Comments about ‘New York Times says City Creek Mall 'breathes life' into Salt Lake City’

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Published: Friday, July 12 2013 4:30 p.m. MDT

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Ted H.
Midvale, UT

Some people whose goal in life seems to be to make anything related to the LDS church into something negative cry about how much money was spent on this project and say "why not donate this money to the poor"?

I have little sympathy for such misinformed people.

City Creek is putting millions of dollars into the economy, employing thousands. Frankly, if I had money to give directly to a needy person or if I could create a job with that money, whereby giving them the chance to EARN money, I'd rather create the job, all day every day. So to the church leadership, I say THANK YOU for giving to the needy in this community, through job creation. This has proven to produce a much better result than simply handing out money to the needy. Were it not for this investment in our community, the number of "needy" would be higher by the thousands. Instead, these people have jobs.

Washington, DC

More members of the church are outside the US than are inside the US - let alone in Salt Lake City. Funding City Creek is a huge step back for the church, causing "problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose."

I laugh at helping a few thousand be employed in a prosperous Utah economy. Compare that to Ghana where there are tens of thousands of saints and only ~1/4 of them get to go to high school. That is a much bigger employment problem that can be addressed much more cheaply. By building church high schools in Africa, just like we did in the Pacific, the church can help needy members help themselves, while also building the leadership that is needed in the most rapidly growing area of the church.

Ultimately, we should be building a BYU-Africa, which would do wonders for the church. How would the election have changed if Mitt had built "Romney U's" in Mexico and Africa? It would have been much better PR than spending all that money on ads.

The church needs a more global, less mercantilist perspective on the gospel.

DN Subscriber 2

Thank you for noticing, New York Times, but neither the LDS Church, nor Utah, nor private enterprise need ANY advice or comment from the New York Times on how to run anything.

Capitalism and free enterprise works to the best advantage for the greatest number of people when it is left alone, which is contrary to everything the Times stands for.

Well done to everyone involved with City Creek!

Lindon, UT

The Church needed to spruce up the area around its HQ. City Creek was a great idea for them, SLC, and Utah.

American Fork, UT

I'm one of those misinformed people. The church made the decision to build this thing. Whatever they chose not to put the money toward, they own, too.

Glendora, CA

I concur completely. I couldn't have stated the point any better. I have a hard time just living in another state, other than Utah, let alone another country, where there is a paucity of jobs and our children have less to look forward to, in terms of marriage prospects, as opposed to BYU, etc. It is still a Utah-centric reality.

Falconer, NY


Read comment by Ted H.

Also, in a previous article it was reported that this investment has already reaped $200M for the Church. I wonder where that money will go. rhappahannock ought to subscribe to Church News to see the global impact the Church already has and I have no doubt it will continue to grow as the gospel spreads. City Creek and tithes are assets for the Church. Temples, schools, et all are liabilities. You need assets to cover your liabilities - economics 101. Obviously, the Church has a longer perspective of things than others.

Don Ira
St George, UT

Where does the funds come from that supplies and transports those supplies to disaster areas, no matter where it is, in the US or else where in the world? Where does the funds come from that feeds people all over the world from Bishop's storehouses or puts cloths on their backs? Where does the money come from to drill wells and install pumps for clean water? The holding of the Church are not money holes, they pay dividends that the Church uses to provide services to people no matter if they are LDS members or not.
I didn't question when the Church assisted the Catholic Church in renovating the Cathedral of the Madelin, in Salt Lake City. I haven't heard anyone disputing that action by the LDS Church.
I almost forgot about Deseret Industries not just in Utah that train people to be productive citizens, where does the funds come from?
It's not the 2000 that I think about, but the tens of thousands that are better off because of projects that generate revenue like City Creek.

The Taxman
Los Angeles, CA

I don't begrudge the church the right to build shopping malls, or earn hundreds of millions of dollars each year in the farming business. But I think all tax exempt organizations should disclose their activities and results (as certain other countries require). I don't like the secrecy and lack of transparent stewardship.

Salt Lake City, UT

It is very narrow to judge City Creek without understanding where and who benefits globally. The humanitarian services provided by the LDS church have been expanded with City Creek profits, not to mention local employment and benefits to the city's center. There are few cities in the world who would not welcome such urban renewal, as the NY TImes noted.

Gram Cracker
Price, UT

No tithing funds or other member donations were used toward the construction of the beautifully-thriving City Creek Mall. The LDS Church has a "business arm" for these types of projects. They do a lot of good wherever they can help out.

The Taxman
Los Angeles, CA

@ Gram Cracker

And where did the original first dollar of capital used in the Church's business ventures come from? Did it magically appear or did it come from members' contributions and donations? And when the Church business ventures need capital for project or to acquire a farm do they not borrow tithing money at very low interest rates? And if excess donations (not currently being spent) are not loaned to the business ventures, how are they employed? The truth is there is no disclosure and so we don't know the answers to these questions. We only know what we are told, and that is woefully little.


"No tithing funds or other member donations were used toward the construction of ... City Creek Mall"

How do you know?

Salt Lake City, UT

@Ted H.

"City Creek is putting millions of dollars into the economy, employing thousands."

Charities are not for-profit.

Salt Lake City, UT

I get that the money the church spent could be spent in many ways, including helping third world countries and the many needs around the world. They already do that. Truth be told, if they spent the money they used for city creek on welfare, there would only be outcries for more. It's never enough. This decision has as much to do with maintaining a positive environment across from the temple and church headquarters as it does anything else. Because the church does have a business arm and figuring from the standpoint of business strategy, they would be foolish to not make these improvements. There's no doubt that there would be a crop of unhappy people who would be irate at the church for leaving the downtown mall the way it was. It was literally a cave in the middle of downtown. It seems some people just need something to complain about.

The Taxman
Los Angeles, CA

@ Ironhide

"I get that the money the church spent could be spent in many ways, including helping third world countries and the many needs around the world. They already do that."

I disagree Ironhide. The Church has given so little aid to third world countries (according to their own statistics for the last 30 years) that the amount is practically negligible. The billionaire I work (as one person) has given more to help others than the whole LDS church over the last 30 years. More food gets delivered to SLC grocery stores in one week than has been donated to third world countries by the LDS Church over the last 3 decades.

The recent Pew study results (where clergy finished below many professions in contributing to society's well being) reflect that most people know and understand how little churches do to benefit society.

Livermore, CA

@ The Taxman

Ya know. With a title like Taxman its no wonder you wish to stick your nose in everyone else's business. If I sound abrasive then I apologize. Sir, I don't think it matters what a billionaire gives compared to the LDS Church, and I certainly don't think it's a contest to see who can do more. I know for a fact the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Church gives all over the world and they will do so long after your billionaires have died and gone.
Honestly, shouldn't we be looking at the "good" both of these entities do and stop nitpickng good deeds? I commend your "billionaire" friend for the good that he does and I thank him. Your thoughts my friend??

Hurricane, UT

Bravo, tokala65. Sounds like the LA Taxman has something sticking in his craw! Been doing comparative math (if erroneous) and everything to bring forth his negative approach to a very positive story. At least he doesn't appear to be down on billionaires, today, as so many of his comrades are. Thankfully, most other commenters seem to appreciate the "everybody wins" outcome of the Church's involvement in this beautiful and much needed project. I, for one more of many, am very pleased that the Church was able and willing to invest some of THEIR money so wisely.

Allen, TX

decrying it as a money-making enterprise. Those people still are criticizing the Church. Those people will never have anything good to say about the Church. Those people will be welcomed into the local chapel when fire starts raining down prior to the second coming, and continue to criticize the Church for not going out into the street to bring in more huddled masses.

Satan has no shortage of spokespeople.

Allen, TX

The first part of my comment disappeared.

I found the NYT article to be fair and balanced, except for the one line, "the Salt Lake Temple stands as a symbol of the commercial investment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

No. the Temple stands as a symbol of a sacrificing, covenant-making people, dedicated to serving the Lord.

I remember the garbage dump the area across the street from Temple Square was becoming. This project revitalized the downtown area, and provided a showplace instead of an eyesore across from the Temple. Now there are jobs. Now there is urban renewal.

Never having lived in Utah for as much as a year, I was amused at all the criticism that began as soon as this project was announced, with many detractors (begin part 2 above),

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