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Article re church's interest in land


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Just now, pogi said:

That doesn't fix the problem.   

I know, but knowing some people in the church's investment arm, I'd say return on investment is a much greater priority than wise stewardship for the future. 

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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

Putting the "in Bakersfield" aside, I think there is a pretty strong doctrinal reason for the Church to own property.  A few reasons, actually.  Most of them cluster around doctrines pertaining to stewardship and provident living.

Thanks,

-Smac

Well, I mean beyond what any investor thinks.  It is prudent diversification.  Harvard does it.  BYU does it.  The Vatican does it.  But there is no doctrinal basis to acquire land anywhere.  

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2 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Not much of a doctrinal reason for the Church to be in Salt Lake, either.

Yet here we are. 

The Church landed in Salt Lake City because that was the very closest the church could go to escape U.S. jurisiction.  (The church likely would have chosen Vancouver Island instead but that was many miles away.) In 1847 Mexico owned and controlled "Upper California."  Brigham Young's agents had negotiations with the Mexican government to settle there.  Of course, all that fell apart with annexation and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on  February 2, 1848. 

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5 hours ago, smac97 said:

wonder what the Church's real estate entities does when they acquire land with wine-producing vineyards. 

Lease?

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7 minutes ago, Bob Crockett said:

Well, I mean beyond what any investor thinks.  It is prudent diversification.  Harvard does it.  BYU does it.  The Vatican does it.  But there is no doctrinal basis to acquire land anywhere.  

What are your thoughts about the Parable of the Talents?

  • "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."  (Malachi 3:10)
  • "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."  (1 Cor. 4:2)
  • "And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?"  (Luke 12:42)
  • "And again, if there shall be properties in the hands of the church, or any individuals of it, more than is necessary for their support after this first consecration, which is a residue to be consecrated unto the bishop, it shall be kept to administer to those who have not, from time to time, that every man who has need may be amply supplied and receive according to his wants.  Therefore, the residue shall be kept in my storehouse, to administer to the poor and the needy, as shall be appointed by the high council of the church, and the bishop and his council; And for the purpose of purchasing lands for the public benefit of the church, and building houses of worship, and building up of the New Jerusalem which is hereafter to be revealed - That my covenant people may be gathered in one in that day when I shall come to my temple. And this I do for the salvation of my people."  (D&C 42:33-36)
  • "And again, let the bishop appoint a storehouse unto this church; and let all things both in money and in meat, which are more than is needful for the wants of this people, be kept in the hands of the bishop."  (D&C 51:13)
  • "And whoso is found a faithful, a just, and a wise steward shall enter into the joy of his Lord, and shall inherit eternal life."  (D&C 51:19)
  • "[And I give an] epistle and subscription, to be presented unto all the churches to obtain moneys, to be put into the hands of the bishop, of himself or the agent, as seemeth him good or as he shall direct, to purchase lands for an inheritance for the children of God."  (D&C 58:51)
  • "And even the bishop, who is a judge, and his counselors, if they are not faithful in their stewardships shall be condemned, and others shall be planted in their stead."  (D&C 64:40)
  • "And also, my servants who are abroad in the earth should send forth the accounts of their stewardships to the land of Zion; For the land of Zion shall be a seat and a place to receive and do all these things."  (D&C 69:5-6)
  • "Behold, this is what the Lord requires of every man in his stewardship, even as I, the Lord, have appointed or shall hereafter appoint unto any man. ... Yea, neither the bishop, neither the agent who keepeth the Lord’s storehouse, neither he who is appointed in a stewardship over temporal things.  He who is appointed to administer spiritual things, the same is worthy of his hire, even as those who are appointed to a stewardship to administer in temporal things."  (D&C 70:9, 11-12)
  • "For verily thus saith the Lord, it is expedient in me for a bishop to be appointed unto you, or of you, unto the church in this part of the Lord’s vineyard.  And verily in this thing ye have done wisely, for it is required of the Lord, at the hand of every steward, to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity."  (D&C 72:2-3)
  • "The word of the Lord, in addition to the law which has been given, making known the duty of the bishop who has been ordained unto the church in this part of the vineyard, which is verily this  -- To keep the Lord’s storehouse; to receive the funds of the church in this part of the vineyard; To take an account of the elders as before has been commanded; and to administer to their wants, who shall pay for that which they receive, inasmuch as they have wherewith to pay; That this also may be consecrated to the good of the church, to the poor and needy."  (D&C 72:9-12)
  • "And now, verily I say unto you, that as every elder in this part of the vineyard must give an account of his stewardship unto the bishop in this part of the vineyard.  A certificate from the judge or bishop in this part of the vineyard, unto the bishop in Zion, rendereth every man acceptable, and answereth all things, for an inheritance, and to be received as a wise steward and as a faithful laborer."  (D&C 72:16-17)
  • "And he that is a faithful and wise steward shall inherit all things. Amen."  (D&C 78:22)
  • "Now, verily I say unto you, let all the churches gather together all their moneys; let these things be done in their time, but not in haste; and observe to have all things prepared before you.  And let honorable men be appointed, even wise men, and send them to purchase these lands.  And the churches in the eastern countries, when they are built up, if they will hearken unto this counsel they may buy lands and gather together upon them; and in this way they may establish Zion.  There is even now already in store sufficient, yea, even an abundance, to redeem Zion, and establish her waste places, no more to be thrown down, were the churches, who call themselves after my name, willing to hearken to my voice."  (D&C 101:72-75)
  • "It is wisdom in me; therefore, a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall organize yourselves and appoint every man his stewardshipThat every man may give an account unto me of the stewardship which is appointed unto him.  For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures."  (D&C 104:11-13)
  • "Thou shalt be diligent in preserving what thou hast, that thou mayest be a wise steward; for it is the free gift of the Lord thy God, and thou art his steward."  (D&C 136:27)

Thanks,

-Smac

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2 minutes ago, Calm said:

Lease?

Perhaps.  Though I wouldn't imagine the Church would do this with acquired land on which tobacco is grown (or, these, days, marijuana).

Thanks,

-Smac

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5 hours ago, jkwilliams said:

It's easy to assume that we have a shared cultural and religious upbringing if we were born in the church. Apparently, that's not a safe assumption.

Sometimes not even if you grow up in the same house.  One of my sisters didn’t know the story of David and Goliath when she hit her teens (a minor difference, there were more between the older and younger kids due to changes in parenting).

Edited by Calm
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1 minute ago, smac97 said:

What are your thoughts about the Parable of the Talents?

  • "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."  (Malachi 3:10)
  • "Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."  (1 Cor. 4:2)
  • "And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?"  (Luke 12:42)
  • "And again, if there shall be properties in the hands of the church, or any individuals of it, more than is necessary for their support after this first consecration, which is a residue to be consecrated unto the bishop, it shall be kept to administer to those who have not, from time to time, that every man who has need may be amply supplied and receive according to his wants.  Therefore, the residue shall be kept in my storehouse, to administer to the poor and the needy, as shall be appointed by the high council of the church, and the bishop and his council; And for the purpose of purchasing lands for the public benefit of the church, and building houses of worship, and building up of the New Jerusalem which is hereafter to be revealed - That my covenant people may be gathered in one in that day when I shall come to my temple. And this I do for the salvation of my people."  (D&C 42:33-36)
  • "And again, let the bishop appoint a storehouse unto this church; and let all things both in money and in meat, which are more than is needful for the wants of this people, be kept in the hands of the bishop."  (D&C 51:13)
  • "And whoso is found a faithful, a just, and a wise steward shall enter into the joy of his Lord, and shall inherit eternal life."  (D&C 51:19)
  • "[And I give an] epistle and subscription, to be presented unto all the churches to obtain moneys, to be put into the hands of the bishop, of himself or the agent, as seemeth him good or as he shall direct, to purchase lands for an inheritance for the children of God."  (D&C 58:51)
  • "And even the bishop, who is a judge, and his counselors, if they are not faithful in their stewardships shall be condemned, and others shall be planted in their stead."  (D&C 64:40)
  • "And also, my servants who are abroad in the earth should send forth the accounts of their stewardships to the land of Zion; For the land of Zion shall be a seat and a place to receive and do all these things."  (D&C 69:5-6)
  • "Behold, this is what the Lord requires of every man in his stewardship, even as I, the Lord, have appointed or shall hereafter appoint unto any man. ... Yea, neither the bishop, neither the agent who keepeth the Lord’s storehouse, neither he who is appointed in a stewardship over temporal things.  He who is appointed to administer spiritual things, the same is worthy of his hire, even as those who are appointed to a stewardship to administer in temporal things."  (D&C 70:9, 11-12)
  • "For verily thus saith the Lord, it is expedient in me for a bishop to be appointed unto you, or of you, unto the church in this part of the Lord’s vineyard.  And verily in this thing ye have done wisely, for it is required of the Lord, at the hand of every steward, to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity."  (D&C 72:2-3)
  • "The word of the Lord, in addition to the law which has been given, making known the duty of the bishop who has been ordained unto the church in this part of the vineyard, which is verily this  -- To keep the Lord’s storehouse; to receive the funds of the church in this part of the vineyard; To take an account of the elders as before has been commanded; and to administer to their wants, who shall pay for that which they receive, inasmuch as they have wherewith to pay; That this also may be consecrated to the good of the church, to the poor and needy."  (D&C 72:9-12)
  • "And now, verily I say unto you, that as every elder in this part of the vineyard must give an account of his stewardship unto the bishop in this part of the vineyard.  A certificate from the judge or bishop in this part of the vineyard, unto the bishop in Zion, rendereth every man acceptable, and answereth all things, for an inheritance, and to be received as a wise steward and as a faithful laborer."  (D&C 72:16-17)
  • "And he that is a faithful and wise steward shall inherit all things. Amen."  (D&C 78:22)
  • "Now, verily I say unto you, let all the churches gather together all their moneys; let these things be done in their time, but not in haste; and observe to have all things prepared before you.  And let honorable men be appointed, even wise men, and send them to purchase these lands.  And the churches in the eastern countries, when they are built up, if they will hearken unto this counsel they may buy lands and gather together upon them; and in this way they may establish Zion.  There is even now already in store sufficient, yea, even an abundance, to redeem Zion, and establish her waste places, no more to be thrown down, were the churches, who call themselves after my name, willing to hearken to my voice."  (D&C 101:72-75)
  • "It is wisdom in me; therefore, a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall organize yourselves and appoint every man his stewardshipThat every man may give an account unto me of the stewardship which is appointed unto him.  For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures."  (D&C 104:11-13)
  • "Thou shalt be diligent in preserving what thou hast, that thou mayest be a wise steward; for it is the free gift of the Lord thy God, and thou art his steward."  (D&C 136:27)

Thanks,

-Smac

It does not apply to money.  But it is obvious that the church receives bequests and tithes; the NT refers to bequests.  

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2 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Perhaps.  Though I wouldn't imagine the Church would do this with acquired land on which tobacco is grown (or, these, days, marijuana).

Thanks,

-Smac

Changing an annual crop is probably relatively easy vs something like orchards or vines that take years to establish and have to be torn out.  But soil can be affected by what is planted in it, so I don’t really know.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Bob Crockett said:

It does not apply to money. 

"It" being what, in your view?

And assuming "it" means "stewardship" or "responsibility," why can't these scriptures be applied to funds consecrated to God?

Quote

But it is obvious that the church receives bequests and tithes; the NT refers to bequests.  

My great-great grandfather on my mother's side, Leonard E. Harrington, managed the bishop's storehouse in American Fork for many years.  

My great-great grandfather on my father's side, Alexander F. Macdonald, was responsible in the 1860s for the Church's tithing and dispensing office in St. George.

In both instances, stewardship pertained to 19th-century donations, which differ quite a bit from what we see today.  From this article ("Changing Patterns of Mormon Financial Administration: Traveling Bishops, Regional Bishops, and Bishop's Agents, 1851-88") by D. Gene Pace:

Quote

The Church administration in the nineteenth century needed to supervise the tithing on income and increase, as well as other religious donations of the membership.  The common practice of donating "in kind" (such as pigs, eggs, or butter) rather than in cash compounded the difficulty of the task, since such tithing not only had to be accounted for but also fed or kept from spoiling.  The Presiding Bishopric relied on a storehouse system and on traveling and regional bishops to assist them in caring for these resources. 

I find it interesting that this decades-long system of managing "religious donations" arose after the death of Joseph Smith, after the receipt of revelations in the Doctrine & Covenants pertaining to stewardship, assignments, accounting, etc.

I would think that the bishops working within this system sought to adapt some of the scriptural provisions regarding stewardship and such to their management of these affairs.

Over time, "in kind" donations have given way to almost exclusively financial donations.  And yet the stewardship/responsibility over donated monies should, I think, be given just as much emphasis as stewardship/responsibility over pigs, eggs and butter.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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12 minutes ago, Calm said:

Changing an annual crop is probably relatively easy vs something like orchards or vines that take years to establish and have to be torn out.  But soil can be affected by what is planted in it, so I don’t really know.

I would think that vineyards take a long time to establish, as you say.  However, I think the grape cultivars used for wine production may be quite different from cultivars used for grape juice, table grapes, raisins, etc. 

So if the Church comes into ownership of land that includes hundreds of acres planted with "wine" grapes, and if those grapes are pretty much only useful for making wine, then I doubt the Church would keep the vineyards intact.  But that's just a guess.

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 minute ago, smac97 said:

I would think that vineyards take a long time to establish, as you say.  However, I think the grape cultivars used for wine production may be quite different from cultivars used for grape juice, table grapes, raisins, etc. 

So if the Church comes into ownership of land that includes hundreds of acres planted with "wine" grapes, and if those grapes are pretty much only useful for making wine, then I doubt the Church would keep the vineyards intact.  But that's just a guess.

Thanks,

-Smac

My guess is that they’d either have someone pay to operate the vineyards, or they’d subdivide the parcel and sell it. I can’t imagine the church throwing away all that capital. 

Just my guess. 

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3 hours ago, jkwilliams said:

Again, I think it's more of an investment. 

Well, land is a very profitable investment right now.  As is GameStop stock, apparently.  Just ask Ensign Peak.

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55 minutes ago, smac97 said:

However, I think the grape cultivars used for wine production may be quite different from cultivars used for grape juice, table grapes, raisins, etc. 

They are...don’t know about vinegar though.  But the difference in profits are likely big, so you wouldn’t want the more finicky, high maintenance wine grapes for that (no in-depth knowledge, just picked up from TV, like Brokenwood Mysteries on Acorn...fantastic NZ crime show, great humor, pretty clean, such nice characters for the most part, highly recommend...has a cop that takes over a vineyard plus they have suspects who make wine and they sit around drinking and discussing it a lot)

Was hoping to find a dedicated website, but not on the first page.  So being lazy and using wiki:

“Commercially cultivated grapes can usually be classified as either table or wine grapes, based on their intended method of consumption: eaten raw (table grapes) or used to make wine (wine grapes). While almost all of them belong to the same species, Vitis vinifera, table and wine grapes have significant differences, brought about through selective breeding. Table grape cultivars tend to have large, seedless fruit (see below) with relatively thin skin. Wine grapes are smaller, usually seeded, and have relatively thick skins (a desirable characteristic in winemaking, since much of the aroma in wine comes from the skin). Wine grapes also tend to be very sweet: they are harvested at the time when their juice is approximately 24% sugar by weight. By comparison, commercially produced "100% grape juice", made from table grapes, is usually around 15% sugar by weight.[18]

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, jkwilliams said:

My guess is that they’d either have someone pay to operate the vineyards, or they’d subdivide the parcel and sell it. I can’t imagine the church throwing away all that capital. 

Just my guess. 

Would the Church be willing to be a vintner's landlord?  I dunno.  

I wonder how many acres are planted in wine grapes.

Thanks,

-Smac

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4 hours ago, smac97 said:

Would the Church be willing to be a vintner's landlord?  I dunno.  

I wonder how many acres are planted in wine grapes.

Thanks,

-Smac

Why not?  Wine isn’t objectively, inherently evil or destructive the way—say—porn or meth would be.  We, the Church, are simply under a temporal covenant not to partake unless or until the Lord instructs us otherwise (as He assures us He someday will—D&C 27:5, and all that).  Non-members, meanwhile, are under no such covenant; partaking wine isn’t sinful to them.

The reasons for the Church staying out of the wine business strike me as being less about actual doctrinal problems, and mostly the result of concerns over public relations/unambiguous messaging.  I’m not saying that’s a bad reason, but I am suggesting that it’s not necessarily an insurmountable issue if the Church suddenly finds itself incidentally saddled with a well-established, financially stable vineyard operation.

Edited by mgy401
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5 hours ago, Calm said:

They are...don’t know about vinegar though.  But the difference in profits are likely big, so you wouldn’t want the more finicky, high maintenance wine grapes for that (no in-depth knowledge, just picked up from TV, like Brokenwood Mysteries on Acorn...fantastic NZ crime show, great humor, pretty clean, such nice characters for the most part, highly recommend...has a cop that takes over a vineyard plus they have suspects who make wine and they sit around drinking and discussing it a lot)

Was hoping to find a dedicated website, but not on the first page.  So being lazy and using wiki:

“Commercially cultivated grapes can usually be classified as either table or wine grapes, based on their intended method of consumption: eaten raw (table grapes) or used to make wine (wine grapes). While almost all of them belong to the same species, Vitis vinifera, table and wine grapes have significant differences, brought about through selective breeding. Table grape cultivars tend to have large, seedless fruit (see below) with relatively thin skin. Wine grapes are smaller, usually seeded, and have relatively thick skins (a desirable characteristic in winemaking, since much of the aroma in wine comes from the skin). Wine grapes also tend to be very sweet: they are harvested at the time when their juice is approximately 24% sugar by weight. By comparison, commercially produced "100% grape juice", made from table grapes, is usually around 15% sugar by weight.[18]

Love Brokenwood!

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Man this conversation just makes me want to eat some grapes.

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1 hour ago, mgy401 said:

Why not?  Wine isn’t objectively, inherently evil or destructive the way—say—porn or meth would be.  We, the Church, are simply under a temporal covenant not to partake unless or until the Lord instructs us otherwise (as He assures us He someday will—D&C 27:5, and all that).  Non-members, meanwhile, are under no such covenant; partaking wine isn’t sinful to them.

The reasons for the Church staying out of the wine business strike me as being less about actual doctrinal problems, and mostly the result of concerns over public relations/unambiguous messaging.  I’m not saying that’s a bad reason, but I am suggesting that it’s not necessarily an insurmountable issue if the Church suddenly finds itself incidentally saddled with a well-established, financially stable vineyard operation.

Indulging in alcohol consumption can be very destructive indeed. It’s not merely a temporal covenant. There really is wisdom in abstaining, even if you’re not under covenant to obey the Word of Wisdom. 

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1 hour ago, mgy401 said:

Wine isn’t objectively, inherently evil or destructive the way—say—porn or meth would be.

Alcohol kills brain cells apparently.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/19/health/alcohol-brain-health-intl-scli-wellness/index.html

Quote

There is no such thing as a "safe" level of drinking, with increased consumption of alcohol associated with poorer brain health, according to a new study. 

In an observational study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, researchers from the University of Oxford studied the relationship between the self-reported alcohol intake of some 25,000 people in the UK, and their brain scans. 
The researchers noted that drinking had an effect on the brain's gray matter -- regions in the brain that make up "important bits where information is processed," according to lead author Anya Topiwala, a senior clinical researcher at Oxford.
"The more people drank, the less the volume of their gray matter," Topiwala said via email.

If we were just discovering alcohol instead of having a long history to get used to its abuses, I wonder how acceptable it would be. 

Deaths in US due to alcohol per year is over 95,000.  Of course given usage, death rate is lower per person using.***

https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/features/excessive-alcohol-deaths.html

Meth overdoses are over 16,000.  Other deaths such as due to organ damage or something aren’t tracked as far as I know, so hard to determine.

https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2020/11/rising-stimulant-deaths-show-we-face-more-than-just-opioid-crisis

 

Not saying it is sinful, just saying it is destructive.  Whether its benefits outweigh its harm, I don’t know.

***”The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is an annual survey of nearly 270,000 people aged 12 or older, which compiles data about alcohol and drug use.1 According to the 2016 national survey results, 50.7 percent of those surveyed said that they drank alcohol in the 30 days prior to the survey, and were defined as current alcohol drinkers.“

https://www.verywellmind.com/how-many-people-drink-alcohol-in-the-us-67305

”According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 1.6 million people (0.6 percent of the population) reported using methamphetamine in the past year, and 774,000 (0.3 percent) reported using it in the past month. The average age of new methamphetamine users in 2016 was 23.3 years old.”

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/what-scope-methamphetamine-misuse-in-united-states

Edited by Calm
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7 hours ago, OGHoosier said:

Man this conversation just makes me want to eat some grapes.

So you want some grapes whenever they're mentioned, but you don’t eat them very often? You are indeed iron-willed. 🤣

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21 hours ago, jkwilliams said:

Not to derail, but really? You've never heard that scripture quoted? I've heard that countless times. Just doing a quick search on the church's website returned 26 pages of references to that quote. 

Same here.

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14 hours ago, smac97 said:

Would the Church be willing to be a vintner's landlord?  I dunno.  

I wonder how many acres are planted in wine grapes.

Thanks,

-Smac

The church had no problem growing vineyards and owning wineries in the past - post WoW.  And it wasn’t just for the sacrament either.  

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