THE MORMON CURTAIN
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Ex-Mormon News, Stories And Recovery
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MORMON MONEY - SECTION 1
Topics surrounding the Church Of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day-Saints annual income and spending. A Mega-Billion dollar tax-exempt corporation hiding behind the guise of a "Church". It is estimated that the LDS Church earns an average of 60 Billion dollars a year in holdings and 7 Billion dollars a year in annual member "Tithing".
| From Religion News Blog:
PARIS, Idaho (AP) -- While the Mormon church is accommodating growth with new temples in nearby Rexburg and in New York City, LDS
leaders are not neglecting the historical roots of their faith.
Continue Reading Religion News Blog.
An extensive, restoration project is being considered for the Paris Tabernacle, a 118-year-old meeting hall designed by a son of
church leader Brigham Young.
The tabernacle's steps are being restored this summer to their original condition, reusing the same rocks that were embedded in
the original sandstone steps more than a century ago.
While that is considered ongoing maintenance, teams of craftsmen, engineers and professionals also are on scene, evaluating what
work needs to be included in the project, like restoring windows to their original condition and shape.
The church has good reason to celebrate its history in Idaho, which would likely not exist as a state if it weren't for
colonizing efforts by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said Idaho State University history professor Ron
"That's probably a distinct possibility," agreed Frank Crawford, the local stake president. "I think Brigham Young, with the
settlement of this area and other areas as well, was pretty prophetic -- pardon the pun -- with his outlook on that. He was a
very pragmatic colonist."
Mormon pioneers, led by Charles C. Rich, founded Paris in southeast Idaho on Sept. 26, 1863. Franklin, settled by Mormons three
years earlier 25 miles to the southwest, was Idaho's first community.
Given that the theology and practice of the Mormon Church violates essential Christian doctrines, Mormonism does not represent
historical, Biblical Christianity, is not a Christian denomination, and is not in any way part of the Christian church.
Hatzenbuehler argues that Idaho likely would have never achieved statehood without these Mormon settlements, which were followed
by large-scale Mormon migrations in the 1870s and then the railroad.
He said such settlement would have eventually reached what is now Idaho. However, had it been delayed in the southeastern part of
the state by 10 or 20 years, there would have been a much less compelling reason for statehood.
Instead, Hatzenbuehler said the territory would have been divided up among its neighbors instead of becoming the state of Idaho
on July 3, 1890.
"It certainly could have happened that way, 49 states," he said.
| From the Salt Lake Tribune:
Salt Lake City's Planning Commission will hold a public hearing about the proposed Edison Street sale Jan. 26 at 5:45 p.m. in
City Hall, 451 S. State St.
Continue Reading Story.
The LDS Church is buying another Salt Lake City street. But don't expect a flap like the one that erupted when it bought part of
Main Street in 1999.
"It's actually not that big of a deal," said Wayne Mills, a city planner working on the purchase.
This time, the road - Edison Street (150 East) between 600 South and 700 South - isn't in use. Main Street between South Temple
and North Temple was at the time it was sold.
The purchase price will be different, too. The church bought Main Street in the heart of downtown for $8.1 million. The city
isn't yet disclosing Edison's worth, but it will be much lower.
"It's not anywhere the size or the value Main Street was," said Linda Cordova of the city's property-management division.
The city closed that portion of Edison almost two decades ago but retained ownership because it owns land nearby. The church
has now requested the city declare Edison's southern half as surplus property so it can buy it and combine the land with its
adjacent Deseret Industries, 131 E. 700 South.
Mills said the church wouldn't be able to build anything on the property because the city has a utility easement underneath.
The church could stripe it for parking.
The city routinely closes and sells minor streets such as Edison. But even this transaction caught Mills' attention because of
the Main Street Plaza controversy.
| I was figuring how many members and how much money is needed to run a building. I'll give me estimates and I would like input.
Utilites: I could see the average stake center running a utility bill around $2,750 a month. That includes water, energy, sewage, and trash service.
Another $200 a month for lawn care, snow removal services.
Phone Services. I could see that costing $25 a line and we have 10 lines. total of $250 a month
Nongosepel supplies (i.e. Toliet paper, paper towels, window washer, etc) $200 a month
Office supplies $200 a month
Gospel books, videos, related materials $200 a month
all Activity Funds $1000 a month
So the total to run an already built stake center/ward meetinghouse is by my estimate around $5,000 a month.
If you have 2 wards meet in one building and they have 75 tithe payers each then the tith payers only have to pay $35 a week for the church to pay the bills.
Remember, cleaning, snow removal, etc. were discontinued by the COB. Those responsibilities now fall on the members as "Callings".
Remember... 20% of the church financially supports the other 80%. So the tithes of members in prosperous countries go to pay for costs around the world.
And it's not just the costs of maintaining the status quo, it's the costs of empire expansion -- new land, new buildings -- and the costs of replacing obsolete facilities.
This is what you get when you're part of a global organization instead of an independent congregation.
When I was a fincance clerk, I figured that there were at least 4 families in our ward (including myself), who's tithing by itself covered the entire ward budget, building costs, AND could have paid for a part-time janitor for all the stake's buildings. But NO, the members had to do the janitorial work. I refused.
So we only got a fraction (2%) of the entire income we brought in to run our ward and building. All the rest went to "build up the kingdom" and pad somebody else's pockets. What a load of crap!
That pretty much disgusted me and was one of the many things that led me out the door.
| They were the oddest of couples.
One had been a Mormon seminary teacher. The other an ex-con.
Despite their disparate backgrounds, former Mesa resident Dennis D. Cope and Edgar M. Bias of Houston worked together to run an international fraud scheme that cost investors, including some Arizonans, almost $10 million, according to court records.
The losses could be much higher, as investors have told investigators that roughly 600 people invested up to $100 million total.
Some of the lost money went toward personal use for Cope and Bias, and there was lavish spending on luxury hotels, restaurants and jewelry, according to credit card records from one of their investment firms.
Cope and Bias are alleged to have run their schemes the past 6 1/2 years, playing "catch me if you can" as they eluded inquiries from Canadian officials and investigations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and securities regulators from at least six states, including Arizona.
This spring, however, the feds cracked down on them.
Click Here For Original Link Or Thread.
| Many in the older generations of Mormonism believed we worked jobs and used the free market system because it was available and convenient. The ultimate system was a pure form of communism called the Law of Consecration. Money was viewed as a necessary evil that the church will use until times change and the Law of Consecration can be used.
My mom grew up through the great depression and her small Utah town didn't have much money. Funny, most Mormons then had no money. They grew and produced their food, or bartered a skill or an agricultural good for a service or good.
As much as Mormonism makes me sick, the one aspect of it I do like is our Mormon ancestors could literally take nothing and make something out of it. I don't think the Mormons today could do that. They throw money at the problem. They turn Nauvoo and Martins Cove into tacky tourist traps. If they were smart, they would build a world-class roller coaster on these sites to attract more people.
One thing I see in the young married TBM couples is they are all about money. If you have money, they like you, well maybe, you still have to have the TBM personality from a can. If you have a work ethic but happen to have a blue collar job that doesn't meet their level of approval, you carry the pee bucket in the ward. Yup, they treat Brother Williams the plumber like a guy who makes his living fixing pipes full of dung and can't believe that low life can charge $45/hr and get away with it. My gosh, young TBM Elders Quorum president has a masters degree in church history and can't make that kind of dough. Brother Williams does all his church assignments but occasionally says, "damn!" and "shit!" when mad but it's not fair! I know the scriptures better than him and don't say damn! He doesn't deserve that nice ski boat we took the youth on last Saturday!
The Mormons constantly yak about how the Book of Mormon was written for our times. Back when Ezra Taft Benson was a prophet, he warned us the latter day saints could easily become like the Nephites of old. Stuck up on themselves and only concerned with wealth while they think they are God's own special people.
Well, from what I see, the modern day LDS Church is a bunch of corrupted Nephites at every level. Not that I'm saying the Book of Mormon is true or that it really matters but the Mormons are dropping their own ball and think God loves them for doing it.
I've never seen the membership of the church so dysfunctional and greedy. President Hinckley thinks it's great. As he said in the last general conference, “The church is in the best shape it has ever been!" Hmmmmm. Go to any LDS ward and compare the activities and people to a ward 30 years ago. The members now are sloppy, lazy, ill mannered, in debt up to their ears, and conceded as hell. Everything they are not supposed to be but Mormons are too busy patting each other on the back to notice.
Yup, the modern day church has indeed fallen. They have become the Nephites. Oh how I wish they would disappear like the Nephites did. Funny, nobody can even find any Nephite DNA they so disappeared.
The Book of Mormon may be fiction but the point is, the members of the Mormon Church do horribly when they try to follow their own fictional value system.
It's all about the money. Be a nice person in the Mormon corridor with no money and see how you are treated. You only can be poor in Africa. They like poor people there, lots of programs available to save you. If Bono won't help you, Hinckley will. At least if the cameras are on. LOL!
Even the prophet likes bling. He's into building a huge Conference Center that cost as much as the Belagio Hotel/Casino in Vegas. He's into building brightly lit temples in highly visible areas. The buildings may be tacky but who can miss the San Diego temple on I-5? It looks like it belongs in Vegas. In a way, the Mormon church is like a boring casino. Lots of gimmicks used to get you in and they try and keep you there until you're broke.
| Salt Lake City's Redevelopment Agency is expected to help clear the way tonight for the LDS Church to purchase the state-owned Devereaux House near the Triad Center downtown.
Heritage Gardens in front of the Devereaux House, believed to be the first mansion constructed in Utah.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints purchased a large portion of the Triad Center last year with plans to open an extension of Brigham Young University there along with relocating the LDS Business College, now housed at 400 East and South Temple. The state has received an offer from the church to purchase the mansion.
Salt Lake City's RDA has an interest in the property because it helped facilitate reconstruction of the mansion after a fire nearly destroyed it in 1979, shortly after it was purchased by the state Legislature. To clear the title exceptions and facilitate the sale, RDA board members are expected to adopt a resolution "approving the termination of the lease/lease-back agreement" between the state and the RDA, "terminating the agency's interest in a sublease, maintenance and management agreement" between the RDA, the state and Devereaux Partners Ltd.
The item is listed on the RDA's formal agenda for tonight's meeting at the Salt Lake City-County Building.
Click Here For Original Link Or Thread.
| I thought you might find interesting this transcript of the US Senate Committee case regarding Mormon Senator Reed Smoot. Where
did Mormon Church President Smith find time for meditation, let alone revelation? |
Senate Committee Testimony
Mr. Tayler (Senate Attorney):What is your business?
Mr. Smith (Mormon Prophet and President): My
principle business is that of president of the church.
Mr. Tayler: In what other business are you engaged?
Mr. Smith: I
am engaged in NUMEROUS other businesses.
Mr. Tayler: What?
Mr. Smith: I am PRESIDENT of Zion's Cooperative Mercantile
Mr. Tayler: Of what other corporations are you an officer?
Mr. Smith: I am PRESIDENT of the State Bank of
Utah, another institution.
Mr. Tayler: What else?
Mr. Smith: PRESIDENT of Zion's Savings Bank and Trust Company.
Mr. Tayler: What else?
Mr. Smith: I am PRESIDENT of the Utah Sugar Company.
Mr. Tayler: What else?
Mr. Smith: I
am PRESIDENT of the Consolidated Wagon and Machine Company.
Mr. Tayler: What else?
Mr. Smith: There are several other
SMALL INSTITUTIONS with which I am associated.
Mr. Tayler: Are you associated with the Utah Light and Power Company?
Mr. Smith: I am.
Mr. Tayler: In what capacity?
Mr. Smith: I am a director and PRESIDENT of the company.
Tayler: A director and the president?
Mr. Smith: Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler: Had you that in mind when you classified the
others as 'small concerns'?
Mr. Smith: No sir, I had not that in mind.
Mr. Tayler: That is a 'large concern'?
Smith: That is a large concern?
Mr. Tayler: Are you an officer of the Salt Lake and Los Angeles Railroad Company?
Smith: I am.
Mr. Tayler: What?
Mr. Smith: PRESIDENT and director.
Mr. Tayler: Of what else are you President?
Mr. Smith: I am PRESIDENT of the Salt Air Beach Company.
Mr. Tayler: What else, if you can recall.
Mr. Smith: I DO
NOT RECALL JUST NOW!
Mr. Tayler: What relation do you sustain to the Idaho Sugar Company?
Mr. Smith: I am a director of
that company and also the PRESIDENT of it.
Mr. Tayler: Of the Inland Crystal Salt Company?
Mr. Smith: Also the SAME
Mr. Tayler: The Salt Lake Dramatic Association?
Mr. Smith: I am PRESIDENT of that and also a
Mr. Tayler: Are you president of any other corporation there?
Mr. Smith: I DO NOT KNOW. PERHAPS YOU CAN TELL
ME!! I DO NOT REMEMBER ANY MORE JUST NOW!
Mr. Tayler: It would seem that the number has grown so large that it would be an
undue tax upon your memory to charge you with naming them all.
Mr. Smith: What relation do you sustain to the Salt Lake
Knitting Company? Did I already ask you about it?
Mr. Smith: No sir, you did not.
Mr. Tayler: The Salt Lake Knitting
Mr. Smith: I am PRESIDENT of it, and also a director.
Mr. Tayler: The Union Pacific Railway Company?
Smith: I am a DIRECTOR.
Mr. Tayler: Are you an official of any mining companies?
Mr. Smith: Yes, sir.
Mr. Smith: I am the vice-president of the Bullion, Beck and Champion Mining Company.
Mr. Tayler: The Deseret
Mr. Smith: No, sir.
Mr. Tayler: You have no business relations with that?
Mr. Smith: NO SIR.
Tayler: Is the Deseret News the 'organ of the Church'?
Mr. Smith: Well, I suppose it is in some sense the 'organ of the
church'. It is not opposed to the church, at least.
Mr. Tayler: It has for years published, has it not, at the head of its
columns, that it is "the organ of the church", or the "official organ of the church"?
Mr. Smith: Not that I know of.
Mr. Tayler: Do you know who owns it?
Mr. Smith: How is that?
Mr. Tayler: Do you know who owns it?
Mr. Smith: I
know who owns the building that it is in.
Mr. Tayler: Who owns the building in which it is published?
Mr. Smith: The
Mr. Tayler: The church?
Mr. Smith: Yes, sir.
Mr. Tayler: Tell us what you know about the owners of that
Mr. Smith: It has been for a number of years past owned by a company --- AN INCORPORATED COMPANY.
Tayler: What is the name of the company?
Mr. Smith: The Deseret News Publishing Company.
Mr. Tayler: Do you know who
its officers are?
Mr. Smith: No, it is not owned by that company.
Mr. Tayler: Oh, it is not?
Mr. Smith: No; it is
Mr. Tayler: What do you know ----
Mr. Smith: But I say for years it was owned by a company of that kind.
Tayler: What do you know about its present ownership?
Mr. Smith: I presume that the present ownership is IN THE CHURCH.
Mr. Tayler: You suppose the present owner is 'the church'?
Mr. Smith: Yes, sir; the church.
Mr. Tayler: I do not want
to have any misconstruction put upon your use of the word 'presume' because you do not know that it is so owned?
I really do not know so that I could tell you positively.
Mr. Tayler: Who would know?
Mr. Smith: I PRESUME I could find
Mr. Tayler: Could you find out before you leave Washington?
Mr. Smith: Perhaps so.
(SOURCE: Reed Smoot
Case transcript, Vol. 1, pp. 81, 82, 83, 86, 87, and 88)
A day later, because the ownership of the Deseret News and
its articles were keys to the case, Joseph F. Smith testified:
Mr. Tayler: In what form does your church have title to
the Deseret News property?
Mr. Smith: It owns the deed.
Mr. Tayler: I am speaking of the newspaper, not the
Mr. Smith: The press; yes. I would like to state that when I was asked that question before, Mr. Tayler, I was not
aware of the fact that I have since learned from my counsel here that during the trusteeship of Lorenzo Snow the Deseret News
plant was transferred from the Deseret News Company to Lorenzo Snow, trustee, in trust. I was not aware of the fact, Mr.
Chairman, when that question was asked me yesterday, I believe it was. I have since learned that that is the fact and that my
counsel who is here made out the papers for the transfer. .....
Mr. Tayler: So that it is now in YOU as trustee in trust?
Mr. Smith: NOW I OWN IT AS TRUSTEE IN TRUST. Furthermore, I will say that I have discovered since yesterday that there is
published on the second or third page of the Deseret News the statement that it is the "organ of the Church of Jesus Christ of
(Reed Smoot case, Vol. 1, page 158).
As you can see, the Mormon Church has been about
business for a very long time.
| The LDS Church has paid the state $900,000 for the historic Devereaux House, according to the sale contract.
The deal, which recently was finalized, comes with strings.
The state can keep the artwork in the mansion at 340 W. South Temple and the church must maintain the "historical and architectural designation" of the house and associated "carriage house" until 2105.
It appears the mansion - reconstructed in 1984 after a fire - must be protected anyway because it is listed on the city's historic register.
The home was considered the Salt Lake Valley's first mansion when the original was built in 1857.
The state granted the church the right to move the two structures somewhere else - though there are no plans to do so.
Today, the mansion is used as a reception center. The church plans to allow those receptions to continue, but hasn't announced any future uses.
| The LDS Church announced plans Wednesday to build a four-story, multi-use facility in downtown Ogden, citing optimism about the city's redevelopment efforts in the area.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, via its real estate investment arm, Property Reserve Inc., is expected to begin construction next year on a 75,000-square-foot office/retail building at 22nd Street and Washington Boulevard.
The building will be immediately north of the LDS Church's Ogden temple and adjacent to the Treehouse Children's Museum.
| The Church recently purchased 17 of Rembrandt van Rijn's 70 biblical etchings. There are some 1500 authenticated Rembrandt pieces. 17 divided by 1500 is slightly more than 1%. The article in the "Ensign" hints that the Church owns more Rembrandts. When I was on a mission, we would castigate the Catholic Church as being the great whore of all the earth, with their idols and expensive artworks, all of the devil. Also their churches and cathedrals so majestic built and expensively furnished. Now I know our temples are modestly furnished with heavy duty traffic carpet and velour sofas and seats, but still, we brag endlessly about how many temples we have and how great they are.
So, will the posters here finally get off their high horses about the 1 billion dollar malls and concentrate on the vast art treasures the church owns. The auction must have been at Christy's or Southebys, but I don't remember hearing about it.
Instead of being the "Whore of the whole Earth", maybe we can be the "ingenue tart of the western hemisphere".
The Ensign says the pictures are on display now at the Museum and Church History and Art. Evidently, they have borrowed other Rembrandts to display along with they ones they own.
| Tight space, aging records and a growing membership have left the current LDS history library crowded and inadequate.
But Friday, church leaders broke ground on a new Church History Library for the "recordmaking and recordkeeping people" of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"The church grows and the volume of the records continues to increase in large numbers. I don't know if we'll ever build a building large enough to hold them all. But this is an attempt to do this," said President Gordon B. Hinckley, joking that the current history library in the Church Office Building has "accumulated so much that if we don't move it out of there, it will break the floors."
He said the groundbreaking marked "a day of history in the history of the church" and added that the state-of-the art facility will be "very interesting and magnificent."
The five-floor, 250,000-square-foot building will be located on the northeast corner of the intersection of North Temple and Main streets. It will house the growing historical collection, which currently includes 3.5 million manuscripts, 210,000 publications, 100,000 photographs and 50,000 audiovisual productions.
| Hi everyone,
It's been awhile since I first posted the link to the Charity Commission here in the UK. And there are lots of new "faces" of people waking up to it all...
So - according to the accounts filed in Feb 2005 for fiscal year 2003, which can be found here:
Of the 433 employees in 2003, 22 made over £50K (which is $87.5K US). Isn't that special?!
For all charities in England, accounts must be filed with the Charities Commission. Don't you wish the US had something similar?!
| HONOLULU (AP) _ An affiliate of the Mormon Church is planning to build some 550 affordable homes on more than 660 acres on Oahu's North Shore.
Hawaii Reserves Incorporated has been planning the single- and multifamily development since it bought the land between Kahuku and Laie two years ago from Campbell Estate.
The company says the majority of the homes in the Malaekahana Master Planned Community will be priced for local residents who work in the Laie area.
Hawaii Reserves is the land management arm of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It owns or manages about seven thousand acres around Laie, and is planning to replace the 48-room Laie Inn with a 200-room hotel.
(Copyright 2005 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
| The Church In Great Britain Spent 2.982% Of Its Revenues In 2003 On Grants, Welfare And Humanitarian Aid |
Thursday, Oct 20, 2005, at 10:59 AM
Original Author(s): Anonymous
Topic: MORMON MONEY - SECTION 1 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
Total income – £31.788 million
Total spent on grants, welfare and humanitarian aid:
£0.948 million (2.982%)
amount spent from earmarked funds- £0.880 million (2.768%)
amount spent from general tithing funds- £0.068 million (0.214%)
I was fascinated by the link to the Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2003 for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Great Britain), referenced in another thread below.
It confirmed something we all knew. The Church (if the GBChurch is representative) spends most of its money primarily on: staff, general administrative expenses and buildings.
F or the year ended 2003, the GBChurch took in £23.3 million in tithing, £5.0 million in cancellation in indebtedness from the Utah corporation, and £0.74 million in other income, totaling about £29.1 million in unrestricted income (tithing and other money that it can spend as it pleases).
The GBChurch, in the same year, also received £2.6 million in restricted income, meaning funds specifically earmarked for specific causes such as missionaries, BoM’s, fast offerings, PEF, temple construction and humanitarian aid.
In that same year, the GBChurch spent £7.3 million in staff costs, £2.0 million in GandA expenses, £8.1 million in physical facilities, £6.3 million in depreciation (not a cash expenditure) and other support and charitable causes, such that the total spent by the GBChurch in 2003 equaled about £28.7 million.
Notice that if the Utah corporation had not forgiven £5.0 million in debt to GBChurch, then the GBChurch would have been in the red (deficit) an amount of £1.89 million.
Of the £29.132 million received only £0.948 million was spent in grants, humanitarian aid and welfare, representing only 2.982% of total income. Of that 2.982%, 2.768% represented monies that had to be used for such purposes because the members designated that it be used as such. Only 0.214% (£0.068 million) of tithing money was spent on humanitarian aid.
If the GBChurch is not representative of these percentages, then it would be nice to have other audited financial statements that show otherwise.
Document Sources: http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/...
| WIN FALLS -- The Planning and Zoning Commission approved a special-use permit for an LDS temple and meeting house, as well as a variance to allow the temple's height to exceed the city's 35-foot maximum height.
Tuesday evening, MHTN Architects -- the architectural firm hired by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to design the temple -- explained the proposed design, lighting and landscaping of the temple and meetinghouse to the commissioners.
| A separate thread on church-owned real estate has prompted me to post this comment which justifies its own thread.
Why does the Mormon Church like owning real estate? In one word, the answer is "income taxes" (technically, I guess that's two words).
A tax exempt entity like the Mormon Church pays U.S. federal income taxes on "for profit" businesses that it may acquire. The public policy behind this idea is to prevent tax-exempt entities from unfairly competing in the business world with "for profit" tax-paying enterprises. In contrast, a tax exempt entity does not pay income tax on "passive income" such as dividends, "rents" and royalties. The public policy behind this idea is to promote the work of tax exempt entities by exempting income tax on passive income.
With these rules in mind, the system can be manipulated very easily. By way of a hypothetical example, the church might buy a privately-owned cattle ranch in Florida which is highly profitable and which was paying significant amounts of federal income tax in the hands of its private owners. After the purchase of the cattle ranch, the church moves the fee simple ownership of the land (the deed to the land) under the umbrella of church ownership and then leases the land back to the "for profit" cattle ranch which the church continues to own (e.g. through an equity ownership by way of shares in a "for-profit" corporation). The passive rents paid by the ranch operation to the church are deductible as a cost of doing business thereby lowering the profits of the operation to zero (or turning profits to losses which carryforward almost indefinitely). In turn, the rent payments to the church are passive and, therefore, free of income tax to the church. When the dust settles after the purchase of the "for profit" ranch, the ranch operation isn't paying any income tax (you don't pay income tax unless you're making a profit) and the church isn't either (it doesn't pay income tax on passive rental income).
Note that the fact that the ranch in Florida might contain 300,000 acres next to Orlando (and worth hundreds of millions of dollars) is immaterial. The only loser is the federal government through lower tax collections (and all of us tax-paying suckers since other taxes have to go up to compensate for the church's tax dodge).
Of course, there's no reason to limit the tax dodge to land in Florida. Why not a multi-billion dollar mall in Salt Lake? How about thousands of acres of farm land in Missouri under the guise of the church fulfilling its mandate to "redeem" Zion? How about pineapple plantations in Hawaii? For that matter, why not the Polynessian Cultural Center in Hawaii itself? The Center lost part of its tax exempt status a number of years ago (it was making way to much money despite the church's contention that the purpose of the center was tax-exempt missionary work).
One last important point. Since the magnitude of the above tax dodge is potentially very great, it is very important for the church to maintain a policy of never releasing financial information because the extent of the tax dodge would become readily apparent.
| Using The Church's Wealth To Enlarge Its Investment Real Estate Portfolio Or Reduce Suffering - It Comes Down To What Senior Church Patriarchal Leaders Value The Most. |
Thursday, Dec 15, 2005, at 09:40 AM
Original Author(s): Freeatlast
Topic: MORMON MONEY - SECTION 1 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| I read an online news item today about the U.N.'s annual report on the welfare of children worldwide. It's not good. From the AP report (ref. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/wo...):
"Hundreds of millions of children suffer exploitation and discrimination but are virtually invisible to the eyes of the world, according to a UNICEF report published Wednesday."
Earlier this week, I read a report that 4,000 children die every day from a lack of access to clean water and 250,000 children go blind each year because of a Vitamin A deficiency, which could be solved with a daily supplement costing four cents.
A couple of months ago, I watched a news documentary about the very significant problem of adults (30+ million of them) in India going blind due to cataracts. An Indo-Canadian biologist, Dr. Chandrasekhar Sankurathri, took early retirement and moved to the Andhra Pradesh region of India, where he established the the Srikiran Institute of Ophthalmology and a school for children from impoverished families. Incredibly, the institute (a clinic) "has performed about 95,000 surgeries and has also served half a million outpatients" (ref. http://www.cbc.ca/correspondent/featu...)
What makes this story incredibly poignant is that the wife and two children of Dr. Chandra, as he's commonly known, were murdered in 1985 in the Air India bombing. His wife was from a rural part of the Andhra Pradesh region.
When I was in Peru in 1984/5 as a missionary, I lived and worked in a number of shantytowns and a ghetto. The grinding poverty was shocking; the conditions in which many people lived, not fit for animals. Meanwhile, on the other side of Lima, the LDS Church was building a multi-million dollar temple.
Earlier this year, I read the Salt Lake City Tribune report about how the LDS Church was spending up to $1 billion dollars to buy, renovate, and expand two shopping malls in SLC. In November 2002, I visited the LDS Conference Center on my way back to the west coast from the east. The tour guide, a retired medical professional, spoke of the pear wood panelling, large alabaster light fixtures, high-tech sound system, and enormous I-beam in the ceiling that was forged in Norway just for the Center.
Other recent investment real estate acquisitions made by the LDS Church were the second largest ranch in Nebraska last year (for approx. $26 million) and 663 acres in Hawaii. According to an Oct. 19/05 news report (ref. http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/art...):
"A Mormon Church affiliate [Hawaii Reserves, Inc.] is planning a 663-acre development in Malaekahana that would create up to 550 affordable homes between Kamehameha Highway and the Ko'olau mountains."
"Hawaii Reserves bought the 663-acre Campbell site in Malaekahana for about $10 million two years ago."
Hawaii Reserves "plans to replace the 48-room La'ie Inn with a 200-room hotel."
According to Matthew 6:19-21 in the New Testament, Jesus preached the following in his Sermon on the Mount:
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
I compare the actions of a man like Dr. Chandra, who took his life savings and retirement pension and went to India with nothing more than a firm resolve to set up a school to educate children from poor families and the ophthalmology clinic, with the actions of the senior patriarchal leaders of the LDS Church, who use their power and authority not to direct a significant portion of the church's wealth to alleviate suffering, but to enlarge the church's investment real estate portfolio.
Who has acted with greater faith and more in keeping with the words of Jesus (as they've come to us through the centuries)? Dr. Chandra, who practices no religion and told the CBC reporter that he really doesn't believe in God, or the men who are senior leaders of the Mormon Church?
For half of the $10 million dollars that the LDS Church spent on the 663 acres in Hawaii, one quarter of a million children who will go blind could receive the Vitamin A supplements that would prevent their premature blindness and lifetime of increased struggle to survive for having lost their vision.
For the $26 million that the LDS Church spent last year to buy the Nebraska ranch, 6,018 children could be sponsored for 12 years through a well-established organization such as World Vision.
For the $1 billion that the LDS Church is spending on the malls in SLC, 20 million adults in India could undergo cataract surgery in that country, which would allow them to continue to function in their families are caregivers and in their jobs (the CBC reporter interviewed one man at Dr. Chandra’s ophthalmology clinic who had been the village watchman until his vision went entirely due to cataracts. He had to work to support his family, so he continued as the blind village watchman. The expression of sheer joy on his face after his cataract surgery was a powerful testimony to Dr. Chandra’s vision and the volunteer work of the clinic’s medical professionals).
It comes to down to what people value the most.
| From radio stations to insurance companies, the for-profit side of LDS, Inc is huge. In contrast, the church’s tithing funds are predictable and low risk. Loyal members pay 10% routinely. The church can also rely on unpaid volunteers and in-kind donations. Cash flow from the business side, however, can be unpredictable and high risk.
In the for-profit world, payrolls must be met, taxes paid, and equipment purchased. The cash flow needs of the for-profit side create a huge financing risk for LDS, Inc.
A low-risk, reliable source of cash is the ultimate dream of any for-profit business. How does LDS, Inc. manage the financing risk of its for-profit entities without intermingling the billions in stable cash flow from the tithing side?
Who's to say the tithing side doesn't loan money to the business side? If not outright loans, perhaps, tithing revenues provide some kind of financial guarantee for the business side, who's to say?
Who's to say there are no contingent Enron-style liabilities on tithing funds hidden from view?
Who's to say there are no liens stemming from the business side on the vast real estate holdings of the church?
Who's to say the general authorities have no conflicts of interest between money-making ventures and church responsibilities?
Who's to say there is no G.A. family nepotism in the church's business affairs?
Other than church officials, who’s to say there is a strict line separating tithing funds from business investments? The answer: no one.
There are no independent, third party auditors of tithing receipts and distributions. There are no open financial records for members to peruse. There is no independent, outside board of directors elected by church members. There is little accountability to regulatory agencies. In fact, there is little real accountability to anyone and lots and lots of blind trust on behalf of its members.
This is a situation ripe for corruption. For a multi-billion dollar enterprise, this is simply amazing. We don't know the whole story, which is exactly how LDS, Inc wants it. Members can only rely on the statements of GBH and others to the contrary. And we all know how reliable GBH's “don’t know teach that” statements have been.
| Ref. http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/... |
Total funds received: £31,788,000
Total expenditures: £28,678,000
Net surplus for 2003: £3,110,000
Total of church accounts at year end: £18,849,000
Some expenditure totals for the year from the report:
Physical Facilities: £8,162,000
Units Costs: £626,000
Fast Offering Fund: £500,000
Materials and Supplies: £246,000
Humanitarian Aid Fund: £193,000
Perpetual Education Fund: £101,000
Temple Construction Fund: £45,000
Total Net Book Value of Church Lands and Buildings: £216,474,000
The LDS Church (U.K.) spent 1.57% of its 2003 income on fast offering, 0.61% on humanitarian aid, and 0.32% on assisting people with their education. In total, the LDS Church (U.K.) spent only 1/40th of its 2003 income on helping people in need. The church's income surplus for 2003 was nearly four times what it spent on fast offering/church welfare, humanitarian aid, and the perpetual education fund. The total of the church's accounts (funds) as of Dec. 31/03 was nearly 25 times more than what it spent on helping financially-disadvantaged individuals and people requiring humanitarian assistance.
There's no reason to believe that the church contributes a higher percentage of its income to help people in the U.S. or any other country. Although required in Great Britain, regulations in other countries such as the U.S., Canada, etc. do not require the Mormon Church to publicly disclose its annual financial status. As we know, the church avoids such transparency as often as possible.
To be fair to the church, however, you should know that back in 2001, it provided a toilet system for an orphanage in Ghana, Africa "...that not only gave a seat where the hole [in the ground] had been, but allowed sludge siphoned out to be used as fertilizer for the fields."
"Also, gases from the waste were stored in a tank that now powers the lights of the orphanage at night..."
I have to wonder how many toilet/electricity-generating systems could be bought and installed in orphanages in Africa, which has 18 million children left parentless because of AIDS, for a fraction of the US $1 billion that the LDS Church is spending on the two shopping malls in SLC.
It comes down to what people value the most.
| There has been quite a bit of discussion about Morg Charity and income. Based on the best information I can find, the following is a summary of the business of selling God. Sources include the following books and publications. Mormon America, Mormon Hierarchy – Extensions of Power, Mormon Corporate Empire, Time magazine, and Arizona Republic, in addition to various on-line sources. . No one really knows, because the Morg stopped reporting income in the late 1950’s when they were at the point of bankruptcy due to gross mismanagement. I would like to know any data that others have available. |
The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a Corporate Sole with succession being the subsequent next President. That means he is the sole shareholder and owner of all businesses and holdings. Any legally required reporting would be to the President of the Church. Other than taxes, there is no legal obligation for reporting, other than to the owners. At this time, GBH is the sole owner. The Morg is tax exempt, so other than an annual information return, nothing is required. Real property is held by The Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This is a separate nonprofit corporation for the buildings, farms and raw property. I would guess that other than a few people at the top, no one knows the combined worth of the two main corporations. In addition to these corporations, there are a series of nonprofits that own BYU, Ricks and other holdings. There is also the for profit businesses which are owned by the nonprofits or select members. There are also the foreign corporations for each regional office. It is a very large and complex organization.
While the tithing amount is not disclosed, there have been several attempts to determine the world-wide collection of tithing by the Mormon Church. D. Michael Quinn (Mormon Hierarchy – Extensions of Power) and the Ostlings (Mormon America) both attempt to put a dollar value on tithing. The consensus between these and other authors is that it is between 4.5 and 6 Billion dollars per year. Other offerings are relatively minor by comparison and are generally used for charitable purposes. In addition, businesses that are in line with the core purpose of the Morg can be owned and operated on a tax exempt basis. Businesses that are not tax exempt can donate to the Morg without either entity paying tax on the donations. Below is a link to a partial list of Morg owned businesses.
Here is an older document about holdings.
Quinn reported that the known holdings included 48 banks, 34 lumber companies, 60 newspapers and magazines, 55 mining firms, 55 railroads and 9 hotels. There is also the $16 Billion insurance company and a chain of radio and TV stations.
In addition there are a number of related businesses that are indirectly owned by the Morg, having been sold or turned over to key members or groups. Quinn reported that ranking General Authorities were partners, Officers and Directors of over 900 different businesses. It is estimated that the gross revenues of these businesses is in excess to 6 Billion dollars per year. The net income or cash which would make its way into the coffers of the Morg would likely be in the 10% – 12% range. Add here an additional $720,000 in cash.
In addition to the $1.5 being spent on the SLC malls, the Morg holds 6,000 acres on the North Shore of Oahu from a purchase over 100 years ago. They more recently purchased 600 acres to be developed. This includes houses that will be sold and a luxury hotel. They hold over 300,000 acres of land in Florida close to Disney World and 95,000 acres in Alberta Canada. The Mormon Church owns in excess to 925,000 acres in North America. The appreciation of the property is probably the greatest hidden value in the Mormon Church.
The total was estimated at conservative $30 Billion 10 years ago. (Ostling, Quinn). This was using conservative land and asset valuation. A former stock broker of the Morg reported that approximately $200,000,000 was added to their investment portfolio each year.
The for profit real estate is very significant as well
>The real estate division of the church conducts brisk dealings in land. Zion's Security Corporation, the church's commercial real estate arm, controls numerous office buildings in Salt Lake City, including regional headquarters for Kennecott Copper Company, J.C. Penney, Prudential Federal Savings and Loan, and many church facilities. It also owns the sprawling ZCMI (Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution) Mall in downtown Salt Lake as well as a controlling interest in the ZCMI store chain.
>Since 1977 a sister corporation, Beneficial Development Corporation, has taken over development work for the church, and has established several industrial parks in association with private developers in Florida, Arizona, Los Angeles, Hawaii, and Utah.
The current worth would be conservatively above $60 Billion, and if the current market value of holdings was added, it would likely be closer to $100 Billion.
Now a comparison of Morg charity and humanitarian aid. Ostling (Mormon America) compared the Morg to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). They had a similar number of reported members in 1997. At that time, the ELCA had $152 Million in assets that was primarily the pension fund for the employees. This is compared to the assets of the Morg as reported above. In 1997 the ELCA raised $11.8 Million for humanitarian aid and $3.64 Million for disaster relief for a total of 15.44 Million in cash donations for charity. In the 14 year period from 1984 – 1997 the Morg reported cash donations for non-Mormon charity at $30.7 Million, or an average of 2.19 Million per year. This translates to ELCA donating a little over 10% (.10)of its holdings in 1997 and the Mormon Church donating approximately .2% (.002) of its holdings. Most businesses in the US have higher percentage charitable contributions than does the Mormon Church.
There is a number of ways that the Morg can shift income away from foreign subs to the main Corporation or vice versa. The information reported in foreign countries is most likely manipulated to show what TSCC wants to show. By selling books, temple clothing, magazines and equipment to the foreign entity at inflated or deflated prices, the income can be managed and changed significantly. The reporting from foreign subs, such as England does not give much of an indication of the health or wealth of TSCC.
| From ReviewJournal.COM:
The Southern Nevada Water Authority has struck a $7.2 million deal to lease water on the Muddy River from what might seem an unlikely source: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"If they're not the biggest, they're one of the biggest cattle producers in the United States," said Ray Schmutz, a veterinarian in Lincoln County who has worked in Nevada for about 36 years.
Officials for the Salt Lake City-based church declined to release details concerning its holdings in the region, but church spokeswoman Kim Farah said that "it's not unusual for us to own farms" and ranches. Those operations supply food to the church's welfare program for needy LDS members and for its "humanitarian outreach worldwide," she said.
According to assessors' records, the Mormon church owns more than 720 acres in Clark County alone. "Church LDS Presiding Bishop," with an address on North Temple Street in Salt Lake City, is listed as the owner of 129 properties in the county, almost three quarters of them in the Las Vegas Valley.
Largest cattle producers in the country? So that burger at crown burger just might be a Mormon burger. Of course, please eat it sparingly and in times of winter - and no, you may not have a poetic license to define "winter".
| Newly Called First Quorum Of The Seventy Reveal That LDS Church Is Mostly Concerned With Its Financial Development |
Tuesday, Apr 4, 2006, at 09:35 AM
Original Author(s): Skeptical
Topic: MORMON MONEY - SECTION 1 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| In May, 2005, during his Priesthood Meeting talk, Gordon Hinckley, explaining the appointment of his son, Richard Hinckley, to the First Quorum of the Seventy, explained how and why certain men are called to be General Authorities. Hinckley stated: “Those sustained … have been chosen to fill particular responsibilities.” |
One can assume, therefore, that the eleven men who were appointed as members of the First Quorum of the Seventy, during April, 2006 conference were appointed for a particular reason based on their abilities and training.
The following is a list of newly announced Seventies and their backgrounds:
David S. Baxter holds a degree in business and economics from the University of Wales and is employed by the British government in international trade development.
Shayne M. Bowen, a graduate of Brigham Young University, owns and operates an insurance agency.
Daniel L. Johnson earned a bachelor's degree in accounting and economics from BYU and has owned a business and been employed as an executive in a number of international companies as well as working with a church-affiliated business.
Marcus B. Nash holds a degree in international relations and a law degree from BYU.
Anthony D. Perkins earned an undergraduate degree from BYU in finance and has advanced degrees from the Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania. He has been a senior partner in an international business consulting firm.
Keith K. Hilbig (a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy since May 2001, was named to the First Quorum of the Seventy), earned a Bachelor's degree from Princeton and a law degree from Duke. He pursued a career in law and after working a number of years as a trial attorney in Los Angeles, established his own law firm. In April of 1998 he became International Legal Counsel for the Church.
Craig A. Cardon earned a bachelor's degree at Arizona State University before completing a master's degree in public administration at Harvard. He has been involved in real estate development. An entrepreneur he built a family business, the Cardon Hiatt Companies where he is an owner/partner, which companies deal principally with real estate. He serves as board chairman for United Families International, an NGO based in Arizona with UN accreditation doing work worldwide. He is a board member of the Institute for American Values, a think tank based in New York City focused on national and international issues. He serves on the executive council of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies located at the J. Rueben Clark Law School at BYU. He also serves on the board of the Wood Foundation, a private foundation providing scholarships to college students.
Don R. Clarke earned an associate degree from Ricks College, a degree in business from BYU, and a master's degree in business administration from Washington State University. He held senior executive positions in several retailing companies. He is the former President of Lord and Taylor, and taught an upper level entrepreneurship class at Southern Virginia University, which is private institution which has adopted the BYU Honor Code. After earning his Master of Business Administration in Finance from Washington State University, Don Clake got his start as a senior financial analyst for Ford Motor Company. He later joined the famous Barr Department Store division of the May Department Store Company in 1977 and served in a number of executive positions. He was named Famous-Barr's Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 1982, and was appointed Executive Vice President in 1983. He became Vice Chairman of Venture Stores in 1983 and was named Chairman in 1984. Prior to serving as President of Lord and Taylor, Don served as Chairman and CEO of the Fortune 500 Company Caldor Corporation for 11 years.
Keith R. Edwards studied at the Church College of Hawaii, completed a degree in political science at BYU and earned a law degree from the University of Utah. He has been associated with several large law firms.
Stanley G. Ellis graduated from Harvard in government studies and earned a law degree at BYU. He is the chief executive officer of an insurance and financial services company.
Larry W. Gibbons earned a degree in history from Stanford and a medical degree from the University of Utah, as well as a master of public health degree from Harvard. He is a practicing physician and president of a medical clinic.
The information indicates to me that the LDS church: (1) will continue in its corporate minded administration; (2) is very focused on international financial and real estate development; (3) remains concerned with its legal actions (4) and has the ability (or need) to select its leaders from some of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world.
What does this information tell you?
| The LDS Church (UK) Had Reserves Of 257,307,000 Pounds In 2006 And Gave Just 1,264,000 Pounds To Help "The Poor And Needy" |
Monday, Apr 28, 2008, at 08:16 AM
Original Author(s): Cdnxmo
Topic: MORMON MONEY - SECTION 1 -Link To MC Article-
| ↑ |
| Based on the figures in the church's financial statement for 2006 (ref. http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/...), the LDS Church's "Total resources expended" for 2006 was £28,373,000.
The published value for the church's "Total assets" in the U.K. for the year ending on Dec. 31/06 was £321,359,000 (approx. US$606 million).
The LDS Church (U.K.) spent £705,000 on "Youth conferences" in 2006 and £1,264,000 "for the relief of the poor and needy not only in the United Kingdom and Ireland but also other countries in Europe and Africa."
In 2006, members donated £1,455,000 to the "Fast Offering fund" and £366,000 to the "Humanitarian Aid fund".
The church's senior patriarchal leadership decided to spent only 69.4% of the funds donated by Latter-day Saints in 2006 "for the relief of the poor and needy". The total population of the U.K., Ireland, the rest of Europe and Africa is more than 1.6 billion.
"One out of five Europeans - 93 million people - lives under the poverty line." (ref. http://www.ruralpovertyportal.org/eng...)
"In Sub-Saharan Africa, more than 218 million people live in extreme poverty. Among them are rural poor people in Eastern and Southern Africa, an area that has one of the world's highest concentrations of poor people. The incidence of poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa is increasing faster than the population." (ref. http://sociolingo.wordpress.com/2008/...)
In summary, in 2006 the LDS Church (U.K.) spent less than one-half of one British pence on each impoverished person in Europe and Africa. However, according to its published financial statement for the year, "Closing total shareholders' funds" were £271,786,000 (approx. US$513 million).
According to Matthew 6:19-21 in the New Testament, Jesus preached the following in his Sermon on the Mount:
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Clearly, the "heart" of the LDS Church continues to be focused on wealth-accumulation, not alleviating suffering, which is something that Jesus (the man described in stories in the New Testament) was greatly concerned with. Such is the 'spiritual enlightenment' of the 'prophets' who run the multi-billion-dollar, shopping-mall-and-condo-constructing, religious-corporate empire based in SLC.
| To maintain an organization's charitable status in the UK, it has to file an annual Summary Information Return (SIR), which the LDS Church (aka LD$, Inc.) has done since 2003. Last year's will be out later this month.
If you're interested in seeing how much LD$, Inc. in Britain takes in and makes in terms of income and how much it spends, see the online summary for 2003 to 2007 at http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/...
From the 2007 SIR (ref. http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/...):
"Church membership continues to grow and, at 31 December 2007, stood at 186,126.
There were 1,593 baptisms in Great Britain and Ireland last year."
Church membership growth: less than 1%.
"There are 290 meetinghouses."
"There are two Temples in the UK."
Total expense for "Provision of worship facilities" in 2007: £20,458,000 (~US$38.3 million)
"What are your charity's main objectives for next year?
Provide more meetinghouses to satisfy growth in membership whether they are built and owned by the charity or rented properties.
Research will continue into whether using modular buildings is a more cost effective alternative.
Continue to supply religious materials to members and others.
Revised budgets have been put in place with the intention of increasing missionary activity and increasing the baptism of new members.
There are plans to:
- Introduce on-line reporting for Family History Centre activity.
- Participate in three nation family history conferences
- Establish six new family history centres each in Africa West and Africa South East Areas." (p. 5)
LD$, Inc. in the UK couldn't even make the effort to say SOMETHING in the main objectives section about reducing poverty, hunger, homelessness, child abuse, or some other negative reality that affected Britons.
However, the SIR did mention:
"The end of the year saw an excellent financial result based on strong financial management. Costs were maintained within budget." (p. 5)
Now, take a look at the SIR for 2006 (ref. http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/...):
"How would you describe your charity's financial health at the end of the period [Dec. 31/06]?
The Charity does not undertake fundraising in the traditional sense. It relies on donations from its parent company in the USA and from donations of members of
the Church in the UK.
The Charity's financial health remains excellent. The Parent Company donated £231,787,000 this year by way of a full cancellation of amounts due to it."
LD$, Inc. in SLC was apparently owed £231,787,000 by LD$, Inc. in Britain, so the former 'donated' the huge sum to the latter in order to cancel the debt.
Bear in mind that in 2006, LD$, Inc.'s shopping-mall-and-condos project in SLC had ballooned to $2B (from $500M in '03). Nevertheless, the church was still able to forgive a debt of more than $433 million.
If only ol' debt-ridden Joseph Smith could have foreseen how wealthy his church would become, he might have led a less problematic, reduced-drama life!
| I know this is very long, but I have spent the last couple of months gathering information and putting together an article that sheds some light on the Morg’s activities outside of the states. As is the case with the City Creek Center, the purpose of this article is to show what TSCC’s leaders really care about - making money. Hopefully some of you are able to find this information useful.
***Mormonism and Great and Spacious Buildings***
For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.
The Book of Mormon, Mormon 8:37
One-hundred million dollars is a huge amount of money. It is also the amount that the LDS church rendered to humanitarian assistance during 2009. Using the 2008 and 2009 Welfare Services Fact Sheets from the church’s own website, Provident Living, one can take the differences in cash donations ($45.3 million) and material assistance ($51 million) provided to calculate a total of $96.3 million for the year. However, even $100 million pales in comparison to the amount of money that the church has spent on secular buildings over the past several years. The City Creek Center, a mall in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, is costing the church well over $3 billion. The Laie Inn in Hawaii is being demolished because the humble “members of the First Presidency have not stayed at the Laie Inn in the last 10 or 15 years because of the condition of the inn”; it is being replaced with a 220-room Marriott that has cost the church more than $30 million. The church recently purchased the vacant KJZZ studio building in Salt Lake City, which was estimated to cost around $6.6 million. It also bought 13 acres in downtown Salk Lake City from Sinclair Cos. for roughly $25 million. Perhaps the most interesting thing about these deals, aside from how much money is involved, is the fact that a church which claims that we are in the “latter days” is characterizing such purchases “as a long-term investment[s].” Actions speak louder than words, which is painfully true in the case of the leaders of the Mormon faith who are now screaming retreat as they back away from their former apocalyptic worldview.
In the Book of Mormon, we read of a “great and spacious building” that “stood as it were high in the air, high above the earth,” and which represented “the pride of the world.” While all of the wicked flocked towards this immense structure, the righteous supposedly hung on to a rod of iron, which represented the word of god, and made their way towards the tree of life. Most LDS view themselves as the chosen people who cling to the word of their lord, and anyone who doesn’t share their faith as the multitudes in that great and spacious building - or at least as those lost in the mists between. However, with the construction of the City Creek Center, it makes one wonder how the Mormon church can condemn great and spacious buildings when they themselves are constructing the most expensive mall in the United States of America; the second-most-expensive mall is the $2.3-billion dollar “The Meadowlands” in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Mormon church has created many other great and spacious buildings preceding the City Creek Center, such as the $240-million Conference Center, which “is believed to be the largest theater-style auditorium ever built.” However, rather than focusing on these well-known Western structures, this article will take an in-depth look at some of the great and spacious buildings in Japan that have been constructed by the church, most of which have a history that is unknown to those outside of the country.
Perhaps the first of such buildings to be constructed in Japan was the Tokyo Temple, which is located in “an affluent area of Tokyo with neighboring foreign diplomatic missions and embassies.” The church hired the Kajima Corporation to construct the building, and boasts that “[a]ll materials used in the construction of the Tokyo Temple are of the top quality and only the latest in technology and equipment characterizes the building control system, air conditioning system, independent power plant, and so forth.” The stained glass, screens, audio equipment, and most of the building’s carpet were imported from the United States; the crystal chandelier in the Celestial Room was crafted and imported from West Germany; and all of the furniture was made by special order in Japan. Although the price of this structure has not been released by the church, we can compare it with the cost of other temples to get a good idea of how much it likely cost. The Tokyo Temple (52,590 square feet) is about 5 timesthe size of the Brisbane Australia and Suva Fiji temples, which each have an area of 10,700 square feet. [16,17] The Brisbane Australia Temple was completed in June of 2003 and cost $11.5 million at the time; the Suva Fiji Temple was completed in June of 2000 and cost Fiji $10 million (about $5 million in the United States) - these amounts are respectively equivalent to the buying power of $13.7 million and $6.4 million in the year 2010. The Washington D.C. Temple (160,000 square feet), which is about three times the size of the Tokyo Temple, cost $15 million and was completed in November of 1974. This is equivalent to roughly $70 million in 2010. Because Japan has much stricter building laws than other countries, the same structure costs more to build in Japan than it would in the United States, Australia, or Fiji. Sunshine laws “which require a certain amount of compensation for any amount of sunlight which is lost due to the shadow cast by multi-story construction,” earthquake-resistant structural requirements, and other such stipulations make a straight comparison of costs quite difficult. Even so, one can assume that the structure cost the equivalent of at least $30 million today.
In Mormonism, members are expected to pay tithing, or 10% of all earned income, to the church. “Faithful members of the Church pay their tithing to a member of their branch presidency or ward bishopric. Under the direction of the Lord’s prophet, these funds are then gathered and used to fund the growth and development of the Church throughout the world. Examples of the use of tithing funds are the construction of temples, the financing of the worldwide missionary effort, the building and maintenance of meetinghouses, and other worthy purposes.” However, temples are not always built with just the tithing of their members. For example, in the case of the Washington D.C. Temple, members were asked to pay for $4 million - or about 27% - of the $15-million building; they ended up raising $6 million, which is 150% of what they were asked to pay and 40% of the structure’s total cost at the time. In Japan, members reportedly raised 124% of the amount they had been asked to pay. While the amount of the temple fund that members were asked to pay is unknown, if we assume 27% of the estimated $30 million (2010 value), the members would have been expected to cover $8.1 million. Because they ended up contributing 124% of this amount, they eventually donated around $10 million to the construction of the temple. This is money that the Japanese members paid in addition to the tithing that Mormons are expected to pay to the church. There are countless members from around the country that relinquished their entire savings to ensure the construction of the Tokyo Temple. Indeed, if one takes a look at the words of the Mormon prophet, Spencer W. Kimball, during the area conference when the temple was announced, they will understand why the Japanese members were willing to part with such large sums of money. On Saturday, August 9, 1975, Spencer W. Kimball made the following announcement from the pulpit at the Japan Area Conference:
“Brother Matthew Cowley, one of the Twelve Apostles, made a prediction that there would be temples in Asia and in Japan. And many of us have been almost holding our breath until the time could come when we could build a temple in this land. We, therefore, propose to you assembled here that we establish a temple in Tokyo, Japan, for all of Asia. Before we express our excitement and concerns regarding this proposal, we would like for you to first take a look at a conceptual rendition of the building. The Church already owns the land that is to be used for the construction of this temple.
The address is Tokyo-to Minato-ku Minami Azabu 5-8-10. The building plans have already been approved by the authorities in Tokyo. When this beautiful temple is completed, it will be used by members from Japan as well as those who come from other countries in Asia. In anticipation of the construction of the temple, we would like to ask the local Japanese members to provide a portion of the funds required to build it. We hope that you begin offering donations as soon as possible. The Church will bear most of the burden of the expenses associated with the construction of the temple. These expenses will be paid for by the tithing of sacrificing members from around the world. All those who support the construction of a temple in Japan and the related maintenance thereof, please show it by raising your right hand.
We would like for you to begin saving money for this purpose right away.
Until now, you have all used large sums of money to visit the Hawaii and Salt Lake Temples. If you were to use these funds for the construction of the Tokyo Temple, you should be able to save up a great deal of money.
President Brigham Young said that hundreds of temples would be built in the future. Currently, there are already 16 temples. Of course, we cannot build temples at every which location that people would like us to right now. In order to fill the temples with people and continue to operate them, a great number of members is necessary.
Even so, we extend a promise unto you that when the people are prepared, many temples will be granted unto them. There are currently about 62,000 members here in the region of Asia we are now visiting. We would like for you all to begin sending donations to your stake and mission presidents immediately, for which you will be given a receipt of your contribution.”
On the next day, Kimball again compelled members to donate immediately to the temple funds. He also threatened the members that if they didn’t pay up, the temple might not be completed. Indeed, as will be discussed later in this article, the church would regularly refuse to dedicate chapels until the members had paid the construction funds that were demanded of them in addition to tithing. However, perhaps the most unnerving portion of Kimball’s remarks was his expectation that children should also make cash donations towards the construction of the temple. The following are two excerpts taken from Kimball’s talk.
“Yesterday we held a very important meeting with the stake and mission presidents where we all wept as we resolved to build the Lord’s temple.
When we left the Salt Lake Airport, newspaper reporters asked us, “Are you planning on announcing a new temple?” Without making any promises, I responded, “If you would like to know, ask the newspaper reporters.” We first wanted to have the members in Asia show their resolve. We were deeply impressed with the session held the day before last, for there were absolutely no signs of reluctance. Some brethren wanted to begin donating money for the construction of the temple immediately.”
“Many people think that it would be wonderful if they could become an angel. However, if we are loyal, receive the temple ordinances, and live a completely worthy life, we can become more than just angels. Indeed, the angels will be our servants.
It is for this reason that a temple will soon be built. We want you to do all you can so that the temple construction isn’t delayed because of a lack of funds. As I mentioned yesterday, we want all the young children to be aware of their responsibility in assisting the construction of the temple, for it will be the temple they use when they grow older.
One of our family’s children is living in New York. The members of that area were asked to assist with the construction of the Washington Temple. When we visited their home, our grandchildren said, “We don’t get desert this week because we’re saving money for the temple.” In this manner, our grandchildren were already saving money for the temple they would attend in the future.
I believe that all children can donate several thousand yen for the temple they will attend in the future.”
Sadly, the members of this time were expected to pay not only for the temples, but for their church buildings as well. Again, this was in addition to the tithing, fast offerings, and other expenses the Mormon church piled on them. Until April of 1982, members had to pay for 20% of their church buildings in order to have them dedicated; after that point, the amount was lowered to 2%, and then eventually these additional “construction funds” were eliminated entirely. “At the time, chapels couldn’t be dedicated until the amount expected of the local members had been paid in full, even if the building was finished.” For example, the members of one branch were told, “The remaining \1 million of the construction funds must be paid before the dedication.” With the average chapel costing $3 million in today’s terms, requiring a small ward or branch to come up with 20% of such funds was a huge burden. One member related the following story, which shows that the church was really pushing members for money.
“When the plans to build a chapel for the Nagoya Branch were announced, all of the members began trying their hardest to obtain the funds to construct it. However, shortly before all of this my husband had decided to start his own business so that he could keep the Sabbath day holy. He opened a bakery. We used all of the money we had to start this new business. We had been living off of my monthly earnings, but they were barely enough to scratch by. Accordingly, we were in no position to raise funds for the construction of a chapel. To top it all off, I became pregnant and realized that I wouldn’t be able to continue working much longer.
Although my husband’s business was starting to pick up, it wasn’t enough to live on, let alone to pay for the construction of the chapel or to begin saving up to have a child. Therefore, whenever I would get a bonus, I would save it in anticipation of any expenses that would arise when I gave birth. These savings were all the money we had at the time.
One afternoon, we received a call from the branch president. He said that they had gathered most of the funds to build the chapel, but they were still a little bit short. He asked if we wouldn’t pitch in. Again, all the money we had were the savings for when I gave birth. The two of us discussed the matter, and as a result my husband immediately went to the bank and withdrew all of our money. That night, we took the money over to the branch president. It was just enough to cover the small amount that the branch needed to build a new chapel.”
This is just one of many examples of members who were pushed to pay by their ecclesiastic leaders. A former bishop during this era recounts, “One sister donated to the construction funds from the money she was saving for her marriage, despite the fact that she had only been a member for a few months. College and high school students gladly donated from their allowances. Another sister obtained the permission of her husband, who wasn’t a member, to donate a large sum of money.” The average monthly salary of graduates fresh out of college in Japan around 1970 was a mere \38,000. Even so, Mormon chapels in Japan during this time were tens of millions of yen; the chapel for the Nagano Branch cost \40 million at the time, and the members had to pay 20%, or \8 million, of it. The members of the Kurume Branch ended up paying \3.5 million towards the construction of their chapel. The worst part is the fact that the members, who were sacrificing 10% of their incomes in tithing in addition to paying for 20%of their local buildings, were not getting much in return for their contributions. Indeed, most wards and branches had to “purchase old buildings and use them as they stood as chapels in accordance with the church’s construction policy.” A deeper look into the church’s activity in the real estate market of this era will shed more light on the organization’s true colors.
In 1952, the church purchased a piece of property in Shibuya for $25,000, which it would spend an additional $75,000 to convert into a chapel. This facility became the chapel for the Tokyo First and Second Branches. However, less than a decade later the church found an even more desirable plot of land nearby in Omotesando. For one, the Shibuya chapel was located right next to the Japan Racing Association, which is a place where people go to bet on horse races. Because this is a form of gambling, which Mormons believe to be wicked, church leaders wanted to move away from such an “unholy” site as soon as possible. Moreover, the Shibuya meetinghouse was quite old - so old that the members had begun calling it a “haunted mansion.” The new piece of property that the church found was on the market for $670,000 (\241.2 million at the time), which was more than it was willing to spend. Nevertheless, the property in Shibuya that they had purchased for $25,000 in 1952 was now worth $500,000. Accordingly, they decided to sell that plot and pay the $170,000 difference to acquire the land in Omotesando. They made the purchase on June 3, 1960. Thirteen years later, another opportunity to make huge returns came knocking at the church’s front door. Because the price of land in the Tokyo area had been rapidly increasing during this era of remarkable economic growth, the Omotesando property was now worth over \6 billion. The church, which was not about to let this chance slip by, sold the property in November of 1973 for \6.4 billion, giving them a return of \6.388 billion on their investment.
In spite of the enormous profit acquired from the sale of the Omotesando property, not to mention the fact that regular members were called to do volunteer labor as “architect missionaries” so that the church didn’t have to pay to hire actual contractors, members were still expected to pay for 20% of their meetinghouses for another decade. What’s worse is that these members, who gave large portions of their incomes and savings to the church, were kept in the dark regarding the organization’s financial matters. The church still operates in this manner today, releasing no reports of how it is using its members’ money. An excellent example of such secrecy is the purchase of the aforementioned Omotesando meetinghouse in 1960. “Gordon B. Hinckley warned President Andrus that, ‘For the time being, under no circumstance should you talk to anyone about the price of this purchase, for it is more expensive than any purchase the church has ever made anywhere in the world.’” This greatly resembles the way the Mormon church is handling the price of the City Creek Center that is currently being built; the church has been afraid to release the actual cost of the structure to its members, so it first announced it at a little over $1 billion, and is slowly raising that price. As previously mentioned, the cost of the mall has been reported to be over three times this original amount since then - and it is still rising.
LDS chapels have begun to show numerous changes over the past few years. These changes come as a result of the “Area Construction Standard Plan,” which was officially approved by LDS headquarters in March of 2004. Although the church claims that these changes are being made to meet the “actual needs of the members,” it is clear for anyone to see that Mormonism in Japan is failing to see the success that it did during previous decades, and therefore this new plan is just a another attempt to try and mainstream their organization with the rest of Christianity. The church is now using prominent architectural designs from famous European sites like Notre Dame and the Cathedrale Saint Jean - such as rose windows, pronounced bases, and arched entryways - as well as increasing the size of LDS chapels to compete with other religions which boast arsenal of great and spacious buildings. The Matsudo Stake Center, for example, is an enormous 5-story, 28,432-square-foot structure that was completed in 2005. This building is the largest chapel in the Northern Asia Area, and was the first structure to be built under the new Area Construction Standard Plan. It also became the new stake center for the Abiko Stake (which was renamed the “Matsudo Stake” with the completion of the Matsudo Stake Center), which had not had a building of stake-center size like the other stakes in Japan. Even so, it seems odd that a relatively small ward should get the biggest building in all of Northern Asia; this is hardly in line with the “actual needs of the members.” In fact, Matsudo Ward’s new chapel is more than five times the size of the meetinghouse it was previously using, which had a total floor area of 5,415 square feet. Perhaps the decision was affected by the fact that the president of the Abiko/Matsudo Stake at the time, Nobuyuki Yoshimura, was also the church’s official Area Architect, but such details would be difficult if not impossible to obtain from the church. Something else that is noteworthy about the Matsudo Stake Center its location. Despite the fact that church leaders wanted to move away from the chapel in Shibuya several decades before due to it being next facility where gambling took place, they knowingly built the new chapel in Matsudo right next to a “pachinko,” which is a Japanese casino.
It is painfully obvious that Mormonism in Japan is no longer able to get investigators to come to church with their “restored gospel” alone, and thus they have resorted to constructing “great and spacious buildings” to get the public’s attention. The Church News quotes the bishop of the Oita Ward, another area where one of such buildings has been constructed, claiming that “meetinghouses are better than 100 missionaries.” It includes the comments of many other members as well, who say that they are now able to talk about Mormonism thanks to the new big building. This is not a good sign for the LDS church, which is already struggling to find ways to keep its current members actively attending sacrament meeting and other functions. While bigger and better buildings may seem nice at first, they are not going to resolve the real issues that are driving members away. On the contrary, the church just announced in 2010 that it is no longer going to hire custodians to clean its chapels; it is shifting such responsibilities to the members, who already have other assigned church responsibilities that they are expected to fulfill. It will be interesting to see how much members around the globe are willing to put up with before they toss in the towel, especially as their workload increases as the church builds larger chapels.
(1) 2008 Welfare Services Fact Sheet, Provident Living
(2) 2009 Welfare Services Fact Sheet, Provident Living
(3) “Salt Lake City high rise is ready for occupancy on Main,” Laura Hancock, Deseret News, November 3, 2009
(4) “Laie Inn closing for new hotel,” Steve Fidel, Deseret News, November 5, 2009
(5) “Hawaii Reserves plans 220-room Laie hotel,” eTurboNews, December 10, 2007
(6) “LDS Church Buys Vacant KJZZ Building,” Lisa Carricaburu, The Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 2010
(7) The Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 8:26
(8) The Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 11:36
(9) “At $2.3 Billion, This Mall Could Be Too Big to Fail,” Terry Pristin, The New York Times, May 19, 2009
(10) “New Structure Symbolizes Mormon Growth,” Gustav Niebuhr, New York Times, February 6, 2000
(11) “Tabernacle Choir Getting to Know Unique Conference Center” News from the Church, April 11, 2005
(12) “Testimony of Brother Sadao Nagato, Resident Engineer of Tokyo Temple,” Sadao Nagato, Tambuli, October 1980, Page 64
(13) “Testimony of Brother Sadao Nagato, Resident Engineer of Tokyo Temple,” Sadao Nagato, Tambuli, October 1980, Page 64
(14) “The First Temple in Asia,” Tambuli, October 1980, Page 59
(15) “The First Temple in Asia,” Tambuli, October 1980, Page 59
(16) "Brisbane Australia Temple," Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
(17) "Suva Fiji Temple," Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
(18) "Brisbane Temple Open House in Progress," Church in the News, May 8, 2003
(19) “LDS Temple,” Fletcher Construction
(20) “Washington D.C. Temple,” Wikipedia
(21) “Testimony of Brother Sadao Nagato, Resident Engineer of Tokyo Temple,” Sadao Nagato, Tambuli, October 1980, Page 64
(22) “The Law of Tithing,” Daniel L. Johnson, Ensign, November 2006, Page 35
(23) “Washington D.C. Temple,” Wikipedia
(24) “Shichijuunin Daiichi Teiinkai Kaiin Kikuchi Yoshihiko,” Seito no Michi, February 1978, Page 152
(25) “Shinden wo Tateru Tami,” Spencer W. Kimball, Seito no Michi, October 1975, Page 420
(26) “Kokoro wo Sonaeyo,” Spencer W. Kimball, Seito no Michi, October 1975, Page 493
(27) “Kokoro wo Sonaeyo,” Spencer W. Kimball, Seito no Michi, October 1975, Page 495
(28) “Zouchiku Kansei naru Koube Suteekibu Nishimiya Waadobu Kyoukaidou,” Tetsuhiro Yamaji, Seito no Michi, May 1983, Page 76
(29) “Beyond the Century,” Page 264
(30) “Beyond the Century,” Page 264
(31) "As one LDS church closes on the reservation, another about to be built in Rapid City," Mary Garrigan, Rapid City Journal, April 15, 2009
(32) “Beyond the Century,” Page 265-266
(33) "Toukyou Suteekibu Sentaa Kendou Sareru," Seito no Michi, October 1983, Page 70
(34) “Beyond the Century,” Page 265
(35) "Kansei shita Kurume Shibu Kyoukaidou," Seito no Michi, October 1984. Page 68
(36) "Miyazaki Shibu 17 nen no Ayumi," Seito no Michi, January 1988, Page 110
(37) “Beyond the Century,” Page 199
(38) “Nihon Matsujitsu Seito Shi: 1850-1980,” William McIntyre and Shinji Takagi, Page 245-247
(39) “Beyond the Century,” Page 246-247
(40) “Beyond the Century,” Page 260
(41) “Beyond the Century,” Page 247
(42) “Kenchiku Mokuhyou Puran,” Seito no Michi, Church News, October 2005, Page 11
(43) “Kenchiku Mokuhyou Puran,” Seito no Michi, Church News, October 2005, Page 11
(44) “Kenchiku Mokuhyou Puran,” Seito no Michi, Church News, October 2005, Page 13
(45) "Hyoujun Kenchiku Puran ni yoru Ajia de Saisho no Kyoukaidou wo Chakkou," Seito no Michi, Church News, December 2004, Page 10
(46) Seito no Michi, September 1979, Page 44
(47) The Matsudo Stake Center is located right next to Parlor P-701, a Japanese casino. Here are the addresses:
???? P-701:?271-0054 ???????????250
(48) "Hyoujun Kenchiku Puran no Tatemono ga Chiiki ni Sengen suru Fukuin," Seito no Michi, Church News, June 2005, Page 17
***”Seito no Michi” is the name of the Japanese version of the church’s magazine, “Ensign,” before it was changed to “Liahona” in more recent years.
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