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James huntsman (jon's brother) sues church for 'fraud'


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15 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Learning philosophy really helped me understand why the "thousands of religions" argument doesn't work. If you disagree with me, then by all means, but bear in mind that your very disagreement means that you believe I perceive the world incorrectly, which means you commit the same sin you accuse me of. Faith and esoteric revelation have nothing to do with this basic principle. 

I have said before on this thread attempting to learn more about philosophy of which I readily admit ignorance of as well as problems getting my head around it whe I try to study the topic. I have asked for a recommend of a nice intro primer book, If you have any suggestions I am open to it.

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On 3/26/2021 at 12:19 PM, juliann said:

Yeah, I hate it when I go to Barnes & Noble and see a bunch of authors who are experts in what they do daring to write about it. 

Can you imagine?!  I mean, the gall! :shok::blink:

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21 hours ago, webbles said:

I just don't see the point of that transparency.  Take the fraud allegation that James Huntsman filed.  He is alleging that tithing money was used for commercial purposes (specifically, the City Creek mall and the Beneficial Life Insurance).  I don't see how a report like the one from Billy Graham Evangelistic Association would help James Huntsman.  Everything he is alleging would probably just show up under the "Investment return" line on page 4.

If the church released a report like that, how would that help James Huntsman?  How would it help others?

I think you misunderstand the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that the Church solicited tithing by dishonestly and fraudulently telling its members that the revenue is used solely for non-commercial purposes. If the Church was transparent, members would know that about 10% of tithing revenue and 50% of total revenue is used for commercial purposes.

For as long as I can remember, critics have speculated that the reason the Church was not being transparent was because if members knew how much money it was accumulating, many of them would choose not to pay tithing. That this was the Church's fear was confirmed through the whistle blower, and the fear being justified is confirmed by Huntsman's lawsuit.

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16 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Can you imagine?!  I mean, the gall! :shok::blink:

I guess you and juliann have a point. I thought almost 30 books by Thomas S. Monson was too many, and decided to second guess myself and research which authors had the most books, lo and behold, it's this guy. https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/most-published-works-by-one-author#:~:text=The most published works by,the last in March 2006.

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50 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I guess you and juliann have a point. I thought almost 30 books by Thomas S. Monson was too many, and decided to second guess myself and research which authors had the most books, lo and behold, it's this guy. https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/most-published-works-by-one-author#:~:text=The most published works by,the last in March 2006.

L. RON HUBBARD passed away in 1986 but his "Scientology church" has continued with the publications.  He wrote science fiction book "Battlefield Earth" in 1982.  It seems his church has included it among its "canons".

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5 hours ago, Analytics said:

The lawsuit alleges that the Church solicited tithing by dishonestly and fraudulently telling its members that the revenue is used solely for non-commercial purposes.

The lawsuit also combines every form of contribution to the church into the term "tithing". So many of the claims he makes about tithing in the lawsuit are mischaracterised.

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10 hours ago, Teancum said:

It in stocks, bonds and do forth.  The record is clear. Ensign Peak has not spent any of its massive wealth on humanitarian efforts. It is just growing and growing. They did however move money to an insurance company and the SLC downtown mall.

So it is being put to use and growing.  You just don't like the use that it is being used for.  Also, since it is in stocks, bonds, and so forth, it is very possible that some of it is invested or bonded in humanitarian efforts.

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8 hours ago, Analytics said:

I think you misunderstand the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that the Church solicited tithing by dishonestly and fraudulently telling its members that the revenue is used solely for non-commercial purposes. If the Church was transparent, members would know that about 10% of tithing revenue and 50% of total revenue is used for commercial purposes.

For as long as I can remember, critics have speculated that the reason the Church was not being transparent was because if members knew how much money it was accumulating, many of them would choose not to pay tithing. That this was the Church's fear was confirmed through the whistle blower, and the fear being justified is confirmed by Huntsman's lawsuit.

I understand the lawsuit.  But maybe I'm not being clear.  I'm saying is that if the church had produced the same reports that the Billy Graham Association was producing, the members would still not "know that about 10% of tithing revenue and 50% of tithing total revenue is used for commercial purposes."  Those reports wouldn't show that since it would be rolled up in categories that wouldn't show that.  The "transparency" you are asking for is not enough transparency to let members know what you think is happening.

By the way, I want a lot more transparency than what you are asking for.  I would really like to know these details but I don't expect any organization to be that transparent.  I don't believe the amount of "transparency" you are asking for is enough to answer the questions you are wanting answered.

 

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11 hours ago, webbles said:

I understand the lawsuit.  But maybe I'm not being clear.  I'm saying is that if the church had produced the same reports that the Billy Graham Association was producing, the members would still not "know that about 10% of tithing revenue and 50% of tithing total revenue is used for commercial purposes."  Those reports wouldn't show that since it would be rolled up in categories that wouldn't show that.  The "transparency" you are asking for is not enough transparency to let members know what you think is happening.

By the way, I want a lot more transparency than what you are asking for.  I would really like to know these details but I don't expect any organization to be that transparent.  I don't believe the amount of "transparency" you are asking for is enough to answer the questions you are wanting answered.

 

I disagree. Well-designed high-level reports are insightful and give an accurate picture of what’s going on. They would reveal this type of information, and that is precisely why the church doesn’t provide them.

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12 hours ago, webbles said:

So it is being put to use and growing.  You just don't like the use that it is being used for.  Also, since it is in stocks, bonds, and so forth, it is very possible that some of it is invested or bonded in humanitarian efforts.

Do you really not comprehend my point?

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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

Do you really not comprehend my point?

For what it’s worth, I understood your point.

In the Bible parable everyone refers to, the master is a money-loving miser. His goal in life is to multiply his wealth without working—to “reap where he does not sow.” His servants who invested the talents with which they were entrusted were furthering their master’s mission.

It seems to me that if Mormonism were true and Jesus’ objectives are to proclaim the gospel, perfect the saints, and redeem the dead, what will his reaction be when he finds out his servants used tithing money to build a trillion-dollar financial empire rather than put it to use for the church’s actual mission?

Ironically, burying a talent in the ground could be symbolic of investing money in financial instruments rather than in people.

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3 hours ago, Analytics said:

I disagree. Well-designed high-level reports are insightful and give an accurate picture of what’s going on. They would reveal this type of information, and that is precisely why the church doesn’t provide them.

No, the church stopped reporting their financials because they were going into serious debt.  They didn't stop the reports to hide their wealth.

And the report would not reveal this type of information.  We might be able to see that it has a $100 billion investment, but it would absolutely not reveal "that about 10% of tithing revenue and 50% of tithing total revenue is used for commercial purposes".  I don't see how you can believe that the report would reveal that.  Look at the reports that you mentioned earlier and tell me how those reports would show it.

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2 hours ago, Teancum said:

Do you really not comprehend my point?

Your original comment that I responded to was:

Quote

I think the LDS Church could follow with their 100 plus billion.  Put it to work but let it grow as well.

Putting the money in investments is "[putting] it to work but [letting] it grow as well".  I don't understand why you are disagreeing with that.  That is the entire point of putting money in investments.  Investments isn't putting money in a big money bin.  It is spreading it out so that others can then use the money (and I'm not talking about trickle-down economy).  A $100 billion fund is going to go in LOTS of investments.  Those investments will not just be in big corporations.  It will be in small, big, medium corporations.  It will be in angel funds and startups.  It will be in developing countries and developed countries.  It would be in charitable organizations and non-charitable organizations.  It will be in government and non-government organizations.

1 hour ago, Analytics said:

It seems to me that if Mormonism were true and Jesus’ objectives are to proclaim the gospel, perfect the saints, and redeem the dead, what will his reaction be when he finds out his servants used tithing money to build a trillion-dollar financial empire rather than put it to use for the church’s actual mission?

Ironically, burying a talent in the ground could be symbolic of investing money in financial instruments rather than in people.

Where are you getting the idea that investing money isn't investing in people or that investing money isn't furthering the church's actual mission?

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17 minutes ago, webbles said:

And the report would not reveal this type of information.  We might be able to see that it has a $100 billion investment, but it would absolutely not reveal "that about 10% of tithing revenue and 50% of tithing total revenue is used for commercial purposes".  I don't see how you can believe that the report would reveal that.  Look at the reports that you mentioned earlier and tell me how those reports would show it.

Do you know what an income statement is? I'm not being snarky. It's just that the way you thought a liability on the BGEA's balance sheet was an expense, combined with what you just said, makes me suspect you don't know what an income statement is.

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11 minutes ago, webbles said:

Where are you getting the idea that investing money isn't investing in people or that investing money isn't furthering the church's actual mission?

It depends on what the mission of the Church actually is, as well as what the objectives are for the Church's investment activities. Judging by their actions and their lack of explanation for what they are trying to do, the most important mission of the Church appears to be accumulating money for the sake of accumulating money. If that is their mission, then they are doing a great job.

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1 hour ago, Analytics said:

It seems to me that if Mormonism were true and Jesus’ objectives are to proclaim the gospel, perfect the saints, and redeem the dead, what will his reaction be when he finds out his servants used tithing money to build a trillion-dollar financial empire rather than put it to use for the church’s actual mission?

For starters, considerable amounts of money are already being 'put to use for the church's actual mission'. I'm not sure why you suggest it is not. Secondly, wouldn't we also need to know whether the Brethren believe they are indeed doing the Lord's will by growing this money for a special purpose? Are you casting outright the possibility there is something legitimately afoot that requires this accumulation? How would you know other than with your own subjective sensibilities about what is a good balance? For every scripture you can quote against what the Brethren are doing, there are probably other scriptural passages that would support it. And where does that leave us? IMO, it boils down to whether or not there will  be a legitimate need for this much money (and more?) in the future. Either we believe the leadership is doing their best at determining the Lord's will or we don't. If we don't, I can understand how you and others would want to monitor their financial practices.

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24 minutes ago, Vanguard said:

For starters, considerable amounts of money are already being 'put to use for the church's actual mission'. I'm not sure why you suggest it is not.

Billions of dollars are spent on the actual mission. I never meant to suggest otherwise. I'm just pointing out that of its total income, more money goes into increasing the size of the hedge fund than any other church program. Perhaps more goes into increasing the size of the hedge fund than all other church programs combined. Based upon that, what are the Church's priorities?

24 minutes ago, Vanguard said:

Secondly, wouldn't we also need to know whether the Brethren believe they are indeed doing the Lord's will by growing this money for a special purpose?

Maybe they believe that. But given the fact that the Q12 aren't even allowed to know how much is saved, it's hard to believe there is a specific purpose for it.

24 minutes ago, Vanguard said:

Are you casting outright the possibility there is something legitimately afoot that requires this accumulation?

Based upon everything they have ever done with money, there is no reason to believe there is a special purpose. It's not like they are saving up to buy a billion-dollar conference center next to every temple in the world.

24 minutes ago, Vanguard said:

How would you know other than with your own subjective sensibilities about what is a good balance?

See the following link:

https://www.google.com/search?q=how+much+should+charities+have+in+their+reserves

24 minutes ago, Vanguard said:

For every scripture you can quote against what the Brethren are doing, there are probably other scriptural passages that would support it. And where does that leave us? IMO, it boils down to whether or not there will  be a legitimate need for this much money (and more?) in the future. Either we believe the leadership is doing their best at determining the Lord's will or we don't. If we don't, I can understand how you and others would want to monitor their financial practices.

Ultimately, the Church is free to do what it wants with its money. But if the Church wants to convince people like James Huntsman that donations to the Church are going to a cause more worthwhile than "donations" to his own brokerage account, it should explain why.

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1 hour ago, Analytics said:

Ultimately, the Church is free to do what it wants with its money. But if the Church wants to convince people like James Huntsman that donations to the Church are going to a cause more worthwhile than "donations" to his own brokerage account, it should explain why.

And therein lies the crux of the issue for me. Questions about whether the Brethren want to assuage the concerns (perhaps legitimately felt?) of all of those who raise their voice about these issues (including Mr. Huntsman) seem to miss a couple of points - 1) No, I don't believe they are as concerned (nor should they be) about this as apparently you think they should be and 2) this kind of quest to satisfy everyone is simply a fool's errand as the line of 'the aggrieved' will never end.

Ultimately, I would imagine that if enough members of the church complained about the management of church funds, the Brethren might reconsider. Until then, folks like Mr. Huntsman will continue seeking 'redress' in the courts. If he were to get his way, however, I do not believe he would lose any sleep were it to open a flood gate of litigation that may do considerable damage to an organization he once professed to love. : (

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14 minutes ago, Vanguard said:

And therein lies the crux of the issue for me. Questions about whether the Brethren want to assuage the concerns (perhaps legitimately felt?) of all of those who raise their voice about these issues (including Mr. Huntsman) seem to miss a couple of points - 1) No, I don't believe they are as concerned (nor should they be) about this as apparently you think they should be and 2) this kind of quest to satisfy everyone is simply a fool's errand as the line of 'the aggrieved' will never end.

Ultimately, I would imagine that if enough members of the church complained about the management of church funds, the Brethren might reconsider. Until then, folks like Mr. Huntsman will continue seeking 'redress' in the courts. If he were to get his way, however, I do not believe he would lose any sleep were it to open a flood gate of litigation that may do considerable damage to an organization he once professed to love. : (

If Mr. Huntsman wins his lawsuit and creates precedence for other victims of fraud to also be compensated, I think he would be happy about this because it would pressure the Church to improve.

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17 minutes ago, Analytics said:

If Mr. Huntsman wins his lawsuit and creates precedence for other victims of fraud to also be compensated, I think he would be happy about this because it would pressure the Church to improve.

I think he would probably be more happy about getting the money.

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On 3/24/2021 at 1:04 PM, MiserereNobis said:

Yeah, I guess the LDS church is more efficient than us. You've got a hedge fund (that invests in Domino's pizza!) and we've got, well, the Sistine Chapel :P 

Can't eat the Sistine Chapel. 🙏

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6 hours ago, Analytics said:

Do you know what an income statement is? I'm not being snarky. It's just that the way you thought a liability on the BGEA's balance sheet was an expense, combined with what you just said, makes me suspect you don't know what an income statement is.

I'm pretty sure I know what an income statement is.  No problem with you being worried about my understanding since I made a really basic mistake when I read their document originally.

I just don't see why the income statement would show "that about 10% of tithing revenue and 50% of tithing total revenue is used for commercial purposes".  I would imagine the income statement to look something like: (money is in millions and completely made up)

Revenue:

  Tithing Contributions:                  $8,000

  Fast Offering Contributions:        $500

  Humanitarian Contributions:       $100

  Missionary Contributions:            $200

  Distribution Center:                      $50

  Other Income:                               $200

  Investment Income:                     $1,000

Total Revenue:                             $10,050

 

Expenses:

  Property:                              $4,000

  Literature:                           $1,000

  Missionary:                          $1,000

  Humanitarian:                     $100

  Administrative Costs:        $500

  CES:                                    $1,000

 Total Expenses:                 $7,600

 

Change in net assets:               $2,350

Assets at beginning of year: $100,000

Assets at end of year:            $102,350

 

Is there something I'm misunderstanding about the income statement?  How does the above statement tell me that "that about 10% of tithing revenue and 50% of tithing total revenue is used for commercial purposes"?

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6 hours ago, Analytics said:

It depends on what the mission of the Church actually is, as well as what the objectives are for the Church's investment activities. Judging by their actions and their lack of explanation for what they are trying to do, the most important mission of the Church appears to be accumulating money for the sake of accumulating money. If that is their mission, then they are doing a great job.

It is strange that with apparently the same data points, you and I have a completely different view of what is "the most important mission of the Church".  You feel like it is just accumulating money and I feel the opposite.  Maybe it because, for me, I want a personal saving rate of 40%.  Anything less than that is not saving enough.  And the church is apparently saving less than 20% ($1 billion saving for every $8 billion income).  So, I actually feel the church isn't saving enough but I'm grateful that it is saving.  If it had a saving rate of over 50%, then I'd probably agree with you that it is accumulating too much.

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6 hours ago, Analytics said:

Billions of dollars are spent on the actual mission. I never meant to suggest otherwise. I'm just pointing out that of its total income, more money goes into increasing the size of the hedge fund than any other church program. Perhaps more goes into increasing the size of the hedge fund than all other church programs combined. Based upon that, what are the Church's priorities?

So the total income is supposedly around $8 billion.  And $1 billion is supposedly put into the investment fund.  That means that $7 billion is spent on all of the other church programs.  Am I missing something?  How is it possible that "more goes into increasing the size of the hedge fund than all other church programs combined"?  How is $1 billion more than $7 billion?

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