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


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47 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

One of the great promises is that at the time of the Second Coming the Constitution of the United States will still be honored and adhered to in the New Jerusalem and the flag of the United States of America will still be floating on the breeze. I’m excited!

 

Ummm, what?

 

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12 minutes ago, ttribe said:

I'm not really interested in arguing the esoteric elements of accounting with you.  My comment was along these lines - if you are required to submit financial statements under grant and/or statutory guidelines, then you should be using applicable GASB and/or Yellowbook accounting principles as well as a fund accounting system.  If you are an SEC registrant, on the other hand, you should be using GAAP and an accounting system which at least facilitates such reporting.  Whether you THINK such decisions SHOULD be made based on the general needs of the organization, and what actually happens in the practical world, are often two very different things.  I was silent on the cost accounting needs because that's not really what this case is about.

I am well aware of what happens in the practical world.  In the past, I  have made a lot of money designing custom software with custom accounting systems to fit the needs of the organization that are not the same accounting methods that are used by GAAP or Tax or even other software systems.  While these methods are required for reporting to the public and various outside agencies they are often less than useful for managing the organizations day to day needs.  Hence the need for customization.  While I am no longer in the the software business, I still make quite a bit of money consulting with businesses on their accounting sytems.  For non profits, I often counsel them that a funds based accounting method is useful for an orgainization that has many different missions.  Funds based accounting has other uses than just keeping track of restricted funds and grants.

In the context of this discussion, I believe the church uses funds based accounting to keep track of their internal accounting needs, not because government reporting requires it, but because it is the most useful method to manage the organization.  

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1 hour ago, Calm said:

If you got this info from the whistleblower, I see no reason to assume it is completely accurate. Iirc it was at least thirdhand and could have been misunderstood, if not a fabricated memory.   My memory of the whistleblower document was that he was his own documentation, his footnotes were references to himself for the most part.  I kept trying to figure out where he got his claims and couldn’t much external support.

About 5 years ago when those documents and videos from the Church were being leaked, an official document was leaked that showed what financial information different people in the church have access to, all the way from members to bishops to stake presidents to the top. The document clearly indicated that apostles can see everything except the balance sheet. It said that seven people are authorized to see the balance sheet: the first presidency, the presiding bishopric, and the controller.

A year ago in a podcast, Lars Nielsen confirmed this with the story of when Boyd K. Packer, then the president of the Quorum of the Twelve, went to Ensign Peaks and said he wanted to see the numbers so that he'd be prepared to take over if he became prophet. The head of Ensign Peaks had to gently tell him, "I'm sorry, President Packer. You aren't authorized to know the details of what we do here."

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The way I see it is when the church says no tithing funds were used for project X

1.   The church is telling the truth.   The only way that would be possible is if the church uses a funds based accounting system

2.  The church is lying.       The only way they could be lying is if they used a funds based accounting system and they knew that tithing funds were used for the project.

3.  The church doesn't use a funds based accounting system.  Then the church really has no idea whether the funds come from tithing or they found the money on the street one day.  They just say stuff like this because it sounds good.

 

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1 hour ago, teddyaware said:

The prophecies of the LDS scriptures indicate that as the world ripens in iniquity (during the period of widespread war, increasing natural calamities and the worldwide persecution of the saints) the Church of Jesus Christ is going to build regions of safety and refuge from the raging storm that will ensue immediately prior to the Second Coming of Christ.

The foremost place of refuge in the United States will be the city of Zion (also known as the city of the New Jerusalem) that will be built in the heartland of America. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been forewarned by the Lord that it will have to set up its own free, independent and fully functioning economic system in order for God’s people to escape his wrath when it is poured out without measure upon a world immersed in unimaginable wickedness. It’s going to take a lot of capital and resources to make the building of these places of refuge possible, and one day many of today’s naysayers and complainers are going to  realize how arrogant, foolish and short sighted they were to criticize the General Authorities for managing the Church’s finances in the wise and prudent way they are now doing. There’s great work to be done if the prophecies are going to be fulfilled, and the Church leaders are wisely preparing for it in obedience to the commandments of God.

You may be wondering how Zion and her stakes will be kept safe in a world of such overwhelming wickedness, violence, economic turmoil and natural cataclysms. Well the prophet Nephi saw, as part of his great vision of the latter-days, that the world will one day unite in a common cause to attempt to destroy the the restored Church of Jesus Christ and all that remains good and holy in the world. This will be a time of great testing for the Latter-Day Saints as many will fall away from the faith, as others who remain true and faithful to the Lord and his Church will have their lives either ruined or be destroyed. After this dark period of testing to see who will remain true and faithful to Christ, come what may, the Lord is going to miraculously intervene to save and preserve his faithful followers as the wicked divert their attention from the destruction of the Church of Christ and turn on each other in bloody wars of hatred and utter destruction. In other words, the wicked will destroy each other as one of the dreadful manifestations of God’s judgement upon a world fully ripened in iniquity. During this time when the wicked are preoccupied with trying to destroy each other in massive “king of the hill” military struggles, the people of God will be protected of God, and left free and unmolested as they prepare the righteous remnant who remain to receive their redeeming Savior with the joy of final rescue.

One of the great promises is that at the time of the Second Coming the Constitution of the United States will still be honored and adhered to in the New Jerusalem and the flag of the United States of America will still be floating on the breeze. I’m excited!

CFR-  I've never heard that. Can you share your source?

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19 hours ago, The Nehor said:

I doubt that your conclusion is correct but maybe.

There were one or two attempts at diving into tax law. I am not an expert but I have been peripherally connected to several tax-privileged organizations and their accounting and learned a little for my own protection and just out of curiosity. It read like “baby’s first attempt at a lawsuit” to me. I suppose I could be wrong. I have been wrong before. Once. A long time ago.

Yeah, but then they found out you were right.

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In our town, the Church is building a massive regional Deseret Industries facility on some pretty prime property. Our tithing funds at work.

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3 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

In our town, the Church is building a massive regional Deseret Industries facility on some pretty prime property. Our tithing funds at work.

Throughout my time at the Church News, I covered the Genealogy Department (in latter years called the Family History Department). I used to joke that the department is probably larger than most third-world governments. It is staggering the extent of the resources the Church devotes to family history, even setting aside the extensive building of temples. 
 

Unbelievers might regard this as wasted resources, but it is, of course, consistent with the Church’s doctrinal mission to seal generations together as eternal family units, all in line with the mandate to “turn the hearts of the children to their fathers.” 

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49 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I get that.  The way forward, then, is to give the matter some thought and study, rather then reflexively and ignorantly denounce what we have only just recently encountered.

As D. Michael Quinn put it:

See, I think it matters a lot that the Brethren are not enriching themselves.  I also think it matters a lot that nobody is accusing the Church of profligate or wasteful or unwise spending.

The complaint - and it seems to be coming mostly from people who are not contributing to the Church - is that the Church is not spending enough on charitable efforts.

"Seems to be" being the operative phrase there.

And noticeably absent from you statement is any indication of enrichment of the Brethren.  I keep coming back to that because I think Analytics' comparison of the Church to a hedge fund is absurd to the point of dishonesty.  If the purpose of the Church's investments was to enrich investors - and the people in control of the Church's - then I could understand the venom and outrage.  If the Church was going skint on missionary work, physical facilities, schools, humanitarian/charitable work, etc., then I could understand the venom and outrage.

But those things aren't happening.  The Church is spending huge amounts of money on good and proper things.  The Church is also growing in areas that are nowhere near being self-sustaining.  The Church's management of its funds is plainly within the bounds of the law, as even folks like Analytics seem to be conceding.  So all the hooplah is less about what the Church is doing, and more about what critics and opponents think the Church should be doing.

Well, fine.  Free Speech and all that.  But then let's stop pretending that Hunstman's lawsuit is anything but a pretext.  It's not about "fraud."  It's about Huntsman wanting to vent his spleen and tell the Church what to do.

I'm pretty okay with that.  The Church has all sorts of committees and checks and balances and safeguards in place, and by every indication those seem to be functioning quite well.

If we had evidence of the Brethren enriching themselves, or of unwise or wasteful spending, then I would be more concerned.  As it is, however, I see no evidence of misconduct, and plenty of evidence that the Church is doing what it is supposed to do.

I get that critics are endlessly looking for dirt on the Church, but I think it's inappropriate to file vexatious lawsuits (as Huntsman, Gaddy and others have done), or to encourage Church employees to steal from the Church and secretively send it to critics (as Ryan McKnight has done), or to protest on sacred ground during a sacred convocation (as Kate Kelly has done), or to malign the bishops of the Church has latent perverts and child molesters (as Sam Young has done).

Faith, yes.  But not blind faith. 

We can see that the Brethren are not enriching themselves. 

We can see that the Brethren are not living lavishly. 

We can see that nobody is getting rich of the Church's funds.

We can see that the Church's funds are being spent on missionary work, temple and family history work, construction and maintenance of facilities, educational endeavors, charitable/humanitarian/philanthropic work, and on and on and on.

We can see that Bishops spend 100% of fast offerings on helping people in need.

We can see missionaries and members volunteering millions of man-hours of time and labor to serve others.

We can see all this and more.  But none of this matters to the critics.  No credit is given for what we do "right."  Instead, the search will continue for what they think we've done wrong.  And if something that we've done "right" comes into view, they'll just move the goalposts and demand more.  Because the objective is not to find information, but to find fault

The Church is also in that camp.  

Thanks,

-Smac

This is a Strawman argument. You're saying the brethren aren't enriching themselves and aren't engaging in "profligate or wasteful or unwise spending." OK, since I didn't say they were doing those things, you win :)  And yes, I think it is a good thing that the brethren aren't enriching themselves. That would be an additional problem. 

Claiming the lack of problem A (profligate spending) doesn't mean there isn't a problem B (investing large amounts of $$$ instead of using it to meet existing needs).  Instead of profligate spending I think the argument against amassing $100 billion in a rainy day investment fund could be viewed as miserly. Very different problem.
I've seen numbers reported that the church essential uses $6 billion a year to run the operations of the church. IF that's accurate it would seem that saving for 7 years of famine might be reasonable (although when we're in the billions it all sounds huge). That would be $42 billion available for 7 years of rainy days assuming there couldn't be any belt-tightening during such a famine and the church continued to spend just as it is now. 

I don't think anyone begrudges the church taking care of its needs and planning for a rainy day but lets be honest about the necessity of a $100 billion (that we know of) rainy day fund.

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

Yet LDS general authorities — from the most senior apostle to the lowest-ranking Seventy — all receive the same yearly “living allowance”: $120,000.

-Smac

I actually worked for the Church recently for a few years as a Senior Software Engineer. I was paid more than $120K a year with full benefits while working there. I would guess that some or many of the critics who attack the Church on its finances would hold to the logic that executives of major billion dollar corporations make too much money and should be paid far less. And yet, here I was working for this "billion dollar corporation" of the Church making more than its "executives". 

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3 hours ago, Teancum said:

It seems to me it is not about the $$ but rather about how the $$ were spent which Huntsman has every right to be concerned about.

And to me it seems like the kind of frivolous, attention-seeking behavior that only the ultra-rich have the means or desire to participate in. 

I'm sure it will be the topic de jure at dinner parties with his like-minded friends for months to come.

 

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23 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

This is a Strawman argument. You're saying the brethren aren't enriching themselves and aren't engaging in "profligate or wasteful or unwise spending." OK, since I didn't say they were doing those things, you win :)  And yes, I think it is a good thing that the brethren aren't enriching themselves. That would be an additional problem. 

Claiming the lack of problem A (profligate spending) doesn't mean there isn't a problem B (investing large amounts of $$$ instead of using it to meet existing needs).  Instead of profligate spending I think the argument against amassing $100 billion in a rainy day investment fund could be viewed as miserly. Very different problem.
I've seen numbers reported that the church essential uses $6 billion a year to run the operations of the church. IF that's accurate it would seem that saving for 7 years of famine might be reasonable (although when we're in the billions it all sounds huge). That would be $42 billion available for 7 years of rainy days assuming there couldn't be any belt-tightening during such a famine and the church continued to spend just as it is now. 

I don't think anyone begrudges the church taking care of its needs and planning for a rainy day but lets be honest about the necessity of a $100 billion (that we know of) rainy day fund.

All I know is that $100 billion today doesn't buy what it used to buy.  It isn't as much power to do things as it used to be.  And come a catastrophe even worse than all the world is currently going through now, we don't really know how much money we'll need.

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2 minutes ago, Fly Fisherman said:

I actually worked for the Church recently for a few years as a Senior Software Engineer. I was paid more than $120K a year with full benefits while working there. I would guess that some or many of the critics who attack the Church on its finances would hold to the logic that executives of major billion dollar corporations make too much money and should be paid far less. And yet, here I was working for this "billion dollar corporation" of the Church making more than its "executives". 

Has someone on this thread argued that GA's are paid too much in comparison to other corporations? I may have missed that. I have no problem with paid positions in the church. $120K is very low pay for their level of responsibility. They should just say they are paid for their work. That seems reasonable.

However, the more accurate critique would be about continual claims that leaders aren't actually paid. They receive a "stipend". So for whatever reason (probably to avoid accusations of priest craft) the church is afraid to say that the prophet is a paid position and would prefer to call it a "stipend". The silliness of the wordplay causes the problem. I don't know how big of a "stipend" other corporations give their execs. Do you?

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7 hours ago, Metis_LDS said:

I am on the Church side on this, but some do not want the Church to have the power that billions bring or they do not want to belong to a powerful church.

Na na na na we've got more money and power than you do 8P

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4 minutes ago, Ahab said:

All I know is that $100 billion today doesn't buy what it used to buy.  It isn't as much power to do things as it used to be.  And come a catastrophe even worse than all the world is currently going through now, we don't really know how much money we'll need.

Is it about "power" or about protecting operations of the church during a time of famine or rainy day?

But you're right. $100 billion is hardly even worth mentioning. At least it feels that way when we hear about Trillions of dollars spent by the government. Make no mistake, $100 billion is still a lot of money. And keep in mind, that is not a representation of all church assets. To the best of my knowledge that is liquid and investment dollars.

Like you say, it's hard to know how much $$$ could be needed after catastrophic events. It does make me wonder how much of the $100 billion was used to aid the church and the world during the catastrophic events of the pandemic and economic shutdowns. It feels like we've been in a rainy day for the past year. I wonder how much of the slush fund has been used to ease suffering during this time. It would seem a good opportunity.

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5 minutes ago, MiserereNobis said:

Na na na na we've got more money and power than you do 8P

You guys are definitely rich but then again you've been accumulating wealth for many more centuries ;) 

But the critique about a church's wealth accumulation would apply well to the Catholic church as well...IMO.

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3 hours ago, teddyaware said:

One of the great promises is that at the time of the Second Coming the Constitution of the United States will still be honored and adhered to in the New Jerusalem and the flag of the United States of America will still be floating on the breeze. I’m excited!

Do you mind clarifying this? Earlier in thread some posters pointed out that there would not be a democracy at the second coming of Christ.

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11 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

You guys are definitely rich but then again you've been accumulating wealth for many more centuries ;) 

But the critique about a church's wealth accumulation would apply well to the Catholic church as well...IMO.

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 

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24 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Is it about "power" or about protecting operations of the church during a time of famine or rainy day?

But you're right. $100 billion is hardly even worth mentioning. At least it feels that way when we hear about Trillions of dollars spent by the government. Make no mistake, $100 billion is still a lot of money. And keep in mind, that is not a representation of all church assets. To the best of my knowledge that is liquid and investment dollars.

Like you say, it's hard to know how much $$$ could be needed after catastrophic events. It does make me wonder how much of the $100 billion was used to aid the church and the world during the catastrophic events of the pandemic and economic shutdowns. It feels like we've been in a rainy day for the past year. I wonder how much of the slush fund has been used to ease suffering during this time. It would seem a good opportunity.

I think it's safe to say a lot of it has been, unless the regular Humanitarian Aid fund is not funded by those dollars.  And if not maybe it's a good thing to have that much set aside to use for the very, very worst of events.  Maybe calling it the Armageddon fund.

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16 minutes ago, 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 

Boom!

 

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