Comments about ‘Despite recession, downtown Salt Lake is rising’

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Published: Saturday, July 25 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

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For those members of the LDS faith like myself outside of Utah the constant spend on non-church essentials in Salt Lake City is galling. Chapel building is being scaled down in many nations (I have direct evidence of this that members needs are not being met) Temple building is being put on hold such as the Calgary Temple, all church departments are cutting back on expenditure, and yet the church can pump 2 billion into a shopping centre with supposedly non-tithing money. It has just pumped half a billion into Beneficial Life to meet its obligations.The General authorities must have the largest private slush fund of any organization in the world to spend as they desire. Of course all non-tithing.

Although I sustain the brethren because they hold the keys I feel to quote the words of Ezekiel “And the Word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of Man, prophesy against the Shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the Shepherds: Woe be to the Shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the Shepherds feed the flocks?” Ezekiel 34

Expenditures vs. Investments

Watchman obviously doesn't understand the difference between spending money and investing money. The Church has always been interested in investing their non-tithe money, while they have always been very careful about how they spend tithing money. The Church leaders don't have a private slush fund, they are merely investing their interests in the down town area, also with a chance of receiving a large return. The Church is smart to invest in commerce and real estate while the economy is down.

Some Thanks

...and what gratitude does the Church get for pumping 2 Billion into the economy and for beautifying down-town? All they get is profane, drunken violators of common decency/respect trespassing on their property and calling the church bigots for violating their civil rights?

Gary Hatch

The Church is also dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the downtown area. Temple Square is the number one tourist attraction in the state and an important resource for missionary work. It serves the ecclesiatical work of the Church to have a vibrant downton area in SLC.

Watchman and Learn

Watchman, you seem genuinely concerned, but your evidence consists of a laundry list of conjecture. (Are you a church employee, with access to the financials, or do you just speculate and talk like you actually know something?) Where are you that you assert that members' needs aren't been met, with new buildings, etc? Any definative evidence that the Calagary Temple isn't being built, because of the downtown renovation?

The Church (for all the criticism from anti'a it gets in Utah) is the most influential player in the community. It is doing its part to develop and maintain the city. Your assumptions are off, in that you seem to think the Church is burning cash on this, and won't get any return. The Church is run be very knowledgeable, experienced in business, leaders. They know what they are doing... The Church will have a return on its investment, and importantly, SLC downtown (by the Temple) won't be an abandoned ghost town.

Robert Y. Valentine, PhD

When will downtown Salt Lake City and Park City and their leaders learn that we active "Mormons" have money to spend and that we are NOT the enemy?

Not tithing?

It looks like politics has become a part of the religion now. Were it not for tithing this religion would not have the funds to invest and call it non tithing funds.

As for the downtown, its a place to stay away from because it is not intended for Utah citizens to use, but our taxes keep getting spent for non citizen use. The only jobs in downtown are for the illegals being harbored and hidden from the feds. Illeagas in SLC are getting our taxes to provide welfare and food stamps and education. The good news is that as long as SLC keeps and harbors the criminals from mexico, the rest of the states crimes get a reprieve.

All this money being spent and not one cent is for the citizens of Utah. Downtown has segregated itself from Utah and created its own little empire feeding off of all tax paying citizens of Utah.

Watcher of the Watchman

So why don't you just say the leaders "are acting stupidly" and make yourself look as much of an idiot as Obama does right now. You don't have the faintest clue so please keep your lame critiques to yourself. The church leaders have that kind of money because of wise investing over the years. I would venture to guess that they still know how to invest wisely. At least they are investing in the community while many others are pulling back or looking for a high return in oil, speculations, or whatever the "fast buck" scheme of the day is.


It is important to maintain a good, clean environment around our temple.


I certainly hope it is a wise investment for the sake of church finances. However notice the following comments;

NEW YORK TIMES 31 Jan 2009 “There are roughly 1,500 malls in the United States, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, many of them ailing, some of them being converted into office buildings, and others closing their doors for good.”

New York Times 4 April 2009

Landlords are scared,” said Suzanne E. Mulvee, a real estate strategist with Property & Portfolio Research. “Part of the reason they’re scared is dark space doesn’t pay.” When the nation’s stores report March sales results this week, the numbers are likely to be down yet again – especially for department stores and mall chains, which have been the weakest performers for months.
That does not bode well for mall owners. As more stores have closed, mall vacancies are at their highest point in almost a decade, according to Reis, a research company, which said the vacancy rate at the end of 2008 was 7.1 percent.

How can the church risk so much money at a time when it leaders are teaching prudence?

Another Thought

Anyone that has followed the City Creek development story from the beginning had information presented to us on the reasons behind the "investment". Watchman would do well to review some of those early news stories before casting stones.

To Watchman

Yea, I agree with you it's more important for the church to curtail temple and chapel building so the money can be put to use for the building of shopping centers and encourage new pubs to locate around the downtown area(close to the temple). I live some 2,000 miles from Salt Lake City and know the effects of temple and chapel building curtailment. Looks like somebody new needs to oversee the church's financial department.


If one is not moving forward or upward, then one will be going backwards or downward. Simple stuff. Unless one wants to ford through urban decay and decrepit, morose blocks to get to Temple Square, something has to be done to revitalize the area. "vital-ize"

Recent articles pointed out that Temple Square is still highly ranked as a tourist attraction, and from amongst the curious, the work will grow in distant destinations. Seems like a worthy investment to me.

Non-Utahn, non-suffering, non-needy, 'mission field' S2


Expenditures: Shopping malls are struggling all over the US. This must be the only new one being built.Since the church is now a worldwide organization it need to take care of its member with basic needs such as meetinghouses. members in a neighbouring stake in a major city to mine use our stake centre because they have never had one built. They have to travel long distances down the motorway for stake conference at what cost!I know of several congregations which do not have a chapel.v Some LDS meet in chapels housing three wards, meeting at very inconvenient times especially for their children. The members should be the investment that the church is interested in.

An independent analyst after looking at all the church projects in Utah stated the following:

“Remember all these projects are to be completed by 2011. Total costs $10.1 billion. If you include the Conference center ($1.1 billion) the total spending in Utah not to include chapels and stake centers $11.2 billion dollars.”

Big Red

The LDS church which had already owned several properties downtown, bought the remaining properties that it needed for this project at the height of the real estate boom back in 2004-2006. Thus paying a premium for the properties. The church needs to remind itself, that all monies that it currently has comes from tithing. Tithing is the source from which all other investments and holdings are derived from. In these most difficult times, I wish the church would spend more money on helping it's faithful members in the U.S, than 2 billion dollars on this project.

Re: watchman

Watch out watchman! Your quoted scripture was completely out of line.


Watchman makes me LOL.

Yeah the church is cutting back on temple expenditures so they can become real estate tycoons in SLC.



"Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good..." I have full confident that the shepherds Watchman mentioned did counselled with the Lord. The question is did Watchman counsel with the Lord as to the cause of the "cut back in expenditure" mentioned? The Lord will never reveal what my shepherds should be doing to me, and vise versa.

Bear Laker

This all started before the downturn but it has to be helping with holding down the costs. This is a very wise use of the investment funds of the church. These properties could have become a liability to the church but with the new projects it will return many times over the cost to renovate. It also will provide a beautiful downtown thereby protecting the church's non comercial downtown properties, maintaining a safe, unblighted area for the church to showcase temple square. Wise, indeed, my shortsighted brother. Also what is your reference for the slowdown of temple and chapel build worldwide?

Bitter Watchman?

Well, Watchman . . . looks like you have an axe to grind. You really do not have a clue how the LDS church works, do you?!

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