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Update on Huntsman Lawsuit: Ninth Circuit Reverses Trial Court


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5 hours ago, smac97 said:

The Church has substantial financial safeguards in place.  We have the Council on the Disposition of Tithes, the Budget Committee, the Appropriations Committee, the Church Budget Office, the Church Audit Committee, and more.  We get annual reports from the Audit Committee.  

 No you don't get annual reports. The two paragraph statement that is no longer read in GC is not what anyone serious about financial matters would call an annual report.  You should drop this one from the list you think is so grand. 

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6 hours ago, smac97 said:

There are more, but none of this matters a lick to people like Roger.

No not really. It does matter but you need to misrepresent me and Roger, etc.  Roger's points on what transparency looks like to him. They were reasonable.  The fact that you still double down on this is reflective more on your mind set of whatever the Church leadership does is fine and you will die on every hill defending it.  

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20 minutes ago, smac97 said:

LOL.  Even the two loudest critics in this thread disagree about what "transparency" means, and what the Church could/should do.

Dude  It was a suggestion.  Carry on misrepresenting us and keep feeding your persecution complex.

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21 minutes ago, smac97 said:

A "fluff piece" will placate you?  Wow.  WowSo much for the supposed moral necessity of "more transparency."  

 

What do you say about making someone an offender for a word?  It would be better than what you have now, which is nothing.  All you can do is speculate that all is well in Zion.

21 minutes ago, smac97 said:

No matter what we do, it will never be enough.  Our critics will never be satisfied.  Ever.

Oh boo hoo.  Cry me a river.  

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Posted (edited)
On 4/1/2024 at 3:34 PM, Teancum said:
Quote

The Church has substantial financial safeguards in place.  We have the Council on the Disposition of Tithes, the Budget Committee, the Appropriations Committee, the Church Budget Office, the Church Audit Committee, and more.  We get annual reports from the Audit Committee.  

No you don't get annual reports.

Yes, we do.

This is the sort of thing I have in mind when I say: "No matter what we do, it will never be enough.  Our critics will never be satisfied.  Ever."

We do get annual reports, but our critics tacitly find them insufficient, and so airily assert that because these reports do not satisfy our critics, they are not reports at all.  It's the No True Scotsman fallacy.

This is why I repose little confidence in Roger's (and your) statements that you would be satisfied with a two-page report.  You aren't satisfied with a two-paragraph report, so much so that you insist those reports don't exist at all.  You just move the goalposts and demand more.

On 4/1/2024 at 3:34 PM, Teancum said:

The two paragraph statement that is no longer read in GC is not what anyone serious about financial matters would call an annual report.

Here is last year's financial audit report by Jared B. Larson, which according to you "is no longer read in {General Conference}."

 

On 4/1/2024 at 3:34 PM, Teancum said:

You should drop this one from the list you think is so grand. 

Says the guy who just barely said he would be satisfied if the Church issued a "fluff piece" about its finances.

You and Roger are really diminishing the Great Moral Imperative aspect of your ongoing demands for "transparency."  A two-page report would be only a marginal improvement on the annual report given above.  It wouldn't move the needle.  So critics would either move the goalposts and demand "more" (the more likely scenario, IMO), or else they truly would be satisfied with a "fluff piece," which eviscerates any sense of urgency or moral obligation for the Church to be "more transparent" about its finances.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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On 4/1/2024 at 6:02 PM, smac97 said:

Yes, we do.

No you don't. That is not an annual report.  That fact that you keep insisting it is makes you seem foolish.  And you really are out of your expertise here, ya know, like you like to tell others on legal issues.

 

I thought this had been dropped from conference along that statistical report.  I don't watch conference anymore so my mistake.

Edited by Teancum
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9 minutes ago, smac97 said:

You and Roger are really diminishing the Great Moral Imperative aspect of your ongoing demands for "transparency."  A two-page report would be only a marginal improvement on the annual report given above.

So now when we give an easy simple solution you criticize us as well.  This is rich.  🤣  You really are insufferable. 

9 minutes ago, smac97 said:

 

 

 

It wouldn't move the needle.  So critics would either move the goalposts and demand "more" (the more likely scenario, IMO), or else they truly would be satisfied with a "fluff piece," which eviscerates any sense of urgency or moral obligation for the Church to be "more transparent" about its finances.

I have said for quite sometime I would prefer annual financial statements audited by an independent CPA firm.

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On 3/29/2024 at 2:42 PM, Teancum said:

Yep. Allegedly tithing is a commandment.

Allegedly? Do you doubt this? It seems to have been mentioned at least twice in the Old Testament, and it sure seems to me that it was mentioned in such a way as to give it the status of a commandment. Or do you think it's just a strong suggestion?

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15 hours ago, smac97 said:

You and Roger are really diminishing the Great Moral Imperative aspect of your ongoing demands for "transparency."  A two-page report would be only a marginal improvement on the annual report given above.

That's absolutely false. As an example, Forbes magazine says Feeding America is the nation’s top charity. Here is a link to their annual report:

Feeding America 2023 Annual Report

On page 6 you can see a high level income statement and balance sheet on one page. By looking at this, we can see that last year they spent $5.1 Billion on program services, of which $4.7 billion was for food procurement. Isn’t that amazing! They are doing about 4 times the humanitarian good in the world as the Church. They did this with $4.9 billion in public support, plus an additional $246 million of revenue from other sources. Their total assets are $626 million, and in 2023 that number went down--they aren’t saving for a rainy day--they are dealing with the rain that is falling now.

If somebody cares the actual mission of Feeding America, this looks like an amazing charity to donate to.

If the Church released an annual statement with that same level of detail, the following would happen:

  • The Church would be meeting best practices for financial transparency, and everyone who is knowledgable on these topics and talking in good faith would recognize that
  • The Widow’s Mite project would shut down, because they’d no longer need to make estimates of the numbers the Church was publishing
  • This thread wouldn’t exist, because there wouldn’t be a James Huntsman lawsuit, because there never would have been a misunderstanding about what the Church did with tithing revenue
  • You wouldn’t have to guess about whether the $40 million per year that Oaks talked about and the $1.3 billion the Church now publicizes are the same metric
  • You would have actual numbers to back up your assertion that the Church is spending more on humanitarian aid
  • We would be able to measure whether the rainy day fund was within generally agreed upon guidelines of 6 months to 2 years of expenses
  • We would be able to see how much of the humanitarian aid they gave last year was funded by fast offerings, how much was funded by tithing and other donations, and how much was funded by investment income
  • We would be able to verify whether or not the following assertion is true: the Church uses the majority of its annual income to grow the size of its for-profit investment portfolio
  • If somebody was interested in supporting the things the Church supports, they would be able to decide whether they should make donations to the Church.
  • The Church wouldn’t have been fined $5,000,000 for lying to the SEC.

 

15 hours ago, smac97 said:

It wouldn't move the needle.  So critics would either move the goalposts and demand "more" (the more likely scenario, IMO), or else they truly would be satisfied with a "fluff piece," which eviscerates any sense of urgency or moral obligation for the Church to be "more transparent" about its finances.

If the Church met best practices in financial transparency, you’d have an excellent response to these hypothetical critics with their hypothetical criticisms and wouldn’t have to rely on the superlatively lame ad hominem apologetics you are using here. 

Edited by Analytics
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14 hours ago, Teancum said:

No not really. It does matter but you need to misrepresent me and Roger, etc.  Roger's points on what transparency looks like to him. They were reasonable.  The fact that you still double down on this is reflective more on your mind set of whatever the Church leadership does is fine and you will die on every hill defending it.  

What's become clear is that @smac97 defends the Church, no matter what. He doesn’t think about what’s right or wrong. He doesn’t think about underlying principles. He defends the Church no matter what.

And he projects his mindset on us. Since he defends everything the Church does without thinking about it, he cynically imagines that we attack everything the Church does without thinking about it.

On the issue of transparency he has a losing position, so instead of talking about the actual issue he attacks us with a projection of his own mindset. The psychology here is fascinating. 

Edited by Analytics
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13 hours ago, Stargazer said:

Allegedly? Do you doubt this? It seems to have been mentioned at least twice in the Old Testament, and it sure seems to me that it was mentioned in such a way as to give it the status of a commandment. Or do you think it's just a strong suggestion?

Well since I don't believe the places you find this "commandment" are anything but man made I think it is a tool lto wrong $$ from adherents.  I am not an expert on what other religions practice in regards to tithing but it seems the church takes it to another level. Now it is a temple tax.  One must pay to get into the place to get the highest ordinances, the ones that get you to the highest heaven. And that was not always the case for the church. Have to studied the history of tithing in Mormonism?  It was not always a mandate to be in good standing and how it was determined has also been in flux in Mormonism.

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57 minutes ago, Analytics said:

That's absolutely false. As an example, Forbes magazine says Feeding America is the nation’s top charity. Here is a link to their annual report:

Feeding America 2023 Annual Report

On page 6 you can see a high level income statement and balance sheet on one page. By looking at this, we can see that last year they spent $5.1 Billion on program services, of which $4.7 billion was for food procurement. Isn’t that amazing! They are doing about 4 times the humanitarian good in the world as the Church. They did this with $4.9 billion in public support, plus an additional $246 million of revenue from other sources. Their total assets are $626 million, and in 2023 that number went down--they aren’t saving for a rainy day--they are dealing with the rain that is falling now.

If somebody cares the actual mission of Feeding America, this looks like an amazing charity to donate to.

If the Church released an annual statement with that same level of detail, the following would happen:

  • The Church would be meeting best practices for financial transparency, and everyone who is knowledgable on these topics and talking in good faith would recognize that
  • The Widow’s Mite project would shut down, because they’d no longer need to make estimates of the numbers the Church was publishing
  • This thread wouldn’t exist, because there wouldn’t be a James Huntsman lawsuit, because there never would have been a misunderstanding about what the Church did with tithing revenue
  • You wouldn’t have to guess about whether the $40 million per year that Oaks talked about and the $1.3 billion the Church now publicizes are the same metric
  • You would have actual numbers to back up your assertion that the Church is spending more on humanitarian aid
  • We would be able to measure whether the rainy day fund was within generally agreed upon guidelines of 6 months to 2 years of expenses
  • We would be able to see how much of the humanitarian aid they gave last year was funded by fast offerings, how much was funded by tithing and other donations, and how much was funded by investment income
  • We would be able to verify whether or not the following assertion is true: the Church uses the majority of its annual income to grow the size of its for-profit investment portfolio
  • If somebody was interested in supporting the things the Church supports, they would be able to decide whether they should make donations to the Church.

 

If the Church met best practices in financial transparency, you’d have an excellent response to these hypothetical critics with their hypothetical criticisms and wouldn’t have to rely on the superlatively lame ad hominem apologetics you are using here. 

This is an excellent summary and IMO, decimates @smac97s denigration of you, myself and others on this thread and elsewhere whenever this topic comes up.  But no, when you or I finally offer something he rants and raves that now all we want is a limited ""fluff" piece which would not make any difference as compared to what he thinks the church currently does.  And my worked fluff piece was not meant to disparage something like you shared from Feeding America.  It was a word used to illustrate that if the church would provide information like you outlined  they could add narratives to highlight what they had done for the year.  Now you watch.  This will be used by Smac as a club to beat me with now and in the future, whenever this topic comes up.

Oh and because I suggested a narrative in addition to your suggestions, Smac pounces and says even you and I cannot agree on what transparency looks like.  Good lord.

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21 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Well since I don't believe the places you find this "commandment" are anything but man made I think it is a tool lto wrong $$ from adherents.  I am not an expert on what other religions practice in regards to tithing but it seems the church takes it to another level. Now it is a temple tax.  One must pay to get into the place to get the highest ordinances, the ones that get you to the highest heaven. And that was not always the case for the church. Have to studied the history of tithing in Mormonism?  It was not always a mandate to be in good standing and how it was determined has also been in flux in Mormonism.

OK, I get that you're saying that the story of Abraham paying tithes to Melchizedek, and Malachi calling the failure to tithe robbing the Lord, are fiction. I disagree, but 

Yes, I have studied the history of tithing in Mormonism. And I understand that many things besides tithing have changed over time according to the principle of "line upon line; precept upon precept." You're doubtless aware of Lorenzo Snow's revelation (you would call it a fictional revelation, I imagine) that if the people of St. George started paying tithing a long-standing drought would end. They did, and it did. Which I am sure you would say was a pure coincidence. It was during Snow's presidency that the LDS Church adopted the principle of tithing — being interpreted as the payment of 10 percent of one's income — as a hallmark of membership. Why does it matter that tithing was once not so strongly emphasized, and then it was? 

Okay, let's look at this from a purely practical point of view. The church was going bankrupt. Something had to be done to prevent this. A pre-existing and ancient religious principle was placed into practice as a solution. By April 1907, the practice of its members paying tithing had eliminated the church's debt. Was this a bad thing? This is where the "line upon line, precept upon precept" concept comes in: the church was not following God's laws as designed, and then it changed the practice so that it was following God's law in the matter of finance. Now, whether God exists or was advising Lorenzo Snow, or not, the solution worked to achieve a desirable end. Do you think that this principle of tithing should have been abandoned after the church paid off its debts? Would that be a wise thing to do, from a purely practical point of view?

As for your temple tax, there has always been one. The Book of Leviticus gets very precise about it. The Law of Moses was very specific about the sacrifices that had to be brought to the temple in order to obtain the blessings of the temple. What did Mary and Joseph bring to the temple in connection with Jesus's being presented? Although the law prescribed an unblemished lamb as the sacrifice, they brought doves since the law allowed that substitution in case of poverty. And what was done with the sacrifices? Portions were burned, but the bulk were used to support the priests. 

If you believe all of this is man-made, that's your choice. But if one believes God has mandated all this, then what is one to do, but turn the mandate into the practice?

 

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26 minutes ago, Teancum said:

This is an excellent summary and IMO, decimates @smac97s denigration of you, myself and others on this thread and elsewhere whenever this topic comes up.  But no, when you or I finally offer something he rants and raves that now all we want is a limited ""fluff" piece which would not make any difference as compared to what he thinks the church currently does.  And my worked fluff piece was not meant to disparage something like you shared from Feeding America.  It was a word used to illustrate that if the church would provide information like you outlined  they could add narratives to highlight what they had done for the year.  Now you watch.  This will be used by Smac as a club to beat me with now and in the future, whenever this topic comes up.

Oh and because I suggested a narrative in addition to your suggestions, Smac pounces and says even you and I cannot agree on what transparency looks like.  Good lord.

Yes, I understood what you meant by “fluff piece,” and I saw no light between what you and I were proposing. As I’ve said repeatedly, the goalposts I’m setting are not arbitrary. They are based on established best practices. They are low. They are wide. They are set in cement. Adding “fluffy” commentary to a two page financial statement  that contains the right numbers would be well within the goal posts.

But why address our actual positions when he can rant against hypothetical critics?

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1 hour ago, Stargazer said:

OK, I get that you're saying that the story of Abraham paying tithes to Melchizedek, and Malachi calling the failure to tithe robbing the Lord, are fiction. I disagree, but 

Yes, I have studied the history of tithing in Mormonism. And I understand that many things besides tithing have changed over time according to the principle of "line upon line; precept upon precept." You're doubtless aware of Lorenzo Snow's revelation (you would call it a fictional revelation, I imagine) that if the people of St. George started paying tithing a long-standing drought would end. They did, and it did. Which I am sure you would say was a pure coincidence. It was during Snow's presidency that the LDS Church adopted the principle of tithing — being interpreted as the payment of 10 percent of one's income — as a hallmark of membership. Why does it matter that tithing was once not so strongly emphasized, and then it was? 

Okay, let's look at this from a purely practical point of view. The church was going bankrupt. Something had to be done to prevent this. A pre-existing and ancient religious principle was placed into practice as a solution. By April 1907, the practice of its members paying tithing had eliminated the church's debt. Was this a bad thing? This is where the "line upon line, precept upon precept" concept comes in: the church was not following God's laws as designed, and then it changed the practice so that it was following God's law in the matter of finance. Now, whether God exists or was advising Lorenzo Snow, or not, the solution worked to achieve a desirable end. Do you think that this principle of tithing should have been abandoned after the church paid off its debts? Would that be a wise thing to do, from a purely practical point of view?

As for your temple tax, there has always been one. The Book of Leviticus gets very precise about it. The Law of Moses was very specific about the sacrifices that had to be brought to the temple in order to obtain the blessings of the temple. What did Mary and Joseph bring to the temple in connection with Jesus's being presented? Although the law prescribed an unblemished lamb as the sacrifice, they brought doves since the law allowed that substitution in case of poverty. And what was done with the sacrifices? Portions were burned, but the bulk were used to support the priests. 

If you believe all of this is man-made, that's your choice. But if one believes God has mandated all this, then what is one to do, but turn the mandate into the practice?

 

With all due respect, I am not interested in a debate about tithing.   If you believe in it and want to pay it great.  If you are happy with what it appears the church does with it, great.  Just two points. The Windows of Heaven Lorenzo Snow story is suspect.  And the church used to not require tithing is a rule to enter the temple.   One thing  is pretty clear. There was time the church desperately needed money from its members. That  is not the case anymore. It could never collect another dime from its members and likely be quite fine.

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7 hours ago, Teancum said:

With all due respect, I am not interested in a debate about tithing.   If you believe in it and want to pay it great.  If you are happy with what it appears the church does with it, great.  Just two points. The Windows of Heaven Lorenzo Snow story is suspect.  And the church used to not require tithing is a rule to enter the temple.   One thing  is pretty clear. There was time the church desperately needed money from its members. That  is not the case anymore. It could never collect another dime from its members and likely be quite fine.

If you're not interested in such a debate, why are you debating it?

It still appears that, regardless of whether the church could give up collecting tithing from its members and be "quite fine", it remains the case that it is still a law of God, as evidenced from Old Testament sources. Plenty of people even outside the church have concluded that in order to obey God's laws, they need to tithe. I suppose that LDS people could send their tithing off to their choice of humanitarian aid providers instead (and it would doubtless make many people happy). Maybe that will come about, eventually. I would have no objection.

So who is it that suspects the Windows of Heaven story? 

As for what the church did or didn't used to do, it used to not require obedience to the Word of Wisdom to enter the temple, too. And the WoW itself used to be optional. Women never gave general conference prayers or talks until fairly recently. Does this bother you, too? Why are you so protective of tradition? Do you prefer your Doctrine and Covenants to include the Lectures on Faith? Does it distress you that there is no longer a Patriarch to the Church? We used to have Assistants to the Quorum of the Twelve and Regional Representatives of the Twelve. Stake presidents and bishops used to serve unlimited terms in office. Bishops got a monthly travel allowance. Too much change?

Which old traditions would you prefer to bring back? Which new ones do you want to see discontinued? I imagine you have quite a list.

I know I'm sounding really snarky, and I apologize, but your inexplicable concern over this really puzzles me.

EDITED TO ADD: Yeah, I decided I was being WAY too snarky. But since you were browsing the topic it was kind of too late to delete the crap I've now lined through and obscured. I'm sorry, T, I'm just in a mood. Please accept my contrite apology. :( 

Edited by Stargazer
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26 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

If you're not interested in such a debate, why are you debating it?

I was not debating tithing. You were the one who drilled into it.  I am more interested in the financial disclosure transparency issue.

 

26 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

It still appears that, regardless of whether the church could give up collecting tithing from its members and be "quite fine", it remains the case that it is still a law of God, as evidenced from Old Testament sources. Plenty of people even outside the church have concluded that in order to obey God's laws, they need to tithe. I suppose that LDS people could send their tithing off to their choice of humanitarian aid providers instead (and it would doubtless make many people happy). Maybe that will come about, eventually. I would have no objection.

Great.  Like I said pay your tithing if it makes you happy. I was a happy tithe payer for around 50 plus years or so. I don't regret paying it for the  most part. I don't expect it back. I think the law suits trying to recoup tithing paid are silly and bound to fail.

 

26 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

So who is it that suspects the Windows of Heaven story? 

That President Snow actually gave the talks on tithing and made the promise the movie shows him making.  You can chase that if you want.

 

26 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

As for what the church did or didn't used to do, it used to not require obedience to the Word of Wisdom to enter the temple, too. And the WoW itself used to be optional. Women never gave general conference prayers or talks until fairly recently. Does this bother you, too? Why are you so protective of tradition?

Personally I find the moving targets problematic for a church that claims revelation.  At least for me. It is not tradition.  For example Heber Grant imposed the WoW on the saints as a temple recommend requirement.  Heck some of the early church leaders enjoyed their alcohol. Some to excess. I thing Grant was peeved that Utah was the final state to do away with prohibition. So he made up a new requirement. 

 

26 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

Do you prefer your Doctrine and Covenants to include the Lectures on Faith?

26 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

 

Does it distress you that there is no longer a Patriarch to the Church? We used to have Assistants to the Quorum of the Twelve and Regional Representatives of the Twelve. Stake presidents and bishops used to serve unlimited terms in office. Bishops got a monthly travel allowance. Too much change?

If you want to discuss the lectures on faith I an happy to do so. I have a bit of knowledge on them.  Do I prefer it to the D&C? Well I don't prefer either now. But when I believed I found the lectures interesting.  You do realize they were the doctrine of the 1835 D&C and part of a planned series of doctrinal exposes. The revelations were the Covenants. They were accepted as canon.  I think it problematic that in 1921, just after Talmadge wrote up an FP statement on the Godhead. The lecture, especially lecture 5 contradicted the statement and the doctrinal development on the godhead. So the church leadership just took them out. No church vote. Nada. Just removed them.  So it is not a preference. It seems that the prophets really struggled to get their doctrine about the godhead riight. From the BoM, the early D&C, to King Follet sermon, to  adam God to 1921 and poof, mo more lectures. Really a prophet ought to know about who god is and what god's attributes are don't ya  think?

 

And none of this distresses me at all any more. But thank you for demonstrating that really Mormonism has no special conduit to a god. It has been made up on the fly and had changed substantially.

 

26 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

 

Which old traditions would you prefer to bring back? Which new ones do you want to see discontinued? I imagine you have quite a list.

I know I'm sounding really snarky, and I apologize, but your inexplicable concern over this really puzzles me.

Ya you are sounding a bit snarky.  That is ok.  There is no inexplicable concern at all.

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7 minutes ago, Teancum said:

But thank you for demonstrating that really Mormonism has no special conduit to a god. It has been made up on the fly and had changed substantially.

LOL, I don't think I was demonstrating that at all.

By the way, after you apparently picked up my post I went back and edited it to obscure what I wrote -- because I had second thoughts about my attitude. But kept the text there since I was pretty sure you were on the ball and had already started answering what I originally posted. See my ETA.

Edited by Stargazer
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1 hour ago, Stargazer said:

EDITED TO ADD: Yeah, I decided I was being WAY too snarky. But since you were browsing the topic it was kind of too late to delete the crap I've now lined through and obscured. I'm sorry, T, I'm just in a mood. Please accept my contrite apology. :( 

Hey no problem. You seem like a good hearted person and we all can get annoyed and a bit  heated in the debate at times. Don't worry about it.

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17 hours ago, Analytics said:

That's absolutely false. As an example, Forbes magazine says Feeding America is the nation’s top charity. Here is a link to their annual report:

Feeding America 2023 Annual Report

On page 6 you can see a high level income statement and balance sheet on one page. By looking at this, we can see that last year they spent $5.1 Billion on program services, of which $4.7 billion was for food procurement. Isn’t that amazing! They are doing about 4 times the humanitarian good in the world as the Church. They did this with $4.9 billion in public support, plus an additional $246 million of revenue from other sources. Their total assets are $626 million, and in 2023 that number went down--they aren’t saving for a rainy day--they are dealing with the rain that is falling now.

If somebody cares the actual mission of Feeding America, this looks like an amazing charity to donate to.

If the Church released an annual statement with that same level of detail, the following would happen:

  • The Church would be meeting best practices for financial transparency, and everyone who is knowledgable on these topics and talking in good faith would recognize that
  • The Widow’s Mite project would shut down, because they’d no longer need to make estimates of the numbers the Church was publishing
  • This thread wouldn’t exist, because there wouldn’t be a James Huntsman lawsuit, because there never would have been a misunderstanding about what the Church did with tithing revenue
  • You wouldn’t have to guess about whether the $40 million per year that Oaks talked about and the $1.3 billion the Church now publicizes are the same metric
  • You would have actual numbers to back up your assertion that the Church is spending more on humanitarian aid
  • We would be able to measure whether the rainy day fund was within generally agreed upon guidelines of 6 months to 2 years of expenses
  • We would be able to see how much of the humanitarian aid they gave last year was funded by fast offerings, how much was funded by tithing and other donations, and how much was funded by investment income
  • We would be able to verify whether or not the following assertion is true: the Church uses the majority of its annual income to grow the size of its for-profit investment portfolio
  • If somebody was interested in supporting the things the Church supports, they would be able to decide whether they should make donations to the Church.
  • The Church wouldn’t have been fined $5,000,000 for lying to the SEC.

 

If the Church met best practices in financial transparency, you’d have an excellent response to these hypothetical critics with their hypothetical criticisms and wouldn’t have to rely on the superlatively lame ad hominem apologetics you are using here. 

I agree with you and Teancum that the church doesn't do this kind of disclosure. I also agree that this kind of disclosure is standard among non-profits and super useful. If I am going to donate a significant amount of money to a non-profit, I will first check their reports. 

However, I don't have a strong opinion on whether the church releases one or not. If they did release it, I would excitedly read it. But if they don't I don't care.

That said, I can understand why they don't. I think it may be in the church's best interest not to release this kind of report. If they did, then they would call more attention to themselves and more trouble for themselves. The people who don't  like the church would not be happy with how the church uses their money and a report about this would only cause more headaches.

Unlike your example of Feeding America, the church is not a non-profit in the traditional sense of distributing money from donors to a common goal. For members with testimonies, the church is the Lord's institution for saving souls and building Zion in preparation for His return. I don't expect the church to have low assets like feeding America. I am not bothered if they have more than 2 years in their rainy day fund. I pay tithing with faith and as long as I don't see the church leaders enriching themselves, living in the lap of luxury, and being hypocritical in their own lives regarding money, then my faith is that the money if saved will get allocated the way God wants in some future day.

I think that my feeling as an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ must be in the majority, because I have never personally heard an active, full-tithing member of the church complain about how the church uses money or that they save so much. Even when the news first broke, it wasn't an issue or concern amongst members I know (I am sure it was for some, but never in the circles I run in at church has it ever been mentioned). Additionally, in the past decade I have known quite a few people who left the church and I don't know one of them whose primary concern was related to how the church used their money. 

Based upon my experience, it seems to me that the church's savings fund is a non-issue for the vast majority of faithful members. On the other hand, for those who are antagonistic towards the church, the savings fund is a BIG issue. 

So coming back to your comment, the one thing that you bolded from what we would know if the church did a disclosure is: 
Whether or not the following assertion is true: the Church uses the majority of its annual income to grow the size of its for-profit investment portfolio
 

As a faithful, active member I would describe your bolded assertion as:
The church uses the sacred money it receives in tithing every year wisely, including placing a percentage into savings. That savings will be applied for a future date for a need that God is aware of and planning for.

Both of of our assertions display a bias in the person who is making them as to their opinion on whether they think the church having a savings fund is a good idea and appropriate.

We all know that the church has a large savings fund. So what does the church as an institution gain by being transparent and doing a disclosure? It will only give more ammo to those who don't like that the church has a huge savings fund to change laws in the United States to try to get that savings fund taken away and taxed. I don't think it will make any difference to the majority of active, faithful tithe payers. So is it worth it to the church? I am not sure it is.

Edited by Anonymous Mormon
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A side note in all of this:

I clearly remember President Hinckley talking about Joseph & the famine. I remember him saying that the church put money away for a rainy day in the same way. When it was disclosed that the church had their investment, it didn't surprise me at all, because I thought that this was what President Hinckley had stated was church policy.

So I looked it up and found that Pres Hinckley did talk about this, in this talk in 1998:

Quote

I wish to speak to you about temporal matters.

As a backdrop for what I wish to say, I read to you a few verses from the 41st chapter of Genesis...

“And there shall arise after them seven years of famine;

“… And God will shortly bring it to pass”

...Now, brethren, I want to make it very clear that I am not prophesying, that I am not predicting years of famine in the future. But I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order.

...In managing the affairs of the Church, we have tried to set an example. We have, as a matter of policy, stringently followed the practice of setting aside each year a percentage of the income of the Church against a possible day of need.

 

I am pretty sure he talked about it in other talks as well.

Since the time of these talks, I have assumed that the church planned to have 7 years of savings in case of a cataclysmic catastrophe and that this was the church policy that President Hinckley was espousing. When I heard about the church's fund, I was pleased to hear that we did have 7 years of savings as a church.

Did anyone else remember President Hinckley talking about this at that time and assume that the church was planning to have 7-years of savings? Or was it just me who read his statements that way?

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11 hours ago, Anonymous Mormon said:

A side note in all of this:

I clearly remember President Hinckley talking about Joseph & the famine. I remember him saying that the church put money away for a rainy day in the same way. When it was disclosed that the church had their investment, it didn't surprise me at all, because I thought that this was what President Hinckley had stated was church policy.

So I looked it up and found that Pres Hinckley did talk about this, in this talk in 1998:

 

I am pretty sure he talked about it in other talks as well.

Since the time of these talks, I have assumed that the church planned to have 7 years of savings in case of a cataclysmic catastrophe and that this was the church policy that President Hinckley was espousing. When I heard about the church's fund, I was pleased to hear that we did have 7 years of savings as a church.

Did anyone else remember President Hinckley talking about this at that time and assume that the church was planning to have 7-years of savings? Or was it just me who read his statements that way?

I didn’t assume 7 years, but an extended time period. I knew they normally planned 3 years in advance and ensured they had funds to finish before they started any project, so 7 years is probably on the minimum side in my view. 

Edited by Calm
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6 hours ago, Anonymous Mormon said:

We all know that the church has a large savings fund. So what does the church as an institution gain by being transparent and doing a disclosure? It will only give more ammo to those who don't like that the church has a huge savings fund to change laws in the United States to try to get that savings fund taken away and taxed. I don't think it will make any difference to the majority of active, faithful tithe payers. So is it worth it to the church? I am not sure it is.

The classic "damned if you do and damned if you don't" scenario.

Edited by Stargazer
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