Skip to content

Redefining priestcraft

March 5, 2010

I had a discussion recently with one of my LDS coworkers about taxes and giving.  She had expressed satisfaction with the ease of her tax preperation since all of her philanthropic and church offerings go through the LDS church.  Instead of having multiple statements coming in at the end of the year, she only has one statement.  I mentioned to her the website that I use (ministrywatch.com) which provides grades to organizations based upon their use of donations.  She seemed interested but said that she didn’t need to worry about that because all her money went through the church.  So I asked her if she felt her church was financially transparent, and she replied, “Oh yes.  Absolutely.”  I was a little puzzled at her response.  But she emphasized, “There is no paid administration.  So that is why it is transparent.”

I can understand the aversion that LDS have towards a paid clergy.  The Book of Mormon warns of priestcraft.  “He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion (2 Nephi 26:29).   But I’m happy that my pastors are able to spend the week studying the Word, preparing messages, counseling others, and, most importantly, praying for the flock.  To me this is a very valuable use of my money.

This all comes full circle somehow.  Because the structure and style of LDS wards are different than most traditional churches, bishops inevitably spend less time on church work than pastors of comparably sized churches.  The reason for this is simple–there are only so many hours in one day.  The Mormon lay clergy and teachers are provided the resources to give their own talks.  But where do these resources come from?  From paid church administration and leadership.  And this begs the question, why are they paid?  If pastors receiving a salary are at risk for engaging in priestcraft, why aren’t LDS authorities also at risk for engaging in priestcraft?  Why is it that we are free to judge pastors for the salary that they receive and yet we don’t even have the foggiest idea what LDS church administration receive?  Is this a double standard?

My coworker was convinced that the LDS church maintained financial transparency.  Unfortunately, this is not so and has not been so for more than half a century.  Some ward clerks who handle the finances of local meeting houses found the lack of transparency to be disturbing enough to leave the church altogether.  Since this is coming from exmormon.org, we must take these statistics with a grain of salt, but they do raise more questions.  [Official LDS statistical information on humanitarian giving can be found here.]

This is just an estimate as the Mormon church does not publish its finances.  It appears in the US, the Mormon church takes in $5-8 billion a year in tithing alone. It gives out less than $65 million ( less than 1.3% of tithing income)  in humanitarian aid.  It gives back to local congregations (wards) less than 1.5% for their activities.   This does not include income from the many business ventures the Mormon church owns which may well more than double what it receives in tithing.

One wonders why the LDS church is so free to reveal their humanitarian giving while leaving salaried positions and other expenditures classified.

Opportunities have arisen for the finances to be made public.  There was a sex-abuse case in 2007 that almost forced the LDS church to reveal it’s financial documents.  The Oregon Supreme Court rejected a bid by the LDS church to keep it’s records secret.  But in the end, the church settled with the accuser for $3 million, and the records were never revealed.

Has the teaching on priestcraft caused some LDS members to turn a blind eye to the financial dealings of their own church?  Does the LDS church need to reconsider their secretive policy of undisclosed financial records?

Advertisements
128 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2010 6:04 am

    I have no problem with a pastor making an honest living for his work. Some Pastors are able to survive on $500.00 per month. This salary is based on the donations of their respective congregations. I get it. I worked for an AoG Church and received my paycheck from the Sunday Donations.

    Yet, many people always accuse the General Authorities of being “paid” administrator’s. Yet, no one is willing to look at the obvious fact, these men were in professional careers, who made wise investment choices, who retired and are living off their hard earned pensions and retirement plans. If they receive anything it is modest.

    Now, let us compare this to some of the Mega Churches. Benny Hinn lives a luxury lifestyle based off the donations he receives into his ministry. He lives in a multi-million dollar mansion. He flies around in a private jet. He is proven to be a false healer and a false teacher.

    Hank Hanagraaf has had ghost writers produce some of his well known works and not pay them. He receives money from CRI and lives a very well off lifestyle.

    http://en.allexperts.com/e/h/ha/hank_hanegraaff.htm – this site regards the controversy between Hanegraaf and Walter Martin’s Family. Notice the article mentions “misuse of funds” and controversy over plagarism.

    And, from the Free Republic, we have this statement: “Churches usually keep clergy salaries private. This means many churches lack the financial transparency of public companies, which are legally required to open their books, Clifford said. It’s considered impolite to ask about salary, so many congregation members wouldn’t think of asking their pastor such a question.”

    So, it is not just the LDS Church that is not “transparent” about their finances, but even mainstream denomination churches are much in the same boat. Especially when it comes to how much Mega Churches pay their pastors and these pastors live a luxury lifestyle that the General Authorities do not even live.

    As to the tithing. The tithing goes to the Church to help pay for the buildings, temples that are in operation, to pay for building expenses. Think about this. Whenever an Evangelical Church goes to build, renovate, add on, they have to take up “special collections” and also loans that have to be paid back. The LDS Church does not need loans, the materials, the construction company, the land, everything is paid for by the membership of the Church and supported by the membership of the Church. In essence, one could say that in any given mainstream evangelical Church, the membership pays for the expenses of the buildings, renovations, land, and all that which comes into keeping the place in operation. There is nothing wrong with that.

    So, how about presenting a more factually based article that compares what the LDS General Authorities make and live off of compared to some of the salaries senior pastors of mega churches live off of? Can you show me President Monson’s 3.5 million dollar home? Can you show me the private jet each of the Apostles fly in? What about the top of the line luxury cars and limosiounes they ride around town in?

    I guarantee you will not find them, but look at some of the houses, modes of transportations, and salaries some of the senior pastors of megachurches make and you bet your sweet treats that the General Authorities live meager and modest lives.

  2. March 5, 2010 12:29 pm

    Hi Timothy,

    Thanks for the thoughtful response. 🙂

    If they receive anything it is modest.

    This is an opinion, not a fact. The truth is that we have no idea what a GA makes so we can’t venture to say whether or not it is modest. Further, everyone has a different definition of “modest.”

    Now, let us compare this to some of the Mega Churches.

    I am absolutely with you 100%. There are many charlatans out there willing to make a profit off of “God’s work.” But using examples of non-transparent “Christian” ministries who swindle members money is not a positive comparison to the LDS church. You would be much better making a comparison between a non-transparent Evangelical church who does not swindle money. Do you have such an example? The ones you provided show how important it is for a church to be open and public with their records.

    Your article from Free Republic is interesting but certainly not my experience. Every church I have ever been a member of has always had yearly or quarterly business meetings that are open to members and non-members. Finances are discussed, including salary and benefits packages of staff. Just last month I got the financial records from my church. They had delineated down to the dollar where money was being spent. I’m not sure I could tithe in good conscience to a church that didn’t reveal their records.

    Steph

  3. March 5, 2010 2:30 pm

    Here is an article on Mormon Wikipedia where President Hinckley did reveal that some General Authorities did receive a modest stipend, and the nature of Priestcraft – http://en.fairmormon.org/No_paid_ministry

    Take note of the following quote:

    Priestcraft
    Church members have a particular sensitivity to issues surrounding paid ministries particularly due to admonitions in the Book of Mormon relative to a practices known as priestcraft, which is “that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion” (see 2 Nephi 26:29). It is warned against and decried repeatedly (see Alma 1:12,16, 3 Nephi 16:10, 3 Nephi 21:19, 3 Nephi 30:2, D&C 33:4). For this reason, the idea of compensation for service seems contradictory to strongly held values of the Latter-day Saint community. However, it should be noted that priestcraft as it has been defined is a condemnation of intent (to get gain and praise, and not for the welfare of Zion), and not about an individual receiving support. Living stipends are not compensations for service, but recognition of a practical reality that individuals who dedicate their full time to Church service are sometimes unable to simultaneously provide for their own modest living needs.

    The example of King Benjamin adds to the LDS value of self sufficiency of leaders in particular. Benjamin, while king, still labored for his own support (see Mosiah 2:14). This is a very admirable demonstration of humility on the part of the king. However, this example was being used in the context of his political position as king, and would be comparable to a President refusing to accept his salary for his service. It should not be used to condemn the practice of helping provide for the modest living needs of full time leaders who are unable to dedicate time to earning a living.

    So, the burden of proof is upon you to show forth how the General Authorities are actually possessing an “intent to get gain financially”. Can you prove that the General Authorities receive a stipend for worldly gain, or is it more factual that they are receiving a stipend for their service to the Church and this is within reasonable comparison of a pastor who receives a modest salary.

    The reason why I say the burden of proof is upon you because you are the one making the allegation that the General Authorities are having an intent to get gain from the Members of the Church from the tithing. This is apparent because you cited exmormon.org, specifically a message board conversation about those who are claiming to be former members of the Church and have held the calling of ward clerk and dealt with the finances.

    Again, do the General Authorities own multi-million dollar homes? Drive around in luxury vehicles? Do they fly around in their own personally own private jets?

    So, again, the burden of proof is upon you to prove that the General Authorities do not rely mostly on their own retirement plans and are well off because of their pensions, and only receive living allowances in some instances – which is modest in the sense that it is for their own living costs (housing, et all) that is not multi-million dollar lifestyles.

  4. March 5, 2010 3:47 pm

    Timothy,

    The LDS Church is certainly not without fault on this issue. They are continually casting stones at all the “apostate” churches. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone get up in church and talk about how all the other church’s pay their Pastors and how aweful it was. All the while denying that their leaders are paid (which is incorrect of course). When I took the discussions, this info was pridefully shared with me by the LDS Missionaries!

    Nevertheless, there is one easy way around this… the LDS Church can disclose what they pay the Prophet, First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, etc. But, I doubt it will happen.

    I attend a church that has attendance of about 800 – 1000 people every Sunday and I know exactly what my Pastor is paid. The records are fully open to me. Transparency generally leads to honesty, while secretiveness generally leads to the opposite, and the Mormon Church’s secretiveness speaks volumes.

    Darrell

  5. March 5, 2010 3:51 pm

    Timothy,

    Two more things.

    1) Stipend is just a clever way of getting around saying they are paid.

    2) Modest is a relative word. Trump’s pay is certainly modest compared to Bill Gates’. Don’t tell me their pay is modest, tell me what it is. Otherwise, the appearance is you are trying to hide something.

    Darrell

  6. March 5, 2010 4:05 pm

    The reason why I say the burden of proof is upon you because you are the one making the allegation that the General Authorities are having an intent to get gain from the Members of the Church from the tithing.

    Okay, I couldn’t resist. I do have one more point to make.

    Speaking for myself, no, I do not think they are trying to get rich off of the tithing.

    Rather, I think they have backed themselves into a corner and are having trouble getting out of it. The LDS Church has criticized “apostate” churches for paying their Pastors for so long that it is difficult for them to admit that they do the same thing. It is the proverbial case of living in a glass house while casting stones.

    As a result, they now take the very disingenuous position that it is a “modest stipend,” for simply admiting they are paid and how much it is would create a P.R. nightmare.

    Darrell

  7. March 5, 2010 4:40 pm

    Darrell –

    Again, the burden of proof is on the LDS Church Critics who claim that the General Authorities and the Prophet are making money from tithing. In the November 1985 edition of the Ensign, Gordon B. Hinckley says this:

    3. Is the Church an institution of great wealth, as some claim?

    The Church does have substantial assets, for which we are grateful. These assets are primarily in buildings in more than eighty nations. They are in ward and stake meeting facilities. They are in schools and seminaries, colleges and institutes. They are in welfare projects. They are in mission homes and missionary training centers. They are in temples, of which we have substantially more than we have ever had in the past, and they are in genealogical facilities. But it should be recognized that all of these are money-consuming assets and not money-producing assets. They are expensive to build and maintain. They do not produce financial wealth, but they do help to produce and strengthen Latter-day Saints. They are only a means to an end. They are physical facilities to accommodate the programs of the Church in our great responsibility to teach the gospel to the world, to build faith and activity among the living membership, and to carry forward the compelling mandate of the Lord concerning the redemption of the dead.

    We have a few income-producing business properties, but the return from these would keep the Church going only for a very short time. Tithing is the Lord’s law of finance. There is no other financial law like it. It is a principle given with a promise spoken by the Lord Himself for the blessing of His children.

    When all is said and done, the only real wealth of the Church is the faith of its people.

    4. Why is the Church in commercial business of any kind?

    Essentially, the business assets which the Church has today are an outgrowth of enterprises which were begun in the pioneer era of our history when we were isolated in the valleys of the mountains of western America. For instance, a newspaper was then needed to keep the people advised of what was going on at home and abroad. The result was the Deseret News, which has been published now for 135 years. In the 1920s, government officials encouraged newspapers to set up radio stations. That was in the infancy of the broadcasting industry. One such radio station was established by the Deseret News here in Salt Lake City. From that has grown, by the natural process of development, holdings of a number of broadcasting properties.

    As all of you will recognize, the ability and the facilities to communicate are among our great and constant needs. The ownership of these properties, both newspaper and broadcasting facilities, while they are operated as commercial entities, both directly and indirectly helps us in our responsibility to communicate our message and our point of view.

    The Church was a pioneer in the sugar beet industry to help our farmers who needed a cash crop. One of our present properties is an outgrowth of that.

    A beautiful hotel was constructed adjacent to Temple Square seventy-five years ago to provide a comfortable hostelry for visitors to this city.

    Merchandising interests are an outgrowth of the cooperative movement which existed among our people in pioneer times. The Church has maintained certain real estate holdings, particularly those contiguous to Temple Square, to help preserve the beauty and the integrity of the core of the city. All of these commercial properties are tax-paying entities.

    I repeat, the combined income from all of these business interests is relatively small and would not keep the work going for longer than a very brief period.

    I should like to add, parenthetically for your information, that the living allowances given the General Authorities, which are very modest in comparison with executive compensation in industry and the professions, come from this business income and not from the tithing of the people.http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=57648949f2f6b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

    Again, can you produce evidence to support your claim that the President, the Quorum of the Twelve, the Seventy, and those who are in leadership of the Church drive around in luxury vehicles, fly around the world in their own private jets, own 2-3 multi-million dollar homes?

    Again, these are men who had worked hard most of their lives in their respective careers, served in the Military, and in some instances served in Federal Government capacities (Ezra Taft Benson served as the Secretary of Agriculture under the then President of the United States).

    Again, there is nothing wrong (apparantly you can’t read the link I provided earlier) where an individual who is committed full time to the duty of the church receive necessary living expenses. Some missionaries receive living expenses to serve their missions. In fact, there is a missionary fund where the Church is able to rent out apartments for missionaries to reside. Are you insinuating that such living expenses are wrong? The Bellevue Neighborhood Church in Bellevue, Washington owns two houses that are part of the Senior Pastor and Associate Pastor’s salary – meaning they don’t pay the taxes on the property, they don’t pay rent or own the two houses – the AoG membership pays for these houses for the pastors to reside in. There is nothing wrong with that.

    What is wrong, and what is being insinuated here is that the LDS General Authorities are “making a living” off the tithing members pay to the LDS Church. There is no proof, and the fact is that I have given you significant resources (and this recent one here where Gordon B. Hinkley stated that the stipend does not come from the tithing. When the proof is given you, you refuse to accept it because of your predisposition to believe the false allegations of Anti-Mormon sophistry rather than the evidence presented.

    So, again, Darrell and Stephanie, prove to me and your readers that the Prophet and General Authorities live in multi-million dollar homes, drive around in luxury vehicles, and fly around in private jets that they personally own.

  8. March 5, 2010 5:19 pm

    Stephanie ~~

    This is a very timely post for me to read. Just this past weekend I was speaking with my husband ( who remains LDS) about tithing/giving. He admits there is no financial accountability/transparency.. but what is he to do? If he goes to his bishop for a financial report, will it be given? I doubt it, but I did encourage him to do so . I then told him , how in my little church, there is a quarterly ( every 3 mos0 review of finances. Every check written is accounted for and every donation as well. The pastor’s very very modest salary is decided by the church, and is publically known. It’s all very transparent. The financial review is posted on the Church bulletin board in the foyer of our church.

    I wonder, honestly why the LDS church does not publish a weekly summary in their bulletins of their budget. From what you shared here , it appears that the wards do run on a modest budget. The tithing is sent to the general fund in SLC and then dispersed.

    I am personally thankful that my church has financial accountability and transparency.

  9. March 5, 2010 5:39 pm

    Gloria –

    It is a straw man argument and those who support it do so: 1) because of a lack of information being provided by the person making the accusation; 2) out of ignorance because they rather rely on false anti-mormon sophistry; 3) believe that the Mormon Church has something to hide, and are misinformed as to the nature and purpose behind tithing.

    The reality is, the critics will not accept the satisfying answer because in order for the Critic to do so, would mean that they have to lend credence to the Mormon Position, and in the critic view, Mormonism is not Christian and Anti- biblical.

    Are you not aware that the Early Church Christians in the First Century actually gave everything to the apostles? Are you not aware that Christ told his disciples not to take anything for their needs? but to rely on those whom they come to for support?

  10. March 5, 2010 6:27 pm

    Timothy,

    When the proof is given you, you refuse to accept it because of your predisposition to believe the false allegations of Anti-Mormon sophistry rather than the evidence presented.

    Nice poisoning the well fallacy. Call it “anti-mormon” and all of a sudden you don’t have to deal with the message, just the messenger. Kind of makes me chuckle!

    Timothy, I am not sure if you really read my comments, because your retort really did not address ANYTHING I said. Personally, I really don’t care if GBH gets paid or not – and, despite the church’s PR posturing of calling it a stipend, it is GETTING PAID.

    My point is simply that the LDS Church REFUSES to disclose how much these “modest” paychecks are, yet they have been perfectly okay casting stones at “apostate” Christianity for years over paying our clergy. The recent change in SLC’s attitude toward this issue is refreshing… but, I simply wait for the day that this attitude leaks down to the local ward and missionary level. Howefver, given the tired tantrums of past LDS leaders over this issue, I would imagine this will be a long time coming.

    Please note, in spite of all the conjecture you have provided here, one point remains, if the LDS Church would simply disclose the amounts of these “modest” paychecks, all of this would go away. Yet for some strange reason (severe tongue in cheek), they refuse to do so. As momma was fond of saying, “Where there is smoke, there is usually fire!!”

    Darrell

  11. March 5, 2010 6:43 pm

    It is a straw man argument…

    What? Gloria didn’t build a straw man. Please share your definition for “straw man” and please lay out how Gloria did so.

    Bottom line here – the LDS Church’s actions speak volumes. They talk a good game, i.e., “modest stipend,” but they refuse to back it up with concrete information. And, as we all know, actions speak louder than words.

    In some respects this is like the wife whose husband tells her he loves her, but then does absolutely nothing to show it. The LDS Church tells us the stipends are modest, but then refuses to back it up with any information. Basically, we are just supposed to trust them. I am sorry, but as liberal as the LDS Church has been with the truth over the past 170 years, I have serious trouble trusting them. We all remember the days of them telling us their weren’t multiple versions of the first vision or that JS didn’t practice polygamy before the “Revelation”.

    Again, the LDS Church has the power to stop the talk… just tell us the amounts of the modest paychecks.

    I’m all ears!!

    Darrell

  12. March 5, 2010 6:54 pm

    Darrell –

    Here is your proof –

    November 1985 Edition of the Ensign. Gordon B. Hinckley answers the charge that some (not all, some) General authorities receive a stipend and that this stipend is not from tithing contributions but from another source:

    3. Is the Church an institution of great wealth, as some claim?

    The Church does have substantial assets, for which we are grateful. These assets are primarily in buildings in more than eighty nations. They are in ward and stake meeting facilities. They are in schools and seminaries, colleges and institutes. They are in welfare projects. They are in mission homes and missionary training centers. They are in temples, of which we have substantially more than we have ever had in the past, and they are in genealogical facilities. But it should be recognized that all of these are money-consuming assets and not money-producing assets. They are expensive to build and maintain. They do not produce financial wealth, but they do help to produce and strengthen Latter-day Saints. They are only a means to an end. They are physical facilities to accommodate the programs of the Church in our great responsibility to teach the gospel to the world, to build faith and activity among the living membership, and to carry forward the compelling mandate of the Lord concerning the redemption of the dead.

    We have a few income-producing business properties, but the return from these would keep the Church going only for a very short time. Tithing is the Lord’s law of finance. There is no other financial law like it. It is a principle given with a promise spoken by the Lord Himself for the blessing of His children.

    When all is said and done, the only real wealth of the Church is the faith of its people.

    4. Why is the Church in commercial business of any kind?

    Essentially, the business assets which the Church has today are an outgrowth of enterprises which were begun in the pioneer era of our history when we were isolated in the valleys of the mountains of western America. For instance, a newspaper was then needed to keep the people advised of what was going on at home and abroad. The result was the Deseret News, which has been published now for 135 years. In the 1920s, government officials encouraged newspapers to set up radio stations. That was in the infancy of the broadcasting industry. One such radio station was established by the Deseret News here in Salt Lake City. From that has grown, by the natural process of development, holdings of a number of broadcasting properties.

    As all of you will recognize, the ability and the facilities to communicate are among our great and constant needs. The ownership of these properties, both newspaper and broadcasting facilities, while they are operated as commercial entities, both directly and indirectly helps us in our responsibility to communicate our message and our point of view.

    The Church was a pioneer in the sugar beet industry to help our farmers who needed a cash crop. One of our present properties is an outgrowth of that.

    A beautiful hotel was constructed adjacent to Temple Square seventy-five years ago to provide a comfortable hostelry for visitors to this city.

    Merchandising interests are an outgrowth of the cooperative movement which existed among our people in pioneer times. The Church has maintained certain real estate holdings, particularly those contiguous to Temple Square, to help preserve the beauty and the integrity of the core of the city. All of these commercial properties are tax-paying entities.

    I repeat, the combined income from all of these business interests is relatively small and would not keep the work going for longer than a very brief period.

    I should like to add, parenthetically for your information, that the living allowances given the General Authorities, which are very modest in comparison with executive compensation in industry and the professions, come from this business income and not from the tithing of the people.http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=57648949f2f6b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

    The money that the General Authorities receive comes from the Business assets and ventures. NOT FROM THE TITHING.

    Where does the Tithing money go to? President Hinckley stated that the money from Tithing goes to pay for the Buildings (Ward, Branch, Temples) and also to pay for the building of new church buildings, temples, et all. There is nothing wrong with that.

    Now, let us take into account the context of why previous prophets, members, and early Latter-day Saints came out against “paid clergy” members of the Christian Faith.

    First, a quick history lesson. Prior to the Protestant Reformation the main Christian Church worldwide is that of the Roman Catholic Church. They received money (not tithing mind you) by hand of corruption. The selling of Indulgances (which if you remember caused Martin Luther to nail the 95 thesis against the Roman Catholic Church). The Knights Templar became a very profitable expenditure that threatened the Roman Catholic Church and the Templar’s were put to death – this is historical fact.

    Let us now move to the Protestant Reformation and the freedom of Capitalism. In order for a pastor/preacher to make a living “preaching the word of God” he had to “sell the Salvation Message” in order to provide for his family. While there are evidence that some preachers worked as well as preached Sunday Sermons, it has always been that many also took to the corruption of “intent to gain wealth” for themselves for preaching, and this is under the guise of misapplication of scriptural content where it says that preachers were to be paid. the New Testament is ambigious as to how much a preacher is to be paid, but most agree that the passages that talk of a “paid clergy” do so in the context for living expenses, food, and travel, even clothing at times, but nothing about buying a luxury home at the expense of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    So, again, the logical fallacy is not committed by me, but by the consist straw man arguments and your support.

    Say the LDS Church does open up their books, and Christian Critics receive their answer and realize that the modest stipend is not enough to live on as a regular expense for living, it is more of a supplemental income.

    The fact remains, that Critics like you look past the real fact that all of the General Authorities have worked, paid into their retirements respectively and are now living off of their pensions before any stipend given.

    So, again, prove that the General Authorities have multi million dollar mansions and luxury jest. You can’t and refuse. The answer already has been given, and you refuse to accept it, and that is at your own peril not mine. You can believe the false anti mormon sophistry (and by anti, you are against the Mormon Faith therefore you are Anti-Mormon and base your intellectual reasoning on already provable false straw man arguments and facts given in its place but would rather hang onto the sinking life boat than reach out and grab hold of the raft that is floating because you believe it is wrong and rather cling to the false disparity that you place your trust in).

    So, again, unless you can prove that the General Authorities are recieving money for the intent to gain, then your argument is without merit, based on false allegations, and has no merit in intellectual circles and is false no matter how you slice the pie. A duck is a duck is a duck if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck. You sir are Anti Mormon, and refuse to accept the truth but would rather hold onto the Lie.

    Again, the challenge is to properly discuss this in light of the evidence presented against the false allegations. But so far, you would rather discuss how false the Mormon Faith is because you base your allegations on false assumptions that are proven to be false. That is your dilemma and not mine.

  13. March 5, 2010 8:31 pm

    Timothy,

    Your argument asssumes answers that are still in question and, as a result, begs the entire question. The fact that LDS Leaders are paid by Church owned businesses is a pointless, dishonest sidestep and does not answer the question at hand.

    1) The LDS Church owns multiple businesses.

    2) The LDS leaders are paid by these businesses, e.g., serving on boards etc.

    3) Therefore, the LDS Church compensates their leaders by paying them through the various businesses it owns.

    And, a secondary argument would be.

    1) The LDS Church refuses to tell us exactly how much the salaries of its leaders are, yet does tell us they are “modest”.

    2) However, the LDS Church has been less than truthful about infromation they have provided int he past.

    4) The wise man should be careful in trusting an organization that has been less than truthful in the past.

    5) Therefore, the wise man should not trust the LDS Church’s disclosure regarding their leaders salaries being “modest”.

    Bottom line… stop all the conjecture and just tell me how much they are paid. Until then, everything you have to say is pointless, because your church is not trustworthy.

    ——————————————————————-

    Your rather simplistic rendition of Church history and your critique of unethical so called “pastors” is rather humorous, yet it remains meaningless to the conversation at hand. No one is defending the manner in which some have (and continue to) abused religion. I think I can safely say we are on common ground in regards to this. As a result, the one building a strawman here is YOU!

    In addition, it is patently false for you to claim that this is what the LDS Church has been criticising for years. It appears thd LDS liberal view of what is true has rubbed off on you.

    You sir are Anti Mormon, and refuse to accept the truth but would rather hold onto the Lie.

    No “truth” has been provided, only propoganda and conjecture… therefore, there really is nothing to accept.

    The only one holding to a lie is you… believing the false gospel of Mormonism over the beautiful freedom of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. My prayers go out to you in this regard (and, I mean that with the utmost sincerity, despite the heavy tone that our conversation has dwindled into).

    If by anti-mormon you mean I despise the false, damnable gospel of Mormonism, yes, I am anti-mormon. However, if by anti-mormon you mean that I dislike the Mormon people, you are incorrect. In reality, I have many family members who are LDS and I love the LDS people sincerely. Consequently, I will not stroke their ego by leading them to believe that I hold their beliefs to be okay/true.

    On a sidenote: it is really sad that you resort to emotionally charged words to poison the well instead of using intellectual discourse to get your point across. In reality, this does nothing but demonstrate your inability to construct a thoughtful, articulate argument to back up your case.

    Again, the challenge is to properly discuss this in light of the evidence presented against the false allegations.

    No, it is up to the LDS Church to back up their claim that the salaries are modest. They have yet to do so, and thus, your conjecture is in vain.

    ———————————————–

    Timothy, how is it you have so much time to discuss things over here, yet fail to answer questions asked of you on your own blog? I have challenged you twice regarding your false portrayal and critigue of the trinity. Yet, you have yet to respond. Could it be that you don’t have a response?

    Darrell

  14. March 5, 2010 8:45 pm

    Darell,

    Again, the original article stated that the General Authorities are paid out of the Tithing. This is false. And is proven to be false.

    Therefore, you even agree that this is false in your summation (rather falsely). What business is it of yours to know what someone makes?

    Are you not aware of the fact that President Uchtdorf is a retired pilot? Are you not aware that he put money into a retirement plan? What you are asking is for the General Authorities to produce their pocket books and bank accounts. This is private information.

    Here, why don’t you produce your bank account all expenditures you make, your payments into any and all retirement plans, liquidable assests, property you own. After all this is exactly what you are requesting. It is not your business to know about such things. These men have worked their lives and are living off of their own retirement plans.

    Again, I refer you back to the article that is cited.

    What you are doing is creating a circular argument. The burden of proof is on the accuser and not the accused. You are the accuser and not the accused. You are the one making the claim.

    Again.

    1) Prove THAT THE GENERAL AUTHORITIES LIVE A VERY LUCURATIVE AND LUXURY LIFESTYLE OF A MULTI MILLIONAIRE WITH THEIR OWN PRIVATE JETS, MULTI MILLION DOLLAR HOMES AND ARE RECEIVING MONEY FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL INTEREST AND GAIN.

    That, Darell, is your accusation. That is your claim. If you can’t prove it, can’t back up your own statement, then you have no argument and your criticism is false. Again, you rely heavily on anti mormon sophistry and can’t see past the error.

    But, you are right because you think you are right and are not going to be swayed by facts, even if the facts are staring you square in the face.

  15. March 5, 2010 9:00 pm

    Timothy ~~

    I don’t know what “straw man” arguement you are speaking about?

    I merely shared that my LDS husband is not able to get financial statement from his bishop.

    I have no problem with clergy being paid. The bible does not preach/teach against that.

    My question was “why” not go public about how the funds are used and dispersed. If everying is in order and used as expected, then why not go public for it’s members to see?

    I know the LDS general authorities do receive some striped for their time, and I have no problem with that. I just think the LDS people should know “how much” they are being paid.

    My question to you is “why not” show how the funds/tithing are being used?

    I don’t understand where you were saying I was making a straw man arguement.

  16. March 5, 2010 9:06 pm

    What you are asking is for the General Authorities to produce their pocket books and bank accounts. This is private information.

    Timothy, do you even bother to read before responding? Seriously!

    Nobody, except you, is asking about how much they have in retirment. Again, this is meaningless and pointless to the discussion. I don’t CARE how much money they have.

    My point is that they claim the leadership’s pay is modest, yet they refuse to provide the proof. In addition, they have continually thrown stones are “apostate” Christianity for paying our Pastors. As a result, they need to step up to the plate, admit that they pay their leaders (which, they have yet to fully do… couching it in terms such as “stipend” and “from church owned businesses”), and provide some transparency to back up their vague “modest” claim.

    THAT THE GENERAL AUTHORITIES LIVE A VERY LUCURATIVE AND LUXURY LIFESTYLE OF A MULTI MILLIONAIRE WITH THEIR OWN PRIVATE JETS, MULTI MILLION DOLLAR HOMES AND ARE RECEIVING MONEY FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL INTEREST AND GAIN.

    Again, DO YOU READ? Please show me where I made that claim? If you bothered to take a breath between writing, you might notice that I said,

    I do not think they are trying to get rich…

    Timothy, it appears that you are not really trying to converse here. Instead, you are making up things; building caricatures and strawmen; and poisoning the well. Whatever it amounts to, it doesn’t really appear to be a conversation where you read anything other people write.

    Here is a suggestion… take some of the energy that you are putting in here and spend some time responding to questions posted to you on your blog. For, as it stands now, you are really not conversing with people.

    God Bless!!

    Darrell

  17. March 5, 2010 9:20 pm

    Timothy, it appears that you are not really trying to converse here. Instead, you are making up things; building caricatures and strawmen; and poisoning the well. Whatever it amounts to, it doesn’t really appear to be a conversation where you read anything other people write.

    This is true. Everyone reading this can see this is what is happening.

  18. March 5, 2010 9:26 pm

    Timothy,

    I should add that you have actually conversed with me before over on your blog. But at first you were just copying and pasting long quotes that were not pertinent to the topic at hand. When you finally slowed down, read my comments, and responded it was a good discussion. You need to do that here because right now you are losing credibility by the way you are handling this conversation. This is not meant to offend, but we desire to interact with you in a meaningful way.

  19. faithoffathers permalink
    March 5, 2010 9:44 pm

    At any given time, there are over 500 LDS chapels in construction throughout the world. And usually there are several temples being built as well. Before breaking ground on any of these properties, they are paid for in full.

    The church runs 3 universities and hundreds of seminaries and institutes.

    Go look at the houses that the brethren live in. Tell me they are living high on the hog. Such a claim has no basis.

    You are focusing on the general authorities. How many people serve in the church? How about limiting it to just those in Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics. They add up to over 100,000 people putting in some pretty hefty hours serving in the church. None of them receive a dime.

    I think it very unbalanced to only consider the GAs when they are by far a rare exception in the whole church.

    As far as the GAs go, I guarantee you they make far, far less for their work than they would in an equivalent position in the business world. I cannot give dollar sum, but I have known a few GAs and they would very much support that statement.

    Who wrote the law that says a religous organization must disclose all of its financial matters? Most of that type of sentiment is a result of financial scandals in various churches. People simply don’t trust churches in this way like they used to. How many financial scandals have occured in the LDS church? None.

    fof

  20. March 5, 2010 10:00 pm

    Gloria,

    Here is the answer

    Tithing Contributions:

    What do the tithing contributions pay for? They go to pay for the operating costs of all buildings worldwide. These buildings include Ward buildings, Stake Buildings, the maintenance for the Temples. Not only that, but Tithing contributions help purchase property for new buildings to be built. Contractors have to be paid, laborers have to be paid to do the work. Materials for the temples have to be purchased, transported, et all.

    Gordon B. Hinckley stated (again November 1985 Edition of the Ensign in the “Question and Answers”):

    3. Is the Church an institution of great wealth, as some claim?

    The Church does have substantial assets, for which we are grateful. These assets are primarily in buildings in more than eighty nations. They are in ward and stake meeting facilities. They are in schools and seminaries, colleges and institutes. They are in welfare projects. They are in mission homes and missionary training centers. They are in temples, of which we have substantially more than we have ever had in the past, and they are in genealogical facilities. But it should be recognized that all of these are money-consuming assets and not money-producing assets. They are expensive to build and maintain. They do not produce financial wealth, but they do help to produce and strengthen Latter-day Saints. They are only a means to an end. They are physical facilities to accommodate the programs of the Church in our great responsibility to teach the gospel to the world, to build faith and activity among the living membership, and to carry forward the compelling mandate of the Lord concerning the redemption of the dead.

    We have a few income-producing business properties, but the return from these would keep the Church going only for a very short time. Tithing is the Lord’s law of finance. There is no other financial law like it. It is a principle given with a promise spoken by the Lord Himself for the blessing of His children.

    When all is said and done, the only real wealth of the Church is the faith of its people.

    Now, this statement was made in 1985. 25 years ago. Since then, the LDS Church has had growth. Notice that the maintenance and building of the Ward Buildings, Temples and other such facilities are not a “money generating” asset, but a “Monetary Consumption” asset. This is what the Tithing goes for.

    The Church also has what is called Fast Offerings. These are contributions that are paid on a monthly basis. These funds go to help the Church’s welfare system. The money generated here helps purchase and transport and maintain what is known as the Bishop Storehouse. The Bishop Storehouse is where members who are not able to afford groceries are able to receive this type of sustenance from the Church. Also, it helps pay for those who need help with rental assistance.

    In the Priesthood Manual, we read the following:

    Use of Tithes and Offerings

    The tithes and offerings we give to the Church are used for the Lord’s work. This money is spent by our priesthood leaders in ways the Lord has appointed. These contributions help bring our brothers and sisters back to our Father in Heaven.

    • Why does it take money to accomplish the Lord’s work?

    Some of the ways our tithes and offerings are used are to help:

    1. Operate the missionary program.

    2. Build and maintain chapels, temples, and other buildings.

    3. Educate people in Church schools, seminaries, and institutes.

    4. Create, print, and distribute the scriptures, lesson manuals, and other Church materials.

    5. Further family history work.

    6. Provide for those in need.

    7. Meet the expenses of general conferences.

    .

    The Church also has what is called the Perpetual Educational Fund. This fund is for contributions that help those in developing countries to receive low interest loans for post-secondary education where they are able to attend college and then be able to return back to their country with their new found knowledge and skill in assisting the development of their company. A person may go and earn a degree in engineering, or construction and then return to be able to assist in construction of new chapel’s homes, et all.

    There is a missionary fund where the contributions go to help financially assist the missionaries.

    Then there is the humanitarian fund, members can contribute to this to help aid in cases of natural disasters, and the care of members and non members in such conditions (Haiti and Chile come to mind here, let us not forget Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, Indonesian Tsunami).

    These are where the funds go.

    Yet, as a critic, many are not satisfied with this answer because they feel it is their right and privilege to know exactly where every penny is going and how it is going to be spent. And, even if this was granted, critics will never be satisfied because there will always be the “accusation” that there are “secret monetary exchanges” that is not being revealed. The fact is, it will not matter if God himself declared to you the financial accountability of the LDS Church, the fact remains you are critical of the LDS Church because of you are heavily influenced by the false argumentations and philosophy’s of the counter-cult ministries that claim to know more than the members of the Church. And when those false allegations are exposed and adequately responded to, the Critics like to cling to the false allegations rather than realize that what they have been informed about really is false because this will then mean the LDS Church is right and the counter-cult ministries are established to make a buck of people with false arguments and straw man arguments.

    So, here is the charge –

    Prove that the General Authorities live a very lucrative lifestyle where they possess the intent to gain wealth for themselves and set themselves up with multi million dollar homes, drive around in luxury cars, and fly their own private jets.

    This is consistently being denied by Critics because they know the General Authorities do not live such lifestyles because they actually live off their pensions from their respective careers (which counter-cult ministries and critics do not take into consideration).

    Until the critics get their head out of the quick sand, they will continue their false mantra that Mormon General Authorities and Leaders siphon out money from ignorant and foolish believers.

  21. March 5, 2010 10:09 pm

    Timothy ~~

    Thank you for taking time to respond.

    I never declared that the GA’s of the LDS church live a wealthy life style or such. I only stated that for the sake of the LDS members it would be very honest and ethical to disclose “what” they are receiving.

    I understand the LDS church is in the process of building many churches, stakes, temples, etc world wide. I also realize that the LDS church uses it’s tithing to subsidize it’s colleges and universities and institutes of religion.

    The perpetual education fund and humanitarian efforts are financed thru a seperate fun, are they not? I believe LDS members check off on their tithing slips, where their extra monies wish to be distrubuted. ( at leas that was the case 2 plus years ago prior to my resignation).

    In all honesty, the LDS church is truly free to spend their monies, and tithes on what they wish. My concern I expressed to my LDS husband and I posted here is “why not” come out and publically ( or at least to it’s own members) state how much monies are collected and where it is distrubuted.

    My husband hem hawed a bit about me offering money to my local church. I then proceeded to inform him that I would be happy to show him the financial statements that are provided to the members of my church for his review. He was satisfied with that response. I then asked him the same from his bishop, and he honestly could not say he could do that.

    I do not think it’s unreasonable to request a financial statement from an institution that is requesting 10% of one’s income do you?

    I also would like to ask those LDS readers here if they are aware if the LDS church uses it’s financial resources to invest in non – church activities, such as stocks, bonds, utitlity companies, radio stations, etc. When I was LDS, the local radio station in the town I then lived in was owned by the LDS church. I know they have since sold that station, but I wondered “how” they purchased it to begin with?

    Kind regards,

  22. March 5, 2010 10:11 pm

    This is consistently being denied by Critics because they know the General Authorities do not live such lifestyles because they actually live off their pensions from their respective careers (which counter-cult ministries and critics do not take into consideration).

    Yet more conjecture, speculation, and poisoning the well… no facts.

    Timothy, how much are they paid?

    Darrell

  23. March 5, 2010 10:14 pm

    Futhermore,

    I feel I do have a right , to “know” where our families monies are being allocated. If 10% of our income is going to the LDS church, I as a non-member of said church, should have the right to know where our monies are going. Do you not think that fair?
    I don’t think that is being critical, but wise.
    Any institution that requests our $ should be accountable to it’s paying members.
    I don’t think this is being critical, as much as being wise.
    My church is more than happy to provide financial statements to my family, for the money we donate. Why, can’t the LDS church do the same for us?

  24. March 5, 2010 10:14 pm

    Simple question. Many Churches and denominations release their financial records. Why doesn’t the LDS Church publish their financial records?

    It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to answer because in all honesty it is your money and your Church, but it would bother me if I were a Mormon and couldn’t answer. No accusations, anti-Mormon propaganda, just a simple question.

  25. March 5, 2010 10:18 pm

    Gundek,

    Good to see you back online. 🙂 In all honesty it does bother me a bit, because I am not a member of the LDS church and my family is most definately impacted by the 10% of our income going to the LDS church with no financial accounting on their part.
    Our family was in a car wreck 2 weeks ago. Our van needs to be replaced, but yet the fund are not there to do the necessary repairs. I am in all honesty a bit frustrated that $$ is allocated to pay the LDS church it’s tithe ( a good sum in our home) and yet no money to pay for a much needed car repair.

    My wonderful church has taken up a collection to help our family, but yet the LDS church has done nothing. I mean nothing. Is this not telling? Where is the LDS church when one of it’s families are struggling? When their house burns or their car is totalled? I can’t tell you. I can tell you that our family has been helped by my local church, but we have as of yet had no extend of help from the LDS church. ( not that I am asking, but it is telling)

    Yes, I am a bit frustrated right now. My family has some real needs ( we have 10 kids) and all I ask is that the LDS supply an accounting of where our hard earned money is spent.
    I don’t think this is too much to ask.

  26. March 5, 2010 10:33 pm

    Gloria,

    Again, the answer to your question has already been given. Why are you refusing to accept that?

    Regarding your broken down vehicle, I can sympathize with you on that. Right now, my wife and I pay our tithing. My car is broken down. This is where hometeaching comes into play. Yet, before I get into this, I want to preface this with something that is simple, logical, and applicable, and even scriptural.

    Christ and the disciples notice that some of the pious Jews are giving of their money. A widow walks up and gives all that she has. What did Christ teach? He taught a great lesson. The widow gave out of her want and needs not out of her sustenance. She gave all the money that she had. Money that could have gone to pay for her food. Money that could have gone to other things.

    Think about this. It is so simple, many people do not realize they are doing this.

    “Lord, I pay my tithing every single week, bi-monthly, monthly, and now, I want you to bless me and meet my needs”.

    Here is a prime example of how tithing has helped us out significantly and financially.

    I was laid off from work back in November of 2008. Since then I have only worked 6 months at another place at a lower pay rate and then was unemployed again. My wife went on maternity leave back in November of 2009. I am doing online schooling, I also now work only about 6-12 hours per week, if that. Currently collecting unemployment and my wife started working part time and has just now gone full time back at her job after her maternity leave.

    She kept praying that we will be blessed with me working. She now realizes that our financial blessing is not that I am working but that I am not working at all, or very little.

    How so? Well, because I am not working during the day, I am at home taking care of our 3 1/2 month old little girl. I don’t know about you, but we can’t afford day care cost at almost 700 dollars per month for the care of an infant. Plus, half of my paychecks get taken for child support (long story and personal). Therefore our sole source of income is her working and me staying at home.

    Granted, it is not the ideal situation.

    Now, as pertaining to your vehicle and the issue of tithing. I have a car that has broken down. And, this is why I say hometeaching comes into play. When the hometeachers come over, they ask “is there anything that you stand in need of?” This is where you can say “yes, do you know of anyone that is in the ward where we can speak with on finding out what is wrong with our vehicle and possibly getting it running again?”

    I asked this and was referred to a gentleman. We have not contacted him yet, but there is a resource right there. This comes down to the saying, it is not what you know but who you know. Ask around, I am sure that you will find someone who is willing to come over and help you out and get the vehicle running for you.

  27. March 5, 2010 10:41 pm

    Timothy ~~

    Wow, sounds like life is full for your family right now! My hats off to you for being there for your family. I admire that.

    I am not “refusing” anything here, Timothy. I have not been answered in all honesty.

    I still have not been given a fair answer to “why” the financial status/statements of the LDS church are not publically known to it’s members. I understand that the LDS church has many financial obligations. I am not debating that. I am merely saying “why” not provide a financial accountability statement to those who are contributing and wish to see it broken down in dollars and cents.

    You have done a very good job in explaining “where” tithes may be going, but you still have yet to answer “why” the LDS church does not put it down in writing to it’s members and to those of us who are non member who are contributing. Does that make sense?

    I am not trying to be argumentative or critical, I am just merely pointing out that my question has yet to be answered.

    Kind regards,

  28. March 5, 2010 10:43 pm

    p.s. Thanks for the tips on my van situation. My van is “running” .. it’s just very smashed on one side… missing glass, doors need to be replaced, mirrors, etc. The numbers to fix it will be well over $1,500. As I stated my church has taken up a collection to help us out, and I know the Lord will see us thru it. I am just frustrated that much needed $$ right now is being allocated to tithing to the LDS church.

  29. March 5, 2010 10:48 pm

    Fof,

    ” If ” there was a financial scandal in the LDS church — how would any of it’s members ever know about it? I mean financial mishaps do happen…. men are men, and they can be led to do wrong things. Thinking back to the issues Joseph Smith had with finance scandals in his day..it happens. Why not provide a financial statement? What harm is there in doing so?

  30. March 5, 2010 11:00 pm

    Gloria,

    Thank you for the welcome. I understand that your situation is different than mine. You have money invested in the system so to speak, while I only have an casual interest.

    I can read and hear your frustrations and I will pray that you have the love and wisdom to face these hardships looking to the grace of Christ Jesus.

  31. March 5, 2010 11:25 pm

    Gundeck,
    Thanks for the prayers! We sure need them right now. God is so good. We all walked away from a very bad wreck, so thankful for that!

  32. March 6, 2010 12:27 am

    Gloria,

    I lost your email address. Shoot me an email when you have a chance. In case you lost mine, Jessica can give it to you.

    God bless!

    Darrell

  33. March 6, 2010 12:54 am

    Here is the Accusation:

    Stephanie says:

    I can understand the aversion that LDS have towards a paid clergy. The Book of Mormon warns of priestcraft. “He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion“ (2 Nephi 26:29). But I’m happy that my pastors are able to spend the week studying the Word, preparing messages, counseling others, and, most importantly, praying for the flock. To me this is a very valuable use of my money.

    Where are the General Authorities seeking gain? In the context here, we are talking about Financial Gain. Where are they receiving Financial Gain? According to the the accusation, the response is that the General Authorities are not seeking financial gain for their dutiful service to the Church. They are not setting up themselves as a light unto the world for the sole purpose of reaping financial rewards and benefits that come with such financial rewards. This accusation is false and based on false understanding of what is and what is not being granted to these men. In fact, as have previously stated, every one of them were successful in their chosen professions and do not rely upon the church. Some of the “living allowances” are not even granted to the General Authorities, but to older couples serving missions, or those called to serve as Mission Presidents, and these living expenses are given in lieu of what they would receive (and is less than) those in similar positions.

    So, again, the burden of proof is upon the accuser who is saying that the Leadership of the LDS Church is practicing priestcraft where they are seeking financial gain and setting themselves up because of this financial gain.

    Stephanie continues:

    This all comes full circle somehow. Because the structure and style of LDS wards are different than most traditional churches, bishops inevitably spend less time on church work than pastors of comparably sized churches. The reason for this is simple–there are only so many hours in one day. The Mormon lay clergy and teachers are provided the resources to give their own talks. But where do these resources come from? From paid church administration and leadership. And this begs the question, why are they paid? If pastors receiving a salary are at risk for engaging in priestcraft, why aren’t LDS authorities also at risk for engaging in priestcraft? Why is it that we are free to judge pastors for the salary that they receive and yet we don’t even have the foggiest idea what LDS church administration receive? Is this a double standard?

    And here is the classic strawman argument. For those who are not aware of what the Bishop does, it is a time consuming calling. Yes, there is not enough hours in the day. Same as with a stay at home parent, there is not enough time in the day to rear a child, clean up the house, do their coursework for a college education, and take care of the family finances, and manage the family home. Yet, stay at home parents do this day in and day out without an ounce of recognition or pay (trust me, I know because I am a stay at home parent).

    Yet, the Bishop has two counselors. Each counselor shares in the Bishopric. The Relief Society oversees the needs of the Church, the compassion. In fact, in order for a food order to be processed, one has to make the request to the Bishop, the bishop then approves and contacts the relief society president who in turn visits the family in need and makes up a two week list of food items the family needs. This is not based on want, but on need.

    There is nothing wrong with delegating tasks and authority. However, the Bishop also has to counsel with those who are in need of spiritual support, they even perform weddings, they oversee the Priest quorum of the Aaronic Priesthood, they are to be a judge in their ward, they report back to the Stake President who has an even greater and larger authority.

    Communities are based on this same principle of government. We have council members, mayors, governors, state representatives, on up to the President of the United States. There is not enough hours in the day for the President to do his Job so he delegates his authority to others to accomplish those things that are under their authority.

    Sometimes a person may need a qualified counseling that the Bishop can not give, and maybe they can’t afford it, the Bishop makes a request for the assistance of the LDS Social Services where the person will receive the appropriate and necessary counciling for their particular needs.

    Sometimes a family needs clothing, the Bishop would put in an order for the family to go to the Deseret Industries store to get clothing for themselves and their family.

    All this does cost money, and yet the Bishop does not get paid for it.

    Tithing goes to support the necessary curriculum and resources. Much like other churches who go and pay for bible studies on how to attack mormon’s or how to live a prosperous life, or how to study the scriptures.

    Nothing wrong with that.

    Yet, the above quote makes this out to put LDS believers and what they pay in tithing in a bad light and then say “we DEMAND TO SEE WHERE EVERY PENNY IS GOING BECAUSE BY GOLLY OTHER CHURCHES DO THIS AND WELL I HAVE THAT RIGHT”.

    Actually, so me in any law that the LDS Church has to produce their financial records at your bequest?

    The reason why the LDS Church has not had a financial scandal is because they are very prudent.

    Notice that the LDS Church does not have debts on building loans? Why do Christian Churches have to take up a special collection to pay for the renovation of a new parking lot and then keep reminding the congregation that if they don’t receive the money, they will default on this loan that they new they could not pay for?

    So, again, according to the ORIGINAL POST:

    Where is the Financial Gain the leaders of the LDS Church are making off the Tithing Contributions when the Priestcraft Doctrine is based on the very essence and defined as one who goes and receives financial contribution for their own personal gain and welfare and not to seek out the welfare of the Kingdom of God?

    The answer (as we obviously have seen) is that one can’t and the Critics continue to rail and decry “heresy” when they know they are wrong. People love darkness rather than light because they rather cling to that which they know not to be true rather than embrace that which is absolute truth because they fear the reality of the errors of their thinking.

    Again, this criticism has been refuted several times, significantly in number of ways, and appropriately.

    Yet, the critics continue to take up their baseball bats and beat the dead horse into the ground.

  34. March 6, 2010 12:58 am

    Gloria –

    So, your vehicle runs, but it was wrecked in a car accident? Did you have insurance on it? If not, are there not laws that state you have to carry insurance? Was it your fault or the other parties fault? If you have insurance, why is the insurance company not paying for the damages to your vehicle?

    And, why are you expecting someone to pay for the damages to be fixed on your car and complain that when you don’t receive the financial help you believe is owed to you, are you not being a bit selfish and self – centered. From your own words, this is exactly what it sounds like and what it actually sounds like is that you are mad at your husband paying tithing and yet are upset because the church is not handing over 1500 dollars to say “here is money to fix your car that was damaged in an accident”.

    With your statement, I would tend to side with the fact the LDS Church would not help out in a situation like that. And, for 1500.00 one could go out and get a decent running vehicle and just donate the damaged vehicle to Salvation Army or other charitable programs that would take the vehicle off your hands (which is a tax deduction for you).

  35. March 6, 2010 2:18 am

    Timothy,

    Your level of compassion, charity, understanding, and open-mindedness to Gloria’s situation falls right in line with my experience with LDS Bishops. I think you might be in line for a great calling down the road.

    BTW, you might want to check out the difference between collision/comprehensive and liability coverage. There is a difference, and you better check your own policies. If you believe having insurance automatically means “you’re covered,” you could be in for a severe surprise down the road.

    ——————————————————

    Gloria,

    In my last ward there was a lady whose husband was thrown in jail. She was in serious need of financial help. When she went to meet with the Bishop, she left feeling spoken down to an bereated. He told her, “You will have to work for what we give you.”

    Bear in mind, this lady was now an overworked, overstressed single mother who had to work a full time job and had basically been outcast from the ward. This bishop would not give her one dollar unless she showed up every week to do her assigned “work” in the Church. There were several things that happened throughout her ordeal, and she was essentially humiliated by this Bishop. It was really sad.

    Charity (at least as I understand it) does not exist in the LDS Church organization. They sort of view it like they view the atonement. Charity is not truly a “gift”; rather, it is earned.

    After leaving Mormonism and joining a Christian Church, my eyes have been opened to what true charity is. As an example, we have an LDS friend in my town whose husband was recently killed in a motorcycle accident. She wanted her parents to come into town for the funeral; however, they couldn’t afford the plane tickets. Our church (a Baptist Church) offered to pay for the plane tickets, no questions asked. They aren’t members of our church (again, they are LDS), and our church didn’t expect her parents to come clean the chapel or “work” for the gift; rather, they just wanted to help. Contrast that with making a single mother clean the church building every week and humiliating her in the process.

    God Bless!

    Darrell

  36. March 6, 2010 2:40 am

    Hello, Timothy.

    You can read about my accident on my blog: http://www.thepotters-hands.blogspot.com

    By God’s amazing providence and sovereign grace, my 10 kids and I walked away from a bad car wreck. I did not know this, until my husband told me after the wreck that we only had liability on the car. There were no other cars involved. It was a very icy and snowy day. Our van flipped over with all 10 of my children in the car. Praise God we all walked away.. no one was even sore or hurting the next day! My 6 yr old son was miraculously saved, as his car seat was not properly attached to the van seat, and we did not know that. My son told me later ” God told me to get out of my car seat, mom”. Praise God he did, because that car seat went flying thru the back window when the van flipped over. God is so good and so merciful.

    I had no idea we only had liability on our vehicle. My husband did not tell me.
    The insurance therefore covers nothing on the van repairs.

    I am not “expecting” anyone to pay for my repairs, Timothy. I merely shared that my church felt so badly about things that they took up a collection to help us out. That is what Christian churches do, because they love one another. And by helping someone in their time of burdens they are fulfilling the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

    I merely made a point/example to show the difference between how the Christian church or body of believers responds in comparison to the LDS church. My husband has been a faithful mormon for all his life, and yet in a time of emergency he didn’t even get a call from his leaders to say ” how is your family?” To me , that is very telling.

    I did not ask for the LDS church to help out, Timothy… but in the Christian church, the body of Christ does help out when there are needs for their fellow brothers and sisters. That is how the Body of Christ works.

    You are correct by stating that I am a bit frustrated. It is frustrating to me that we are paying tithing to the LDS church, but we don’t have the $$ to fix our van. That is a source of frustration to me. All I asked from my husband is a financial statement, which he recognizes he can not supply me.

    You see, Timothy — the Body of Christ which is the Church of Christ ( Ephesians 1:22) responds very differently to it’s members than the LDS church does. They help w/out any strings attached, without expectations of anything in return… simply because they love and want to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

    Yes, I am frustrated with my husband for paying over hundreds of dollars each month to an orginization, when our family has some serious financial needs right now. How do you think I should respond? I am trying to be understanding, but frankly it makes no sense.

    On the flip side, my husband has been deeply touched by the outpouring of love & concern that the body of Christ, has shown in this event. I hope it speaks volumes to his heart.

    Kind regards,

  37. March 6, 2010 2:45 am

    Darrell ~~

    Your expierence you shared about the woman whose husband went to prison is so very tragic, but like you I saw this as well in my time as a Mormon. Like you, my eyes were truly opened to what true Christian charity is. I couldn’t believe it when my little local church wanted to help my LDS friend, who was a single mom, and struggling to get into a decent home. This mother of 7 was not helped by her own ward! My little church helped with a cash donation, without any strings attached. It was a beautiful testimony.

  38. March 6, 2010 2:48 am

    Darrell,

    Then allow me to use the same factual scenario with you and Gloria and state that because of my own personal ordeal – All Assemblies of God churches are not Christian and do not help people out period.

    I used to live in a Mazda 323 on the Bellevue Neighborhood Church Property. During this time, the Senior Pastor House was empty because they were looking for a new Senior Pastor. This house is very spacious and included a Mother In Law Apartment. Nobody came out to offer any help. No one cared to offer their friendship. I was hired on as the night time janitor and did my job without question. On Sunday, I had to miss work so that I could fix something that broke or tend to a mess that needed immediate cleaning.

    They would not even allow me to rent out the Mother in law apartment because that is the “senior pastor’s house”. I was sick and had to keep in my car. I was harassed by the police every night because I was “homeless”.

    The only help I did receive was an older couple offered their basement for my occupancy where I had my own living room, bedroom and shower. Out of everyone, they were the only one’s who helped me.

    Now, I agree with you on one point. Insurance can be quite tricky, and I understand that not everyone can afford all the insurance policies that are there.

    However, the questions were not meant to be a lacking of compassion, but a sense of reality.

  39. March 6, 2010 3:24 am

    Timothy,

    Sounds like you had a rough time there for a while. I am glad to hear that things are better for you now – and I mean that sincerely.

    A couple of questions… You mentioned how, “Nobody came out to offer any help.” then you follow with, “The only help I did receive was an older couple…” Which one was it… did you get help or not? Was the nice couple a member of the AOG Church?

    Then allow me to use the same factual scenario with you and Gloria and state that because of my own personal ordeal – All Assemblies of God churches are not Christian and do not help people out period.

    Once again, your statement paints an inaccurate picture of what I was saying. Please read what I and others write a little closer before responding.

    I never once used this argument to say that “All Mormon Churches are non-Christian.” Trust me, my argument for that point goes much deeper than a short 150 word comment.

    What I did say use it to demonstrate is how in my view (and in the view of many others I know) the LDS Church does not practice true charity. I have been a member of nearly 10 different wards in multiple areas of the United States (east coast, west coast, and the Rockies) and have seen a regular practice among the LDS Church where charity is not the act of giving an unearned “gift”, but is instead the practice of someone earning what you “give” them. Granted, I have seen a few select exceptions to this practice, but in general the attitude has always been, “If we help them, they need to come serve /work in the church.”

    Personally, I believe this view is closely related to the LDS view of the atonement where forgiveness is not fully a gift, but is only offered “after all that you can do,” or, as it says in Moroni, only after you “deny yourselves of all ungodliness” – which is, of course, impossible.

    Take care!!

    Darrell

  40. faithoffathers permalink
    March 6, 2010 3:50 am

    Gundeck,

    I can only answer for myself.

    Honestly- I have absolutely no worries about the finances of the church or how they spend my tithing money.

    But I do not think I am blind. I have enough experience in the church at the ward and stake level to see very consistently how frugal the church is with its funds. I have seen the cars that GAs are transported in when on trips. I see very clearly how the church emphasize appropriate allocation of sacred funds. But even without this experience, I don’t think my perspective would be much different.

    I cannot prove for anybody else that tithing funds are handled honestly. I have a testimony of the restored church, the prophet, and my local and general leaders. I have not seen anything that would make me question their integrity in this matter.

    There are appropriate ways of having faith in people. When Elijah told the widow that she needed to give him the last of the grain in her barrel, she had faith in him and in God and was not let down.

    I think it is actually a great point of merit that so many people give 10% of their income to the church without having to see exactly where it goes. Like the widow, we have not yet been let down.

    Good question.

    fof

  41. March 6, 2010 4:19 am

    Timothy ~~

    I am truly sorry that you had to live in your Mazda for a period of time in your life. That must have been a very difficult time for you. I say that sincerely. I am also sincerely sorry that the AofG church you spoke of did not do more for you at that time. That is dissapointing. You did mention though, that one couple did reach out to you. I am glad to hear that someone showed compassion and love in a time of difficultly for you.

    Kind regards,

  42. Rob permalink
    March 6, 2010 8:41 am

    I like fof have no worries about how the LDS Church handles my tithing funds. I know that tithing is actually a spiritual law not a temporal one. It tests the desires of our hearts. I love the scripture in Malachi where the Lord promises us that he will pour out blessings from heaven more than we have room for.

    While reading about Gloria’s accident I was grateful for the many blessings she and her family received — and we probably have no idea actaully how many blessings there really were that day.

    For me personally I have a testimony of the restored Gospel and a living Prophet, President Monson. Tithing is an opportunity to sacrifice things of the world for things of the Spirit. It makes me sad to hear stories where selfishness and greed take the place of love and charity regardless of the denomination. True religion does not do that.

    I have faith that the Lord’s tithing funds (they aren’t mine any more since I gave them freely no strings attached) are managed wisely and appropriately by President Monson and the leaders of the LDS Church. If intentional or unintentional mistakes are made by imperfect people allocating the use of the funds, I let the Lord handle that in his way.

    Kindest regards–

  43. March 6, 2010 6:23 pm

    Sorry I’m a little late getting back into the conversation. I was swamped yesterday.

    FOF said

    You are focusing on the general authorities. How many people serve in the church? How about limiting it to just those in Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics. They add up to over 100,000 people putting in some pretty hefty hours serving in the church. None of them receive a dime.

    Other churches, including my own, have huge numbers of lay people who devote many hours a week to the ministry. Worship leaders, Sunday school teachers, Youth group leaders, musicians, elders, deacons, etc. The great amount of ministry that goes on at any given church cannot be accomplished by the paid staff alone. Think of all of the adult Bible studies, adult Sunday schools, sound teams, etc that are using their own time and energy to serve without payment.

    I’m not disputing that bishops and stake presidents have an easy job. I wouldn’t envy their position for the world. However, they absolutely are unable to accomplish the same amount of prayer, Bible study and message preparation as traditional Christian pastors. Most of the bishops that I know are physicians. One of them is a hospitalist who works 24 hour shifts several days a week. I know of one who is a surgeon. He puts in a long week of surgery, call and clinic in one city and then TRAVELS back to his home area on the weekend so that he can be in church on Sunday. Here is my point. It is IMPOSSIBLE for these men to be a full-time secular employee and full-time pastor/elder. I’m not judging them for not praying as much or studying the word as much or counselling parishioners as much as traditional pastors. Its just that they cannot do both. In the LDS hierarchy those who are making the decisions, who are responsible for church content, who are responsible for conference talks, who are responsible for being the mouthpiece of God are PAID.

    I think it very unbalanced to only consider the GAs when they are by far a rare exception in the whole church.

    The leaders of the local congregations are not responsible for church content. They are given materials to use and topics to discuss. It is a top down structure. Those at risk for priestcraft are not the local leaders who have no say in church policy, they are the paid administration who make the real decisions.

    Who wrote the law that says a religous organization must disclose all of its financial matters?

    Not me. 🙂 But I’d be willing to bet you money that you would prefer it if your church made its finances public. You are no dummy, fof, and you know it makes your church look bad.

    Steph

  44. March 6, 2010 6:34 pm

    Timothy said

    Notice that the LDS Church does not have debts on building loans? Why do Christian Churches have to take up a special collection to pay for the renovation of a new parking lot and then keep reminding the congregation that if they don’t receive the money, they will default on this loan that they new they could not pay for?

    I commend the LDS church for having the resources to pay for buildings outright. Beautiful new wards and temples are going up all over the place. But we should see this in a positive and negative light. The LDS church has the money to purchase land and buildings. Why can’t they give more than a paltry 1.3% of their annual tithing to charity? Where do LDS priorities lie–in buildings or in people? In 25 years, the LDS have given cash donations equaling $282.3 million. The value of their humanitarian material assistance since in 25 years is $833.6 million. This is a church that rakes in billions of dollars a year in tithing alone. It is a multi-billion dollar corporation. It requires its members to give 10% of their own income in tithing yet it refuses to match that percentage in its own giving.

    Stephanie

  45. March 6, 2010 7:02 pm

    FOF ~ Who wrote the law that says a religous organization must disclose all of its financial matters?

    Who wrote the law that says a religious organization can get away with not disclosing their financial matters?

  46. Allen permalink
    March 6, 2010 10:21 pm

    Timothy,

    One thing that strikes me when I read your comments here is that apparently all the leaders (apostles, etc.) of the Mormon Church are very successful business men who can easily live off the wealth they have from their successful business ventures and don’t need to be paid. Why is that? Is it apparent in the Bible that God calls the wealthy and successful to be spiritual leaders?

    Also, I am with you on the televangelists and charlatans who defraud unsuspecting people into supporting their “ministry.” False prophets continue to sell their lies – just as Jesus said it would happen.

  47. March 6, 2010 11:31 pm

    Timothy,

    Allen’s comment got me to thinking, and I should have thought of this yesterday.

    Your contention that LDS Leaders are living off of wealth they accumulated prior to full time church service is a vast over generalization. Monson, the current President of the LDS Church, was hired into full time Church service as an apostle at the youthful age of 33. In addition, his career prior to church service, while successful, was certainly not anything that would allow him to amass large amounts of wealth in the short time that he did it. As a result, he is certainly not living off of savings.

    Darrell

  48. Rob permalink
    March 7, 2010 5:36 am

    Allen,

    While it may at times appear that the Lord calls the wealthy and rich as spiritual leaders, (wealth and riches can be physically apparent) — the wealth and riches are actually the result of the spiritual foundation. The Savior reminds us of this principle:

    “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33 )

    Priestcraft comes from those that seek the riches first — they have it backwards.

    Of course, we also know that riches can be both physical and spiritual — just because someone put’s the things of God first doesn’t mean they are going to win the Lottery — the Lord knows our hearts and blesses those who seek after the kingdom of God with those riches that will allow them to best fulfill His work.

  49. Rob permalink
    March 7, 2010 7:14 am

    If I might make an observation — the comments here seem to be very focused on the desires and need for a Church to be “transparent” and to “disclose” all of their financial records.

    I ask myself — “why is this such a concern”? Is it because they expect the money they give to be used in a way that they “judge” as correct? Or is it because they don’t trust those that they give their money to? Or maybe it’s because they’ve been in a church where priestcraft has happened or they know of one or more churchs where it has happened — and now they’re determined to make sure it doesn’t happen in their church?

    Obviously we live in a time period where there is much corruption, deceit, and dishonesty in individuals, corporations, and unfortunately even in churchs. So much so that it’s very hard if not impossible to know who to trust.

    So this exacerbates the issue today — when an organization or a Church isn’t transparent financially or doesn’t disclose the specific details of their financial records, people immediately conclude they are hiding something or they are “priestcrafting”. Certainly this could be the case, but is it possible that is could ever not be the case?

    If we instead, take a step back and recognize that the Savior has warned us that these conditions would exist in the latter days leading up to His Second coming —

    “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matt 24: 10-12)

    And also remember that the Savior has taught us how to know the good from the evil —

    “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth devil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt 7:15-20)

    The Savior taught us that be aware of the deceit that will exist and gave us a way to judge — “by their fruits” — and together with the help of the Holy Ghost, the promised Comforter, that shall teach us all things, we can know that the money we give will be used to build the kingdom of God and take care of the fatherless and widows in their afflictions.

    Note that even as a member of the LDS church, I believe and know that there are many good people, organizations, and churchs bringing forth good fruits as they seek first the kingdom of God. But even so, we must be vigilant because I also know there are ravenous wolves hiding in sheep’s clothing.

    For me, I don’t need to see a regular financial statement from my Church leaders because I know they are seeking first the Kingdom of God — it does not concern me or cause me to think they are being deceitful. Instead the Spirit and their good fruits bear witness to me that they are seeking not their own.

    As I mentioned in my earlier comment, giving financially, physically, or spiritually, is an opportunity to show obedience and sacrifice — it is a choice, and it demonstrates my faith to the Lord that I desire to seek first the Kingdom of God. It is through sacrifice to help others that I come to feel more closely the love and compassion that God and Jesus Christ have for me and all mankind.

    Priestcraft has been around since the beginning and has it foundation set in the evil one who seeks to deceive and wrap his chains around us. I love the Book of Mormon that teaches us how to recognize priestcraft and it’s true source (see Alma 1).

    Finally, a few comments have been mentioned stories about LDS Bishops and church members that have required people to work or not provided assistance to those in need. While certainly these appear to be uncharacteristic of the Lord’s teachings of charity and love, I don’t know all of the details of the situations — what I do know, is what the Savior taught — and while we all have our agency and will make mistakes, I commend those that step forward to sacrifice and provide in times of need to truly help and serve others without the desire for recognition or compensation. This is something that I am very grateful for.

  50. March 7, 2010 7:55 pm

    Gundeck ~ Simple question. Many Churches and denominations release their financial records. Why doesn’t the LDS Church publish their financial records?

    I can’t tell you why the LDS church does not publish its finances today, Gundeck, but I can point you to where you can learn why it stopped publishing them back in 1960:

    “The Mormon ‘Baseball Baptism’ Era” by D. Michael Quinn, Sunstone 16 (7) December 1993: 30-44

    According to Quinn, the church stopped publishing its finances precisely because it wasn’t handling them very responsibly and did not want to open itself up to criticism on those grounds or alarm the members.

  51. March 7, 2010 11:01 pm

    Rob

    Thanks for your comments. I can see where you are coming from–you trust your church and therefore don’t feel worried about undisclosed financials. But as an outsider I wonder if this is the safest approach. No, we don’t have the financial records, but what we do have shows that they could vastly improve their use of funds. This is not a good sign and doesn’t bode well for what is hidden in the records. Check out these statements from the Mormon run website MormonThink.com.

    The Mormon church is spending less than 1% of its income to help the poor. Is the Mormon church really a charitable organization?

    The best estimates are that the church’s assets are around $100 billion and that tithing runs $4.5-6.5 billion per year. But no matter how you slice it, humanitarian work is a small, itty, bitty part of church expenditures.

    Even many individuals and corporations spend more than 1% on charitable work:
    Wal-Mart – 1.5%
    Ford – 2.2%
    JP Morgan 2.1%
    MBNA – 1.4%
    UPS – 1.1%
    GM – 1.23%
    Avon – 3.97%
    MetLife – 1%
    Prudential – 1.22%
    Eli Lilly – 1.4%

    According to the IRS, the average charitable contribution is 2.2%.

    Its a sad day in paradise when Walmart gives more to charity than the LDS church.

    Another sad statistic and result of the LDS tithing system is the overall lack of charitable giving in Mormon-dense Utah. United Way listed Utah as the 48th in the nation in per-capita giving to nonreligious charities. The Mormons that I know are very concerned for the poor and needy and they give generously to their church in tithes and fast offerings, thinking that the money they give is going to a good cause. Unfortunately this has not proved to be the case.

    Stephanie

  52. March 8, 2010 12:36 am

    Stephanie – I find it rather appalling that you stated Walmart gives more in Charitable Giving than the LDS Church.

    Are you familiar with the unethical business Practices of Walmart? Are you aware that Walmart actually pays their employees lower than other competitor’s and do not offer qualified health benefits – and the health benefits most employees of Walmart are based off their respective state welfare system

    This is from the Wake-Up Wal-Mart website:

    A Substantial Number of Wal-Mart Associates earn below the federal poverty line

    In 2008, the average full time Associate (34 hours per week) earns $10.84 hourly for an annual income of $19,165. That’s $2,000 below the Federal Poverty Line for a family of four. [http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/08poverty.shtml]

    Last year, Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott earned $29.7 million in total compensation, or 1,551 times the annual income of the average full time Wal-Mart Associate.
    [http://articles.latimes.com/2007/apr/20/business/fi-briefs20.6]

    Wal-Mart Associates don’t earn enough to support a family

    The national median family budget for a family of four (two parents and two children) in 2005 was $39,984, more than twice the average full-time Associate’s annual income of $19,165. [Sylvia A. Allegretto, Basic family budgets: Working families’ incomes often fail to meet living expenses around the U.S 2005]

    Wal-Mart wages are not designed to support a family

    Wal-Mart spokesperson Mona Williams was quoted in 2004 for admitting that, “More than two thirds of our people… are not trying to support a family that’s who our jobs are designed for.” [PBS Newshour, 23 August 2004]

    Wal-Mart can afford wage increases

    Wal-Mart could give each of its workers a $1 per hour raise without affecting their annual $12 billion profit margin, by raising prices only one half of one penny per dollar. For instance, a $2.00 pair of socks would then cost $2.01. That half of a cent would add up to a $1,800 raise for each employee. [Analysis of Wal-Mart Annual Report 2005]

    A 2007 study found that Wal-Mart could increase its starting wage to $10 per hour, and even if were to pass 100 percent of the cost onto customers, it would only need to increase prices by 0.9%. This works out to $0.36 per shopping trip, or $9.70 per year, for the average Wal-Mart customer. [Arindrajit Dube, Dave Graham-Squire, Ken Jacobs, and Stephanie Luce, Living Wage Policies and Wal-Mart: How a Higher Wage Standard Would Impact Wal-Mart Workers and Shoppers 2007]

    Wal-Mart’s wages are lower than other retail wages

    As of 2008, a full time Wal-Mart Associates earns 16% less than the average retail wage. [http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t16.htm]

    In 2008, a worker in Massachusetts at one of Wal-Mart’s leading competitors earns, on average, more than 15% more than Wal-Mart Associates. [Information acquired from fact-sheet on Wal-Mart’s Massachusetts operations from walmartfacts.com and contract cost information for UFCW Locals 328, 371, 1445, and 1459 master contracts with Stop & Shop]
    The average wage in 2008 at several of Wal-Mart’s retail competitors in Missouri are over 19% higher than the average wage at Wal-Mart. [Information acquired from fact-sheet on Wal-Mart’s Missouri operations from walmartfacts.com and contract cost information for UFCW Local 655 master contract with unionized supermarkets]

    Now, I know that the General Authorities, Mission Presidents, et all do not make that much money, nor do they live that well off from the financial contributions of the members.

    Again, here are the facts for all you critics out there trying to make an argument that is nothing more than a false allegation.

    TITHING DONATIONS Are designated solely for the following:

    1) Building New Buildings (Temples, Ward Buildings, Branch Buildings)

    2) Purchase property for construction for new buildings, temples, et all

    3) Maintain and pay the many wards, temples, and branches, educational facilities, et all that are currently in operation – A MONEY CONSUMPTION ASSET

    Tithing is to go to the building up, maintenance, and upkeep of the temporal part of the LDS Church. How would the Church pay for the electric bill, phone bills, and all other necessary expenses that it keeps to maintaining all its buildings (temples, ward buildings, et all).

    Regarding this, how much do you give every paycheck? Why not give all your paycheck to help the less fortunate?

    And, in reality, if you look at the charitable giving and the LDS church’s welfare system, you will find that there is much more to the Charitable contributions that are being made = some of it not in financial monetary assistance.

    http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/church-aids-southern-african-famine-victims

    http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/church-helps-drought-stricken-australian-farmers

    And, regarding the more recent humanitarian aid:

    Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chile delivered six tons of food from local bishops’ storehouses to the city of Talca on 2 March to help meet needs in several cities north of Concepción. A second shipment of 20 tons of food is expected to reach Concepción on 3 March. Two additional shipments of food have been sent to affected areas to the south of Concepción. http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/church-responding-to-chile-earthquake

    Medical Supplies and a team of doctor’s to Haiti

    http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/church-sending-team-of-doctors-to-assist-in-haiti

    And another in response to Haiti’s Earthquake

    http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/church-sends-additional-aid-to-haiti-earthquake-victims

    Therefore, the accusation that the Church does not use their “tithing contributions” to help the poor and needy is a very far fetch and fantasy world realism. It would be like me asking the Methodist Church in Everett Washington to give all of their financial contributions to help the needy and homeless men in the Seattle/Everett Area and not worry about paying their pastor, paying the bills to operate their churches, and pay for “guest” speakers.

    It would be like me asking the mega churches in my area (there are at least five of them by the way – Casey Treat is one of them) to give all of their financial resources to help the poor and needy, who cares about the pastors salary, the maintenance workers and janitors who need to be paid to clean the buildings, who cares about paying the trash bill, who cares about the gardners and paying the gardner’s.

    Are you all getting the point? The reality is, none of the critics will get the point. What they want is something they know is not going to happen because when it comes right down to it and you ask Gloria’s pastor to give up his salary so that all the contributions go to help the homeless and those in need (which I highly doubt her church gives more than 1.5% to help the needy) or Stephanie’s church gives more than 1.5% to help the homeless.

    In fact, I have been homeless. Here in the Pacific Northwest, guess what the Christian Churches do to people who come to their doors in need? The pastor’s and congregation send them to Soap Kitchen’s and Shelters with a pat on the back and a prayer to boot. How is this helping those in need?

    The reality is, Critics are reaching out to find anything and everything to criticism, regardless how far out in left field it is, because they can’t bring themselves to realize that their arguments are wrong. It is the case of the blind leading the blind.

    Again, the ORIGINAL POST STATED SPECIFICALLY THAT PRIESTCRAFT DEFINED BY THE BOOK OF MORMON STATES THAT IT IS WHEN SOMEONE CLAIMS TO PREACH THE WORD OF GOD, BUT DO SO FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL FINANCIAL GAIN AND NOT FOR THE PURPOSE OF BUILDING UP THE KINGDOM OF GOD/ZION.

    Repeatedly, I have asked where those General Authorities are making a financial gain by receiving the contributions of the members of the Church. Where is the evidence? There is none because these men receive a modest living. What is Modest? Modest is defined as:

    marked by simplicity; having a humble opinion of yourself; “a modest apartment”; “too modest to wear his medals”
    not large but sufficient in size or amount; “a modest salary”; “modest inflation”; “helped in my own small way”
    free from pomp or affectation; “comfortable but modest cottages”; “a simple rectangular brick building”; “a simple man with simple tastes”
    not offensive to sexual mores in conduct or appearance
    humble: low or inferior in station or quality; “a humble cottage”; “a lowly parish priest”; “a modest man of the people”; “small beginnings”
    meek: humble in spirit or manner; suggesting retiring mildness or even cowed submissiveness; “meek and self-effacing”
    minor: limited in size or scope; “a small business”; “a newspaper with a modest circulation”; “small-scale plans”; “a pocket-size country”

    Again, this shows that the Critic does not apply critical thinking skills and would even denounce the use of the term/word “modest” to mean anything as ambiguous as living a luxury lifestyle or living off a salary that meets the essential needs. Again, we see how wrong they are in their argumentation, how false they are in their reasoning, and how their arguments lack substance and factual and empirical evidence.

    So, when Gordon B. Hinkley stated that some leaders receive a modest stipend, it literally means he was saying that they receive enough money that pays for necessary expenses (housing costs being one of them) in order to accomplish their service and calling in the Church.

    Where is the evidence that this “modest” income is the leaders making a personal financial gain off the members? You can’t find it.

  53. March 8, 2010 1:48 am

    Thank you Jack, interesting.

  54. March 8, 2010 3:00 am

    Hi Tim,

    Sorry to have offended you about the Walmart comparison. I am totally with you on the unethical business practices of Walmart. Have you ever seen the documentary Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price? It is a very sad look at the way that business runs and how they take advantage of their underpaid workers. It was in bad taste for me to compare the LDS to Walmart. I should have compared to another company on the list such as Ford (2.2%) or JP Morgan (2.1%).

    Again, I would like to point out that I am not saying the LDS church doesn’t give to humanitarian causes. They do. Their website lists their giving. You have provided multiple examples above. However, to argue that their giving exceeds what their own website lists is unsupportable. Are you arguing that the LDS church gives MORE than they say they do? Why would they lie about what they give? I’m not arguing that they give nothing. I’m arguing that they give a paltry percentage of their earnings.

    Regarding this, how much do you give every paycheck? Why not give all your paycheck to help the less fortunate?

    As a Christian I believe I have great freedom in where my tithing can be spent. I give every month to our local rescue mission. I also support a child through Gospel for Asia. It pays for his meals, schooling and clothing. I also help to support a native missionary through Gospel for Asia. I give regularly to my church as well. Throughout the year I give to various organizations (Crisis Pregnancy centers, Missions, etc) as I feel led to give.

    Where is the evidence that this “modest” income is the leaders making a personal financial gain off the members? You can’t find it.

    Let me answer your question with one of my own. Are you suggesting that the LDS authorities are invulnerable to priestcraft? I would imagine that, as humans, they would be just as vulnerable as anyone else.

    Steph

  55. faithoffathers permalink
    March 8, 2010 3:01 am

    Stephanie,

    Maybe somebody covered this and I missed it. But the church gives much more to the poor than you are accounting for. We have a whole separate program that is 100% dedicated to such needs. It is the fast offering program. This is a very significant program to which members donate each month- You are probably somewhat familiar with this. Anyway- I don’t think you are including this in your claims that the church only donates 1-2% of its funds to charity. In reality, the church is a model for taking care of the poor- a model which many international organizations have recognized and learned from.

    In case you are not familiar with the program- members are asked to fast for a 24 hour period on the first Sunday of each month and give a generous financial offering to give to those in need. I am somewhat familiar with the figures for our stake- and it is not trivial. The system is extremely efficient with little to no waste- none of it goes to management or administrative interests.

    The system involves the “Bishop’s Storehouse” and LDS cannery systems. It is a very impressive enterprise and does immense good.

    As far as the church disclosing its finances- it honestly makes no difference to me. In a way, I am glad it isn’t spelled out in front of my eyes and that it is a matter of faith. Ironically, the EVs often point the finger at us and claim we don’t see a big enough role for faith in our salvation, then turn around and criticize us for not insisting that everything be laid out in front of our eyes- whether that be in church finances or proof of the BOM.

    fof

  56. March 8, 2010 3:52 am

    Stephanie and jack,

    Thanks for the info and links. Very interesting and helpful.

    ==================

    FOF,

    You said,

    Ironically, the EVs often point the finger at us and claim we don’t see a big enough role for faith in our salvation, then turn around and criticize us for not insisting that everything be laid out in front of our eyes- whether that be in church finances or proof of the BOM.

    Your comment speaks to how different our views of faith and salvation are. When EV’s/Traditional Christains speak of faith in a salvific sense, we are specifically talking about faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. However, you are comparing this with faith in the LDS Church. While you may view this as somehow tied to your salvation, in our view, faith in a specific church has absolutely nothing to do with salvation.

    In addition, for what its worth, I don’t criticize LDS members for not having enough faith, for I have known many who have incredible amounts of faith; rather, my issue stems for what they have faith in.

    God Bless!

    Darrell

  57. March 8, 2010 4:18 am

    Among those who contemplate the validity of the Mormon church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints) some people join it and some do not. The difference is that those who eventually join the Church ask themselves the question, “Just, what if it is true?” They give the Church and what it teaches, the benefit of the doubt. They decide to put what they are being told to the test. These are the people who read the Book of Mormon, contemplate what they read, accept it on faith and then ask God in prayer if what they have read is true. When they ask God, they are prepared to receive either a “yes” or “no” answer.

    Strangely enough, some of those people who do join the Church and then are among the strongest members were initially the most opposed to it. This happens because they are sincere, and humble people who were seeking the truth.

    People have made the error of believing that it is soley through logic that they can decide the validity of what they have been told. Until or unless they take the approach just mentioned, they will never know that what the Church teaches is the truth.

  58. March 8, 2010 4:38 am

    Welcome Doug! Thanks for the comment.

    FOF,

    You are right. It is important to differentiate between fast offerings and tithing. I do not want to take away from the great amount of charitable giving that the LDS provide to their own members through the Bishop’s Storehouse system. I personally know LDS who have taken advantage of those services during times of need. It appears to me that the members who generously give fast offerings on top of their regular tithing are more charitable in their giving than the LDS church.

    Steph

  59. Rob permalink
    March 8, 2010 8:57 am

    I think it’s interesting to observe that one of the products of giving to the needy or poor is often an increased dependence on that giving. We don’t have to look very far to see how some systems of “welfare” have created a lack of motivation and a “sit back and give it to me because I deserve it” attitude. Once given it is pretty much impossible to take away and becomes nothing more than an entitlement.

    However, if you are familiar with the teachings of the LDS gospel — these include principles like self-reliance and stewardship. While the LDS church does assist financially in many humanitarian projects and disaster reliefs — the core principles are not to just “give” money or supplies to help, but it is to instead teach people how to be stewards and be self-reliant. President Hinckley started the perpetual education fund — why? to give free educations? No, to teach and empower those in poverty so they can go out and become responsible and educated citizens, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, and help their current family and the generations to come to become self-reliant. There are thousands of service missionaries (retired couples) giving uncounted hours of service in all parts of the world to make the world a better place by teaching these principles.

    Why do latter-day prophets and apostles counsel us to get out and stay out of debt? To avoid gambling? These concepts are the opposites of stewardship and self-reliance and create dependence on the things of the world.

    I know that helping the poor is more than just giving money to charities or individuals and I am not concerned if someone’s estimated reports make it look like the LDS Church gives less money than WalMart or any other corporation. The isn’t a contest to be at the top of the list — when we fast, we don’t disfigure our faces to be seen of others that we are fasting — as the Lord says, they “have their reward”. (Matt 6:16)

    Who am I to tell the Lord how best to use the widow’s mite, her ultimate sacrifice, all that she had — in faith, I know the Lord directs this work — unfortunately, he only has his imperfect children to carry it out on this Earth — and yes, sometimes mistakes are made even financially, but that does not take away from nor diminish the greater work at hand. The Lord knows our needs and what is best of each of us. He wants us to grow and develop and his priority is the salvation of ALL of his children.

    I am grateful for all that give of their time, energy, and money regardless of denomination to care for and lift others and help them with their needs in this difficult and arduous mortal journey. I love the words of the Savior that give us insight into the secret of life —

    “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt 16:25-26)

  60. faithoffathers permalink
    March 8, 2010 2:28 pm

    Stephanie,

    “It appears to me that the members who generously give fast offerings on top of their regular tithing are more charitable in their giving than the LDS church.”

    So now you separate the fast offering monies from “the church.” Does not both tithing money and fast offering money come from members of the church. Both funds are distributed and used at the discretion of church leadership. So how can you now separate the two, as if fast offerings still are not to be considered expenditures of the church? I know that fits in with your argument, but it isn’t logical or fair.

    The church teaches its members to be generous with the fast offering, collects those funds, and distributes them. How is this any different from tithing or from the expenditures of any other charity you mention?

    fof

  61. faithoffathers permalink
    March 8, 2010 2:44 pm

    Stephanie,

    Would the church get more credit in your mind if they skimmed some off of the top of the fasting fund for administrative purposes?

    Funny if you think about it.

    fof

  62. March 8, 2010 3:55 pm

    Is not fast offerings distrubuted for LDS members primarily? Do the fast offerings get used to feed and clothe the poor in the community or only LDS members ?

    Jesus said it well : I was a hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was in prison and you visited me.

    I don’t think our offerings and gifts should be done with any strings attached. Meaning, if some one is truly in need, whether they be attending our local church or not we should lovingly give and help.

    This has been precisely my expierence since becoming a Christian. I have seen my small Church consistently give to the less fortunate. With no attempts to get them to come to our church or become a member, but merely because we are called to love and thus fulfill the law of Christ.

    I think it is very judgemental of people to assume that those who receive charity from Christian orginizations are milking the system or developing dependence on hand outs. This kind of attitude is disturbing to me and is definately not in harmony with what Christ taught.

    Praise God that He helps those who can not help themselves. Jesus did not preach self sufficiency, He preached dependency on Him for every need we have. The body of Christ is His hands and feet. I am so blessed to be involved in a church that truly understands that mandate and lives it!

    Kind regards,

  63. March 8, 2010 5:05 pm

    Stephanie –

    Again, are these not your words? Let me break them down for you:

    I can understand the aversion that LDS have towards a paid clergy. The Book of Mormon warns of priestcraft. “He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion“ (2 Nephi 26:29). But I’m happy that my pastors are able to spend the week studying the Word, preparing messages, counseling others, and, most importantly, praying for the flock. To me this is a very valuable use of my money.

    You quote the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 26:29). This defines what Priestcraft is. Notice that it says plainly – priestcarfts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion. Also, if you notice, the footnote for 2 Nephi 26:29 for Priestcraft references Acts 8:9. When you go to Acts 8:9, one will read about Simon the Sorcery. At first, one will ask what does Acts 8:9 have anything to do with priestcraft? It is when you look at the full context of Acts 8:9-24, one will have a better understanding of what priestcraft is.

    According to Acts 8:9-24, there is a man called Simon who did many wonderful works through sorcery and people believed upon him. But when the disciples came and preached (notice that this says that the Church had sent Peter and John), and Simon was among those who repented and were baptized. What is important to notice is that Simon say that when the Apostles laid their hands on those who were baptized, and that the gift of the Holy Ghost was given, he (Simon) offered to by this particular power and authority. Two things are significant here. The laying on of hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost was only done by the power and authority of the Apostles. Where did the Apostles get this power and authority? From Jesus Christ. What authority does Jesus Christ hold and why did he bestow this upon the disciples? So that they can be administrator’s and the authorized representatives of Him and officiate in the ordinances of the Gospel that he taught them. This power and authority is the Priesthood authority. It is the Priesthood Authority that Simon the Magician wanted to purchase. Yet, Peter condemned Simon, and called him to repentance. We do not know what happened to Simon, because this account ends at verse 24.

    The next footnote for Priestcarft is Alma 1:12. However, the context of Alma 1:12 is the entire chapter. What is interesting here is that Priestcraft comes with the identity of preaching a false Gospel, as well as preaching against the true Church of Jesus Christ:

    And it came to pass that in the first year of the reign of Alma in the judgment-seat, there was a man brought before him to be judged, a man who was large, and was noted for his much strength. And he had gone about among the people, preaching to them that which he termed to be the word of God, bearing down against the church; declaring unto the people that every priest and teacher ought to become popular; and they ought not to labor with their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people…And it came to pass that he did teach these things so much that many did believe on his words, even so many that they began to support him and give him money. And he began to be lifted up in the pride of his heart, and to wear very costly apparel, yea, and even began to establish a church after the manner of his preaching.

    This man became caught up in the monetary support those who believed on him and on what he said that he began to live a life of luxury and a life of wealth. He even “started” his own church.

    Today, mega churches are very popular. In Washington State – alone – there are 37 Churches (according to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research: http://hirr.hartsem.edu/cgi-bin/mega/db.pl?db=default&uid=default&view_records=1&ID=*&sb=4&State=WA). This comes out to be approximately 116,627 members of large Christian denomination churches. According to All About Mormon’s website, Washington State has an approximately 241,908 members.

    Now, if we were to compare the Senior Pastor Salary to that of the Bishop and Stake President’s, one will find that the Senior Pastor makes money “preaching the Gospel”, and as common in all megachurches, there is a sense of disconnect between the members of the congregation and the senior Pastor.

    One Blogger states this:

    The biggest problem with the megachurch is not all the things which can go wrong with the theology or the leadership. The biggest problem is what is sure to go wrong because the leader does not know each of his followers well enough to do his job of shepherding. Teaching and inspiring are only parts of the job of a pastor. If the pastor does not know who is hurt, who is tired, who is lost, if he does not know his peoples’ names and where they are staying, if he does not know who is hungry, then he is not doing his job. “He makes me lie down in green pastures” (from Psalm 23); the shepherd knows who is tired in this overworked, overbusy culture and insists that they get some rest. {http://weekendfisher.blogspot.com/2005/09/big-problem-with-megachurches.html}

    Another blogger discusses the following:

    One of the first problems I’ve observed from an ethnic standpoint: when I began attending one of these mega-churches, a large group of asians followed me. We numbered in the dozens, if not more, which I’m sure is an intimidating circle to penetrate. Nonetheless, for the 2 + years we were there, no one ever came up to us to talk to us. We had no invitation to go deeper into the community. It took over 2 yrs for someone in the church to finally come up and invite us out to lunch. That should not be. We were on their turf. As hosts they should not have been afraid to accost us. (even if we were a large group of asians – and admittedly, it must be intimidating to be in the minority – welcome to our world) – I can hear the objection: But after 2 yrs why didn’t “you guys” make the initiative to join the life of the church? If anyone seriously thinks this, query me in a comment, and I will tell you why it is such an obnoxious, ethnocentric, ignorant-of-the-system statement.{http://waynepark.wordpress.com/2008/02/24/the-problem-with-big-churches/}

    Forbes Magazine even did an article on Christian Capitalism, entitled, Mega Churches, Mega Business:

    In 1970, there were just ten such churches, according to John Vaughn, founder of Church Growth Today, which tracks megachurches. In 1990, 250 fit that description. Today, there are 740. The most common trait that these churches share is their size; average number of worshippers is 3,646, up 4% from last year, according to Vaughn. But they also demonstrate business savvy, with many holding conferences (47%) and using radio (44%) and television (38%), according to a 1999 survey conducted by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research. The average net income of megachurches was estimated at $4.8 million by that same survey. {http://www.forbes.com/2003/09/17/cz_lk_0917megachurch.html

    The average net income of megachurches was estimated at $4.8 million. Where does most of this money go? Well, we do know that Senior Pastors of these Mega Churches receive a nice (and even a very lucrative) salary. In fact, according to the Dr. Salary website, we find the following estimate{http://blogs.payscale.com/ask_dr_salary/2008/07/setting-pastor.html}:

    The other cause of the difference is the variation in pay with church attendance. The Handbook says that senior pastors with an attendance of more than 1,000 people earned an average of $111,052. In contrast, $64,266 is the average pastor compensation paid to those with an attendance of 300 or less.

    On average, a Mega Church Senior Pastor averages $111,000 per year. This calculates to be about $9,254.00 per month. And, the average salary for a typical Pastor is about $77,096 per year, or $6424.00 a month. If we were to break this down on a per week basis, we come up with an approximate amount of almost $1500.00 per week for the average pastor to about $2200.00 per week.

    $1500 to $2200 per week is more than the average liveable wage in a typical job that is union. This is not middle class wage by the way. This is a very lucartive life style – and not modest by any means. Yet, these Senior Pastors make money to study and prepare their lessons for four services, which are televised, on top of it, may even receive money from the sells of their sermons.

    Compare this to the General Conference where the General Authorities come and speak. They receive no financial contribution. The Ensign</b carries the General Conference messages (a year subscription costs $10.00 per year).

    Now, when we look at the definition of Priestcraft, and the power and authority of the leaders operating and administering under the divine authority that Christ endowed them with, they did not make money off those whom they baptized and taught. In fact, they were only to take with them and rely on the charitable hospitality of others. This meant food, shelter, and life necessities. They did not receive money for their messages. What we see here is that Priestcraft is the act to preach the Gospel of Christ at a monetary cost that the Preacher receives so that the preacher benefits and is able to live the kind of lifestyle he wishes to live.

    So, again, with the average salary of a Senior Pastor of a Mega church, and the average salary of a Pastor in general, we find that Stephanie (and all other critic’s) are false in their allegations against the Latter-day Saint faith. Their false allegation is based on the fact that while there is no disagreement as to leaders receiving a modest stipend to meet their living expenses and needs, they are not receiving significant financial gain for their services at the cost and contributions of the membership of the Church.

    Again, the burden of proof is upon the critic to show forth as to what extent the leaders of the Church receive a significant financial gain from the contributions of the members of the LDS Faith. No critic has yet taken up the challenge and offer any type of proof. Yet, they insist that the Church discloses their finances as to how much they pay their leaders. Why? Because to the Critic, the LDS Church is false and misleads people and hides “Where the contributions go to” when they know and have been provided the answer.

    Gloria, your ten percent goes to maintain the ward building, the heating costs, the phone bill, the electricity, the property taxes. Some of this also helps purchase the curriculum for the year. Fast Offerings help provide support for the Bishop’s Storehouse where those who are in need of food are able to go and receive a food order for two weeks to help them out.

    Stephanie, again your original statement is a straw man argument and a false premise that you are attempting to state is facts. And, to answer your question, the men are not infallible. However, they are men of integrity and have been successful stewards over their family and their financial responsibilities. There could be a possibility that they can embezzle money from the Church, yes. However, it is a plausibility in the sense that it is as plausible for you to walk into a bank and rob it. It is as plausible as someone taking off with the collection plate. It is as plausible as Christians being scammed by someone who wants to get financial gain for themselves.

    This all comes full circle somehow. Because the structure and style of LDS wards are different than most traditional churches, bishops inevitably spend less time on church work than pastors of comparably sized churches. The reason for this is simple–there are only so many hours in one day. The Mormon lay clergy and teachers are provided the resources to give their own talks. But where do these resources come from? From paid church administration and leadership. And this begs the question, why are they paid? If pastors receiving a salary are at risk for engaging in priestcraft, why aren’t LDS authorities also at risk for engaging in priestcraft? Why is it that we are free to judge pastors for the salary that they receive and yet we don’t even have the foggiest idea what LDS church administration receive? Is this a double standard?

    As we have discussed, you are making a very generalized statement that has no basis on fact, just your own opinion. The resources that are given come from the publication of manuals, church curriculum. Compare the cost of the LDS Church Curriculum to that Evangelical Christian curriculum, and you will find that there is significantly a lower cost in production and publication. The Ensign costs only 10.00 per month. How much does Christianity Today Cost? 19.95 for twelve issues.

    The New Gospel Principles Manual costs $3.00 per manual. How much does a booklet study guide on how to witness to Mormon’s Cost? Mormonism Zandorvan Study Guide to the Cults sells for approximately $5.99.

    The reality is that Stephanie’s post is false, based on misinterpretation of the text, and false accusations.

    As I have provided evidence, Senior Pastors in general and at Mega Churches live very lucrative and wealthy lifestyles because of the income they receive from their preaching. This is more than a modest income one would expect. And, as we have seen, two significant signs of Priestcraft is 1) purchasing the authority to act in the name of God and minister in the name of Christ; 2) preaching false doctrine, as well as preaching against the true Church of Jesus Christ for monetary gain and popularity. This latter sums up the entire counter-cult ministries that have established themselves to make monetary gain from their false arguments against the LDS Faith.

    So, again, where is your evidence that the leaders of the Latter-day Saints practice priestcraft, where they are making significant financial gain off the contributions of the LDS Members? Where is their wealthy lifestyle?

    The issue is not that some leaders receive a stipend, and a modest stipend at that, but the issue is that critics accuse the leaders of making a financial gain – here, Stephanie made the tragic statement that the Leaders of the LDS Faith are practicing priestcraft by taking money from the contributions of the members without actually understanding the context and proper definition of what is and what is not priestcraft and why the LDS Church is against “paid ministry” that is prevalent in many churches today.

  64. March 8, 2010 5:21 pm

    Gloria says:

    Is not fast offerings distrubuted for LDS members primarily? Do the fast offerings get used to feed and clothe the poor in the community or only LDS members ?

    Jesus said it well : I was a hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was in prison and you visited me.

    I don’t think our offerings and gifts should be done with any strings attached. Meaning, if some one is truly in need, whether they be attending our local church or not we should lovingly give and help.

    This has been precisely my expierence since becoming a Christian. I have seen my small Church consistently give to the less fortunate. With no attempts to get them to come to our church or become a member, but merely because we are called to love and thus fulfill the law of Christ.

    I think it is very judgemental of people to assume that those who receive charity from Christian orginizations are milking the system or developing dependence on hand outs. This kind of attitude is disturbing to me and is definately not in harmony with what Christ taught.

    Praise God that He helps those who can not help themselves. Jesus did not preach self sufficiency, He preached dependency on Him for every need we have. The body of Christ is His hands and feet. I am so blessed to be involved in a church that truly understands that mandate and lives it!

    When a church helps out those less fortunate in the community, that is a good thing. However, do not confuse that because your small Christian church helps out those who are less fortunate and are in need is duplicated every where. What you are doing here is establishing a false generalization that because your small church does this, so also do all other churches do this.

    Here is why. Union Gospel Mission in Seattle, Washington is a Christian Organization. In order to have a meal at the Union Gospel Mission, you have to pay $1.00. Not only that, but in order for you to have that meal, you have to sit through a sermon. If you do not have the $1.00 to pay for the meal and do not wish to sit through the sermon you are denied the ability to be feed

    Now, you stated that any Christian organization that requires payment in lieu of charitable giving is not following the admonish of Christ right? Keep that in mind. Because what you just stated is that the Union Gospel Mission is not a Christian Organization, therefore is not following the Admonishment of Christ because they require financial payment and to set through a service.

    Also, in my own personal experience when I had left the LDS Faith and had become an Evangelical Christian, and I was homeless, not one single Church would offer any help in my times of need. They kept referring me to Christian Shelters where I would have to sit through a sermon in order to receive shelter. They sent me to soup kitchens where I could get food. When I was faced with eviction and asked if I could receive help in my time of need, they said that it is my responsibility to take care of my finances and not the Church. When my car broke down and I needed it for work, they told me that I could not be helped because it was not of any of their concern, but that they would be glad to pray for me.

    And, my story is not the only one. There are Christians that I have met that stopped going to church because the Church would not have anything to do with them when they came to them for needs.

    Now, that I am back in the LDS Faith, there were many times that I have been helped out financially. There were many times that I have provided my services in lieu of this help because I believe that if you receive help, you ought to do what you can to work for that. I believe in giving a hand up and not a hand out.

    The Catholic Church in Seattle run’s a transitional Housing program. They do not discriminate and require you to have a particular set of beliefs. They do not require you to sit through a sermon. What do they require you to do? They require you to save money, to work for 15 hours in house, and those who are not on TANF or State Assistance, and work outside of the program pay monthly rent for their room and board. How come other Christian Churches have not adopted Transitional Housing Programs and operate transitional housing programs? Because, here the mentality is that “that is what shelter’s and missions are for and we give money to them to help the homeless”.

    Again, it is good that your church helps out, however, to base your experience on that limitation only and then expect it to be accepted in a more general understanding is building up a false premise because not all christian churches follow your churches examples.

  65. faithoffathers permalink
    March 8, 2010 6:09 pm

    Timothy,

    I don’t want to divert this into a political discussion, but I must disagree on your statement about standards of living. You said that making $1500 to $2200 per week is very lucrative. I beg to differ. That is very middle class.

    Uncle Sam likely gets around 30% of that right off the bat. State tax takes an additional 6-10% depending on the state. Leaving 60% of $1500-2200 per week is about 1200-1500 per week. That is $6,000 per month take home or $72,000 per year.

    Even if you don’t take out taxes, $110,000 per year is not living high on the hog, IMO.

    I agree with you otherwise.

    Gloria- The standard answer is that the fasting funds goes to assist members of the church who need the help. But I have seen many instances when it has gone to people with no connection to the church. Within the last 3 weeks, there was a non-LDS family in our area whose home burned to the ground. The church jumped in and paid for meals, clothing, etc.- all from fasting funds and under the direction of the Bishop.

    But even if that were not the case, the church’s welfare program is still wonderful. I see nothing wrong with the idea of “taking care of our own.” Focusing on “our own” keeps LDS generally from depending upon other social services and society as a whole. It is impossible to help everybody. Such a focus allows us to make a measurable dent in the overall needs of the poor. I think it is amazing that none of the fasting funds go to anything but to the needy- no administrative diversions.

    fof

  66. March 8, 2010 8:21 pm

    Timothy ~~

    You mentioned you left Evangelical Christianity and returned to the LDS church. I hope it is not too forward of me to ask you this, but I am truly curious as to what led you to leave the LDS church and then in time to return? I ask because I have found this to be a rare occurrance. But then, again I am sure it happens, and I just don’t hear about it.

    I think your remarks about my expierences and the challenge for me to not generalize that to ” all” christian churches is a good one. You are right on the money. Just because my small non-denom. church does much to help those who are less fortunate, certainly does not mean that all Christian churches do. That is good to keep in mind. I would also like to add that my prior church ( the one I attended right after leaving mormonism, it was a small home church) also did the same. I remember being so amazed at how giving these Christians were.

    I also think it’s important to distinguish that although some Christian churches may not help the poor and needy out, there is truly the admonishen to do so in the Bible. That is, any Church that professes Christ and does not reach out to the poor, the hungry and those in prison, need to challenged to go back and read God’s word and truly live it.

    Kind regards,

  67. March 8, 2010 8:22 pm

    Fof,

    I am encouraged that your ward helped out a local family in need. That is encouraging! I applaud your bishop and ward members for reaching out in love & compassion.

    Kind regards,

  68. March 8, 2010 9:48 pm

    Rob,

    I understand what you are saying and I do agree with you to a point. In my line of work I see a lot of people who abuse the health and welfare system and sometimes it really annoys me. I think that there are a lot of people with an entitlement attitude—“It’s all about ME!” And then I remember the words of Jesus, “And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away” (Matt. 5:40-42). God’s law of giving is much higher than our own. We like to think in terms of payment for work. But God demonstrated His love to people by giving the His own Son—a gift that no amount of work could ever repay. We should be so generous with one another.

    Steph

  69. March 8, 2010 10:22 pm

    FOF,

    So how can you now separate the two, as if fast offerings still are not to be considered expenditures of the church? I know that fits in with your argument, but it isn’t logical or fair.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, because I’m certainly no expert on LDS financial matters, but I was under the impression that fast offerings stayed at the local level. From the reading that I have done I thought that those monies stayed within the stake. To me, this would be comparable to a “deacon’s fund.” Other traditional Christian churches may have a different term for this fund, but basically it is a fund for needs within the church. The deacons or elders collect a special offering monthly or on a regular schedule. This money would not be totaled into the tithing that the church receives annually because it is a different fund. Other churches may deal with local poverty differently. My parents old church was in a small town. The town divided up the homeless needs and assigned churches different tasks. One church had a free clothing closet, another had the food pantry, etc. These donations and giving would not be reflected in the annual budget.

    The church teaches its members to be generous with the fast offering, collects those funds, and distributes them. How is this any different from tithing or from the expenditures of any other charity you mention?

    One of homeless missions in my area is a non-denominational outfit that serves thousands of meals a month to people who are needy (regardless of their religion). They provide shelter, clothing and education. Nothing is asked in return.

    Would the church get more credit in your mind if they skimmed some off of the top of the fasting fund for administrative purposes?

    Very funny. 🙂

    Seriously, though, I guess my question is this: where is the money going? If the welfare program is run by the fast offerings where does your own tithing go? I’m not sure of the actual cost of building a ward building or temple, but in the U.S. an average ward brings in $500k to $1 million / year. With no salaries to pay out this seems like an awful lot. Most of the meeting houses in my area have 2 to 3 wards meeting in them every week. That means that one building could potentially generate up to $3 million / year.

    I know that you trust the leadership of the LDS church to distribute tithing wisely, but it makes me feel bad to think that you are equating this trust with “faith.” Having faith in people is definitely not the same thing as having faith in Christ. The LDS church may not ever reveal their finances, but God eventually will. “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Ecles. 12:14). What if, by some chance, the LDS church has been practicing priestcraft? Wouldn’t an open, honest accounting now help to assure you that this isn’t so?

  70. March 8, 2010 10:41 pm

    Tim,

    You said, “Also, in my own personal experience when I had left the LDS Faith and had become an Evangelical Christian, and I was homeless, not one single Church would offer any help in my times of need.

    I guess I would see the “church” differently than an organization. I am the church. My brothers and sisters are the church. The couple that took you in and let you use their basement was the church. The church is simply the hands and feet of Christ–not a “corporation.”

    So, again, with the average salary of a Senior Pastor of a Mega church, and the average salary of a Pastor in general, we find that Stephanie (and all other critic’s) are false in their allegations against the Latter-day Saint faith. Their false allegation is based on the fact that while there is no disagreement as to leaders receiving a modest stipend to meet their living expenses and needs, they are not receiving significant financial gain for their services at the cost and contributions of the membership of the Church.

    I guess this really strikes at the heart of what I’m saying, Tim. You were able to figure out a per week salary of a pastor. I noticed that you even cast judgement upon that amount, calling it “very lucrative.” The problem is that you have no true comparison. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this seems to be your formula:

    Mega Church Senior Pastor $111,000 per year
    LDS General Authority $Modest Stipend

    $Modest Stipend=<$111k / year, therefore Mega Church Senior Pastor's are practicing priestcraft and LDS GA's are not.

    What if we were to turn this formula around the other way? What if the comparison was actually $Modest Stipend=>$111k / year. Would that change your thinking at all? Mormonthink.com estimates GA’s salaries from $100-150k all the way up to $600k.

    Stephanie

  71. March 9, 2010 4:37 pm

    What if we were to turn this formula around the other way? What if the comparison was actually $Modest Stipend=>$111k / year. Would that change your thinking at all? Mormonthink.com estimates GA’s salaries from $100-150k all the way up to $600k.

    Great point Stephanie.

    I have heard quotes in the $150,000 range for the Quorum of the Twelve, and even higher for the First Presidency and Prophet. If I am not mistaken, Jack had some info on this???

    The problem is Timothy does not have anything concrete by which we can compare the GA’s salaries. “Modest Stipend” is so ambigious as to lend itself to $20,000 a year or $150,000 a year… all depending upon ones perspective., and I would imagine that is EXCACTLY WHY the LDS Church has chosen to leave it at “modest stipend”.

    Darrell

  72. March 9, 2010 11:42 pm

    Darrell and Stephanie –

    1) Neither of you support, nor sustain the Leadership of the LDS Church. Therefore, your argument and criticism as to whether or not the LDS Church is “obligated” to provide a detailed account of where every single penny goes to is really none of your business. This is because you do not have a “vested interest” in the LDS Church.

    2) Both of you have proven to be wrong in your thinking, criticism, and refuse to provide evidence when demanded. Stephanie made a false allegation, based it upon a straw man argument, and when challenged, is unable to produce where the LDS leadership is striving to have “financial gain”.

    3) TITHING CONTRIBUTIONS DO NOT GO TO THE STIPEND THAT PAY THE LEADERSHIP.

    Again, the accusation from the critic’s is that tithing contributions help pay for and compensate the leaders of the LDS Church.

    Fact 1) When Ezra Taft Benson was called into the Seventy, he was given leave of absence by the then Prophet, because of his appointment as the Secretary of Agriculture.

    Fact 2) Most of the leaders who are called to such positions have already retired from their respective career’s and were very successful in their careers. In fact, one of the questions that is asked is their ability to financially support themselves.

    Fact 3) Any financial support that is given to the LDS Authorities is not out of the tithing contributions, but from businesses that are not based on member contributions.

    Fact 4) According to the following Fair Article:

    While a small number of Church members seek full-time teaching positions within the Church Education System as instructors, they are not compensated for ecclesiastical leadership or service. Church leaders are “called” by leaders in greater authority to occupy positions such as Bishop, Stake President, or Area Authority 70. One does not campaign for nor apply for such positions, and such an effort would undoubtedly be considered grounds for disqualifications to serve in such a significant role. Article of Faith 5 states: “We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.” (Articles of Faith 1:5) What is more, those who fill these positions are not compensated. Critics who complain about the use of Church funds do not contribute to the Church, and the funds they complain about are used to help leaders whom they do not sustain.

    Many Church General Authorities come from respected professions from which they make a substantial living. Dedicating themselves full time at the sacrifice of substantial careers, these leaders live modestly, work tirelessly, keep grueling travel schedules, and continue doing so well past an age when others retire. They are also demonstrably men of education and accomplishment; one can hardly claim that they were unsuited for work in the world given their accomplishments prior to being called to full-time Church service. No tithing funds provide for stipends; such funds are drawn from business income earned by Church investments.

    The Latter-day Saint practice of not paying our ecclesiastical leaders is not evidence of the truthfulness of the Church. Many people of other faiths admirably desire to serve as clergy in their respective churches, and go through extensive training to do so. Most clergy live on subsistence level wages. Principles of priestcrafts apply equally to these people as to our own leadership. The scriptures denounce preaching the gospel solely from a desire to make money and get rich, or to defraud people (see 1 Peter 5:2). The Book of Mormon likewise defines “priestcraft” as teaching for the sake of getting gain while not seeking “the welfare of Zion” (see 2 Nephi 26:29. Likewise, many members of other faiths devote time to their churches without any monetary compensation. Certainly they follow the teachings of Jesus by so doing, and accomplish much good thereby.

    So, again Darrell, Gloria, Stephanie, and other critics – where is the proof and evidence that the leaders of the LDS Church are practicing priestcraft as defined by the context of 2 Nephi 26:29? Meaning, where is their financial gain? How are they receiving this financial gain?

    The answer is plain, there is no financial gain these men are receiving and your criticism is based on false and misleading understanding of the purpose and premise for Tithing.

    Gloria, you have been answered as to where your 10% goes to. It goes to help build and maintain the buildings. Are you suggesting that the LDS Membership do not tithe to help pay for the building and maintenance of those buildings? If so, then why don’t you stop giving money to your church to help pay for their bills because, after all it is not your responsibility to pay for your church’s electric bill and phone bill.

    I honestly believe that this post as been sufficiently answered, evidence provided to disprove the false allegations. The reality is that neither Darrell, nor Stephanie are willing and readily able to admit that they are wrong, nor are they willing to recant the fact that the argument that Stephanie proposed is built upon a straw man argument.

    It is the critic that needs to produce the evidence if they are to be credible. Stephanie, unfortunately, your statement is not credible and is based on false information that is meant to mislead people. This is bearing false witness by the way.

  73. March 9, 2010 11:45 pm

    Here is the link for further reading, meant to post it in my response, sorry:

    http://en.fairmormon.org/No_paid_ministry

  74. March 10, 2010 12:51 am

    Timothy,

    What amount would you determine to be an acceptable stipend for a GA? Keep in mind Darrell’s earlier observation that 82-year-old President Monson has been in church service for the vast majority of his working years. It seems impossible for him to be able to be still living off of prior earnings.

    I hear what you are saying about tithing funds going to salaried positions. You quote from FAIR, “No tithing funds provide for stipends; such funds are drawn from business income earned by Church investments.” This is very much like arguing for which part of a Safeway execs’s salary came from the sale of soda pop as opposed to Lucerne yogurt. In other words, there is one big pot. In any corporation there are multiple sources of revenue. The LDS church is no different. For you to insist that GA couldn’t be practicing priestcraft unless they were paid directly from tithing is to miss the boat entirely. Where do the businesses come from that the church owns? How was that revenue source first initiated? Magically? Was it never purchased with money generated by tithes? Further, your position is entirely speculative. There are no published records on the sources or distribution of monies. We are left estimating, guessing, and eventually just trusting that what they proclaim is factually true.

    there is no financial gain these men are receiving and your criticism is based on false and misleading understanding of the purpose and premise for Tithing.

    If they aren’t taking “financial gain,” are they taking a “financial loss?” In other words, are they paying the church to allow them to serve as leaders? I don’t understand how taking money from an organization–whether it be a salary or a “stipend,” whether it be from the sale of cows or directly from the offering plate–is not making a “financial gain.” Do you determine a threshold for what would be “neutral” (i.e., less than $111,000 / year) and beyond that determine a person to be making “financial gain?”

    Stephanie

  75. March 10, 2010 6:39 am

    If I am not mistaken, Jack had some info on this???

    Not info. Just loose estimates based on questionable informants. I certainly don’t have anything more solid than what’s at Mormon Think.

    In the early 1980s, it was published in the Wall Street Journal that a Seventy makes $40,000 a year. Adjust that for inflation and that means a Seventy today makes $85,000 a year. Assume that the apostles and prophets get paid more and you’re easily in the $100,00o-$150,000 range, minimum.

    I don’t have much time to interact on this issue given that I’m in Utah with other seminary students right now, but my thoughts on this summarized:

    ~ It really doesn’t matter whether the money comes directly from tithing or not since the church’s finances are all fungible. Kevin Barney makes the same point here.

    ~ If the church isn’t going to pony up some numbers to back its claims up, its assurances that these GA salaries “stipends” are “modest” are nearly worthless. The church has an established history of lying to the public about what it does behind the scenes, ostensibly to protect its membership from things it thinks they aren’t ready to hear.

    ~ I pay 5% of my paycheck to the LDS church as part of the tithing arrangement with my husband and I think financial accountability would be nice.

    That is all.

  76. March 10, 2010 7:07 am

    The church has an established history of lying to the public about what it does behind the scenes, ostensibly to protect its membership from things it thinks they aren’t ready to hear.

    I just re-read this and I think this was too harsh. The church has a history of blatantly lying about polygamy, but establishing willful untruths in other areas is more difficult. Sorry about that.

    Still, given how the practice of not publishing the finances got started, I have very little reason to trust that said modest stipends really are modest and that all finances are being handled responsibly. People are prone to acting irresponsibly when they free themselves from accountability, and given that the fallibility of modern-day prophets has become a staple in LDS apologetics, I see no reason to trust that all leaders are keeping themselves accountable to God on the matter. Accountability to the body of Christ would be a good thing.

  77. March 10, 2010 2:17 pm

    Well said Jack.

    Darrell

  78. March 10, 2010 2:54 pm

    Ditto, Darrell’s remarks. Well said, Jack.

  79. March 12, 2010 5:48 am

    Out of curiosity, how much does the typical Protestant denomination or congregation spend of its own budget on charitable causes? How about the Catholics?

  80. March 12, 2010 6:07 pm

    Seth,

    My congregation gives 10% outside of our congregation. We also conduct 2 special offerings per year. 1 for the mission fund and a second deacons fund. We publish the budget and our books are available to any communicant member for the asking.

    Like I said what you do with your money in your church is your concern, it is just surprising to me with the LDS doctrine of a fallible prophet that nobody wants to have a more objective understanding of where your money is going than a PR statement.

  81. March 12, 2010 6:34 pm

    I was just curious. I don’t have much of a horse in this particular race.

  82. March 12, 2010 7:23 pm

    My very small church has an ongoing offering for missionaries we support. We have a husband/wife team in the Ukraine we support and we also support Christ For the Nations Bible Inst. in Monterray Mexico. Each week offerings are taken for these missionary efforts.

    Also, we will take up special offerings for special things — like when the Haiti earthquake hit, our church raised $ to send for relief efforts. We just allow the Spirit to lead in our giving efforts.

    We are small in numbers but big in our heart’s desire to give.

    I will say, our church does not “pass the plate” like some churches do. There is an offering box in the back of the sanctuary, but no public collection is taken.

  83. March 12, 2010 7:42 pm

    Well, I can’t speak for the Church at large.

    But as Ward Financial Secretary for my own congregation, I can say there are some VERY generous donations going on. And it’s not just tithing either.

  84. March 12, 2010 8:06 pm

    Seth ~~
    I am glad people’s hearts are being touched to give… there are so many needs in the world today. So much hurting and suffering going on. We can all join together to relieve some of that.

  85. March 13, 2010 12:25 am

    But as Ward Financial Secretary for my own congregation, I can say there are some VERY generous donations going on. And it’s not just tithing either.

    I believe you. The LDS people that I know are some of the most generous people–both with their time and money.

    I looked all over for the financial statement from my church that I got in January but I guess I’ve already thrown it away. My church provides the congregation an extremely detailed record of its finances (down to the $1 amount). We are non-denominational so none of the tithing goes to a convention. We also support a number of foreign missionaries and short-term missionaries. Like Gundek’s church, we have a deacon’s fund that provides assistance to emergencies or needs within the body.

    Steph

  86. March 13, 2010 2:40 am

    Gloria, Darrell, Stephanie and all other Critics:

    I want you to show forth Financial Transparency. Meaning, I want you all to disclose how much you make, how much you pay in taxes, how much you pay in rent, available account balances, and account transactions for the Past 2 years.

    I would like to know your mortgage payments, your shopping habits, and your family budget.

    Also, I want you to disclose all your financial contributions because I don’t believe you give enough to help the poor.

    Are you willing to provide this?

    And, why am I asking you to do this? Because I have that right to know. I have the right to know how much you make and how much you give to the poor. If I find that you give less than 1% to the poor, then I will find that you are abusing and misusing your funds.

    Now, how fair is it for you to ask this of the LDS Church if you yourself can’t provide similar information?

    To put it shortly, it is none of your business because you do not contribute.

    Gloria, does your husband work? Then it is technically his money not yours and he can do with that money as he sees fit – it is none of your business.

  87. March 13, 2010 3:26 am

    Tim, I agree there is certainly a limit to how much the LDS Church SHOULD be required to disclose, but the Church is not the same as a private individual. So the analogy doesn’t really hold up that well.

    If I was donating money to you for some sort of scholarly, for-profit, or non-profit scheme, you can bet your bottom dollar that I WOULD be demanding financial information from you. There’s nothing wrong with that.

  88. March 13, 2010 3:27 am

    To be clear, I don’t really see much reason to think there is much financial corruption going on in the LDS Church. But I agree that a bit more disclosure would probably be a good thing. Failure to disclose stuff sends the wrong message in today’s culture.

  89. March 13, 2010 4:05 am

    Tim ~ To put it shortly, it is none of your business because you do not contribute.

    That may be true for Gloria, Stephanie, and Darrell, but I do contribute, so it is my business.

    Gloria, does your husband work? Then it is technically his money not yours and he can do with that money as he sees fit – it is none of your business.

    He’s her husband, not her roommate, Timothy. She shares in everything he owns from his body to his paycheck and it is her business.

    Seth said:

    the Church is not the same as a private individual. So the analogy doesn’t really hold up that well.

    This.

    Now if you want a statement of how my local church spends its finances, I’ll be happy to provide it when I get home and get the chance to talk to the leadership team. Getting a statement of denominational finances for the Evangelical Covenant Church may take some time, but that can probably be done as well.

    Tim of LDS & Evangelical Conversations posted one such statement from his home church here.

  90. March 13, 2010 5:05 am

    Timothy,

    I have read all of your comments with great interest trying to understand your point of view. In all honesty I don’t care how the LDS Church in Salt Lake spends its money. From everything that I know they generally are thrifty, pay their bills on time, and are honest in their business dealings. That is good enough for me. By the standards of the world and the laws of the United States I am sure that the LDS Church is above board and that any errors are not intentional and quickly resolved.

    With all of that said let me explain 3 reasons why it is my business.

    1 Google “remove tax exempt status from churches”. The LDS Church is tax exempt in the United States, as is mine. What you do in the public square will affect me.

    2 Google “parsonage tax exempt status for churches”. I don’t know if the LDS Church takes advantage of this exemption for their paid clergy but this is a cost savings measure for small congregations, often rural, that own their own parsonage and provide it to their pastor. It also saves payroll tax costs for congregations that provide a living “stipend” instead of a parsonage. As I understand it this particular exemption should be seen as the barometer for future tax exemption legislation. It is kind of the low hanging fruit because it is an arcane exemption and the budgetary ramifications that it would have in the form of payroll taxes to congregations isn’t readily apparent. This is also why the undefined use of “stipend” in your comments can be seen as problematic.

    3 Google “property tax exempt status for churches”. This should go without saying but imagine the increased cost of operation if every year Churches had to pay the going rate for property taxes.

    Finlay Google “senate investigation of televangelists”. I think you mentioned this blatantly improper use of Church funds in an early comment directed at “evangelicals” but frankly this type of behavior brings financial discredit to all Churches, Mosques, Temples etc. This is why I see a need for financial transparency and accountability.

    In all honesty nobody has answered the question I asked earlier in this thread, “Why doesn’t the LDS Church publish their financial records?” The fact is that when tax exemption is taken from the televangelists or the politically active pulpit it is going to affect the ministry of other sincere and honest groups and your comparison of the salary of a mega-church to the price of a subscription to the Ensign Magazine isn’t going to hold water any more than insisting that your paid clergy only receive a “stipend”.

  91. March 15, 2010 12:22 am

    Timothy ~~

    In all honesty, your comment/remark you made about my husband was rude, unkind and down right nasty. Honestly speaking here.

    And to answer your question: YES, I do work.

    I am the mother of 10 children.

    I cook 3 meals a day — all from scratch.

    I wash and dry 25 loads of laundry a day.

    I homeschool my children 5 days a week 6-7 hours a day.

    I clean, scrub, and keep my home and yard looking nice.

    I do all the shopping for my large family.

    That is only “some” of the things I do on my JOB……

    Actually Timothy I work 7 days a week 24 hours a day.

    Do YOU????

    I have never heard in all honesty such a rude comment made to a woman, especially coming from an LDS man.

    Thank God my husband does not hold your views, nor does he say such rude things.

  92. March 15, 2010 12:25 am

    p.s. Timothy — I honestly feel sorry for your wife. Honestly & sincerely. I hope you do not say the things to her like you said about me here. I guess if she dedicates her life to being a stay at home mom and home keeper, then she too has no right to or voice in how the $$ is spent. Is that what you are taught in Priesthood on Sundays??

  93. March 15, 2010 2:27 am

    “Gloria, does your husband work? Then it is technically his money not yours and he can do with that money as he sees fit – it is none of your business.”

    Whoa! I totally missed this on the first read.

    Tim, are you for real?

    Do you really think that the woman you covenanted to love, uphold, and share your life with has no right to see YOUR money? You really think it’s none of her business? You think that it has nothing to do with her? What about all that stuff about “cleaving to her and none else”?

    Furthermore, do you really think that’s “your” money to begin with?

    Who made it possible for you to get that money? Your parents and countless other people pitched in in your life to make that money possible for you. It ain’t your money.

    Not to mention your wife and how much she has directly or indirectly contributed to you attaining that wealth. You try being a single dad with young kids sometime and see how easy it is to get ahead.

    Maybe your own rhetoric got away from you here, or maybe I just misread you (I really do hope I have), but if that last little bit was truly intentional, you’ve got a serious unrighteous dominion problem going on in your neck of the woods, and someone probably needs to send you a few recent LDS Priesthood Session conference talks for you to read.

  94. March 15, 2010 9:32 am

    Gloria –

    My apologies, sometimes I get to typing too fast and think I have fully stated what my thought process is and then come back and realize it is only half of what I meant for it to say. Sincerely, I do apologize and notice how offensive my statement was.

    Allow me to clarify what I meant to completely say.

    As a full time mother, you work. I am a stay-at-home dad and my wife works. I take care of a 4 month old. And no, I do not talk like that to my wife (unless we are joking around and then it is sarcasm city of bantering back and forth because she will tell me to go out and find a good paying job so she can be the stay at home parent lol).

    Anyway, your husband works. I am presuming he is not out carousing around at the local watering hole. He is not out hitting the black jack tables. He is working an honest days job for an honest days wage. And, still presuming, he is paying the bills, and making sure they are being paid (my wife is the financial manager here in our household, she knows how much comes in and how much goes out). Now, with these two presumptions, he is bringing in the money. Technically, yes it is his money because he is working for it. And, as long as he is not causing the family to go into debt, and he is being financial prudent and responsible for the money and paying his tithing, then what room and complaint do you have?

    Furthermore, you are asking that the LDS Church could do more in helping the poor. Some even suggested that giving a “hand out” to those in need is the best way to go.

    Now, consider this for a moment. I come into your home and demand that you provide all your financial records. I then see that you do not contribute any money to the poor. Yet, I see that your family can afford to maintain a decent vehicle. Why not sell that and give to the poor? How about donating your time? Have you volunteered at the local soup kitchen? Worked with the homeless? I am not talking about going out and ministering and preaching Christ and converting. I am asking you if you see someone on the street corner with a sign and you have your last five dollars in your pocket and you give it over to him/her? I am presuming that sometimes you have, and not all of the time, I could be wrong.

    The fact remains, Critics like you are Judas of Iscariot. The reason why I say this is because Judas of Iscariot noticed that a woman used a most expensive oil to wash Jesus’ Feet with. He commented on how that this oil could be sold and the money obtained from the sell of this expensive oil could go to the poor. Jesus is the Church. Guess who is now criticizing GOD HIMSELF for the LAW HE HIMSELF COMMANDED.

    Furthermore, if you are to understand the scriptures (meaning the Old Testament and the New Testament), you will notice that those who are directly called into the temporal administrations of the Church of God, are to receive compensation in some form.

    Take note how the Levite Priests were to eat of the burnt offerings. This is in Leviticus 6:14-17:

    14 And this is the law of the meat offering: the sons of Aaron shall offer it before the LORD, before the altar. 15 And he shall take of it his handful, of the flour of the meat offering, and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is upon the meat offering, and shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savor, even the memorial of it, unto the LORD. 16 And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat: with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation they shall eat it. 17 It shall not be baked with leaven. I have given it unto them for their portion of my offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as is the sin offering, and as the trespass offering. 18 All the males among the children of Aaron shall eat of it. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations concerning the offerings of the LORD made by fire: every one that toucheth them shall be holy.

    Why couldn’t the burnt offerings be given to those who are hungry and impoverished? Instead, the offerings that are dedicated to the LORD was granted for Aaron and his descendents to eat and partake of these offerings. These offerings were the choicest offerings given to the Lord. Why is that? Why only Aaron and his sons and the priests and not everyone?

    In the New Testament, Christ commanded that the Apostles take nothing with them, not even money, and when they come into a town, or into a house, they are to seek out sustenance for themselves – food, shelter, clothing, et all. They were supported within their means. How many preachers go to a city and do not take any money and receive support for the necessary means of shelter and eating, but make a living traveling around and having financial contributions given to them – which by the way is not tithing, because the Old Testament talks about Tithing as a ten percent of one’s increase.

    There is also a passage in the New Testament where those who became a Christian sold all their property and given it over to the disciples and had all things in common:

    The first corporate example of this kind of community was (of course) the Church in the Book of Acts, where in Chapters 2 through 4 we see the first Christians selling their property to provide for the needs of others (e.g., Acts 2:42-47). As this continued, God added new members to the Church daily. Early church leaders, such as Barnabas, a Levite, sold their property and gave the proceeds to help this large but poor church. Barnabas, as a Levite, was part of a landed class. His gift alone would have gotten no small notice.

    So, how many Evangelical Christian denominations in the United states have sold their property and given the proceeds over to the leadership of the Church so that this could be redistributed?

    And, if one were to seriously delve into the theocracy of government God instituted among the Ancient Israelites, it was a commandment that every 7 years, every single Hebrew sold their property, gave over all of their property (land, animals, slaves, et all) to the administrators (Levites) and then all this property was then divided up according to the needs of the Hebrew’s (which is incidently a pure form of Communistic Government).

    So again, just as I have as much right to request how much you give to the poor and dictate to you that where and how you can give more (time, money, goods, services) to the poor is the very same reason why your request that the Church ought to publish and account for where every single penny is going is really none of your business – why? because you are not satisfied with the answer given. You are like Judas who quibbled over how an expensive oil/perfume could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor, instead of being used to wash the Lord’s Feet.

    Personally, I actually feel sorry for you and those critics who have assumed the role of Judas of Iscariot = the betrayer of our Lord and Savior and questioning God’s commandment and authority and having the audacity to tell God how to and what to do with His money.

    God commanded, you better listen up because if you don’t you have to answer to him, not me. And those who criticize God and his commandments are like Satan who planted the seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind and caused her to fall into temptation and grace.

  95. March 15, 2010 1:30 pm

    Seth ~~

    I appreciate your remarks. Thank you for saying what you said.

    Kind regards,

  96. March 15, 2010 1:40 pm

    Timothy ~~

    I accept your apolgies. I am relieved that you realize how awful that remark was.

    The thing is Timothy , when you are investing thousands of dollars per year in a company/corporation, it is not unfair to ask where that $$ is being spent. Your anology of you coming into my home and asking for disclosure is not the best of examples. It is my opinion, not the same thing. Now if you have financially contributed to our family, our home on a regular basis and for quite a large sum of money, then yes I could see you wanting some disclosure.

    Secondly, our family has some serious financial needs right now. When the LDS church gets a huge chunk of the paycheck, ( over $500 a month) but my kids are going without new shoes, enough food or our van is sitting unfixed …. yeah, it begins to be an “issue”.

    I have no problem in contributing $$ to a local church. I am not against the idea what so ever. My thought/concern is , that if we as a family are going to contribute $500 or more dollars a month, then my goodness lets see where that money is going to.

    As I stated earlier, I am not asking for a “handout” from the LDS church. I never have, nor will. I am merely stating that helping the poor the needy and the less fortunate should be something that Churches of all backrounds be concerned about.

    Jesus said it clearly: ” I was a hungry and you fed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was in prison and you visited me”…………..

  97. March 15, 2010 4:56 pm

    Gloria,

    Two things,

    First, please reacquaint yourself with the lesson of the Widows Mite found in Luke 21:1-4 and Mark 12:41-44 and how Christ called his disciples and informed them how the widow gave much more than those who were wealthy.

    Second, I am not sure if you are aware or not, but you and your husband can actually go to the Bishop and ask if there is a way that you can go to the Deseret Industries thrift store to get clothes. My wife and I had to do this for my stepson for christmas. Our bishop gave us a 75.00 dollar order where we could get clothes for my stepson, my wife, and I, we choose to get clothes for our newborn instead of clothes for us.

    Also, there is the bishop’s storehouse where you can put in a food order for the next two weeks. All of this is at the disposal of the member’s who request these services.

    Next, the hometeachers who come visit (if they do not then hubby will have to continually request to have home teachers come visit) and typically, they will ask if there is anything needed for the family.

    Again, about the van – that is something that the LDS Church may not help with, not because they do not want to, but because the Bishop has to determine the “best needs” for all those who are in need of financial assistance. For instance, if there are five families who are facing evictions because the breadwinner is laid off from work and they are awaiting their unemployment benefits and each family has to pay rent, and your request is to have $1500 dollars to fix your van, guess what the Bishop’s decision is going to be? Help those five families facing eviction with rental assistance than give you a check for $1500.oo to fix your van. This is prudent advice. I think you agree here that there has to be certain priorities that need to be taken in consideration.

    Also, the fact that you are saying “I am not asking for a handout” and then turn around and say “The church can help out the poor more if they release their funds because we have needs that require financial assistance” is essentially asking for a handout (whether you want to admit it or not).

    Problem one: The Church needs to help out more because it is their duty. The Church does help out. However, it is the members that make up the church and therefore it is the members that need to help out more.

    Problem two: the same argument you are making is the same argument that anyone can use against your small church by saying your Pastor can work a regular job and forsake his pastorial salary and that money can go to help the less fortunate in your community.

  98. March 15, 2010 5:27 pm

    Timothy ~~

    I find it difficult to converse with you. Being honest here.

    Second– my pastor does have a job on top of his pastoral services he renders.

    Thirdly — I have stated this before, but I don’t think you understand. Please do not tell me what I am thinking or feeling. You have no idea what I think, believe or feel. I have not requested a hand out from the LDS church, not before when I was LDS, not know or not ever. Period. I am not asking for one. Period. Please stop saying I am saying something or thinking something when I am not.

    Sincerely Timothy, I wish you the best, but I honestly find conversing with you a challenge to say the least.

    Kind regards,

  99. March 15, 2010 6:56 pm

    Gloria –

    Here is the truth. You are caught in a lie and therefore can’t reason your way out of it.

    In your own words, for all to see and read, you stated that the LDS Church can do more to help out the poor and needy, and that the LDS Church needs to disclose their finances for you to see so you can know where your “hard earned money” is going (when in fact you have established that it is not your hard earned money, but your husband’s hard earned money). Then you have stated in several commentaries how much your “Small congregation of a Church” is helping out you and your family and the LDS Church (in your perspective) is unwilling to help you out. The first example you gave is your van that was wrecked in an auto accident and requires $1500 plus. You even stated that your “small church congregation” had taken up a special collection for you and then asked why the LDS Ward could not help your family out with this.

    You can’t state that you are not looking for a hand out and then expect me to sympathize with you when you state that your family stands in needs and communicate this in a way where you distinctly express the difference between how you are receiving help from your church and how the LDS Ward your husband attends does not seem to help you out or concern itself with your needs.

    I have provided several ways where you and/or your husband could go to the Bishop for assistance you and your family needs, food, clothing, rental assistance (if possible).

    Yet, you come up with excuse after excuse and claim “I am not saying I want the church to help me” and then express through your example how your small congregation of a church is helping you out more than the LDS Ward.

    It is very apparent by your own words that you are looking for a hand out, and using your own personal perspective in thinking that the LDS Ward does not concern itself with the poor when this is on the contrary.

    So, either you are not looking for a hand out, or you are. The reality is, you are and you are using your own example as to how the “LDS Church can help those who are poor and need of assistance”.

    Again, Judas chastised Jesus Christ for the “waste” of the expensive oil that the woman brought to wash his feet, stating that this oil could be sold and the money given to help the poor.

    Yes, you find it difficult to communicate with me because you have painted yourself in a corner and can’t get out without ruining the paint.

    And, they are your words not mine, so I am not putting words in your mouth that are not there because you already spoken them.

  100. March 15, 2010 9:00 pm

    Timothy–

    I understand what you are trying to do here. You feel bad for how you were called out by Seth and I , and now you are trying to attack my characther. Hey, I understand it, but it don’t make it right.

    I will pray for you Timothy, but I refuse to engage with a person who calls me a liar, tells me I don’t work, and that my husband’s money and how he spends it is none of my business.

    You are out of line, Timothy.

    I hope sincerely you are kinder to your wife than you are to women online,

    gloria

  101. March 15, 2010 9:34 pm

    Gloria –

    Okay, here is why I called you a liar. Here is your very own words:

    Our family was in a car wreck 2 weeks ago. Our van needs to be replaced, but yet the fund are not there to do the necessary repairs. I am in all honesty a bit frustrated that $$ is allocated to pay the LDS church it’s tithe ( a good sum in our home) and yet no money to pay for a much needed car repair.

    My wonderful church has taken up a collection to help our family, but yet the LDS church has done nothing. I mean nothing. Is this not telling? Where is the LDS church when one of it’s families are struggling? When their house burns or their car is totalled? I can’t tell you. I can tell you that our family has been helped by my local church, but we have as of yet had no extend of help from the LDS church. ( not that I am asking, but it is telling)

    First, you stated that your family was in a car wreck. Then you stated that your family needs to make repairs to said “running van” that comes to a total of $1500.00.

    Then, you state how wonderful your church is taking up a special collection and then accuse the LDS Ward for not but yet the LDS church has done nothing. I mean nothing. Is this not telling? Where is the LDS church when one of it’s families are struggling?

    Then, you stated this:

    As I stated earlier, I am not asking for a “handout” from the LDS church. I never have, nor will.

    Again, you first accuse the LDS Ward for not reaching out and helping you “as a struggling family” because your vehicle costs $1500.00 to fix while your own church is taking up a “special collection” to help you out.

    Regarding struggling families –

    here is the reality – I was laid off back in November of 2008. I was making almost $18.00 per hour. We were paying our tithing regularly, we were getting ourselves out of debt, we put money away to get out of our apartment, and were even looking to get a better running vehicle. 3 months of no income – except for my wife – I finally get a job working 10 hour shifts at night making $11.10 per hour. This is significantly less than what I was bringing home.

    Guess what, I pay 700.00 in child support for three kids (garnished out of my wages). This is half of my disposable earnings. After 6 months of working, I end up getting let go because I was 10 seconds late coming back from lunch (had to wait to clock in). From then on, I have had a hard time finding work. Got called back to work at my previous job for only 3 weeks.

    During this time, my wife is pregnant, we were struggling, trying to figure out what we were going to do for food, rent, christmas, care for a newborn.

    I am collecting unemployment (remember, half of that goes out to child support). So we make due, pay our tithing and pay our bills.

    My wife goes on maternity leave in November, and she does not go back to work until January and only part time, because we needed to start bringing money in. I am looking for work, we were praying on me finding a job, or be called back to work at the box plant I was laid off.

    Guess what, we have come to the realization that because we are paying our tithing (and yes the LDS CHURCH HAS BEEN THERE FOR US with food orders, DI clothing order) and people coming by and ensuring that we are taken care of. People where she works buys us clothes, my sister came from spokane with clothes that no longer fit my niece. When we were able to, we bought clothes for our little one.

    We have realized that because we have been paying tithing, my wife is working at her job, and I am able to stay home with our little girl. Guess what, we do not have to worry about day care costs. My car is not running (and I have yet to call a person in our ward who is a good auto mechanic to come take a look at it and see what we need to do to get it running), but we have her car and this saves us on gas. I do work about 12 hours a week or every other week (at night) but that is not sufficient to keep us going.

    Through this all, we have received help with Rent (only once), Food (not anymore because we qualified for food stamps) she is on WIC, her father helps us out when we need it and we pay him back. Yet, for the most part, we are completely self sufficient and live within our means.

    Each time we pay our tithing, we are blessed in ways that are beyond financial assistance. We know when to ask for help, and when we wait upon the Lord to see how he will provide our means.

    So, for you to sit there and complain about how the LDS Church does nothing to “help out struggling families” and demand to know where your financial contributions are going to, and refuse to accept the answers already given you, then yes, I have every right to call you a liar – and even share with you that you are like Judas of Iscariot who complained about the expensive oil being used when he stated “couldn’t this be sold and the money given to the poor?”

    So, it is your words that I am showing you how and why. The reality is that you are now uncomfortable because you can’t get past the reality that you are a busybody who wants to poke her nose and get all upset when it gets bent out of shape and the truth is revealed to you.

    Yes, this conversation is over because you don’t get the answer because you can’t accept the answer.

    Tithing contributions go to pay for the buildings, pay for new buildings.

    And, yes, every single year there is a financial statement published that states that they are audited every year. And, in order for the Church to keep their tax exempt status, they have to open their books to the federal government.

    Do you pay taxes? Why don’t you demand from the Federal Government and your State and City the same thing?

    The reality is you are asking for something you know will not be delivered and base a false argument on that.

    I leave you to your bitterness and hatred towards the LDS Church because that is what it comes down to and I see right through you on that.

  102. March 15, 2010 10:47 pm

    Timothy~

    In all sincerity, I will pray for you.

    I wish you the very best with your family situtation, the challenges you are facing currently and in your future endeavors. I am sincerely glad that you are getting help and support from your local ward, and from family members. This is a blessing indeed! God is the giver of all good gifts. I am sorry you have completely misunderstood me in our conversations here. But I understand “why”.

    God is so good, so faithful & so merciful. I am truly thankful that He is my judge and I look forward to an eternity worshipping the King of Kings. May He lead you to His precious Son, Jesus Christ whose blood on the Cross of Calvary, is the only thing that can wash our sins away.

    May you come to taste of HIS goodness, and know of HIS peace ~~~~

    Kind regards,

    gloria

  103. March 16, 2010 2:55 pm

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control… and those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with it’s passions & desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. ~~ Galatians 5:20 ~~

    Beautiful words, may each one of us take time to deeply examine our hearts, our words and our actions online & off.

    Kind regards,

  104. March 16, 2010 4:32 pm

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control… and those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with it’s passions & desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. ~~ Galatians 5:20 ~~

    Amen! Lets try to keep this civil! 🙂

  105. March 16, 2010 4:37 pm

    See Gloria i was right. It take many months of not paying to support your children for wages to be garnished. Your first obligation is your children, Gods children period………….

  106. March 16, 2010 8:39 pm

    Do you pay taxes? Why don’t you demand from the Federal Government and your State and City the same thing?

    Not sure what planet you think that analogy applies on. Perhaps near Kolob??

    Geeesh!

    See Gloria i was right. It take many months of not paying to support your children for wages to be garnished. Your first obligation is your children, Gods children period………….

    No doubt.

    The thing that bugs me about Timothy is how judgmental and harsh he has been with Gloria – all the while not taking the time to read her comments or understand her situation. Now, lo and behold, we find out how irresponsible he himself has been. He can’t take care of the children he does have, yet feels perfectly inclined to give birth to more and live off of unemployment.

    It is the proverbial “pot calling the kettle black.”

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control… and those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with it’s passions & desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. ~~ Galatians 5:20 ~~

    Amen! Lets try to keep this civil!

    I agree. I will leave this alone from now on.

    As stupid and ridiculous as some of Timothy’s comments have been, I just had to get this one thought off of my chest. Nevertheless, I will pray for him.

    God bless!

    Darrell

  107. Brad permalink
    March 17, 2010 4:40 am

    Timothy, you yourself don’t work, yet you criticize others about money? Seriously? If you’re collecting unemployment, as you say you are, then show US your personal financial situation. I mean everything – your wife’s income, assets, debts, cash flows, everything. Why not? You’re government supported, which means however indirectly, some portion of what others (perhaps me) pay to the government is now going to pay you for NOT working. It’s a fabulous setup, really. But you’ve really lost all credibility.

    Let’s stipulate to a few things:

    1) Most Mormon GA’s did well in their business/professional careers, and have pretty decent retirements from them. Fine. So since we agree, stop using that as a talking point. We’re all tired of it. Further, we’re not talking about what they retired on, rather the point is what amount of “stipend” they are CURRENTLY being paid, not how big their retirement is.

    2) We understand past Mormon presidents made various speeches on these “stipends.” We get it. You can dispense with cutting and pasting the long quotes from Ensign articles. Again, the point is not WHETHER they get paid stipends, but HOW MUCH they are.

    3) We all understand you are familiar with the phrase “straw man.” You know it, you love it, you use it often. Frankly, it’s almost getting comical how much you use it, but it’s still getting old. We understand you think every argument is a “straw man” argument, so you can stop stating it.

    We’re talking about transparency here, Timothy. I tithe faithfully to my church, and I trust them to use it wisely. I was formerly a member of the Stewardship team, who prepares the church budget and monitors spending, so I’m aware of all the various “ins and outs” in my church. I also know that NONE of our spending activites are kept secret. Anyone in our church who wants to know what any staff member makes, simply has to request the information, and they are given it, no questions asked. We make presentations to the church no less than quarterly regarding the cash position of the church and the budget status. Why do we do this? So the church members stay informed as to what the needs of the church are, how we are using the money, and to generally stay “above reproach” and give no room for anyone to question anything. Another reason? Our church, like yours, is a TAX-EXEMPT organization which people make charitable donations to, so we need to be financially transparent. It protects church leadership from potential false accusations of financial misgivings, by providing the information to the church membership.

    Is it the same in the LDS church? Nope, and you know it (I know, I know, insert “straw man argument” reference here). How do you KNOW that the money is used wisely, Timothy? How do you KNOW that the “stipends” are “modest”, as past presidents have stated? What is your evidence for that? I have evidence for my church, it is the financial records of the church, where I know exactly the salary all pastors make. I don’t tithe to my church b/c I know they’ll use it wisely, but b/c I know God asks it of me. Some of the things they choose to spend money on I don’t necessarily agree with, and would spend in other areas, but I’m not in charge of it. However, if I knew there was financial misuse, or if my pastor was grossly overpaid, then I would probably start investigating the issue, and be looking for another church, b/c those problems would be indicative of deeper problems of dishonesty and greed, which means it’s not the church I need to be in in the first place. I know this isn’t the issue with my church, b/c I have the financial proof that it’s not the case. If they simply said “we pay the pastor a modest stipend”, and expected me to take them at their word, yes, I’d have a problem with that, b/c it’s completely unverifiable, when all they’d have to do is show me the amount.

    This is the problem the LDS church has. I’m not saying there IS any financial misuse, b/c it’s impossible to know, b/c they won’t disclose the information. However, you also can’t say there ISN’T any financial misuse, for the same reason. You are essentially taking their word for it. Heck, all they’d have to do is disclose the actual “stipends” paid, and it would put the question to rest. Or would it open a can of worms…

    But whatever Timothy. I don’t hope to convince you. You ignore all comments that don’t agree with your own. Shoot, you’ve even banned me from your blog before b/c I called you out on items that you wouldn’t answer, and then basically accused me of being mean. Sounds like you’re doing the same to Darrell. Typical. Although I take it you have a lot of free time on your hands, being at home all day collecting the unemployment. Yes, based on the scenario you described about your situation, I have a problem with the government paying you to stay home and NOT work, especially when there is child support involved. And then, to criticize other people regarding their finances? The height of hypocrisy.

    We all see it, and I think you know it, but will never admit it.

    Anxiously awaiting your snide reply…

  108. March 17, 2010 5:06 am

    You know… Timothy really put his foot in it here, and I have no interest in sticking up for him at all.

    But guys, I am a bankruptcy attorney. And I happen to know a lot of people who are collecting unemployment, barely making it by, etc., etc.

    I’d appreciate it if, in your eagerness to give Tim “what for”, you did not malign an entire class of people in society – many of whom I respect as clients and as people.

    Just keep in mind where the line is here, and don’t cross it.

    Thank you.

    Carry on.

  109. Brad permalink
    March 17, 2010 5:23 am

    Seth, I spoke specifically about Timothy, not a class of people as a whole, in my comment. Just for the record.

  110. March 17, 2010 5:25 am

    It was more a general worry than something I felt I had specific examples of in this discussion.

  111. March 17, 2010 5:39 am

    Stephanie please e-mail me. I have a question for you.

    God bless.

  112. Michael permalink
    March 17, 2010 8:17 am

    I am going to address the original topic of the post first.

    The way I read this article, it seems to establish a false claim based on proported facts. Why I say this is because the author uses the concept of Priestcraft, quotes a Book of Mormon Passage, and then accuses the LDS Church in practicing Priestcraft.

    One individual has already dealt with this and requested numerous times that the author of the original post address his concerns on their false usage of “priestcraft” and even cited additional scripture as to what priestcraft truly is.

    Allow me to break this down for everyone:

    Priestcraft is:

    1) Obtaining Financial Gain through the preaching of the Gospel for personal enrichment and benefit.

    In this sense, the Latter-day Saint believer is correct in stating that we do not have a paid ministry. None of the leaders of the Church have financial gain that is for their own personal endeavor’s and lives. The best examples are those of Jimmy Swaggart, Benny Hinn, TBN, and other’s of such high caliber who live luxurious lifestyles and rely on the financial support of those whom they say they “shephard”. This is the inherint danger of receiving financial support from a local level congregation. Because of this, the context of the Book of Mormon passage addresses the true sense of priestcraft.

    Furthermore, it even addresses the establishment of receiving continual support of financial gain in attacking the True Gospel of Jesus Christ. From the Latter-day Saint perspective, there are many “Anti-Mormon” ministries that have established themselves for the sole purpose of “attacking and exposing” the Mormon Faith, Culture, People, and Belief system at the cost of a dollar. The Counter-cult Ministry is very lucrative and lacks honest academic pursuits in addressing the similiarties and differences in a more adequate and purposeful manner. Whether one agrees with this statement or not is another discussion, but from the perspective of the Latter-day Saint, counter-cult ministries are a form of this type of “priestcraft” concept.

    2) Priestcraft is attributed and defined in the sense of paying for the ability to possess the power and authority to act and administer in the temporal affairs of God’s Church and kingdom. This is evident in the Acts of the Apostles when Simon the sorcerer had become a Christian and noticed that whenever the Apostles laid their hands on a new convert’s head and the gift of the Holy Ghost was given, he desired to purchase this particular power from the Apostles. Peter sharply reprimanded him and condemned him. The Priesthood authority of God is not something that can be purchased with money – yet many people have claimed to come in the authority of God for the purpose of receiving financial gain. And, in fact, one can technically argue that any person who goes into the ministry for today’s modern Evangelical Christian ecclesiastical authority has to pay for a college degree in order to be considered a “preacher of God’s Word”. This requires the use of, or receiving of loans, grants, to fund their college pursuit in Religious Studies in order to “bless, administer, counsel, and attend to the affairs and administrations of God’s Gospel and Kingdom”.

    These are the most prevelant aspects of priestcraft that is a threat to the True Gospel of Jesus Christ. One example is that of Martin Luther. A true student of Religious history and the context of the Protestant Reformation understands that Martin Luther could no longer hold to the Roman Catholic views (Which was the most Powerful and Only Religion in Western Civilization) of the selling of indulgances. This practice is classic form of priestcraft.

    The ritual of selling indulgances was where the Roman Catholic Church received monetary compensation and declared that a family’s dearly departed would no longer be held in purgatory, but would then be exalted into the heavenly relm and residence of God the Father and Jesus Christ. This is where the statement “when the copper in the tin rings, a soul from purgatory springs”.

    Now, because we went over what Priestcraft is, let us go over what priestcraft is not:

    1) Receiving financial support to administer in the affairs and temporal rituals of God’s Kingdom.

    In the Old Testament, to which one individual alluded too, we read that Aaron and his sons were the only ones who could partake of and feast on the burnt offerings and sacrifices. In a more modern context, this would be like a Holy BBQ. Imagine coming to the high priest with the firstlings of your flock to receive your redemption and atonement, and the High Priests performed the necessary ritual as God commanded and then sat down to eat the meat that you had brought to offer?

    One could very well presume that there may have been hungry Israelites that lacked certain provisions – why didn’t God command that this meat be given to the poor of the Israelites?

    Another law that was provided is that of the 7 years where every family, person, poor and wealthy were to bring all that they had to the leaders of their tribe (if I remember correctly). Accordingly, this property (whether it is land, cattle, produce, slaves, money, etc), the leaders, then, dispersed this amount according to the specific needs of each respective families, and based on the size of the family. Thus, every 7 years, each family starts anew and it is up to them how they prosper or fail for the next 7 years.

    In the New Testament, we have Christ commissioning not only the 12 disciples, but also commissioning the 70 to go out and preach the gospel. What is interesting here is that Christ stated they are to take nothing with them. They were to rely on the contributions of those within the respective cities for their particular needs and support. Some may have received decent meals from affluent citizens while others may have received a small portion of bread and water as a meal.

    Another example is the relationship between the Pharisees giving their tithes to the Treasury and the widow coming and all that she had. Christ took this opportunity to share with his disciples that the pharisees gave out of their wealth, while the widow gave out of her need.

    As one clearly sees, this is not considered priestcraft by any means of the word because it is in support of the particular nature of how one is administering in their respective calling in the Kingdom of God.

    From here, we must address the issue of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the problem with Financial Transparency.

    When a member goes in at the end of the year, the Bishop asks one question – Are you a full tithe payer? It is a yes or no question. This is something that is between the Lord and the individual. If the Individual answer’s yes, then they are held accountable to God if they are lying and were not a full tithe payer. Remember, God only requires us to give back 10 percent of our increase.

    The reason this is brought up is the hopes to understand the more hypothetical consideration: A member goes into the Bishop’s office and states that he/she are a full tithe payer, and the Bishop requires them to produce evidence as to how and where they were a full tithe paying individual? What right and authority does the Church have? Certainly one will argue that the Church should not involve themselves in the financial affairs of the Church.

    However, the criticism is valid. Some stipulate that their respective churches produce financial budgeting to their members. But how much of that is truly broken down? And is it available to the general public or just the members? Some churches only provide the final budget for Congregational approval, but the entire congregation does not see all of the behind the scenes aspects of what goes on with respective budget committees. For instance, the Assemblies of God has a very complex process on establishing a budget for the year.

    Yet, the question is: Why doesn’t the LDS Church come out with facts and figures as to how much they are bringing in and how much they are paying out? A valid question that has a very good reason as to why the answer is that such a disclosure is not given out. One of those reasons is already expressed here – namely that the LDS Church could do more in helping those who are poor and imporvished.

    There is a very significant problem with handing money over to help those who are impoverished and poor. A very good example is looking at the criticism some are giving the United States Foreign Aid on meeting specific Humanitarian needs. For instance – the United States of America has given over $2.6 billion dollars in Foreign aid to Haiti over a 25 year period. This averages out to an approximately $104,000,000 (million) a year. This is prior to the devestating earthquake. One would logically conclude that Haiti would not be considered “the poorest nation” in the Western Hemisphere, yet, we have seen that much of the devastation from the earthquake came from poorly constructed homes, people still went hungry, and were impoverished:

    Consider the example of Haiti, where much of the world’s attention has focused in recent weeks. Approximately $2.6 billion in U.S. foreign aid has been diverted to this country in the past 25 years, and yet it remains the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. Two-thirds of Haitians lived on less then $2 per day before the earthquake, with that number likely being affected by how many have now been killed, displaced, and impoverished. How can this be, if foreign aid is indeed the answer to fixing such problems? (For comparison, it should be noted that Israel is given around this much each year, primarily used for purchasing weapons.){From “The Failure of Foreign Aid” – http://www.nothingwavering.org/post/17995/2010-01-28/the-failure-of-foreign-aid.html}

    In 1986, James Bovard (who is a freelance writer that focuses on this topic and has written on such topics for the Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune) published Policy Analysis: The Continuing Failure of Foreign Aid. In this, he states in his executive summary, that the United States alone gave over $146 billion dollars in humanitarian aid to foreigh countries. This was since 1946. A 40 year time span. Bovard argues that because of our (then) current efforts to break the cycle of poverty, our foreign aid policies have become the “opiate of the Third World. Aid and other donors have encouraged Third World governments to rely on handouts instead of on themselves for development. No matter how irresponsible, corrupte, or oppressive a Third World government may be, there is always some Western government or international agency anxious to supply it with a few more million dollars. … American Foreign aid has often harmed the Third World poor.

    This, again, comes from an article in 1986. So, what does this have to do with the LDS Church and Financial Transparency? First, and foremost, the LDS Church brings in a substantial amount of money through tithings. As provided, these tithing contributions go to pay for the branches, temples, and ward buildings that are currently in operation today. These tithes and offerings also go for the purchase of, building materials for, construction contract payments of, permit filings for constructions, renovations of all church owned properties.

    For instance, in 2009, we have the following statistics:

    Stakes 2,818

    Missions 348

    Districts 622

    Wards and Branches 28,109

    Number of Temples in Operation as of December 31 128

    All of these consume money’s and each is allocated particular budgets to meet their operating costs.

    Also, every year, their is a statement that is actually given out:

    To the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Dear Brethren: As prescribed by revelation in section 120 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes authorizes the expenditure of Church funds. This council is composed of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and the Presiding Bishopric. This council approves budgets for Church departments and operations. Church departments expend funds consistent with approved budgets and in accordance with Church policies and procedures.

    The Church Auditing Department has been granted access to all records and systems necessary to evaluate the adequacy of controls over receipts of funds, expenditures, and safeguarding of Church assets. The Church Auditing Department is independent of all other Church departments and operations, and the staff consists of certified public accountants, certified internal auditors, certified information systems auditors, and other credentialed professionals.

    Based upon audits performed, the Church Auditing Department is of the opinion that, in all material respects, contributions received, expenditures made, and assets of the Church for the year 2008 have been recorded and administered in accordance with appropriate accounting practices, approved budgets, and Church policies and procedures.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Church Auditing Department

    Robert W. Cantwell

    Managing Director

    Granted, the above does not contain any actual financial statements as to how much money is allocated to where, one will generally agree that if there were misuse of financial contributions, the Federal Government will be well aware of it (because it is my understanding that all 501(c)3 organizations have to produce evidence and accounting of how much contribution they receive and where those contributions go to).

    This may not be acceptable to those who are wanting financial disclosure, however, it is like asking the Vatican to open their books and provide a very detailed financial disclosure as to all the money it brings in and all the money that is allocated out for specific purposes. It will be a very hefty volumous work that would take a team of accountants to go through with a fine tooth comb.

    Further, the mention of how Judas of Iscariot questioned the Son of God as to the use of expensive oils, when in his perspective and notion, such an item would catch a fair price in the market and the proceeds given to help the poor, was a very interesting aspect in consideration of this particular discussion.

    What, then, is my overall conclusion?

    1) The criticism, when examined in appropriate context, as outlined in the original post is a definite argument based on a false understanding of what is and what is not priestcraft. Neither the author of the article, nor those who are supporting the author’s article providing an honest defense and efficient response to why the false and misrepresentation as to how the term of priestcraft is misused. The credibility of the author has, in my understanding, has faltered on that she did not fully take the time to investigate and attempt to comprehend the context of what she was saying, or, she ignored the rules of honest and true investigation and posited her own interpretation that reveals her faulty thinking. This is based on exactly how her words are printed and in what form of communication she is presenting. Therefore, it is her responsibility to clear up any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of her own words and comments, not those who are bringing about a more right and proper contextual understanding of how and why the original post is faulty.

    2) both sides of the issue are full of ill-advised commentary. Two individuals even displayed a sense of “one upmanship” that is appalling. Despite this, both have valid reasons for their arguments that ought to properly be considered.

    3) the infiltration of “dead beat dad” has nothing to do with the conversation. Granted, the understanding is based on the one person’s interpretation of another person’s statement as to child support, the reality is that one should not engage in a conversation that detracts from the original intent of discussion. Thus, here we are discussing the nature of financial transparency and the LDS Church’s reluctancy in that. Not about whether or not someone is struggling and one church is helping them while the other is ignoring their plight, nor whether or not someone is abusing or not abusing whatever financial assistance they are receiving.

    4) in my honest and overall opinion, this discussion has become derailed and needs to get back on track in a more honest and respectful manner.

    Also, as to the criticism that the LDS Church can do more in helping the poor, the criticism itself is faulty because the LDS Church has one of the best welfare systems recognized. Imagine if each state and each foreign government were to operate in a similar fashion as to the way the LDS Church actually cares for the needy. Some disagree with the idea that the LDS Church requires someone to do some “service” work when they receive assistance, but if you step back and think about it, how many times have you personally passed by a person who had a sign that says: “Will work, hungry, please help, God bless” and you think to yourself “If I give that person money, they most likely will use it to by drugs, or alcohol”. And, yet, instead offer to pay them to come over and clean up your yard, or wash your car, or offer to take them to a cafe so they can get food? In all honesty, I have done this myself. So, the concept of “working” for sustenance is not just something the LDS Church requires, but even the Apostle Paul taught in 2 Thessalonians that if a man does not work, he should not eat. This is open to a very ambigious interpretation, and in my personal opinion, if an individual is capable of working but is prevented from working because there are not alot of jobs out there, and he receives support, he should do all that he can to perform some service for that which he received. In essence, it is common ethics.

  113. March 17, 2010 10:33 am

    I know this is a passionate discussion, but lets be careful not to use name-calling.

  114. March 17, 2010 10:39 am

    Michael / Timothy,

    IP addresses are specific to each computer! 🙂 Unless Michael is using your computer, you are posting under a new name.

    Stephanie

  115. March 17, 2010 1:03 pm

    Micahel,

    Since you appear to be Timothy’s schizophrenic alter ego and Timothy is unwilling or unable to do so (despite repeated requests), would you mind responding to my comment regarding Timothy’s faulty critique on the “Trinity” here:

    http://reasoningwiththecritics.wordpress.com/2009/03/01/jesus-is-god-how-is-this-possible/

    God Bless!

    Darrell

  116. March 17, 2010 5:23 pm

    Seth ~~

    Again I thank you for your comment you made, in relation to being careful what we say , so as to not malign a whole class of people in our society. So many are struggling financially right now, and we do need to be careful with how we say what we say.

    I want to say to Timothy, I sincerely am sorry that you are expierencing some challenges in life right now. Life is just tough some times. I understand. I don’t want to come across as being judgemental of Timothy’s financial situation or the fact that he is paying child support. ( or has had his wages garnished) I am not walking in his shoes, so I can’t judge his heart or his situation. I only had hoped he would extend the same grace to others and their situations as well.

    Honestly folks, I sometimes get frustrated with online discussions. I think sometimes it’s fruitless ~~ kwim?

    In any case, I just wanted to say to Seth thank you for making that point. I can’t agree more.

    Kind regards,

  117. March 17, 2010 5:27 pm

    As I read thru the comments on this thread, another thought popped into my head as I was reading about financial transparecny in Churches today.

    Don’t you think if there was financial transparency, congregrants would be more inclined to give more in relation to sincere needs of the church body?

    For example, if I know my own local church is supporting missionaries in foreign countries, I will most likely feel more inclined to give offerings to help support those missionaries.
    If I don’t know of the “need” or how much is lacking or in excess, how could I make a wise assement of what I should be giving?

    When I know my church is struggling to pay the power bill, per say ( just an example) I am going to be more inclined to give based on the needs of my local church.

    I also think with more transparency, there is less tendency to be critical of “how” the funds are spent & the leaders who are responsible for expenditures.

    Does that make sense?

    Just some random thoughts,

  118. March 17, 2010 5:33 pm

    Micheal ~~ Are you in fact Timothy? Same writing style……. hmmm… just a hunch.

    Stephanie ~~ Did you state that Micheal / Timothy share the same IP addy?

    Michale/Timothy ~ Why not come forth and reveal yourself and your true identity? Why hid behind another identity? Why the falseness?

  119. March 17, 2010 5:44 pm

    Gloria – That is correct. Stephanie just outed Michael as Timothy’s sock puppet.

    Rule #1 of using a sock puppet: mask your IP or post from a different computer.

    Or you could just not use them. That works just as well.

  120. Looking for Drama permalink
    March 17, 2010 6:31 pm

    I approve of this thread.

  121. March 17, 2010 9:00 pm

    Seth

    I agree with you about not judging others for having financial difficulty in this bad economy. The county that I work in has an unemployment rate of 15%! It is so sad how many people are out of work and / or unable to make ends meet.

    Timothy

    I wanted to respond to a couple of the questions that you had:

    Some stipulate that their respective churches produce financial budgeting to their members. But how much of that is truly broken down?

    My church breaks down the income and expenditures to the $1 amount.

    And is it available to the general public or just the members?

    Anyone. The ushers handed out the budget report / year-end 2009 financial statement prior to the Sunday services to anyone. I’m sure if you wanted a copy or if the newspaper wanted a copy you could simply call up the church to get a record. The copies were passed out indiscriminately to members, non-members, and visitors. The last church I attended had quarterly business meetings right after the morning service. Members and non-members could stay to listen to the financial report.

    Stephanie

  122. Brad permalink
    March 18, 2010 2:06 am

    My church breaks down the budget to the penny, not even just the dollar. Total and complete financial accountability and transparency. Not just b/c the church says so, but b/c we the members can see that it IS so.

    Timothy/”Michael”, why the need to post under another user name? Total loss of credibility with that move, buddy.

  123. March 18, 2010 3:15 am

    Just by way of information… As Ward Financial Clerk, my job is to track ward finances. I’ve done this job once before at a BYU ward and the concept was basically the same.

    I write reimbursement checks for ward members who spend their own money on ward activities. Both me and a bishopric member have to sign off on these. The expenditures are also automatically transmitted to Salt Lake every time I close out our software. Bishopric members are not allowed to sign reimbursements for themselves or their own family members. An printout summarizing all expenditures for the day is also generated that has to be reviewed by me and the Bishop himself.

    All tithing, fast offerings, humanitarian contributions, missionary contributions, Perpetual Education Fund donations, etc. can only be handed to a member of the bishopric. The envelopes are then opened after church in the presence of me and one Bishopric member. All donations are entered into the computer software, double-checked, and then placed in a bank deposit bag with a sticky seal that cannot be opened without ripping open the bag. A donation slip for the bank also goes in there. Documentation is also placed in an envelope and filed away in a locked cabinet in the locked clerk’s office. Multiple signatures from both me and the bishopric member who assisted. All donations are automatically transmitted to Salt Lake.

    Then we take the deposit envelope and a drop box key and drive over to the bank with the bishopric member following me. We both go to the drop box and verify that the funds made it there safely and that’s the end of that.

    Salt Lake sends me back an accounting of all of this which I’m supposed to reconcile each month. I get audited by the Stake Financial Clerk twice a year.

    I don’t know what Salt Lake does with tithing funds. Not interested in voicing much opinion on accounting practices at that level. But I can say things look pretty air-tight at the local ward level.

    I will say that the vast majority of LDS tithing funds undoubtedly go toward building costs and maintenance. Land purchases, utilities, upkeep, construction costs – that’s some REALLY expensive stuff there. There’s really no way around this I’m afraid.

  124. March 18, 2010 3:21 am

    Seth,

    Thank you for sharing this information! I had wanted to ask you but didn’t know if it was okay or not for you to share. Very interesting. Thanks for cluing me in. Is it a church-specific software program that you use, or is it something like Excel?

    Steph

  125. March 18, 2010 3:41 am

    It’s church-specific software. “Member and Leader Services” or “MLS” for short. You can learn more than you ever wanted to know about the software and local financial practices here:

    http://www.lds.org/pa/display/0,17884,6074-1,00.html

  126. March 19, 2010 2:42 am

    Seth,

    When I was in the Bishopric, we did it the same way.

    I really don’t question the way money is handled on the local level. The reality is the local level has very little lead way on how money is spent. While there are a few things that they have control over, the vast majority of control comes from Salt Lake, and Salt Lake has virtually zero transparancy. Basically, we are left just “taking their word for it” that everything is hunky-dory in Zion. Problem is, in my opinion, they have pretty much demonstrated that their word is about as good as Bill Clinton’s.

    Darrell

  127. March 19, 2010 3:43 am

    I was with you till that last sentence Darrell.

  128. Todd Smith permalink
    May 28, 2014 6:03 pm

    I have no problem with clergy getting paid. Neither the Book of Mormon nor the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims that this is evil or priestcraft or anything else. Most assuredly, no member of our Church is paid for his preaching. There are a few, perhaps 20, members of church who do get paid who are full time clergy. Out of 15 million members that’s not a lot and they are paid a very small sum for being the administrators of one of the largest corporations in the world, not for preaching.

    Somehow, some people have determined that because we don’t pay our ministers, we think you’re evil because you pay yours. I can assure you that we are not condemning you for your practices. Our Priesthood lesson this past Sunday was on how many good things churches who are not ours do in the world and how commendable they are.

    As to where we spend our money, It’s there for the world see. We build two chapels a day at a cost of $3,000,000 a piece. Our temples are closer to $30,000,000 and up and we seem to be building about six or seven a year. The Brigham Young University system costs us tithe payers in the millions every year. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the largest contributor to the International Red Cross. Our Fast Offerings go to feed millions of meals every month and do many more things to help the less fortunate. And, of course, our missionary program isn’t free either.

    I meet in one of those $3,000,000 buildings every Sunday. So do two other wards. And the buildings are used quite extensively through the week for such things as Boy Scouts and other wonderful youth activities. Did you know that the our church is the largest sponsor of Boy Scouts in the world? But do you know why we triple up on our meetings? Why don’t we have three buildings for three wards as other churches might do? Because much of the tithing collected in the US goes to support new buildings in Russia and Mexico and Iraq (and many other places).

    Yes, the money we are spending as a church is transparent. But you don’t have to look very far to see how it is spent. If I were a betting man, I’d be willing to wager there’s a new LDS church being built somewhere near you.

    What a wonderful church you have. Please continue your practices. Let’s all get along. I assure that our Home and Visiting Teaching programs more than make up for the lack of a paid ministry. Are we perfect? No. We can learn much from you. And, again if I were a betting man, I’d be willing to wager that you could learn a little from us too.

    Now, can you be critical of us? Yes you can. It’s not hard. If there were people who could find fault in The Lord Jesus Christ, I’m sure there are people who can find fault in the way we do things. But wouldn’t it be so much better if we followed Christ-like principles and got along?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: