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Church sued again over how it uses tithing contributions from members


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58 minutes ago, Danzo said:

We have a few empty spaces, especially in the front of the chapel, for some reason, no one ever wants to sit in the front. 

Yep, that's usually my private bench. Preacher Bob of a non-denominational church nicknamed me "Front-Row", it's what the congregation started to call me, but when I wasn't there and came back, four people had taken my once lonely throne. I was still "front-row", but I often wasn't sitting there.

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37 minutes ago, smac97 said:

: I think this lawsuit will get dismissed, either at the front end (via a "Motion to Dismiss") or later (via a "Motion for Summary Judgment").  If and when that happens, there will be essentially no news coverage of the dismissal

I believe this will be the case. Like every single other controversy, it will result in much ado about nothing, resulting in a filing away of any anxiety it may have cost for the faithful and an eager anticipation of  the next scandal for those who need it for whatever reason. 

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On 11/1/2023 at 9:18 PM, JLHPROF said:

"by investing the money instead of using it for charitable purposes as they claim was promised".

Promised where?  Seriously, where does the Church promise that tithing is for anything other than building up the Church?

D&C 119 - the tithing one

2 For the building of mine house, and for the laying of the foundation of Zion and for the priesthood, and for the debts of the Presidency of my Church.   3 And this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people

It's right there for anyone that reads the scriptures.

According to the law of the storehouse, yes, tithing is supposed to be used for the poor, hungry, and needy.  Tithing residue is to be placed in the Lords Storehouse which is consecrated for the purposes of humanitarian work (D&C 42:34).  Instead, much of the residue is being placed in the marketplace untouched by the poor and needy.   

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After the Prophet Joseph Smith moved to Kirtland, Ohio, he immediately set the Church in order. Moving forward under direction from the Lord, he appointed the Church’s first bishop and defined many policies and procedures.

One such procedure dealt with taking care of the poor and needy at a time the Church was experiencing growth and many poor were arriving in Kirtland.

“And behold, thou wilt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support that which thou hast to impart unto them, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken.

“And inasmuch as ye impart of your substance unto the poor, ye will do it unto me; and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church. …

“Therefore, the residue shall be kept in my storehouse, to administer to the poor and the needy” (D&C 42:30–31, 34).

This principle, often referred to as the Lord’s storehouse, is as important today as it was when Joseph Smith received it in 1831.

In Doctrine and Covenants 78:3 the Lord reminds Latter-day Saints that “the time has come, and is now at hand; and behold, and lo, it must needs be that there be an organization of my people, in regulating and establishing the affairs of the storehouse for the poor of my people, both in this place and in the land of Zion.”

Lord’s Storehouse: A Divine Principle of Meeting Needs - Church News and Events (churchofjesuschrist.org)

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All of the goods in the bishops’ storehouse are paid for using tithes, fast offerings, and other generous donations from Church members.

“And the storehouse shall be kept by the consecrations of the church; and widows and orphans shall be provided for, as also the poor. Amen” (D&C 83:6).

Blessings from contributions to the storehouse have been a part of God’s plan since Old Testament times:

“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” (Malachi 3:10).

What is a bishops' storehouse? (churchofjesuschrist.org)

 

Edited by pogi
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1 hour ago, pogi said:

According to the law of the storehouse, yes, tithing is supposed to be used for the poor, hungry, and needy.  Tithing residue is to be placed in the Lords Storehouse which is consecrated for the purposes of humanitarian work (D&C 42:34).  Instead, much of the residue is being placed in the marketplace untouched by the poor and needy.

The Church is doing plenty for "the poor and needy" with monies, service hours and other means.

1 hour ago, pogi said:

I don't see that model for surplus tithing mentioned in the scriptures anywhere.  

Hmm.  A few thoughts (just thinking out loud here) :

1. In Genesis 41, Joseph's interpretation of Pharaoh's dream involved seven years of plenty and seven years of famine.  Pharoah accepted the interpretation, and acted on it by appointing Joseph "ruler over all the land of Egypt."  Joseph then spent the seven years of plenty by gathering large quantities of food (called "corn" in the KJV, which I suspect is a reference to wheat) :

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46 ¶ And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt.
47 And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls.
48 And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same.
49 And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number.

Joseph "gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number."  This sounds like "surplus" in times of plenty.  Would you concur with that?  If so, might there be something comparable going on these days?  With the "corn" being surplus funds rather than surplus wheat?

2. Genesis 41 goes on to describe the seven years of famine:

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53 ¶ And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended.
54 And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread.
55 And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do.
56 And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt.
57 And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.

A thought experiment: Imagine if, during the seven-years-of-plenty period, Joseph had detractors who thought his efforts to "gather" surplus food was foolhardy, even wasteful  or irresponsible. 

3. Another scripture about "surplus" that came to mind is Malachi 3:

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10 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.

Is it possible that the Church's current surplus is a manifestation of the Lord blessing the members of the Church for the efforts to tithe, such that a "blessing" has been "pour{ed} out . . . that there shall not be room enough to receive it"?

4. Jacob 2 tells us what we should, and should not, do if we obtain riches:

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12 And now behold, my brethren, this is the word which I declare unto you, that many of you have begun to search for gold, and for silver, and for all manner of precious ores, in the which this land, which is a land of promise unto you and to your seed, doth abound most plentifully.
13 And the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches; and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they.
...
18 But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.
19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.

This passage obviously has application to us as individuals, but it also appears to apply to us as a people.  So if we as a people first "obtained a hope in Christ" and then seek to "obtain riches," we (the Church) should use those funds to "do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted."

The Church does not distribute tithing dividends, so the general membership is not using the wealth of the Church to become "lifted up in the pride of {our} hearts," or to "wear stiff necks and high heads" because of costly "apparel," or to "persecute {our} brethren."  So I think that is, broadly speaking, a good thing.  Further, those who administer the wealth of the Church are not dipping into the till (a la Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, etc.).  That's good, too.

So what are we doing with the wealth of the Church?  It's not correct to say that the Church is doing nothingFrom 2020:

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“The people who say we’re not doing our part, that is just not true,” Bishop Waddell said. “We’re talking close to $1 billion in that welfare/humanitarian area on an annual basis. Yes, we are using our resources to bless the poor and the needy as well as all of the other responsibilities we have as a church.”

The figure includes all humanitarian and welfare expenditures, including fast offering aid.

The budget for humanitarian work “has gone up dramatically,” Bishop Waddell said.

In fact, Bishop Caussé added, humanitarian expenditures have doubled in the past five years.

And we believe they are going to increase fast,” he said.

Increases in humanitarian and welfare spending are driven first by the contributions and volunteerism of church members, the bishops said. The other major factor is how quickly the church can ensure new avenues for precise giving. For example, Latter-day Saint Charities carefully and thoroughly assesses each partner. “The last thing you want to do is just give them money and then you really don’t know where it goes,” Bishop Davies said. “So we have both missionaries and area staff on the ground, feet on the ground, who actually are there, they can see that food’s being distributed, or equipment, or schools are being built as part of our program.”

The narrative, it seems, is that because the Church can spend more, it ought to spend more, and ought to be faulted - even vilified - if it does not.

I think this is a fairly facile criticism, as it does not address the practical and logistical challenges the Church has in administering humanitarian work.  It needs to partner with other groups to scale out such efforts, which means that these groups must be vetted, even heavily so (as I have previously mentioned, the "humanitarian" sector has all sorts of problems with corruption, mismanagement, etc.).  I think this challenges are often overlooked by people who are criticizing the Church's humanitarian efforts.  I commented on this back in January:

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Prudence in Charitable Giving: There seems to be, in the minds of some, the notion that solving most or all social ills involves just mindlessly throwing money at them, typically money forcibly taken by the government and diverted to politically-connected and -privileged programs and groups, and regardless of the actual effectiveness of such programs/groups. 

I recently saw this video clip of Joe Rogan in which he raises some pretty interesting points:
...
 

A transcript:

I have a friend, Colion Noir, who was a lawyer.  He was in San Francisco, and his perspective was 'Oh, they're not spending enough to fix this homeless problem.'  And then he talked to someone who was actually deeply embedded in that situation, who said 'No, no.  That's not the problem.  They are spending a lot money on it.  But the money is going to these people that get high salaries that work on the homeless problem.  And he showed us a spreadsheet of all these people, and it's six-figure salaries, some of them $250,000 a year.  And it's a lot of them that are handling the homeless situation.  In Los Angeles, in San Francisco.  And there's no incentive to fix it.  The budget goes up every year.  The homeless problem goes up every year.  There's no accountability.  There's no 'Hey, we've spent all this money, and {yet} the problem is bigger.'  And {these} guys keep getting raises.  Like, what the $#%^ is going on here?  It becomes an industry.  And then fixing the homeless {problem}.  Pull up the budget for dealing with the homeless in Los Angeles in 2022.  Because it's bonkers.  When you see the sheer amount of money that's being spent ineffectively.  And all anybody seems to care about is 'We're working hard to mitigate the homeless situation, and we have upped our budget.'  Oh, they have upped their budget.  This is great.  And you think, 'That must be effective, we're gonna fix this.'  But nothing gets done.  $7.2 billion.  Just for {dealing with} homelessness {in California}. ... $3.3 billion general fund in 2021-2022 to almost thirty homelessness-related programs across the state.  That is so much money.  And yet the problem gets bigger and bigger every year.

I suspect the concerns reflected the foregoing comments are . . . warranted.  If anything, I think Joe was incorrect when he said "there's no incentive to fix" homelessness in CA.  There are, instead, very strong incentives for some of the Powers-that-Be to perpetuate homelessness, as it is the Golden Goose that keeps laying eggs to pay for those quarter-million-a-year-salaries.

I raise this in light of this comment from the 2020 D-News article quoted above:

Quote

Increases in humanitarian and welfare spending are driven first by the contributions and volunteerism of church members, the bishops said. The other major factor is how quickly the church can ensure new avenues for precise giving. For example, Latter-day Saint Charities carefully and thoroughly assesses each partner. “The last thing you want to do is just give them money and then you really don’t know where it goes,” Bishop Davies said. “So we have both missionaries and area staff on the ground, feet on the ground, who actually are there, they can see that food’s being distributed, or equipment, or schools are being built as part of our program.”

“We have an obligation to the members of the church who pay their tithes and offerings to make sure that is going to organizations or areas that will actually meet a need,” Bishop Waddell said. “The members of the church have a right to trust that it’s going to be managed and handled well and not just thrown at issues.”

I think that makes a lot of sense.  The Church's funds are sacred, and ought not to be thrown around willy-nilly like the huge-and-hugely-wasteful "Hey, let's just throw more money at it" approach taken in California.
...

The Church could donate billions of dollars of its accumulated funds to any and every and any social program, regardless of how actually effective such programs are, regardless of whether such programs - as Bishop Waddell so aptly put it - "will actually meet a need."

The Church does not do this.  Instead, it carefully vets philanthropic partners, and also keeps sufficient reserves for "rainy day" events like COVID, the war in Ukraine, and so on.
...
Bishop Waddell was quite correct.  The Church 
does have "an obligation to the members of the church who pay their tithes and offerings to make sure that is going to organizations or areas that will actually meet a need."  

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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28 minutes ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

Which would bother me if, by doing so, that excess is expended and becomes unusable for the purpose of helping the poor and needy.  By this reasoning, it'd be better for the Church to keep its excess funds in a large money bin where the apostles can swim in it, instead of in some sort of fiscal holding where it will grow in size.  

It's not that the excess isn't being used to help the poor and the needy; it's that it's NOT YET being used to help the poor and the needy.

The Church continuing its current fiscal management it will be much more likely to having the means "to help the poor and the needy," as well as continue the operations of the Church, for a long time.  This is a superior course of action to the "Just Throw Money At It!" approach, which practically invites corruption, waste, mismanagement, and perverse incentives to perpetuate humanitarian needs, rather than solve them (example: California's calamitous approach to "homelessness").

Plus, we have received assurances from the Church that "humanitarian expenditures have doubled in the past five years" (as of 2020), and that these expenditures "are going to increase fast."  

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

The Church is doing plenty for "the poor and needy" with monies, service hours and other means.

Neve said otherwise.  

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

Hmm.  A few thoughts (just thinking out loud here) :

1. In Genesis 41, Joseph's interpretation of Pharaoh's dream involved seven years of plenty and seven years of famine.  Pharoah accepted the interpretation, and acted on it by appointing Joseph "ruler over all the land of Egypt."  Joseph then spent the seven years of plenty by gathering large quantities of food (called "corn" in the KJV, which I suspect is a reference to wheat) :

Joseph "gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number."  This sounds like "surplus" in times of plenty.  Would you concur with that?  If so, might there be something comparable going on these days?  With the "corn" being surplus funds rather than surplus wheat?

This isn't about tithing and what should be done with the residual, as mentioned in the D&C.

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

2. Genesis 41 goes on to describe the seven years of famine:

A thought experiment: Imagine if, during the seven-years-of-plenty period, Joseph had detractors who thought his efforts to "gather" surplus food was foolhardy, even wasteful  or irresponsible. 

Again, not about tithing.

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

3. Another scripture about "surplus" that came to mind is Malachi 3:

This doesn't talk about what the church is supposed to do with residual tithing. 

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

So what are we doing with the wealth of the Church?  It's not correct to say that the Church is doing nothing

Since you are big on pointing out fallacies - strawman. 

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

The narrative, it seems, is that because the Church can spend more, it ought to spend more, and ought to be faulted - even vilified - if it does not.

What "narrative" are you talking about?  If you are not talking about something I said - red herring. 

I was simply answering the question that JLHPROF posted - "promised where?"  Referring to where in the scriptures it states that tithing is supposed to be used for humanitarian aid.   The scriptures and prophets have been clear on what the storehouse is to be used for.  

You agreed with JLHPROF and suggested that it would be hard to show that the prophets have consistently taught that tithing is supposed to be used for humanitarian aid.  I don't think it is that hard.  

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

I think this is a fairly facile criticism, as it does not address the practical and logistical challenges the Church has in administering humanitarian work.  It needs to partner with other groups to scale out such efforts, which means that these groups must be vetted, even heavily so (as I have previously mentioned, the "humanitarian" sector has all sorts of problems with corruption, mismanagement, etc.).  I think this challenges are often overlooked by people who are criticizing the Church's humanitarian efforts.  I commented on this back in January:

Thanks,

-Smac

Again, strawman.   

My point is that the scriptures and the prophets suggest that tithing is to be used for humanitarian aid, and that it has been consistently taught that way, just like these people suing the church have claimed. 

Edited by pogi
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1 hour ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

By this reasoning, it'd be better for the Church to keep its excess funds in a large money bin where the apostles can swim in it, instead of in some sort of fiscal holding where it will grow in size.  

I don't understand.  What reasoning?  I am simply pointing out what the scriptures state about where the residual consecrated funds are supposed to be placed and what they are supposed to be used for.  Investing it and holding it, except for buying malls with the increase, is not a revealed use that I can see.   

Edited by pogi
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I may have said this before. 50 years ago in my mission the countries government investigated the Church because they were told that$ 25,000 was sent to SLC in tithing funds. The State quickly backed off when they discovered that the Church had sent $ 250,000 back into the country. I wonder where that money came from. 

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2 hours ago, smac97 said:

The narrative, it seems, is that because the Church can spend more, it ought to spend more, and ought to be faulted - even vilified - if it does not.

I think this is a fairly facile criticism, as it does not address the practical and logistical challenges the Church has in administering humanitarian work....

Ironically, a couple of years ago Lars Nielsen was on a podcast, and his criticism of the Church was almost the exact opposite of the "fairly facile criticism" you imagine.

To put this into perspective, a general rule of thumb is that on an annual basis, endowments should spend 5% of their principal on their philanthropic mission, and leave the remainder to grow with interest. To the extent investment returns average at least 5%, this level of giving will allow the endowment to last into perpetuity without another dime of new contributions.

If the Church followed that rule of thumb, it would spend about $15 billion a year on its religious, educational, and charitable missions. About half of that would be funded from each year's annual donations, and the other half would be funded by the investment returns on its asset portfolio.

What the Church actually does is spends about $7 billion on its religious, educational, and charitable missions, and uses the remaining $8 billion to increase the size of its reserves. This raises a question: what does the Church really value? Using how it deploys its resources as a metric for what it values most, growing the size of its for-profit investment portfolio is its most important value--that is how it deploys the majority of its annual revenue.

To get in line with the general rule of thumb for how respectable endowments achieve a balance between accomplishing their mission now and and into the future, the Church would need to increase its annual spending by about $8 billion a year. But that is the problem--there is no way an organization such as the Church can responsibly give away that much money. Likewise, there is no reason to believe the Church is capable of scaling up its operations to give away so much money. Making that big of an impact on the world is just too risky for the Church; the leaders don't have the vision or courage to make that happen. Not on that scale. They are comfortable with occasional, much smaller gifts. For example, the Church issued 45 News Releases in October 2023. Of those, four were announcing financial gifts they've made:

  • October 27: $73,000 donation to help restore African American schoolhouse in Louisiana.
  • October 24: $32 million to World Food Program
  • October 23: $1 million to Florida Food Bank
  • October 20: $70,000 to help feed malnourished children in Manila

Those are significant gifts, especially the one to the World Food Program. But these gifts need to be kept into perspective and compared to the approximately $8 billion they deployed last year to increase the size of its for-profit investment portfolio.

The Church makes way more annual income than it can deploy responsibly. And the size of its annual income is growing exponentially, while its ability to responsibly deploy resources is not. That is the problem.

Ultimately the Church is free to do whatever it wants with its money. Of course. But it couldn't 't make these billions of dollars if it didn't exist within our modern society. Like other financial beneficiaries of our society, the Church ought to pay its fair share in taxes to finance the existence of the society upon which it depends. If it were using the majority of its resources for the public good then the argument could be made that it should be exempt from taxes. Of course. But if it is using the majority of its resources to increase the size of its investment portfolio, it should be taxed just like any other hedge fund. This isn't punitive--the government needs to money to exist, and good citizens who benefit the most from society should happily pay the most in taxes.

Edited by Analytics
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26 minutes ago, pogi said:

I don't understand.  What reasoning?  I am simply pointing out what the scriptures state about where the residual consecrated funds are supposed to be placed and what they are supposed to be used for.  Investing it and holding it, except for buying malls with the increase, is not a revealed use that I can see.   

I don't see investment as a "use" per se because the funds are not expended; the funds are still available to be used for exactly what the scriptures say they ought to be used for.  If investment is to be considered a use disallowed by scripture, then excess funds would instead need to be stored under a mattress or in a Scrooge McDuck-style money bin.

I guess I could be concerned that when the Church does finally get around to spending down those funds, they will do so in a wasteful, inefficient, or corrupt manner.  If that happens, I'll raise my voice in opposition.  But if the Church's current expenditures are only a small-scale preview of how those future funds will be expended in the future, I've got little to worry about.   

  

Edited by Stormin' Mormon
cleaning up spelling and grammar
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20 minutes ago, pogi said:

This isn't about tithing and what should be done with the residual, as mentioned in the D&C.

I think it is.  Elder Bednar has invoked the "Seven Years of Plenty" story in the context of "tithing and what should be done with the residual":

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With over $100 billion in funds and assets, the Church has more capability than any other church in the country to help eliminate poverty. What more could the Church do in terms of humanitarian efforts?

“People want to bang on the Church and say, ‘Well, you’ve got all that money in reserve.’ Yeah, and it’s a good idea for other people to follow that example. You can read in the Old Testament about seven years of famine and seven years of plenty. It’s a good idea to prepare. These undertakings that I’ve described are resource consuming, not resource generating. And a lot of people depend on the resource that we provide. And if things are different in the future than they are now, we think it’s provident and wise to prepare to maintain that kind of support in an uncertain economic environment.”

The Church has elsewhere invoked it in the context of Melchizedek and the bishop's storehouse:

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Storehouses have always been a part of the Lord’s Church. He has continually instructed His people to seek out the poor and help care for their needs, and He established storehouses as a means of providing those people with needed resources. 

 “If there be among you a poor man … thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:

“But thou shalt open thy hand wide unto him, and shall surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth” (Deuteronomy 15:7–8).

Melchizedek: Keeper of the Storehouse

The first storehouse that we know of was the one operated by the high priest, prophet, and king Melchizedek. We learn from the Bible that Abram paid tithing to Melchizedek (see Genesis 14:20).

“And [Melchizedek] lifted up his voice, and he blessed Abram, being the high priest, and the keeper of the storehouse of God;

“Him whom God had appointed to receive tithes for the poor.

“Wherefore, Abram paid unto him tithes of all that he had, of all the riches which he possessed” (Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 14:37–39 [in the Bible appendix]).

Joseph of Egypt

When Joseph was serving Pharaoh in Egypt, he built a storehouse in response to a dream that Pharaoh had. In the dream, Pharaoh learned that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of drought (see Genesis 41:29–30). Joseph proposed a plan to store food during the plentiful years to prepare for the coming famine. He collected a fifth part of the harvest during the prosperous years to prepare “against the seven years of famine” (Genesis 41:36).

When the seven years of plenty ended and food became scarce, “Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians. … And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all the lands” (Genesis 41:56–57).

Welfare Work by Christ’s Apostles

During His mortal ministry, Christ spent much of His time among the poor, sick, and suffering, tending to their needs and wants. After His death, the Apostles and other disciples followed His direction to care for the poor (see Matthew 19:21):

“Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

“And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need” (Acts 4:34–35).

Scripture stories are often used as analogies or for illustrative purposes.  Joseph in Egypt seems to work pretty well in discussions about tithing and surplus.

20 minutes ago, pogi said:
Quote

3. Another scripture about "surplus" that came to mind is Malachi 3:

This doesn't talk about what the church is supposed to do with residual tithing. 

It does talk about "surplus," though.

20 minutes ago, pogi said:

Since you are big on pointing out fallacies - strawman. 

What "narrative" are you talking about?  If you are not talking about something I said - red herring. 

I was simply answering the question that JLHPROF posted - "promised where?"  Referring to where in the scriptures it states that tithing is supposed to be used for humanitarian aid.   The scriptures and prophets have been clear on what the storehouse is to be used for.  

You agreed with JLHPROF and suggested that it would be hard to show that the prophets have consistently taught that tithing is supposed to be used for humanitarian aid.  I don't think it is that hard.  

Again, strawman.   

As I noted, my comments were "just thinking out loud."  I was not intending them as a direct response to you, and I did not mean to offend.  As I did, though, I apologize.

20 minutes ago, pogi said:

My point is that the scriptures and the prophets suggest that tithing is to be used for humanitarian aid, and that it has been consistently taught that way, just like these people suing the church have claimed. 

Tithing is intended to be used for all sorts of purposes relating to the functions of the Church in the last days.

"The scriptures and the prophets" also include things like "all things must be done in order" (Mosiah 4:27). 

I think part of that "order" is that the Church should keep its financial affairs in order, stay out of debt, and so on.  The Church is doing this. 

I also think that part of that "order" is for the Church to properly and mindfully manage sacred funds with a long-term perspective that, I think, is beyond what most of us typically contemplate.  I think the Church is doing this.

I also think that part of that "order" is to utilize the principles set forth in the Parable of the Talents (and the Seven Years of Plenty story in Genesis as well).  I think the Church is doing this.  The Church is spending huge sums of money every single year, and is situated to be so for years or decades to come because it has established a prudent-and-successful savings and investment strategy.  The Church will likely be able to manage the financial demands of its own operations and also humanitarian and philanthropic efforts for the foreseeable future because it is doing things that "these people in the church" are suing them over.

Yes, "tithing is to be used for humanitarian aid," but not solely for that purpose.  The lawsuit's contrary characterizations are highly misleading.

Thanks,

-Smac

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26 minutes ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

I don't see investment as a "use" per se because the funds are not expended; the funds are still available to be used for exactly what the scriptures say they ought to be used for. 

Investments are expenditures - capital expenditures.  The funds are only available if the investments don't flop and are then sold.  

26 minutes ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

If investment is to be considered a use disallowed by scripture, then excess funds would instead need to be stored under a mattress or in a Scrooge McDuck-style money bin.

Or used in a storehouse for the poor and needy as described in scripture. 

26 minutes ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

I guess I could be concerned that when the Church does finally get around to spending down those funds, they will do so in a wasteful, inefficient, or corrupt manner.  If that happens, I'll raise my voice in opposition.  But if the Church's current expenditures are only a small-scale preview of how those future funds will be expended in the future, I've got little to worry about.   

The only known use of the funds, other than stock market investments, that I am aware of is the mall ("let's go shopping!") and bailing out some for-profit businesses that I understand apostles had private investments in.   I am not aware of any use of the funds for purposes mentioned in the law of the storehouse.  

Edited by pogi
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11 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Yes, "tithing is to be used for humanitarian aid," but not solely for that purpose.  The lawsuit's contrary characterizations are highly misleading.

Did the lawsuit claim that it is solely to be used for that purpose?

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2 hours ago, Analytics said:

The Church makes way more annual income than it can deploy responsibly.

I agree.  This is a big reason why the "Just Throw Money At It!" demands being directed at the Church don't make much sense.  The Church could be as feckless and incompetent as, say, the government of California in how it (Cali) approaches homelessness.  Is Cali spending billions on the issue every year?  Sure.  Is that money well-spent?  Nope.  Not by a country mile.

As you say, the Church makes way more annual income than it can deploy responsibly, which means it must partner with other groups on humanitarian projects.  And it does.  But that necessarily requires some very careful vetting.  From the above article: 

Quote

Increases in humanitarian and welfare spending are driven first by the contributions and volunteerism of church members, the bishops said. The other major factor is how quickly the church can ensure new avenues for precise giving. For example, Latter-day Saint Charities carefully and thoroughly assesses each partner. “The last thing you want to do is just give them money and then you really don’t know where it goes,” Bishop Davies said. “So we have both missionaries and area staff on the ground, feet on the ground, who actually are there, they can see that food’s being distributed, or equipment, or schools are being built as part of our program.”

See, I like that the Brethren are taking this approach.  It makes more sense to me than, say, the Brethren reflexively insisting that the Church disregard the foregoing thoughtful approach and instead allocate expenditures based on your proposed percentage.  

You have been advancing this "general rule of thumb" of "spend{ing} 5% of their principal on their philanthropic mission" for quite a while now.  I find it facile and unreasonable when you propose that it be deployed on the scale at which the Church and its finances operate.  This kind of knee-jerk "We gotta throw money at it to be seen as 'respectable'" fiscal mismanagement is how California has gotten into its mess.  It is bankrolling, to the tune of billions each year,  "homelessness" initiatives which have become an industry unto itself, rife with corruption and incompetence and crappy results, with players in it (such as private NGOs) getting rich and being incentivized to perpetuate the problem, rather than mitigate or solve it.  Yes, California's politicians can brag about the quantities of the billions spent, but they noticeably don't have much to say about the effectiveness of the billions spent.

You state: "{W}hat does the Church really value?"  I think the Church values its mandates.  And I think it's trying very hard to fulfill them, including those pertaining to philanthropic and humanitarian service to people worldwide. The effectiveness of the Church's humanitarian efforts is, I submit, a vastly more important consideration than whether the Church hits a "spend an arbitrary percentage of its accumulated principal, regardless of whether such spending is efficient and effective" benchmark. 

2 hours ago, Analytics said:

And the size of its annual income is growing exponentially, while its ability to responsibly deploy resources is not. That is the problem.

Perhaps.  But this problem is not going to be competently addressed by taking a "Just Throw 5% of Your Principal At It!" approach.  See, e.g., here:

Quote

In addition to responding to disasters across the globe, Church humanitarian funds have been used to provide food programs, vision care, maternal and newborn care, clean water and sanitation, immunizations, wheelchairs, and help for refugees.

However, reaching out and helping those in need is “a very complex endeavor,” he said.

The Church can’t just send out cash and checks to people, he said. “It has to be done in an organized way, and with follow up, with training, a lot of expertise and good partners. Otherwise, you just don’t get any results.”

Bishop Davies said the Church is careful to select humanitarian projects and partners that will make the best use of the Church’s funds. “We are very careful with the widow’s mite,” referring to the biblical parable by the Savior.

“We recognize that this comes from the faith of Church members and we want to make certain that they have the trust and confidence that their donations are being managed in a careful and thoughtful and very safe way for them and for the Church,” said Bishop Davies.

Leaders often ask themselves “what else can we do, where else can we go, who else can we work with,” said Bishop Waddell.  

Every time the Church reaches out, the objective is to bless both the giver and the receiver, added Bishop Caussé. So in addition to selecting good humanitarian projects, Church leaders are always mindful of providing service opportunities for Church members. “It’s not just a matter of money,” he said. It’s also done as members “devote time and resources and efforts to help others.”
...
As to the question, is the Church doing enough, Bishop Caussé said, “We hope we can do more and more in the future, and as the Church grows, there will be more opportunities for doing good.”

The Presiding Bishopric:

  • "Latter-day Saint Charities carefully and thoroughly assesses each partner. 'The last thing you want to do is just give them money and then you really don’t know where it goes,' Bishop Davies said. 'So we have both missionaries and area staff on the ground, feet on the ground, who actually are there, they can see that food’s being distributed, or equipment, or schools are being built as part of our program.'"
  • "Reaching out and helping those in need is 'a very complex endeavor.'"
  • "The Church can’t just send out cash and checks to people, he said. 'It has to be done in an organized way, and with follow up, with training, a lot of expertise and good partners. Otherwise, you just don’t get any results.'"
  • "Bishop Davies said the Church is careful to select humanitarian projects and partners that will make the best use of the Church’s funds. 'We are very careful with the widow’s mite.'"
  • "We recognize that this comes from the faith of Church members and we want to make certain that they have the trust and confidence that their donations are being managed in a careful and thoughtful and very safe way for them and for the Church."
  • “We hope we can do more and more in the future, and as the Church grows, there will be more opportunities for doing good.”

Analytics: "Just throw 5% of your principal at it!" (Or words substantially to that effect.) ;) 

The Presiding Bishopric, I think, have a substantially better grasp than you do of the logistical and practical challenges in effectively and efficiently deploying vast sums of money in the humanitarian/philanthropic sphere.

2 hours ago, Analytics said:

Ultimately the Church is free to do whatever it wants with its money. Of course. But it couldn't 't make these billions of dollars if it didn't exist within our modern society.

And Pharaonic Egypt couldn't have had Seven Years of Plenty without the Nile.  But it did (have the Nile), so it did (have Seven Years of Plenty).

Also, the Church "couldn't make these billions of dollars" unless it had large numbers of Latter-day Saints faithfully paying their tithes.

Also, the Church "couldn't make these billions of dollars" unless its leaders adopted and followed sound (and entirely legal) fiscal policies and practices (hat tip to N. Eldon Tanner).

Also, that the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ happened in America was, I believe, by divine design.  See here:

Quote

Even with religious freedom and the birth of a new nation, the Restoration of the gospel was still an uphill battle. Only with a divinely orchestrated plan and precise timing was a space carved out for the young Mormon church to grow.

 

That was the thesis of a phone conversation with John C. Thomas, who teaches LDS Church history and other subjects in the Department of Religious Education at BYU-Idaho. If conditions were altered here or an event was moved there, the circumstances would have changed, Thomas said.

"I don't know if we (the church) survived by the skin of our teeth, but it was a tough go," Thomas said. "It's remarkable that you had to bring a 17-year-old Joseph Smith and a centuries-old record into proximity so that (the Book of Mormon) could happen. Then have it take place in close enough proximity of a printer who has the technology and an interest in the market. Then have it close to the Erie Canal that you can spread it.
...

Minutes before running off to his American Foundations class, Thomas shared a few insights regarding the religious mindset of those living in the Colonies during the time of the Revolution. Had America become independent under the church-state rules that most of the colonies had, the coming forth of a new church would have been more difficult, Thomas said.

"Most colonies had established churches and had rules against new or dissenting churches," he said. "But something happened."

In addition to heavenly inspiration and good fortune, Thomas said key factors that favored the Restoration included the Revolutionary War, the dissent of people from the Anglican Church (Church of England) and the idea that ordinary people can make big changes.

"It was the process of becoming American, the idea of making a voluntary, individual, conscientious choice about where you worship, how you worship, and who you worship, because that was something they prized. It took a while for the idea to take hold. It's well beyond the 1780s before everyone believes that," Thomas said. "If we had transplanted colonial Massachusetts to 1830, that wouldn't have been a very hospitable setting for Joseph Smith."

That idea carved out a space where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could assert itself and where people could freely chose to join, Thomas said.

So I am grateful for the United States of America, in part because its system of laws and its society allowed the Church to be created, and to strengthen and grow into the wonderful international organization it is today.

2 hours ago, Analytics said:

Like other financial beneficiaries of our society, the Church ought to pay its fair share in taxes to finance the existence of the society upon which it depends.

The Church pays the taxes it is obligated to pay, and does not pay taxes it is not obligated to pay.

If and when a person who has spent years expressing contempt for and dislike of you comes along and starts publishing pronouncements about how you should pay your "fair share in taxes" ("fair share" being notably and spectacularly vague), and if and when you comply with those pronouncements by paying such additional taxes as this random person deems appropriate, I will revisit your statement above and give it some real consideration.

Until then...

2 hours ago, Analytics said:

If it were using the majority of its resources for the public good then the argument could be made that it should be exempt from taxes.

The Church is "using the majority of its resources for the public good."  It's just not doing do it using the "Just Throw Money At It!" approach you espouse.

2 hours ago, Analytics said:

But if it is using the majority of its resources to increase the size of its investment portfolio, it should be taxed just like any other hedge fund.

Yawn. 

You've been pounding this drum for some time now.  The Church isn't a "hedge fund," nor is it "like" one, and so it isn't treated as one by the United States government.

As I have said previously:

Quote
Quote
  1. Should a church or charity that acts more like a hedge fund than a  religious or charitable institution be taxed like a hedge fund rather than like a religious or charitable institution?

I reject the premise.  The Church isn't acting "more like a hedge fund than a religious or charitable institution."  That is an absurd characterization.

And here:

Quote
Quote

 

Quote

Third, there is no evidence that the Brethren are enriching themselves using tithed donations.  To the contrary, there is substantial evidence that they are doing nothing like this at all.

This is irrelevant to his lawsuit.

 

It is quite relevant.  I just responded to your absurd characterization of the Church as acting "more like a hedge fund than a religious or charitable institution."  That is simply not so.  A hedge fund's objective is to enrich investors.  That is not happening here.  Nobody is getting rich from the Church's money.  The money is being used to further the Church's religious and charitable efforts.

And here:

Quote
Quote

Actually, I was alluding to Ensign Peak Advisors.

And who is getting rich off of EPA?  Where are the "hedge fund" millionaires and billionaires?

As we know, there aren't any.  Hence the absurdity of your characterization.

And here:

Quote
Quote

The primary use of funds seems to be to create more funds to save for uses on a rainy day.

"Seems to be" being the operative phrase there.

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

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

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

I think you're ongoing disparagement of the Church as a "hedge fund" is also a pretext for spleen-venting.

Thanks,

-Smac  

Edited by smac97
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45 minutes ago, pogi said:

Investments are expenditures - capital expenditures.  The funds are only available if the investments don't flop and are then sold.  

With respect, I disagree with this characterization.  In a business context, "investment" and "expenditure" refer to two different types of financial transactions, each with distinct implications and purposes.  I think this summary from ChatGPT works well:

  1. Investment:

    • An investment is a financial commitment made by a business with the expectation of generating future income or benefits. It involves allocating resources (usually capital or assets) into assets, projects, or opportunities that are expected to yield returns or enhance the value of the business over time.
    • Investments are typically made with a strategic and long-term perspective. They are meant to contribute to the growth and success of the business. Common examples of investments include purchasing stocks or bonds, acquiring new equipment, expanding facilities, or developing new products or services.
    • Investments are recorded as assets on the business's balance sheet and are expected to generate future cash flows or increase the company's value.
  2. Expenditure:

    • An expenditure refers to the outflow of cash or the use of funds for a specific purpose. It involves spending money on various day-to-day operational expenses, such as salaries, rent, utilities, office supplies, and other costs required to maintain the ongoing operations of the business.
    • Expenditures are typically associated with the day-to-day functioning of the business and are necessary to keep it running. They are considered a cost of doing business and are typically incurred regularly.
    • Expenditures are recorded as expenses on the business's income statement and are deducted from revenue to calculate the company's profit or loss for a specific period.

In summary, the key difference between investment and expenditure in a business context is the purpose and nature of the financial transaction. Investments are made to generate future returns or enhance the business's value, whereas expenditures are incurred to cover the costs of ongoing operations and are treated as expenses. Both are essential for a business, but they serve different roles in financial management and reporting.

45 minutes ago, pogi said:

The only known use of the funds, other than stock market investments, that I am aware of is the mall ("let's go shopping!") and bailing out some for-profit businesses that I understand apostles had private investments in.   I am not aware of any use of the funds for purposes mentioned in the law of the storehouse.  

CFR, please that "apostles had private investments" in "some for-profit businesses" which were "bail{ed} out" using Church funds.

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 hour ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

I guess I could be concerned that when the Church does finally get around to spending down those funds, they will do so in a wasteful, inefficient, or corrupt manner. 

This has been my concern as well, hence my repeated reference, as an example of what the Church should not do, to California's profligate, incompetent, counterproductive throwing of billions of dollars to address "homelessness."

1 hour ago, Stormin' Mormon said:

If that happens, I'll raise my voice in opposition.  But if the Church's current expenditures are only a small-scale preview of how those future funds will be expended in the future, I've got little to worry about.   

I likewise am happy with the trajectory of the Church on this issue.  The Presiding Bishopric has indicated that the Church's humanitarian efforts are increasing, and I'm glad of that.

Thanks,

-Smac

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One must be careful in using the Joseph and Pharaoh story.

1. Joseph ' collected ' 20% of the crops. It does not say the State paid for them so it was likely a tax which went to Pharaoh .

2. The people during the famine needed food so Pharaoh ' sold'  it to them thereby increasing his wealth.

3. When the famine deepened and the people had no more money to pay for the food , Pharaoh took lands and other property as payment. It was a massive transfer of wealth from the populace to Pharaoh's coffers and solidified his power. Not exactly a philanthropic endeavour but typical of governments globally. 

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5 minutes ago, blackstrap said:

One must be careful in using the Joseph and Pharaoh story.

Sure.  An analogy is, after all, a comparison of traits shared by two otherwise dissimilar things.

5 minutes ago, blackstrap said:

1. Joseph ' collected ' 20% of the crops. It does not say the State paid for them so it was likely a tax which went to Pharaoh .

2. The people during the famine needed food so Pharaoh ' sold'  it to them thereby increasing his wealth.

3. When the famine deepened and the people had no more money to pay for the food , Pharaoh took lands and other property as payment. It was a massive transfer of wealth from the populace to Pharaoh's coffers and solidified his power. Not exactly a philanthropic endeavour but typical of governments globally. 

But not typical of the Church.

Governments are going to do their thing, particularly totalitarian regimes.  Pharaoh should be credited for that portion of light and knowledge he accepted, which in the end saved his people and many others besides.  As for his flaws, Mormon 9:31 comes to mind.

Meanwhile, the Church is, per D&C 134:10, bereft of any secular authority, so we don't really need to worry about erring in the ways Pharaoh did.  Moreover, the Church is building up a pretty good track record of helping others.  Just look at the complaint here, which is that the Church isn't helping enough.  Its critics will, of course, use this claim to cast the Church in the worst possible light, but over the long term the wisdom of the Church's approach will be borne out over the naysayers' preferred "Just Throw Money At It!" approach.

Thanks,

-Smac

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I heard a story of a couple that spent their savings on serving a mission in England. Then had to sell their home after returning home, their life was much different after that. It was quite a sacrifice, IMO, and that is the crux. I do not see the church sacrifice like they ask their members to do, particularly senior couples being asked to go on more than one mission. Not only money, but missing out on monumental occasions possibly. 

I mentioned this to my very active faithful sister-in-law, and she didn't take it very well. I regretted it, that's why I like this board, I get all my frustrations out. 

Is there any way the church can reduce these fees for the senior missionaries I wonder.

Edited by Tacenda
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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

With respect, I disagree with this characterization.  In a business context, "investment" and "expenditure" refer to two different types of financial transactions, each with distinct implications and purposes.  I think this summary from ChatGPT works well:

  1. Investment:

    • An investment is a financial commitment made by a business with the expectation of generating future income or benefits. It involves allocating resources (usually capital or assets) into assets, projects, or opportunities that are expected to yield returns or enhance the value of the business over time.
    • Investments are typically made with a strategic and long-term perspective. They are meant to contribute to the growth and success of the business. Common examples of investments include purchasing stocks or bonds, acquiring new equipment, expanding facilities, or developing new products or services.
    • Investments are recorded as assets on the business's balance sheet and are expected to generate future cash flows or increase the company's value.
  2. Expenditure:

    • An expenditure refers to the outflow of cash or the use of funds for a specific purpose. It involves spending money on various day-to-day operational expenses, such as salaries, rent, utilities, office supplies, and other costs required to maintain the ongoing operations of the business.
    • Expenditures are typically associated with the day-to-day functioning of the business and are necessary to keep it running. They are considered a cost of doing business and are typically incurred regularly.
    • Expenditures are recorded as expenses on the business's income statement and are deducted from revenue to calculate the company's profit or loss for a specific period.

In summary, the key difference between investment and expenditure in a business context is the purpose and nature of the financial transaction. Investments are made to generate future returns or enhance the business's value, whereas expenditures are incurred to cover the costs of ongoing operations and are treated as expenses. Both are essential for a business, but they serve different roles in financial management and reporting.

CFR, please that "apostles had private investments" in "some for-profit businesses" which were "bail{ed} out" using Church funds.

Thanks,

-Smac

Well, if we are going to refer to AI, I asked Bing AI if "investments can be considered expenses?"  It gave a simple answer of "yes".  

It seems that "investment expenses" can be deductible under tax law.

Investment Expense Tax Deduction – Which Fees Can You Deduct? (moneycrashers.com)

Chat GPT gave me more nuance:

Quote

 

There are certain situations in which an investment can be considered an expense, particularly from a tax perspective. This is often seen in the context of certain tax rules and regulations that allow for the immediate deduction of certain types of investments.

For example, some capital expenditures may be eligible for immediate expensing under specific provisions in the tax code. This means that rather than capitalizing and depreciating the investment over its useful life, the business can deduct the full cost of the investment in the year it was made. This immediate deduction essentially treats the investment as an expense for tax purposes.

Additionally, certain expenses incurred to acquire or improve assets may be classified as capital expenditures, which are not immediately deductible as expenses. However, under specific circumstances, these expenses can be claimed as deductible expenses or may be eligible for depreciation or amortization over time.

It is important to consult with a tax professional or financial advisor to fully understand the specific rules and regulations governing the treatment of investments and expenses in your particular situation.

 

I will look for my refence of apostles being invested in the company that was bailed out.  

Edited by pogi
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6 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I read a story of a couple that spent their savings on serving a mission in England.

My understanding is that England is one of the most expensive missions in the Church.

I also understand that the Church sometimes allows the couple to choose where they serve (or have a voice in the selection process).  Do you know if this couple did that?

6 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Then had to sell their home after returning home, their life was much different after that. It was quite a sacrifice, IMO, and that is the crux.

The "crux" of what?

6 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I do not see the church sacrifice like they ask their members to do,

I do not understand what you mean here.  How would "the church," as differentiated from its constituent flesh-and-blood members, "sacrifice?"  Sacrifice what?  

6 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

particularly senior couples being asked to go on more than one mission.

"Being asked" is the operative wording here.

My parents served a mission in Samoa.  My mother became ill, so they came home for a few months, then went back out to complete their mission in Fabens, Texas.

A few years later, they served a mission in Zimbabwe.  It was, and is, one of the most expensive missions for senior missionaries.  It was a financial sacrifice for them, yes.  But then, that's the point of serving in the Church.  Not a debilitating sacrifice, though, because we are supposed to "see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength" (Mosiah 4:27).

6 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Not only money, but missing out on monumental occasions possibly. 

People who serve in the military can often be deployed or otherwise end up "missing out on monumental occasions possibly."

People can move far away for a job or school and end up "missing out on monumental occasions possibly."

People can choose a line of work that yields lower income than they could otherwise get, and end up "missing out on monumental occasions possibly."

And so on.

Most worthwhile endeavors require sacrifice.  The question is whether service in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of those endeavors.  I think it is.  YMMV.

6 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I mentioned this to my very active faithful sister-in-law, and she didn't take it very well. I regretted it, that's why I like this board, I get all my frustrations out. 

I have worked hard in my life.  Right out of high school I served in the military, then I served a mission, married young, chose to have a large family, pursued a college education and then an advanced degree, served in several time-consuming callings in the Church (including a nickel as bishop of my ward), and so on, all while raising the afore-mentioned large family.  I have invested a lot of time and effort and resources in these things.

Last Friday I had a heart-to-heart discussion with a loved one who is very estranged from the Church, and who at one point in the discussion pointed to the above things I have done, and he did so in a vein similar to what you seem to be doing here.  He seemed "frustrated" or annoyed or distressed that I have done these things, apparently as if these things have been wasteful or futile, and that I should not have done them, and should have instead, it seems, traveled the world, delayed marriage and children, and otherwise do things to "find myself."  And he framed these things - things I have done versus things he thinks I should have done - in the context of me as a Latter-day Saint, as having done things in accordance with its doctrines and teachings.

I found myself a bit flummoxed at this.  This loved one was speaking sincerely and from the heart, but his thought processes apparently involved him harboring strong resentments on my behalf, resentments that I think largely center on and against . . . the Church.  Where I have credited the Church for its teachings which have induced me to pursue the foregoing endeavors, it seems that he faults the Church for having had that influence on me, on my decisions, on the course of action I have pursued in life.

I think "the Church" is something of a misnomer.  The Church houses the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is this set of precepts, and my acceptance of and hope in them, that have animated and directed the substantive choices I have made in life.  I am far from perfect, but I have no regrets in serving in the military, or a mission, or marrying young, or having lots of kids, etc. (though I certainly have regrets as to my imperfections and failings in these various endeavors).  

I am saddened that this loved one has chosen to survey my life's actions through the lens of his hostility to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  

I am saddened that this loved one has chosen to resent the Church for influencing my life in ways that I view with gratitude, happiness, and a sense of real meaning and accomplishment.

I am saddened that this loved one has chosen to harbor these resentments on my behalf.

I am saddened that this loved one views my efforts and accomplishments as being inferior to pursuits I should have had.

I am trying to figure out how, or if, I should confer with this loved one regarding the foregoing matters.  I could try to persuade him away from having such a dank and bleak and negative assessment of how I have lived my life.  However, such an attempt would likely involve me giving credit where it is due, including expressing gratitude for the Restored Gospel (and the organization that houses it).  Such sentiments would, I fear, conflict too much with his current disposition to think of the Church negatively, to describe it in the worst possible ways, to cast it in the worst possible light, to blame it, and so on.

I don't know that I want to provoke such a thing.  

6 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Is there any way the church can reduce these fees for the senior missionaries I wonder.

I would be very much on board with the Church easing the expenses associated with senior missions.  Honestly, I am surprised that it has not done so.  However, I leave such matters to the Brethren.

Thanks,

-Smac

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14 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I would be very much on board with the Church easing the expenses associated with senior missions.  Honestly, I am surprised that it has not done so.  However, I leave such matters to the Brethren.

Agreed. Though, I can hear the complaints now .... "Church pays grandparents to stay away from family!"

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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

I read a story of a couple that spent their savings on serving a mission in England. Then had to sell their home after returning home, their life was much different after that. It was quite a sacrifice, IMO, and that is the crux. I do not see the church sacrifice like they ask their members to do, particularly senior couples being asked to go on more than one mission. Not only money, but missing out on monumental occasions possibly. 

I mentioned this to my very active faithful sister-in-law, and she didn't take it very well. I regretted it, that's why I like this board, I get all my frustrations out. 

Is there any way the church can reduce these fees for the senior missionaries I wonder.

I have had a few dozen retired couple clients  go on senior missions. Some were able to afford it with little or no problem, others ended up realizing a permanently lower standard of living because of the expense and a few who completely turned their financial lives into a disaster over the cost of a mission. I have also had many couples elect  not to go because of the financial impact the mission can have not only on them, but in a few cases it could affect their adult children as well. 
 

Tithing and paying for missions for kids have a significant impact on the ability for many Mormon couples to save a reasonable amount of money for retirement much less go dump a ton of money into a mission in the front end of their retirement. When they finally have enough money they are loading it in their last five to ten years before retiring, it never gets a chance to grow. 
 

it is funny you mention England. I have friends in our ward who went a few years ago. It was like $5k a month. 
 

check this one out in salt lake:  https://seniormissionary.churchofjesuschrist.org/srsite/ft/search?lang=eng

 

the church def should pay for these senior missionaries. There is no reason to bill a senior to work for you when they have been paying  you all their life. 


 


 

 

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