Despite recession, downtown Salt Lake is rising

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  • No room for disagreement
    March 9, 2010 6:05 p.m.

    Wow, I love how so many "faithful members" can't handle even a little criticism or questioning from others (i.e. Watchman). Just because someone dares to question the GA's or prophet doesn't make them an apostate or ignorant. In fact, maybe a little more questioning by church members would do our faith a little good. Once the brethren have spoken DOES NOT mean all the thinking has been done. We have a right, and an obligation, to think for ourselves and come to our own conclusion and/or opinion. How narrow-minded for so many of the posters to the article can't handle a lit bit of disagreement. Maybe they ought to pay a little more attention to the principle of free agency. Oh how the wicked take the truth to be hard. By the way Watchman, thanks for speaking some truth. There are clearly too many "Utah Mormon" mindsets posting on here.

  • ME
    July 29, 2009 3:27 p.m.

    In priesthood a few weeks ago the lesson out of the mandated manual for this year focused on apostacy. One of Joseph Smith's teachings states that criticizing church leaders is the first step to Apostacy.

  • Anonymous
    July 29, 2009 12:58 p.m.

    To Watchman,

    It is also a horrible way for corruption to eat away the soul of an organization.

    But I think you agree with that.

  • Watchman
    July 29, 2009 12:31 p.m.

    Anonymous: I know exactly what you mean concerning corruption and apostasy through wealth and politics. Money has great influence. The City Creek centre would not have got the go ahead without a close association between the Huntsman who want to build Salt Lake and church leaders. Consider the following from SLT

    “Thomas S. Monson and billionaire philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr. spent months anticipating their annual fly-fishing expedition to the Snake River in June 2003..... In addition to being a fishing buddy, Monson also has been Huntsman's partner at Jazz games and one of his best friends. Huntsman believes Monson will continue Hinckley's legacy of reaching beyond Mormonism's borders. "He's as comfortable at the Cathedral of the Madeleine as in the [LDS] Tabernacle,"

    Four Apostles in Attendance as Jon M. Huntsman donates to USU December 8, 2007

    President Hinckley spoke at the dedication of a college building in Pennsylvania named after the Huntsmen’s, and Huntsman Sr. spoke at the funeral of former LDS Church President Howard W. Hunter.

    We all know the family connections through marriages as well. wealth is a wonderful way to influence others.

  • Anonymous
    July 29, 2009 11:30 a.m.

    As LDS, we have seen this before. The corruption and apostasy of the ancient Church was partly a function of their getting involved with businesses, wealth, and politics. The same thing is happening today. The more the Church gets involved with for-profit businesses, the more corruption creeps in. I know several people who are friends with people in high positions and because of that, they get very lucrative contracts from the Church and they milk them for all they can, often in dishonest and illegal ways. But their families are close personal freinds with Church leaders, so everybody "trusts" one another and turns a blind eye. This is how the corruption sneaks in and destroys the Church. Mark my words.

  • Anonymous
    July 29, 2009 9:30 a.m.

    re: John Pack Lambert | 7:30 p.m. July 28, 2009

    I know where you are going w/ the whole analogy about the Motor City. Though, buuliding chapels in another state and the Vaticanization of Downtown SLC are 2 entirely different projects.

    Truthfully, the only things I care about from Detroit are; 1) Good news about GM & 2) (most importantly) That the Red Wings have won Another Stanley Cup.

  • John Pack Lambert
    July 28, 2009 7:30 p.m.

    I fully support the Church's investment in revitalizing down town Salt Lake City.
    The Church last year dedicated two new chapels in Detroit. While I can not say that all new chapels that need to be built in all places have been built, I think some people are over-reacting.
    I know of one chapel that has been put on hold in the Detroit suburbs. However, this is largely because with the down-turn of the economy and the halt in housing growth, the number of members in that area no longer justifies building a new chapel. This is especially true because with the economy what it is in Michigan a large exodus of members in the near future is quite possible. There is no point in building a chapel and having no one use it.

  • Non-LDS Opinion
    July 28, 2009 12:53 p.m.

    Yes, surprising, isn't it?

    Am I wrong? The way I see it, the Church takes people's money (in exchange for nothing of real value), and then uses it to pay workers who build and maintain Temples, Church buildings, a worldwide sattelite network and all the IT acoutrements, and a bunch of administrators, not to mention BYU, LDS Business College, and the entire Church Education System, with their employees. Throw in all the health professionals who have to care for the elderly leadership, as well as all the money those leaders receive (and spend) for a "stipend", and you have a real wealth re-distribution machine working in the Utah economy! It is brilliant, really!

  • Anonymous
    July 28, 2009 12:14 p.m.

    re: Non-LDS Opinion | 11:40 a.m. July 28, 2009

    //As such, the LDS Church works as a "wealth redistribution" mechanism that helps add some stability to the local economy.//

    A positive thing on this website to say about socialism? Errr. Ummm. I mean the United order.

  • Non-LDS Opinion
    July 28, 2009 11:40 a.m.

    The Church has a great gig going. They get a LOT of money from people in exchange for the illusion of "salvation" and "exaltation"! What a business model!

    I will hand it to the Church. They do employ a large number of people in Salt Lake and Utah counties, and as far as I know, they don't lay off many people very often.

    As such, the LDS Church works as a wealth redistribution mechanism that helps add some stability to the local economy.

    I don't believe their fairy tales and lies about their history, but they do make a positive economic impact in Utah, and this project accounts for keeping quite a few people employed during these tough times.

  • Anonymous
    July 28, 2009 11:35 a.m.

    Say whatever you will about City Creek Center, it will be incomplete until the food court is 100%finished.

    As it stands now, mediocre Chinese food beats the alternative.

  • Jordan T.
    July 27, 2009 5:40 p.m.

    It's funny to see all these "Rising" banners being placed along downtown Salt Lake City sreets, with the pretense that it's rising.

    A little, rinky dink, teeny, tiny 22 story office building going up on Main Street doesn't seem to fit the bill, and neither do those fancy condo towers going up at City Creek either.

    It all just seems so ironic to me. As near as I can tell, all I can see that's rising is the unemployment rate, people's pent-up frustrations, massive home forclosures and rising homelessness in the area.

  • Carl Marks
    July 27, 2009 5:27 p.m.

    re: Knowah | 8:07 p.m. July 25, 2009

    Ouch & Zing!

    Is the church trying to play both ends of the spectrum? God & Mammon.

    We, in Zion, don't need the Federal Gov't as a nanny. We are already pacified by an allegedly omniscient institution.

  • Kiwi
    July 27, 2009 4:48 p.m.

    This is making me laugh. If its not one thing its another. The church can either do no wrong or will always be wrong.
    I know that the church is not using any tithing money for this building,
    My husband works for the church, doing the maintenance on the buildings, he has to be aware of how much money he does use, and gets really annoyed with how members treat the chapels. In New Zealand alone, they have just closed one chapel, another probably will be closed soon, Why? because they don't have the numbers, As for church college closing, it would cost to much to get it up to earthquake standards, and there is no need for it anymore.

  • C. Gul
    July 27, 2009 3:14 p.m.

    re: Paper tiger | 11:12 a.m. July 25, 2009

    Oh Great! Another infestation. Free Food.

  • Anonymous
    July 27, 2009 3:12 p.m.

    re: Me again | 10:06 p.m. July 25, 2009

    I know why its over budget. Have you ever counted all those workman standing around downtown?

  • re: watchman
    July 27, 2009 1:32 p.m.

    Watchmen can see over the wall. They know what is coming and can make decisions based on a wider view that everyone below can't see.

    So you can keep yelling up at those who can see and refuse to follow thier 20/20 council or you can keep telling yourself you know better than a prophet, SEER, and revelator.

    Use faith and trust that the Lord knows what He is doing, even if you don't understand what He is doing. "Trust the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths."

  • Bender Rodriguez
    July 27, 2009 11:46 a.m.

    re: Big Red | 7:10 a.m. July 25, 2009

    So, it would appear the Vaticanization of Downtown SLC is going well.

  • What's in a name
    July 27, 2009 11:44 a.m.

    re: Why? | 3:51 p.m. July 25, 2009

    Aren't they offically known as the business entity Corporation of the President?

  • Revelation
    July 27, 2009 1:31 a.m.

    After reading this thread I see that Mormons can be mean to each other and not just to outsiders.

    Members who have reasonable questions about church decisions are really skewered by the blind faith followers

  • Lovin it
    July 26, 2009 2:43 p.m.

    The Watchman's comic relief is awesome. Speaking as if informed, yet so clueless.
    Stating ‘facts’ and figures as if to have the inside story and a full understanding of every transaction from behind the scenes, and retaliation with scriptures quoted out of context.

    The flaws in his conclusions are so glaring, yet barely worth this comment-let alone arguing with. Your perpetual faultfinding is the evidence of a cankered soul. Take off your smoke-colored glasses which find fault with anything the church does. What a waste of an otherwise potentially worthwhile life.

    All your comments do are incite responses like above from ‘ajarizona’ who thinks that your sentiments are the reflections of an angered and ungrateful majoriy of LDS in SLC.

    Let all be assured that the VAST majority of Saints in the Salt Lake Valley are grateful and supportive of God and his church.

  • ajarizona
    July 26, 2009 6:57 a.m.

    I remember Dave Blackwell, the sports anchor, originally from Omaha Neb., a non-Mormon, who once called Green Bay Packer games, he once said on the radio...

    "If it was not for the LDS Church, Salt Lake City would be a dump and a wasteland".

    To all you "Gentiles" who constantly nit pick the Church with every move it makes, and desecrate everything it holds to be sacred, the next time you are going by Brigham Young's monument, the Temple and Church headquarters, ...

    Give a tip of the hat, to the "Economic Engine, which is the LDS Church", it's people and their knack for industry, and quit your belly-aching!

    Everybody benefits from their vision.

    Take every enterprise of the LDS Church out of downtown SLC, and what is left?

    zero, zip, nada!

    Be grateful...


  • Anonymous
    July 26, 2009 12:31 a.m.

    The bottom line is the LDS Church keeps its finances as transparent as charcoal. Their members don't care. If you aren't part of this peculiar culture, you've learned to equate secrecy with those families that invested in the Las Vegas Strip when Las Vegas was a small Mormon town.

    It's their money to spend. Asking how Jesus invested doesn't change this fact.

    A in LA, you're right about jobs, its the WPA of American religions. Must investors aren't spending on development projects.

    The Field of Dreams was a great movie: build it and they will come. This hasn't worked for cars and trucks. You never know.

    One thing, is Utah's faithful will be driving from Trout Creek, Goshen and Mexican Hat to shop there. Normal retail business model's may not be applicable.

  • Ownership of Means of Production
    July 25, 2009 11:27 p.m.

    People. Stop this foolish talk. The LDS church is the only charitable organization in the ENTIRE WORLD that owns the means of production. Everybody else uses cash, most of it funneled to them by government entities, to purchase water, food, blankets, dig wells, provide shelders, etc. The LDS church, on the other hand, owns the farms, owns the meat packing, packaging, food prepeartion, and cannery facilities. They have their own distribution arm. From seed to table, the LDS church is the only charity that can do it all without haveing to hire out anything. No one else does it like that because no one else was inpired from on high to do it like that.

    Its a great example of self reliance and faith. Its also an example to all of us. What should you do to prepare for the possibility of more economic down turns? Get some land. Buy some chickens. Get a tractor. Learn how to grow, fertilize, and harvest your own produce. Become a self sufficient entity yourself. Or you could just save your US dollars and watch them go up on smoke.

  • Happy to respond
    July 25, 2009 11:08 p.m.

    Fredd 2:07

    1. Does God's revelation include where to invest money?

    A) I feel God has made such revelations to me.
    B) It is somewhat presumptuous to define God in a way that would limit His ability to reveal.
    C)Remember the Church employs individuals to operate their investments, all decisions do not come directly from the First Presidency. They can fail.

    2. If someone bequeaths their estate to the LDS church they are free to use it for profit?

    Some form of instruction is typically included in such an arrangement. An estate may be left specifically for the benefit of a department at BYU, the Perpetual Education Fund, or the welfare program. I would presume such estates are a minor source of income for the Church.

    3. You are saying if the church invests $100K of tiyhing, earns a million, they are free to take the million for profit investment?

    I am saying that the Church would not invest $100K of tithing. Tithing is used for clearly defined expenditures.

    More relevant to consider that many of the Church's investments preceed tithing. I presume these would, quite coincidentally, include the very real estate currently being developed.

  • Grateful
    July 25, 2009 11:07 p.m.

    Thanks to all who are investing in our capital city. I don't live in SLC, but I know that a vibrant central city will make every city more prosperous. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Not lds
    July 25, 2009 10:49 p.m.

    I actually work for an LDS church entity and the LDS church owns many other for profit organizations that are run by LDS apostles but their finances are legally structured so that the LDS church operations, Church education services(which is the seminary program and the church colleges) are what tithing goes to pay for. They also own a company called Deseret management corporation. This is a holding company, with completely separate finances the owns Zions Securities(who i believe is the company who will officially own City Creek Center) They also own Bonneville Communications, The Deseret News, and Temple square hospitality. These company are all for profit and they all pay taxes. By law their finances are required to be separate for the churches day to day operations. Please people, I don't even go to church and I can say that i'm 99% positive that they are not using your titing money for commercial ventures.

  • brejol
    July 25, 2009 10:32 p.m.

    So what will heaven be like. Beautiful, one might suppose. But will it be inflicted with self-centered freeloaders complaining that their needs are not being met?

  • Over budget?
    July 25, 2009 10:29 p.m.

    Over budget, or has the original plan been enlarged? Significant variation between the two.

    Happy to see that the LDS Church has the resources to maintain the environment around Temple Square. I have noticed along the East Coast of the US that neighborhoods have declined around many historic churchs. They were built in beautiful areas, but 150 years later they are in slums with bars covering the stained glass and inadequate resources to maintain them properly.

    I want people to visit Temple Square. I want them to be greated in a clean and modern downtown.

    Eric: great example with the early bank.

  • Let's see
    July 25, 2009 10:13 p.m.

    Our elected , highly educated, smart, inteligent, wise, and wonderful officials in our government sure know how to spend money and balance a budget! What if this big venture turns sour? Then what's going to be said?

  • Me again
    July 25, 2009 10:06 p.m.

    Hey watchman, you forgot one big item! This wonderful project has already gone way over budget!

  • Eric
    July 25, 2009 10:00 p.m.

    I hope we do not consider all decisions of economic, political and social judgment made by leaders of the Church as revelation. Certainly this project is most likely inspired (and I will sustain the Church leaders as such), but this project is subject to failure just as Joseph Smith's Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company was. Many apostatized as a result of its failure. Let us not, ourselves, declare with ignorant confidence that this City Creek investment will not fail "finacially" because it is inspired, for, should it fail, we could fall prey to the same trap leading to apostasy. Now, with that being said, I am excited about the prospects of the City Creek Center, both economically and for the beautification it will bring to the area around Temple Square.

  • stop complaining
    July 25, 2009 9:54 p.m.

    no matter what the church does you will allways have thoes that critisize have faith .

  • More to Watchman
    July 25, 2009 9:42 p.m.

    Sorry to pile on, but if you really work for the church, you should know the different legal entities at play and the very different funding structures they fall under.

    The COPB (including your dept, from the sound of your comments) is funded from tithing. The City Creek project is a totally separate legal entity and is structured as a for-profit corporation. The closing of the Church College of New Zealand has nothing to do with the City Creek project.

    My suggestion: regardless of the implications for your church standing (that's between you and your bishop), you should stop making assumptions where you don't have all the facts - it's just making you look bad.

  • Re: Fredd
    July 25, 2009 9:40 p.m.

    The Church has long maintained a variety of buisness interests. Decades of wise investments in agriculture, ranching, water rights, real estate, interest, parking....

    Examples: Cattle ranches in Oklahoma and Florida. Purchased with profits from other commercial ventures. They comprise thousands of acres. Both are maintained as for profit investments. These are operated as buisnesses with paid employees and management. Also serve as youth camps.

    I visited the Florida ranch, they control a full 1% of the US beef market. Both ranches also earn substantial income from sportsmen. Florida leases lots for bore hunting. Oklahoma ranch gives $5,000/person guided deer hunts.

    Church has long received rent for properties they own. Companies have paid for decades to rent space in their malls. Shoppers pay the Church to park there. Remember that ZCMI (Zion's cooperaive mercantile) was a Church owned buisness which was (fairly) recently sold for millions.

    Church has purchased substantial farmland in the Oakley ID area recently. Some purchased with welfare money, harvests supply the welfare program directly. Others are purchased as buisness holdings.

    The Church is "exempt", but voluntarily pays taxes on this income.

    $2 billion cash from non-tithing sources? Presume billions remain.

  • Knowah
    July 25, 2009 8:07 p.m.

    Thank goodness the City Creek project is not the symbolic equivalent of the "large and spacious mansion." It is more like the symbolic equivalent of the "GIGANTIC AND SPACIOUS MANSION." Just like the meganacle, aka the conference center. The meganacle has to be the most under utilized building for the money in the world!

  • Seattle
    July 25, 2009 7:27 p.m.

    I still get a kick out of all of the whining on the Des News sites about the economy down there. Do you realize all of the websites outside of Utah are telling the unemployed if they want to find work to go to SLC? Your 6% unemployment would be a dream for those of us in Washington, Oregon, Michigan, etc.

    Be grateful for only 6% unemployment!

  • Re; a in la
    July 25, 2009 7:13 p.m.

    very very very very very very good point i didnt think about that!

  • Shoeless Joe
    July 25, 2009 5:41 p.m.

    If you build it they will come.

  • An Observer
    July 25, 2009 5:39 p.m.

    RE: Watchman:

    The only watch you have been given is to watch over your given stewardship and to spread the gospel and bring souls to the truth,

    God is the Watchman over his Prophet and apostles, and his church,

    and if it or they should ever go astray,

    it HIS Job and his job alone to take care of it and the church.

    NOT yours.

  • To watch man
    July 25, 2009 5:32 p.m.

    I'm a business owner ready to start anthor business in utah. I already sold one business in this bad economy and geting ready to start another. I have 100% trust in our leaders, who are closing to the lord than I am, plus a lot smarter in the business world than I am. Watch man what type of busniess back ground do you have? I know we have nothing to worry about. My needs are made. I don't need a big building to pray in.

  • Appreciative
    July 25, 2009 5:29 p.m.

    As an observer of many years I have seen and read much concerning the investment/development projects the LDS church is involved with. My understading is that these projects do not involve tithing funds. Unlike our government, I appreciate an entity that can keep it's financial house in order. The projects I am aware of range from commercial to agricultural. From what I have seen, their projects are well planned, always beautiful and well cared for. If the development projects of the LDS church were publicly traded, I would be in line to invest.

    As for "feeding the flock". Does not the LDS church have one of the best, if not the best welfare system in the world, that not only cares for their own, but also many others throughout the world?

    Recent events have made me take thought about what the LDS church does and does not do. I am appreciative of what it is contributing to the city.
    Heaven forbid that there should be a beautuful plaza where "standards" make it a place apart from the norm. Could'nt we just have a road there!

  • Answers for Fredd
    July 25, 2009 5:28 p.m.

    1. YES, 2. YES, 3. YES. Any other questions?

  • Why?
    July 25, 2009 3:51 p.m.

    I don't understand why a church has a place in business at all. It seems to me that a church should be interested in matters of the spirit, not matters of money.

  • Watchman
    July 25, 2009 3:36 p.m.

    Isa 28:1-4: “Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower.... The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, (drunk with worldliness) shall be trodden under feet: And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat (prosperous) valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer”

    Is the above prophesy referring to wealthy members of the Church living in their comfort and prosperity in the Salt Lake Valley with their spanking new 2 billion shopping up market shopping centre on the way? As Isaiah prophesied this will turn out be a “fading flower and hasty fruit before the summer” in the fat valley of covetousness. No expense is being spared ‘The retail streets will have retractable roofs’

    Maybe the recent closing of the Church College of New Zealand is now helping to finance the project? Why has the price already gone up from 1 to two billion? The church department I work for has been told to cut budget by 20% why? I repeat their are congregations of saints who have been refused chapels because funds are short.

  • Fredd
    July 25, 2009 3:23 p.m.

    Was it the 150's or 1960's that the Church was almost out of money? So all this wealth has been amassed since then. Just a little history.

  • S C
    July 25, 2009 3:15 p.m.

    To Bear Laker and all the Utahn's who think spending millions of tithing money on fixing up Downtown Salt Lake City is o.k.. Get real, the tithing money comes in from all over the world and not just Salt Lake City. That is why people outside of Salt Lake City should enjoy the blessing of chapels and more temples, not just you Utahn's should reap the benefits of the tithing money for your city beautification projects.

  • KM
    July 25, 2009 3:06 p.m.

    I think it was pure inspiration for the church to invest in the downtown area when they did. With this economic downturn, they are stimulating the economy and providing jobs. Heck! Obama is probably excited about this also, he can say we have saved or created "such and such amount of jobs this year" in part by what the LDS church is doing downtown. So, quit your whining, Anon.

  • fly_on_the_wall
    July 25, 2009 2:44 p.m.

    Hopefully the overall economy will be better by the time the downtown project is completed. Otherwise there will be a lot of empty apartments and office space. Any reasonable person can clearly see that empty apartments and offices cannot be a good investment.

  • Lloyd K.
    July 25, 2009 2:29 p.m.

    Sorry folks, but Harry L. was right. There isn't a cent in tithes in these projects. I doubt, knowing somewhat how the Church operates, that even very old originating tithes were used for the basis for the corparations that are doing this work. Many of them are Church majority owned; some just have church leaders on board of directors.
    Since the Church growth started in Nauvoo (their first place of real settlement and growth) church members have invested as much as possible in property - I only wish I had been so wise in my lifetime.
    This practice continued in SLC until members, and the Church itself (through indowments and non-tith contributions) has, over 100 years latter become a financial powerhouse - leaving tithes for their intended purposes.
    Non-eclessiastical projects are NOT built from actual Church coffers. To my knowledge non of these corparate entities is totally Church owned; but they have a great enough ownership in them to have substantial say in where to go and what to do.
    Unfortunately I lost a lot last year when a downtown project I was invested in collapsed due to bank failure. The Church has great wisdom in being self financed.

  • Not lds but
    July 25, 2009 2:26 p.m.

    I think it's great that someone with a huge interest in the state of Utah puts their money where their mouth is. ZCMI and Crossroads were blighted junky piece of crap malls, and the LDS church is actually being proactive and making their community a better place. Do you not remember how bad downtown SLC was getting before the mormons stepped up to the plate and did something about it. Also, relatively speaking Utah still has one of the strongest economy's in the country and I don't think that they will have a hard time filling up the mall by the time it is done in almost 2 years.

  • Relax.
    July 25, 2009 2:19 p.m.

    When one pays tithing it is no longer "their money", it is the "Lord's Money" used to build the kingdom how he sees fit. The way the tithes are spent is overseen by The Council on the Disposition of Tithes that consists of the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Tweleve Apostles and the Presiding Bishopric.

    As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we have the responsability of paying a full tithe. It is not our concern how those tithes are spent. The Council on the Disposition of Tithes bears this responsability. So my advice would be to relax. The Lord is in charge of His Church. There are 18 people called to oversee how the money is spent. They are smart, educated, experienced men.

  • Trent
    July 25, 2009 2:10 p.m.

    People need to chill out on bashing Watchman. The "holier-than-thou" crap is a little much. It remains to be seen if it will be a good investment. I hope it will be. But acting like church leaders can't do wrong in money matters and investing shows a bit of ignorance of church history.

    I think it will come out okay and given the volume of people visiting Temple Square I think it's good to attempt to have a vibrant downtown SLC. But times are tough and any recovery at this point is pretty precarious. So you can understand Watchman being a little dubious. What I can't understand is how people can be so judgmental and pious. Simmer down a bit, dismount your high horse, and let's hope time will prove it to be a wise investment.

  • A in LA
    July 25, 2009 2:09 p.m.

    I have read all these comments (Many of them pathetic in their reasoning) and I wonder if anyone has given thought to the timing of this building project. I find it interesting that during this terrible economic time with people being laid off all over the country, this project is providing many, many, jobs to a community and people who otherwise might be out of work as well. Maybe these church officials, whom so many of you feel free to criticize as if you actually had any knowledge, were more divinely inspired on this project and its timely construction, than you realize. You should all be a little more grateful for the economy boost to your area instead of being so quick to criticise.

  • Fredd
    July 25, 2009 2:07 p.m.

    1. Does God's revelation include where to invest money?

    2. If someone bequeaths their estate to the LDS church they are free to use it for profit?

    3. You are saying if the church invests $100K of tiyhing, earns a million, they are free to take the million for profit investment?

  • Heber C Kimball
    July 25, 2009 1:58 p.m.

    "After a while the gentiles will gather by the thousands to this place, and Salt Lake City will be classed among the wicked cities of the world. A spirit of speculation and extravagance will take possession of the Saints, and the results will be financial bondage. "

    So creating a beautiful, peaceful area next to temple square is contributing to the wickedness of Salt Lake? Trust me if nothing is done here economically, extravagance will be the last problem found amongst an insolvent people.

    Something tells me watchman that Pres. Hinkley/Monson understand the ramifications of this project, if they were afraid of this being the downfall of the Gospel, they'd pull the plug long ago. Instead of being such a pessimist try reading Daniels vision of the rock cut without hands. It will make you feel better.

  • Watchman
    July 25, 2009 1:01 p.m.

    The church has recently had to put half a billion into beneficial life due to speculation. How much will the church need to put in the upmarket City Creek to keep it afloat? Where is everybody doing their shopping now? Will they all of a sudden find extra money to shop at City Creek? How many shops in other locations in the salt lake area will be fighting for survival and then blaming the church? Why will alcohol be served on church owned property? City Creek is a 2 billion speculation of covetousness.

    Heber C Kimball prophesied: After a while the gentiles will gather by the thousands to this place, and Salt Lake City will be classed among the wicked cities of the world. A spirit of speculation and extravagance will take possession of the Saints, and the results will be financial bondage.

    Jeremiah prophesied 8 v 9 The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo they have rejected the Word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them...for everyone from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.

  • Answer Me Please
    July 25, 2009 12:54 p.m.

    Why must they close on Sunday? The church sold coffee and cigarettes in the Hotel Utah (and booze and prostitutes were also available there). Brigham Young had no compunction about selling liquor to the gentiles.

  • Thanks for the Laugh
    July 25, 2009 12:30 p.m.

    Re: "City Creek is where friends meet friends, where work meets play, where the past meets the future, and WHERE SALT LAKE MEETS NEW YORK."

    I just blew coffee out my nose reading that gem. What a hoot!

  • Dear "me"
    July 25, 2009 11:56 a.m.

    You say "As for development, that creates jobs which gives people income which they can in turn spend at stores and restaraunts."

    But not on Sunday, which means that businesses in the project will basically lose 15% of their potential income, when we who DO have the money and spend it, shop and eat elsewhere.

    There's lots of us who absolutely avoid businesses that wear their religion (ANY religion) on their sleeve, and pander to one group.

    Why do you think ZCMI Center and Crossroads failed in the first place? Because ZCMI and many other businesses were closed HALF THE TIME ON WSEEKENDS when people could go shopping.

  • Watchman's flaw
    July 25, 2009 11:36 a.m.

    Watchmen says "I sustain the brethren because they hold the keys", but TWICE insinuates they are lying about tithing use (i.e the comment "SUPPOSEDLY non-tithing"). That pretty much nullifies Watchmen's "sustaining" of the brethern. So, Watchman, don't insult our intelligence (and perhaps your own) by saying you "sustain" them, when your posts on this issue show you clearly do not. Criticize them if you like, but do so bravely, without trying to have it both ways. (Maybe you could look up some scriptures on being honest?) The church is true, Thomas S. Monson is God's prophet. The church will continue to grow, just as it has for 160 years, in spite of those who claimed it would die with the prophet Joseph Smith. The only safe place to be in troubled times is on God's side, which means standing with and by the church and its leaders.

  • Greg
    July 25, 2009 11:25 a.m.

    Unfortunately, it appears far too many posters here have a strange and/or limited understanding of economics, and have little apparent appreciation of how tithing funds invested long ago can be returned to church coffers--to be used for church ecclesiastical purposes--with all additional (current and future) investment income being generated as 'non-tithing' funds. Do you not see the difference? the distinction? is this rocket science?

    And I think Watchman may be making cause and effect assumptions and presumptions regarding chapel and temple building which may have little to do with reality.

  • me
    July 25, 2009 11:22 a.m.

    To those concerned about a slow down in temple building and chapel, I might ask how often you attend the closest temple to you. Temple building has slowed because we as members do not use the existing temples enough. As for chapels we could stand to do more missionary work. It is sad to see a new chapel built and then only have one small ward in it. Temples and chapels cost plenty to build and even more to maintain. It is very laughable to see people confuse investment funds with tithing funds. It is so easy for people to be critical of those who are taking care of things. As for development, that creates jobs which gives people income which they can in turn spend at stores and restaraunts. That is how to get the economy going, not by handing out lots of money to people who screwed up in the first place but that is another story.

  • To Watchman
    July 25, 2009 11:21 a.m.

    As sound as your comments and concerns may be, you're preaching to the wrong crowd here. The General Authorities could burn a pile of cash in the middle of Temple Square and people here would still write about how wonderful and inspired they are and how questioning them in the slightest is apostasy.

  • HarryL
    July 25, 2009 11:16 a.m.

    All organizations of size receive from time to time donations from a number of different sources, such as bequeaths, and so on. That money is not tithing money. Also, interests who build community projects as well as commercial projects raise capital from lenders specifically to build and develop. That money is not tithing money and is repaid over time in rent, appreciation, and so on. This makes the building of a chapel or temple different from a commercial venture in that the latter is usually referred to as an investment.

    As a side, President Hinckley made a comment several years ago stating something to the effect that if the economy weakens it was then unknown to the Church how (the less tithes because of less income) would affect the building of temples and so forth across the Church. It only makes sense that if there are less tithes that the Church will need to cut back on chapels, temples, etc because the Church ascribes to provident living, meaning you make the best of what you already have and don't go into debt.

  • Paper tiger
    July 25, 2009 11:12 a.m.

    And after the construction cranes have left, you will once again be able to hear the crickets chirping on Main Street.

  • Thumbs Up
    July 25, 2009 11:05 a.m.

    This is a good thing. You can bet that if downtown was decaying (like many urban centers around the nation) the church would be singled out as not doing enough to help the community of which they are a part. As Elder Holland put it once, "Even in the Golden Age, someone undoubtedly complained that everything was too yellow."

  • Watchman
    July 25, 2009 10:54 a.m.

    Isaiah 2 “O House of Jacob, come ye and let us walk in the light of the Lord; yea, come, for ye have all gone astray, every one to his wicked ways. Therefore, O Lord, thou hast forsaken thy people, the House of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and hearken unto the soothsayers like the Philistines and they please themselves in the children of strangers. Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures.

    From the Church Web site on city creek

    “This is something entirely new. Only now can you say Salt Lake City and cosmopolitan in the same sentence. Life at City Creek places you within easy walking distance of all the finest that Salt Lake has to offer; from symphony and theatre to fine dining, shopping and deluxe office space. City Creek is where friends meet friends, where work meets play, where the past meets the future, and WHERE SALT LAKE MEETS NEW YORK.

    Will "affordable housing" be part of the City Creek Center project? No

    What will be the mix of the retail stores? "In the upper moderate to better range."

  • Top tourist attraction?
    July 25, 2009 10:52 a.m.

    Looks like Temple Square is fighting it out with Cabela's:

    Forbes magazine:
    In spite of a struggling economy, 5 million visitors made Temple Square the 16th most visited site in the United States....

    KSL News (2006):
    Officials for the Utah store say close to 5-million people have walked into their store. The number of visitors to the store could possibly pass those of Temple Square, making Cabelas the number one tourism attraction in the state.

  • Inspiration
    July 25, 2009 10:51 a.m.

    One looking from the outside might think, "this is the worst time to investing in these ventures". My views reflect what I see is the true inspiration of this project. Could there be a better time for this type of stimulus? Ten years ago, if I could glance into our day today, I'd say now is the most critical time to revitalize Salt Lake, Provide thousands of jobs in a struggling construction industry, and reap the benefits with of all the infrastructure in 2 years and on, when this economy turns the corner for the better. This will be a huge asset for the church both monetarily and aesthetically.

    2 Birds with 1 stone. Stimulate economically, Beautify, and turn a profit

  • Fredd
    July 25, 2009 10:37 a.m.

    God's revelation includes business investments? Can anyone tell me the source of any church wealth that was not a tithing or donation originally? Construction materials are at an all time high and the properties were bought during a boom.

  • Anonymous
    July 25, 2009 10:27 a.m.

    Most investors don't beat on faith but on sound economics. What I would be inter4ested seeing is how many tenets have sign leases.

    Good thought, inflation is -2.13 for this year. Declining demand means people and companies aren't spending. The business of business is business. With high commerical real estate defaults who would you build? You can wait and buy a building for cents on your dollars.

    Look at the great PR the LDS Church got buying SLC's main thoroughfare? Like think has killed many a business and the LDS Church doesn't cultivate innovation.

  • Good thoughts
    July 25, 2009 9:43 a.m.

    For the Brethern to approve large building projects when construction materials and workers can be had for less than 1/2 of what they were 1-2 years ago appears to be extrordinary wisdom.

    Additionally, to convert cash in the bank into developed real estate at this point in time is something more of us should consider. Why? Real estate is on sale; banks are failing left and right (another 30 bank equivalents failed yesterday); and money is going to devalue big time with the governments drunken spending.

    Best thing in the world that you could be doing right now with your money is exactly what the church is doing.

  • Investors
    July 25, 2009 9:25 a.m.

    Be wise enough to acknowledge that the GA's of the faith were mostly successful business men and they probably know FAR more than you people about it. Also, they het a thing called REVELATION which guides their choices.

    Dissent amongst the members. Hasn't changed much since Joseph's day. How dId I turn out for them?

  • Bringing, not bribing
    July 25, 2009 9:19 a.m.

    My iPhone did autocorrect. I mean bringing in people for missionary work.

  • No You Don't
    July 25, 2009 9:16 a.m.

    Watchman clearly doesn't understand what "sustain" means. Also, by the title of tour comment and the quotation of Ezekial I think you may be overstepping your bounds. I wouldn't set myself up as a prophet if I were you, and especially by calling out the real prophets and apostles. Funny that you think you know better than them.

    I would say you are approaching dangerous ground, but you are already there. Pride was the word of the day for that comment, or ignorance, both of which are equally ominous!

    I have faith that revelation is leading the GA's decision and they are deciding to invest in the downtown area (one if the biggest tourism, and therefore missionary work, centers in the world). Seems like a good idea to have a hand in crafting the environment that you share the gospel in while also bribing in people to share the gospel with!

    Humble yourself and don't make torself a false prophet who kicks against the pricks!

  • Enhance downtown Salt Lake
    July 25, 2009 9:15 a.m.

    Watchman also doesn't understand - or perhaps care - that it is in the church's interest to keep the downtown area vital. The church has demonstrated through its history that it will make the right moves in planning its interests.

  • Xente
    July 25, 2009 9:15 a.m.

    Get over yourself Watchman. Your self-righteous indignation is exhausting.

  • Believes the Brethren
    July 25, 2009 9:11 a.m.

    It sounds like Watchman is skeptical that only non-tithing money is being used. Of course he can believe the Brethren are liars, but that would put him on shaky ground, no wouldn't it?

  • Tab L. Uno
    July 25, 2009 9:01 a.m.

    It's too bad that downtown couldn't have had this attention upfront instead as an afterthought with Gateway Mall (the Gateway for the rich) having had to be developed. At least Down Town Salt Lake City won't die now.

  • Just another thought
    July 25, 2009 8:57 a.m.

    This is just another response to Watchman. I mean no offense and hope this helps a little. Think of the parable of the talents. (Matthew 25) Rather than keeping the church's resources to itself, it uses these resources to help others. The church helps those abroad and it's ok to help the area locally.

  • Sustain?
    July 25, 2009 8:57 a.m.

    Watchman, you claim to "sustain the bretheren because they hold the keys." However, your criticism of their actions indicates otherwise. If one sustains them as being inspired, then criticizing them is being critical of their inspiration from above.

    Your quote from Ezekiel is the Lord being critical, not members of the House of Israel being critical of their leaders who they are obligated to sustain. The Church is not a democracy, like secular society. Authority is not bottom-up, but top-down. In a democracy transparency and accountability come from the people. Not so in the Church, especially if we sincerely believe that God is running the show.

    The role of a 'watchman' is more appropriate in relation to those from whom accountability is appropriate, such as elected officials. Church officials are accountable to God, who has called them.

  • Nancy
    July 25, 2009 8:31 a.m.

    Talk about an investment in the future, I wouldn't be surprised if City Creek is found flourishing and bustling through the Millennium.

  • Bitter Watchman?
    July 25, 2009 7:49 a.m.

    Well, Watchman . . . looks like you have an axe to grind. You really do not have a clue how the LDS church works, do you?!

  • Bear Laker
    July 25, 2009 7:35 a.m.

    This all started before the downturn but it has to be helping with holding down the costs. This is a very wise use of the investment funds of the church. These properties could have become a liability to the church but with the new projects it will return many times over the cost to renovate. It also will provide a beautiful downtown thereby protecting the church's non comercial downtown properties, maintaining a safe, unblighted area for the church to showcase temple square. Wise, indeed, my shortsighted brother. Also what is your reference for the slowdown of temple and chapel build worldwide?

  • fani
    July 25, 2009 7:33 a.m.

    "Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good..." I have full confident that the shepherds Watchman mentioned did counselled with the Lord. The question is did Watchman counsel with the Lord as to the cause of the "cut back in expenditure" mentioned? The Lord will never reveal what my shepherds should be doing to me, and vise versa.

  • Anonymous
    July 25, 2009 7:26 a.m.

    Watchman makes me LOL.

    Yeah the church is cutting back on temple expenditures so they can become real estate tycoons in SLC.


  • Re: watchman
    July 25, 2009 7:13 a.m.

    Watch out watchman! Your quoted scripture was completely out of line.

  • Big Red
    July 25, 2009 7:10 a.m.

    The LDS church which had already owned several properties downtown, bought the remaining properties that it needed for this project at the height of the real estate boom back in 2004-2006. Thus paying a premium for the properties. The church needs to remind itself, that all monies that it currently has comes from tithing. Tithing is the source from which all other investments and holdings are derived from. In these most difficult times, I wish the church would spend more money on helping it's faithful members in the U.S, than 2 billion dollars on this project.

  • watchman
    July 25, 2009 6:23 a.m.

    Expenditures: Shopping malls are struggling all over the US. This must be the only new one being built.Since the church is now a worldwide organization it need to take care of its member with basic needs such as meetinghouses. members in a neighbouring stake in a major city to mine use our stake centre because they have never had one built. They have to travel long distances down the motorway for stake conference at what cost!I know of several congregations which do not have a chapel.v Some LDS meet in chapels housing three wards, meeting at very inconvenient times especially for their children. The members should be the investment that the church is interested in.

    An independent analyst after looking at all the church projects in Utah stated the following:

    “Remember all these projects are to be completed by 2011. Total costs $10.1 billion. If you include the Conference center ($1.1 billion) the total spending in Utah not to include chapels and stake centers $11.2 billion dollars.”

  • S2
    July 25, 2009 5:58 a.m.

    If one is not moving forward or upward, then one will be going backwards or downward. Simple stuff. Unless one wants to ford through urban decay and decrepit, morose blocks to get to Temple Square, something has to be done to revitalize the area. "vital-ize"

    Recent articles pointed out that Temple Square is still highly ranked as a tourist attraction, and from amongst the curious, the work will grow in distant destinations. Seems like a worthy investment to me.

    Non-Utahn, non-suffering, non-needy, 'mission field' S2

  • To Watchman
    July 25, 2009 5:48 a.m.

    Yea, I agree with you it's more important for the church to curtail temple and chapel building so the money can be put to use for the building of shopping centers and encourage new pubs to locate around the downtown area(close to the temple). I live some 2,000 miles from Salt Lake City and know the effects of temple and chapel building curtailment. Looks like somebody new needs to oversee the church's financial department.

  • Another Thought
    July 25, 2009 5:45 a.m.

    Anyone that has followed the City Creek development story from the beginning had information presented to us on the reasons behind the "investment". Watchman would do well to review some of those early news stories before casting stones.

  • Watchman
    July 25, 2009 5:04 a.m.

    I certainly hope it is a wise investment for the sake of church finances. However notice the following comments;

    NEW YORK TIMES 31 Jan 2009 “There are roughly 1,500 malls in the United States, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, many of them ailing, some of them being converted into office buildings, and others closing their doors for good.”

    New York Times 4 April 2009

    Landlords are scared,” said Suzanne E. Mulvee, a real estate strategist with Property & Portfolio Research. “Part of the reason they’re scared is dark space doesn’t pay.” When the nation’s stores report March sales results this week, the numbers are likely to be down yet again – especially for department stores and mall chains, which have been the weakest performers for months.
    That does not bode well for mall owners. As more stores have closed, mall vacancies are at their highest point in almost a decade, according to Reis, a research company, which said the vacancy rate at the end of 2008 was 7.1 percent.

    How can the church risk so much money at a time when it leaders are teaching prudence?

  • important
    July 25, 2009 5:03 a.m.

    It is important to maintain a good, clean environment around our temple.

  • Watcher of the Watchman
    July 25, 2009 5:01 a.m.

    So why don't you just say the leaders "are acting stupidly" and make yourself look as much of an idiot as Obama does right now. You don't have the faintest clue so please keep your lame critiques to yourself. The church leaders have that kind of money because of wise investing over the years. I would venture to guess that they still know how to invest wisely. At least they are investing in the community while many others are pulling back or looking for a high return in oil, speculations, or whatever the "fast buck" scheme of the day is.

  • Not tithing?
    July 25, 2009 4:51 a.m.

    It looks like politics has become a part of the religion now. Were it not for tithing this religion would not have the funds to invest and call it non tithing funds.

    As for the downtown, its a place to stay away from because it is not intended for Utah citizens to use, but our taxes keep getting spent for non citizen use. The only jobs in downtown are for the illegals being harbored and hidden from the feds. Illeagas in SLC are getting our taxes to provide welfare and food stamps and education. The good news is that as long as SLC keeps and harbors the criminals from mexico, the rest of the states crimes get a reprieve.

    All this money being spent and not one cent is for the citizens of Utah. Downtown has segregated itself from Utah and created its own little empire feeding off of all tax paying citizens of Utah.

  • Robert Y. Valentine, PhD
    July 25, 2009 4:03 a.m.

    When will downtown Salt Lake City and Park City and their leaders learn that we active "Mormons" have money to spend and that we are NOT the enemy?

  • Watchman and Learn
    July 25, 2009 3:48 a.m.

    Watchman, you seem genuinely concerned, but your evidence consists of a laundry list of conjecture. (Are you a church employee, with access to the financials, or do you just speculate and talk like you actually know something?) Where are you that you assert that members' needs aren't been met, with new buildings, etc? Any definative evidence that the Calagary Temple isn't being built, because of the downtown renovation?

    The Church (for all the criticism from anti'a it gets in Utah) is the most influential player in the community. It is doing its part to develop and maintain the city. Your assumptions are off, in that you seem to think the Church is burning cash on this, and won't get any return. The Church is run be very knowledgeable, experienced in business, leaders. They know what they are doing... The Church will have a return on its investment, and importantly, SLC downtown (by the Temple) won't be an abandoned ghost town.

  • Gary Hatch
    July 25, 2009 3:06 a.m.

    The Church is also dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the downtown area. Temple Square is the number one tourist attraction in the state and an important resource for missionary work. It serves the ecclesiatical work of the Church to have a vibrant downton area in SLC.

  • Some Thanks
    July 25, 2009 2:54 a.m.

    ...and what gratitude does the Church get for pumping 2 Billion into the economy and for beautifying down-town? All they get is profane, drunken violators of common decency/respect trespassing on their property and calling the church bigots for violating their civil rights?

  • Expenditures vs. Investments
    July 25, 2009 2:24 a.m.

    Watchman obviously doesn't understand the difference between spending money and investing money. The Church has always been interested in investing their non-tithe money, while they have always been very careful about how they spend tithing money. The Church leaders don't have a private slush fund, they are merely investing their interests in the down town area, also with a chance of receiving a large return. The Church is smart to invest in commerce and real estate while the economy is down.

  • Watchman
    July 25, 2009 1:37 a.m.

    For those members of the LDS faith like myself outside of Utah the constant spend on non-church essentials in Salt Lake City is galling. Chapel building is being scaled down in many nations (I have direct evidence of this that members needs are not being met) Temple building is being put on hold such as the Calgary Temple, all church departments are cutting back on expenditure, and yet the church can pump 2 billion into a shopping centre with supposedly non-tithing money. It has just pumped half a billion into Beneficial Life to meet its obligations.The General authorities must have the largest private slush fund of any organization in the world to spend as they desire. Of course all non-tithing.

    Although I sustain the brethren because they hold the keys I feel to quote the words of Ezekiel “And the Word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of Man, prophesy against the Shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the Shepherds: Woe be to the Shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the Shepherds feed the flocks?” Ezekiel 34