Are LDS learning to swim in the mainstream in this post-Mormon moment?


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  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 13, 2013 7:21 a.m.

    To "Jeff" unfortunately you are wrong about socialism, and also in thinking that the church could be considered moderate in today's political climate.

    Here is the basic definitions for conservative and liberal.

    Conservative - believes in minimal government, and that individual people are the solution to our nation's problems.

    Liberal - belive in limitless government, and that government is the solution to any problem.

    Here are some quotes from various LDS Prophets and leaders condemning socialism:

    " many of the current false theories and philosophies of men, including socialism, humanism, organic evolution, and others" Ezra Taft Benson

    "We heard Brother Taylor's exposition of what is called Socialism this morning. What can they do? Live on each other and beg. It is a poor, unwise and very imbecile people who cannot take care of themselves" Brigham Young

    "We believe that our real threat comes from within and not from without, and it comes from the underlying spirit common to Naziism, Fascism, and Communism, namely the spirit which would array class against class, which would set up a socialistic state of some sort, which would rob the people of the liberties which we possess under the Constitution" First Presidency 1941.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Aug. 12, 2013 8:15 p.m.

    @Redshirt1701: I'm afraid you would have to give very detailed descriptions of what you mean by "liberalism" and "conservatism." As I understand both terms as used in the current political climate, I would have to disagree with your assertion that the Church favors conservatism over liberalism. I think that the Church favors each one in its place where it coincides with the Gospel.

    Furthermore, Church policy on many issues falls right smack dab in between both camps. One could say the Church favors "Moderatism" if anything.

    Speaking of socialism, again...

    I knew a young missionary from The Netherlands who once confessed to me privately that he was a Socialist, but he was afraid to let American elders know because they were so abusive about his political affiliation. Learn to think more globally.

    Yes, even Socialism has elements that coincide with the Gospel, which means that a Latter-day Saint who belongs to a union has no obligation whatsoever to "fight" against Socialism per se. I agree that all good people should fight corruption wherever they find it, but it's just as likely to be in management as it is in the union.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 12, 2013 2:31 p.m.

    To "kvnsmnsn" you didn't understand my statement.

    Poltical philosophies are not equal to political parties. This has nothing to do with Democrat or Republican.

    You may find it hard to believe that liberalism is contrary to LDS doctrine, but that is what has been declared by Prophets and GAs.

    What you forget is that while Harry Reid is very liberal, the church does not question his faith or commitment to God, that is between Harry and God. BYU invited him to speak at a Forum event on faith, family, and public service. BYU also has non-LDS professors, so strict adherence to LDS beliefs is not mandatory for speaking at or teaching at BYU.

  • kvnsmnsn Springville, UT
    Aug. 12, 2013 2:06 p.m.

    Redshirt1701 posted:

    =The issue is conservativism and the gospel vs liberalism and the gospel.
    =Prophets and GAs have stated that liberalism and the gospel are not compatible.

    I have heard the LDS Church's statement that neither of the major two political parties are incompatible with being a Latter-day Saint, and I guess I just think that in view of that statement I would find it very hard to believe that the official position of the Church is that liberalism itself is incompatible with being a Latter-day Saint. Somewhere between 2005 and 2007 Brigham Young University invited Harry Reid, one of the most liberal men I have ever known, to come give a BYU devotional. Why would BYU do that if liberalism is in fact so incompatible with the gospel?

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 12, 2013 7:20 a.m.

    To "Jeff" that is fine that you don't like the the GOP. Their representation of conservative values is questionable at best. The issue is conservativism and the gospel vs liberalism and the gospel. Prophets and GAs have stated that liberalism and the gospel are not compatible. There is no single party that embodies conservativism right now, so it is ok to not like any of them.

    As for union membership. I would worry about people being members of some unions. I would hope that when LDS members are in a union, because that is the only way to get some jobs, that they fight against the socialism and corruption that is rampant in so many of them.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 9:08 p.m.

    Sorry, I meant jmort, not the other commenter.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 9:06 p.m.

    Thank you to kvnsmnsn and Let's Roll.

    I have said and written essentially the same thing countless times to my LDS neighbors here in Utah, but they have no "hearts to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear". Instead, they vilify, marginalize, and ostracize me in order to justify themselves.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 3:05 p.m.

    A Utahan talking to a group of Utahans in Utah about how Church members are learning to swim in the mainstream?

    I've been a Mormon in Oregon, Washington, California, Virginia, Georgia, New York and New Jersey and now in Utah.

    I've never thought about the mainstream, who was in it or whether I was in it. I've lived my life based on what I believe to be true. I haven't chosen friends based on their religious beliefs and while all of my friends have known I am Mormon, and we've had numerous conversations about spiritual and religious topics, I never had any preconceived notions about someone's character or morals based on their choice of religion (or lack of same).

    The vast majority of good, honest, moral, charitable people in this country (and in the world) are not Mormon. Many Mormons fit that description, but we are 2% of the US population.

    For many of us Mormons who live (or have lived) outside of Utah and found friendship and mutual respect with the 98% for years (as well as with the 2%)...this newfound fascination by Utahan with the "mainstream" just makes us chuckle.

  • kvnsmnsn Springville, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 2:17 p.m.

    The dispute about whether the LDS Church should issue a report of its finances ignores the fact that one of the most basic beliefs the LDS Church is founded on is the idea that God set up the LDS Church to be His organization on Earth. That being the case, if God didn't inspire the LDS Church, then why would anyone want to be part of it, let alone why would anyone want a report of its finances. And if God did inspire the LDS Church, then once again why would anyone require a report of its finances? God can spend His money however He sees fit.

  • jmort SLO, CA
    Aug. 10, 2013 1:36 p.m.

    G L W8

    As a Member who has spent many years living inside and outside of Utah, I feel qualified to comment on "Utah v rest-of-the-world" stereotyping.

    According to the latest US census, over 67% of people currently living in Utah were born in Utah and the population is 62% LDS. Utah is also #8 in the highest percentage of whites, and largely Republican. Utah is indeed homogenous and easy to stereotype.

    All my life I have noticed a smug, self-righteous, vain attitude radiating from Northern Utah outward. Mormons feel like they have the (only) truth and much of the teaching and literature is couched in a "we are at war and it's us versus the world" tone. For example, the phrase "Truth Will Prevail" is in the title of a top story in the Church News. The phrase says it all: we are at war, we have the truth, and we will prevail.

    So out of one side of our mouths we are at war and out of other we talk brotherhood. The major difference between non-Utah Mormons is it's hard to be smug when you are in the minority.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Aug. 10, 2013 10:56 a.m.

    G L W8 wrote:

    "I can't understand the bitter Utah vs. rest-of-the-world stereotyping that's come up."

    Because religion is inherently divisive.

    Aug. 10, 2013 7:42 a.m.

    I can't understand the bitter Utah vs. rest-of-the-world stereotyping that's come up. Many Utah residents have moved in from out of state and don't have "pioneer" ancestry. Others have served missions outside of Utah, gone to school elsewhere, had careers for a time in other parts of the country, and don't fit the profile of the "happy valley" cultural portrayal. The same goes for the stereotyping of Republicans vs. Democrats, "active LDS vs. inactive," "straight vs. gay", etc. Why can't we learn to appreciate others as individuals? Stereotyping is the root of all prejudice.

  • snowman Provo, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 5:32 p.m.

    astintime: Your questions were answered. Google wives of Joseph Smith and you will find a list of his wives and their ages. There is however no known children from these unions and some were sealed to him after he died.

    The only ones that should know about the finances is the members since that is where most of the money comes from.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Aug. 9, 2013 3:41 p.m.

    I think I ought to add my voice as another Democrat who is a practicing, believing Latter-day Saint. I probably ought to add my voice as someone who is often glad that he doesn't live in the Intermountain West (largely because of the Intermountain Mormons tendency to conflate their personal politics or local culture with Church doctrine).

    @ RedShirt: I love the Gospel, but I personally can't stand the Republican Party. Not only is there a place for me in the Church, but my feelings for the Republican Party have nothing to do with my testimony of the Gospel, my temple recommend, or my feelings for fellow Latter-day Saints who happen to be Republican, so long as they do not try to tell me that the Republican Party is equivalent to the Gospel. It is not.

    Neither is union membership antithetical to the Gospel. It has always been a tenet of true belief in God that laborers must be paid a fair wage; sadly, that sometimes requires union support to accomplish.

    Neither party is either completely in line with or completely out of line with the Gospel.

    Frankly, the same could be said about Socialism.

  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 3:18 p.m.

    Being gay, I found that I couldn't stay where I didn't belong, but I do love so much about it and being on the outside has made me see things from a different point of view. I think that members often hold back when it comes to knowing people who are not LDS or from another faith. For example, most LDS people do not take the time to listen to spiritual experiences of Non LDS people.They should take more time to listen. You would be surprised what you learn. Sharing spiritual things with other members always gave me so much, but that came to an end as soon as people learned I was gay. Even family members stopped sharing and stopped listening. They don't mean to do it, but Mormons are very picky about which spiritual experiences they let into their hearts. To this day, it is one of the most painful things I have ever experienced. I try and bring up something spiritual and they just don't respond! That is how it works and I am sure many non members will tell you the same.I am not trying to offend

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    Aug. 9, 2013 3:03 p.m.

    Okay, enough time has passed ... let's see where we stand:

    It is clear that the financial records are secret. Nobody could tell me where tithing money that is not immediately spent goes. It is clear that the Church does not openly publish its history(there are a lot of known historical facts that are indeed not published). Nobody was able to recite a list of Joseph Smith's wives existing in any church publication. And lindasdf, your assertions are simply ludicrous (try reading Richard Bushman's [one of the three editor's of the Joseph Smith Papers] writings). I offer up Professor Bushman's accounts of multiple wives which he did have sex with. Let's hear your reputable sources. And if we can't even get the spouses right, how are we supposed to pick which account of the first visit to believe, etc.?

  • lindasdf Columbus, OH
    Aug. 9, 2013 1:24 p.m.

    As for Joseph Smith's "wives", I've read where historians are going thru the papers from Nauvoo and realizing that those wives may have been rumors and innuendoes, not real. For a church known for keeping careful records, there are no known records of many of his "wives".

    Truthseeker: We don't hide anything. Some things seem way more important to outsiders than they do to us. IF Joseph Smith had more than one wife, it was NOT for sexual purposes. If he had half the wives he is credited for having, for purposes of sex, he would never have had time for anything else. I don't know that any man could have done that, even on their best day ever.

    bebyebe: Let's put the shoe on the other foot, and if you think we are being irresponsible with the money we have, then by all means, prove it to the world. Some people think that our church leaders are living "high off the hog" on church money. Yes, there is a rather luxe apartment for the prophet, close to the temple. I think he deserves it, especially since the man is well into his 80's.

  • lindasdf Columbus, OH
    Aug. 9, 2013 1:22 p.m.

    pragmatistsforlife: To have faith in God, when there is no proof (evidence, but not proof), shows Him that we trust Him and love Him.

    Wastintime: No, I never said the money was immediately spent. I said, everything is totally paid for before it's even started to be built. Of course, there is money being saved. I don't see anything wrong with a church trying to be fiscally responsible, and trying to stay in the black. Money is a "necessary evil" as it were. It seems to me like too many churches spend an inordinate amount of time begging their parishoners for money.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Aug. 9, 2013 12:48 p.m.

    To "Truthseeker" what is your point?

    You realize that those Presidents that you list are some of the most divisive patronizing presidents ever, and that the policies they implemented have been nothing but disasters for future generations.

    Prior to the 1940's Democrats were typically for freedom and were for small government, but there was a movement that had been growing for 30 to 40 years to push Democrats more to a big government mentality. It was after 1940's that the Democrat party had become so anti-personal freedom and had become collectivist that they had a harder time winning votes. As you show, by 1964 LBJ had a slim majority in Utah.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 12:43 p.m.

    Truth Seeker,

    The Democrat party today and since the Great Society isn't the same Democrat party that it was in the early 1900s.

    Also, Republicans controlled the Federal Government after the Civil War and during the late 1800s Brigham Young, John Taylor, et al were trying to get statehood for Utah. Republicans during that time period were strongly against Utah gaining statehood because of polygamy. Mormons/Utahns were very understandably pro-Democrat at that time. Today's Mormons (along with most of Utah) are generally pro-Republican given the party's leaning towards smaller federal government, more personal accountability and more alignment with Judeo-Christian thought and groups such as the LDS church.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Aug. 9, 2013 11:26 a.m.

    In 1896, the first time Utah voted for president, Democrat William Jennings Bryan carried almost 83% of the vote against Republican William McKinley.

    In 1916, Utah supported incumbent President Woodrow Wilson over Republican Charles Hughes by an easy 20-point margin.

    Roosevelt would carry Utah in all four of his presidential elections. As an incumbent, Roosevelt’s support never sunk below 60% of Utah voters. The online Utah History Encyclopedia reports that in the Utah Legislature, there were 45 Democrats and 15 Republicans in the House, and 18 Democrats and 5 Republicans in the Senate.

    In 1964 President Johnson’s landslide over Barry Goldwater was echoed in Utah, where Johnson carried almost 55% of the vote.

    Church statement:
    “Elected officials who are Latter-day Saints make their own decisions and may not necessarily be in agreement with one another or even with a publicly stated church position. While the church may communicate its views to them, as it may to any other elected official, it recognizes that these officials still must make their own choices based on their best judgment and with consideration of the constituencies whom they are elected to represent.”

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 11:09 a.m.

    To "Susan in VA" I don't question testimony. I only ask how people reconcile the liberal philosophy of government control and government entitlements with LDS doctrine of allowing individuals to choose for themselves and working for what you receive.

    You sound like you are not a hard-core liberal, but are more moderate. It is the hard core liberals that are your prime example of liberalism leading to or being a mild form of socialism.

    Your testimony is yours, keep the faith, and I do not question how faithful you are or how strong your testimony is. There are liberals who post in these forums that are proud of their liberalism and long to implement socialism or communism. Those are the members that scare me the most.

  • manaen Buena Park, CA
    Aug. 9, 2013 10:34 a.m.


    Jesus Christ is the definition of Christianity. He is its mainstream. Therefore, the church and gospel he gave in NT times and restored in modern times is mainstream Christianity. How much some person or church varies from it is the measure of how far they are out of the mainsteam of Christianity.

    I do not understand why any LDS would talk about a difference between Mormonism and mainstream Christianity; they are one and the same.

    However, brother Holland talked about the difference between Mormons and the mainstream of our current *society*. This is a difference that I accept and expect to increase in the future.

  • Bebyebe UUU, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 10:26 a.m.

    "The Church doesn't need to open their books to the public because it is not public money its members money."

    When they get tax exemption it becomes the public's money.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 9:56 a.m.

    Mormons are viewed by most throughout the world - assuming they know what Mormon is by the following descriptors:

    -Hard working
    -anti coffee
    -anti alcohol
    -passive aggressive
    -blindly obedient
    -weird underwear
    -large families
    -better than you
    -gold bible
    -not Christian
    -white shirt and ties

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    RE; zoar63" Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (3 Ne 14:14)That does not sound mainstream to me?
    Mt 7;14, Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

    RE: Jeff: I also think that Latter-day Saints have an obligation to make themselves known and to share their distinctive beliefs:

    1 Deify man: Man can become God. 2. Humanize God, Deny God is one eternally. 3. Minimize sin, Instead of man’s very nature. 4. Ostracize and add to scripture 5. A diiferent Jesus (exalted man) 6. Different spirit(familiar)7. Secret sacreds or sacred secrets closed to the outside 8. The only true church …..and many more.

  • Susan in VA Alexandria, VA
    Aug. 9, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    Wow... RedShirt... I'm sure that Pres. Hinckley would not have agreed with that... I am so glad I don't live in Utah... because those of us out in the "real world" do not feel that way and if it was true of the church, I would not have joined the church 18 years ago. Liberalism and socialism are entirely different... I feel sorry for someone who (I assume is a member of this great church) has lowered himself to question the testimony of those who do not agree politically with him. AND, I do NOT read by the lamp of my own conceit!

  • junkgeek Agua Dulce, TX
    Aug. 9, 2013 9:21 a.m.

    "It feels to me that today this church is much less situated in a salt water desert basin in Utah, and much more part of a bigger, broader, more vibrant world that is aware of who we are and what we are doing," Holland said.

    Some of us have had that vision for decades, because we didn't grow up in the salt water desert basin.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 8:49 a.m.

    To "Susan in VA" you are confused. You think that all Democrats fully buy into today's liberalism. SS and Medicare are entitlements, and meet the very definition of entitlement.

    Here is what has been said about liberalism and socialism by Prophets:

    Elder John Widtsoe (Prophet in quorum of 12 Apostles) said "A liberal in the Church is merely one who does not have a testimony."

    Harold B. Lee in his talk titled "The Iron Rod" said that "There are those in the Church who speak of themselves as liberals who, as one of our former presidents has said, 'read by the lamp of their own conceit.' One time I asked one of our Church educational leaders how he would define a liberal in the Church. He answered in one sentence: 'A liberal in the Church is merely one who does not have a testimony.'"

    Elder Benson in a talk to BYU students titeled "A Vision and a Hope for the Youth of Zion" said that "Another notable counterfeit system to the Lord’s plan is collectivized socialism. Socialism derives its philosophy from the founders of communism, Marx and Engels. Communism in practice is socialism."

    Prophets have declared liberalism bad.

  • Susan in VA Alexandria, VA
    Aug. 9, 2013 8:07 a.m.

    @RedShirt.... I think you would be very surprised by how many of the Prophets were Democrats. I hear what you say about agency, but my view is that liberalism more closely follows what Christ taught. I am a liberal, not a socialist.... and at one time the majority of the members were Democrats... I'm not really sure why or when that changed. Do you see Social Security and Medicare as entitlements? I see them as insurance policies that are cashed in at a specific time of life. I paid my premiums each month and now I'm collecting on that. If these are entitlements, then all insurance is "entitlements" Many Republicans have moved so far to the right that (to me) it flies in the face of the teachings of the Church.

  • TryBeingChristianLikeOnSunday USA, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 7:58 a.m.

    President Holland's comments in this article seem to me to be spoken either to, or maybe from, the perspective of either a Utah Mormon or perhaps a Mormon with pioneer heritage. For the rest of us, which is most of the Church today, we have been living all along as "part of a society in which we interact more regularly and are more connected globally." Even though our doctrine was indeed different, we haven't had the geographic insulation or pioneer outcast perspective to the same degree as the microcosm of Mormonism in Utah. From that perspective, and as someone who loves the Church, I would say that some (Utah) Mormons (speaking generally of the culture and not specifically of truly good individuals within that culture) will have a hard time sincerely integrating with the rest of the world, in the way suggested by President Holland, unless they also learn to be truly loving (not just a superficial or temporary act) and less insular in their own thinking. The lack of these traits, in my opinion, to whatever degree such exists, will determine the degree to which walls come down and hearts open up.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Aug. 9, 2013 7:16 a.m.

    To "morpunkt" actually it is more basic than that.

    Most LDS members in the US are conservative because they believe that the blessings of agency should extend into our daily lives. Liberalism and its many allies in the Unions go against agency and allowing people to choose for themselves.

    You should look up what has been spoken during general confrence (not off the cuff) concerning modern liberalism and socialism.

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    Aug. 9, 2013 12:45 a.m.

    @Susan in VA
    I hear you. I am a proud Democrat and also a proud union member. I am definitely outnumbered in my ward, as the vast majority are Republican. I think there is a twofold reason for this.
    Number 1- Many members run their own private businesses and are attracted to the benefits the GOP offers them.
    Number 2- Most members are more attracted to the social conservatism of the GOP, (for the most part). And I don't blame them.
    Combine this with statements made "off the cuff" by very prominent leaders of the church in the past, regarding the radical-leaning tendencies of the Democratic Party, and hence, there you go.
    However, I and my family view my union membership as an extreme blessing to safeguard against unnecessary cuts in benefits. Additionally, I feel I can make some impact, (however infinitesimally small that may be), to influence more conservative social agenda to my party.
    I think Christ would be well-please with my stance and viewpoint.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 11:40 p.m.

    RE: G L W8 "The other side of the question that ought to be asked is: have "mainstream" churches moved closer to some of the LDS doctrines as taught by Joseph Smith? I think a good hypothesis could be presented that in many instances, they have. Could be. But one big way LDS has moved closer to other faiths is on the matter of race. We don't think dark complexion is a consequence of sin (?).

  • snowman Provo, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 10:49 p.m.

    Wastintime: Members give money to the church that makes it members money and it is used wisely.

    Truthseeker: Members most certainly do know about the polygamy and what part it played in the history of the Church

  • snowman Provo, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 10:43 p.m.

    Wastintime: 1.The word "our" money means members money not public money. The church uses money to help people all over the world.

    2. You can find out about Josephs wives and their ages by typing wives of Joseph Smith into your search engine

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Aug. 8, 2013 9:20 p.m.

    Catholic Charities USA makes public their financial statements.

    Why shouldn't the Church provide a yearly statement as to what/how fast offerings humanitarian and PEF are collected and dispersed?

    Most members don't know anything about Joseph Smith's practice of polygamy/polyandry and the role it played in his martyrdom and other historical issues. Why is that? We have weekly classes, our youth attend seminary, 5 days/wk during the school year. Young men/women going out in the mission field may confront some of these issues--are we sending them out without being properly educated?

    Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.

  • bdckpakccd Plano, TX
    Aug. 8, 2013 8:34 p.m.

    Ummmmmmm, folks outside of Utah have been living this for a long. Most of my friends are not LDS and they ask me open, honest questions all the time. Believe you me they were waiting with a whole list of questions during the BYU Basketball spotlight on the Honor Code and more questions during the Romney campaign. There was never any hostility and I was completely honest in my answers. They come to major events---baptisms and to hear our departing/returning missionaries speak. We do service projects and social events with other denominations. Sorry, but this "post-Mormon moment" thing has been going on for years and years. Just look outside Utah.

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    Aug. 8, 2013 7:34 p.m.

    "its members money"

    Your statement is false. Once you hand over the envelope the money is not yours. Try bouncing a check sometime and you will see.

    @snowman & wjaygold & lindasdf
    If what you say about the history being open is true (and not hot air) then simply answer the historical question I asked at 5:27 pm (citing your LDS source). I am waiting...

  • wjaygold Mesa, AZ
    Aug. 8, 2013 6:54 p.m.

    We are open about our Temple. If anyone doubts, just come and see. We will open it to your view when you join and become faithful in following Jesus Christ and His teachings sufficiently to be worthy to enter and see for yourself. If you are unwilling to do so, simply search for and find friends and ask. We have nothing to hide that would be offensive to anyone, despite what some may have said or written. There are plenty of members who have seen it all and can genuinely share their experiences with you.
    We are open about our history as well. In recent years our church has sponsored scholarly research of thousands upon thousands of early writings of the history - from leaders and members. All has been exposed to view including digitized writings with analog originals alongside. We have nothing to hide in our history in all its' imperfection and goodness.
    Finances? Well again if you were to join the Church, you would fully understand why we implicitly trust that prayer and reasoning, analysis, and inspiration lead to the best our leaders can do with God's money. Come and see for yourself! You will feel welcome!

  • hermounts Pleasanton, CA
    Aug. 8, 2013 6:29 p.m.

    Do we really WANT to be in society's "mainstream"?

  • snowman Provo, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 6:24 p.m.

    The Church doesn't need to open their books to the public because it is not public money its members money. The temples are open to everyone before dedication. What happens in the temples is sacred not secret. Its history is an open book.

  • @Charles not from utah, 00
    Aug. 8, 2013 5:53 p.m.

    Honestly Chris B, based on the comments I've seen you post on a few article the past few days I don't care if you like Mormons or not.

    Detail how opening up the temple would make a difference in your opinion of Mormons
    Detail how opening up the finances of the LDS church would make a difference to you.
    What about the history of the LDS church don't you know?

    You are clearly the typical busybody: nothing more, nothing less. So, hang in there, go get a Book of Mormon, read it and understand the other testament of Jesus Christ that is available to the world. My bet is that you've never read the Book of Mormon nor have you ever been to and LDS Sunday service or a temple open house.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Aug. 8, 2013 5:46 p.m.

    The way I understood this article was that, as Mormons become more mainstream (whether we want to or not), we need to adapt ourselves to the situation.

    I think that adaptation is not intended to please the rest of the world, but to please Him Whom we worship. It is important to give good, reasoned responses for our faith--responses that will be understood and found acceptable, if not agreed with.

    I personally don't have any ambitions to enter the mainstream as I see the mainstream. I think the world is drifting too far afield for me to relish the mainstream that is following that drift. But I also think that Latter-day Saints have an obligation to make themselves known and to share their distinctive beliefs as the mainstream asks them questions.

    And I clearly think that many commenters have misunderstood both our intentions and the intention of the article.

  • Noogieburger Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 5:41 p.m.

    Mormons need to be careful. The scriptures clearly say that the Lord expects his people to be a "peculiar" people and that they are to be "in the world but not of the world." Too often this desire to be accepted by the rest of the world results in the dumbing down of Mormon standards to conform to and fit in with the rest of the world. The Doctrine and Covenants didn't say you need to fit in, it clearly states that the Lord desires a people who are very distinct from the rest of the world. And so they should be. The world is full of wickedness, filth, depravity, decadence and pornography. Latter Day Saints should have nothing to do with that, should avoid it at all cost. Yet I see more and more Saints flirting with it. Just look at the way LDS women dress in many cases today. What they wear today would have horrified LDS women 30 years ago.

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    Aug. 8, 2013 5:27 p.m.

    @ lindasdf

    "Finances: It's glaringly obvious where our money goes."

    Really? First, who do you mean by the the "our" in the above sentence? And do you really believe that all the money taken iin is immediately spent? If not, where does it go? For example assume $5 billion is collected in year one and only 4 billion is spent on buildings. Where does the other 1 billion go?

    "History: We publish our history for all to see."

    Really? Please direct me to where we have published the names and ages of Joseph Smith's known wives.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Aug. 8, 2013 5:24 p.m.

    "God wants us to have FAITH. That is to believe in something for which there IS NO proof.", and just why is that so? Why should you believe in something that for which there is no proof (or even slight confirmation, but in addition doesn't even make much sense except as an article of faith?

  • wrz Pheonix, AZ
    Aug. 8, 2013 5:18 p.m.

    "I swim in that water, too. And I'm doing my best to dilute it."

    Your post has a misspelled word... Shouldn't it be 'pollute?'

  • zoar63 Mesa, AZ
    Aug. 8, 2013 5:07 p.m.

    " Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (3 Ne 14:14)

    That does not sound mainstream to me.

    Aug. 8, 2013 4:56 p.m.

    It seems to me that because we are different we should be the most charitable people in the world.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 4:28 p.m.

    The Mormon Church's position on marriage equality, and Mr. Holland's term serving on the Board of NOM, suggest there is still a long way to go for "mainstream"!

  • lindasdf Columbus, OH
    Aug. 8, 2013 4:23 p.m.

    Temple: We want everyone to enter our temple, who is ready to do so. If you want to know, then do what all other Mormons who want to know, and accept the restored gospel, repent and be baptized, and be ready to enter the temple. If you need to see it to accept the gospel, then you are not ready to accept the gospel, OR know about the temple. Just know that it's peaceful and beautiful, and spiritually uplifting.

    Finances: It's glaringly obvious where our money goes. For instance, no building is built that is not first totally paid for before the first shovel of earth is turned. And the people who work for the church need to be paid.

    History: We publish our history for all to see. We know that no one but Jesus Christ was or is perfect. If you expect perfection from your prophets and apostles, then throw your Bible away.

    The Bible says something about how it's a wicked and adulterous generation that seeks for proof (a sign). God wants us to have FAITH. That is to believe in something for which there IS NO proof.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 4:04 p.m.

    Chris B.

    On another post I answered a question of yours about the temple very politely and willingly after you challenged me and you responded with another question to which I answered. After that you responded to a criticism from another poster, but did not finish our conversation. Are you more interested in controversy or answers honestly and fairly given?

    Aug. 8, 2013 3:18 p.m.

    cpafred, Here's my understanding of the phrase "cadre of critics": 'Cadre: a group of people having some unifying relationship. Critic: one who expresses a reasoned opinion on any matter especially involving a judgment of its value, truth, righteousness, beauty, or technique.' If you see something unfair, judgmental, or prejudicial in that, so be it. My statement was not intended to be stereotypical or all-inclusive of everyone wanting openness. But there are several regular posters that make one wonder if they don't have a hidden agenda of their own. I do try hard to be fair and objective in my posts--but all of us misfire at times.

  • LittleDrummerMan ,
    Aug. 8, 2013 3:16 p.m.

    You're making this so difficult on yourself. Join the Church. Be faithful. A year later, Go through the Temple. Get your answers. The Lord is a God of Order. That's how He works. Can't say to a fire "give me heat" when you give it no wood.

  • elarue NEW YORK, NY
    Aug. 8, 2013 2:30 p.m.

    Unfortunately, what I've noticed is that members of the church aren't being accepted in the mainstream. They're being accepted by the Fox News fringe, and then they think that's somehow the mainstream, and that the rest of the world is some sort of liberal outlier or something. We've got a long way to go before we can say we're part of the mainstream.

  • Sunset Orem, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 2:04 p.m.

    Transparency is always good. I echo cpafred's desire to change our tax laws to require all tax-exempt organizations to publish financials. Trust and verification go hand-in-hand. This should not be controversial.

    As for temple ordinances and other religious rituals, I respect the church's privacy and right to conduct its worship as it sees fit. However, I would encourage the church to consider becoming more open. To me, secretiveness and sacredness are not synonyms. I don't believe something is sacred just because it is kept secret, and I don't believe something has to be secret to be sacred. In my own life, the most ordinary situations have produced my most sacred experiences.

    Some will say that the information is already available online. That's true, but I would think the church would want to be leading the conversation. Others claim that exposure would invite insults or contention. To that I must insist that if your testimony is based on avoiding conflict or ridicule, your faith isn't as strong as you think. People are always going to make fun of religions anyhow. Did God hide Jesus from the world? Nope!

  • cpafred SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 1:42 p.m.

    Last post.

    @ ClarkHippo

    Your first two "reasons" for continued secrecy are ridiculous. Large wealthy organizations go from private to public status (and start disclosing) all the time [a recent example is Facebook]. The chaos you are fantasizing simply does not occur. Did people break into Catholic Charities' locations or Facebook's headquarters when they started disclosing?

    Regarding your 3rd reason, the "you can't please everybody all the time, so why try" argument is old and tired. At least the Church would have a leg to stand on regarding the secrecy issue if they disclosed worldwide as they do in the U.K.

    @ G L W8

    Labeling people who want openness a "cadre of critics" is unfair, judgmental, and discloses a lot about your preconceived prejudices.

  • kvnsmnsn Springville, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 1:40 p.m.

    Cpafred B posted:

    ="why must the LDS Church open its books but not anyone else?"
    =All should be open because it's the right thing to do.

    Why should I believe that opening its financial books is the right thing to do?

    The LDS Church believes that God set it up. The LDS Church teaches that God has commanded each of us to pay ten percent of our income in tithing. Why does God's organization have to disclose every last thing that God chooses to spend His money on? Must it disclose everything that the church does? Must it publish how many Cambodian children of single mothers attend its Primary? If not, then why should it have to disclose its finances?

  • kvnsmnsn Springville, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 1:33 p.m.

    Chris B posted:

    =I TRY to have a discussion.
    =Your Mormons refuse.

    Chris B, there are limits to what I am willing to say about the temple, but we can talk about it to some extent if you'd like.

    I remember two or three years ago the TV series "Big Love" had one episode broadcast the LDS temple ceremony. A radio commentator who was not LDS watched it, and then said on the radio that the beauty of the temple ceremony brought tears to his eyes. So while some mock the temple ceremony, I think there are some out there who still see its beauty.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 8, 2013 1:02 p.m.

    As the world becomes increasingly secular, the differences between Mormonism and older religions will be seen as less important. The world will be divided between kooky weird repressive types who still believe in that Stone Age superstition "God" (ha, ha, ha, go all the right-thinking, conventional-wisdom self-anointed elites), and "rational people."

    Whatever issues I may have with the Church, it still believes in a God worth living for. So here I stand.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 12:52 p.m.


    You said - "If you can make a compelling argument for secrecy (without attacking people who value openness) I'd love to hear it."

    Here are three things which I am certain would happen if the LDS Church were forced to open its books to everyone.

    1. The LDS Church would face a Mount Everest of frivolous lawsuits filed by lawyers across the country demanding the church pay damages in the millions over anything and everything one can imagine. And over and over again people on this and other websites will argue, "So what if the LDS Church is getting overwhelmed with these lawsuits. They can afford to pay."

    2. The number of break-ins at LDS chapels and other buildings will rise considerably, with crooks looking for all the supposed money the church has locked away somewhere.

    3. Even if the LDS Church showed 100% of its books to everyone, I already know critics who claim they "value openness" still won't be satisfied. I know what many LDS critics say about where tithing money "really goes to" and full disclosure will not end these assumptions. If anything they will just be compounded.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 11:54 a.m.

    To "Chris B" I will tell you right now what happens in the LDS temples.

    Proxy baptisms for people that are dead.

    Marriage ceremonies.

    Endowment ceremonies for both living and proxy for those that are dead. Here promises are made to keep God commandments. Go to the LDS web site and look for the church lesson manual for "Temple Preparation" to understand more.

    What more do you want to know?

  • Samson01 S. Jordan, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 11:44 a.m.

    Chris B. -

    I think you are looking for something that is not there. If you are looking for something that has not already been pointed out to you on this and other threads, then you are grasping at straws. Read the material that has been suggested. Then go and view one of these you-tube type videos that have the full ceremony in it.

    Viola...You have it all.

    Nothing more to see here.

    Of course you probably could not understand the full meaning of what is presented in the Temple because it is covenant and doctrine based. I believe that most members do not fully understand everything being presented (me included) and that is why we are encouraged to attend regularly. I know I have learned much over the years of temple attendance.

  • Mimifran Gymea, NSW
    Aug. 8, 2013 11:00 a.m.

    Interesting article and comments. Regarding the push from some people for the church's finances to be made more public I would suggest to them that they shift their focus onto churches that hand around the plate at their services. There are no finically records, just piles of cash used at will by the ministers. In the LDS church we have no donation, contribution or transaction unless it is receipted, recorded and checked then audited. My understanding and experience is that not another church on this earth has such a system in place. Sounds like you are ignorant of this fact. Perhaps you should be looking at those of con-artist ministers who receive thousands each service that are totally unaccounted for.

    Also, as an LDS sister, I don't want to be mainstream with other churches, if they convert to God's ways then wonderful, but I won't compromise to be accepted by anyone.

    Also, if you really want to visit the Temple then see your local bishop, he will be happy to introduce you to two lovely young missionaries!

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 10:56 a.m.


    I have spent time 1 on 1 with Mormons, or sometimes 1 on 2 LDS missionaries.

    They always refuse to talk about what happens in the temple.

    So I'm left to the internet.

    I TRY to have a discussion.

    Your Mormons refuse.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 10:43 a.m.

    For those who want the financial books opened up - be careful what you wish for. A very close relative of mine worked for the Church as an employee for twenty years moving people and goods around the world. He said the cronyism and nepotism that goes on the buying of services can be testimony-shattering. In fact when he was hired for the job, he was asked by the hiring official three times if he had a strong testimony.

    He wouldn't bow to the pressure, believing that if his 70 year old mother is paying tithing on her social security check, he would spend it the most judicious way possible.

    Aug. 8, 2013 10:28 a.m.

    I may be misjudging the intentions of the cadre of critics demanding full disclosure of LDS ordinances, finances, and history, but I wonder--what do they plan to do with the information if they ever get it? Seems to me there's an unhealthy "air your dirty linen" in their requests.

    As to the history, we know what has happened with that--gossip extracted from secondary sources, deceptions, pseudo psychoanalysis, inventive history, etc. Even primary source material is interpolated through educational guesswork; resultant conclusions lack a great deal of credibility. Until we can "walk in their shoes," we cannot accurately do more than take the historical record with a circumspect point of view.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Aug. 8, 2013 10:26 a.m.

    "Wallowing in persecution'

    The Church is still "wallowing in persecution." They've just joined the "popular" "wallowers."

    According to the Joseph Smith story, religions/churches can appear to "draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me..."

    It's all well and good to join with others in worthy pursuits--as defined by Jesus. But when we engage in demonization, fear mongering and signing statements containing misleading, and distorted presentations of the facts prepared by other organizations/denominations we are treading in dangerous waters.

    "Religion" is a tool to worship God and become followers of Christ's teachings. What religions/churches are putting out in the political realm doesn't reflect that.

    The LDS church risks becoming more "of" the world rather than "in" the world.

  • Thefullnancy SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 10:07 a.m.

    A "moment". Exactly a moment. Always have been and always will be a peculiar people. Maybe a reality show like the Amish Mafia show....oh wait a minute we already have that with the Utah Legislature and the Eagle Forum.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 8, 2013 9:29 a.m.

    Mormons have made great strides in emerging from the protective cocoon woven around themselves in the days of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Today, Latter-day Saints go to see The Book of Mormon musical shrugging off the jeering. Wallowing in persecution was never a satisfying comfort to begin with. There’s only so much mileage can one get from playing the role of victim before the law of diminishing returns consumes them. That’s no healthy way for anyone to define themselves forever.

  • sigmund5 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 9:21 a.m.

    As a public state supported education center what are they doing sponsoring and spending money promoting a religion? This doesn't happen at real colleges outside of Utah.

  • Sneaky Jimmy Bay Area, CA
    Aug. 8, 2013 9:19 a.m.

    @Chris B I agree with your suggestions. You can't be afraid of the truth. In the past certain church leaders espoused a policy of "whats true is not helpful". That doesn't fly in the information age.

  • Wanda B. Rich Provo, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 9:16 a.m.

    I'm a tithe-paying, card-carrying Mormon. But I cannot view the Church's financial statements. Not even a summary of them. Frankly, I would like to know, as a "stockholder," how my donations are being spent. The Church used to publish information about its finances. So why all the secrecy now? What is there to hide from the members? Just curious.

  • SlopJ30 St Louis, MO
    Aug. 8, 2013 9:00 a.m.

    "Be open about your temple."

    Let's be honest; the number of non-LDS people who really care about what goes on in the temple is pretty small. To call the "secrecy" of the temple ordinances an obstacle to wider acceptance is a stretch.

    "Be open about your finances."

    Again; how many people would really cite finances as the reason they have an unfavorable opinion of Mormons? I know they're out there, but in what number? It would never occur to me to demand the Catholic Church, or the JW's, or any other denomination open their books for me to examine. Anyone who cares enough to ask for this information would take issue with whatever they would find anyway.

    "Be open about your history."

    In theory, I actually agree with this one, but, frankly, it's just too much work. I'm living in 2013 and am satisfied that the Church structure helps me and my family keep it together. I don't buy that being able to explain the Mountain Meadow Massacre or the Adam-God Theory would be of any practical use to me. If that's a stumbling block for someone, I would say "bye-bye."

  • cpafred SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 8:57 a.m.

    @ ClarkHippo
    "why must the LDS Church open its books but not anyone else?"

    All should be open because it's the right thing to do.

    "Are you sure you really want "all" tax exempt groups to publish their financial statements or just the tax exempt groups you hope to find dirt on?"

    I want them all to publish. I was clear about that. Why the enmity?

    "Critics say if the LDS Church has nothing to hide, it should open its financial books to everyone. Alright then, tell me what is your motivation in wanting to know the LDS Chuches fiances, because I doubt it has anything to do with simple curiosity."

    I'm surprised by the defensiveness and pushback. I very good reasons for wanting full disclosure (by everybody). I have tried to explain them before but the DN moderators will not let specific reasons through. So we are left with it being the right thing to do, disclosure has not hurt any churches in the UK, and I have never heard a convincing argument for secrecy. If you can make a compelling argument for secrecy (without attacking people who value openness) I'd love to hear it.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Aug. 8, 2013 8:57 a.m.

    I don't want to --

    ...live in the "Moment".
    ...to be diluted into just another "Protestant" religion.
    ...give up my testimony just to fit into the "IN" crowd.
    ...be need to be assimilated into the evangelical "Christians" so I can be called a Christian.
    ...to compromise the doctrines I hold dear and sacred and DIFFERENT just of be "accepted".

    Live our religion,
    show a better way,
    be IN the world but not OF the world.

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    Aug. 8, 2013 8:55 a.m.

    Welcome, to those inside "the bubble," from the rest of us members who have been mainstream from the start.

    We can always spot the sweet missionaries from Utah, by their wide-eyed naivete. My favorite missionary moment was when a new, older missionary told us, in her testimony, that we should all work hard to get to know non-members. "I worked with a non-member once, and they're just like us." The irony, for those who may not get it, was that we lived in a vast, remote area where virtually everyone we encountered, outside of our tiny branch, was non-member. I was shocked to think that someone could have worked and lived their whole live and still been so ignorant of the world.

    I love all the members of our faith, but sometimes wish that the sheltered members, who have so much, would open their eyes to see that while our faith is exceptional, our people are generally no better than the average, good person in the world. And when you think about all the people who still practice other faiths, receiving so little in light and knowledge in return, then we ought to do better.

  • John20000 Cedar Hills, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 8:54 a.m.

    The assumption President Holland makes doesn't seem to hold true. I don't feel like Mormons, in general, are wanting or striving to be "mainstream" or popular or cool. Sure, we aren't supposed to hide our candle under a bushel, but aside from that, Mormons want to live and let live for the most part. I have given out several books to friends, but not in some campaign to prove my mainstream-ness or cool-ness, but because the books can help as we cope with life's adventures and with questions of after-life.

    Mormonism is not a private club nor is it meant to be fashionable. It isn't a fad that happens for a moment in time like a sold out Christmas toy. It isn't something to be experienced only to later say, "Been there, done that." It isn't even a charitable cause.

    It is a religion.

    It isn't for those seeking to only find a good place to donate money. It isn't for those seeking to only find a social circle.

    It is for people seek a religion.

  • Hoosier Hot Shot Indianapolis, IN
    Aug. 8, 2013 8:54 a.m.

    So not much change about perception of knowledge about the LDS resulted. But how much do people really know about Catholicism, or Muslims, or Baptists. Not much, and the prevailing "who cares" and "all I need to know" attitude will persist. But we must slog on with missionaries being our largest PR program.

    It might be worthwhile to have an outside agency show the good we do worldwide, or our spotty history (according to some). A Muslim cleric once said (third hand) after seeing our welfare efforts, "I'm ashamed of us" in comparison.

    And as we wish others to know and understand our theology, the best we an do is "every member a missionary."

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    In order to be a world religion, the tent has to be bigger. When more Mormons (especially in Utah and Mountain West) are more inclusive, particularly politically, then the doors will be truly open. Until then, it's just lip service and platitudes.

  • Susan in VA Alexandria, VA
    Aug. 8, 2013 8:26 a.m.

    The thing that most of my friends find "weird" about me is that I am Mormon AND a Democrat... they thought the Church would not allow that. There are still so many misunderstandings about what the Church really is about. We still have so much work to do to get the truth out to others.

  • solsticelight Newport, OR
    Aug. 8, 2013 8:12 a.m.

    As I read this article, I also thought of the new pope. It seems to me that the 'high population' religions are making some very important changes. There is a couple from our ward that is working with a Catholic Mission providing people with wheelchairs. The spirit is with all those who do God's work. I love that people can do a search on the internet and get more GOOD information on Mormons, and there are great Apps for phones or tablets! We are truly becoming "mainstream", and it feels right! The more people understand, the less they fear. I think Pope Francis and Pres. Monson should do lunch... often.

    Aug. 8, 2013 8:04 a.m.

    The other side of the question that ought to be asked is: have "mainstream" churches moved closer to some of the LDS doctrines as taught by Joseph Smith? I think a good hypothesis could be presented that in many instances, they have. Certainly, if we were to set up a study comparing the orthodoxy of Joseph Smith's day to orthodoxy of today, we would probably see a great deal of difference. The question would be--have they moved closer to Mormonism and further away from doctrines and/or Christian ecclesiastical norms of two centuries ago? Has anyone thought of this, or done such a study? Putting aside the theological implications, it would be a fascinating study in and of itself.

  • InspectorC Wasatch Front, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 7:34 a.m.

    @ Wilf55---

    I don't think Matt Holland "seems to forget" anything, or that "his view is... americacentric", since the special UVU class he made his presentation to is appropriately titled:

    "Mormonism in the American Experience". (catch that KEYWORD? "American"?)

    I'm certain if he had been addressing a class titled "World Religions", his comments would have been appropriately adapted to a worldwide view.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Aug. 8, 2013 7:07 a.m.

    Jesus taught us "that if ye were of the world, the world would love its own, but because ye are not of the world, the world hates you". If the world ever accepts Mormonism, it means Mormonism has changed, not the world.

  • Wilf 55 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 8, 2013 2:49 a.m.

    President Holland seems to forget that more than half of Mormons reside outside the U.S. His view is therefore typically americacentric. In the rest of the world Mormonism is, overall, still considered a rather weird phenomenon from the American West.

    Certainly, it is possible to "be mainstream" in quiet accordance with other faiths. But the intense Mormon missionary work is by definition an agressive act toward other religions. Trying to change someone's deep familial and cultural traditions, in particular in more monolithic cultures, is disrespectful and often leads to conflicts in families. One can never be mainstream and trying to disturb the balance at the same time.

  • Moontan Roanoke, VA
    Aug. 8, 2013 2:08 a.m.

    Swimming in the mainstream enough to let non-LDS Christians know we don't howl at the moon or sacrifice our children in Temples is one thing - all for it - but I'll quit the Church the moment it becomes indistinguishable from mainstream American denominations, concluding that the Great Apostasy, Part 2, has started.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Aug. 7, 2013 11:30 p.m.


    Are you sure you really want "all" tax exempt groups to publish their financial statements or just the tax exempt groups you hope to find dirt on?

    Critics say if the LDS Church has nothing to hide, it should open its financial books to everyone. Alright then, tell me what is your motivation in wanting to know the LDS Chuches fiances, because I doubt it has anything to do with simple curiousity.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    Aug. 7, 2013 11:21 p.m.

    As a Latter-day Saint, I understand full well that my religious faith will always be partially outside the mainstream. The fact that we are not a Protestant, Orthodox or Evangelical faith will always make us outsiders. We can be friends with people of other faiths, and work together on many worthwhile causes, but we will still be different and that will not change.

    As for those who continue to demand the LDS Church open up its finanacial books, let me ask this question.

    Do all other organized churches and ministeries and have full and complete openness about their finances? Is the LDS Church the only religious group which keeps its finances confidential? If the answer to these questions is No, then why must the LDS Church open its books but not anyone else?

  • cpafred SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 7, 2013 9:51 p.m.

    @ E.S

    All organizations on this earth are administered by fallible humans, and there is a wide variance in how much good charities actually accomplish (i.e, how efficiently they operate in achieving their goals).

    When I give, I want to do the maximum amount of good. I expect most people want the same. So since the only way to determine where a giver's money is going is by (the charitable entity's) disclosure, I don't know why anybody would be opposed to it. Why are you?

  • Striker Omaha, NE
    Aug. 7, 2013 9:41 p.m.

    "Be open about your temple.

    Every person who wants to can walk through every temple before it is dedicated. It's an Open House. Can't get more open than that.

    Be open about your finances

    Do the math. How many members are there? Estimate how many active and what 10% of their tithing is and you can figure it out.

    Be open about your history
    The LDS website has TONS of history on there. Anyone can access anything they want. People can read all the scriptures online too.
    The only people not saying the Church isn't open are the people who can't accept they are open.

  • E.S Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 7, 2013 9:01 p.m.

    To cpafred:

    If that was a required law, the Church would abide by it. Since its not, why would it be so public about its finances? In fact, does it really matter? Charity means giving without holding back, giving with love, giving with faith and sharing mostly because you are doing some good to someone.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Aug. 7, 2013 8:26 p.m.

    In truth the "Mormon Moment" has not passed. The rise of the internet will see a continuing intensive scrutiny of modern and historical Mormonism.

    And, I agree with cpafred.

  • cpafred SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 7, 2013 8:10 p.m.

    I believe all organizations that enjoy tax-exempt status should be required to publish their financial statements (and the statements of any subsidiaries with which they have transactions). The UK subsidiary of the LDS Church publishes its financial statements in the UK (by requirement) and they are a very interesting read.

    My wife and strongly believe in "reporting back" so we decided some time ago that we will not donate one penny to any charity that does not publicly disclose its finances.

  • E. Simnitt Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 7, 2013 7:15 p.m.

    To Chris B.:

    The Church is open about its finances - the public knows what matters to be known. The Church has no need or obligation to be more open than that. Asking the Church to be more open about it is the same that asking you, or me or anyone to be open on our finances with the public. Where is our right for privacy?

  • 32843 PROVO, UT
    Aug. 7, 2013 6:44 p.m.

    @Chris B

    You really want the Church to divulge their temple ordinances, don't you? I can't see a circumstance in any reality in which the Church willingly makes open ordinances that are held to be so sacred by its members. The Church doesn't often compromise on things that would be in direct opposition to its mission or the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    In regard to it divulging it's finances, I can only see one of those two ever happening. Like most other private organizations, it's very unlikely they will invite the general public to review its books.

    As for being open with its past, I think there is merit in that. I say be open with its history and let the chips fall where they may. It's already been shown that there have been times when the Church looked like it was being run by men rather than Prophets, Seers and Revelators. That's to be expected when dealing with human weakness. The only shame in making mistakes is not in having made them, but not acknowledging them to begin with.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Aug. 7, 2013 6:17 p.m.

    Welcome. I swim in that water, too. And I'm doing my best to dilute it.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 7, 2013 4:45 p.m.

    My recommendation to Mormons who so deeply wish to be accepted as a people:

    Be open.

    Be open about your temple.
    Be open about your finances
    Be open about your history