Jump to content
Seriously No Politics ×

Update on Huntsman Lawsuit: Ninth Circuit Reverses Trial Court


Recommended Posts

3 minutes ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

Isn't the point of Fund Accounting to make that illusion more real?

Isn't this a contradiction in terms? An illusion that is more real?

In reality, this issue is going to involve a lot of semantic claims. That we can have these discussions shows just how much difficulty there will be for Huntsman to make his case. Legally, he can't just show that he was misled (because of his own understanding), he has to show that there was an intent to mislead him. And that is a pretty high bar.

Link to comment
4 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

Isn't this a contradiction in terms? An illusion that is more real?

In reality, this issue is going to involve a lot of semantic claims. That we can have these discussions shows just how much difficulty there will be for Huntsman to make his case. Legally, he can't just show that he was misled (because of his own understanding), he has to show that there was an intent to mislead him. And that is a pretty high bar.

The money isn't as fungible as one might think. 

I am currently on the city council, where we deal with funds based accounting.  Spending the wrong digital currencies from the wrong digital account funds can land people in jail.  The jail isn't an illusion. 

Link to comment
7 hours ago, smac97 said:

And yet, you didn't.  My "invitation" pertains to you defending what I have described as you "not fairly or accurately stating their positions/understandings of what does, and does not, constitute 'tithing' in a Latter-day Saint context."  In your very long post here, you don't do that (barely at all, anyway).

This issue of this thread isn't "what does and does not constitute 'tithing' in a Latter-day Saint context." If I ever said or implied tithing in a Latter-day Saint context is anything other than the commandment and practice of giving one tenth of one's income to the Church as described here, then I apologize for the misunderstanding. That was never my point.

The actual issue on this thread is the Huntsman's lawsuit, and my contribution to the topic is pointing out that before the Letter to an IRS Director came out, many Latter-day Saints were "confident" that "the source of funds used to finance City Creek" was the Church's "for profit entity that pays taxes like any other for profit business entity." Many intelligent, seemingly informed people (e.g. Kim Pearson, Pahoran) believed this. And so did James Huntsman.

Do you disagree with my actual point? Do you dispute my claim that many Latter-day Saints, including Pearson, Pahoran, and Huntsman, were "confident" that "the source of funds used to finance City Creek" was the Church's "for profit entity that pays taxes like any other for profit business entity"?

Apparently you think I missed the mark when I tried to explain why they thought that. But do you concede they did in fact think that? If you concede they really were "confident" that "the source of funds used to finance City Creek" was the Church's "for profit entity that pays taxes like any other for profit business entity," how did they come to that conclusion and why were they confident about it? 

I'm all ears.

 

Link to comment
7 hours ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

You keep saying this, and it keeps boggling my brain.  As a financial layman, it makes no sense to me when experience and logic tell me otherwise.  

  • Endowments HAVE TO distinguish between principal and interest.  If accounting doesn't work that way, how could they do that?

In the context of endowments with restricted funds, there are complicated, special accounting rules to ensure that the funds are used in the restricted way. But if those rules aren't implemented, then "interest on investments" and "donations made" are both items on an income statement that say where the deposits came from. However, once they become assets, they are all in one big homogenous bucket of assets, and when the organization writes a check there is no way to say the dollars of the check are principle dollars or interest dollars.

7 hours ago, Stormin' Mormon said:
  • When I make my monthly mortgage payment to the bank, they are able to determine how much of that payment applies to principal and how much to interest.  If accounting doesn't work that way, how could they do that?

They do that because of the terms of the loan. That doesn't mean that when you wrote the check for the mortgage, you had to specify that $X was from last week's paycheck, $Y was from the money you made on the garage sale last weekend, and $Z was from interest earned on your checking account. Rather, money goes into your account from multiple sources and forms one big homogenous pool. When you write a check it comes out of that pool.

7 hours ago, Stormin' Mormon said:
  • The annual budget for the city I live in has a line item called "interest on investments."  The principal for those investments came from unspent taxes and fees, yet the line item only accounts for the interest on those investments.  If accounting doesn't work that way, how could they do that?

"Interest on investments" is a source of income. If you look at the same budget and see a line that says the city spent $X on road maintenance, it doesn't indicate where the specific dollars spent came from. 

7 hours ago, Stormin' Mormon said:
  • Logic tells me that if my mother gives me $50 a month for groceries, and after four months, I have spent $75 on groceries and have a balance of $127, then $2 of that balance did not come from my mother. 

Yes, in this example your account had $200 of deposits from your mom, another $2 in deposits from interest, and $75 in withdrawals for groceries, leaving a balance of $127. However, when you spent the $75 on groceries, was the $75 all allowance money, or was it comprised of $74.99 in allowance money and $0.01 in interest money, $74.98 in allowance money and $0.02 in interest money, $74.97 in allowance money and $0.03 in interest money, etc.? If you went to the bank and asked them how much of the specific $75 you withdrew was from allowance and how much was from interest, what would they say?

Do you see how that is nonsensical? All we really know is that a total of $202 was deposited from two different sources, and a total of $75 was withdrawn for one purpose. That's my point.

Likewise with Ensign Peak Advisors. Over the years, something like $120 billion was deposited. Those deposits come from donations from the Church and from investment returns. Then about $2 billion came out. The Church doesn't operate with the complicated rules required for restricted funds, and there is no way to tell whether the $2 billion that came out were donations-from-the-church dollars or investment-return dollars. They are just dollars that were all mixed up together in Ensign Peak Advisors.

Link to comment
6 hours ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

Just to make sure the dogpile on Analytics is as deep as possible:

lol.   "need".    lol.

Go start your own church buddy.  Leave us alone, we're mormoning. 

It's funny. Just last night I looked up an old friend I knew 30 years ago, and he did go start his own Church. Maybe I should do likewise, but I have too much integrity to make a living that way.

In any case, you keep on mormoning and I'll keep on Mormon dialogueing and Mormon discussioning. If you have a problem with me Mormon dialoguing and Mormon discussioning, maybe you should spend your time elsewhere.

Link to comment
2 hours ago, Danzo said:

The money isn't as fungible as one might think. 

I am currently on the city council, where we deal with funds based accounting.  Spending the wrong digital currencies from the wrong digital account funds can land people in jail.  The jail isn't an illusion. 

You do make a fair point. If an organization uses funds-based accounting and sets it up so that "principal" goes into one fund and "interest" goes into another fund, then saying you used money from the "interest fund" and not from the "principal fund" is well-defined.

However, I'm pretty confident that the Church doesn't use funds based accounting. 

Link to comment
53 minutes ago, Analytics said:

Yes, in this example your account had $200 of deposits from your mom, another $2 in deposits from interest, and $75 in withdrawals for groceries, leaving a balance of $127. However, when you spent the $75 on groceries, was the $75 all allowance money, or was it comprised of $74.99 in allowance money and $0.01 in interest money, $74.98 in allowance money and $0.02 in interest money, $74.97 in allowance money and $0.03 in interest money, etc.? If you went to the bank and asked them how much of the specific $75 you withdrew was from allowance and how much was from interest, what would they say?

Do you see how that is nonsensical? 

No, I don't see that it is nonsensical. In my professional work with non-profits, when spending restricted funds on an eligible activity, our accounting always drew down on the restricted funds first, before drawing down on unrestricted funds. 

46 minutes ago, Analytics said:

You do make a fair point. If an organization uses funds-based accounting and sets it up so that "principal" goes into one fund and "interest" goes into another fund, then saying you used money from the "interest fund" and not from the "principal fund" is well-defined.

So when you say that "there's no way" and "accounting doesn't work that way," what you mean is that there is a way if an organization sets it up that way. That's kind of a huge caveat to be leaving out.

46 minutes ago, Analytics said:

However, I'm pretty confident that the Church doesn't use funds based accounting. 

I'm genuinely curious why you assume that the Church doesn't use funds based accounting. In my limited experience, the method is fairly common for non-profits. Why would you assume that the Church wouldn't be using it? Don't the statements about tithing and interest earned on invested reserve funds make way more sense when viewed through such a prism?

Edited by Stormin' Mormon
Link to comment
2 minutes ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

I'm genuinely curious why you assume that the Church doesn't use funds based accounting. In my limited experience, the method is fairly common for non-profits. Why would you assume that the Church wouldn't be using it? Don't the statements about tithing and interest earned on invested reserve funds make way more sense when viewed through such a prism?

 

I don’t think it uses funds-based accounting because of:

1- I’ve heard that tithing slips have some fine print to the effect that the Church doesn’t accept restricted donations.

2- The various leaked reports from Ensign Peak Advisors imply there are no funds and all of the assets are in one homogeneous pool

3- Somebody I trust who would know said it doesn’t use funds based accounting.

On your second question I agree; that statement would be well defined and make sense if they had fund-based accounting and set it up that way.

 

Link to comment
16 minutes ago, Analytics said:

On your second question I agree; that statement would be well defined and make sense if they had fund-based accounting and set it up that way.

 

And perhaps that's why we've been talking past each other. I've been assuming that the LDS church, like the vast majority of churches in the US, uses funds based accounting, while you have reason to believe that they do not.

Link to comment
13 hours ago, Analytics said:

In any case, you keep on mormoning and I'll keep on Mormon dialogueing and Mormon discussioning. If you have a problem with me Mormon dialoguing and Mormon discussioning, maybe you should spend your time elsewhere.

Please understand - I'm not trying to silence you.  You're the most well-spoken, educated, and relevant-life-experience-having critic of how the church manages it's funds that I've run into in 20 years.  It's just that the absolute best you have to offer basically boils down into "I disagree with how the church does things, it needs to change", and that's just plain old weak sauce.  I am not persuaded.

I'm not trying to get you to stop dialogueing or discussioning.  Just letting you know how it's all being received.  The best you have to offer (and it is truly the best I've encountered) just ain't that convincing. 

Link to comment
15 hours ago, Analytics said:

You do make a fair point. If an organization uses funds-based accounting and sets it up so that "principal" goes into one fund and "interest" goes into another fund, then saying you used money from the "interest fund" and not from the "principal fund" is well-defined.

However, I'm pretty confident that the Church doesn't use funds based accounting. 

Then what type of accounting do they use?

Link to comment

I've heard second-hand rumors that the church uses funds based accounting, and I've heard second-hand rumors that they do not. 

If we're talking about Ensign Peaks specifically though, my suspicion is that they don't bother with any sort of funds based accounting system. I don't have any insider information or anything - I just don't see that there would be any real compelling need for them to do so, so I suspect they don't. You don't need a special funds based system set up to keep track of principle and interest. 

Link to comment
9 hours ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

Please understand - I'm not trying to silence you.  You're the most well-spoken, educated, and relevant-life-experience-having critic of how the church manages it's funds that I've run into in 20 years.  It's just that the absolute best you have to offer basically boils down into "I disagree with how the church does things, it needs to change", and that's just plain old weak sauce.  I am not persuaded.

I'm not trying to get you to stop dialogueing or discussioning.  Just letting you know how it's all being received.  The best you have to offer (and it is truly the best I've encountered) just ain't that convincing. 

That’s fine. I’m not the least bit concerned that you don’t find my arguments convincing. But I’m sure you’d agree with me that they aren’t relevant. My opinions don’t matter, and it doesn’t matter whether you agree with me or not.

But anyway, that was nice to say, I think. Thanks.

Link to comment

@smac97:

You got really offended by my prior attempt to understand why Kim Pearson, Paharon, et. al. came to the conclusion that City Creek was funded from the tax-paying for-profit arm of the Church and not from the tax-exempt not-for-profit arm of the Church. But when I asked you to explain how they came to this conclusion , you didn’t answer.

Would you care to explain why they got these facts wrong? For your reference, here are the questions you haven’t answered:

On 10/11/2023 at 5:40 PM, Analytics said:

This issue of this thread isn't "what does and does not constitute 'tithing' in a Latter-day Saint context." If I ever said or implied tithing in a Latter-day Saint context is anything other than the commandment and practice of giving one tenth of one's income to the Church as described here, then I apologize for the misunderstanding. That was never my point.

The actual issue on this thread is the Huntsman's lawsuit, and my contribution to the topic is pointing out that before the Letter to an IRS Director came out, many Latter-day Saints were "confident" that "the source of funds used to finance City Creek" was the Church's "for profit entity that pays taxes like any other for profit business entity." Many intelligent, seemingly informed people (e.g. Kim Pearson, Pahoran) believed this. And so did James Huntsman.

Do you disagree with my actual point? Do you dispute my claim that many Latter-day Saints, including Pearson, Pahoran, and Huntsman, were "confident" that "the source of funds used to finance City Creek" was the Church's "for profit entity that pays taxes like any other for profit business entity"?

Apparently you think I missed the mark when I tried to explain why they thought that. But do you concede they did in fact think that? If you concede they really were "confident" that "the source of funds used to finance City Creek" was the Church's "for profit entity that pays taxes like any other for profit business entity," how did they come to that conclusion and why were they confident about it? 

I'm all ears.

 

Link to comment
On 10/11/2023 at 11:22 AM, smac97 said:

Says you.

There is a very broad spectrum of risk in investing in the stock market.  See, e.g., here:

My understanding is that the Church does not do "aggressive investing," and instead does "conservative investing." 

You must be aware of this stuff, and yet here you are, blithely declaring that there is no such thing as "very conservative investments {in stocks}."

I was originally going to ignore this comment because it is so fundamentally non-serious, but I happened to be reviewing some reports this morning and decided that I wanted to close this loop. 

The issue here isn't whether or not the Church "does 'conservative investing.'" The issue is whether or not Kim was accurate when he said, "This non for profit entity does keep some reserve funds that are invested in very conservative investments but would only sustain the operations of the non for profit entity for a very short period of time."

It appears you concede he was wrong about the reserves being only sufficient to "sustain the operations of the non for profit entity for a very short period of time," but are arguing that the Church's portfolio of stocks constitute "very conservative investments."

As a way of evaluating how institutional investors measure the riskiness of different assets, the NAIC's formula for C1 risk is insightful. In U.S. insurance companies, the term "reserves" means the amount of money the company must save to pay for its insurance obligations. In addition to the reserves, the companies need to hold extra capital, just in case things go much worse than expected. The absolute minimum amount of extra capital they are required to hold depends on the risks of the specific company in question.

The risk of a company losing money on its investment portfolio is known as "C1 Risk". The formula for the minimum capital requirement includes "C1 Factors" that are based on the riskiness of the various assets. The formula is complicated, but the C1 factors are not. As an example, a "Aaa" rated bond has a C1 factor of 0.310%. That means that if a company has, say, $1,000,000 in "Aaa" rated bonds, it must hold an additional 0.310% of that ($3,100) as the very minimum level of capital to cover the risk associated with this investment (insurance companies generally aim for holding something like 5-times the minimum required). These C1 factors are based on the riskiness of different assets. Investment Grade Bonds (i.e. bonds with a rating between Aaa and Baa3) have C1 factors between 0.310% and 2.00%). Other assets that could accurately be called "very conservative" include cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments (C1 factors of 0.39%), insured or guaranteed residential mortgages (C1 = 0.14%), and government full-faith bonds (C1 factor = 0.00%).

Those are what the insurance regulators consider "very conservative investments."

In contrast, the C1 factor for common stock is 30%. In other words, insurance regulators consider investments in stocks to be about 100 times more risky than investments in Aaa rated bonds, and if an insurance company has $1,000,000 in stocks, it must hold as an absolute minimum an additional $300,000 in capital to offset the risk of that.

That said, I'm not criticizing the Church's investment portfolio; the Church doesn't need to invest in "very conservative investments" because it doesn't actually need the money for anything. The Church's investment portfolio can be considered smart because I'm sure the portfolio as a whole is on an efficient frontier that maximizes returns for the level of risk. However, in the context of institutional investing the claim that "the funds are invested in very conservative investments" is objectively false.

For some light reading on the relative riskiness of different investment options, please see the following link:

https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/inline-files/2021 Revisions to the RBC C1 Bond Factors.pdf

Link to comment
On 10/11/2023 at 11:22 AM, smac97 said:

Instead, to topic under discussion here is your continued failure/refusal to listen to, or accurately characterize, the position of the Latter-day Saints regarding what is, and is not, "tithing." ...

  But I don't much see the point, since it is not germane to your continued failure/refusal to listen to, or accurately characterize, the position of the Latter-day Saints regarding what is, and is not, "tithing."...

And again, this is not germane to your continued failure/refusal to listen to, or accurately characterize, the position of the Latter-day Saints regarding what is, and is not, "tithing."...

And again, this is not germane to your continued failure/refusal to listen to, or accurately characterize, the position of the Latter-day Saints regarding what is, and is not, "tithing."...

And again, this is not germane to your continued failure/refusal to listen to, or accurately characterize, the position of the Latter-day Saints regarding what is, and is not, "tithing."...

And again, this is not germane to your continued failure/refusal to listen to, or accurately characterize, the position of the Latter-day Saints regarding what is, and is not, "tithing."...

And again, this is not germane to your continued failure/refusal to listen to, or accurately characterize, the position of the Latter-day Saints regarding what is, and is not, "tithing."...

Again, what you are saying here is not germane to your continued failure/refusal to listen to, or accurately characterize, the position of the Latter-day Saints regarding what is, and is not, "tithing."

And again, this is not germane to your continued failure/refusal to listen to, or accurately characterize, the position of the Latter-day Saints regarding what is, and is not, "tithing."

And again, this is not germane to your continued failure/refusal to listen to, or accurately characterize, the position of the Latter-day Saints regarding what is, and is not, "tithing."

What does any of this have to do with your continued failure/refusal to listen to, or accurately characterize, the position of the Latter-day Saints regarding what is, and is not, "tithing"?

A value judgment on your part, and one that is not germane to your continued failure/refusal to listen to, or accurately characterize, the position of the Latter-day Saints regarding what is, and is not, "tithing."

Again, what you are saying here is not germane to your continued failure/refusal to listen to, or accurately characterize, the position of the Latter-day Saints regarding what is, and is not, "tithing."

And more to the point, this is not germane to your continued failure/refusal to listen to, or accurately characterize, the position of the Latter-day Saints regarding what is, and is not, "tithing." 

Again, what you are saying here is not germane to your continued failure/refusal to listen to, or accurately characterize, the position of the Latter-day Saints regarding what is, and is not, "tithing."

Kim, AFAICS, said nothing to support your continued misrepresentation about what Latter-day Saints do, and do not, consider to be "tithing."

Again, what you are saying here is not germane to your continued failure/refusal to listen to, or accurately characterize, the position of the Latter-day Saints regarding what is, and is not, "tithing."

Again, what you are saying here is not germane to your continued failure/refusal to listen to, or accurately characterize, the position of the Latter-day Saints regarding what is, and is not, "tithing."

Again, what you are saying here is not germane to your continued failure/refusal to listen to, or accurately characterize, the position of the Latter-day Saints regarding what is, and is not, "tithing."

None of which, though, said anything supportive of your ongoing mischaracterizations of the Latter-day Saints regarding what they understand is, and is not, "tithing."...

You did nothing to advance or defend your ongoing mischaracterizations of the Latter-day Saints regarding what they understand is, and is not, "tithing."

...You are not fairly or accurately stating their positions/understandings of what does, and does not, constitute "tithing" in a Latter-day Saint context.

By my count, you made this accusation 18 times in one post. That is ironic, because my alleged "continued failure/refusal to listen to, or accurately characterize the position of Latter-day Saints regarding what is and what is not 'tithing'" is a figment of your imagination, which is the reason I wasn't addressing it. I have no obligation to defend the straw men you imagine in your head. Your accusations of me not listening and not accurately characterizing the position of others is pure projection on your part.

But wondering if there was any basis for these accusations, I decided to go back and review this thread. My participation in this thread began when you quoted Sam Brunson as saying, "every financial endeavor that includes both principal and income on the principal distinguishes the two."

I found that specific point especially boneheaded, because the financial endeavor of insurance, my specialization, includes both principal and interest, and we conflate the two all the time. Feeling I had some relevent insight into this (after all, I've actually read the 660-page graduate-level text book The Theory of Interest), I decided to add my two cents on this very narrow point. As an interesting way to make my point, I recalled one of the times a couple of business friends of mine were invited to testify before Congress together, and I recalled a specific question and answer that illustrated how insurance professionals routinely conflate principal and interest. I said:

On 8/22/2023 at 1:51 PM, Analytics said:

Sam Brunson is wrong on this point. As an example, on November 30, 2016, a House subcommittee had a hearing about the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program. In that hearing, Glenn Grothom (R-Wisconsin) asked the following:

...I don't care whether it's 
health insurance, car insurance, whatever, you always kind of 
wonder how much of that premium is going for claims and how 
much is going for overhead and commissions and that sort of 
thing.
    Could you give me, the insurance industry in general, how 
much of, say, auto insurance, health insurance, and long-term 
insurance, how much goes for claims?

Marc Cohen answered the question as follows:

At least historically when these products have 
been priced, the idea was that somewhere between 60 to 70 
percent of the dollars that were collected would eventually get 
paid out in claims.

See:https://www.congress.gov/event/114th-congress/house-event/LC52104/text?s=1&r=63

I'm not 100% positive what Congressman Grothom meant by his question, but I am positive that Professor Cohen interpreted the question as including both principle and interest. When a long-term care insurance policy is sold, most of the premiums in the early years of the policy are invested, and the insurance company then relies on both principle and interest to eventually pay the claims. When Professor Cohen said 60-70% of premiums goes to claims, he meant 60-70% of premiums, accumulated with interest, go to paying claims. 

Just as Marc Cohen interpreted "how much of that premium is going for claims" as including interest, it is eminently reasonable to infer that when the Church said "no tithing money was used" it meant that no tithing money, accumulated with interest, was used....

Smac took issue with this point, and apparently considers himself to have comprehensive expertise on how all financial people think about interest in every context, so he decided to go to war with me on the issue of whether Brunson was right about "every financial endeavor that includes both principal and income on the principal distinguishes the two," or whether I'm right that there are some significant exceptions that Brunson missed. He said:

On 8/22/2023 at 3:57 PM, smac97 said:

I think he is broadly - even overwhelmingly - right on this point....

[I won't bother to repeat smac's irrelevant response; the truth is he doesn't know anything about Marc Cohen or how insurance professionals think about interest]. I then responded, with emphasis added:

On 8/23/2023 at 12:55 PM, Analytics said:

Hinckley said, "commercial entities owned by the Church" and "earnings of invested reserve funds," would be used to fund the projects. We now know because of the IRS whistle blower report that the "reserve funds" constitute unspent tithing revenue, accumulated with interest. But did we know that at the time? No--all we could do was speculate. If somebody agreed with Hinckley that tithing dollars were too sacred for this, it would be reasonable to believe that interest on tithing is too sacred, too. If someone sees the world that way, they'd think the "reserve funds" were unrelated to tithing.

I wish we had archives of these forums that went back that far. I recall discussing this and apologists saying something to the effect that of course neither tithing money nor investment income of unspent tithing was used for this! The "reserve funds" used for the mall came from purely commercial assets the Church has owned since the early pioneer days and not from tithing. 

I eventually dug up some old threads and found that I remembered their content correctly. I quoted forum participants over and over and over again who said things like "the source of funds used to finance City Creek" was the Church's "for profit entity that pays taxes like any other for profit business entity," and "I am confident that the City Creek Mall's pedigree would trace back, not to the tithing paid in St George after President Snow's famous 'Windows of Heaven' talk, but to the original Zion's Co-operative Mercantile Institution."

Professionals in the insurance industry know that premiums are used to generate investment income to pay claims, and as shorthand they would say premiums are used to pay claims. In most actuarial models, interest and principal are tightly wrapped together and not kept apart--in these models, money has time value. When money grows with interest it is the original money that has grown, and the assertion that principal-and-interest-are-totally-different-and-must-be-distinguished is a way of thinking that is both foreign and counterproductive.

This raises the following question: did the apologists think the same when when they argued that  "the source of funds used to finance City Creek" was the Church's "for profit entity that pays taxes like any other for profit business entity"? In their minds, is using tithing money to generate investment income to finance a mall an indirect way of using tithing money to finance a mall?

I am claiming that what they actually said makes sense if they did in fact think about it that way. However, I'm open to other explanations, which brings us back to my final point and final question:

Before the Letter to an IRS Director came out, many Latter-day Saints were "confident" that "the source of funds used to finance City Creek" was the Church's "for profit entity that pays taxes like any other for profit business entity." Many intelligent, seemingly informed people (e.g. Kim Pearson, Pahoran) believed this. And so did James Huntsman.

Do you disagree with my actual point? Do you dispute my claim that many Latter-day Saints, including Pearson, Pahoran, and Huntsman, were "confident" that "the source of funds used to finance City Creek" was the Church's "for profit entity that pays taxes like any other for profit business entity"?

Apparently you think I missed the mark when I tried to explain why they thought that. But do you concede they did in fact think that? If you concede they really were "confident" that "the source of funds used to finance City Creek" was the Church's "for profit entity that pays taxes like any other for profit business entity," how did they come to that conclusion and why were they confident about it? 

Edited by Analytics
Link to comment

Opinion: In James Huntsman lawsuit, you can’t define tithing without religion

If secular courts are allowed to determine what constitutes ‘tithing,’ churches will lose their ability to define their own doctrine and missions

https://www.deseret.com/opinion/2023/10/18/23923010/lds-mormon-church-james-huntsman-lawsuit-tithing-definition

"The fundamental question at the core of plaintiff James Huntsman’s accusations is what exactly constitutes tithing, and, crucially, who gets to make that determination."

"If a court or other governmental actor answers that question, instead of the church itself, it will undermine the faith’s constitutionally-granted autonomy to define its own doctrine and teachings."

Link to comment
2 hours ago, ksfisher said:

Opinion: In James Huntsman lawsuit, you can’t define tithing without religion

If secular courts are allowed to determine what constitutes ‘tithing,’ churches will lose their ability to define their own doctrine and missions

https://www.deseret.com/opinion/2023/10/18/23923010/lds-mormon-church-james-huntsman-lawsuit-tithing-definition

"The fundamental question at the core of plaintiff James Huntsman’s accusations is what exactly constitutes tithing, and, crucially, who gets to make that determination."

"If a court or other governmental actor answers that question, instead of the church itself, it will undermine the faith’s constitutionally-granted autonomy to define its own doctrine and teachings."

This is silly. The Church could start calling anything they want tithing. The question is only if what one person said at one time was a misrepresentation of the facts. This would not lock in the meaning of “tithing” for all time.

I think the suit will fail but this argument is silly.

Link to comment
6 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

This is silly. The Church could start calling anything they want tithing. The question is only if what one person said at one time was a misrepresentation of the facts. This would not lock in the meaning of “tithing” for all time.

I think the suit will fail but this argument is silly.

Do you think the government should step in and define tithing for the church?

Edited by ksfisher
Link to comment
40 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

Yes, then they should impose mandatory gay temple marriages.

Or you can look at what you just quoted and my thoughts are in there.

Is this the pertinent sentence?

 

1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

The question is only if what one person said at one time was a misrepresentation of the facts.

The question then is who decides what the facts are?  President Hinckley says that the facts are that no tithing was used.  Huntsman says otherwise.  My understanding of the case is that Huntsman would like to court to say that HIncley's statement was actually not factual, and give him his money back (perhaps that's an oversimplification).

So, should the court step in and say that the leader of the church at the time had the facts wrong as to what tithing actually was?

Link to comment
3 hours ago, ksfisher said:

Is this the pertinent sentence?

 

The question then is who decides what the facts are?  President Hinckley says that the facts are that no tithing was used.  Huntsman says otherwise.  My understanding of the case is that Huntsman would like to court to say that HIncley's statement was actually not factual, and give him his money back (perhaps that's an oversimplification).

So, should the court step in and say that the leader of the church at the time had the facts wrong as to what tithing actually was?

The question isn’t whether he had the facts wrong. It is whether he misrepresented what was being done. I think the terms in question are so vague that there isn’t a court case here. It does make it kind of disappointing that the President of the Church made a distinction about what funds would be spent to reassure people that was pretty meaningless. I don’t think it is actionable.

I do think that courts do have the power to determine whether something was a fradulent misrepresentation in a specific instance.

Link to comment
  • 4 weeks later...

Huntsman weighs in (again) : James Huntsman takes aim at LDS Church’s legal moves against his tithing case

Quote

This dispute, he insists, is about fraud, not religion.

Uh-huh.

Quote

But other faith groups and nonprofits worry about the potential implications for their donors.

It's a reasonable concern.

Quote

James Huntsman is trying to resist a growing wave of legal attempts by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other groups to turn his high-profile fraud lawsuit over tithing into a religious affair.

In a brief filed Monday with 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the prominent Utahn and former Latter-day Saint reasserts that his federal suit to recover millions of dollars in past donations is “a purely secular” dispute based on his assertions of being misled — not a plunge into resolving matters of church doctrine.

He must say this, as anything other than a "'purely secular' dispute" would get tossed out of court on its ear.

I think Kathleen Flake, for the most part, correctly characterized things back in 2019, in response to the "whistleblower" story:

Quote

Kathleen Flake, the Richard Lyman Bushman Professor of Mormon Studies at the University of Virginia, falls in the latter group. In an article she penned for the university, she argues, “At some point, even with reliance on investments that augment membership offerings, the Church’s commitments to the members would become impossible to meet. The larger problem is, as any Bible-reader knows, tithing is about faith, not about money.”

Noting that tax law experts have already discredited the claims of a whistleblower alleging the Church of Jesus Christ improperly saves money, Flake highlights a few of the lesser-known aspects of the church’s charitable work:

“That it has an unusually robust welfare and disaster relief system may be known, but its scope can hardly be represented here except in passing: food production and supply centers, immigrant services, employment centers, literacy programs and access to higher education, family counseling, and drug addiction services, as well as its own version of Goodwill.”

Pondering the merit of added transparency for the church’s finances, Flake asks why the church doesn’t simply open up its records.

Her answer: The alleged problem is not about financial malfeasance, “it’s about competing views of what should be done with Church money and who gets to say so.”

“In other words,” Flake concludes, “this is a power struggle ... and one that we’ve seen before from those who don’t understand Mormonism and how it handles its money.”

Read Kathleen Flake’s full article here.

The part Flake did not note was the punitive, vengeful, "pound of flesh" motives that I think are fairly apparent in these matters (Nielsen, Gaddy, Huntsman, Chappell).

Back to the original article:

Quote

The latest salvo comes as Huntsman’s lawyers mount arguments against the church’s petition for a rehearing before the San Francisco-based court after a three-judge appellate panel reinstated the lawsuit in August on a split decision.

In support of his latest filing, Huntsman has enlisted attorneys from Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit dedicated to disassociating religion from government.

I am curious as to what interest Americans United for Separation of Church and State has in a purportedly "about fraud, not religion" case.

Quote

All the rulings so far in the case have found Huntsman’s claims he was deceived into donating to the church are not barred by the First Amendment, so there has been no need to answer questions of religious belief.

“That narrow, unremarkable conclusion,” they write, “aligns with the long-standing rule that a religious institution’s right to control religious doctrine does not allow it to defraud its members.

“...The First Amendment guarantees that the church generally can spend its money how it wants. And the First Amendment gives the church the unfettered right to define religious terms,” the brief states. “What the First Amendment does not do, however, is give carte blanche to the church to induce its members to donate by explicitly promising one thing and then secretly doing the opposite.”

Alas, this case fails in a fraud context, too.  It may just take a bit longer.

Quote

In a petition filed in late September, church lawyers argue the resulting legal clash has “created a profound threat to religious liberty” — one potentially affecting all faiths.

Allowing the case to proceed to a jury trial, the faith’s attorneys contend, would violate church-autonomy doctrines upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, barring courts from intruding on internal religious affairs and matters of faith.

I think this may be what pulls the Ninth Circuit short.  Good luck having a jury trial that does not delve into matters of church autonomy.

Quote

Other religious and nonprofit groups have since added their voices to the case before the 9th Circuit in what are known as amicus briefs in support of the church’s position, raising a variety of warnings and arguments about the case’s legal implications.

Four nonprofit groups — including Thanksgiving Point in Lehi — argue that because they rely heavily on donations, the Huntsman case might open them up to a disproportionate share of new legal actions from disgruntled former members seeking donation refunds.

The appellate panel’s August ruling, they caution, “invites litigation against every nonprofit who makes any fundraising promise containing terms that could be deemed imprecise, confusing, overly technical, or insufficiently defined.”

Yep.

Quote

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit law firm representing " all religious traditions” in the case, has filed a brief saying all tithing disputes “are inherently religious” and that courts “cannot second-guess the content of sermons.”

“Freedom of religion could not survive,” the firm warns, “if courts had power to investigate every complaint about a church’s internal decisions, thus becoming endlessly entangled in religious decision-making.”

Good points, these.

Quote

Scholars at the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, affiliated with the law school at church-owned Brigham Young University in Provo, filed their own brief arguing that Latter-day Saint scripture and doctrine closely bind the management of tithing to senior church leaders. That gives their decisions religious authority, the society writes, but also puts them beyond judicial review.

“Allowing a plaintiff to contradict President Hinckley’s statement on a matter of church doctrine and practice,” the society adds, “would invade the autonomy of the church in a way the First Amendment forbids.”

But judging what beliefs Huntsman himself might have relied on in making his tithing donations, its brief argues, also would require a jury to evaluate doctrine on tithing and whether Huntsman adhered to it or if his views “were out of step with believing members of the faith.”

Yep.  Huntsman has invited scrutiny of his own religious beliefs, which my eventually end up killing his case.

Quote

Two groups representing religious institutions of higher education (the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities) along with California Baptist University, in Riverside, Calif., LDS Church-owned BYU-Hawaii and BYU-Idaho, have also weighed in, saying the August ruling “will disrupt and chill fundraising efforts in the nonprofit industry.”

Finally, a group of 10 major faiths has jointly filed its own brief, saying no religious groups within the jurisdiction of the 9th Circuit — the nation’s largest in terms of population and geography — “will be safe from judicial or jury intrusion into internal religious issues” if the latest ruling stands.

That so many other religious groups are filing amicus briefs rather strongly suggests that nobody is buying Huntsman's "it's about fraud, not religion" assertion.

Quote

Huntsman counters that the August ruling leaves a clear path for evaluating his fraud assertion without nosing into religious questions and with no constitutional reason to stay away — letting judges decide whether church leaders misrepresented facts “‘without resolving underlying controversies over religious doctrine.’”

His lawyers contend elsewhere that deciding the case hinges on “a credibility argument — it has nothing to do with the correct meaning of church doctrine.”

“The question is whether the church materially misrepresented the source of funding for City Creek,” Huntsman’s brief asserts. “It did.”

Huntsman’s lawyers say the August decision “holds only that church leaders cannot fraudulently misrepresent how church funds will be used” and “keeps with the well-established principle that ‘the cloak of religion’ does not give religious organizations a free pass to ‘commit frauds upon the public.’”

I think Huntsman's 

Quote

It is unclear when the 9th Circuit might decide whether to grant a new hearing, whether by the three-judge panel that made the August ruling or by the full appellate court.

We'll see what happens.

Quote

Editor’s note • James Huntsman is a brother of Paul Huntsman, chair of the nonprofit Salt Lake Tribune’s board of directors.

Boy, wouldn't it be ironic if someone filed a lawsuit against the "nonprofit" Salt Lake Tribune in order to challenge how it spends donations?

Thanks,

-Smac

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...