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Looking closely at LDS Church businesses, finances

Published: Thursday, July 12 2012 6:43 p.m. MDT

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Gr8Dane
Tremonton, UT

Painfully obvious even to the most dense of persons that the so-called "main-stream" media (does that exist anymore?) is in the tank for Barack Obama, and many of the major news outlets are owned by large, conglomerates who pay fealty to the liberal left. The White House sends out daily "talking points" to editors and major politician supporters, just so they can all get on the same page and use the same cooked-up buzz words and rhetoric.

So when Romney poses a serious threat to "their boy," Obama, then it's all hands on deck. Expect more smeary Mormon hit-pieces in the weeks ahead.

It's disgusting.

baddog
Cedar Rapids, IA

I appreciate that Church finances are watched over carefully. At the local unit level, there are at least twice-yearly audits to assure funds are spent and accounted for precisely.

The principle of self-reliance requires we watch over and use our resources as best we can. That is wrong? Perhaps if more practiced the same principle, poverty would recede.

For those siding with the anti-LDS, they shall have their reward.

Midvaliean
MIDVALE, UT

With little or NO transparency, the Church shouldn't be surprised when someone writes about it and they didn't like it. Why hide it if there is nothing to hide? Because it would bring great criticism on the church.

BobKjar
Humble, TX

The lies on the cover and in the article are a direct affront to the LDS church. I hope church leaders will show some backbone for a change and challenge Bloomberg and BusinessWeek in a court of law. The media need to pay directly from their pocketbooks for these lies and misrepresentations.

UTAH Bill
Salt Lake City, UT

The angry responses to the cover may just be due to it hitting close to home. Step back a moment and ask yourselves, "How does the LDS church come off to outsiders?" When you do, you'll see it often does look like The Church highly values and rewards financial success. It's one of the most business-oriented churches in the world with (per member) holdings at record highs. Does this mean The Church is not true? No, of course not. And, the cover and the article linked to it do not go there.

Liberal Ted
Salt Lake City, UT

It's amazing that so called communication majors that can only achieve the level of writing agenda driven drivel to try and sell magazines in a time their industry is dying. You'd think they would be able to state that they have visited the church, interviewd those who have received assistance, interview volunteers, interview the finance part, state clearly what is for profit and what is non-profit.

Whatever happened to even a balanced article? Journalists use to go and get both sides of the story, even if they leaned more one way; at least they interviewed and did some research.

Now they just sit at home and google search whatever they need to satisfy the political agenda that they want to represent. This is why the industry is dying. That is why CNN is losing viewers, why the sltrib is dying, and why people distrust the media even more than they distrust congress.

ArizonaRed
Prescott Valley, AZ

This is pure and simple political assassination. Good will be seen as bad and bad will be seen as good.....through eyes that have been deceived. This is how radical liberalism works.

Red Headed Stranger
Billy Bobs, TX

Full-on double rainbow
I have heard it said that sunlight is a great disinfectant. Why not be more transparent with the financials? Put the naysayers in their place right?

Bravo Full-on double rainbow. Please lead the way. Please feel free to publish your name, your address, your phone number, your gender, your financial records, your medical records, your educational transcripts, your arrest record and your work history for public perusal. After all, what do you have to hide?

The thing is, I've learned nothing the church does will satisfy critics. If we build a mall close to the temple, then we don't care about the poor. If we don't, then we have allowed a whole neighborhood where the church headquarters is located to fall apart. If we baptize for the dead we are insensitive and antisemitic. If we don't we are exclusionary and think everyone non mormon is going to "heck". If we proselytize, then we are pushy. If we don't we are secretive and insular. Etc., etc.

We aren't going away. We are helping Someone very important, and know-it-all critics aren't going to make us stop.

LivinLarge
Bountiful, UT

A $1.2B spend on a merchandising mecca may not be the best way for a church to attract attention and admirers during a lengthy and deep recession. My "under-employed" sister called me for a loan to help pay her rent because she just spent $350 on a shopping spree at City Creek. I referred her to her church leader...

Blue
Salt Lake City, UT

"The lies on the cover and in the article are a direct affront to the LDS church."

Did you actually _read_ the entire article? I did. It is well-researched and respectful.

The magazine cover got your attention, sure, but the article itself is thorough and professionally written.

Hank Pym
SLC, UT

@ Blue6:42 a.m. July 13, 2012

"If the church was genuinely transparent about its finances this would not be an issue."

Agreed. If they have nothing to hide then why the Dick Cheney like secrecy? Isn't religion about illumination?

"The church has been pedal-to-the-metal lately to present itself to the world in the most favorable light possible. Their PR department has been operating at warp speed for at least a year"

In order to control the story they are furiously trying to spin or even create the story.

Arm of Orion
Cottonwood Heights, UT

@Livinlarge I don't see how employing a bunch of people to build and operate a mall could be anything but helping people.

JRJ
Pocatello, ID

To Californian #1 - It would appear the Business Week has already supported their chosen candidate, wouldn't you think? Haven't read the story, don't plan to, won't even look at the cover. I long ago, as a LDS, chose my candidate and tuned out the media on either side. I have no interest in being lied to more and more and more, and it is pretty obvious that is what is happening. Any thinking American who can't see they are being manipulated by the media is a poor excuse for a citizen. The media made the decision to get Obama elected and that is just what they did. Americans knew nothing about him and neither did the news media, but they went right ahead and fed us what they had selected. As a Latter-day Saint, I completely trust the church to handle my donations with respect and honesty. As Pres. Hinckley so often said, the donations are a sacred trust and will be handled as such.

JWB
Kaysville, UT

Bloomberg and politics is the epitome of his news bias, even in this article about one of the most benevolent churches through practice, in the world. Religion and politics are used by many as needing to be separate, especially, Presidential politics. However, the Chicago baron and his minions don't see any problem with mixing and matching this kind of editorial comment in Businessweek. The Church statement and substantial summary of the history, philosophy and vision of LDS finances is explicit on what the Church does with the various types of finances, voluntary and business, that it manages and controls distributions, through legal and acceptable fiduciary practices for the past, present and future plans. These people don't want people of conviction in the world as those people can be run over by the politicians who want bland and non-voters to let them gain control by non-participating. The Church is active in humanitarian services throughout the world and members donate time, energy, talents and money for such causes. The members are first on the scene in many cases as they already have emergency plans for their neighborhoods, where they live. Ask the people in Katrina, Joplin, etc.

skeptic
Phoenix, AZ

The LDS church is a big international tax exempt corporation business and it is therefore open to suspect, examination and critical interpretation. The Mormon religion is not synonymous with the church corporation that houses the religion.

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

Is anyone really surprised by this? We all knew with Mitt in the race the far left would resort to their usual tactics of lies ,distortions and irreverence. Some people will buy into it - most won't but the beat goes on regardless. Desperate men do desperate things - my mission president used to say. He was right. Obama and his army of trolls are getting desperate since every other distortion they try blows up in their face like a hand grenade from Bain Capital to off shore bank accounts to Mitt's dog riding on top of the car. This is all to be expected and I think we are just getting started - Chicago style politics... the worst of the worst of America. All we can do is state the truth and decent people with common sense will understand... the rest will keep on with the garbage in and garbage out stuff.

Billy Bob
Salt Lake City, UT

@livinlarge,

Its not the Church's fault that your under employed sister spent $350 on a shopping spree. City Creek provides jobs at a time when they are most needed. The Church, and the mall for that matter, cannot be blamed for your sister not living within her means. It is her own fault.

jenrmc
Fort Worth, TX

I also think this cover is hilarious. It is meant to be a satire on the First Vision and whether you like it or not, the Church is involved in secular business endeavors. If you don't like the portrayal on the cover, don't buy the magazine. Write letters to the publishers, etc. Please include in those letters logical reasons for your discontent and not just that it doesn't affect your impressions of the Church or it is an act worthy of condemnation. IMO, some of the reasons to be upset are the misquoted members and/or the fact that the Church encourages it's members to be financially stable and prepared. The Church's investments are merely an attempt at this. I personally don't think that a Church should be involved in real estate, etc. but do see how this is simply an outward attempt at financial stability and an attempt to provide for it's members and those around the world. Whether the attempt is to line people's pockets is not something I can comment on because I don't know. If I wrote in then I would request the information supporting these statements.

JWB
Kaysville, UT

BusinessWeek isn't just betting on their article by itself, they are wanting the NBC, CBS, ABC, and Internet sites to be pushing their article in every news hour today and for the next week. They don't care if their message is not valid, they want the image in people's head that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doesn't care for people. They want the image of the FLDS and cults in people's minds and thoughts. BusinessWeek didn't want the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to have a positive image as that would portray Mitt Romney, the one they are really attacking, as a good guy, since he has money he has earned. The magazine may print something that it was not the intent to show the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was doing something wrong with their money and their member's money, but that will be too late. People's minds have already been filled with this distasteful article, written for a political purpose, not an information article on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is the mustard seed awry.

Mom of Six
Northern Utah, UT

Having worked for the temple department for few years, I was deeply humbled at how the General Authoriites treat tithing funds. They are considered sacred, and are used very carefully. The church takes great care in allotting these funds to care for specific needs. The article fails to separate the for-profit entity with the non-profit, by lumping them both together and distorting facts
Ms. Winters has an axe to grind with her article, plain and simple. Since the journalist community can not seem to find much dirt on Mitt Romney, maybe they can invent some dirt on his religion....hmmmm?

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