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whistleblower on Church finances


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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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5 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

As a member, I have been taught that tithing helps the operational costs of the church. Buildings, temples, ward budgets etc.... I was taught my fast offering directly helps the poor. Do you feel it is wrong to for the church to have this rainy day fund? Or even an end times fund? I find no issues with it. 

 

I'd say that a rainy-day fund is prudent, but this is no mere rainy-fund by any objective standard.

I think that the church could avoid significant misunderstanding if it could return to the transparency of spending it had 60+ years ago. 

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Joseph F. Smith, prophet at 1907 General Conference:

"Furthermore, I want to say to you, we may not be able to reach it right away, but we expect to see the day when we will not have to ask you for one dollar of donation for any purpose, except that which you volunteer to give of your own accord, because we will have tithes sufficient in the storehouse of the Lord to pay everything that is needful for the advancement of the kingdom of God. I want to live to see that day, if the Lord will spare my life. It does not make any difference, though, so far as that is concerned, whether I live or not. That is the true policy, the true purpose of the Lord in the management of the affairs of His Church."

 

It would seem we're seeing that day.

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15 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Joseph F. Smith, prophet at 1907 General Conference:

"Furthermore, I want to say to you, we may not be able to reach it right away, but we expect to see the day when we will not have to ask you for one dollar of donation for any purpose, except that which you volunteer to give of your own accord, because we will have tithes sufficient in the storehouse of the Lord to pay everything that is needful for the advancement of the kingdom of God. I want to live to see that day, if the Lord will spare my life. It does not make any difference, though, so far as that is concerned, whether I live or not. That is the true policy, the true purpose of the Lord in the management of the affairs of His Church."

If our friends are right on this and the Church can operate while also making money on the EPA investments alone, then the requirement to have the poorest among us give them money every month really seems misplaced.  THis of course becomes a bigger issue if the Church, a conglomerate corporation comparable in networth to Amazon and Walmart, is continuing to make money without paying it's fair share of taxes.  As the whistleblower and his brother indicated, it only pays taxes on a very small percentage of it's business investments.  If true, that is really appalling. 

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1 minute ago, rchorse said:

Perhaps my faith is not blind, but based on personal evidence gathered through years of paying my tithing. Perhaps I also mentioned that this should be investigated and appropriately punished if it turns out that laws were broken. And perhaps it would be reasonable to refrain from judgment until there's concrete proof of wrongdoing rather than only one man's allegations.

I imagine the church may suffer some small penalty in the end.  But legality is really not the only  thing to consider here.  Should the Church sit among the world's richest corporations on the basis that we all are subsidizing it's business interests so it can amass more wealth?  If it legally can justify such action, great for them, I suppose, but that hardly means it's a decent or moral thing to do.  With that said, it's true, or at least likely true, that the other corporations ranking among the world's richest get subsized--like when they move huge working facilities into different areas and get tax breaks by the city, county or state.  But the reasoning behind that is to benefit the community by supplying it with steady jobs.  The Church, apparently, isn't so generous.  

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13 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

If our friends are right on this and the Church can operate while also making money on the EPA investments alone, then the requirement to have the poorest among us give them money every month really seems misplaced.  THis of course becomes a bigger issue if the Church, a conglomerate corporation comparable in networth to Amazon and Walmart, is continuing to make money without paying it's fair share of taxes.  As the whistleblower and his brother indicated, it only pays taxes on a very small percentage of it's business investments.  If true, that is really appalling. 

Yes, it is.

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We’ve all heard the conference talks saying if you have to choose between feeding your starving family and paying tithing, then pay your tithing.  This has never sat well with me, and now we see the church is hoarding money like Smaug on The Hobbit.  All is not well in Zion my friends.

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12 minutes ago, rchorse said:

Perhaps my faith is not blind, but based on personal evidence gathered through years of paying my tithing. Perhaps I also mentioned that this should be investigated and appropriately punished if it turns out that laws were broken. And perhaps it would be reasonable to refrain from judgment until there's concrete proof of wrongdoing rather than only one man's allegations.

Except you also said you'd pay tithing even if you knew it would be used for extravagent personal items. You expressed no conditions on payment, and that is what I am addressing. Unconditional payment is imo an expression in blind faith which is not contingent on moral behavior and accountability. 

 

 

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38 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Joseph F. Smith, prophet at 1907 General Conference:

"Furthermore, I want to say to you, we may not be able to reach it right away, but we expect to see the day when we will not have to ask you for one dollar of donation for any purpose, except that which you volunteer to give of your own accord, because we will have tithes sufficient in the storehouse of the Lord to pay everything that is needful for the advancement of the kingdom of God. I want to live to see that day, if the Lord will spare my life. It does not make any difference, though, so far as that is concerned, whether I live or not. That is the true policy, the true purpose of the Lord in the management of the affairs of His Church."

That’s an interesting prophesy!  Could you imagine that announcement at conference that we no longer need to pay tithing?  If that is indeed what they are saving up for, that would be welcome news by many.  That would allow me to start paying much more towards fast offerings if that ever happened.  I wonder how far this money would take the church if people stopped paying tithing tomorrow?

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13 minutes ago, pogi said:

That’s an interesting prophesy!  Could you imagine that announcement at conference that we no longer need to pay tithing?  If that is indeed what they are saving up for, that would be welcome news by many.  That would allow me to start paying much more towards fast offerings if that ever happened.  I wonder how far this money would take the church if people stopped paying tithing tomorrow?

Those who are alleging this have shown, as far as they can, I guess, that the Church takes in approx. 7billion a year in donations for tithing (not including other donations, I guess) and the operating expenses of the Church is around 6 billion a year.  And it was suggested of the 100 billion the church hides away and adds to, with the extra each year, it makes in the range of 7 billion a year.  So if the Church asked everyone to stop paying tithing right now, it'd still be able to build and operate as it does and make money.  Of course what is not in consideration of the other investments and business interests the Church has beyond EPA.  It likely has more worth and has more money making ventures.  

Considering it's wealth has more than 10 times in 20 years, it could have asked members to stop giving it money 20 years ago and would still have been able to operate as it has, or at least similarly.  

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8 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Except you also said you'd pay tithing even if you knew it would be used for extravagent personal items. You expressed no conditions on payment, and that is what I am addressing. Unconditional payment is imo an expression in blind faith which is not contingent on moral behavior and accountability. 

 

 

Tithing is voluntary. For those who believe, what happens with those funds is not theirs to decide. I think of pharaoh and Joseph. I’m sure the internet would have mocked them both. Faith is faith. You question the motives for this fund but, I am grateful the church has wisely managed their funds. It’s a Rorschach test.

You choose to believe the creepy whistleblower with sketchy motives? I think I will wait for actually all the factual information. (There are some interesting parallels in this statement....hmmmm)

 

55 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Joseph F. Smith, prophet at 1907 General Conference:

"Furthermore, I want to say to you, we may not be able to reach it right away, but we expect to see the day when we will not have to ask you for one dollar of donation for any purpose, except that which you volunteer to give of your own accord, because we will have tithes sufficient in the storehouse of the Lord to pay everything that is needful for the advancement of the kingdom of God. I want to live to see that day, if the Lord will spare my life. It does not make any difference, though, so far as that is concerned, whether I live or not. That is the true policy, the true purpose of the Lord in the management of the affairs of His Church."

 

It would seem we're seeing that day.

It would be fascinating to find out if the purpose of this fund is to make the church self sustaining. How much would it take to make 6-7 billion a year in earnings?

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28 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

...then the requirement to have the poorest among us give them money every month really seems misplaced. 

This will indeed be a hang up for many who do not understand the principle and blessing of tithing.

Tithing was always the hardest lesson for me to teach on my mission in the Philippines.  The people I taught were unimaginably poor in relation to US standards. Many only had dirt floors and got electricity when they needed it (mostly for karaoke 😃) from a car battery.  But in hindsight, as I have kept in touch with many of my converts, I can see now that what I taught them was a gift.

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17 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Except you also said you'd pay tithing even if you knew it would be used for extravagent personal items. You expressed no conditions on payment, and that is what I am addressing. Unconditional payment is imo an expression in blind faith which is not contingent on moral behavior and accountability. 

 

 

My reasons for paying tithing have nothing to do with how the money is used after I pay it, so why would that be an expression of blind faith?

To avoid being coy, I know from personal experience that God will bless me in many different ways if I pay tithing. I've lived it. I've seen it. You would probably interpret my experiences differently, which is fine. But I think I'm entitled to my own interpretation of the events in my life.

What part of that is blind, and why do you feel the need to cast me as a blind follower?

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27 minutes ago, pogi said:

That’s an interesting prophesy!  Could you imagine that announcement at conference that we no longer need to pay tithing?  If that is indeed what they are saving up for, that would be welcome news by many.  That would allow me to start paying much more towards fast offerings if that ever happened.  I wonder how far this money would take the church if people stopped paying tithing tomorrow?

If my understanding is correct, church operations are already covered by the intererest alone.

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1 minute ago, pogi said:

This will indeed be a hang up for many who do not understand the principle and blessing of tithing.

Tithing was always the hardest lesson for me to teach on my mission in the Philippines.  The people I taught were unimaginably poor in relation to US standards. Many only had dirt floors and got electricity when they needed it (mostly for karaoke 😃) from a car battery.  But in hindsight, as I have kept in touch with many of my converts, I can see now that what I taught them was a gift.

sacrifice brings blessings.  I don't know that there is any legal recourse here--the whistleblower and his brother seem to think there is and they have gotten some confirmation from experts on the matter.  It'd be nice if the sacrificer's understood up front that their sacrifices went straight to a large growing piggie bank each year, so when Jesus comes again there'll be plenty of dough and to spare.  Instead they were told it went towards building buildings and some were told it went to the poor and needy.  My wife was out with her sister recently.  As they strode around my wife gave some money to people on the street.  Her sister called out as if defensively "I give 10 percent of my money to the poor each month...I don't need to help them now".  My wife congratulated her on giving such a generous fast offering (we having a good idea that she and her husband pull in twice as much as us.  and we do quite well).  To which she responded, "no not fast offerings.  I give 10 percent to tithing".  My wife didn't want to be upsetting nor contentious by letting her know her tithing doesn't go the poor at all, so they went their merry way.  A well educated, and as she would put it, "well-informed" member of the Church confused about donations.  

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8 minutes ago, rchorse said:

My reasons for paying tithing have nothing to do with how the money is used after I pay it, so why would that be an expression of blind faith?

To avoid being coy, I know from personal experience that God will bless me in many different ways if I pay tithing. I've lived it. I've seen it. You would probably interpret my experiences differently, which is fine. But I think I'm entitled to my own interpretation of the events in my life.

What part of that is blind, and why do you feel the need to cast me as a blind follower?

Objectively it looks like blind faith so I am expressing my opinion on it. 

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If the allegations are true, then the loss of trust wouldn't come from what the church uses tithing money for.  The loss of trust would be from the church being hypocritical.  Our doctrine is that we should obey the law (see Article of Faith 12, Matthew 22:21).  It would bother me if the church (not just church leaders in their personal lives) was found guilty of not obeying the law.  

I believe the presumption of innocent until proven guilty applies here, so I will withhold judgment until the legal process runs its course.  

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1 hour ago, bsjkki said:

As a member, I have been taught that tithing helps the operational costs of the church. Buildings, temples, ward budgets etc.... I was taught my fast offering directly helps the poor. Do you feel it is wrong to for the church to have this rainy day fund? Or even an end times fund? I find no issues with it. 

 

As an Inactive  I never regretted the tithing money I paid until last night. Now? I want to resign my membership. There is nothing wrong with a rainy day fund, but classifying this as a rainy day fund is just plain wrong! The church could operate in perpetuity without taking in any tithing money with this fund. Just think about that for a second. 
 

it is absolutely immoral in my opinion to amass wealth like this especially for “charitable” organization. I never before bought into the arguments about city creek or anything else when it came to church finances. But with 100 billion dollars, the church could spend 6 billion a year in humanitarian efforts to alleviate poverty, suffering, finding a cure for malaria or whatever and not touch the principle money. I can’t think of a single reason for the church to hoard 100 billion in investments (the second coming is laughable since at the end of the world the investment will be worth zero). 
 

Honest question for you. What’s the right amount for a rainy day fund? If you had been struggling to pay your bills, worked two jobs to make ends meet (many leaders use own funds for activities, church members clean churches etc) and you found out your spouse had been hoarding money and you currently had millions in the bank he was just saving for a rainy day, would you be upset?
 

 

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15 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

Tithing is voluntary. For those who believe, what happens with those funds is not theirs to decide. I think of pharaoh and Joseph. I’m sure the internet would have mocked them both. Faith is faith. You question the motives for this fund but, I am grateful the church has wisely managed their funds. It’s a Rorschach test.

You choose to believe the creepy whistleblower with sketchy motives? I think I will wait for actually all the factual information. (There are some interesting parallels in this statement....hmmmm)

 

Tithing is voluntary yet comes with reasonable expectations. Legally in the US, for example, they can be expected to be used for charitable purposes.

There's a difference between wise management and hoarding. No need to conflate the two.

I choose to be concerned about this report and by the lack of transparency in church finances, and I hope it returns to more honesty and openness in that arena.

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1 minute ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

As an Inactive  I never regretted the tithing money I paid until last night. Now? I want to resign my membership. There is nothing wrong with a rainy day fund, but classifying this as a rainy day fund is just plain wrong! The church could operate in perpetuity without taking in any tithing money with this fund. Just think about that for a second. 
 

it is absolutely immoral in my opinion to amass wealth like this especially for “charitable” organization. I never before bought into the arguments about city creek or anything else when it came to church finances. But with 100 billion dollars, the church could spend 6 billion a year in humanitarian efforts to alleviate poverty, suffering, finding a cure for malaria or whatever and not touch the principle money. I can’t think of a single reason for the church to hoard 100 billion in investments (the second coming is laughable since at the end of the world the investment will be worth zero). 
 

Honest question for you. What’s the right amount for a rainy day fund? If you had been struggling to pay your bills, worked two jobs to make ends meet (many leaders use own funds for activities, church members clean churches etc) and you found out your spouse had been hoarding money and you currently had millions in the bank he was just saving for a rainy day, would you be upset?
 

 

I'm in a similar boat, although I stopped paying tithing in about 2015--ok...the timing makes me transparent.  

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