Church Responds to Australian News Reporter’s Inaccurate Accusations

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On Friday, April 10, 2015, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded to wrongful accusations reported on Channel Nine’s “A Current Affair” (ACA) in Australia.

ACA is an Australian based news show that uncovers unethical, and sometimes criminal, behavior in the community. However, in this instance, the Church says that ACA has inaccurately reported the facts.

During a segment unveiling a controversy with Brisbane-based Registered Training Organizations (RTOs), Leisa Goddard reports that some of these educational organizations are abusing taxpayers’ money and conning students into registering for classes. Australia Mormon Newsroom reports that Goddard then makes a claim, stating that The Church of Jesus Christ is greatly benefitting from the funds of these organization’s as some employees are donating to the Church from their own pay.

The Church says the claim is sensationalized due to the fact that only a very small number of the staff at these colleges are even Latter-day Saints and that no member is ever forced to give donations to the Church. Although it is likely that members of the Church who do work for one of the RTOs has paid tithing or other donations to the Church, that is not extraordinary as many people, of various faiths, make private donations from their pay stub to their church or a charity organization of their choice.

ACA never contacted the Church for information or to fact check, but had they made the call, Mormon Newsroom reports that the Church would have clarified the following:

  • The Church has no relationship, formal or informal, with any Australian RTO.
  • The only information the Church has on the RTOs comes from what has already been reported in the media.
  • No member’s profession is dictated by the Church.
  • “Members of the public are free to donate from their earnings in any way they see fit. Some donate to churches, others to charities, others to sporting groups or community organisations.”
  • All Church members choose whether or not to donate, therefore all donations are given by freely, by personal choice.
  • Tithing and other donations offered to the Church are used for the welfare of the local poor and needy, international humanitarian aid, missionary programs, the construction of worship buildings, creating teaching materials, and disaster relief.
  • No Church leader is paid, therefore all donations go toward “the betterment of mankind.”

Watch ACA’s video below for the full segment and Goddard’s inaccurate claims.