This is top notch journalism right here. "A few years ago an [unnamed]
Harvard professor said our church farms were really cool!" This is just
irresponsible and insulting. For those interested here is a citation, though
access to the actual case study will require a few bucks.Goldberg,
Ray A., and Eliot Sherman. "Food Security and The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints". Harvard Business School Case 508-002, September 2007.
(Revised June 2008.)
I'd be curious to know how much more money the LDS Church would have to
spend on frivolous lawsuits if more full disclosure were made. Seems to me
there's a delicate balance between informing the membership (who are really
the ONLY ones who have any business knowing) and protecting their sacred
donations from fraudulent enterprises that do and will exist.
I don't buy into the "ammunition for critics" argument for not
disclosing for several reasons.First and foremost, disclosure
(openness) is the right thing to do. If the Church is so sensitive to
criticism, secrecy breeds lots of criticism.Second, most people
simply don't care about the Mormon Church and Mormonism. Unless some MAJOR
issue is uncovered through disclosure, most people will yawn and go on.Third, many members (including myself) want disclosure and feel the current
level of disclosure (none) does not satisfy the "common consent"
requirement of D&C 26:2. Fourth, paranoia and sensitivity to
criticism are not valid reasons to not do the right thing. Some other churches
and charities currently disclose. Why do we want to be behind the curve in this
trend?Finally, there will always be detractors. Most (if not all)
members and investigators are not bothered or affected by them. Allowing them
to dictate or affect the actions of a large institution headed by the Lord is
Accountability of Church finances is a reasonable thing to do. However, most of
the time, it is critics who are asking for more openness in the Church finances,
and we know that critics have one agenda - to unfairly attack the LDS Church and
portray it in the most negative light possible. That is a big reason why some
people seem to be so defensive of the Church and its privacy concerning its
finances - they know critics don't have good intentions. With this in mind,
if indeed the LDS Church was more open about its finances, critics would call
out the Church on every dime spent, and in some cases, the leaders/financial
representatives of the Church might have to take time to respond, wasting time
that could be spent on doing things like, you know, helping others, serving the
needs of the members, and yes, (contrary to critics' opinions that the
Church doesn't help the poor), helping with humanitarian issues and the
needs of the poor. I myself wouldn't mind more openness, but
NOT to satisfy questionable demands of critics. With that, I think the Church is
forced to continue doing exactly what it has been doing.
Re:JuanFiguroaThere are 6 bishop storehouses to serve the entire state of
Washington, so i would presume many coming through those doors traveled a fair
distance. Here in CA it is the same. Our nearest storehouse is over 2 hrs
away, requiring members/leaders to travel 4-5 hrs roundtrip to pick up food
orders.Here's a statistic:The Chronicle of Philanthropy
reported in 2012 that on itemized tax returns, Utahns contributed $2.4 billion
to charity. What percent of that was tithing?
Spent four hours at the Bishop's Storehouse last month. Spent the entire
time racing to restock shelves as an unending line of poor people stripped them
bare. Exhausting. There's a heck of a lot of food (and toilet
paper and tampons) going through that door. And we're in an area
that's doing well economically. I can't imagine how much food the
Church is distributing in harder-hit locales.
"The Church produces large amounts of meat ... for consumption by the people
of this and other countries. How is that evil?"Unless those
people are starving to death, it is evil for them to consume meat. Those are the
bounds set in LDS scripture. Or put another way, if killing animals for meat is
a necessary evil, it must be necessary or it is evil.
re:fani"Why waste your time and efforts paying your tithing and other
offerings if you have the above questions?"God depends on
mortal/fallible men. Would the Church ever have come into existence
without someone questioning the status quo? What society progressed
without someone questioning the status quo? Speaking in general
terms, insularity and deeply entrenched organizations overtime can lead to an
unhealthy group-think numbing and acceptance of the status quo that can harm the
long-term life of the organization itself. Questioning is healthy. I reject the view that one should not question. Ultimately, paying tithing is
a choice. One can make the choice to pay tithing despite concerns and questions
while others may choose not to pay because of concerns and questions. But to
suggest that questioning in and of itself is a waste of time or evidence of an
absence of faith is just wrong. Previously the Church was
forthcoming regrading financial records. Not so now. Why? Holding
up the church as the premier example of charity/welfare is wrong.#1 there
is little to no public data to substantiate the claims.#2 it is prideful,
boastful and ignorant of work done by other organizations/denominations.
Taxman is entitled to have his opinion and concerns. Actually, I think is always
"healthy' to have an inquisitive mind that wants to know more about a
subject that is so dear to so many people.Personally, yes I did my
share of volunteering in a church owned farm. Good memories and happy times. The welfare program of the church is one of the programs that I find
very noble and uplifting.Going back to Taxman, I think a more open
system of information about church finances wouldn't hurt.
When I read the headline, regarding another 'bumper year' for crops --
it made me reflect upon Joseph's experiences with Egypt and the seven years
of plenty; followed by seven years of famine. I would be interested to know how
many years of bumper crops there have been to date?
"A short time later, the professor sent Sperry a copy of his case study on
the LDS Church welfare agricultural projects.“He wrote that there is
nothing like this anywhere on earth — it’s unique,” said
Sperry."It would be nice to have a link to the report / case
study, or where we could read it.
To "The Taxman's" response to evidence about his claims: Several
people posting have asked for evidence about your initial claims. You gave
absolutely no evidence, rather you simply said people that do a little basic
searching can find it themselves and that no one has been able to disprove your
so-called evidence.Everyone knows that the Church owns a lot of
property--the article itself said that, so your Business Week article used to
support your original post is laughable support for some of your original
claims. Furthermore, if the Church is so secretive about all of this--hiding it
from everyone--please enlighten us about your sources and their credibility. Also, the numbers in the article about production seemed fairly
straightforward. Is the Church cloaking those numbers too? Please enlighten us,
because the claim that no one has disproved your claims is downright silly.
Imagine if our justice system ran that way. Let's not bother about
evidence; lets just make outlandish claims about non-existent evidence, and if
no one bothers to provide evidence to prove that the non-existent evidence is
fake, then it must be true.
Golly gee, now I don't know if I have "blind obedience" or faith.
Maybe "Taxman" or someone else can help me?
Fani asks a Fair question, but this article is not about tithing. If the Church
chooses to boast of its "bumper crop" through the newspaper it owns and
goes further to say "welfare officials look to 2014 for more opportunities
to feed those in need", then I think the door should be open to explore the
subject a little. For example, I think it fair to explore why most
of the assets are segregated into a separate unit that seems to be off-limits
(i.e., not available) for helping those in need. I also think it is
generally fair to ask questions because our leaders are human and freely admit
to making mistakes. Finally, I think it's fair to ask for disclosure, you
know, reporting back to the members, as required by D&C 26:2. I don’t
know why certain people seem to be against disclosure given that blind obedience
has been responsible for so much folly in this world.
I remember cleaning out the hog pens, back when they had a pork operation in
P.G. or Lindon. I actually miss working there-- being a farmer for a day!
Look, "Taxman" obviously thinks that the LDS church shouldn't own
these properties. Why, I'm not sure. Perhaps he wants to turn them over
to the government, where they will be managed far better--just like our
healthcare is far better off under Obama, right? Only a net 3 million more
unemployed after obamacare than before!
@ Truthseeker & Taxman"There are many claims made about the
success of LDS Welfare, yet, there are few to no statistics available. The LDS
church is a blackhole of information..."Why waste your time and
efforts paying your tithing and other offerings if you have the above questions?
The law of tithing is between god and the tithe payer period, nobody else. If
you don't have the faith in the people that process your tithing and other
offerings, you should not waste your time paying because questions above belong
to someone with no faith in this law.Most people that believe in the
law of tithing view tithing as god property. My job is to pay it and that is the
end of my involvement. Those that are entrusted by the church/god to make good
use of that "god's property" will have to answer to god themselves.
If you believe that tithing belongs to god, why waste your time tracking
something ain't yours. If you don't believe that tithing is god's
money, why even waste your time discussing something you don't believe in?
Swimmer,"But your claim that the Church does not pay taxes on
the corporate holdings is false."Please tell us where was this
claim was made by Taxman? Now let me see if I understand your post
properly. The Church has organized its affairs into two discrete units. One is
a small (in asset size) welfare unit which it publicizes a lot. The other is
one of the largest agribusinesses (in asset size) in the world which the Church
does not publicize at all. The one makes very little and the other makes
billions. If this is correct, then I do not wonder that people are confused.
Perhaps if more openness were employed people would not be so confused. But of
course people might be able to look beyond the compartmentalization tactic and
question why so many billions in assets are being socked away by a Church while
there is so much current need in the world. Ultimately the question is not one
of legality, but rather propriety.
portlander-Just some information: President Hinckley indicated the
opposite -- the church could not operate without tithing. You can confirm this
by reviewing his conference talk in April 1991 - "The State of the
Church." Under Question 10, he said: "We have a few
income-producing business properties, but the return from these would keep the
Church going only for a very brief time. Tithing is the Lord’s law of
finance. [...]"Also, another good talk about the matter is
President Hinckley's, October 1999 talk - "Why We Do Some of the Things
We Do." A tidbit from President Hinckley:"Are these
businesses operated for profit? Of course they are. They operate in a
competitive world. They pay taxes. They are important citizens of this
community. And they produce a profit, and from that profit comes the money which
is used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Foundation to help
with charitable and worthwhile causes in this community and abroad and, more
particularly, to assist in the great humanitarian efforts of the Church"The 2nd talk also address why the church gets involved in legislative
matters if you are curious. It's a very good read if you ask me.
Taxman, the article was not misleading. It was about the Church welfare farm
system. The corporate farming system is completely different. But your claim
that the Church does not pay taxes on the corporate holdings is false. Those
are for profit enterprises and pay taxes. The problem here is your
fundamental misunderstanding of the Church's welfare system. Also, while
you assert that everything you have said is true and claim that those attacking
your claims have not cited to any evidence in support, you haven't either.
The Business Week article is about the for profit holdings, not the welfare
holdings. You need to get better informed before going on a rant about the
Church's holdings.Also, what is so sinister about the Church
owning property? Why is that even an issue? The last time a checked, the U.S.
Constitution allows ownership of property. The Church produces large amounts of
meat and produce for consumption by the people of this and other countries. How
is that evil? Explain your sinister spin.
Care to talk about how much property Monsanto owns and it's business
dealings Taxman? How about the Catholic Church?You are just bitter because
the LDS church, and others are tax exempt. In addition, the LDS church does not
expand holdings to spend all and have nothing in the end. They save, just like
we are taught to save. You claim that only a small fraction is used
on storehouses. But actually your gripe is with the church holdings. Interesting
that you don't bring up money used for many other needs like wheelchairs,
water pumps & systems, disaster aid flown around the world, teaching,
construction of irrigation systems, buildings and other in under developed and
developing countries. The list goes on.BTW - I know an engineering
student that returned from a mission in Nigeria three years ago. Guess what? He
has sent there to manage and construct irrigation systems. Where do you think
the money came from? that's right, the church. Prosyliting was only a small
part of his service there.
"O ye of little faith!"
Everything I have said is true and although some posters have seen fit to attack
me, nobody has refuted anything I said or offered any evidence to the contrary.
If you do the smallest amount of research on your own you can confirm that the
holdings are vast (and increasing) and only a small fraction of the billions in
"yield" make their way to a storehouse. For example,
according to BusinessWeek (you can easily find the article) Church-owned
agribusinesses own about 1 million acres in the continental U.S. alone. That is
more land than the entire state of Rhode Island. The Church also has farm
operations in Britain, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil. Now as to the claims that I am a hater. If you carefully read what I
said above, my primary "beef" is with how misleading this article
(published by the Church-owned newspaper) is. Misdirection and secrecy is what I
do not like. Openness and honesty (and the light of day) are best. Peace.
There are many claims made about the success of LDS Welfare, yet, there are few
to no statistics available. The LDS church is a blackhole of information. We
don't know what amount of fast offerings are collected and disbursed in a
given year. We don't know anything about the ag businesses-for profit and
non-profit--the Church owns. We don't know if/how much food produced by
the Church goes to feed the hungry around the world vs for-profit purposes. Are
"volunteers" used in Church-owned commercial businesses? These are important questions and I am surprised the Church is not more
forthcoming with the information.The article doesn't even
mention the name of the Harvard professor. Re:portlander"To line the pockets of the General Authorities? Ludicrous!"Who knows? (Or, alternatively, to build a billion dollar luxury
housing and shopping complex.)
Those funds are used to build the Kingdom of God upon this wicked and fallen
world. Those are sacred funds, and whether we know it or not, they are used with
the utmost of thought, and prayers, the way that the Lord Himself directs.I remember President Hinckley once saying that the Church no longer
needs the tithing of the members of the Church to operate. That the Church has
enough commercial enterprises making enough profits to cover the expenses that
the Church incurs. But, he also stated that it is still required of us to pay
our tithes and offerings, as it is still a commandment from God and that it
still benefits us personally, spiritually as well as physically!And
after this time of "fat" there will eventually, come a time of lean and
hardness. The Church, just as Joseph of old, will be prepared, just as we should
all be in our own homes. How about living the Gospel at home, in our
own lives, and quit following those who would take us astray, into forbidden
I worked on a Church farm in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, 45 years ago,
irrigating green beans. I was told it the largest farm of it's kind in the
state. I was a paid "hand" along with a few other friends from my Stake
in Portland. I also volunteered to work in a Bishop's Storehouse cannery,
helping to can green beans. The beans grown on the Church farm, went
to market and to local commercial canneries, like Bird's Eye and
Flav-R-Pac, and the Church was paid the going rate. The beans we canned in the
Portland cannery, came from commercial bean farms around the Blue Lake area, a
well known and famous green bean producing area. The Church paid the going rate
to purchase those beans. Now tell me, what is wrong with this
system? It seems that one offsets the other! Now, if the Church makes a little
profit, what is that money used for? To line the pockets of the General
Those who claim that produce grown and sold goes into some secret fund rather
than the welfare program might consider other things.When visiting a
Bishop's storehouse, there is more to be supplied there than just turkey,
almonds, raisins and citrus fruits. There is also toilet paper, cleaning
supplies - including mops and brooms, hygiene products and even candy for
Christmas stockings. To the best of my knowlege, the church (or its owned
companies) does not have the capacity to grow toilet paper and shaving gel.
These are purchased, but who knows where the money comes from to do that - nor
to purchase the packaging supplies, fuel the fleet of semi-trucks or other forms
of ground and air transportation.
Taxman, please include data, references and documentation with allegations.
They appear to be sound, all sound with no evidence to back them up.If an organization owns a company which owns subsidiaries then the parent
organization owns them all. I believe the holding company is Intellectual
Properties Reserve or something like that. It makes sense to me that product
unused for welfare uses is sold on the open market for profit to be invested in
support of the owner’s goals (Church’s mission).Some
properties do not lend themselves to volunteer labor due either to the nature of
the work, location or OSHA rules. So people are hired to operate the business.
Oh, once a gift (tithing or property) is given, it is the property
of the recipient and the giver has no further claim on its use or information
concerning its use. As to the article, I feel it would have been
nice for the author to have included production numbers from 2012, 2011 etc, to
document claims of a "banner year". Please include year of visit and or
at least the name of the study or paper.Otherwise, the story sounds
like an article from a ward newspaper.
@taxman, Why not offer a counter interview with the Des News? I don't
doubt that the Church might be buying up small farms. I have never heard any of
them clamoring against the Church for their conspiratorial, secretive
take-overs, though. I also know that farming is becoming an increasingly
difficult occupation to sustain, due to the expense of pretty much everything!
How do you know some of these farmers aren't happy to sell out and let a
larger operation help them out financially? It makes good business sense.
Collectively, you can see how much the LDS Church is impacting those who need
the food when disaster, unemployment or famine hit! Or people like me who just
use it cause it is reasonably priced and I enjoy learning how to can things up
The Taxman Los Angeles, CA. And were do you get your information? I remember
as a child going out to the Farm with my mom and dad working on the church
farms. This is a great program that helps millions and not just church members.
Ill never understand people like you who hate so much you half to till lies and
try to distort the truth or lie. What has the church member ship ever done to
you for you to hate us so much you have to try to tear every good thing the
church member ship does down?
Our Welfare Program is incredible and helps millions every day. I too, remember
working on the farm and the good feeling I had as a young girl of how I was
truly helping provide for others who were less fortunate. Everyone worked so
well with each other - no fooling around - just good hard work with a positive
Better to sell and/or manage all excess instead of letting it rot in the fields.
Better to buy the manufactured goods such as toilet tissue and shaving cream
for the program?So many people would take something that works
well/smoothly/and to the benefit of those in need and those who need to serve
and change it? Tear down something that benefits so many and replace it with
the emptiness of Babylon?
Another indication that this is the work of the Lord. Nothing will deter the
Lord's plan to care for his children. I am moved with tears and compassion.
@ 1.96 Standard Deviation. I laughed at your post until I had tears in my eyes!
Definitely very funny! And like all humor it has to have truth in it! Thank you
for making my day/week/ month/new year! Happy New Year!@ McMurphy. I
too benefited from the church welfare system the same as you! Thinning sugar
beets builds character and motivates a person to further their education! I
recommend it for people who have no motivation in their lives.
A personal benefit to me from the church welfare system. Thinning sugar beets
as a young teen convinced me that a college education was essential to my future
So the Taxman has all the inside info on the Church's "secret" and
confidential ag-business dealings, good job Taxman. Thanks for enlightening us
all. So, since you have all the answers and have read the Harvard study
referenced in the article, maybe you can tell us of something that works better
than the Church's welfare program. The LDS Church's local
level of organization (Ward and Stake), are the best known and most efficient
way of helping take care of each other, when it comes to helping out during
times of crisis. Read the Book of Mormon, Taxman, it's true.
The Taxman-Your post about church farms and welfare reminds me of
some Bible jokes. Have you ever done a Google search for "Liberal Bible
Headlines?" Here are some examples:On Red Sea crossing: Wetlands Trampled in Labor StrikePursuing Environmentalists
KilledOn David vs. Goliath: Hate Crime Kills Beloved
ChampionPsychologist Questions Influence of RockOn Elijah on
Mt. Carmel: Fire Sends Religious Right Extremist into Frenzy400 KilledOn the birth of Christ: Hotels Full,
Animals Left HomelessAnimal Rights Activists Enraged by Insensitive
CoupleOn feeding the 5,000: Pracher Streals
Child's LunchDisciples Mystified Over BehaviorOn healing
the 10 lepers: Local Doctor's Practice Ruined"Faith
Healer" Causes BankruptcyOn healing of the Gadarene demoniac:
Manman's Friend Causes StampedeLocal Farmer's
Investment LostIn sum, doesn't matter how much good the church
does -- there are always critics for some reason. These Bible jokes illustrate
this principle. But don't worry, the truth will go on boldly and
... please excuse the errors... I dictate and the "autocorrect" feature
does what it will.
Why would the Church and the DN moderators want to censor the truth and mislead
the members into thinking it's farming operations consist of some
volunteers Toiling with bent rakes and shovels.The truth is that the
Church operates one of the largest, if not the largest, agribusiness in the
world, and grosses billions of dollars each year from its hundreds of thousands
of acres of farmland. Most of the crops are sold for profit with a tiny, tiny
percentage used for the welfare program. The millions of pounds of almonds
alone (produced by the church) would drown every storehouse if delivered to
them. While secrecy and misdirection?
Wow... what a misleading article. First, the "Church" does
not own significant farms that I know of, but rather owns companies that own
very large farming businesses. The Church-owned companies together form one of
the largest agribusinesses on earth (owning hundreds of thousands of acres of
farmland and grossing billions of dollars in sales each year). These
businesses, along with other large agribusiness, have aggressively bought-out
small farmers and supplanted small farming in United States. The
notion that anything but the tiniest fraction of production is used for welfare
purposes is simply wrong. Most of the farming production is sold for profit.
Profits that are secret (not disclosed to the church members or public) and are
"reinvested" in buying out more small farms.
And there were Ward farms in a lot of the rural areas. As a boy, our ward had a
farm in Idaho that raised grain and alfalfa. When we moved to Utah, our ward
had a 5 acre farm that raised potatoes each year. The ward would trade land
with local farmers for crop rotation purposed.It was sad when the church
closed down those small ward farms.
Thanks for this interesting article.I've never worked in the
church's orchards, farms, or ranches, but I have volunteered at the
canneries where we have helped process some of the food grown. I wonder if the
cannery packing is part of the volunteer hours referenced here, or if that is
considered a different part of the process?From what I have seen of the
canneries and that process...I have to say that it is really an amazing work
that the church is doing. Very organized, very high quality, very good work
people are doing to try to help feed and take care of untold millions.Also, a very good spirit seems to accompany us all when involved in this work.
I can remember spending many hours as a youth at the stake farms. My dad was a
convert and loved to serve, so whenever there was a job to do, we were there. He
was blind, so pre-dawn irrigation was not a problem. Just plunk him down by the
gate and tell him what time to open or close it. He used his cane to follow the
ditch and counted how many steps it took to get to the next gate. The next time
we had irrigation, he did it like a pro. When we picked fruit, we set up the
ladder, gave him his bucket, and put his hand on the base of the branch. He
would feel his way up the branch, picking every piece of fruit. At the time, I
didn't like the stake farm, but now I cherish those memories and what it
taught me about hard work and service to others. Of course eating your fill of
sweet cherries while you worked was a perk. I usually made myself sick. I was
sad when I heard the church was closing our stake farm on 800 South in Orem. So
many good memories....