Comments about ‘Mormons to build 32-story tower in downtown Philly’

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Published: Thursday, Feb. 13 2014 7:00 a.m. MST

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SLC_Mormon
Salt Lake City, UT

I'm a mormon but am completely alarmed at the fact our church is becoming a real estate mogul. I'm aware we've owned millions of acres of farms but for some reason for me having them go into SLC and Philly and Own multi-million dollar malls and buildings makes me feel like this is more of a corporation than a church.

birder
Salt Lake City, UT

No, I think the truth is that Philly is a pretty rough city. The Church realizes that it has to buy up and develop the land around the new temple to keep the area safer and nicer. That's why the mall was built in Salt Lake - to preserve the area around Temple Square from further decay. The same thing is also happening in Ogden, where the temple is undergoing a complete renovation.

coloreader
fowler, CO

The second paragraph stated a "private investor" is building the apartment etc., not the LDS Church. Birder is correct, the neighborhoods near Temples need to safe and inviting, especially when, in the future, the Temples will be running 24 hours a day.

Vladhagen
Salt Lake City, UT

I think that Birder is exactly right. The Church is seeking to develop that land into something positive. And I do not think that residents are complaining about the 1500+ jobs being created. That is always a benefit.

Ted H.
Midvale, UT

I trust president monson is making good decisions. I really don't worry about it. I love what the church has done to city creek. They greatly improved the city and simultaneously are giving millions to the poor each year through jobs they otherwise would not have.

Win win!

NedGrimley
Brigham City, UT

Coloreader: What? We should read the article before rushing to conclusions?

fairmindedone
Bountiful, UT

I'm sorry that you are so alarmed... FYI... The Church owns thousands of chapels around the world and over 140 temples. It also invests in money making ventures. The ultimate goal of such investments is financial stability and a stable platform upon which to spread the Gospel throughout the world and assist its members to live healthy and happy lives. The construction of the new Philadelphia Temple is a significant expense for the Church and will bless the lives of members and non members alike. Such an investment is deserving of our very best efforts to protect and enhance its environs. The construction of the meetinghouse next to the Temple will also bless the lives of thousands of individuals. The residential apartment building is being developed by PRI and not directly by the Church. Personally, I am glad that the Church has the vision to make strategic investments that help to better our communities and protect their original investments.

Thinking_Clearly
Sandy, UT

To SLC_Mormon I will take your word for it that you are Mormon but you clearly do not know much about the history of this church. From it's very founding the church has been involved in all sorts of developments, they developed Kirtland Ohio that was on the very western frontier of the nation at the time, built a temple, had a bank, ran a mill and a farm lands, they moved west and developed land in Missouri, built a massive city bigger than Chicago in Illinois, came to Salt Lake and developed the desert, had banks, the first department store sent settlers to Las Vegas, Carson City, San Francisco, San Diego. This is a church that builds, develops and makes places better, it is an industrious church that moves on several fronts and all of these things allow the church to further it's work to share its message, help its members, feed the poor and assist in times of need all around the world. It is a church that embraces the Parable of the Talents and does not sit idle. It's also a church that does all of these things without going into debt.

Chachi
Charlottesville, VA

Hey, I get it: it seems weird for a church to be in the real estate business. But consider:
1) Commercial properties are not tax-exempt like religious properties.
2) Tithing is not used in these projects.
3) Development around temples in urban areas helps prevent blight.
4) This isn't anything close to those megachurches with Starbucks and dance clubs inside them. The religious and commercial are clearly differentiated.
5) The building will exemplify the very best in mixed-use urban design, which helps reduce car dependence. Hopefully it will also have a LEED certification, and with Robert A. M. Stern as architect, I wouldn't be surprised.
So...other than the fact that it seems odd, is there anything actually WRONG with this?

Dr. G
Bountiful, UT

Didn't urban decay ruin all the real estate around the Johannesburg temple since it was built? Now the surrounding area is riddled with crime and has become an inner city sort of environment. Good idea to try and do what you can to keep the area around the temple from blight.

Tom in CA
Vallejo, CA

SLC -

Calm down. Everything will be ok. If our government managed its money/resources like the LDS Church does, we would all be much better off.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

I'd bet philly would benefit more from something besides a pre qualified enclave designed to displace reality from a temple area. Nonetheless, keeping up appearances is important to the corporation. Either way, it doesn't matter. We've been told what will happen. The accountability is nil on these decisions because the righteousness is understood by faithful (contributors) as absolute and compliance is expected.

Diligent Dave
Logan, UT

SLC_Mormon said, in part, "...for some reason for me having them (the LDS Church) go into SLC and Philly and Own multi-million dollar malls and buildings makes me feel like this is more of a corporation than a church."

Don't worry. The (LDS) Church and the gospel are still "true" (i.e., God's divinely sanctioned organization here on earth). The 'Corporation' part is kept together sufficiently financially and management wise, I gather, and apparently tolerated by the "Man Upstairs" enough, despite a lot of things that often seem not always so wise that go on sometimes among the many sub-entities that are under it's over-arching umbrella.

So many decisions among both employees under the Corporation of the President (of the Church), as well as some things that also sometimes happen among members and ecclesiastical authorities at all levels in the (LDS) Church, sometimes seem to reflect the fallible human nature we are all susceptible to. But, we pray that the Lord will still be merciful to those among whom social politics sometimes seem to prevail, where we suppose the Lord's will should prevail more (instead).

TriSam
North Carolian, AP

This is wonderful. I have glad the church is expanding its investments. this creates greater stability, creates jobs and builds the church reputation as a whole. Tithing is not used in these type of ventures. And as always, and i mean always in my book. If Pres Monson bottom lines it, then it is way good enough for me. He da Man!!

Open and honest
Manchester, 00

From lds.org

Jesus was protective of the sanctity of his Father’s house. In the very early days of his ministry, he cleansed the Temple court of the merchandisers and money changers. (See John 2:13–16.) Then during his final week in mortality, he again “went into the temple of God, cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers.” (Matt. 21:12.)

Irony?

Ricardo Carvalho
Provo, UT

PRI is owned by the Church basically so there is little difference. Having said that, i have no problem with the LDS Church (or any other for that matter) using its extra funds to invest in future returns that will allow it a steady stream of income to fulfill its mission.

Bob A. Bohey
Marlborough, MA

This is an amazing story! After all of the stories in the news recently about the all out war on religion in America, getting something like this built in a major east coast city seems nothing short of a miracle, especially, during a religious war.

Mike Johnson
Stafford, VA

Some of the real estate is undoubtedly for the temple presidency and full time missionary couples sent out to serve as the core of temple workers.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

Probably saved the church a great deal of money to obtain a wonderful place to build another Temple. Wise and inspired use of sacred funds!

Esquire
Springville, UT

@ birder, Philly isn't "a pretty rough city", no more than any other major U.S. city. And the area the temple is in is elite territory. The first location picked for the temple was on the edge of a less desirable area, but the Church moved to the Franklin Parkway.

I'm not sure what to think about this - it's more than building a chapel or a facility for Church purposes. Apologists should be slow to condemn commenters like "SLC_Mormon" who raise legitimate questions about these types of projects, even if it might be a joint venture with others.

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