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23 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

In situations like this, how does the hymn go? “Do what is right, let the consequence follow”…

And what do you think is right? See my signature.

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35 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

And what do you think is right? See my signature.

What is right between transparency and obfuscation?  The church has already tried hiding. Hiding its history. Hiding its finances. How's that working out for you? "A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." And your signature is nice in theory but impossible in practice when the only access we have to "god" is through the minds of men. In practice, it has been used to justify slavery, rape and genocide (all present and condoned in your holy book).

Edited by SeekingUnderstanding
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14 hours ago, Anonymous Mormon said:

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.

I agree that most members that are active and believing feel exactly that same way as you do.

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3 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

What is right between transparency and obfuscation? 

I get it that you want the church to let it all hang out. I also get that you believe that if there is a god, the church isn't being guided by him.

What if, and I realize that you consider this a very long shot, what if God does exist and is guiding the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS? Maybe it is God's will that the Church keep its finances to itself. That is the purport of the quote I have placed in my signature. You reject the premise, and that's your privilege. But the premise remains the same, whether you believe it or not.

I can certainly see the utility in publishing the Church's complete financial condition for all to see. But the utility is predominantly in favor of the Church's enemies, who will gleefully use the information to the Church's detriment -- even if the information puts the Church in a better light than they had claimed. As you point out, even the limited information that has been uncovered has been joyfully seized upon by the Church's enemies. Imagine what they could do with all of it! The mind boggles.

3 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

The church has already tried hiding. Hiding its history. Hiding its finances. How's that working out for you? "A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Does the saying you so proudly tout also say to raise high one's unfortunate mistakes to the world, and every instance where members have done bad things in the name of the Church, even against the will of the Church? No, it says let the good works shine. Have you done things you were later ashamed of? If you're like me, then you're not innocent either. Do you feel compelled to raise those deeds high for the world to see? Should you raise them high? I imagine that you would rather hide those things from the gaze of the world. Is that wrong of us? Or are we justified in hiding what we know we shouldn't have done? Especially if we have corrected our behavior?

And besides, if the Church were to put on a hair shirt and go mournfully about, shouting "Mea culpa! Mea maxima culpa!" the criticism would be even more severe. We are, of course, dealing with those who bitterly oppose the Church and all its doings. 

3 minutes ago, SeekingUnderstanding said:

And your signature is nice in theory but impossible in practice when the only access we have to "god" is through the minds of men. In practice, it has been used to justify slavery, rape and genocide (all present and condoned in your holy book).

Slavery, rape, and genocide are condoned? News to me.

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14 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?

Yes I recall. And now the church has around 20 years or so of funds that could run the church.  I do not know that he meant literally seven years worth though.  And as noted, the church reserve funds far exceed 7 years of operations. And if they keep going in ten years it may be 50 or 60 time annual operating needs.

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1 hour ago, Stargazer said:

And what do you think is right? See my signature.

Most expert in the field of non profit and church finances will argue more transparency and disclosure is better than less.

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18 minutes ago, Teancum said:
Quote

And what do you think is right? See my signature.

Most expert in the field of non profit and church finances will argue more transparency and disclosure is better than less.

"More."

And so it goes, ad infinitum.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Thanks,

-Smac

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20 minutes ago, smac97 said:

"More."

And so it goes, ad infinitum.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Thanks,

-Smac

Dude, do you love to pounce?  Don't ever complain to me again about being made an offender for a word.  I have already outlined what I think is reasonable for financial transparency.  The fact that you are quite fine with a very wealthy church that claims to be the church of Jesus Christ amassing massive wealth, doing all it can to hide the amount of that wealth from its members, the public, and even its top leaders, while at the same time using an extremely small % of its wealth to relieve human suffering speaks volumes about you and your values.  

Edited by Teancum
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55 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Most expert in the field of non profit and church finances will argue more transparency and disclosure is better than less.

Ah yes, the mysterious "expert". Right up there with "studies show."

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1 hour ago, Stargazer said:

Ah yes, the mysterious "expert". Right up there with "studies show."

Come on. Read @Analyticsposts.  Do you want references? And are you trying to be like @smac97?

 

Ya know I really don't care.  If you all want to give your $$ to a church that continues to use a large part of it to grow its investment portfolio and a very small % to do these things that the man whose name the church claims:

Quote

 

Matthew 25:

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

 

....and if you still feel god about it more power to you. Keep amassing wealth in your church while so many in need suffer and die.  Me, I give my $$ where it actually goes to relieve suffering rather than build extravagant buildings, buy up real estate, build malls and build a huge stock portfolio.  If Jesus is really the Son of God I think he is and will be sorely displeased with this.

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42 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Ya know I really don't care.  If you all want to give your $$ to a church that continues to use a large part of it to grow its investment portfolio and a very small % to do these things that the man whose name the church claims:

"A very small %."

And so it does.  Ad infinitum.

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

Thanks,

-Smac

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2 hours ago, Teancum said:

Dude, do you love to pounce?  Don't ever complain to me again about being made an offender for a word.  I have already outlined what I think is reasonable for financial transparency. 

Yes, yes.  A two-page statement.  A two paragraph statement is not enough "transparency," but two pages is.  Right.  That makes perfect sense.

Claiming that a two-page statement would satisfy you is either A) a smokescreen, or B) it eviscerates all the hue and cry about the moral imperative of "transparency."

And in any event, no matter what you individually claim would be satisfactory, I'm reasonably confident that substantial numbers of your fellow critics would not agree. 

2 hours ago, Teancum said:

The fact that you are quite fine with a very wealthy church that claims to be the church of Jesus Christ amassing massive wealth, doing all it can to hide the amount of that wealth from its members, the public, and even its top leaders, while at the same time using an extremely small % of its wealth to relieve human suffering speaks volumes about you and your values.  

And the sufficient percentage of the Church's wealth that would satisfy you is . . . whatever the Church is not doing.

It's a endlessly moving target.  An infinitely moveable goalpost.

Hence my repeated observation: "No matter what we do, it will never be enough.  Our critics will never be satisfied.  Ever."

Thanks,

-Smac

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16 minutes ago, smac97 said:

"A very small %."

It is a very small %.  Fact. Deal with it.

16 minutes ago, smac97 said:

And so it does.  Ad infinitum.

It is the truth.  Own it.

16 minutes ago, smac97 said:

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

Cry me a river. This is simply not true.  You are the poster boy for the Mormon persecution complex.

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5 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Yes, yes.  A two-page statement.  A two paragraph statement is not enough "transparency," but two pages is.  Right.  That makes perfect sense.

DIstortion and specious disingenuous a

nd bordering on a lie.  How many times have I said I would prefer FINANCIAL STATEMEMENTS THAT ARE AUDITED BY AN INDPENDENT CPA FIRM.

5 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Claiming that a two-page statement would satisfy you is either A) a smokescreen, or B) it eviscerates all the hue and cry about the moral imperative of "transparency."

So you are a mind reader now?

5 minutes ago, smac97 said:

And in any event, no matter what you individually claim would be satisfactory, I'm reasonably confident that substantial numbers of your fellow critics would not agree. 

Wrong.

5 minutes ago, smac97 said:

And the sufficient percentage of the Church's wealth that would satisfy you is . . . whatever the Church is not doing.

Wrong.

5 minutes ago, smac97 said:

It's a endlessly moving target.  An infinitely moveable goalpost.

Wrong.

5 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Hence my repeated observation: "No matter what we do, it will never be enough.  Our critics will never be satisfied.  Ever."

Thanks,

-Smac

Cry me a river.  But you keep giving your ten percent and feeling smugly self righteous about it. And your church will keep growing its empire of assets while people starve to death.  People that your church ha the where withall to help. And yea. That is immoral indeed. But  remember, where your treasure is so will your heart be. You show us well what your priorities are.

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12 hours ago, Teancum said:

Come on. Read @Analyticsposts.  Do you want references? And are you trying to be like @smac97?

 

Ya know I really don't care.  If you all want to give your $$ to a church that continues to use a large part of it to grow its investment portfolio and a very small % to do these things that the man whose name the church claims:

....and if you still feel god about it more power to you. Keep amassing wealth in your church while so many in need suffer and die.  Me, I give my $$ where it actually goes to relieve suffering rather than build extravagant buildings, buy up real estate, build malls and build a huge stock portfolio.  If Jesus is really the Son of God I think he is and will be sorely displeased with this.

Yes, you and Analytics are convinced the Church is not only untrue, but also wrong. I get it. 🙄

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13 hours ago, smac97 said:

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

I’d be quite satisfied with your Church if they met best practices in financial reporting, and ideally put their savings and spending into balance.

I’d be quite satisfied with you if you addressed what others say and stopped whining about hypothetical critics in a hypothetical universe.

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2 hours ago, Stargazer said:

Yes, you and Analytics are convinced the Church is not only untrue, but also wrong. I get it. 🙄

No not necessarily.  But when you pay your tithing remember when you do or do not to "the least of these" you are doing it or not doing it to Jesus. At least according to the New Testament.

Edited by Teancum
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18 minutes ago, Teancum said:

No not necessarily.  But when you pay your tithing remember when you do or do not to "the least of these" you are doing it or not doing it to Jesus. At least according to the New Testament.

Was Tithing a part of the new testament church? Please include a Bible quotation to make your point.

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Former Aerospace Machinist, Fine Artist, With a Degree In Dec 28

No, giving was the New Testament method for funding the Church and supporting the ministers and needy saints. That’s how Jesus funded His ministry too.

Tithing was an Old Testament law that had to do with the Land, the Priesthood and the Temple. They tithed the livestock and produce of the Land, they did not tithe money, or fish, and earning they made by building things.

Jesus did endorse tithing, but only in the context of the Jews, to which He came.

When the prophet Malachi accused the Jews of robbing God, the Temple was the storehouse. The food was real good, meat, lamb, oxen… etc and grain and produce of all kinds. But no fish… Jesus’s disciples were fishermen, they did not pay tithes.

”So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.“

II Corinthians‬ 9‬:7‬-8‬ NKJV‬‬

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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

Was Tithing a part of the new testament church? Please include a Bible quotation to make your point.

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Former Aerospace Machinist, Fine Artist, With a Degree In Dec 28

No, giving was the New Testament method for funding the Church and supporting the ministers and needy saints. That’s how Jesus funded His ministry too.

Tithing was an Old Testament law that had to do with the Land, the Priesthood and the Temple. They tithed the livestock and produce of the Land, they did not tithe money, or fish, and earning they made by building things.

Jesus did endorse tithing, but only in the context of the Jews, to which He came.

When the prophet Malachi accused the Jews of robbing God, the Temple was the storehouse. The food was real good, meat, lamb, oxen… etc and grain and produce of all kinds. But no fish… Jesus’s disciples were fishermen, they did not pay tithes.

”So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.“

II Corinthians‬ 9‬:7‬-8‬ NKJV‬‬

Jesus to the Nephites- after His resurrection:

"And it came to pass that he commanded them that they should write the words which the Father had given unto Malachi, which he should tell unto them... Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say: Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my 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." (3 Nephi 24)

Jesus to the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. for our day:

"Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming." (Doctrine and Covenants 64)

My final thought:

"Again I say, hearken ye elders of my church, whom I have appointed: Ye are not sent forth to be taught, but to teach the children of men the things which I have put into your hands by the power of my Spirit;" (Doctrine and Covenants 43)

*I prefer the teachings of Jesus and His Servant over those of Protestant theologians- however sincere they may be.*

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So @smac97constantly makes me an offender for a word when I don't use specific and precise words to define what I mean by financial transparency as well as what additional amounts the church ought to do towards aid to relieve human suffering.

For financial transparency I think the church should do what ALL other non Church large non profit organizations in the USA are required to do.  I see no reason why a church, any church, should be exempted from such reporting requirements.  Tax exemption is a huge privilege in the US and brings huge benefits to any organization qualifying.  Such requirements include:

Filing an annual Form 990 with IRS as well as related State NFP filings.

File and make public annual financial statements audited by an independent CPA firm.

Additional best practices can be found here and the church does a number of these already:

 

https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/running-nonprofit/ethics-accountability/financial-transparency-and-public-disclosure-requirements

 

As far as what this critics would be satisfied with as far as giving  @Analyticsprovided these two points which I agree with:

2- The Church’s rainy-day fund should be somewhere in the range of $4 billion to $20 billion. Again, these numbers aren’t arbitrary, and I’m providing a wide range. Church’s and charities need to find a balance between savings and spending, and a rainy day fund should be between 6 months and 2 years of annual expenses. That is the general standard. This isn’t arbitrary, and I’m not moving the goal posts.

3- If the Church has money beyond that, it could consider that money an endowment and make regular disbursements to fund the endowment's objectives into the future and now. A general principle-based starting guideline for disbursements is 5% annually, but various organizations will tweak that based on recent investment performance, needs, the inflation rate, and long-term objectives. Any well-thought disbursement plan that is anything like the ones that are disclosed by respectable endowments would be sufficient. This isn’t arbitrary, and I’m not moving the goal posts.

I think these are fine parameters. And I think a rainy day fund at $20 to $25 billion would by about 3 times the annual operating costs of the church which include building chapels and temples.  

So there you have it.  If SMAC impugns me or Roger with our expectations are vague and we think no matter what the church does for humanitarian aid these critics will never be satisfied he will be making dishonest statements.

Edited by Teancum
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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

Was Tithing a part of the new testament church? Please include a Bible quotation to make your point.

Profile photo for Sidney Mozer
 
 
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Former Aerospace Machinist, Fine Artist, With a Degree In Dec 28

No, giving was the New Testament method for funding the Church and supporting the ministers and needy saints. That’s how Jesus funded His ministry too.

Tithing was an Old Testament law that had to do with the Land, the Priesthood and the Temple. They tithed the livestock and produce of the Land, they did not tithe money, or fish, and earning they made by building things.

Jesus did endorse tithing, but only in the context of the Jews, to which He came.

When the prophet Malachi accused the Jews of robbing God, the Temple was the storehouse. The food was real good, meat, lamb, oxen… etc and grain and produce of all kinds. But no fish… Jesus’s disciples were fishermen, they did not pay tithes.

”So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.“

II Corinthians‬ 9‬:7‬-8‬ NKJV‬‬

This might apply. Speaking about giving money to Cesar Jesus said:
"Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s."

Since the subject was about money, Jesus may have been referring to donations to the Church which would be God's.

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1 hour ago, Teancum said:

No not necessarily.  But when you pay your tithing remember when you do or do not to "the least of these" you are doing it or not doing it to Jesus. At least according to the New Testament.

So, according to your understanding of the New Testament, when I pay my tithing to the church I may be stamping in the face of the downtrodden? That's what you seem to be suggesting. You also seem to be setting one commandment up against another.

When Jesus gave what is recorded in Matthew 25:40, that you have cited...

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

...the Lord commands us to be generous with our wealth and service to his children. Does it simultaneously repeal the law of tithing? I don't think it does. When that law was instituted in the mists of time, is it your belief that it was instituted for the benefit of the poor and downtrodden? As far as I can tell, from scripture at least, tithing was instituted for the purpose of maintaining and advancing God's kingdom on Earth. In Malachi 3:10 it is written:

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.

It does not say to bring the tithes into the Lord's storehouse so that there may be meat in someone else's house, it says so that there will meat in the Lord's house. Tithing pays for the heating and lighting of meetinghouses and temples, the building of new facilities like them, the expenses which the church normally accrues in the course of its work. If you don't want to contribute to that purpose, that's your right. 

But don't try to claim that by obeying one law one is disobeying the other. Because one can certainly do both, and I'd bet that most of us do.

 

 

 

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