J ThompsonSPRINGVILLE, UTAs usual, there is a lot of
"misinformation". One poster seems to think that churches don't pay
taxes on business operations. Where did he get that idea? Churches pay taxes,
just like you and I pay taxes, on business operations. They are not exempt any
more than you or I are exempt.--------------BUT all
those business operations can and do make donations to the Church, thus keeping
their taxes very low or non-existant. It is written off as an expense and the
business then shows very little profit. Now, does that seem fair?
Any article written about the "Church" as always viewed as
"distorted" when it doesn't come from the Church itself.Reading through these comments all I can feel is fear. What's the
matter? What do you have to hide that makes so many of you bristle at the very
thought of criticism? You kind of scare me a bit.
I thought this editorial would discount at least some of the facts brought out
in the origional Businessweek article. Instead, I must assume the article is
factual and the Mormon church is portrayed accurately. What part of the truth do
the Mormons find offensive? It they take offense, maybe they should change their
Ok, i see lots of complaints that the article was "slanderous" or full
of half truths. Ok, I read the article. Please edify me, what were they?
What did the article say was so horrible? I am lost on all this anger, and
claims that we as LDS are being picked upon. If you feel the
article stated something inaccurate, state it, and then present the facts.
Everyone would benefit from that much more than cries of "they aren't
being nice".... particularly from a crowd that on a daily basis does the
same toward other groups labeling them as socialist, communist, and sometime
much worse.We as LDS have nothing to hide. Lets act like it.Talk about playing the religion card.... sounds like other groups so
often criticized here.
I don't care that the church doesn't open it's books to the
world, but in a world where people still believe that Elvis is alive, the moon
landing was faked and Obama was born in Kenya, there will never be a shortage of
conspiracy theories about it. Especially when the books are closed.
As usual, there is a lot of "misinformation". One poster seems to think
that churches don't pay taxes on business operations. Where did he get
that idea? Churches pay taxes, just like you and I pay taxes, on business
operations. They are not exempt any more than you or I are exempt.Good people donate their time and their "talents" to help others.
They don't have to be LDS to contribute. Those who try to tell us that
only the LDS Church responds to disasters are lying. Many churches respond.
Many people of faith respond. That's just the way things are. Good people
who love God don't need to be told by the government to help each other.The cover of the magazine was not appropriate. The people who designed
and approved that cover should be "educated". The article itself was
neither good nor bad. Space limitations may have contributed to what was
printed.Information about the LDS Church is easily available.
Anybody can get almost any question answered. Taxing churches for
non-business activities is prohibited by the Constitution to keep the government
from controlling churches.
When God evaluates your performance in this life, what do you think will be the
criteria that you will be measured against?Will you be judged by the
things you do because of the built in directives of your body and mind or will
you be judged by how well you do the things that other men have told you to
do?If every religious dogma tells a different story about humans and
the purpose of their existence it must be that all cannot be true. And yet all
could be false.Business men tell us that the reason and purpose of a
business operation is to make the owners/managers rich. And believing such are
prone to do anything and everything they can to accomplish that goal.The desire to survive is the most needed, wanted and sought after thing in the
world. Is it just possible that some businessmen would create their own
religion to fill that need.It is likely that the business of
religion will someday diminish as the result of the enlightenment of men. A
smart businessman seeing demand for his product waning will start to switch to
I am sure the LDS does a lot good things but I think a lot people wonder why any
church should own or operate a business. Are they a church or a business? If
they decide to operate a business should that business earn money tax free?
@ Twin Lights"First, it is for the storehouse that these business
interests were originally started." Okay... that's
obvious, but I believe irrelevant to our discussion."Second,
needs may one day be significantly greater and there may not be any excess to
sell."Again obvious, but people are starving in the world right
now. I don't know what can be "significantly greater" than people
dying right now.“Third, there may well be an investment
component here. “Again... very obvious.“church growth in the third world consumes a lot of that [US and UK
excess funds] and likely will continue to do so for the next several decades. I
think the cash flow has been that way for awhile now.”You are
speculating here without proof I believe. What stands, of course,
is my original point that it is hard for normal businesses to compete with
Church-owned businesses because the Church-owned businesses enjoy low interest
loans supplied by the "religious" branch. The playing field is not
level. I have seen this up-close in the agriculture industry.
The Taxman,I understand that the farming and ranching operations may
exceed the needs of the storehouse today such that the excess would be sold. A
few points.First, it is for the storehouse that these business
interests were originally started.Second, needs may one day be
significantly greater and there may not be any excess to sell. Some excess
capacity is prudent from a planning as well and possibly from an operating
expense standpoint as well.Third, there may well be an investment
component here. A friend invested his parent's estate into farmland (when
it was cheaper) in order to diversify away from stocks.Reference
tithing I would assume more money is taken in than is spent especially in places
like the US and UK. But church growth in the third world consumes a lot of that
and likely will continue to do so for the next several decades. I think the
cash flow has been that way for awhile now.
What is unfathomable to me is the criticism towards the Mormon Church for
spending 5 billion dollars to renovate an aging downtown Salt Lake City. If
this were any other organization or corporation (except possibly Bain Capital),
then the praise would be overflowing for their exceptional civic mindedness.If Mormon’s are so money minded, then why is there no paid
ministry, and everyone expected to help? Where else does that happen? For our
faithfulness, we receive the grace of God, waxing strong in Spirit and
knowledge, that we might teach with power and authority. But if the
Church is so financially successful, then perhaps we need a good Church man in
office, proved in the world of business, to share a successful business model
with a floundering country, states, cities, and individuals who obviously need
help to become self-reliant once more.
The Bloomberg Businessweek story is just one of a series that have attacked Mitt
Romney and Mormons, which are all listed on their web page next to the story.
The magazine has decided to become a left wing rag like Time. The story is
totally unbalanced in failing to explain the many ways in which the income the
LDS Church receives from the business assets it owns are used to care for needy
church members and provide houses of worship and universities and Institutes.
Even the information it does give is distorted, claiminig that the Mormons give
far less to humanitarian causes than the Methodists, when the actual annual
figures are Methodists $60 million from 7.8 million members versus Mormons $52
million from 6 million members, in both cases about $8 per member. The story is
just plain dishonest.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"No church, including the
LDS Church, has to bow before the government. No church, including the LDS
Church, has to justify how it spends its money. No church, including the LDS
Church, has to provide millions of dollars in relief to suffering people
worldwide - but the LDS Church, and other churches, do that without the
permission or the help of the government.BusinessWeek can report
anything that it wants. Have you seen the magazine? How many subscribers do
they have? How many advertisers? Why?
@ Twin LightsThe notion that the farming and ranching operations exist to
support the storehouse operations is not completely accurate. The farming
operations way eclipse the storehouse need and only a tiny percentage goes to
the storehouses while the lions' share is sold in grocery stores. Regarding your comments:1. "no source of capital is unlimited."
True. Give me a few million (or billion) dollars of cheap capital and I
will produce great results.2."wise business practice would
require a rate of return commensurate with market rates in order to enforce
rigor in the decision making process." Agreed.3.Regarding
the $8 billion figure, it doesn’t matter what the numbers are. The
concept is more money is taken in each year than spent (as illustrated in the
published UK financials) and the excess is loaned to the businesses. Pick
whatever numbers you want.The result is:Widow contributes mite
to the Church.Church loans mite to its huge agricultural business at low
interest rates.Ag business uses cheap capital to buy more Ag land (pushing
out more small farmers).Widow buys her fruit and nuts at the grocery store
from huge AG business.
What drives me nuts about this is how riled up everyone is getting. The only
thing I see to be upset about is the extremely bad cover choice.Other then that it mostly just seems to be facts. If facts are left out and
it's an incomplete picture then the church has no one to blame but
themselves. You can't be non transparent about your finances and then get
all riled up when someone paints an incomplete picture.The fact is I
know MANY member who have questioned the choice to build a 2 billion + dollar
mall and stock it with the world's most worldly and expensive stores.
Frankly it's a conversation that needs to happen. Maybe if the church was
more forthcoming and released information on their own terms they wouldn't
have these kinds of articles and they could start being action based instead of
JM:Today, more Americans are on government welfare than ever before,
but Mormons have no such need, no failing misguided economy.Even
anti-Mormon Maher says there are no poor Mormons. If he’s right it is
astounding, and not simply because he’s never been right about Mormons
before. Really? Just where do you find that information? There are
no poor Mormon's? That's so laughable it would be funny if it
wasn't so scary that you actually seem to believe it. And you
really think that anyone who shares alternating points of view on these threads
is a paid activist? I must go looking for my check then, they must have
deposited it into the wrong account!
I notice that neither the Deseret News nor the LDS Church itself went so far as
to say that the Business Week story was factually incorrect. They just
didn't appreciate the narrative under which it was told.
I think the cover art was in bad taste, but the article was not. It was clearly
a well researched piece. The Church was given ample opportunity to participate
and were quoted extensively in the report. I would encourage folks here to read
it before they make a judgement. I'm sorry to see the Deseret
News retreating to their usual world of ad hominem attacks rather than dealing
with the important issues Businessweek raises. This was a chance to tell an
important story. You blew it.
1aggie,See my 6:53 post reference Beneficial Life. It stopped
selling new policies in 2009 and is slowly being wound down (there are current
customers so you can't just shutter the doors)..The
Taxman,First, no source of capital is unlimited.Second,
despite whatever the actual cost of funds may be, wise business practice would
require a rate of return commensurate with market rates in order to enforce
rigor in the decision making process.Third, I assume you got the 8
billion dollar figure from the interview (at least that is where I heard it).
Whatever the source, such a figure is laughable. There are roughly 14 million
members. Let's assume about half attend regularly. If every single one of
those attending paid a full tithing (trust me, they don't), the tithing
collected per person would have to be $1,143 indicating they have an annual
income of $11,430. That would be throughout the world (including all of the
third world membership) and would apply to every man, woman, and child (of the
attending membership). Such a figure is unrealistic to say the least.
The interesting issue to me (which nobody has touched on) is the source of
unlimited capital and low interest loans supplied by the "religious"
branch to the "business" branch. Say 8 billion of tithing is collected
in a year and only 5 billion is spent for buildings, BYU etc. The other 3
billion is available to lend at low rates to the businesses. We in the private
sector must raise our own capital - at higher rates - and compete with the LDS
for-profit businesses on an unlevel playing field.People within the
Church boast of the great business stewardship, but give me an unlimited source
of cheap capital and I will produce great results too.
@Cinci Man"I think that the church's Newsroom statement on church
finances is far more journalistic and accurate than this BW article is. You
should read it and try to become enlightened by it. It is excellent and is all
you or I need to know."I did read the Church's Newsroom
statement and it somewhat enlightening, but it raises a few obvious questions
too. Since you think it is "all you or I need to know" then perhaps you
know the answers or can explain why my questions are not valid.1)
The statement explains that some businesses (like Zions Bank and LDS Hospitals)
were necessitated by the fact that they didn’t exist elsewhere in the
community and were sold off as private businesses developed. Why does the
Church currently own a large insurance company (when there are zillions of
private insurance companies)?2) The statement says the
Church’s business assets serve as a rainy day fund in the event of a
global food crisis. Is there not a global food crisis right now? Millions of
people are currently threatened with starvation in Africa right now according to
the World Bank.
More than anything else, this article represents the liberal Democrat Michael
Bloomberg striking out at the conservative Utah Church and its members who
refuse to support the redistribution of wealth of the current liberal
administration. It is frustrating that there are those that, rather than
offering help to the sufferers without involving a government that can't
abide aiding those in need without their approval and a little cash in offing.
It seems they refuse beans,rice and powdered milk.The cheerleadering corps
of Bloomberg and his ilk will always strike to demean rather than compliment
those that live outside the 'help of the government.'Subscription numbers should show our dislike.
@Esquire: what was factual about the article, especially since the Church does
not release the numbers? Was the quote about what it says on the Tithing Slip
accurate? Are all quotes from the disgruntled ex-Mormon Quinn all factual? Are
there no LDS members who have no interest in seeing the financials of the
Church?Titillating? YesFactual? Not so muchAs John
Sununu said to Andrea Mitchell recently, "You are struggling Esquire. You
are struggling!"Worth looking up that exchange regarding facts!
It's clear that the Bloomberg article is not about money, or the LDS
Church, but about getting Obama re-elected so he can continue their
freedom-killing Socialist agenda.
I just read the article. Other than the sensational cover, the article itself
seems pretty factual and straight-forward. I would be interested in a factual
rebuttal, not the emotional wringing of hands of defensiveness that seems to be
One general authority some years ago was asked why the church was not more
forthcoming in reporting its financial dealing even to its own membership. His
response, "They don't expect us to do that". The implication was
that the level of trust was so high that disclosure was not necessary. I, for
one disagree, "Trust buy Verify" as the old Russian adage goes.And, radical as it may be I think all churches should be taxed as for other
business entities with tax exemptions for any funds tendered for legitimate
charitable reasons. If the Mormon Church is a "Sole
Corporation" does that mean its a person, since as Mitt says, Corporations
are people. If the Church is a "person", does that mean it can sin,
repent, be baptized, and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost and then get married
in the Temple?
The Lord gave his servants several talents.One spent them,One
buried them,and One invested and Doubled them to give them back to the
Lord.To whom the Lord replied, "Well done my good and faithful
servant."I see nothing but what the wise servant is expeced to
This article addresses an age old problem of public slander. What do you do when
someone slanders you? When you suddenly see your name in print with all sorts of
lies and half truths? This happens to be a national news magazine that is in bed
with Obama and the left. Slander is a always a mixture of half truths and out
right lies and mixed together in such a way that it takes time for people to
remove all the mud and see the truth. I suspect there will be even more vicious
attacks against the Church and its doctrine and done in the same slanderous way.
It's all Obama has to run on since he has no record of his own. Pitiful
economy and ugly tax increases going forward don't sale too well.
The cover art is biting, and it reminds me of what Jesus said; for where your
treasure is, there will your heart be also.
This attack on the LDSchurch is unfair. The focus of the LDS church is religion.
With them money is a means towards this end. Unlike so many Mega churches LDS
leaders do not get rich off of the church. Their leaders who need it are given a
modest middle class sum of money to live on so that they can focus full time on
1aggie,I am unfamiliar with the LA temple. But I am quite familiar
with the valuation of churches. The more liturgical the structure, the less
utility to an alternate user and the lower the market value it has.Although there are a few denominations that build relatively open and flexible
use structures that are more usable to a non-religious buyer, LDS buildings do
not so qualify. They are built for a very specific use.Often the
value of these properties is the land less the cost to scrape the ground and
remove the structure. This is not to say the structure is always removed (they
can be converted to other uses but at a significant cost), but there is little
value in them from a market perspective.
Get a clue --- the magazine is called; BUSINESSWEEK.They
weren't interested in Spiritual or Temporal matters.Their audience is
business, and business 99.999% of the time only about ONE thing = $$$ Money....and to them, $Money is their God, $Money is what they worship, and
Human Beings and Life in general are Liabilities to the Bottom Line to be
exploited in order to maximize their Quarterly Earnings.If you
wanted to know only about the $$$ involved, this was a good article.If you were looking for a feel good humanitarian story - look somewhere
else.[Sheez, when will conservatives realize Business is no friend
to humanity? business rely on People only because they have to.And
BTW - No Mitt - Corporations are NOT People.]
laggie and others:It does not take but a few minutes of casual thought to
sit down and make a list of priorities and focus points of any church. Everyone
knows of the LDS buildings, temples, humanitarian effort, welfare program (which
is massive), missionary program, perpetual education fund, seminaries,
institutes, higher education, employment services, social services, the
organization itself, training, and more I have not mentioned. How difficult is
it to understand that a religion with THESE points of emphasis will be different
that those of a non-religious business? I don't need disclosure of the
numbers to write about that. I need a good goal in my writing, which this
article lacked. It comes across, by its cover alone, as insensitive and shallow,
and I'm sure the article will also disappoint because of this first
impression. I think that the church's Newsroom statement on church finances
is far more journalistic and accurate than this BW article is. You should read
it and try to become enlightened by it. It is excellent and is all you or I
need to know.
Dr. Mouw is correct. "a journalistic examination and analysis regarding the
financial practices of any group is always fair game. But . . . this is out of
bounds."I understand that folks can misunderstand the businesses
held by the church. A good example might be Beneficial Life. A century or so
ago, many immigrant groups started life insurance companies to serve their
members but those companies folded or were sold as life insurance became more
generally available. Now, Beneficial has stopped selling new policies.Media companies help influence the dialogue. Heaven knows, we need media
companies with a few standards. Also, many church groups own media of various
types. The farming and ranching operations support the storehouse operations.
The much talked about City Creek Center is a key in stabilizing downtown Salt
Lake City. Many cities have significant blight or crime (lots of offices, but
no one wants to be there after 6:00). Downtowns need a lot of care to keep them
The trouble with Americans, is that most do not understand money and how it
works. They don't understand the difference between a non-profit and for
profit.Tithing donations to build churches, temples, print
scriptures etc is not a money making venture. No one is charged to enter a
church or temple (which consumes electricity, maintenance, heating and other
costs). Missionaries handing out pamphletes or scriptures do not receive money.
Donations that are given to those in need, doesn't bring a dime in.Now the mall, stocks, polynesian center that is on the cover are for
profit branches of the church. The church has to pay taxes on anything it does
that makes a profit. So when people state the church needs to be kicked out of
the tax exempt status, what they are thinking is that these businesses are
operating tax free, when it really is just the non-profit (which unions and many
liberal organizations operate under).If they want to take away
tax-exempt status from religion, then religions will be free to participate
fully in politics. And your union fees will no longer be tax deductible....
I see DNews sensationalized it again and makes it seem as if they never distorts
anything. We all know that Washington has dramatically increased spending on
anti-poverty programs, by about $500 billion adjusted for inflation, between
1980 and 2011. The spending for each person in poverty jumped from $4,300 to
$13,000 during that same time period. And for what? So poor people today would
have an even tougher time climbing up the ladder than in the '60s? Do
politicians ever stop to examine the record to see where all this spending has
gotten us?. LDS Church resources are used to provide food and clothing for the
needy, and to provide ways for people to lift themselves up and be
self-reliant?. Tithing has thus proved to be an enormous blessing to the Church
and its people, along with simple but sound economic principles such as avoiding
debt, living within one's means and setting aside funds for a rainy day.
IF YOU CAN THAT IS. Ongoing maintenance and upkeep, utilities and use of the
building can only be achieved as long as faithful-members-continue to support
the Church. Lift burdens of-those-who-are-struggling.
It is expected that the hired activists (posing in comments) will dishonestly
malign, but it is sad when a mainstream media source has to stoop to such
things. It seems they have nothing to offer, so simply fabricate, embellish,
intentionally hide, and distort. This only exposes haters for what they are. LDS are among the most charitable of people, giving billions of hours,
dollars, etc to others. They make and distribute food, and more importantly,
help keep people from needing handouts. In some emergencies, the few
Mormons give more than anyone (more than "aid" concerts; liberal
governments; dishonest, yellowish business magazines ; )etc).Today,
more Americans are on government welfare than ever before, but Mormons have no
such need, no failing misguided economy. Even anti-Mormon Maher says
there are no poor Mormons. If he’s right it is astounding, and not simply
because he’s never been right about Mormons before. Most
Mormons live outside of the U.S., but LDS don't just take our
children's fish and give to CEO's or poorly invest with rich friends,
etc. Mormons educate, teach job skills, and so on. Mormons have many
wonderful programs for those in need.
I totally disagree this this editorial. First, how does the writer (or anybody
for that matter) know that Businessweek was not dead-on since the Church does
not disseminate financial information (even internally)?Regarding temples
and meetinghouses being a financial drain, I wonder what the FMV of all church
properties are today compared to when they were acquired? I'm sure the LA
temple property alone is worth thousands of times its original purchase price
today.The article suffers from not being comprehensive, but the complaints
about it lack specifity or any proof regarding the alleged inacurracies.