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Comments about ‘Once again, Utah is recognized for its culture of generosity’

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Published: Thursday, Oct. 3 2013 11:45 p.m. MDT

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WYOREADER
Gillette, WY

By their fruits ye shall know them!

Thinkman
Provo, UT

Utah is generous primarily to one organization: LDS church

If you take out the tithing donations to the LDS church then Utah's level of generosity is average at best.

How much of the tithing that the LDS church members goes towards truly charitable causes such as feed the hungry, clothing the naked, giving comfort to the distressed and providing health and medical care to the poor? I understand that most of the tithing money is spent on buildings, including chapels and temples, missions for those who can't afford to support themselves and even some real estate ventures including farms and other cash generating properties.

I might be wrong but that is what I have read in newspapers that have quoted LDS church spokespersons.

TRUTH
Salt Lake City, UT

Why does Utah get the credit for the Mormons in this community! The difference between say Colorado and Utah is the Mormons!

Fender Bender
Saint George, UT

The LDS Church does a lot of good, but building churches, temples and malls seems to take a higher priority over feeding the hungry and clothing the naked.

From 1985 through 2009, the LDS Church provided approximately $1.2 billion worth of humanitarian aid ($328 million in cash and $884 million in commodities). Yes, that’s a lot, but let's put that into perspective.

The City Creek Mall cost more than $1.2 billion to build, and total building costs for the entire City Creek Center project will be several billion dollars.

In 2012, Time magazine estimated the lDS church receives $7 billion annually in tithing. For simplicity's sake, let's assume the average from 1985 to 2009 was $5 billion per year.
That suggests the Church collected about $125 billion in tithing over that 25-year period. The $1.2 billion humanitarian aid provided over that same time period is less than 1% of the total received from tithing.

Since we we’ve been married, my wife and I have donated a total of about $50,000 of tithing. This means approximately $485 of our tithing donations have gone towards humanitarian aid.

Irrelevant
Provo, UT

@Fender Bender, Thinkman

Does it matter where the money goes? I mean if you believe the church is being run by direct revelation from God, and the brethren are in tune to that direction, does it matter how your money gets spent? Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't there a spot on the tithing slips that can be used for humanitarian aid?

On a lighter note, the Government shut down due to budget concerns. The city of Detroit has filed for bankruptcy. California as a whole is on the brink of Bankruptcy as well. but the church keeps plugging along. Focusing on the big three: perfecting the saints, redeeming the dead, and proclaiming the gospel.

The church does good throughout the world. Don't get money confused with charity. Money does not correlate into service or charity, members of the church are asked to sacrifice their means/time/resources for their fellow man which brings forth blessings. Isn't it a greater sacrifice to use your money to help rather than using the church's billions to simply "hire out" the service? The church is perfect, not the members in it.

Thinkman
Provo, UT

Irrelevant,

If you want to go the the LDS church temples and you don't make contributions to the LDS church and mark "tithing" on the donations slip, then you won't get a temple recommend and hence, won't be able to go to the temple.

Money isn't the only way to donate to charitable causes, but building and maintaining temples and the "services" that are conducted in those temples isn't charitable.

The church keeps "plugging along" and building more temples because the members who want to attend those temples are required to pay tithing. The LDS church has in effect assured itself to continue to thrive because of the the generosity of its members to pay tithing.

GZE
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Once again, Utah is recognized for its culture of generosity’

And yet, people don't have enough food, our elderly sit alone, children need people to help them read.

Where is all that generosity going?

Shimlau
SAINT GEORGE, UT

thinkman; According to a study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania last year, members of the LDS Church donate an average of $1,171 annually to social causes outside the church, and $650 a year to social causes within the church that aren't funded by tithing. That means the average member of the LDS Church gives roughly $1,821 in charitable donations on top of the member's tithing. this is from the article. it seems to state that the average member contributes a substantial portion above and beyond tithing, where are your stats?

Utes Fan
Salt Lake City, UT

Criticism against the LDS Church for building the mall and infrastructure and the amount of money the Church has spent on humanitarian aid have gaping holes in logic. The critics act as if building more temples and church buildings is immoral. Also, without the mall, the deterioration of downtown would be inevitable, in which critics would heap criticism at the Church for not doing anything about poverty, crime, etc. near its headquarters. Also, the mall has a net positive effect on the local economy. (How many families avoid poverty due to this?)

Criticism excludes logic that the Church concentrates on creating charitable people, who in turn contribute to charity. (See the comments citing the Univ. of Pennsylvania study that cites generosity of Mormons outside of tithing.) Also, thousands of service missionaries donating their own time and money isn't calculated in the numbers. Fast offerings are not included in critics' numbers (granted fast offering info might not be available, but that hardly justifies not mentioning it.) Also, much of the humanitarian efforts center on creating long-term solutions such as electricity generators, clean-water solutions, etc, rather than simply throwing piles of money at projects that risk corruption.

mdp
Bountiful, utah

Interesting how the uninformed all have opinions about things they know little about. Tithing is specifically targeted to "build the kingdom of God". Fast offerings, humanitarian aid, and a few other separate donations are entirely separate funds specifically targeted to feeding the poor and helping those in need. Just look at who are generally among the first to respond to emergencies... "the Mormons and the people from the Latter Day Saints" quoted from Katrina survivors.

cbeggs
Salt Lake City, UT

I've never lived in a place so obsessed with being on these kinds of lists...

The study is flawed.

The definition of generous is giving when it is not "necessary or expected". Is Mormon tithing really generosity, then?

If the consequences of not giving are community ostracism and "spiritual death" (no pressure!), can you really consider it to not be "necessary or expected"? Can't attend family wedding if you don't give. No sexy callings if you don't give...

Gosh, I can't remember the last time Big Brothers Big Sisters called me in for an annual meeting to review my levels of giving for the year.

If those conducting this study understood the true nature of Utah giving, they would've controlled for tithing and Utah cities wouldn't have been at the top of the list...and there would be no glimmering, self-congratulatory headlines for conference weekend either! Oh, no!

let's roll
LEHI, UT

I'd be happy to have any state or any church do their best to exceed the charitable giving levels of Utahans and the Latter Day Saints in both money and service.

Although there are many commentors who want to question the motives of those who give, I suspect those on the receiving end of that charity aren't so quick to do so.

I for one promise not to question the motives of Californians or Texans or Catholics or Lutherans if they want to exceed the generosity of Utahans and Mormons.

And BTW, to say that building temples and doing temple work isn't charitable is to miss the entire point of temple work. It is charitable in it's purpose and in its result and those who perform the work demonstrate charity in doing so.

Finally, the for profit entities controlled by the Church don't receive tithing money and are taxed just like any other for profit business.

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