There is an old saying, sometimes the hunter can become the hunted.
It is amusing how many of the published comments criticize the Deseret News,
characterizing it as being one sided in what it prints. One writer
mentioned the Church making members pay tithing. Funny. Doesn't the 16th
century King James Version of the Old Testament say something about tithing?
Today in Sunday School, we will talk about JSH 1...how interesting it starts
like this "Owing to the many reports which have been put in circulation by
evil-disposed and designing persons, in relation to the rise and progress of The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, all of which have been designed by
the authors thereof to militate against its character as a Church and its
progress in the world"...nothing has changed with those who think they can
destroy the Church. No matter what is released or shared, it will be attacked.
To those who want to know what the Church represents, they publish much
including about stipends etc...if a person takes the time to study instead of
just repeating talking points from those who think they have some secrets to
tear the Church down. The truest irony is that if a person really loves Jesus
Christ, how does bashing and tearing down represent His teachings? Easy to
pick and choose comments and then use it to show negative but in the true
context and teachings of the Church, it is filled with faith, hope and charity.
To those who attack, what hope and charity and faith do you offer in return?
It is just the tip of the iceberg.
A church I don't support, or agree with, and about which I know almost
nothing about does something I don't like and I want it to conform to my
way of thinking.That about sums this whole matter up to me.
As a member of the LDS Church, I could care less how much the stipend is.
Rather, I thank God for what the Church has meant to me and my family during my
44 years as a member and the good the Lord accomplishes in the world with the
help of the Church's faithful members, including Church leaders. I'm
grateful for the undeniably powerful spirit that emanates from the pages of the
Book of Mormon that helps me understand the Bible better and the wisdom the Lord
shares with us through living prophets and apostles. How can I pray for the
success of these brethren while feeling envy because the Lord blesses them with
a means of caring for themselves and their families?
Most churches open their books to the members and are completely transparent
with their finances. I can know what the pastor's in my church earn and
were every cent is spent. When an organization is not forthcoming with their
finances, it gives the appearance of them trying to hide something. All
we're asking is that the LDS church be transparent with their finances. If
there's nothing to hide, then why should it matter?
"Unintended consequences for democracy".Perhaps religious would
operate better if it were a democracy. Certainly transparency would be
better.Why does the dnews and the LDS church believe transparency is a bad
Any organization that claims to act in stead for a God should have no trouble
making their financials crystal clear to their members. The lack of doing so may
not be proof of wrongdoing, but it sure has the appearance of it.
The Book of Mormon warns that our DEMOCRACY and nation will be destroyed by
Gadiantons, Secret Combinations, Pride and Greed. [sort of like we see
happening in Washington right now - and getting worse over the next 4
years...]Nothing in there warning about Democracy being destroyed
over Mormonleaks and General Authority's stipends...
MDMCA you ought to listen to an old talk from Matthew Cowley, and being from New
Zealand, you should be familiar with him.In that talk he talks all
about his living allowance and other things, including a new car every year from
a local dealer. He stated in that talk that he was living the law of
consecration. He was a lawyer by trade but never got the chance to establish a
practice or practice law for very long. How was he supposed to live? Beg on
the streets? He didn't have any money.As for these
"leaks" nothing earthshanking in these "revelations".
"That's a HUGE commitment for families earning far less than the amount
the GAs are receiving in their paychecks. Investigators have the right to know
how leadership is compensated."The funny thing is that the
compensation rates by which church leaders are being paid is very modest
compared to other religions. I don't see any issues with what they are
being paid, and as in the private world, individuals compensation should be a
private issue. In North Carolina public servants pay is
public information. From the Govoner to the classroom teacher, all that pay
information is public. People know where and how the state's funds are
being spent.I don't think the church needs to be disclosing
micro level budgetary information. I would like to see it be more transparent
at the macro level - what percentage is spent on operations, what percent is
allocated to building construction and maintenance, and what is spent on
charitable causes. I think members would like to see how their leaders are
spending the Lords money. At that is what it is.... not the Churches money...
but the Lords money.
DN.... where was your outrage over the leaks of Democrat Party documents? Is
the leaking of documents only an issue when it pertains to one group, and not
another? I have no issues with complaints about private documents being leaked
via the media. The public's need to know does not justify the invasion of
privacy, when no law is being broken. But to selectively have outrage....That said, any organization that operates using the Lord as its
reason-d-etre must absolutely live transparently. I don't quite understand
anything done in the Lord's name that should not be able to be subject to
even the most stringent scrutiny. As we tell our kids, if you have
to do something in secret rather in public, you ought to really reconsider if
you should be doing it at all.
Those referring to the 1985 talk by GBH can't be serious that the 44 words
used to say that GAs receive a stipend constitutes a presentation of the issue.
The 44 words 31 years ago were made as an aside in a wide ranging talk.Less time should be spent on defending the payments and scratching around for
references to stipends and more time discussing the lack of transparency in
financial matters. The LDS movement used to publish financial reports until
1959 and then stopped. Why was that? Did the membership approve the change?
So long as the hierarchy treats members contemptuously through the
suppression of information there will be continued problems. The
hierarchy's behaviour thus leads to a self-perpetuation of the sense of
persecution. A discovery of a problem leads to negative comments which leads to
a sense of persecution which leads to a doubling down on the suppression of
The comments here reveal the same pattern we've seen before with things
like Joseph's polyandry, the magic stones, and so much more. First, people
deny it. Then, they say that it's OK, it doesn't affect their
testimony. Finally, they say that they always knew it because an obscure article
from 50 years ago said something about the subject, so no biggie.This thread alone is worth a sociological study.
non issue. nothing to see here folks. the financials of the church could be
posted online in real-time and it wouldn't be enough for people. these folks will go away as anonymously as they arrived.
As a public employee I say any tax exempt or private entity doing business with
the government should have the same transparency that I have. I welcome the
I think it's OK for GAs to receive a modest stipend from the Church.But nobody can tell me that $120K is modest. Tell that to members
scraping to pay tithing in Guatemala.And if it is argued that these
men were millionaires before they were called, why the need for a stipend?
These "leaks" haven't produced anything earth-shattering. It
certainly means nothing to me.But from a philosophical level, if the
salaries of individuals who work for government or taxpayer funded entities are
publicly available - even if the funds used for their salaries are not
tax-funded, at all - then maybe the salaries and other financial information on
tax-exempt organizations should be public knowledge, as well?For
example, if some well advertised charity - eg, a children's cancer charity
- gets a lot of donations that are deducted from millions of people's
taxes, does the public have an interest in knowing if their executives are
getting paid exorbitant salaries?What about defense contractors?
What about FEMA contractors?
If there were nothing problematic in the releases, there would be no problem.The church says that it is natural that GAs get compensation and that
everyone basically knew that. If that is true, the releases do no harm.The church says that decisions are made through inspiration and study.
If that is true, and was reflected in the released videotapes of briefings on
public issues, there is no problem. The only difficulty arises if the behavior
of the apostles as captured on those tapes contradicts the image that the church
has projected over the decades. This has nothing to do with
democracy. The church has stated on many occasions that it is not a democracy.
The claim of harm is therefore a canard.The question is whether the
releases embarrass the church by revealing things contrary to church claims.
Apparently the church feels that they do. The irony, of course, is
that by publishing an article on this topic and advancing the patently absurd
notion that shining light on a non-democracy hurts democracy, the DN and the
church merely bring more attention to the releases. Watch the number of page
views at MormonLeaks now spike upward.
Trust but verify.Wise words.
I have known for most of my 41 years in the church that the general authorities
had a stipend. Also, Gordon B. Hinckley addressed this (one of many issues) in
a talk titled "Questions and Answers" in the October 1985 General
I don't know if every GA is given the same living allowance or not. I
don't know if those who are financially well off and don't need it,
decline it or not. I don't feel it is my business to know the details of
how the church provides for them, even though I am a tithe payer.It
is kind of like fast offerings that the bishop distributes. I contribute my
donation and I trust the bishop to make good decisions about how that money is
disbursed to the needy. I don't feel that he should give me an accounting
of every dollar that goes to pay someone's heating bill or buy some
groceries for a needy family. Does that mean that every single dollar is put to
the absolute best use and is never wasted or given to someone who does not
deserve it? No, humans are involved. But I trust that for the most part, the
funds are treated as sacred and every effort is made to see that it is used for
the right purpose.I have a slightly different view about a lot of
the taxes that I pay.
To "Esquire" you know that the leaks wouldn't have had any effect
had the Democrats been honest in their dealings. Yes the leaks were bad, but
what should be of greater concern is what was in those leaks.Tell
us, what is worse, leaking confidential information or rigging the Democrat
nomination process?To "Prometheus Platypus" now wasn't
it your ilk that was complaining about the audit of the Clinton Foundation? Why
is it ok to audit a church, but not audit the foundation of a political
figure?The funny thing is that the church leaders on living in
mansions tax free, nor did any of them become millionaires because of their
stipends. The few that are millionaires earned their wealth BEFORE becoming
leaders. If you were familiar with LDS scriptures, the payment of church
leaders is listed as being acceptable when their church calling prevents them
from having a job.To "Misty Mountain" tell us how you
determined what a living allowance should be? Why can't the church decide
what the allowance is?To "Laura Billington" actually you and
your ilk do tell us what to think all the time.
"Why does someone in his late 60s need a childcare payment?"Esquire, Typically True.But then, our 70 year old president
elect has a 10 year old.Couldn't resist.
@J Thompson writes, "Those who oppose the Church would have us think that
they, not Christ, have authority to define family, to define marriage, to define
the acceptable boundaries of sexual activity".Thompson, I
don't tell you what you think. It would be respectful if you didn't
announce what other people think. There are a number of temple-recommend
holding members who regularly contribute to this form, and they are not
"opposing the Church". They have said that interpret what Christ
taught somewhat differently from you and from what the General Authorities are
now saying. Who am I to tell them that they are wrong. And who are you?
Does the Church have to file a Form 990? Nonprofits do, so why not churches?Why does someone in his late 60s need a childcare payment?There are arguments on every side that have merit. But I don't think
anyone is being totally honest.
The only surprise about "Mormonleaks" is how unsurprising anything
they've revealed is. Was anyone surprised that GAs are granted
a living allowance? I thought that was public knowledge. Certainly it
didn't surprise me. I remember telling investigators the same information
more than 20 years ago while on my mission.All Mormonleaks has revealed is
that It turns out that it's an extremely modest amount compared to what the
pastors of "MegaChurches" take in. When the Church says it
comes from business properties the Church owns rather than tithing or other
contributions I see no reason not to believe them, and no reason for members to
be concerned.The editorial is correct - the only story to be found
here is whether Mormonleaks is obtaining it's information illegally.
Misty Mountain: "...some thoroughly biased presentations to the Church
leadership. If this filtered presentation is all they hear on a particular
subject..."Let me guess. You wanted them to be barraged by a
slew of GLBT advocates or rabid 'climate change is all our fault'
presenters. They need to be overwhelmed with those who oppose basic church
teachings. Anything less means they are closed minded and out of touch with
reality?I can assure you that church leadership has heard it all
from those who oppose the church. I think they are very intelligent people who
understand what is really going on. Church leaders are not supposed to behave
like politicians who will flip their stances on things if they think the
sentiment of the voters is now different. (Prime example is Obama on gay
marriage.)If you believe that the church is lead by revelation, then
you have faith that they will make decisions that are in harmony with God's
wishes. If you don't think that is the case, then it really should not
matter to you what they think, but for some reason it does.
"Last year the group “MormonLeaks” published videos of LDS
leadership in closed-door meetings engaging with experts on contemporary issues
of importance."I watched the videos. I saw some of these
"experts" present some thoroughly biased presentations to the Church
leadership. If this filtered presentation is all they hear on a particular
subject, then they will be ill-equipped to make reasonable choices regarding
this topic, whether it's climate change or gay rights.
@JoeCapitalist2 wrote,"General Authorities spend so much time
with their callings that they cannot hold a regular job and thus are given a
living allowance."Fair enough, but it's a red herring.
What is newsworthy is that the Church has, for years, claimed that those serving
the Church were not paid. A living allowance of $70,000 a year is a salary,
however you label it.I don't know anybody who begrudges them a
salary. But the existence of it, and the amount of it, certainly should have
been available to the members who contributed it. If there was
nothing wrong with this (or with anything else that has been leaked), why the
distress over this being made public?
I really see no scandal here. Either you need to pay people, or elevate only
the really rich to high church position.I do take exception to those
making a distinction between salary and living allowance.The majority of
people use their salary to live on.Call it what you want. It is the
exact same thing.
The church has many employees. From repairmen to programmers to people who
manage the church's businesses. Pretty much everyone for which working for
the church is a full-time job.Callings within the church such as
Sunday School teachers, Bishops, and Stake Presidents are not paid since they
can keep their regular jobs and do their callings in their spare time. (Some
Bishops can hardly remember what 'spare time' is.)General
Authorities spend so much time with their callings that they cannot hold a
regular job and thus are given a living allowance.Although the
living allowance is more than many people make, it is far from exorbitant. I
doubt any of those called think it is some kind of sweet deal financially. If
they were looking for monetary rewards, they would do something else.
While president of the LDS Church, Gordon B. Hinckley was asked by a reporter
why the Church was not transparent about its finances, unlike many other
religions. Hinckley replied that the Church believes "that information
belongs to those who made the contribution, and not to the world." Of course, this statement was untrue then and remains so. The fact that
the Des News had to pen this editorial to defend keeping the Church's
finances private is evidence of the untruthfulness of Hinckley's statement.
I paid tithing to the Church for several decades, and not once did
the Church makes it finances available to me. It is unconscionable, in my view,
for a Church to tell its members to tithe even if it means going hungry or
skipping rent, and further telling the members that even the leaders serve
without remuneration, when all the while the top Church leaders are in fact
drawing a comfortable salary.
"However, by publishing private information with no real purpose other than
“it hasn't previously been disclosed, ..."If the
DNews is unable to understand why many people find purpose in the information
recently disclosed about GA "living allowances" and other forms of
leadership compensation, then you aren't listening very well. For example, as a missionary I was trained to teach investigators that because
leadership is unpaid, they should feel ok about redirecting 10% of their
family's financial resources to the church. That's a HUGE commitment
for families earning far less than the amount the GAs are receiving in their
paychecks. Investigators have the right to know how leadership is compensated.
They have the right to know that church leadership is actually compensated far
better than many of the impoverished communities the church targets. Quite simply, it's dishonest and misleading to preach the virtues of a
lay ministry when it just simply isn't true. If the DNew
doesn't see purpose in financial transparency, then that says way more
about the DNews than it does about the church's critics.
Ranch,If the Supreme Court had ruled the other way, then your
comment would read: "meeting together with the intent of protecting the
rights of US citizens"The LDS Church honorably expressed
disappointment but acceptance of the legal outcome regarding the legal
definition of marriage. When it comes to being honorable or choosing robbery,
lying, and sending white powder terrorist threats to LDS temple mailing rooms,
the LGBT movement have made it very clear that they certainly care a great deal
about defending rights. As long as they are the only ones who can define those
rights... as long as they are the only ones who have any other rights (such as
something so fundamental as human safety) then hey... they can do whatever they
want and run us over right?The difference between what you are
defending and what we defend isn't just a matter of simple honor and
virtue. It's a matter of basic human decency. We have it. I'm not so
sure that can be said of someone who will threaten and steal from others in
order to get a stamp of approval from society.
In the case of the LDS movement we find there is almost no public disclosure of
operations or accountability to its members and contributors. Further, it
requires payment in return for full participation and for the reception of
church ‘sacraments’. It preaches a form of the prosperity gospel.
It is an affront to those who are convinced to sacrifice to then not account to
them how funds are used. There is nothing to be gained by secrecy
except meet the needs of those who hold the secret. This opinion piece seems to
support the owner of the publication at the expense of many of its readers. The
LDS movement looks like a grass roots movement but functions as an institutional
and absolute monarchy. The leadership refuses to be accountable and perhaps
members should withhold their contributions until they come to heal.
In the world of people like 'Ranch', if you don't jump on the
'politically correct' bandwagon and fully support the latest cause of
the far-left, then you are 'intent on violating the rights of US
citizens'.Don't think the definition of marriage should be
changed? You are violating the rights of gays.Don't think the
church should get behind the 'legalize marijuana' movement? It must be
violating the rights of drug users.Don't think the country
should have open borders or that it should try to keep terrorists out? You must
be racist or Islamophobic.
Personal privacy should not be breached without a compelling societal need.
Everyone is entitled to a legal, personal life.
Christ's Church has the obligation to represent the true doctrine of Deity
at all times and in all places, no matter how "offensive" that might be
to those who reject Christ's Doctrine. Those who oppose the Church would
have us think that they, not Christ, have authority to define family, to define
marriage, to define the acceptable boundaries of sexual activity; but, they seem
to forget that Christ's Church is Christ's gift to those who are
trying to find everlasting joy and eternal happiness. It incorporates
opportunities to be taught correct principles. It gives those who are willing
opportunities to serve others. It enlightens those who are looking for
light.Those who sneak around with the purpose of finding fault by
"leaking" private conversations only show that they reject Christ as
their head and those whom Christ has chosen as leaders to help them overcome
attitudes and appetites that Christ rejects as proper.Someday, all
mankind will watch and wonder why some people chose to fight against Christ by
"leaking" private information when those "leakers" could have
become Christ's disciples.
Awe, I thought that if you have nothing to hide then transparency is the best
for the masses?Mike your wrong, churches are just another non-profit
org and should be subject to audits that insure honesty and justify why they
should continue to receive tax free status.Multimillionaires who
speak for God in Super churches and own huge mansions tax free because God
want's his servants to be wealthy first, than they can help the poor with
others money.With Hackers now the hero's of the GOP I
can't figure out why you don't approve?
I'm OK with this DN OpEd piece, However, to gloss over what Trump and
the entire Trump campaign has done with regards to the Russians hacking - is
parallel in goals and objects as the WaterGate break-ins and cover-ups, but by pairing up with the Russians even exceeds the criminality of Richard
Nixon and host of "leaks" and "plumbers".
Wow, interesting editorial. You are mostly silent about Assange and Wikileaks
one-sided leaks because it led to Trump's election, and now you are saying
leaks involving the Church threaten democracy? Funny how you "caught
religion" on this issue all of a sudden. Will you now condemn Russia and
call for a vigorous investigation? Will you put the heat on Utah's
pro-Trump delegation to put America first and get to the bottom of Russian
Hey McNight - that axe isn't sharp yet - maybe you need to grind it some
It seems that we don't understand the difference between public
transparency and the right to privacy outside of government.We have
every right to have every detail of government on the front page of every
newspaper. We have every right to have details of elected officials' lives
on the front page of every newspaper. But, we do not have the right to be told
of every detail of every business transaction of every company. Depending on
the rules of the business, owners, including shareholders, may have a right to
know much more than the general public.Churches are not public
businesses. They are not "owned" by the public. Gifts and funds
donated to churches are "gifts" without strings attached. The giver is
not entitled to direct those funds or to demand an accountability of those
funds. Minutes of meetings are not public. People who disagree with a church
are free to worship elsewhere and they are free to withhold their time and
"gifts" if they choose. Leaking private information shows a
lack of manners and civility.
"Last year the group “MormonLeaks” published videos of LDS
leadership in closed-door meetings engaging with experts on contemporary issues
of importance."--- I suppose you can say that with a straight
face: meeting together with the intent of violating the rights of US citizens
is of "contemporary importance".