I could not give to very worthwhile causes but assured myself that my tithe was being used charitably by the church. I think that is a reasonable expectation.

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5 hours ago, rchorse said:

I have a testimony of tithing independent of how the church uses the funds. I would continue to pay, even if the money were to be spent on lavish homes, extravagant vacations, and expensive cars for church leadership.

Having said that, though, I also have a testimony that leaders are in every way accountable to the Lord and legally accountable for how the funds are managed, and I believe no one is more conscious of and concerned about that accountability than the church leaders. When the full story is known, my guess is that no laws were broken, no one was materially misled, and this whistleblower is missing or misunderstanding some key facts.

But if there was any breaking of heavenly or earthly laws, those involved should be punished according to the laws of the land and the church, and I will continue to pay my tithing as always.

Perhaps God expects more than blind faith on our part regarding where tithing is allocated. Perhaps it is not just the intent that counts.

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7 hours ago, Gillebre said:

I believe here lay the next great test of faith for members of the Church. Satan will spread lies abroad in the earth, as in the Book of Mormon, to weaken and stagnate the mission of the Church with increasing fervor.

I believe that seeds of doubt planted by incessant mass media, and not favorable to the Gospel, will start to bear greater evil fruit in the coming years.

 

Or perhaps the real test of faith is to expect righteousness from church leaders, accountability and transparency on their part, and to not be led on foolish paths by men.

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