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Comments about ‘In our opinion: Out of bounds: Businessweek cover story distorts’

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Published: Thursday, July 12 2012 10:03 p.m. MDT

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1aggie
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

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.

JM
Lehi, UT

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.

Brother Chuck Schroeder
A Tropical Paradise USA, FL

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.

Liberal Ted
Salt Lake City, UT

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....

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

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 livable.

Cinci Man
FT MITCHELL, KY

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.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

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.]

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

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.

cjb
Bountiful, UT

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 their calling.

a bit of reality
Shawnee Mission, KS

The cover art is biting, and it reminds me of what Jesus said; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

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.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

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 to.

Mike in Cedar City
Cedar City, Utah

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?

Esquire
Springville, UT

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 evident.

Seronac
Orem, UT

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.

Uncle Charles
Where freedom and liberty reign, utah

@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? Yes
Factual? Not so much

As John Sununu said to Andrea Mitchell recently, "You are struggling Esquire. You are struggling!"

Worth looking up that exchange regarding facts!

CynicJim
Taylorsville, UT

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.

1aggie
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

@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.

The Taxman
Los Angeles, CA

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.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

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.

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