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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Where Does All the Tithing Go? » Where Does All the Tithing Go?

Where Does All the Tithing Go?

Don - September 26, 2006

We went to dinner with some non-member friends last night. They are very active in the “Taco Time” church.(We call it that because it’s painted the colors of a Taco Time.) The church has grown dramatically. They were explaining to us about their growth.

Their latest pastor is spending a ton of money on building a new sanctuary after just remodeling their old one last year. They have about 1500 members, services on Friday, Saturday and Sunday plus a huge youth program. They are also spending money on a series of TV commercials. They have the head pastor, 2 assistants, and a youth pastor.

We then explained to them about no paid ministry in our church and a bit about how it’s run, all voluntary etc.

So where does all the tithing go? We don’t support pastors, we don’t spend money locally like they do. Their youth program bought a closed 6 screen theater and converted it into gaming rooms, rock climbing, and other fun things for kids. That’s got to be expensive. What do we spend on our youth out of the tithing funds?

I was a bit of a loss for and explaination. In comparison we spend very very little on the local congregational stuff.

42 Comments »

  1. Missionaries.
    BYU, BYU-Idaho, BYU-Hawaii
    Temples

    Comment by Tim — September 26, 2006 @ 11:05 am

  2. Sure, that sounds nice but you live in a middle-class neighborhood. How does their church fare in poor, urban, underprivledged neighborhoods? Does it even exist in those neighborhoods? And how is their third-world presence?

    Comment by Rusty — September 26, 2006 @ 11:20 am

  3. Also, how many LDS chapels are their in your town, Don? If the LDS church only had one chapel per stake, it would most likely be constructed on a much grander scale.

    Comment by Tim — September 26, 2006 @ 11:23 am

  4. Thus my idea that BYU and its siblings should go from the current subsidy based program to a PEF approach. It will never happen, but I like the idea…

    Also note that until recently tithing didn’t even go to the ward budget. That was what the “budget” donation was for. I assume that a lot of tithing at that point was simply invested.

    Comment by a random John — September 26, 2006 @ 11:27 am

  5. A phenomenal amount goes toward the building program and upkeep of existing church buildings. Remember when President Hinckley first announced the smaller temples? He commented that one could be built for less than the annual maintenance cost of a larger temple. The first of those smaller temples was, IIRC, a 2.5 million dollar construction project, so you can imagine what kind of expenditures go into temple maintenance alone. Then consider the maintenance of thousands of ward chapels and stake centers, not to mention the constant need for additional ones.

    Comment by Nick Literski — September 26, 2006 @ 11:37 am

  6. There are 123 operating temples, 70 of them dedicated in the last seven years. And my ward’s building had the cultural hall carpet pulled out last month and replaced with a nice wood gym floor.

    Comment by John Mansfield — September 26, 2006 @ 11:41 am

  7. Nice post, Don. Funny, I wrote a post last year with almost the exact same title. The short answer is that tithing goes for buildings, payroll, and investments (mostly real estate). Yes, it would be nice if local units got a bigger slice of the tithing pie. But very few members even care that LDS leaders no longer issue financial statements telling members where the money goes. So it is simply hopeless to get anyone to take the next step — given how the money is actually spent (which they don’t disclose in any meaningful way), how should it be spent or how could it be better spent? Even if you are perfectly sincere or have good ideas for improvement, there’s just nowhere to have that discussion.

    Rather than pump out anti-Mormon tracts, the local megachurches would be better off to invite local Mormons to come visit their climbing wall/recreation center once a month. Monday night would be a good night for it.

    Comment by Dave — September 26, 2006 @ 12:14 pm

  8. Actually, Dave, there is a place to have that discussion. It’s called the Council on the Disposition of the Tithes, and it consists of the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve and the Presiding Bishopric.

    So, you make it into one of those groups, you can join in the discussion.

    Comment by Mark B. — September 26, 2006 @ 1:01 pm

  9. I was raised Lutheran, and every Sunday plates were passed around during the church service for donations. It’s one of the only things I remember vividly from church as a child.

    I was very aware that people were donated money out of their pockets, and I understood what it was going for. The pastor’s living. The building we were in. Etc.

    I think it’s kind of sad that we’re so removed from where our donations go.

    Comment by Susan M — September 26, 2006 @ 2:46 pm

  10. I used to ask myself this exact question on my mission when I’d occaisionally have to teach about tithing, and I felt a little stupid that I wasn’t better informed about where it all went. I had always intended to ask my mission president, but I never got around to it. (It wasn’t a big priority sinced I was in Germany and we hardly ever made it to the tithing discussion anyway.)

    When I got back to BYU I decided to go to the library and look it up. In my naivety, I was absolutely astounded to find out that it was apparently some kind of big secret, and even members apparently had no way to know how the money was spent, even at the level of a single pie chart.

    Since then I’ve been reassured by blog commenters that it is none of my business, and how dare I even ask such a thing, since it’s not my money anyway! So shame on all of you all for being curious :-).

    Seriously, does anybody have even a rough guess what the rough breakdown would be between buildings, payroll, investments, BYU, etc?

    Comment by ed johnson — September 26, 2006 @ 2:50 pm

  11. I guess next dinner I should tell our friends more about how the tithing funds are used, but since I don’t know and none of you know I can’t. Next time maybe, I could tell him about our humanitarian fund, our PEF fund and our temple fund that are all on top of tithing. At least these funds have a name with somewhat a specific meaning.

    I guess that’s my other problem, I shouldn’t be talking about the 6th discussion (tithing) until we we get thru Joseph Smith and the 1st Vision.

    Comment by don — September 26, 2006 @ 3:35 pm

  12. How about just the annual amount taken in from tithing, for starters? I think it would be kind of inspirational to hear how much tithing money was donated to the Church each year.

    Comment by Jordan — September 26, 2006 @ 3:35 pm

  13. educated guesses as to the BYU subisdy are in the range of $20k per student per year.

    Comment by a random John — September 26, 2006 @ 3:55 pm

  14. It used to be that funds were localized to a greater extent.

    But then you got the phenomenon of a rich ward on the East side of Provo having fabulous youth activities complete with jet skis on Lake Powell, rented houseboats, the works while a ward not ten miles distant got jack squat.

    Never mind what underdeveloped inner-city branches got…

    So the Church decided to put a stop to the localization of member donations with its attendant localization of privilege and want. They standardized things across the board to a large extent.

    Now the Ward in inner-city Washington DC gets the same amount as a ward in Alpine Utah (or at least gets funds based on the same neutral criteria).

    Comment by Seth R. — September 26, 2006 @ 7:37 pm

  15. ed, 10,

    As long as we are dealing in rough guesses and rumors, I have heard from an employee of CES that 1/3 of the church’s annual operating budget is devoted to CES – seminaries, institutes, and church schools.

    Comment by Mark IV — September 26, 2006 @ 7:49 pm

  16. Where does it go?

    Buying retail shopping malls in downtown Salt Lake, to the tune of $2 billion +.

    And don’t tell me this isn’t from your tithing funds. Investment funds were once tithing funds. Until the church has financial transparency, instead of hiding its transactions, it will have no more legitimacy than your local Taco Time.

    Comment by Randall — September 26, 2006 @ 10:59 pm

  17. Why are we comparing our tithing to a local evangelical church? Talk about apples and oranges. One building with one pastor, one congregation (however large and including the youth), focused on fun and feeling good with laser light shows and rock climbing—compared to a worldwide “traditional” congregation church with millions of members and thousands of buildings focused on three VERY large missions of salvation.

    Am I curious as to how exactly tithing is spent? Sure, but I’m in no way worried it’s being spent poorly. As simplistic as it may sound, I don’t believe God would allow otherwise.

    Comment by Bret — September 27, 2006 @ 12:04 am

  18. That is very interesting, Mark IV. I wonder if it’s true?

    I also wonder what percent of gross receipts goes into the “operating budget?”

    Comment by ed johnson — September 27, 2006 @ 12:31 am

  19. Randall, you’re misinformed. The Church’s tithing and inveestment income are kept scrupulously apart. How do I know? From two source: first, the IRS. If the Church used tithing funds, even “old” tithing funds, to buy commercial real estate, it would lose its tax-exempt status in a flash — and don’t think there aren’t people out there sharpening their knives, waiting for such a chance. Which brings me to the second source: various books like “The Mormon Corporate Empire.” As twisted and biased as that book was, even its authors grudgingly stated that, aside from the occasional local leader, there is no evidence of malfeasance or shady business dealings in the LDS Church. If even the Church’s enemies, digging as hard and fast as they can for any dirt, can’t find anything like a tithing slush fund for buying shopping malls, then I’m ready to say it doesn’t exist.

    I would like to hear more about how tithing money is split up, but I’m not that concerned about it. If you travel in third world countries at all, you’ll see the tremendous work that our (mostly North American generated) tithing funds are doing — not just in terms of church buildings, but also in education programs, medical programs, relief aid, etc. Yes, some of these are augmented by non-tithing funds, but a great deal of it comes from our tithing.

    On a more local level, ask your bishop about your ward’s missionary and fast offering funds. Fast offerings in particular are used locally first. Unless you live in a very affluent area, I suspect your bishop will reel off a dozen or so cases (or would if he wasn’t bound by confidentiality — wait until you’re in a bishopric or ward council position) that most of the members know nothing about.

    The church does a tremendous amount of good and typically says little if anything about it. Sometimes it’s headline stuff like hurricane or tsunami relief (btw, most of the “Christian” organizations either never went to predominantly Islamic Indonesia to help out, or went and are now long gone — but not the LDS Church), more often it’s helping to build a hospital or town hall or soup kitchen, or to bring schooling or medical help to some third world or inner city area that you’ll never hear about.

    Unfortunately, when not hearing about it all in detail, some are quick to assume the worst, or at least find themselves unable to exercise any charity and faith in assuming that those charged with disbursing these funds are doing an honorable, acceptable job of it (or worse, that they’re in some form of collusion with others to mis-use these funds). What we think happens to this money often says at least as much about our own outlook as it does about its actual uses and its actual stewards. After all, whose do you consider tithing funds to be? The answer to that will drive a lot of the questions you ask.

    Comment by Mike — September 27, 2006 @ 5:34 am

  20. Mike

    Everything you say is speculation.

    The Church is not transparent with its money. This suggests that it is hiding something – why else wouldn’t it be up front with the members?

    “there is no evidence of malfeasance or shady business dealings in the LDS Church.” – Newsweek did a story a couple years back, not refuted by the church, that claimed it had $30 billion in assets, and $5-6 billion in income (including tithing).

    Are you going to testify that there is no malfeasance when these types of sums are being handled by fallible men?

    In the U.K., the Church is required by law to publish an income statement and balance sheet. The percentage of money given to charities outside the church was less than 1% of income.

    These are the data points that we are left with.

    Comment by Randall — September 27, 2006 @ 9:19 am

  21. Randall,
    Go here for a good discussion about this same thing (this is the link Dave mentioned earlier in this thread). Mathew Parke makes what I think is a good response to your issue about a third of the way down in the comments.

    Comment by Rusty — September 27, 2006 @ 9:28 am

  22. Rusty – so Mathew Park’s comment is a GOOD response?

    “Not knowing how or where, exactly, the bulk of tithing dollars are spent encourages members to assume that the money is being put to good use”…

    Good grief. If that is your position, you are a fool, and you are NOT doing the Lord’s work. We should all be actively engaged in DIRECTING where and how this money is spent, not kept in the dark and told platitudes.

    The health of an organization is directly proportional to its degree of transparency. Period.

    Comment by Randall — September 27, 2006 @ 5:49 pm

  23. “We should all be actively engaged in DIRECTING where and how this money is spent”

    LOL, good point Randall. In fact, I think I remember President Hinckley making this very admonition in the last General Conference.

    Comment by Eric Russell — September 27, 2006 @ 6:07 pm

  24. Randall,
    Very classy. I reference a six paragraph response as “good” and you pick out a strawman sentence and call me a fool saying I’m not doing the Lord’s work. Nice.

    The fact of the matter is that I am doing the Lord’s work (as He has defined it) by fulfilling my calling (which has more to do with fast offerings than tithing). I know the Handbook pretty well and I’m not familiar with a single calling (that we can receive on a stake or ward level) that has the responsibility to be “actively engaged in directing where and how [tithing funds] are spent.” Now if you’re just spouting off your own opinion about how the Lord SHOULD do His work, then, well, that’s fine. Just know that you’re going to have a hard time convincing me that the way you would run the Church is better than the way the Brethren (and IMO the Lord) are.

    Comment by Rusty — September 27, 2006 @ 6:23 pm

  25. Rusty – the article you site over at mormoninquiry says:

    “Mormons rather naively assume much of the money goes to aid the poor, which is wildly inaccurate–only a miniscule proportion goes to ‘charitable causes’ …and continues to lament the abdication of the stewardship role of the members to provide financial oversight and demand accountability.

    I agree wholeheartedly with those comments. You’re not doing the Lord’s work because you don’t know where the resources are going.

    At my company where I work, we just finished a pledge week where we sign up to have money taken out of our paychecks and direct to the local or national charity of our choice. Those charities, in turn, provide a detailed accounting of how that money is spent.

    Per the article cited above, the Church is buying farmland with your tithes. But you don’t want to know or care, because you’re happy to say that you’ve contributed to your salvation by writing a check.

    That’s abdication, and moral laziness. Less than one half of one percent of tithing funds goes towards charitable work! Think of what power we could have if we, as a church, and like most other religious organizations, pooled our money and directed to those in need to fund medical research, build schools, dig wells, buy malaria nets, buy inoculations, instead of turning it over to a black hole.

    That isn’t spiritual, it isn’t doing the Lord’s work, and it isn’t the way to salvation.

    Comment by Randall — September 27, 2006 @ 9:18 pm

  26. Randall, so what’s your beef? That the Church doesn’t spend more on charitable work or that it isn’t transparent? Your prior argument was for the latter but now it sounds like your pissed that we don’t spend more on charitable work.

    And sorry man, you’re still trying to convince me that your way is better that Gordon B. Hinckley’s.

    Comment by Rusty — September 27, 2006 @ 10:54 pm

  27. Rusty

    Church policies have changed since its inception. I don’t think you need me to make the list.

    Non-transparency is a bad policy, doesn’t respect its members’ tithes, and is not in keeping with a major religious organization.

    Not being more generous with charitable contributions is a bad policy, doesn’t respect its members’ tithes, and is not in keeping with a major religious organization.

    I have not heard a credible argument to counter these two assertions.

    Comment by Randall — September 28, 2006 @ 1:09 pm

  28. Randall,

    I don’t like non-transparency either but the reasons you list are non sequitors, or at least the connecting logic isn’t clear to me. There are good arguments in favor of transparency, I just don’t see them in your response.

    Similarly, it isn’t clear to me why you think that tithing is intended to be used for “charitable contributions” and I don’t think that informed members expect them to be used for that. There are other boxes on the donation slip for such things.

    Comment by a random John — September 28, 2006 @ 1:37 pm

  29. Since most “major religious organizations” (whatever that means) have a paid clergy, the personnel costs must be substantial, probably second to land/buildings/operation/maintenance. My hunch is that those combine to eat up the lion’s share of the funds in the collection plate.

    Besides, is there something more important than the Gospel of Jesus Christ that we should be offering to people?

    Comment by Mark B. — September 28, 2006 @ 2:45 pm

  30. The question needs to be asked, “why do you pay your tithing?” If you don’t pay your tithing then you need not even ask how it is spent.If you do pay it and if it is for the right reasons you know that it is not up to you or I to direct where it goes but by the Lord, through those whom he has called and whom we sustain to guide the affairs of this church. We don’t see the decision process that is taken by those responsible for its direction but I would guarantee that it is with much prayer and deliberation. That we don’t see its breakdown is not a concern. I sustain whom I sustain and leave it in their hands. D&C 120

    So if the Brethren came out and said that they were using the tithe to pay for this or for that would make paying your tithe easier/harder. I think it would cause division and concern. I think their is wisdom in keeping it discrete. Everything expenditure would be questioned (as we see from these few comments)and the work of the Lord would be hampered. We do not know the Lord’s ways and so if he wants to use His funds to fulfill the role of the church then I will not second guess it. I may be relying to much on the arm of the flesh but I don’t think so. Jacob 4:10

    Comment by Mark W — September 28, 2006 @ 4:49 pm

  31. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

    It’s not about the money.

    Comment by cj douglass — September 28, 2006 @ 5:11 pm

  32. Some great replies to some contentious postings. Only as I approached the bottom did I see someone mention what first came to my mind: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church that has the whole truth and the authority to bind men to God by covenant, and that is something no other church has to offer.

    The notion that churches are supposed to dedicate the bulk of their money to charitable work assumes either that the world is converted and there is no missionary work to do, or that missionary work is some sort of selfish activity far less important than temporal charity.

    As President Hinckley pointed out following the supposedly “unrefuted” Newsweek article, the church is a money-consuming entity, not a money generating entity. The chapels, temples and schools generally aren’t saleable assets. And as far as “income” goes, that’s tithing, and it goes back into supporting the threefold mission of the church.

    Our temples are a massive expense that no other church has. Our work for the dead seems to them folly; they don’t understand why we expend so much on incredibly sturdy and beautiful buildings where virtually all the activity is directed toward the benefit of people who aren’t living.

    Our missionary effort is unequaled by any church. What does it cost to keep 50,000 missionaries in the field? Only about half the cost is met from the support payments provided by mission funds and missionaries’ families, as I understand it. When I was a vehicle coordinator in the England, Manchester Mission I discovered that the price of purchasing 35 vehicles that served 120 missionaries was equal to all the support payments from those missioaries’ famlies.

    Where I live in southern Arizona, we have the finest chapel in town. Other churches were envious, one congregation even hostile, when the building went up in 1983, because it was so much nicer than theirs. A friend of mine in Utah complained that when she saw our churches “I smell money.”

    This despite the enormous funds that pour into things invisible to these people, for preaching the gospel and saving the dead. This despite the invisible works of charity within the congregation.

    And despite this we have members who want “transparency” so they will have more data to make more arguments about how the church should be spending money that isn’t theirs. If we had transparency, Rusty and others would not sigh with satisfaction and be silent. They would just have proof that their personal ideas hadn’t been adopted by the leaders of the church, and would undoubtedly seek every possible venue for advancing their preferences.

    Comment by Preston McConkie — September 28, 2006 @ 5:38 pm

  33. Preston says:

    “And despite this we have members who want ‘transparency’ so they will have more data to make more arguments about how the church should be spending money that isn’t theirs” –

    Whose money is the $2+ billion for a downtown retail shopping mall? And how do you know?

    Members give money to the church so that the Lord’s work is done.

    Do you think God wouldn’t want those who consecrate their funds to know that it is being put to its fullest use?

    Men, working in the temporal realm, are fallible. The sums involved are staggering. No one is asking for a line by line vote on how funds are spent. A simple summary accounting will do.

    Kirtland taught us that money has a way of playing with men’s souls. We need to learn that lesson. And respect those that have consecrated it.

    Comment by Randall — September 28, 2006 @ 7:01 pm

  34. If we had transparency, Rusty and others would not sigh with satisfaction and be silent.

    Preston, I think you meant Randall, not me. That being said, I think Randall is right that transparency could be good for all the reasons he’s mentioned, I just don’t think that those advantages outweigh the bigger disadvantages that have been discussed here.

    Comment by Rusty — September 28, 2006 @ 7:51 pm

  35. I’m a little late to this discussion, but I have a hard time understanding the secrecy of the church’s finances. Pretty much what we get from the church is “trust me”. Personally every time I hear this it sets my teeth on edge. In the back of my mind I just think, “what are they trying to hide?” And the whole its none of my business argument doesn’t fly, because as a member of the church it is my business.

    And in reference to the malls being purchased from non-tithing dollars is rather silly. Money is an extremely fungible commodity. To say it comes exclusively from non-tithing funds is merely accounting tricks. And in the end every asset the church owns can be traced back to a donation of goods, funds, or labor from the members of the church.

    Comment by mark smith — September 28, 2006 @ 11:19 pm

  36. Rusty and Preston make great points here.

    Keep in mind also that the church keeps an extensive self auditing department and the chances some “fallible men” are misusung sacred tithing funds are very small. I also have an extremely hard time believing an Apostle, that is, a special witness of Christ wouldn’t use tithing money (i.e.–HIS money) with the most serious and stern thought.

    Mark,
    This is why I think, yes technically all money goes to the same organization, but those in charge of it make a point to go out of their way to differentiate so that they don’t misuse the most sacred funds they have. (or rather, the Lord has)

    Comment by Bret — September 29, 2006 @ 12:48 am

  37. The previous MIke who contended that the Church doesn’t spend tithing money on investments seems to be a bit off-

    first, the IRS. If the Church used tithing funds, even “old” tithing funds, to buy commercial real estate, it would lose its tax-exempt status in a flash — and don’t think there aren’t people out there sharpening their knives, waiting for such a chance.

    See, the problem is, that isn’t true. Non-profit organizations with tax free status can (and regularly do) use the money contributed to invest in things that will make money. To keep 501(c)(3) status an organization can not distribute profits to shareholders or members of the organization. They can be engaged in ventures that make money as long as the money made is invested back into the organization or spent towards the organization’s stated goals.

    Comment by Mike A. — September 29, 2006 @ 2:47 am

  38. Temple building
    Temple maintenance
    Chapel building
    chapel maintenance
    Other building and maintenance (Conference Center, etc)
    GA stipends
    GA travel costs
    Manuals
    Scriptures
    Vehicles
    Massive programme subsidies
    And so on

    Comment by Kim Siever — September 29, 2006 @ 11:55 am

  39. Quote from Bret(#36)

    Keep in mind also that the church keeps an extensive self auditing department and the chances some “fallible men” are misusung sacred tithing funds are very small. I also have an extremely hard time believing an Apostle, that is, a special witness of Christ wouldn’t use tithing money (i.e.–HIS money) with the most serious and stern thought.

    Mark,
    This is why I think, yes technically all money goes to the same organization, but those in charge of it make a point to go out of their way to differentiate so that they don’t misuse the most sacred funds they have. (or rather, the Lord has)

    It’s more than a technicality, it’s more of a practicality. Money is money. Once its all put into a bank account it is imposible to tell the difference between the source of one dollar to another. Now of course for accounting purposes it is crucial to track the sources.

    And it still is a case of “trust me”. I think that Ronald Reagan put it best, “trust but verify”. I would really like to know what the church has to hide. What is in the church finances that would damage my testimony, that it is necessary to not provide financial statements?

    Comment by mark smith — September 29, 2006 @ 12:37 pm

  40. Mark,
    Why do you care? Are you worried that the Church isn’t using your funds the way you want them to (like Randall) or are you worried about the institution’s reputation (in the case that there is fraud)? Why do you (Joe Member) need to know?

    Comment by Rusty — September 29, 2006 @ 12:48 pm

  41. Rusty,

    Basically, I’ve donated a lot of money in tithing and I care because it’s a lot of money. A few recent expenditures of the church really cause me to question the way the money is spent. The money spent on the malls in SLC, and the new conference center are my prime examples. I feel like some accountability is appropriate. I know some people feel the church is very careful with the money and that there isn’t any fraud happening, and I expect that this likely is the case, but without a reasonable open disclosure of the finances, we are all really just guessing. After a while I’ve started to wonder, what is being hidden.

    And I would answer your question “Why do you (Joe Member) need to know?” with the question slightly reworded.

    Why do you (Joe Member) need NOT to know?

    Seriously, why not when given the choice between open disclosure and secrecy just go ahead and disclose.

    Alright, now it’s your turn to answer the question that has been dodged from the start of this thread. Why does the church maintain an almost complete secrecy about it’s finances? What are they hiding?

    Comment by mark smith — September 29, 2006 @ 2:07 pm

  42. I firmly believe that transparency would be better than the status quo. How the money is spent isn’t something I need to know, and I’ll continue paying tithing regardless (it’s not my money anyway). But because people are sinners even at even the highest level of the church, the lack of transparency is trouble waiting to happen.

    I have no doubt that the church’s enemies as well as the professionally curious are busy finding out what they can. Wouldn’t it be better to be upfront from the beginning rather than have half-truths leaked out in some scandal?

    All that said, I have no reason to think that significant money is being misused. The cost of the church’s education system has to be incredible, buildings aren’t cheap (and neither do they produce revenue), and missionaries cost money.

    And one thing that has only been touched on here briefly is the cost of maintaining the church in places such as Latin America. I remember once attending a church in the Andes, and while it was simpler than what I’m used to, it was still one of the best buildings in town. Considering that a typical salary in that town was about $40 per week, I can’t imagine that the members had anywhere near the resources to build the building on their own. I’ve been told by someone who might know (although I can’t verify it) that only in the United States and Canada is the church self-supporting; everywhere else it is subsidized.

    Comment by Copedi — October 1, 2006 @ 9:09 am

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