Elder Oaks to testify on Capitol Hill


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    Oct. 18, 2011 7:04 p.m.

    The Catholic Church has many "for profit arms" and many ways it has chosen to spend said monies. I have no problem with Catholics donating to their church and to all the wonderful things that they do around the world.
    There are massive amounts of monies donated to online and TV Priests and Evangelists. If someone wants to give money to them I have not problem with that. There are good things they do also.
    The "Southern Utah Wilderness", you all know them as an enviromental group, has massive amounts of monies. In the name of the 'earth' their God, they are a nonprofit organization. They say they do good too, and to be fair they do try to clean things up.
    I have never ever heard one of these organizations disclose what they really own, how much monies come into them, Or even who donates to them.(No, enviromental groups can just hand out a paper to the legislature that says anonomus donors.)
    Full disclosure, fine, every nonprofit organization must, no matter what they are or who donates, provide full disclosure. Including, the organized protest groups, AIDS awareness, cancer awareness, Gay rights etc. No right to privacy, no rights.

  • thebigsamoan Richmond, VA
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:52 p.m.

    To all who responded to LValfre,

    Thank you. I applaud your efforts, but alas, I think it was all a waste, an exercise in futility really. See, I noticed from his many previous posts a long time ago that no matter what subject is discussed, he almost always without fail displays such a bitter and deep seated hate towards anything Mormon or have to do with the LDS faith. I think he posts for one purpose only, and that is to criticize, to mock, to demean, belittle, and put down the Church. I find that very sad indeed, but such is the beauty of this marvelous gift called free agency that Heavenly Father blessed us all with. Hope one day his heart will soften and forgive whoever or whatever it was that offended and caused him to be so bitter towards the Church.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:56 a.m.

    Some critics have often suggested that tithing funds be transparent, and that the members of the Quorum of the Twelve also must disclose their income... I have some points for those who may agree:

    1) You believe transparency is good, right? Well, not everyone does. And there is a difference between transparency and forcing it on someone. That's why we have rights. How much money I make, spend, etc. is my right. How tithing is used is how MY money is used. I have more say in it's uses and transparency than you do as it is not what you own, but what I own.

    This is simply another step towards having the state NOT "secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life." The Church isn't some robot, it's people. Tithing is PEOPLE's money, who's rights you threaten.

    2) So, in what universe are you justified in demanding to know how money is spent and what Church leaders make without disclosing your own information. Boasting such a claim without meeting that same requirement? Such hypocrisy is what most self-righteous critics practice anyway. No surprise here.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:54 a.m.


    Well said.

  • screenname Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:22 a.m.


    For a multitude of reasons, the government has decided that missionary work is considered charity and is not taxable. Whether that's because of the powerful missionary lobbyists who have taken over Capitol Hill, or because the government sees missionary work as something it wants to encourage, it's been decided. If YOU can't see any benefit to it, then by all means, call your representatives and let your voice be heard.

    As for me, knowing that missionaries from many denominations perform a significant amount of humanitarian service, improve the lives of people where they serve, and come back from their service as better people and citizens, makes it simple to see why the government would want to encourage the behavior.

  • cindyacre Shelley, ID
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:16 a.m.

    The income tax was supposed to be a temporary tax, so if we got rid of that tax, no problem with the exemptions, right?

  • Go Utes Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:14 a.m.


    The reason the church is developing the area around Temple Square is to preserve it as a decent place that is safe and appealing to visit. Temple Square is a sacred place for Mormons and the church does not want the area around it to become a blighted urban disaster. The city, not just the church, will benefit immensely from the undertaking. Please point me to another US city where a private group is pumping that kind of money into the local economy. I am amazed at the anger coming from you towards all of this free money for the city. I can't begin to tell you how rediculous someone sounds that criticizes everything the church does just because it is the church doing it. Let's have a real discussion about tax deductions, etc., and not resort to some ax you have to grind.

  • cindyacre Shelley, ID
    Oct. 18, 2011 10:04 a.m.

    I give to the Church for humanitarian causes because I know that that money will go for what it is intended - to help others, not to pay staff.

    That there is a tax write off for what I give, I believe, is the government's expression of good will - towards me, so that humanitarian giving towards will continue, that it is a good thing.

    The Church is a WAY MORE efficient resource for humanitarian causes (I don't care what Church), than governmental red tape.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 9:54 a.m.

    @JKayDS 9:11

    You said, "As an LDS person I really get tired of people putting the "mall" down!"

    I wouldn't lose any sleep over it really. The fact of the matter is, critics of the LDS Church will never be happy. No matter what the LDS Church says or does, the critics will always find something wrong with it.

    Critics will attack the LDS Church for speaking out on a specific social issue, then five minutes later attack the LDS Church for not speaking out on another social issue.

    Critics attack the LDS Church when they see stories in the news about its charitable giving after a specific natural disaster, then five minutes later they'll attack the LDS Church for not being first on the scene at another natural disaster.

    The fact of the matter is, with some people, the LDS Church will always remain in a Catch-22, so why worry about their opinion?

    If the LDS Church were to open all its financial books to the public, do you really think the critics would just sit back and say, "Okay, we're satisfied now, thank you?"

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 9:49 a.m.

    Re: Kalindra | 9:04 a.m. Oct. 18, 2011
    "the conversation is about whether or not individual contributions should be tax deductible"

    If the USA can afford to send foreign aid to Libya we certainly should be able to allow Americans to duct donations to hungry American children.

    Liberals are always happy to spend the taxpayer's money for them but stingy when it comes to taxpayers giving to the poor and needy themselves.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Oct. 18, 2011 9:49 a.m.

    "I was unaware that the LDS Church receives any taxpayer funding"

    All depends on your perspective. Sounds like you are saying that Charitable Tax deductions don't affect the amount of giving, so to lose it would not hurt churches. Hey, we agree. Lose the deductions.

    Regardless, it is hard to spin that missionary work whose focus is to convert people to mormonism is charity.

    Yes, Geithner and Rangle are crooks for their tax evasion. Did you expect me to defend them? I can see the crooks on both sides. And I can call them out regardless of party.

    You should try it. You may find it liberating.

  • screenname Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 9:44 a.m.


    You seem ignorant of non-profit laws. It's not true that "anything over operating costs goes to humanitarian efforts." Non-profits are allowed to keep any profit they make, they're only limited in how they're allowed to use those profits.

    You also espouse a curious viewpoint on tax deductions. You seem to consider not paying taxes as being given something. Perhaps we'll just have to agree to disagree, but I don't consider it a gift given to me by the government that they haven't demanded me give my entire income to them.

    That point aside, ask yourself why the government allows tax deductions in any case. Why does the government allow mortgage interest payments or school tuition or alimony or state and local taxes to be written off income? It's because either the government sees it as a good activity and wants to encourage it (e.g., home ownership and higher education) or because they consider it not a part of your income (e.g., local taxes and alimony).

    I'd say that charitable contributions most definitely fall under the first category. It'd be irresponsible of the government to not encourage something so vital to the wellbeing of our country.

  • Hawkyo SYRACUSE, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 9:34 a.m.

    Personally, I trust churches and organizations like United Way over the government on how to take care of the poor/needy. Anyone on this board want charities run like the post office? I didn't think so.

  • @Charles the greater outdoors, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 9:12 a.m.

    Christy asks, "Will truly charitable people give less if they don't receive big tax breaks?"

    I'd say absolutely! Conservatives do it now.

    The big question for uber-Libs like you is why doesn't your side contribute to charities of your own free will and choosing? All one has to do is look at the published tax returns of your Dear Leader and other leading Libs to know that Democrats don't contribute to charities. They are stingy with their money and many of them don't even pay their taxes. Geithner, Daschle, Rangle, Buffet and others as example.

    I'd say that Conservatives walk the talk while Liberals continue stealing from their neighbor to give to someone who will vote for them and complain that Conservatives aren't giving enough.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 9:04 a.m.

    The conversation is not about whether or not to tax religion - the conversation is about whether or not individual contributions should be tax deductible.

    You are arguing a point that is not pertinant to the conversation.

    @ Demisana: DI is non-profit because they make no profit - anything over operating costs goes to humanitarian efforts.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 18, 2011 8:31 a.m.

    Re: JoeBlow | 3:28 a.m. Oct. 18, 2011
    " can you please explain why they should be entitled to taxpayer funding?"

    I was unaware that the LDS Church receives any taxpayer funding. Unlike US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner they pay their taxes honestly. Mr. Geithner, as you may remember, got a slap on the wrist and had to pay his back taxes before becoming Secretary.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 8:22 a.m.

    Mr. Hatch, why vote for Iraq war? I read in Wall Street journal yesterday that the top 50 richest people in our country are worth $700 billion---image that---top 50 people in our country could have paid for Obamacare and for the Iraq war.

  • Zack Tacorin Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 8:13 a.m.

    Bill in Nebraska wrote, The members of the Quroum of the Twelve and some Seventies receive a very modest income, not extravagent by any means as some of you imply. You just don't know how it works.

    Since the LDS Church does not disclose its finances, Bill has no way of knowing what hes stated. One may presume this, but it is only a presumption. If Im wrong, please show me your references.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Oct. 18, 2011 3:28 a.m.

    "a religious organization is under absolutely no obligation to serve the public interest in any way shape or form"

    Well, Alex, then can you please explain why they should be entitled to taxpayer funding?

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Oct. 18, 2011 2:36 a.m.

    So Klarinda if you are contributing to a retirement plan did you know that is before tax money. Therefore, you are getting a tax deduction just for paying to the retirement plan.

    However, LDS as a whole pay tithing on the Gross amount before taxes or anything is taken from the amount. With the current tax laws is it fair that you get to take a tax deduction for paying money to yourself but you are refusing me the ability to reduce my taxes by what I pay as a charitiable expense to the Church of my choice?

    If you are not paying to a retirement plan, donation to a Church or Charity but on your gross then you are not being fugal in managing your money. For instance every celebrity, every rich person has a charity or church they donate to so as to reduce their tax burden. Currently most Americans are paying anywhere from 15-20 percent of their earned income in Federal Income Tax. Those below the poverty line pay nothing in taxes each year. Take a look at the rich and you find most pay taxes in the range of 25% each year.

  • CougarKeith Roy, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 1:28 a.m.

    LValfre it is sadly obvious you are speaking as a man of the world, not as a person under the influence of the Holy Ghost. Obviously you have something against a church that gives millions away in humanitarian aid yearly. Not just in cash, but in goods and services as well as man power which you have obviously not even come close to considering. The church runs farms, ranches, dairys, as well as caneries, plants, and non-prophet training facilities and rehab facilities and Store houses where it gives away MILLIONS in Food, Clothing, and other necessary goods a year! I think you need to do some REAL investigation before you go shooting off your mouth about things in which you have No real sense of reality about! As far as the Realestate Developement in Down Town Salt Lake, that is a business venture with ALL TAXES Licenses and labor FULLY PAID FOR that will help to revitalize the Down Town of Salt Lake and keep it THRIVING for years to come! Something our last mayor did everything he could do to divert frankly because he didn't really care about the numbing down of our Society in Salt Lake!!!

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 1:20 a.m.


    If you knew anything about Dallin H. Oaks and his history, and anything about when the LDS Church 'steps in to say something' when it comes to charities (including non-LDS charities)... then you'd realize how empty your claim is.

    I dare suggest that rather than thinking "Hatch picked him ONLY cause he's Mormon", we'd be safety to assume that you criticized Hatch's decision, ONLY because he's Mormon. But there's really no point in highlighting anti-Mormon criticisms on here as most anti-Mormon critics seem to deny having any problems with the Church anyway. In fact, I've seen people say "Mormon's shouldn't be free" and in the same breath claim that they have no problems with the LDS Church.

    LValfre, now see how many people have responded? You can take that as an offense and be upset. We all have that choice. Rather, I kindly ask you to think about the judgement you made against Hatch (who is a Human Being, as we often forget when seeing the word 'politician')... and consider that despite your views... the LDS Church isn't exactly arguing a world takeover here... simply helping those in need.

    Would you stand apart from that?

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:36 a.m.

    Lots of people inculde tithing and other deductions when preparing their taxes only to find out that their deductions aren't as high as the standard deduction is anyway. Even if their tithing does put them over the top, usually it isn't much. I think the kind of deductions charitible organizations are trying to protect are the large ones made by the very wealthy and which do a huge amount of good. If a person gives "$50,000 dollars to the scholarship fund of a college could the government really make more efficient use of it? If someone donates $100,000 to the LDS church humanitarian fund, would the federal government actually make better use of it. If a person donates $230,000 (the amount of taxpayer dollars that was spent on the Obama family vacation in Africa) to help starving children in Africa, should he be taxed on it?

  • slpa1 WEST JORDAN, UT
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:34 a.m.

    LValfre asked "Why would a church have for profit arms? What purpose?"

    Though your question is intended as a back-handed swipe at the LDS Church, it is important to point out that "for-profit arms" of churches exist across this country and come in all denominations.

    For example: Trinity Episcopal Church, Phoenix, AZ operates a sizable condominium complex adjacent to the church complex. In that complex is a coffee shop and reading room. They use the profits from these businesses to fund on-going operations of the church that are separate from its ecclesiastical operations.

    Many churches, including some in Utah, operate assisted-living centers or senior centers.

    A new trend in evangelical churches in the south is the opening of Subway or similar franchises in, on, or near church property. The profits from these businesses are used to fund various church operations, outreach programs, or humanitarian efforts.

    In New York City, many of the big Manhattan churches operate apartment complexes, senior centers, youth centers, and the like.

    It would help for you to be better informed before you take swipes at the LDS church.

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:28 a.m.


    "Not giving you a tax deduction for money you give to your Church or spend as charitable giving does not interfere with freedom of religion - in your case it would offer additional protection of your freedom of religion by relieving you of the obligation of meeting a secular definition of charity."

    Actually, the law of unintended consequence kicks in. If a religious organization now pays taxes, then it is no longer under any obligation to not endorse candidates or to otherwise be as politically involved as it pleases. With taxation, religious organizations then become invested in the political process intimately. Now, if you are comfortable with that, then go for it.

    The whole idea of tax exemption for religious organizations is to decouple the government and religion. Religious organizations agree not to endorse candidates, and the government agrees not to manipulate religious organizations with taxation. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement, in my opinion.

  • Outlier Vancouver, BC
    Oct. 18, 2011 12:24 a.m.


    The published figures (that you say are so small) are for HUMANITARIAN aid only to third parties. It is a significant amount of money. Having said that, it is a miniscule amount compared to the donations of church members in terms of time, labor, fast offerings and other personal sacrifices, monetary and otherwise. This is where the most significant charitable work takes place.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 17, 2011 10:52 p.m.

    @ Alex 1: Not giving a tax break for donations to religious organizations (or any other non-profit) is different than requiring financial accountability from said religious organization.

    If you belong to a religion that says buying a service or a product is a charitable donation, you go right ahead and spend your way into heaven.

    Telling an individual you don't care where they spend their money or what they do with it, they have to pay taxes on their full income in no way, shape, or form interferes with what a religious organization does with money that is donated to it.

    You are trying to combine two very separate issues.

    PS - My original comment was directed towards followers of Christ: Matt. 22:37 - 40, Luke 16:19 - 31, and for Mormons 1 Nephi 11:23.

    The fact that you are a different religion makes no difference. Not giving you a tax deduction for money you give to your Church or spend as charitable giving does not interfere with freedom of religion - in your case it would offer additional protection of your freedom of religion by relieving you of the obligation of meeting a secular definition of charity.

  • Monsieur le prof Sandy, UT
    Oct. 17, 2011 10:21 p.m.

    Foolish comments by the usual haters. What a sad way to live one's life. I wonder how much money Pres. Barack Hussein Obama has given to charity? Has that been disclosed? I know that Newsweek (and other publications) says that Republicans tend to be more charitable than Democrats. That seems ironic to me.

    The Church's investment arm is responsible for a lot of jobs in this state and is very valuable for the economy of Utah.

  • Kirk R Graves West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 17, 2011 10:04 p.m.

    A few answers to questions and comments I have seen.
    1. Missionary funds: Each missionary is expected to fund their own mission. In order to make it possible for missionaries from all areas of the world to serve, funds are pooled together, but they not truly a "donation". Church funds are not used to fund individual missionaries service.
    2. For Profit: The LDS Church teaches thrift and self-reliance. It would be hipocritical of the church to not practice those principles itself. To that end, for profit arms of the church exist as a way for the church to safely and wisely invest funds as a hedge against economicly difficult times.
    3. Taxation: A church is a group of people with a shared faith. Any money collected is simply the individual members pooling resources for 1 of 2 reasons, either to provide places of worship, or to do good works in the community. Since neither of those activities are profit generating, there is no increase to tax. Taxing the individual's portion would be crossing church/state boundries.

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    Oct. 17, 2011 9:44 p.m.


    "Is it really charitable giving if you receive something (such as a tax break) in return?"

    For grins, lets suppose my religion were to say it is charitable? Would it be yours, the Federal Government's, or any political mob's business to decide that my interpretation of virtue may not apply? You see, the government under the Constitution has no business in the enforcement or adjudication of religious principles. To put it even more bluntly, a religious organization is under absolutely no obligation to serve the public interest in any way shape or form. Because of this, no religious organization should ever feel guilty or defensive for refusing to divulge any of its inner workings without a warrant.

    To require a religious organization to serve some public interest is to legislate religion. That is all there is to it.

  • Demisana South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 17, 2011 9:33 p.m.

    Actually, Deseret Industries does make a small profit.

    The church discloses SOME charitable finances - the Humanitarian fund. I've never heard one word about fast offering finances - which I'm pretty sure dwarf the Humanitarian fund. So the usual comments about how little the church does have nothing to do with the total amount of good the church is doing. Having donated a lot to the one over the years, but nothing to the other, and knowing many other people do the same. We're all asked to donate to fast offering every month, while the other funds are considered much more optional. And all of the fast offering funds go to help the poor.

    And then of course there is the newer funds like the Perpetual Education Fund - the donations are all invested, and the income goes to the individuals, who also pay it back after they finish their education. Hm, I bet at least some of it is invested in Church owned, for-profit businesses. Probably a lot safer than the stock market of the last 10 years!

  • Christy Beaverton, OR
    Oct. 17, 2011 9:24 p.m.

    Will truly charitable people give less if they don't receive big tax breaks?

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Oct. 17, 2011 9:14 p.m.

    For one The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a profit making branch to facilitate its purposes around the world. There is a ranch in Nebraska that is used for raising beef and other things. It is not a welfare ranch but one used for profit. We pay taxes on that property. The so called condo/mall is being built by the LDS Church but without tithing funds. They also buy and sell property for the purpose of making a profit. Since the early 1940s the LDS Church has operated in the black. As President Hinkley once stated if the money is not there to buy something or to build something it is tabled until the money is available. All temples, chaples, and other LDS Church facilities are bought and paid for before the building is even put into existance. In other words there is no mortgage. None of its ministers or preachers receive a salary. They are all lay ministers. The members of the Quroum of the Twelve and some Seventies receive a very modest income, not extravagent by any means as some of you imply. You just don't know how it works.

    Oct. 17, 2011 9:11 p.m.

    As an LDS person I really get tired of people putting the "mall" down!
    It was the church's money so what right do you have to decide how it will be spent? And when I think of ALL the jobs that were given to people to feed their families and clothe their children and keep them off welfare... through the building of it and when it opens.. and those families who will have jobs in an economy that is so bad... I thank the the Lord for the foresight of the leaders of the church in creating this remarkable effort. Not only did it clean up the area and make it more beautiful but it put people to work...

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    Oct. 17, 2011 9:06 p.m.

    If the Congress were to require regular financial accountability from religious organizations to the Federal Government for their expenditures, then it would be making a law which makes religion accountable to government. In so doing, it would be establishing religion. Not only that, but if any religion were disqualified from being tax exempt for not spending in a way the Congress sees best or by the will of a political mob, the Congress would be prohibiting the free exercise of religion as well.

    The bottom line is that no church has any responsibility under the law to disclose its finances, unless there is a court order. In other words, the Federal Government can drop dead. We are under no moral obligation to justify any expenditure to the government or any other person or persons without a warrant.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 17, 2011 9:01 p.m.

    Is it really charitable giving if you receive something (such as a tax break) in return?

    @ Rifleman: I don't think LValfre was questioning how the for profit vs. non-profit arms of religious institutions work, I think the general question was why have two arms (profit and non-profit) in the first place? What religious purpose is served by a for-profit arm of a church?

    @ Let's Agree to Disagree: Deseret Industries is a non-profit component of the Mormon Church that does exactly what you posit in your response. Your response does nothing to answer the question of why have a profit making branch at all?

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Oct. 17, 2011 8:53 p.m.


    Just to clarify.

    I have no doubt as to the enormous amount of charity of the LDS church and its members. Much good is done.

    I suspect that this would continue without the associated tax deduction, which I believe should be done away with.

    Lastly, I do not consider "conversion efforts" to be charitable.

  • Let's Agree to Disagree Spanish Fork, UT
    Oct. 17, 2011 8:48 p.m.

    "Why would a church have for profit arms?"

    Ok, brace yourself...because profit is not evil. If the church (or any private institution) has $100 to help individuals with, why not hire those individuals instead of giving them the money. Then put them to work doing something honest and productive. Then when they make $110 you have made $10 in profit. Then you repeat the process except you can help more people the next time. We used to call it being wise, prudent, and industrious. Now we just call it evil profits.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Oct. 17, 2011 8:37 p.m.

    I think it's really sad that people attack institutions that are doing so much good in order to try to justify their own sad little lives. And...claiming that the Church gives what amounts to about $4 is pathetic.

    Since virtually NONE of the Church's financial information is available, nor has it ever been, you have NO way of knowing how much the Church gives or has given over the years. I know from my own personal knowledge and experience that the Church does untold good both in financial terms and in personal service by members.

    I'd be interested in knowing just how much these detractors give in charitable contributions and in personal service. Those who engage in righteous works are always attacked by those who don't.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Oct. 17, 2011 8:19 p.m.

    Everyone talks about the need to change the tax code, as long as they get to pay less than before.

    Charity is Charity. There should be no need to receive a TAX deduction for it.

    Can someone tell me why there should be a tax break for trying to convert some foreign citizen to Mormonism? Why should tax payers help fund 60,000 missionaries in this endeavor?

    Not picking on the LDS (all religions need to lose their tax exempt status) but this is an LDS newspaper.

  • @Charles the greater outdoors, UT
    Oct. 17, 2011 7:55 p.m.

    @LValfre: every time you open your mouth regarding things LDS you show a depth of ignorance that I didn't think was possible.

    What's the point of your being here? Every post is one of mocking, berating and denigrating an institution you know very little about. And then you want people to try to justify why the church does what it does to satisfy your curiosity.

    As for Elder Oaks testifying, I couldn't think of a better man to testify before Congress considering his extensive legal background including the Utah Supreme Court.

  • Devin American Fork, UT
    Oct. 17, 2011 7:51 p.m.

    To LValfre:

    First of all, your comments are false, you obviously don't have the slightest clue as to the many ways that the LDS church gives to the less fortunate. Secondly, here's a thought, "let's go attack a church that gives millions upon millions of dollars to the poor and destitute, that sounds like a great use of my time."

    Would you be saying the same thing if your own family were the one's receiving aid from the LDS church after a tornado took down their house? That's what i thought.

  • CTguy30 Colchester, CT
    Oct. 17, 2011 7:48 p.m.

    To LValfre: Using that logic of "why hide it?" Let's look at it this way...Say you had some disease that is shared by relatively few in this world. In order to find a cure, they need to go through and publish your medical records from the past 15 years including any STD tests (all hypothetically speaking), etc...There are, thankfully, HIPAA laws preventing any unlawful sharing of medical info...Why hide it?
    For those wishing to remain anonymous in their donations, and to protect personal financial info...why should the public be privy to access someone's personal life and/or the instuitution to which that person donates? Regardless how you view the institution receiving the donations, anyone should NOT be allowed to access private financial info like that. If that be the case, I would like to access your bank accounts and all its transactions with you and the rest of their clients, PLEASE. Why hide it?

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 17, 2011 7:46 p.m.

    Re: LValfre | 7:24 p.m. Oct. 17, 2011
    "Why would a church have for profit arms? What purpose? "

    Funds used for humanitarian and missionary are tax exempt. Monies used for commercial ventures which earn income are taxable.

    Laws govern what is and isn't charitable, and the LDS Church is careful to keep them separated. Why wouldn't the LDS Church have ventures that raise capital?

  • Northern Lights Louisville, KY
    Oct. 17, 2011 7:38 p.m.


    You seem so preoccupied with how the LDS Church chooses to run its finances. I would ask: if the LDS Church did not have any for-profit entities, where would you propose the Church instead generate enough funding to operate 134 temples, to support over 28,000 congregations in neighborhood meetinghouses, to maintain three universities, countless Bishops Storehouses and welfare farms, historical sites, and so on?

    Why do you also fault a Church for taking measures to keep the area around Temple Square in SLC from degenerating into a dive? What do you tell the many thousands of men and women who have found honest employment because of City Creek? What do you tell those around the world who have benefitted from the $1.3 Billion in humanitarian service? That the U.S. Government should have instead taxed that money first? Do you tell them that the Church should not have been allowed to do any of this at all???

    Personally, I'm satisfied to let the LDS Church manage its affairs as it sees fit. It's none of my business otherwise. I'm grateful that the LDS Church has helped so many people through so many different ways.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Oct. 17, 2011 7:24 p.m.

    Why would a church have for profit arms? What purpose?

    How were the profit arms funded? Tithing money at some point in history funded the business arms as they're known now. Have any other answer?

    To those saying it's spent the way God wants it. Why hide that? Shouldn't everybody in the world model after they way God does it. I mean c'mon, be reasonable here. There's no reason it's hidden unless they have something to hide.

  • mightymite DRAPER, UT
    Oct. 17, 2011 7:24 p.m.

    This is almost comical. Last I chrecked the for-profit business arm of the mormom church far out-wieghed any non-profit business. Bottom line is the mormon church is a business and contributes a small portion of thier earnings to help others as any business does. This is the bottom line.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 17, 2011 7:13 p.m.

    "Lastly, although current business ventures are not funded by tithing money, what originally funded them? Had to have been tithing money. "

    Not necessarily, some people donate more than just the 10% and if you go way back there was the United Order/Law of Consecration which is a different system than the tithing of today.

    "The Church uses the Lord's money under the direction of the Lord."

    Well... that's what the claim is. Obviously if one isn't a member they don't typically believe it's under the Lord's discretion. For the most part (in-kind prop 8 donating excepted) I haven't had much of a problem with what the church does with its money even when I was LDS. The investments like the mall look bad on face value but... what if you invest a billion in business, make an extra 500 million on it to get to 1.5 billion. Donate 100 million, then invest the 1.4 billion. Over time this could generate more than if the original billion were just donated. I don't know how the church manages those types of things but it is possible to have the investments help raise money to donate.

  • als Atheist Provo, UT
    Oct. 17, 2011 6:50 p.m.

    As I commented on another article, the average amount the LDS Church has given to "humanitarian aid", per LDS member, over the past 25 yearts, has been about $4 and change.

    The "Tax incentives" given to charitable organizations in this country have made many presidents and boards of directors of such "charitable" organizations VERY WEALTHY.

    It is time to close the loopholes and stop the tax evasion that is being carried out under the banner of "charity".

  • RyanWhiting OREM, UT
    Oct. 17, 2011 6:40 p.m.

    It is important that we make sure charitable giving is valued in society. I am glad that these people will testify on its behalf. I hope that charitable giving is always valued.


    It is okay if you see conspiracies that is your choice, but I think it is best to believe what people say. If Hatch asked Elder Oaks to speak because of the LDS church's charitable contributions then that is the reason he asked him too, not because they are of the same faith. If we took your thinking further then Hatch asked the man from the United Way to speak because Hatch is part of the United Way. That isn't necessarily the case. He is bring a large swath of Utah society to talk about this important issue.

    The condo is also not being built in the name of God. It will just be a condo/retail unit just like any other one. The church's name will not be plastered on it. Your sentiments are unfounded.

    Before you start spreading unsupported and leading statements like your last one, you should do your homework, not leave it for someone else to do--irresponsible.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 17, 2011 6:38 p.m.

    Re: LValfre | 5:35 p.m. Oct. 17, 2011
    "I know it's not tithing money but it's still a religious institute"

    As you know, or should know, every dime spent on the downtown development comes from their commercial arm and is fully taxable. Obama want to go after the money that the LDS Church gives to the poor and needy which is tax deductible.

    Translation: Obama wants to take food out of the mouths of poor people.

  • Jim Mesa, Az
    Oct. 17, 2011 6:34 p.m.

    I don't know where people are getting their figures from re charitable work. Alot of charitable work goes unnoticed except by the reciepents. The Church has been helping the needy at the local levels for decades. This is not reported in the newspapers. The Church is usually the first on the scene in natural disasters, whether locally or abroad.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 17, 2011 6:33 p.m.

    LValfre- Humanitarian aid is just one aspect of the donations the members of the church give. There is alot of aid going to those in need in your neighborhood and through out the world.

    The condo/retail development is being taxed. That is for profit and not a charity. Which means the government is collecting taxes from it.

    When a member gives a fast offering that is then used to help someone with their medical or other bills, that is a charitable donation.

  • Cinci Man FT MITCHELL, KY
    Oct. 17, 2011 6:20 p.m.

    Re: LValfre. When I read the article, I learn the the debate is about tax deductible contributions, not the for profit (taxable and tax-paying) businesses of the church. Let's not get side-tracked from the subject. Elder Oaks will be speaking to the subject at hand and I think we can do the same, can't we?

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Oct. 17, 2011 5:59 p.m.

    The LDS Church is extremely wise and frugal in the way it uses the Lord's resources. They are used in the way that the Lord sees fit. And...that is the business of the Church and no one else's.

    The Church gives millions for humanitarian purposes. That is for NON members of the LDS Church. The Church also gives many millions in resources to help its members, operate it's programs and conduct missionary work. The Church also refuses to accept donations from anyone but members. If you are trying to imply that the Church exploits people for money, you are barking up the wrong tree. Everything the Church does is to help its members and others.

    I get so tired of these people who are always trying to imply that the Church has some kind of nefarious purposes in what it does. The Church uses the Lord's money under the direction of the Lord. That's it. Plain and simple.

  • USA Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 17, 2011 5:51 p.m.

    The Deseret News seems content to operate without the benefit of copy editors. New business model.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Oct. 17, 2011 5:37 p.m.


    I completely agree. Tax-exempt corporations, as I call them, run by profits, i mean prophets, should be completely transparent financially. If the money's being used in the best way God wants it to be, why hide it?

    Why hide it?

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Oct. 17, 2011 5:35 p.m.

    "Hatch asked Elder Oaks to speak because of the LDS Church's long history of helping the less fortunate, Karakai said."

    Okay a couple things:

    -Hatch asked a Mormon to speak because Hatch is a Mormon and wanted to represent his faith. Lets not twist this into who gives to the less fortunate and who doesn't. And that statement is questionable, please see below:

    -In regards to giving to the less fortunate, LDS is spending more to build this condo/retail development than they've reported giving in Humanitarian since 1985. They're spending more on a real estate development than they've given to charity in 26 years! I know it's not tithing money but it's still a religious institute using money in the name of God. How do you explain that?

    -Lastly, although current business ventures are not funded by tithing money, what originally funded them? Had to have been tithing money.

  • VocalLocal Salt Lake, UT
    Oct. 17, 2011 5:18 p.m.

    I think instead of limiting charitable contributions we should insist that non-profits makes public disclosure of their charitable contributions received. Operating without the cost of taxes and the added benefit of tax-deductible contributions should come with a public trust and disclosure.

  • Lux et Veritas Draper, UT
    Oct. 17, 2011 4:32 p.m.

    It's Capitol Hill, not "Capital Hill." Yes, Washington, DC is our nation's capital, but the actual Capitol Building is spelled with an "o," not an a.

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    Oct. 17, 2011 4:28 p.m.

    Oh Elizabeth...

    It's CapitOl Hill.

    Capital is the city, Capitol is the building itself.