Sign in to follow this  
brown67

General Authorities??? Living expenses???

Recommended Posts

I don't see why the institutional church should get any benefit of the doubt in this matter.

Because the "institutional church" is the kingdom of God on earth.

I realize this is almost certainly falling on deaf ears, but it had to be said.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The LDS church CAN'T support its priesthood (like other groups: Catholic, Anglican, Buddhist, etc.) as roughly HALF the church ARE priests.

I don't understand why we get knocked for supporting the very few who are in the upper eschelons.

I mean, really.

No one complains about catholic priests stipends, housing, food, travel on church business, etc. Nor the upper levels where instead of a stipend its a bottomless card. Blame it on a Catholic (& Jewish, & Buddhist, etc.) upbringing... But I WANT my tithing going toward my leaders. And farm

Workers. And every other paid position. That it doesn't is fine, but the last thing I would be is upset that it would or could.

LOL... 80k is a cop's salary here, btw. Meaning lower middle class & a family can survive (but not save, pay for school, etc. on it.). 80k being "a lot" reminds me of my son when he thought $100 a month was a fine living.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had read somewhere that Seventees can choose to recieve $40 some-odd grand, and Apostles $60 some-odd per year. Personally, I dont see why the LDS church doesnt pay all of their clergy from Bishop/ Relief Society President and up, if they have to work to take care of their families. It seems like if the clergy were paid and didnt have to have careers on the side, than they could better serve their congregations, as well as their families....after thought, but if clergy at the stake and ward levels were getting paid, then I guess it would cause some degree of conflict. That wouldnt be all that good.

Edited by dirtydevil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because the "institutional church" is the kingdom of God on earth.

I realize this is almost certainly falling on deaf ears, but it had to be said.

Vort, that's a very pithy response, but how does that address my point? If you're trying to say that no bad financial decisions can be made by "the kingdom of God on earth" then you might want to look at church history a little closer. I see absolutely no issue with full transparency to the members of the church. Of course this is not what the church does and so we jump to justifications on the church's behalf.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vort, that's a very pithy response, but how does that address my point? If you're trying to say that no bad financial decisions can be made by "the kingdom of God on earth" then you might want to look at church history a little closer. I see absolutely no issue with full transparency to the members of the church. Of course this is not what the church does and so we jump to justifications on the church's behalf.

I'm sure Vort will be along shortly to explain himself... But I took it to mean.... Its not your church, its not my church, its not President Monson's church. Its the Lord's church. He is aware of what is going on. If the leaders of the church are making poor choices then its because the Lord is allowing it for what ever reason.

While I would not be opposed to full transparency if that is what the Lord wants... But I can also see how that would open the door to to a bunch of people doing the financial equivalent of arm-chair quarterbacking. Just look at how much flak the church took over one business decision recently... Then magnify that over all its financial decisions... and it is easy to see why they aren't doing so.

Edited by estradling75

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The financial status of the Lord's church is not my business.

Other churches report their financials because they are RUN and OWNED by the members. And if these churches and the assets of such churches are not owned by the members, then there are members on a Board of Directors who require financial disclosure.

Members serve in various callings, but members do not own the Lord's Church.

It is not my business.

If the Church sees fit to disclose in the future, then so be it.

In taking a secular POV, this is the Lord's enterprise. It is HIS business. He is entitled to His privacy regarding the way His Church conducts His business.

Customers of businesses who provide services are not entitled to know the financial status of the businesses they obtain their goods and services from (unless they are a publicly traded company and required by law to provide certain disclosures). I find it to be a similar principle and courtesy.

Edited by skippy740

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vort, that's a very pithy response, but how does that address my point?

You said that you didn't see any reason the "institutional Church" should be given the benefit of the doubt. I told you why it should be. I responded very directly to your assertion. I'm really at a loss to understand how you don't think that addresses your point. How much more direct can I be?

If you're trying to say that no bad financial decisions can be made by "the kingdom of God on earth" then you might want to look at church history a little closer.

You didn't ask if any incorrect decisions could be made by the leaders in the kingdom of God. Rather, you claimed you did not see a reason to give the earthly kingdom of God the benefit of the doubt. I answered you that the reason was the very fact that it is the kingdom of God on earth. Not sure which part of that you're having trouble understanding.

I see absolutely no issue with full transparency to the members of the church. Of course this is not what the church does and so we jump to justifications on the church's behalf.

All of this is utterly beside the point. You saw no reason to grant the "institutional church" (as you called it) the benefit of the doubt. I pointed out the obvious reason to do so. Not sure why you're having trouble keeping track of all this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You said that you didn't see any reason the "institutional Church" should be given the benefit of the doubt. I told you why it should be. I responded very directly to your assertion. I'm really at a loss to understand how you don't think that addresses your point. How much more direct can I be?

You didn't ask if any incorrect decisions could be made by the leaders in the kingdom of God. Rather, you claimed you did not see a reason to give the earthly kingdom of God the benefit of the doubt. I answered you that the reason was the very fact that it is the kingdom of God on earth. Not sure which part of that you're having trouble understanding.

Sorry Vort, obviously I'm a bit slow.

So you're saying that because the institutional church is "the kingdom of God", we should always give it the benefit of the doubt in any decisions that are made? Hopefully I've restated that correctly.

Here's my response: My own reading of scripture has always equated the "kingdom of God" as a state of righteousness to which one has attained. I went back and looked through every reference to "kingdom of God" across all the Standard Works. Each scripture either defines an aspect of human behavior that is consistent with the kingdom of God or it refers to the group of believers who have reached that state. In my mind, it is correct to equate the kingdom of God with the church in the sense that the church is the group of believers who have come unto Christ. If I am not behaving in harmony with Christ's teachings, then I'm not really part of His church. I liken this perspective to D&C 121 where the existence of priesthood authority is only present through righteousness, not through position alone.

Therefore, the "institutional church" as I referred to it, is only acting as the kingdom of God when its decisions/actions are righteous. It's not the kingdom of God just because it exists as a legal entity/corporation.

If the Book of Mormon teaches anything, it teaches that the "institutional church" throughout its ancient American history was corrupted by riches. The book is meant to be a warning to our day. It is with this context that I question the current lack of transparency, and it is in this context that I don't grant any benefit of the doubt.

Moroni said it well in Mormon 8 and didn't appear to be giving any benefit of the doubt either:

"why have ye built up churches unto yourselves to get gain?"

"ye do love amoney, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted."

"why have ye polluted the holy church of God?"

If we're not meant to suffer uncleanliness to enter the kingdom of God, we have to be ever vigilant of all parts of the body of Christ. Bring the finances into the light and then we've got that aspect covered.

Roy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the Book of Mormon teaches anything, it teaches that the "institutional church" throughout its ancient American history was corrupted by riches. The book is meant to be a warning to our day. It is with this context that I question the current lack of transparency, and it is in this context that I don't grant any benefit of the doubt.

Could you provide a couple of scriptures which describes the institutional church being corrupted by riches?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest gopecon

I know of no examples in the BofM when Nephi, Alma, Mormon, etc. abused their church callings to get gain. To the contrary, the BofM specifically calls out anti-Christs for practicing priestcraft - using religion for to get gain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know of no examples in the BofM when Nephi, Alma, Mormon, etc. abused their church callings to get gain. To the contrary, the BofM specifically calls out anti-Christs for practicing priestcraft - using religion for to get gain.

Sure. Nehor (not a prophet or head of the instistionalized church), King Noah (not a prophet or head of the institutionalized church) come to mind. I'm wondering who roy tucker believes was head of the institutionalized church who was corrupted by the riches as evidenced in the BoM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know of no examples in the BofM when Nephi, Alma, Mormon, etc. abused their church callings to get gain. To the contrary, the BofM specifically calls out anti-Christs for practicing priestcraft - using religion for to get gain.

That's true. All of those leaders mentioned were faithful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry Vort, obviously I'm a bit slow.

So you're saying that because the institutional church is "the kingdom of God", we should always give it the benefit of the doubt in any decisions that are made? Hopefully I've restated that correctly.

You wrote, and I quote: "I don't see why the institutional church should get any benefit of the doubt in this matter."

Here, you claimed that you did not see why "the institutional church" should be granted the benefit of the doubt on the subject of living stipends to certain Church leaders. My straightforward response was that one might consider giving "the institutional church" the benefit of the doubt because it is in very fact the kingdom of God on earth.

Now you have generalized my simple and rather obvious statement into the idea that "the institutional church" should "always" be given the benefit of the doubt "in any decisions".

Can you see the problem with what you claim I wrote versus what I actually wrote?

Having said that, let me add: If there is in fact any doubt in any matter, I would say, yes, the Church should be given the benefit of the doubt by its members. Why? Same reason. So while your restatement was a wrong restatement of what I wrote, it was in fact reasonably representative of how I feel.

Here's my response: My own reading of scripture has always equated the "kingdom of God" as a state of righteousness to which one has attained.

Yet this reading is clearly wrong. From a simple logical level, the kingdom of God exists outside my own worthiness or lack thereof. Therefore, my (or your, or President Monson's) worthiness cannot possibly determine the existence of the kingdom of God.

I went back and looked through every reference to "kingdom of God" across all the Standard Works. Each scripture either defines an aspect of human behavior that is consistent with the kingdom of God or it refers to the group of believers who have reached that state.

This is false. The scriptures talk about the church (of God) and its individual members falling away from time to time.

If I am not behaving in harmony with Christ's teachings, then I'm not really part of His church.

Then you are not a part of Christ's Church. For that matter, neither is anyone else. Ergo, by your logic, the kingdom of God does not exist on the earth today, and will never exist so long as humans are imperfect.

I disagree.

Therefore, the "institutional church" as I referred to it, is only acting as the kingdom of God when its decisions/actions are righteous. It's not the kingdom of God just because it exists as a legal entity/corporation.

This is nonsense, but let us suppose for a moment that this nonsense is true. Who, then, determines whether the "institutional church" is acting in a righteous manner? You?

Suppose you claim that the Spirit has told you that the "institutional church" is acting outside its bounds. Suppose I claim that the Spirit has told me that the Church is acting by the Spirit of God and is approved of Christ. Which of us is to be believed? Or shall we suppose that the Church is false for you, but is true and the very word of God for me?

Such relativism plays well among some segments of sectarian Christianity, but I reject it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could you provide a couple of scriptures which describes the institutional church being corrupted by riches?

The organisation of the church today does not appear to resemble the various ways it was organised in Book of Mormon days. So you have to examine why Mormon and Moroni, having seen our day, would include the stories they did. Anyway, some random things of interest:

Jacob 2 (Riches, immorality creeping in)

Mosiah 11 (King Noah's corrupted church and priests)

Alma 4 (church succumbing to pride, riches, contention, ignoring poor)

Alma 31 (church in Antionum with the rameumptum, big buildings, the prideful people, ignoring poor)

4 Nephi (from Zion to zero)

Mormon (Nephite descent to oblivion)

plus the various 'I have seen your day' type warnings from Mormon and Moroni.

Anyway, that's it for now.

Roy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems you are under the impression that the only way to fight the lure of money and its attendant pull to sin is for the Church to have open and transparent books to the masses. This would be an incorrect assumption. In this matter the Church faces the same exact problem as any other major corporation with large financial assets. How do you make sure that those you entrust with the funds are spending them in the correct manner?

You don't see major corporations opening up their books because of the danger of fraud and corruption. What you do see them doing is having independent auditors.

Once a year in general conference you will hear from the church auditors. You will hear them state some important things. One that they are independent of everyone but the First Presidency, and that they have full access (aka transparency) to all the church financial records.

With this the potential for corruption is minimal. For corruption to slip by it either has to be clever or subtle enough to slip pass the auditors, in which case open books will not help, or the auditors have to become corrupted (I will let someone with greater financial background address that likelihood), or the first presidency had to become corrupted. Each individual will have to weigh for themselves on that one. But if you think the first presidency are there for their own personal gain, I'd say I think you are smoking something.

So while it is understandable to be concerned about the ability money to corrupt, if you paying attention to what the church is telling you, you will see that the church is aware and has taken steps to curtail that. That the auditing group works according to "Best Practices" of the financial community. Which makes it as good as people do financial investigations professionally can do. Which in my opinion is much better wiser then opening it up to every guy with a grudge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

estradling is right, IMO. I just completed a 3-year stint as a Stake Auditor. It was an education, esp. since I used to live (1990's) in a Stake where the bishop was defrauding the Church (and the RS Pres. had a mental breakdown, just one of hundreds of negative things that came out of that situation). It was very short-lived, no doubt because of the audit practices of the Church.

Roytucker and Vort, it seems you are both looking at the situation of the OP from differing yet complimentary viewpoints. Well, sort of complimentary. Vort is approaching this from a 'High Church' POV, while Roytucker is seeing it from a 'Low Church' perspective. This website explains what these mean, though it does get pretty long-winded: The Difference Between Low Church and High Church

In a nutshell, 'High church' means the institution saves you (via priesthood and ordinances) and 'Low church' means we are saved by personal development and Gospel living. Both are true, as is emphasized in the Church's teachings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You wrote, and I quote: "I don't see why the institutional church should get any benefit of the doubt in this matter."

Here, you claimed that you did not see why "the institutional church" should be granted the benefit of the doubt on the subject of living stipends to certain Church leaders. My straightforward response was that one might consider giving "the institutional church" the benefit of the doubt because it is in very fact the kingdom of God on earth.

Now you have generalized my simple and rather obvious statement into the idea that "the institutional church" should "always" be given the benefit of the doubt "in any decisions".

Can you see the problem with what you claim I wrote versus what I actually wrote?

Yes. Absolutely. That's why I restated it, because it seemed to be what you were implying.

Having said that, let me add: If there is in fact any doubt in any matter, I would say, yes, the Church should be given the benefit of the doubt by its members. Why? Same reason. So while your restatement was a wrong restatement of what I wrote, it was in fact reasonably representative of how I feel.

Yep. No worries. This is probably the key point in our discussion. You give the benefit of the doubt and I don't. That's the cool thing about individual agency.

Yet this reading is clearly wrong. From a simple logical level, the kingdom of God exists outside my own worthiness or lack thereof. Therefore, my (or your, or President Monson's) worthiness cannot possibly determine the existence of the kingdom of God.

Really? See, your view doesn't sound logical to me. If that were true, we'd all be Catholic wouldn't we, given our claim of apostasy and unrighteous priests, etc

When I read the New Testament, there are lots of references to the kingdom of God, but I don't read it as an organisation. It reads more like a Zion society: becoming like a little child, abandoning riches, miracles, caring for the poor. Seemed to be about behaviors.

This is nonsense, but let us suppose for a moment that this nonsense is true. Who, then, determines whether the "institutional church" is acting in a righteous manner? You?

Suppose you claim that the Spirit has told you that the "institutional church" is acting outside its bounds. Suppose I claim that the Spirit has told me that the Church is acting by the Spirit of God and is approved of Christ. Which of us is to be believed? Or shall we suppose that the Church is false for you, but is true and the very word of God for me?

Such relativism plays well among some segments of sectarian Christianity, but I reject it.

Yep, I get that. Who determines? Well, everyone determines for themselves. That's the way individual salvation goes I guess. My relationship with God is a direct one and is not proxied through an earthly organisation. (Don't get me wrong. I'm an active member with a calling, etc,etc). But I'm happy to stand or fall on my own interpretation of things.

Thanks for responding and clarifying.

Roy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Roytucker and Vort, it seems you are both looking at the situation of the OP from differing yet complimentary viewpoints. Well, sort of complimentary. Vort is approaching this from a 'High Church' POV, while Roytucker is seeing it from a 'Low Church' perspective.

This is incorrect, at least insofar as I am concerned. I do not have a "high church" belief or mentality. I think I have a reasonably correct understanding of what the Church is and what it is not. If my viewpoint originates from any secondary source other than its primary origin in my understanding of truth, it is from a gut-level disgust with disloyalty to a worthy cause or group.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems you are under the impression that the only way to fight the lure of money and its attendant pull to sin is for the Church to have open and transparent books to the masses. This would be an incorrect assumption. In this matter the Church faces the same exact problem as any other major corporation with large financial assets. How do you make sure that those you entrust with the funds are spending them in the correct manner?

You don't see major corporations opening up their books because of the danger of fraud and corruption. What you do see them doing is having independent auditors.

Once a year in general conference you will hear from the church auditors. You will hear them state some important things. One that they are independent of everyone but the First Presidency, and that they have full access (aka transparency) to all the church financial records.

With this the potential for corruption is minimal. For corruption to slip by it either has to be clever or subtle enough to slip pass the auditors, in which case open books will not help, or the auditors have to become corrupted (I will let someone with greater financial background address that likelihood), or the first presidency had to become corrupted. Each individual will have to weigh for themselves on that one. But if you think the first presidency are there for their own personal gain, I'd say I think you are smoking something.

So while it is understandable to be concerned about the ability money to corrupt, if you paying attention to what the church is telling you, you will see that the church is aware and has taken steps to curtail that. That the auditing group works according to "Best Practices" of the financial community. Which makes it as good as people do financial investigations professionally can do. Which in my opinion is much better wiser then opening it up to every guy with a grudge.

Hi estradling, I understand that. I actually work for one of the Big 4 and understand the auditing process very well.

Although you can never rule out fraud completely (Enron anyone), it's not just about fraud. Prior to 1960, the church did publish its expenditures to the members in general conference. From 1960, they changed a decades old practice. As I say, it's not about fraud, it's about transparency, which can sometimes change the thought process about making decisions. It can make you reexamine your priorities. You might make different decisions knowing that people will be examining your expenditure. That's all I'm saying.

Roy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You might make different decisions knowing that people will be examining your expenditure. That's all I'm saying.

Roy, that very clearly is NOT all you're saying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi estradling, I understand that. I actually work for one of the Big 4 and understand the auditing process very well.

Although you can never rule out fraud completely (Enron anyone), it's not just about fraud. Prior to 1960, the church did publish its expenditures to the members in general conference. From 1960, they changed a decades old practice. As I say, it's not about fraud, it's about transparency, which can sometimes change the thought process about making decisions. It can make you reexamine your priorities. You might make different decisions knowing that people will be examining your expenditure. That's all I'm saying.

Roy

It might... Or in the 1960 the church might have seen a rise of 'guys with grudges and axes to grind.' The church has to balance being wise financial stewards with building up the church and helping the poor and the needy. That is not easy.

Its even less easy if you are worried about how someone else might view it because there will always be someone that disagrees. If you invest in the future you will have people complaining that the money would be better spent helping the poor and the needy. But if you help the poor and needy there will be others that complaining that you aren't being a wise steward that you should be investing to ward off potential financial reversals.

As this continues to increase you will reach the point where you spend more time explaining your actions then acting. And if you are dealing with people with grudges and axes your explanations will never be good enough.

When you see this as the reality that the Church is currently in then the wisdom of their choice to 'find another way' become clear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With the "naysayers" and enemies of the Church, I'm grateful for the existent policy. I'm just a "regular" member of the Church, and I don't need transparency. I've been employed by the Church, and I know there are "checks and balances" in place.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is incorrect, at least insofar as I am concerned. I do not have a "high church" belief or mentality. I think I have a reasonably correct understanding of what the Church is and what it is not. If my viewpoint originates from any secondary source other than its primary origin in my understanding of truth, it is from a gut-level disgust with disloyalty to a worthy cause or group.

Though not stated directly at me, I'm wondering if you put my comments in the "gut level disgust with disloyalty to a worthy cause or group" category? I'll assume so for the present. I understand that viewpoint because I've drifted towards it at different times. But fundamentally my loyalty is to my own interpretation of God's will rather than to The Corporation of the President. I'll take each scripture, statement or practice on its own merits. If I didn't have that viewpoint, I would have stayed Catholic. (I mean, come on, they've got an infallible pope and authority traced back to Peter!) ;)

Roy

Edited by roytucker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this