@cpafred"Why is their no stewardship (reporting back) regarding
these "set aside" funds?"... "When/why is secrecy good?
Isn't reporting back an essential tenet of stewardship?"Elder Bednar's statement is a form of reporting back: "Second, a
portion of the annual income is set aside as a reserve for contingencies and
unanticipated needs." Tithing is a stewardship - between the Lord and his
Church. The primary reporting back is to Him. When the windows of heaven are
open to you, you can see than much, for sure. This is not the prophet's
money. It is the Lord's to be used as he directs. The stewardship
isn't between me (a member) and the heads of the church (on earth), it is
between the Lord and his servants. They report and are accountable to Him. We
choose to pay tithing. Besides, we pay it with faith, not money. Faith includes
trust and confidence. Since I know the church is true I feel privileged to obey
this principle. Finally, I have received much more from the church than I have
ever given to it ... more than I have room to receive, in fact.
Pres. Bednar's talk was great but this article misses the part I found most
instructive. (here's a quote) "We may appropriately desire
and work to receive a pay raise in our employment to better provide the
necessities of life. Eyes and ears of faith are required, however, to notice in
us an increased spiritual and temporal capacity to do more with less, a keener
ability to prioritize and simplify, and an enhanced ability to take proper care
of the material possessions we already have acquired. We might want and expect a
larger paycheck, but the blessing that comes to us through heavenly windows may
be greater capacity to change our own circumstances rather than expecting our
circumstances to be changed by someone or something else."As a
worker experiencing the government shutdown, I found this particular part of his
talk to be quite directional and timely. Of course at this point having a
paycheck is as good as a larger one.
Tithing is a part of the Law of Sacrifice, and the Law of Sacrifice was
instituted well before the days of Abraham. Abraham obeyed this law when he
paid tithes to Melchizedek, but he obeyed it even more when he was tested with
the command to offer up his son, Isaac. He passed both tests of his faith, and
was rewarded eternally. Tithing is designed to build and test our
faith, and the reward is worth the Sacrifice. Render unto Ceasar the things
that are Ceasar's, and to God the things that are God's. The Lord can
use donations to HIS Church to bless His children, just as much as he uses the
resource of rain. I'm glad that General Conference talks
occasionally remind us of the meaning and benefits of this vital commandment.
Dennis,I also see the massive investments in chapels and temples
worldwide - often in areas where the local populace have no ability to pay for
or to maintain these buildings. The money is being put to use.
@Twin Lights..."Money is simply a resource - one we endeavor to consecrate
to God for the building up of what we believe to be his kingdom"The Church has resources galore to "build the kingdom". I've
been a member for 62 years and watched the Church grow to a giant financial
machine. It doesn't need tithes from members and neither does God.
Dennis,Having listened to all but part of the first session, I think
you overstate the tithing issue. Many other things receive more emphasis - and
justifiably so.Money is simply a resource - one we endeavor to
consecrate to God for the building up of what we believe to be his kingdom.
Pray, Pay and Obey.....this is the entire crux of Mormonism that never slips by
a General Conference without specific attention given to it. I cannot for
a minute believe that God has any interest in "money" whatsoever. Who we
are, what we are and what we do are the criteria of man/women.
There is not one word that will ever be spoken by anyone in the Church, that
someone doesn't have a word to say about it in the negative way. That is
just the nature of some people. We can talk about the good the church does for
others and there is always someone who will say they don't do enough. We
can talk about the blessings of tithing and there is someone who will twist it
into something devilish. Talk about the practices of handling the Lord's
money and there is always someone who thinks they know better and give direction
on how funds should be dispersed. I could see people wasting their time over
the financial reports if they published everything. Someone who would say your
buying the wrong type of light bulbs and misusing God's money. I am a tithe
payer and I don't care where the money goes. I did my part of the
commandment. Those responsible for distributing those funds is their part. If
they misuse them.. then they are accountable. I was the finance clerk for my
ward and I enjoyed signing the checks and using the money correctly.
cpafred,Many companies (even of significant size) choose to remain
private and avoid financial and other disclosures.Why? Because you don't want everyone and their brother "advising" you
on how you should conduct your affairs. Many of the Church's critics
would love to be telling it what it should be doing with its money. I assume
they want to avoid having every malcontent on the planet telling them they need
to do more of this, less of that, and none of whatever because "they"
are the experts. I understand you point. I use financial
statements and understand the value of an independent audit. All I can say is
that every person I have ever known called to handle church funds has done so in
a way that most private companies would adore. It would seem beyond amazing for
these good men, usually in their 50s and 60s when they become general
authorities, to reverse course on decades of precedent and begin wasting the
Lord's money.For non-members, I understand the reluctance. But
for me, I am perfectly content to know the caliber of men that direct the
@Northern Lights"Also, as an American, I believe in your right
to contribute your money (or not) as you see fit and I only ask the same right
for myself."I hope you are not implying that I am wanting to
interfere with your rights as an American.The real issue here is why
is less disclosure better than more disclosure? When/why is secrecy good?
Isn't reporting back an essential tenet of stewardship?
cpafred,I wasn't trying to answer your original question. I
was responding to Thinkman's comment when you inserted yourself into that
part of the discussion. I don't know the answer to your original question
other than to refer you to the full General Conference address cited in the
article as well as previous statements from General Authorities that Church
tithing finds are only used for their intended, stated purposes as found in the
Book of Doctrine and Covenants. This has so far been confirmed by the Church
Audit Department each April. Sorry for the confusion, otherwise.Also, as an American, I believe in your right to contribute your money (or
not) as you see fit and I only ask the same right for myself. Likewise, the
ecclesial side of the LDS Church has the legal right to not publish their full
financial information to the public in the United States.
@Northern LightsNot only are your comments to me unresponsive to the
question I originally asked (Where does this "set aside" money go?), but
pointing out that the Church follows the bare requirements of the law is hardly
comforting since we all know that doing what's legal and what's really
right can be different. Many 501(c)3 organizations disclose their
finances to the public. I will not contribute a dime to any 501(c)3
organization that doesn't, and I wouldn't advise anybody else to do so
cpafred,I should also point out that the members of the Church Audit
Committee are neither regular employees of the Church nor are serving as General
Authorities in the Church. (Then again, this is the same for nearly all lay
leaders throughout the Church.) Nor do I believe the auditors all work in a
single, private accounting firm, either.The committee reports their
findings directly to the First Presidency of the Church. This arrangement meets
the federal requirements for federal reporting of a 501(c)3 entity. Federal law
does not mandate release of a public financial statement. Further, this
arrangement apparently complies with individual State requirements as well.
cpafred,The members of the Audit Department are credentialed
professionals. They will lose their credentials if they do not follow the rules
and business practices of the "real world" in performing their duties.
The Church is not a public company and is not required to hire independent,
external auditors to determine if the Church is using Tithing and Offering funds
according to the internal rules the Church has established.
Thinkman,I cannot report worldwide. Only in the eastern branches
and wards I have had callings where I was aware of how church funds were used.
There I have seen the administration of church funds BEYOND what folks would
prudently do with their own money. To your question, what reporting methodology
would not be the "arm of flesh"?cpafred,Having
been part of an internal audit group years ago (not part of the church) it was
considered quite reliable (though yes there were outside auditors as well). The
church has no creditors.
@Northerm Lights "the senior Church Auditor presents a report on
the findings of the audit"The Senior Church Auditor is an
internal auditor. Internal audits are wholly self-serving and are not considered
to be reliable (by outsiders) in the real world. This is why all public
companies (and most borrowers) are required to have independent outside audits
by external (non-emplyee) auditors. @the truthYou are only
speculating since the financial information that would settle the questions I
raised is secret.
Thinkman, Church finances are audited. Each year during the Annual
General Conference, the senior Church Auditor presents a report on the findings
of the audit. The Audit Department consists of experienced, professional CPAs.
Otherwise, I don't understand what your personal expectations are regarding
this subject based on your comment.
How do we know that the LDS church is using the tithing and other contributions
properly and prudently? Are we supposed to just have faith in man (arm of
@cpafredIn a word "no."The money is set aside
exactly as they have said for contingencies and unanticipated needs, there is
wisdom in that.The church is doing all it can to alleviate
suffering.But there are realities suffering and hardship living in
this imperfect world. As the scriptures say we must endure all things, and
endure to the end. God will not take away all our sufferings in this life.
" Second, a portion of the annual income is set aside as a reserve for
contingencies and unanticipated needs."Where does this "set
aside" money go? Is it leant to the massive "for-profit" ventures of
the church at below-market interest rates so they can have competitive advantage
against their competitors? How much is "set aside" while so many in the
world are suffering? Why is their no stewardship (reporting back) regarding
these "set aside" funds?