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Temple tax: European court rules LDS Church must pay local property tax for Preston England temple

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  • JonathanPDX Portland, Oregon
    March 10, 2014 8:59 a.m.

    And interesting ruling, however I must disagree.

    No one is preventing anyone desiring access to a Temple from following the steps necessary for gaining entrance.

    Temples are, in fact, places of public worship, however, just like so many other public places, they require certain criteria be met before they can be accessed.

    A movie theater requires a ticket before an individual can enter. If one cannot pay the price of admission, one cannot gain entry.

    The price of admission to a Temple is a Recommend. One must simply be willing to pay the price.

  • Dubai Holladay Dubai, UAE, 00
    March 9, 2014 4:48 p.m.

    Tax all churches and be done with it.

  • Red Smith American Fork, UT
    March 9, 2014 12:42 p.m.

    When holy oxes get gored for government dollars, it may help tax reform for the betterment of all.

    How much is the tax? $20,000. Big Deal. It will be paid. I know it a precedent thing, because governments just can't wait to find something new to tax that has been over looked.

    Doesn't England recognize non-profit organizations with restricted membership?

    Even if all churches were taxed, the members would find a way to pay it and get so upset they may help fix the tax system hurting so many.

    Sometimes Christians need to get prodded into action and this may be a start.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    March 7, 2014 10:11 p.m.

    Good gravy, silly people! This is not an attack on religion or an attack on Christians. England is a Christian nation. In fact, it has an official, national church, the Church of England, sometimes known as the Anglican Church. Its official national church is headed up by its head of state, also known as its Monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II.

    This is what happens when you don't have an Establishment Clause in your Constitution. One church is in, and all others are out. So, keep trying to chip away at ours here in the U.S. and see what happens.

    (Mind you that as states with official religions go, England has very liberal rules to protect the freedom of worship of all other religions. Compare and contrast with Saudi Arabia, for instance. Don't expect all the same tax breaks or public support, though.)

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    March 7, 2014 8:07 p.m.

    Remember each parish in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has its budget determined by those attending sacrament meeting. For your information the 10% that is given as tithing is only what has been requested. The rest is if you WISH to donate it. Nothing is forced as you suggest. When a parking lot is repaved, building is built and all comes from the TITHING funds of the Church. The budget in our wards/branches is for mainly operating expenses. There was a time in the LDS Church where each ward/branch had to solicit funds to support activities. There was a time in the LDS Church that a unit had to solicit funds to get a building. That is no longer true. As I stated before no other religious organization has the ability to build new buildings, temples, maintain its buildings throughout the world as the LDS Church does. All new buildings are bought and paid for before the construction is completed. If that is not possible then the work is shelved until it is. Can you honestly say what Rome spends. The answer is no.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    March 7, 2014 1:24 p.m.

    BJ. Actually I give a percentage to my parish, and I give a percentage directly to my diocese. And I give directly to the pontiff in certain collections like Peter's pence. If the diocese does a fundraising drive outside of its regular operating budget which I can also view as I like the amounts raised and distributed for each are made public. The parish is required to pass along a certain amount to the budget to the diocese say it's 100K. If the individuals of the parish give more than 100K the parish gets a refund, less the remaining comes from envelopes. Catholics in the US are encouraged to give 10% among the parish, diocese and other charitable efforts. Not 10% to the church and extra to other specific efforts like missions or humanitarian efforts. But I know how much my parish spends in utilities, know if there was a shortfall or overage. Know the amount they collected for leasing land to a farmer before the building money could be raised to expand. I know it cost 250k to pave and expand the parking lot and that the money came from a parishioners donation.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    March 7, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    Donn,

    This is repeated over and over (and over again) by church critics. I understand the point. I have friends who are Masons (including LDS friends who are Masons). Not really the same. But thanks.

  • donn layton, UT
    March 7, 2014 7:51 a.m.

    RE: Twin Lights,Temples are certainly not where the charitable activity (usually) takes place. But, among the Latter-day Saints, temples are where covenants to serve are made and are the source of much refreshment and strengthening to live those covenants. And,

    The first three presidents of the Mormon Church were all Masons. LDS historian Reed C. Durham, Jr., insists J S did in fact use the Masonic ceremony as a springboard for the Mormon ceremony. He wrote, "There is absolutely no question in my mind that the Mormon ceremony which came to be known as the Endowment, introduced by Joseph Smith to Mormon Masons initially, just a little over one month after he became a Mason, had an immediate inspiration from Masonry" (No Help For the Widow's Son, 1980, pg. 17).

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 7, 2014 7:38 a.m.

    Despite the dire pronouncements in other comments, this isn't an attempt by the UK government to take over churches, destroy religion or treat Mormons as pariahs. It's an even-handed application of British law, which would be, and has been, applied equally to all religions. If the general public is banned from a building during times of regular use, it's not a public accommodation or a place for public worship. Thus, under UK law, it's not tax exempt. No one is trying to persecute you or tax your church out of existence. I would expect the same treatment of our synagogues if we closed the building off to anyone but Jews.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    March 7, 2014 7:12 a.m.

    Temples are certainly not where the charitable activity (usually) takes place. But, among the Latter-day Saints, temples are where covenants to serve are made and are the source of much refreshment and strengthening to live those covenants.

    Folks seem pleased when the LDS serve in their communities. Much of the source of that spirit of volunteerism comes from the temple. I think it would be fair to say that without temples, much of that commitment to serve would be lost.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    March 6, 2014 6:17 p.m.

    Temples aren't charitable organizations.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    March 6, 2014 6:08 p.m.

    @Pendergast

    You should actually read the letter and the context (I.e. what the letter was responding to, why Jefferson was righting, and so forth).

    Cats is right. It is a one easy wall, protecting religion from government interference.

    Any other interpretation is modern or progressive gobbledygook.

    The founding fathers had no problem with religion in the public square, in fact they encouraged and supported it.

    It is progressives (communist, Marxists, etc.) and modern liberals that have a problem with it.

    Remember it is government by the people not government by the "government".

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    March 6, 2014 5:43 p.m.

    K You are talking about a single parish. Not the entire Catholic Church. Everything you contribute goes to the one parish. It also goes to subsistence for the parish as well as the diocese. Therefore, what you are getting is what is spent in the parish, not through the entire Catholic Church. We have the same thing that we have a budget and it can be seen by the auxiarilly leaders. However, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints of what is contributed to the Church goes to Salt Lake and is then distributed via budgets to the Stakes, Wards and Branches. The maintenance of the buildings are paid from Salt Lake not by each and every Ward/Unit. We are a lay ministry so the leaders of the Wards, Stakes and etc. are unpaid thus taking care of their own subsistence. Unlike the Catholic Church we charge nothing for weddings or the use of the buildings for weddings or receptions. Thus the care of buildings, building new chapels, temples, books and etc are all paid through the tithes paid by the membership. So yes you can see how the units spend the money.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    March 6, 2014 5:07 p.m.

    "No other church has that standard."

    As a catholic parishioner I have seen the expenses and income of my individual parish published for all to read. People in authority in the organization promising they are doing checks and audits is not transparent as others would like. They just want to know what is spent on maintenance and what is spent on charitable projects and what is sent to a higher part of the church and any loans outstanding. I think converts get confused about these sweeping statements when they have seen a more transparent approach.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    March 6, 2014 2:38 p.m.

    Owl wrote:

    "The temple is certainly not a for-profit commercial enterprise that should be taxed. This secular assault on religion is but the beginning."

    No, it is restoring equity and balance to an imbalanced society that has been suffering from the assault OF religion on peace loving, non-sectarian peoples for hundreds of years.

  • dustman Gallup, NM
    March 6, 2014 2:37 p.m.

    No one knows what the church spends its money on for sure. The books are closed to the public and any scrutiny. We hope that the donations and contributions are spent in accordance with church standards, but really, none of us will ever see the books or the numbers to know for sure. Not only do we have to exercise faith that there is a God and a Jesus, we also now have to exercise faith that the First Presidency is spending the money correctly.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    March 6, 2014 1:26 p.m.

    @JoeBlow

    Your comparison with the missionary program is a faulty syllogism. Taxing a temple is a separate issue. The subject has turned into a platform for the disaffected.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    March 6, 2014 1:13 p.m.

    The temple is certainly not a for-profit commercial enterprise that should be taxed. This secular assault on religion is but the beginning.

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    March 6, 2014 12:47 p.m.

    Just to clarify things. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints did not use any of the charitable contributions to develop the City Creek area. The bulk of the tower in Philly will house the ordinance workers, Temple Presidency and for other institutes. The LDS Church requires Temple Presidents to live within ten minutes of the Temple in case of problems. Therefore, where ever a Temple is built, living quarters for the Temple Presidency will also be done.

    The LDS Church audits all of their wards, branches and stakes every 6 months to ensure Church funds are used in accordance with the Standards the Church has established. The individual responsible for all Ward and Brach finances is the Bishop or Branch President. This audit is then turned into the Stakes and then to Church headquarters. When that money leaves your hand and goes into a member of the Branch Presidency or Bishopric, it is no longer your money. One hundred percent of Fast Offerings, Humanitarian and other offerings go to those areas. No other church on earth has this organization. It is the Lord's standard.

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    March 6, 2014 12:40 p.m.

    Danny Chipman: In answer to your question as to whether a same-sex marriage would be allowed on temple grounds. The answer to that is an emphatic no. In a statement released recently, no church property will be allowed to be utilized for the purpose celebrating or conducting same-sex marriages. This was issued to each and every unit through out the world and signed by all members of the First Presidency.

  • Mexican Ute mexico, 00
    March 6, 2014 11:44 a.m.

    In Mexico, the Church pays property taxes for every property that it owns, temples, churches, campgrounds. The tax is pretty low but they still pay it anyway.

    The tithing slips in Mexico say that they are NOT deductible for taxing purposes given that the Church is not exempt from paying taxes. Civil marriages have to happen before religious ones, even in the case of the Catholic church.

  • FYI Taylorsville, UT
    March 6, 2014 10:01 a.m.

    Maudine, Thank you for the rational, unemotional and well written comment. Please read the comment if you are feeling persecuted by a European court, a court Church members believe in being "subject too" (12 Article of Faith).

    For information, the legal definition of public. " of, pertaining to, or affecting a population or a community as a whole, open to all persons."

    The Church's official News Media website states, "When The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints builds a new temple, the sacred building is opened for public tours. Anyone can attend this open house... After that, the temple is formally dedicated and is open only to Church members who are actively engaged in the faith."

    Notice that "anyone" can attend the "public" open house. However, after it is dedicated "only Church members who are actively engaged" may attend.

    The Church makes clear that meetinghouses are public, temples are private.

    "To account for the diversity of religious experience, many religions have traditionally made space in their worship practices for the public and the private. These sanctuaries serve a much different purpose than regular worship services intended for larger audiences. It is no different with the Latter-day Saints."

  • sukiyhtaky us, CA
    March 6, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    Flashback: Wouldn't it be nice if the church followed their own example and underwent a public audit of their funds twice a year? to put everyones whining to rest?

  • Pendergast Salt Lake City, UT
    March 6, 2014 9:26 a.m.

    to Kav, Serenity, & trouble...

    Your posts pretty much spell out why its not public.

    to Cats

    Per Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists; The Wall is meant to exclude interference from Secular to Religious and vice versa.

  • sukiyhtaky us, CA
    March 6, 2014 9:23 a.m.

    Biff...which hospital is funded by the LDS church? Or did you mean the one million donated to the Marriott medical center...you know they pay a million in tithing and get it back in a donation. Children's Primary...LDS church got out of that a long time ago. They found shopping centers and condominiums to be more profitable. You know like the new condos that are going to be built above the new meeting house that is going in across the street from the new temple in Philly. Welcome to Celestial Gardens where you can live upstairs from God...if you have millions because it sure isn't going to be affordable housing for the homeless or low income that Jesus Christ would mandate that we care for.

  • MoreMan San Diego, CA
    March 6, 2014 9:18 a.m.

    Tax exemption is not a God given right.... It is a state sponsored privilege. Article 12 of the "Articles of Faith" make the church subject to whatever laws the state chooses to enforce. Including public access. Or loss of privileges.

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    March 6, 2014 8:44 a.m.

    Paying tax was no problem for Jesus and his Apostles during his mortal ministry.

    Just go fishing.

    Than pull a coin out of the fishes mouth and pay it to Ceasar.

  • sukiyhtaky us, CA
    March 6, 2014 8:00 a.m.

    My goodness what is all the fuss about here. This ruling was correct and to try and compare the LDS temple with mosques or synagogues is just grasping at straws you have no understanding of. Not any or everyone can enter an LDS temple. It has to be the select few who first and primarily pay their tithing and then follow the rest of the commandments...or at least profess to for appearance sake. Anyone can enter a mosque or Jewish synagogue...you just have to cover your head and/or stay in the appropriate gender area and/or take your shoes off. I have been in a mosque, a Jewish temple, a several flavors of Buddhist temples, as well as other services offered by Ba'hai, various Christian denominations and the only place off limits to me was the LDS temple. So no it is not a public place of worship...it is exclusionary to a majority of people including those in the LDS faith itself. The ruling was 100% correct. If it amounts to too much money, I'm sure a prophecy will be forth coming have no fear.

  • Sequoya Stafford, VA
    March 6, 2014 7:49 a.m.

    Somebody Educate me, please: I was under the impression that the UK was not part of the EU -- at least as far as currency is concerned; and as far as I could determine, any other way. In that respect, the Brits. are more like us -- independent! (Surprise, Surprise!!??)

    SOOooooo -- why is a Temple in England (or anything/anybody else in England)having any dealings with an E.U. Court in Strasburg? Of what am I ignorant here?

    Thanks in advance!!

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    March 6, 2014 7:12 a.m.

    These tax collectors and money changers do not know who they are dealing with! The last time this happened, Jesus drove out them out of HIS Father's temple with a whip!

  • DanLarge ,
    March 6, 2014 5:56 a.m.

    I am pretty sure that the London England Temple already pays taxes (pretty sure it was voluntary), therefore I'm not sure why it is surprising that the Preston England temple is expected to do the same.

    As an LDS person living in the UK I do find it annoying that the church does not get all of the same tax exemptions as other religions or recognition of places to worship, however by the legal definition of public, the temple is not, as Joe blogs public cannot just enter from the street for a visit (as I believe we can with other religious buildings).

    Unfortunately that is the legal system in the UK, it's the same reason we have to have civil weddings before our temple marriages.

    US law does not apply, I feel sometimes people are surprised to learn the church is a global church therefore it must abide by the laws of many governments not just US law.

    12.We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    March 6, 2014 5:42 a.m.

    Isn't it about time common sense prevailed! Well done English courts.
    I've been a member of the Church for 53 years and I can't go into a temple.
    It's not a public place, it's a private building for private church business.
    Does the heart good. Maybe the IRS will take note and do the same thing to all the temples in the US. I imagine the Church won't be building them at quite the pace they are if this happens.

  • donn layton, UT
    March 5, 2014 10:05 p.m.

    RE: Morass I am just looking at what seem to be a pattern that's emerging of LDS Persecution?

    Kim Jong-un, the supreme leader of North Korea, has called for the execution of 33 people for reportedly working as accomplices to South Korean Baptist missionary Kim Jung-wook and planning to help him create 500 underground churches.

    @I don't know anything about the free masons or their activities. Masons seek tax-exempt status Lawmakers cite charitable activities, Five state representatives, all Freemasons, want an exemption on Masonic temple property taxes, citing the group's charitable contributions to illustrate its qualifications.
    The Masons do a lot for charity,'said Shurtleff, a member of the Penacook chapter and a Freemason for more than 25 years. 'I can see if a lodge rented out to another agency and generated money from it, it should be taxable. But if money comes only from membership and it works as a charitable entity, I don't see why it's not tax-exempt like other organizations[Mormon].'

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    March 5, 2014 9:38 p.m.

    JoeBlow,

    Just to be clear, most folks in Peru are not converting from Catholicism to Mormonism. Most converts I know were not very active Catholics (or whatever they once were).

    The benefit of someone going from a non-observant __________ to an active member of the LDS church is typically in significant lifestyle improvements. Agreed that is a benefit to Peruvian society rather than the US.

  • anonymousuk slc, utah
    March 5, 2014 9:34 p.m.

    the courts were perfectly within the law to make the decision it did. mosques are open to the general public, the temple isn't. there is a stake centre in the grounds of the temple, along with provision for visitors, family history office and shop. the actual temple is not open to the general public so has to be subject to property taxes. 80 percent discount is a good discount as everyone else is paying the full whack. being a mormon is more difficult for a woman than it is for a woman to be a muslim…and yes i live with spitting distance from this temple.

  • LovelyDeseret Gilbert, AZ
    March 5, 2014 8:53 p.m.

    What is going to happen is that the European communities are going to get so dependent on the tax base from religious groups that when they chase the religions away they are going to have economic collapses. The government is shooting itself in the foot because of dependency.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    March 5, 2014 7:49 p.m.

    Why should it matter if it is open to the public or not?

    It seems to be a distinction with out merit.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    March 5, 2014 5:21 p.m.

    People may walk in front of the building or visit a visiting center attached but it is not a public building anyone can enter to worship in like a LDS ward chapel, or a Catholic Church. You can enter a mosque if you are not Muslim you are allowed to go in and pray. The only way it would be a public space is if you didn't need a card to enter, a card that had exclusive requirements to enter. A temple doesn't even allow members in good standing in. A 10 year old sibling baptized can't attend a wedding or attend with parents ordinarily until they reach a certain age. As a nonmember, member of the public I can not walk inside your temple and worship in that space. It does qualify as doing a good public work and that is why it gets a break off property taxes. It sounds like their charitable organizations do not get a full ride on property taxes for buildings in England. Yes in Europe church owned properties of many faiths that are not free and open to the public are taxed on their properties.

  • Danny Chipman Lehi, UT
    March 5, 2014 4:36 p.m.

    I have no issue with the Church paying property tax on the temple--I hear it does in other countries anyway. However, I think the discount should be increased to take into account the fact that the temple grounds themselves are open to the public. Tax the square footage the temple itself occupies, no more.

    Though I do wonder, if, say, a gay couple wanted to hold their wedding ceremony on temple grounds, 1) would the Church allow that? and 2) if not, would the grounds technically not be considered "open to the public"?

  • Anti Government Alpine, UT
    March 5, 2014 3:39 p.m.

    Come on people!! Really?

    Right and wrong has nothing to do with it. This is about money and we are talking about England.

    Every day Europeans wake up looking for ways to get access to other peoples money to finance their lifestyle. Religion is basically irrelevant over there. They hate religion when it gets down to it and so cutting religion down a notch is just icing on the cake....as long as they get money for their efforts.

    Its no wonder they are in the mess they are in.

    Follow the money people.

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    March 5, 2014 3:18 p.m.

    Article quote: "A panel of judges from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, announced its decision that the Preston temple is not a "public place of worship" because it is open only to members with a temple recommend."

    Ahhh.....but it IS a "public" place of worship given the unquestioned fact that it is open to ALL people, ie, ALL people of ALL races and both sexes, as long as they choose (and, yes, it is most definitely a "choice") to meet the standards that are required.

    I have a brother-in-law that works in the Accounting Department of the LDS church and he has been saying for several years that there are anti-LDS organizations that are pushing relentlessly for the Church to lose its tax-exempt status. The ultimate goal being to possibly damage the church by reducing its tithing receipts by discouraging weaker-faith members to not pay tithing anymore if their tithing becomes taxable income.

    Attacks on religion....hangs on, it's gonna get bumpier.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    March 5, 2014 3:12 p.m.

    It's the right ruling. No religious structure for any religion can be simultaneously tax exempt and exclusive in who it services. Members of the public who don't enjoy full benefits should not be expected to help subsidize it with their taxes.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    March 5, 2014 2:33 p.m.

    @Coach Biff
    Don't tell me about Welfare Square, I live across the street. I volunteer once a week, because the mission at Welfare Square is a good thing, even if I don't believe in LDS church. What i'm asking is why I should pay more in property tax so the LDS church doesn't have to? Just in SLC if Temple Square paid property taxes it would reduce every single resident of SLC's bill. The money that goes to the DI, Canneries, Welfare Farms and the Bishops Storehouse (ya, i'm well aware of the LDS churches charity efforts)and all the other charitable ventures should in no way be taxed. But with temples and chapels the LDS church gets the benefit of paying property tax(police, fire, roads that run to the building) but pays no taxes on those properties, I have to pay taxes for the police, fire department, schools etc on my property, why does the LDS church(and all other religions) get a break for expenses that grown their religion?

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    March 5, 2014 2:32 p.m.

    "I would expect every muslim mosque would receive the same 20% ruling since only muslims are allowed to attend. There is no difference between an LDS temple and muslim mosque per this ruling. I hope the Mormon church appeals this bigoted, anti-Christian ruling."

    Can everyone please stop making this same FALSE argument?!! It's based on the uninformed idea that non-Muslims cannot attend mosques. Here's a secret, I'm not Muslim, but I was openly welcomed to the mosque when I went out of curiosity. There is no requirement to be a member. You may be asked to behave in a certain manner, but that's true of a Catholic cathedral, a Mormon meetinghouse, or a Jewish Community Center.

    Please stop spreading false stereotypes about someone because you happen to fear their religion.

  • OneWifeOnly San Diego, CA
    March 5, 2014 2:31 p.m.

    I was hoping someone in the comments could provide an example of another religion that would prevent non members (i.e., the public) from entering. Woodworker references 'synagogues, Islamic houses of worship...' but I would be allowed inside a Jewish synagogue and I would be allowed into a mosque. Certainly the mosque would have a dress code (i.e., women must cover their hair) but I am not allowed to enter a Mormon temple. Of course Mormon temples are private buildings. To say otherwise is being less than honest.

  • morass5 Jamaica, 00
    March 5, 2014 2:30 p.m.

    @donn,

    I don't know anything about the free masons or their activities...
    I am just looking at what seem to be a pattern that's emerging of LDS persecution...

    I am fairly new to the Church only 14 years, and it's kinda strange to see these
    court activities happening and the charges that are being put forward...

    Quite frankly i don't feel it's coincedence coming at this time the way it has'''
    You not being of our faith wouldn't understand what i'm talking bout, but that's ok

    We expected opposition...It only makes us stronger.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    March 5, 2014 2:24 p.m.

    @Flashback
    I'm not accusing the LDS church of financial impropriety. I just wonder how much is charitable, and how much is for things like chapels and temples. IMO, any money used for things like the DI(job training, cheap stuff for poor people) or at their canneries or any of the many programs they have to help people eat, get clothing or find jobs shouldn't be taxed. But why shouldn't the LDS church pay for things that are only for their member, and not for society as a whole? I'm sure if the church paid taxes for Salt Lake temple my property taxes in Salt Lake would go down. And before anyone yells about this, i'm well aware that the LDS church has for profit business's that pay taxes( Deseret News, KSL, City Creek, etc) I'm specifically talking about properties exclusive to religious function.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    March 5, 2014 1:45 p.m.

    Noodlekaboodle, how much money the church has is not any of your business and as a card carrying member, I could care less how much money they have and what they do with it. Anyone that messes around with LDS funds gets excomunicated from the church as fast as possible. That would apply from the top to the bottom. As a finance clerk, I got audited in my ward twice a year. Every expenditure is scrutinized in those audits as well as every bank deposit. There are many, many financial controls.

  • inti illimani Oxfordshire, 00
    March 5, 2014 1:37 p.m.

    This is absolutely right, as a Brit I agree with the courts decision, I'm not sure of the qualifications of those Americans commenting how terrible this decision is but this has gone to the correct court and due process has been followed. It matters not what your opinion, the court has ruled and that is that. To be fair, a Temple is not a place of public worship, this is not religious discrimination as the same ruling applies to all organisations.

  • donn layton, UT
    March 5, 2014 1:30 p.m.

    RE: Morass ,”I think this ruling by the court is just another step in these last days of persecuting the LDS”.

    AS well as, the Freemasons’ Grand Lodge Sufferd a Stinging Tax Defeat.

    The United Grand Lodge of England represents about 250,000 Masons, belonging to around 8,000 lodges, and in 2010 alone donated more than £80 million to various charitable causes. The body says that Freemasonry’s ‘peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols’[Mormon].

    However, The FTT found that the promotion of the teachings[Mormon], ceremonies and rituals of Freemasonry had remained one of the Grand Lodge’s primary objectives, as well as the ‘encouragement of fraternity, self-improvement and mutual care’ amongst its members.

  • morass5 Jamaica, 00
    March 5, 2014 1:20 p.m.

    I think this ruling by the court is just another step in these last days of persecuting the LDS Church...We are in the fullness of times and the Devil and his agents are not going to sit by idly as we carry on the work,

    Didn't we see recently the Profit is being sued for Latter Days Saints doing what we are supposed to be doing, paying our Tithes...And do you see where it is coming from...
    We read about the persecution in the pioneer days...Let us put on the Whole Armour of Righteousness cause now it's our time...

    The line is drawn in the sand and who is on the Lord's side have to be firmly grounded,cause those against us are focoused on destroying the Lord's Work...

    With faith in God and obedience we will triumph.

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    March 5, 2014 12:52 p.m.

    @Noodlekaboodle, Yes. I have intimate knowledge of the charity work performed by the church. And only in one facet. I can't even imagine what else they do with the other entities. Bottom line, it's none of your business. Go visit one of the welfare farms or Welfare Square for that matter. Do your own research and you will be able to get a better idea of the charity work performed with monies from the church, and the countless hours of volunteer work performed by it's adherents.

    @Candide, give me a break. Charity work from secular sources are a widow's mite compared to that done by churches. It's a proven fact that the church going citizens give more time and money to charity than progressives, atheists, and liberals by far. Not even close. Try again.

  • sg newhall, CA
    March 5, 2014 12:15 p.m.

    The ruling is all about money for the area/city. Nothing more. I would expect every muslim mosque would receive the same 20% ruling since only muslims are allowed to attend. There is no difference between an LDS temple and muslim mosque per this ruling. I hope the Mormon church appeals this bigoted, anti-Christian ruling.

  • Floyd Johnson Broken Arrow, OK
    March 5, 2014 11:53 a.m.

    I side with the court. It appears that the court is following local precedent (as noted in the second to last paragraph) regarding private chapels. In the US, we have a different paradigm regarding tax exempt status and religious freedom, so the ruling seems unusual.

    Any word on how much the annual tax bill will be ($50,000 perhaps)? That information would be public record in the US. It was reasonable for the LDS church to pursue tax exempt status in the courts. This is an unexpected recurring expense for the next century.

    I am curious if I could obtain tax exempt status for a home based congregation of the Brotherhood of Monday Night Football. In addition to property tax, I could write off a big screen TV, a monthly cable subscription, furniture, a grill and a drink fridge. Hmmmm...

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    March 5, 2014 11:24 a.m.

    @Coach Biff
    Not trying to be mean or snide, but how do you know that? The LDS church doesn't publish their financial documents, and at least in the US they don't have to. But with that said how does somebody like me, who isn't mormon, know what percentage of the LDS churches money goes to charity? If your a believer, and trust the organization that's fine, but as just an average, non mormon guy how would I know that's what hte money is used for?

    Do the rest of your realize this is in the UK and not the USA? The UK doesn't have the same laws regarding churches, and the LDS church gets a better deal than some. The Scientologists were told they weren't a religion and have to pay full taxes in the UK. Trying to apply American prinicpals to UK law is silly. The UK has no first amendment, therefore they don't have specific constitutional type rules regarding religious freedom.

  • m.g. scott clearfield, UT
    March 5, 2014 11:03 a.m.

    Might be a technical point, but every Temple I've been to has an open area that non members and or non recommend holders can come into and sit. It's not like you can't get into the front door. So, I wonder how much of the access to the building is required before tax exemption is given. Plus, I'd be glad that the Preston Temple is at least getting the 80% break in taxes. I won't be surprised if some countries in the world where the Church has Temples won't give any tax break at all. And, one thing I know, the LDS Church will always have the funds to afford what ever financial costs are required to build the Church today. The Lord will see to it. So, relax, all is well.

    P.S. Will this/ does this apply to the other Temple in England, southwest of London, and or other Temples in Europe?

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    March 5, 2014 10:56 a.m.

    They only pay 20% of the standard tax. Not too bad.
    For those who argue that this is not public access.
    Are Masonic temples taxed?
    Federal Military installations?
    Red Cross warehouses?
    I should have access to all military buildings, every church house, every charity warehouse that receives tax exempt status?
    Be able to do as I wish on federal property (including National Parks) whatever I want because I pay the membership fee?
    I agree with the ruling because it is a portion of the tax, but the key is to learn whether other "public" institutions face the same fact. (Go to europe a few different churches will deny someone of another faith access)

  • push-n-day-zees Salt Lake, UT
    March 5, 2014 10:49 a.m.

    Why does a court in France have anything to say about a church in England? Just asking. I won't read this later, so not rebuttle here.

  • Yorkshire City, Ut
    March 5, 2014 10:42 a.m.

    They wouldn't let us iin to see the dome of St Paul cathedral in London. Same thing?

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    March 5, 2014 10:32 a.m.

    Solution to the LDS Church not having to pay property taxes on temples:

    Allow weddings conducted in the temple to be attended by non-Mormons including siblings, fathers, mothers and friends who may be Mormon but not temple recommend holders.

    I think you will see other governments and even US State governments take a look at this ruling and force the LDS church to pay property taxes on temples since the temple admittance process requires a fee (10% of one's income/increase).

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    March 5, 2014 10:23 a.m.

    @Serenity
    "Other religions have places where the general public cannot just walk into. Why is the LDS Church singled out?"

    How do you know it is being singled out; perhaps the other exceptions are treated the same? If you restrict it entirely only to members, it's not public.

    @Trouble
    "I'm not sure what law the judges are applying but the temple meets the commonly understood definition of public."

    A ward meetinghouse meets the commonly understood definition of public since everyone can visit.

    @Mountainman
    You do know that this temple isn't in the U.S. right?

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    March 5, 2014 10:17 a.m.

    Temples are not public - they are membership centered, including the payment of a membership fee (tithing). Yes, "anyone" can join the club, but they must be a member before entrance is admitted.

    This decision is about property tax - the temple in question is being charged the same property tax rate as other charitable organizations are charged.

    This has nothing to do with income taxes nor does it have to do with trying to force the temple to allow non-members in.

    Yes, public buildings - mosques, synagogues, cathedrals, and LDS chapels - have some areas that are private, but anyone can enter and attend services.

    This ruling recognizes that a temple is different from a chapel and treats it as different.

    This ruling has nothing to do with income taxes or the teachings of the church or anything other than strict interpretation of European property tax laws.

  • Richie Saint George, UT
    March 5, 2014 10:16 a.m.

    We are indeed in the later days. Look at all the things our government does to violate religious rights.

  • Candide Salt Lake City, UT
    March 5, 2014 9:57 a.m.

    @ Coach Biff
    The reason you don't see secular humanists opening hospitals is because religions have a steady stream of tithes coming in to pay for expensive projects that other groups do not. In recent years, as humanist groups have organized, there has been an increase in secular charities. Google secular charities and you will see a large list of groups that help the world without religious strings attached. There are also numerous non-profit non-prophet hospitals.

  • FT1/SS Virginia Beach, VA
    March 5, 2014 9:53 a.m.

    Wrong decision! Temples are a public place of worship, and all are encourged to attend! Nobody is discouraged from attending the temple, you only have to be worthy enough. On the bright side, another confirmation that the LDS is the true church! The true church will always be attacked, just like Christ was attacked during his time on earth, as with the apostles who served him, and the First Church of the Meridian of Times.

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    March 5, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    Yeah, Candide, I hope to see the day that a secular humanist opens a non-profit hospital or a welfare system such as the one run by the LDS church.

  • Candide Salt Lake City, UT
    March 5, 2014 9:15 a.m.

    I hope that I live to see the day when all churches everywhere are taxed like the businesses that they are.
    “I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting. But it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously.”
    ― Douglas Adams

  • Dadof5sons Montesano, WA
    March 5, 2014 9:13 a.m.

    I wonder if they charge the same tax on Mosques? because a non Muslim can not enter there too. Might want to point that out to the courts.

  • mcdugall Murray, UT
    March 5, 2014 9:13 a.m.

    @Liberal Ted - There is a lot that is required before one can enter an LDS temple, it is not a very simple process, and for good reasons. Yes, anyone can enter a Mosque.

  • my_two_cents_worth university place, WA
    March 5, 2014 9:09 a.m.

    @Mountanman

    "Unions, planned parenthood, the NAACP and community organizers are not houses of worship either but they don't pay taxes. Gee I wonder why?"

    Um, because they are 501(c)(3) organizations under IRS code. Regardless, the tax issue at hand is not with IRS code but the laws of England and much as the IRS might really want to tax the Brits they can't so your question is quite irrelevant.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    March 5, 2014 9:02 a.m.

    The court is wrong in their decision and are on the wrong side of history. Everyone is welcomed and wanted to enter the temple to worship. There are a few things that a person needs to do before they enter, other than that there is zero restrictions if they will follow all of the rules to enter.

    I also do not know of a time when people were restricted from worshiping when on temple grounds. Everyone is welcomed to reflect, be part of the garden. Again they are asked to be respectful, the same respect they're given:)

    So if any church restricts the public access to certain areas of a church. Let's say where money is stored or electronics, then they are violating the law and need to be taxed more?

    That doesn't make sense.

    If you restrict access to the popes room is he in violation?

    I suppose Mosque are fair game for anyone to walk into?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 5, 2014 8:46 a.m.

    "It's just that we are asked to clean the mud off our shoes and souls before entering."

    I know that coffee and wine can stain my shirts and my teeth, but I am confident that my soul is not affected.

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    March 5, 2014 8:43 a.m.

    No, GZE, we don't have any say in their tax laws. It's just very simple to point out their utter contempt for anything Christian and their feckless hypocrisy when it comes to other institutions.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    March 5, 2014 8:42 a.m.

    "In the LDS church 100% of the charitable donations received are used for the intended purpose."

    That may be so. However, the "intended purpose" does not, (or should not) warrant a tax deduction.

    Feed and cloth the poor in society? Of course most could agree that would qualify.

    But, tax exempt money collected in the US and used either in the US or overseas to attempt to convert others to Mormonism should not qualify for tax exemption.

    Plain and simple. How does the US benefit from a missionary converting someone in Peru from Catholicism to Mormonism?

    Anyone?

  • GZE SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 5, 2014 8:32 a.m.

    You really can't combat a decision by a European Court by throwing American laws at it. If the people of Europe want this changed, they have it within their power to do so. As Americans, we really have no say in other countries' tax laws.

  • mcdugall Murray, UT
    March 5, 2014 8:30 a.m.

    Kangaroo court? Another attack on Christianity? European nonsense? Those are all silly statements. The issue is simply that the UK has different taxation laws that the United States. You may not agree with the ruling, but it is simple enforcement of the current laws. Rather than projecting and demonizing the laws of the land in the UK, why not try and change them?

  • Mark C Gilbert, SC
    March 5, 2014 8:09 a.m.

    Everyone and anyone can enter an LDS Temple. It's just that we are asked to clean the mud off our shoes and souls before entering. Is that too much to ask? Anyone can do it, everyone is invited to do it. You would hope people entering your home would have clean soles/souls. Why not the House of the Lord?

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    March 5, 2014 7:57 a.m.

    "Wait until they try to tax the Muslim mosques! Can a Christian attend their worship services?"

    Simple answer, YES you can.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    March 5, 2014 7:56 a.m.

    "Unions, planned parenthood, the NAACP and community organizers are not houses of worship either but they don't pay taxes."

    FALSE!

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    March 5, 2014 7:49 a.m.

    Wait until they try to tax the Muslim mosques! Can a Christian attend their worship services?

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 5, 2014 7:41 a.m.

    I wonder how the local mosque is treated for tax purposes?

  • Star Bright Salt Lake City, Ut
    March 5, 2014 7:26 a.m.

    This is the first step in control of religion by the government.

  • Woodworker Highland, UT
    March 5, 2014 7:22 a.m.

    I disagree with the court's decision. Many faiths have temples, sanctuaries, or holy places that nonmemebers are prohibited from entering, or they have portions of their places of worship that nonmembers may not enter. To require a church to allow all people into all places of their houses of worship is dictating to a religion how they must worship, and thus intrudes on their freedom of worship. I would hope that this ruling does not effect synagogues, Islamic houses of worship, and sanctuaries of other faiths. Let common sense rules over the narrow view that all places of worship must also be "public" places of worship. Thank you.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    March 5, 2014 7:11 a.m.

    put in a visitor's center chapel... problem solved.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    March 5, 2014 7:05 a.m.

    Unfortunately, England doesn't have a First Amendment. This demonstrates the need for one. We are blessed in this country with a constitution that protects church's from this sort of thing.

    In England, taxpayers actually have pay to support the Church of England. That is why we got the First Amendment--to make sure there would be no state church and to protect religion from government intrusion. It was NOT to keep faith out of the public square as so many try to claim nowadays.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    March 5, 2014 7:04 a.m.

    Unions, planned parenthood, the NAACP and community organizers are not houses of worship either but they don't pay taxes. Gee I wonder why?

  • Coach Biff Lehi, UT
    March 5, 2014 7:04 a.m.

    So what, Corvette? You have no clue how much charity work the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints performs on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis. It well out weighs the taxes on any temple. Your comment denotes nothing other than an ax to grind.

  • Jim Cobabe Provo, UT
    March 5, 2014 6:45 a.m.

    Rather a fine distinction, to nuance tax status by reference to "public" access. Just how much interest does the government take in identifying such charateristics? If there is a "private" room in a building from which "public" entry is barred, does that now disqualify that building from full tax-exempt status?

    Interestingly, one of the related issues being debated in US courts involves access to bathrooms. Does this ruling imply that segregated bathrooms should exclude a charitable business from full tax-exempt status?

  • LovelyDeseret Gilbert, AZ
    March 5, 2014 4:48 a.m.

    The Court here seems to be holding to a very narrow definition of public. Any devout religious group is going to have places reserved exclusively for its members.
    It seems like the Court here wants to define "public" to mean "general public". Historically it was not defined as thus. Seems to me that the Court is trying to publish exclusive or semi-exclusive religions.

  • ThinksIThink SEATTLE, WA
    March 5, 2014 4:24 a.m.

    Why was the church arguing in court that the Temple is a public place of worship? Just to save paying some property taxes?

    Better, in my opinion, to acknowledge the obvious - that the Temple is not open to the public, avoid spending all of the money on attorneys, and simply pay 20% of the property tax. It seems to me the money spent arguing in court could have been better spent to help those in need.

  • Europe Topeno, Finland
    March 5, 2014 1:17 a.m.

    Absolutely wrong decision... One more mingling with religious freedom... I wonder what they'll do with monasteries and places like mosques, where public is not allowed... Extremely poor decision by EU. Sad that other churches did not join the fight...

  • Trouble Vancouver, WA
    March 5, 2014 1:00 a.m.

    The temple is open to all members of the public who meet the requirements to hold a temple recommend. And no member of the public is prohibited from meeting those standards. In fact, all are encouraged to do so.

    I'm not sure what law the judges are applying but the temple meets the commonly understood definition of public.

  • KellyWSmith Sparks, NV
    March 5, 2014 12:17 a.m.

    This is a sad ruling for the church as the money used to pay taxes will not go to the other good things the LDS church does. For those who claim that this is a "correct" ruling are somehow using this as a way to ridicule the church for holding standards as to who can go in this or any Temple.

    Having attended the Temple Sessions well over 600 times in the past 14 years (by no means any kind of record) I can testify that the only way anyone will get something out of those sessions is by being very ready, worthy and prepared. If someone attends that is not worthy, there is no spirit there. Everyone must be ready and trying to do their best to keep the covenants they have made. If I go without trying my best to do my best, I get nothing from it. But the times when I am very desirous to know God's will, open to His direction and humble in my demeanor, it is like attending a session with Angels.

    It is still a public building, open to those who have paid the price of humility and worthiness to enter.

  • Serenity Manti, UT
    March 5, 2014 12:10 a.m.

    It is a public house of worship. Anyone can enter it with the proper paperwork, i.e. a temple recommend. Other religions have places where the general public cannot just walk into. Why is the LDS Church singled out?

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    March 4, 2014 11:46 p.m.

    This is nothing more than another attack on anything Christian. It is the beginning of a massive flood of litigation against Christians. Next will be the homosexual community suing for access to temples and eventually it will be granted because of "fairness." Once that happens, the church will close the temples affected in those countries.

  • Kav Boise, ID
    March 4, 2014 11:44 p.m.

    It's open to anyone who wants to go in badly enough.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    March 4, 2014 11:28 p.m.

    The tax assessment can't be that bad. Call it a warehouse; those things seldom have many windows.

  • Ed Grady Idaho Falls, ID
    March 4, 2014 11:10 p.m.

    Typical european nonsense. Maybe this kangaroo court will charge property taxes on all Mormon GI gravesites.

  • PP Eagle Mountain, UT
    March 4, 2014 11:03 p.m.

    The court is 100% wrong in its decision. Public buildings are not open to the general public all the time, and many have dress or other requirements that must be met before entry is allowed. That is just a convenient excuse to chip away at the moral fabric of our society.

    People that disagree should really take an honest look (unlikely) at why churches get an exemption. It's not because it is a public place, it's because the positive social and charitable benefits of most churches far outweigh the paltry amount the government can collect from taxes. In the LDS church 100% of the charitable donations received are used for the intended purpose. Agencies like the Red Cross and UNICEF return in the 70% range and governments return less then 50%. And the quality of service far exceeds that of the other agencies. People that wish "equal taxes" on religions should be careful because they may get what they wish for.

    Once the churches have lost their exempt status other exempt institutions will follow, much to the detriment of our society. And all to line the pockets of the government.

  • K Mchenry, IL
    March 4, 2014 10:43 p.m.

    I agree. It is not a public house of worship and should be required to pay the property tax required for charitable entities.