Instead, Henderson draws mostly from what he calls "concerned or disgruntled current and former Mormons" who claim that the church "spends too much on real estate and for-profit ventures, neglecting charity work." His primary source for information and analysis is Dr. Ryan T. Cragun, a sociology professor at the University of Tampa and a returned LDS missionary who disassociated himself from the church during his graduate studies and who no longer considers himself a Mormon.
In addition to its speculation about donated revenues, the Reuters story also touches on the LDS Church's for-profit businesses, describing them as a "multi-billion-dollar global network." It suggests — inaccurately — that all of the church's senior missionaries "volunteer for its for-profits," which should be news to senior missionaries who are serving as proselyting missionaries or who are serving in church visitors centers or who are serving in one of numerous humanitarian assignments that have nothing to do with the church's for-profit businesses.
The story accurately notes — as the recent LDS statement indicated — that the church's for-profit enterprises are "part of a vast nest egg for tough times."
"The church teaches its members to live within their means and put a little money aside for life's unexpected events," Purdy told Henderson. "As a church, we live by the same principle."
And that is consistent with what last month's church statement said was the "key to understanding Church finances."
"They are a means to an end," the statement said. "They allow the church to carry out its religious mission across the world."
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