Jump to content
Seriously No Politics ×

Hmmm…The Tithing List Plot Thickens


Recommended Posts

53 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Three thoughts:

First, I concur with your assessment and appreciate your clarifying remarks.

Second, even with your clarifications in place, I am (mildly) troubled at the prospect of Pres. Ballard, or any other General Authority, calling members of the Church and asking them to consider donating financially to a "pet cause."

Third, I think this story may actually end up as a cautionary tale for both leaders and members of the Church, a reminder of the wisdom of the Church's cautious approach to partnering or otherwise working with or donating to charitable/humanitarian organizations.  These days the Church is being hectored for not donating enough of its wealth to such causes, yet here we see the need for the Church to carefully evaluate and "vet" any such organization prior to working with or donating to them.  See, e.g., here:

  • "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.”

See also here:

I don't know if Pres. Ballard solicited members of the Church to provide financial support to OUR.  If he did, I would find that troubling.  I would not have had qualms regarding most other people, though, since they are not in positions of ecclesiastical power/influence.  My sense is that the General Authorities work hard to avoid what is being alleged / speculated about here.

In any event, if we assume that Pres. Ballard did in fact make such solicitations in relation to OUR, he likely would have done so without having "vetted" OUR in ways similar to how the Church "vets" the organizations it works with on philanthropic/humanitarian projects.

As I have noted previously, there are substantial 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:

If OUR had been "vetted," I suspect it would not have passed.

Thanks,

-Smac

Oh my goodness. This is all I have ever attempted, though poorly, to say. I doubt we will never know all of the facts regarding Elder Ballards involvement with OUR. But whether Elder Ballard entered his relationship with OUR with the best of intentions, which I firmly believe he  did, or not. It has not played out well and I concur that having GA’s using their positions influence to solicit fund for an outside third party Organization is not a good look although I again state that I know firsthand that Elder Ballard has been soliciting funds for both private and institutional pet projects for at least the past 15 years and I suspect he is not the only one although my knowledge only pertains to Elder Ballard. 

Link to comment
3 hours ago, bluebell said:

I don't have any lists of wealthy tithe payers and yet I do know of some people who appear wealthy, most just by the lifestyle they lead.  Others it's because I know someone who knows them personally.

A lot of the world manages to find wealthy people without needing a list of tithe payers to do so.  I'm not sure why Elder Ballard would be different.

Do you know the names of wealthy members throughout the inter mountain west?  You’re arguing that Elder Ballards solicitation of funds from Brunson was from some obscure random awareness?  Really? Does that really make sense?

Link to comment
7 minutes ago, Craig Speechly said:

Do you know the names of wealthy members throughout the inter mountain west?  You’re arguing that Elder Ballards solicitation of funds from Brunson was from some obscure random awareness?  Really? Does that really make sense?

I said that you can often tell when people are wealthy by knowing a little about them.  It's also very easy to know of wealthy people through other personal contacts.  For example, I know of a couple of people who are wealthy due to businesses they started that are doing really well in Utah right now because my husband's contacts and through a friend.  What part of what I said can be reasonably described as knowing wealthy members through 'obscure random awareness'? 

Why are you are so determined to find a way to hold Elder Ballard in suspicion or otherwise spin all available information in the worst possible light even though there is no evidence to support it? 

Edited by bluebell
Link to comment
28 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Everyone who was ever paid by OUR for working for them has benefited from it.  Does that matter?

If you feel any of this passes the smell test then you and I just have very different senses of smell and I wonder if this matter involved anyone other than a prominent GA and his family if you’d feel the same way. 

Edited by Craig Speechly
Link to comment
7 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

So you’re of the opinion that when Elder Ballard wants to solicit funds from wealthy members for a pet project he does a google search?  It’s possible but unlikely 

Edited by Craig Speechly
Link to comment
8 minutes ago, Craig Speechly said:

So you’re of the opinion that when Elder Ballard wants to solicit funds from wealthy members for a pet project he does a google search?  It’s possible but unlikely 

I didn't give an opinion of anything, did I?

Just demonstrating what is possible with internet access and a couple free minutes.

Link to comment
1 hour ago, smac97 said:

I don't know if Pres. Ballard solicited members of the Church to provide financial support to OUR.  If he did, I would find that troubling.  I would not have had qualms regarding most other people, though, since they are not in positions of ecclesiastical power/influence.  My sense is that the General Authorities work hard to avoid what is being alleged / speculated about here.

Russell Brunson, a wealthy member, has said that Elder Ballard solicited him to provide financial support to OUR.  So it has happened at least once.

Link to comment
30 minutes ago, Craig Speechly said:

Do you know the names of wealthy members throughout the inter mountain west?  You’re arguing that Elder Ballards solicitation of funds from Brunson was from some obscure random awareness?  Really? Does that really make sense?

Brunson wasn't an obscure member.  There's news articles about him from several years.  He's an author of books as well.  I wouldn't be surprised if his business (ClickFunnels) is used by the church or by someone Elder Ballard knew.

Link to comment
4 minutes ago, webbles said:

Russell Brunson, a wealthy member, has said that Elder Ballard solicited him to provide financial support to OUR.  So it has happened at least once.

CFR, please.  Per the archived story:

Quote

The co-founder of an Eagle, Idaho, digital marketing firm claimed in a social media video in September that a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints general authority introduced him to former Operation Underground Railroad founder Tim Ballard for the purpose of discussing ways to help O.U.R. — a claim that raises questions about the church’s statement of having never endorsed or supported O.U.R. or any projects associated with Tim Ballard.

ClickFunnels head Russell Brunson took to social media on Sept. 16 in defense of Tim Ballard but also claimed that M. Russell Ballard, current acting president of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles introduced him to Tim Ballard (no relation). The full video, posted to Facebook and Instagram, features Brunson addressing his followers, friends, and those who have “been donating to O.U.R. with me” about his thoughts on the “recent negative media about Tim Ballard.”
...
Brunson vehemently claimed in his video that the LDS statement was “fake” and had been obtained, in his opinion, from “rogue employees” of the church. Brunson has made no further statement on social media about the Tim Ballard situation, and he had not responded to requests for comment from ABC4.com prior to this piece being published.

Brunson claimed that he knew the statement was fake because he had “been in the room with both Ballards. Brunson claimed he was “making this video as somebody who doesn’t just have third-hand knowledge or who read an article, about an article, about an article. [But] as someone who has been involved with it, with him and the group for a long, long time.”

“…It’s interesting, because the way I found out about Tim Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad was actually from Elder Ballard,” Brunson said. “He personally called me and asked me to help Tim Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad. I have literally sat in the room with Elder Ballard and Tim Ballard as we discussed these things and these ideas.”

ABC4 has also asked the church to clarify its statement saying it never endorsed or supported O.U.R. or any projects associated with Tim Ballard considering Brunson claimed the meeting was specifically for that purpose. We are waiting to hear back.

He furthermore claimed: “He [Tim Ballard] is being attacked from the outside. This is not the truth. Again, that is coming from someone who literally, I’ve been in the room with him and Elder Ballard talking about these things, okay? I’ve been in the rooms. Elder Ballard’s the one that introduced me. Tim never came to me and like told me some big story, and like tried to get me in. It was the opposite way around. Fully you need to understand this is the way it actually worked; this is the actual truth. Not some rogue employee who got fired because they were bad at their job, lying between their teeth. That’s literally what the sources are if you look at where they are getting this stuff. It’s ridiculous.”

Brunson closed his video by reaffirming his support for Tim Ballard and the work of O.U.R.

  • "'I found out about Tim Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad was actually from Elder Ballard,' Brunson said. 'He personally called me and asked me to help Tim Ballard and Operation Underground Railroad."
  • "'Elder Ballard’s the one that introduced me.'"
  • "'Tim never came to me and like told me some big story, and like tried to get me in. It was the opposite way around.'"
  • "Brunson has made no further statement on social media about the Tim Ballard situation, and he had not responded to requests for comment from ABC4.com prior to this piece being published."

References, please for your statement here: "Russell Brunson, a wealthy member, has said that Elder Ballard solicited him to provide financial support to OUR."

Thanks,

-Smac

Link to comment
57 minutes ago, Craig Speechly said:

So you’re of the opinion that when Elder Ballard wants to solicit funds from wealthy members for a pet project he does a google search?  It’s possible but unlikely 

Every non profit organization ever has the same need to contact big donors and solicit funds. None of them have access to an LDS database. There are tons of tools and best practices to do this.

Why do you think the only option OUR had here was a church database?

Why is it so far outside the realm of credibility that OUR and its allies did the same things that every other non-profit in the history of the world has done to identify major donors and get themselves off the ground?

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

There's been handful of accusations that have no evidence to support them and the man being accused has lived a pretty exemplary life all things considered.  It probably is my personality like you've implied, but I don't normally assume the worst possible conclusion about people when there is no evidence to support it.  Generally, I try to stay neutral or err on the side of a charitable interpretation when possible.

I agree we do seem to have very different personalities in that regard.

So it’s a completely random isolated occurrence that Elder Ballards son in law  became the financial advisor for OUR’s funds?  Ok 

Edited by Craig Speechly
Link to comment
8 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Calm, I can't remember if Elder Ballard is a silent partner in OUR or if that's a rumor.

Tim Ballard claimed that Elder Ballard was a silent partner in his company that was going to oversee several of his money making businesses/projects and the charities he was going to include, but he is the only original source.  No independent verification. 

Tim Ballard is a massive liar.

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

Every non profit organization ever has the same need to contact big donors and solicit funds. None of them have access to an LDS database. There are tons of tools and best practices to do this.

Why do you think the only option OUR had here was a church database?

Why is it so far outside the realm of credibility that OUR and its allies did the same things that every other non-profit in the history of the world has done to identify major donors and get themselves off the ground?

Aww come on now! What fun is it to resort to common sense and reason when so much excitement and delightful, self righteous outrage could enjoyed by continuing to stoke the fires of implausible worst case scenarios?

Link to comment
6 hours ago, Craig Speechly said:

Did you read in my post where I said that this wealthy member did not personally know Elder Ballard prior to his random call seeking a donation for O.U.R.?

What effect would that have on Elder Ballard getting his name from another wealthy donor?

How would this lack of acquaintance have prevented this member from previously donating to LDS Philanthropies?

Quote

Your CFR is in the attached article

Russell Brunson does not say in the article he didn’t know Elder Ballard before that from what I read.  Please quote where it says that.

Quote

. I have personally listen to his post, but I’m sure my attestation will not satisfy you

Since I was hoping for more information to be mined than you have provided, no.

Why do you keep referring to Brunson as a “wealthy member” and not by his name?  It is confusing.

Edited by Calm
Link to comment
5 hours ago, Craig Speechly said:

I’m willing to accept all of your assumptions which is why I left that question open in my OP. But other than tithing, what other lists do GA’s have access to of wealthy tithe payers?

The same lists everyone else*** has plus likely ones created by LDS Philanthropes, ones they might create themselves by asking wealthy friends (from what I have seen from the wealthy men who donate time and money to UVU, there is a lot of networking among them), and ones they might create themselves just be keeping an eye out at fundraising events (where they might not meet everyone themselves, but still be aware of their presence).

For example:

https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2021/08/12/latest-mormon-land/

https://asoothingliving.com/richest-mormons-in-the-world/

Then there’s the ones you hear about through family and friends (I have a long list due to my husband’s profession plus I have a relative who is quite wealthy himself).

You can also just search in terms that indicate wealth and LDS, Mormon, etc.

Edited by Calm
Link to comment
3 hours ago, webbles said:

That's probably why Elder Ballard learned about OUR and wanted to support it. 

I believe Elder Ballard got acquainted with Tim Ballard before OUR was formed, when Tim Ballard originally attempted to find Gardy.

https://www.facebook.com/donate/405741573682503/

Having been there at the beginning, I can see that Elder Ballard might have felt some personal responsibility towards the charity as well as being highly committed to its goal simply because of his overall concern about children.

Link to comment
40 minutes ago, Calm said:

Tim Ballard claimed that Elder Ballard was a silent partner in his company that was going to oversee several of his money making businesses/projects and the charities he was going to include, but he is the only original source.  No independent verification. 

Tim Ballard is a massive liar.

Actually the Davis County DA investigation does list other witnesses David Lopez, a former Navy Seal and OUR rescue member also corroborated Elder Ballards business involvement in the Slave Stealer LLC project but I’ve seen nothing in the form of written proof to back up his accusation.   He has since had a falling out with Tim Ballard. 

Edited by Craig Speechly
Link to comment
8 hours ago, webbles said:

The fact that you have firsthand knowledge of Elder Ballard soliciting funds from wealthy members isn't evidence of a tithing list either.

My husband has solicited donations for educational projects from wealthy members for decades without ever having check to tithing records outside our wards (and only had the access to do that when he was financial clerk).

Edited by Calm
Link to comment
7 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I doubt it.  Just like it's not a completely random isolated occurrence that many of the women in my neighborhood work for a lady down the street, and it's not a completely random isolated occurrence that my son and my son's friend work for my husband and his business partner or that a few of my husband's contracts came his way because of who he knew previously or had previously worked with.  Most people hire who they know. 

Just because it's not random doesn't mean it's nefarious.  

 

Who ever said it was nefarious? It was an insider business arrangement nothing nefarious about it. 

Link to comment
7 hours ago, bluebell said:

I live over 500 miles away from where I grew up.  My son is serving a mission thousands of miles away from both places.  He's serving with the nephew of my best friend from the 7th grade (who I haven't seen in decades since we moved away when I was 14). 

I went to highschool with a girl from Wyoming who now lives in Tooele.  I served a mission with a girl in California who now lives in Tooele.  My husband served a mission with a girl from South Africa in England who now lives in Tooele.  All three of those women are friends with each other because they are in the same ward (which I discovered via Facebook).

The church is weirdly small.

We met in Moscow and became good friends with a couple who included the woman who was my husband’s first crush.  At the time we were residents of Canada (on sabbatical to teach in Moscow on a grant).  The woman who took in my husband’s mother 50 years previously when she immigrated from Australia was home taught by my husband when we were in Canada.  My husband has run into a few people at UVU who knew my dad because he helped them out when we lived in San Francisco.  I still don’t know how my dad’s name came up (maybe they mentioned where they used to live).  My son’s first job in Provo was with the brother in law of one of his best friends in Canada, which led to some nicely providing jobs for my son and possible massive wealth generators if they ever get going.

Edited by Calm
Link to comment
8 minutes ago, Calm said:
3 hours ago, webbles said:

The fact that you have firsthand knowledge of Elder Ballard soliciting funds from wealthy members isn't evidence of a tithing list either.

I agree, but at least for me, he is being consistent with his past activities of soliciting money from wealthy tithe payers. 

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

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

Create an account

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

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

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