Grunt

Financial Whistleblower

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1 hour ago, MarginOfError said:

 

I'm going to go back and ask you to reread the post that prompted this response.  Especially the part that says 

That level of discussion isn't uncommon at all.  It states what the goals and objectives of the organization are, and why or how they need the investment strategy they have chosen. I didn't call for full transparency. I didn't ask for the ledgers. I only stated I'd like to know why the account exists and what they hope to accomplish with it. Truthfully, I don't even care to know about any specific account. 

I have read it... You are the Mouse that wants the Cookie.  The people who want 'just a little more' aren't going to be satisfied, they will always want a 'just a little more' because the fundamental problem is not transparency, it is lack of faith. 

The church teaches that tithing is payed by faith.  Or that when we pay tithing the Lord will bless us. Thus there is no expectation of any kind of Quid pro quo with the church.  We pay the Lord blesses that this ends the obligations and expectation of the membership.  My ability to control or have a say over what happens next ends most completely as if I had burned the cash in a fire.

In the church the Lord has set up stewardship.  The Lord has a purpose with tithing money we sacrifice, others have been appointed to that stewardship.  We have no right no mandate to override the stewardship of other. We need to have faith not in the individuals that hold the stewardship but with the Lord in setting them up and calling people to it.  And yes an individual with a stewardship can go corrupt, fail, or otherwise mess up.  That changes nothing.  The whole plan of God is designed to handle human failures and we need to had faith that he will

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3 minutes ago, estradling75 said:

I have read it... You are the Mouse that wants the Cookie.  The people who want 'just a little more' aren't going to be satisfied, they will always want a 'just a little more' because the fundamental problem is not transparency, it is lack of faith. 

The church teaches that tithing is payed by faith.  Or that when we pay tithing the Lord will bless us. Thus there is no expectation of any kind of Quid pro quo with the church.  We pay the Lord blesses that this ends the obligations and expectation of the membership.  My ability to control or have a say over what happens next ends most completely as if I had burned the cash in a fire.

In the church the Lord has set up stewardship.  The Lord has a purpose with tithing money we sacrifice, others have been appointed to that stewardship.  We have no right no mandate to override the stewardship of other. We need to have faith not in the individuals that hold the stewardship but with the Lord in setting them up and calling people to it.  And yes an individual with a stewardship can go corrupt, fail, or otherwise mess up.  That changes nothing.  The whole plan of God is designed to handle human failures and we need to had faith that he will

And there it is...just a simple lack of faith......

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13 minutes ago, estradling75 said:

Shoe fits... Wear it.

Or show how it is not a lack of faith and ark steadying.

No. I won't engage in that kind of nonsense. 

If it was a true lack of faith, I wouldn't pay tithing. If it was a truck lack of faith, I wouldn't encourage others to pay tithing. If it was a true lack of faith, I wouldn't sit patiently with those in my various social circles and help them work through their struggles and misgivings about any number of topics. 

I have a disagreement with organizational policy. What's more, we learn from D&C 46 that gifts of faith, belief, administration etc, are given to different people. Not everyone gets every gift, but they are given out diversely "that all may be profited thereby." 

I have complete faith and trust in Jesus Christ. But I've seen too many dirt bags elevated to positions of authority in this Church (myself included) to take everything it does organizationally on complete faith. And it's good for you, too, that there are skeptics in the Church. Because our gifts make the body of Christ stronger, too.  

I don't mind that you disagree with me. I welcome that (yes, it annoys me, but intellectually, at the end of the day, I do truly welcome it). But you have no business denigrating the quality of my or anyone else's faith.

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21 minutes ago, MarginOfError said:

No. I won't engage in that kind of nonsense. 

If it was a true lack of faith, I wouldn't pay tithing. If it was a truck lack of faith, I wouldn't encourage others to pay tithing. If it was a true lack of faith, I wouldn't sit patiently with those in my various social circles and help them work through their struggles and misgivings about any number of topics. 

I have a disagreement with organizational policy. What's more, we learn from D&C 46 that gifts of faith, belief, administration etc, are given to different people. Not everyone gets every gift, but they are given out diversely "that all may be profited thereby." 

I have complete faith and trust in Jesus Christ. But I've seen too many dirt bags elevated to positions of authority in this Church (myself included) to take everything it does organizationally on complete faith. And it's good for you, too, that there are skeptics in the Church. Because our gifts make the body of Christ stronger, too.  

I don't mind that you disagree with me. I welcome that (yes, it annoys me, but intellectually, at the end of the day, I do truly welcome it). But you have no business denigrating the quality of my or anyone else's faith.

Oh please faith is not a binary.  You can have faith that the Lord commanded tithing... And yet totally lack faith that the Lord is still in charge even when people you consider dirt bags are called by the Lord to serve.  That is where you have repeatedly and proudly declared that you lack faith.  When it comes to that you do not trust in the Lord and instead you trust in your weak and flawed arm of the flesh.  You can try to hide behind your faith in other aspects of the church and the gospel... But do not try to delude yourself or others that your stance in this matter is one of faith.  Skepticism is not faith and it never has been,

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3 hours ago, MarginOfError said:

It may be that we have different models of how trust works. For me, trust requires accountability to those you are asking to trust you. That may not always be direct accountability. It might mean accountability through some disinterested third party. My bar for transparency is much lower than you might think. 

2 hours ago, MarginOfError said:

That level of discussion isn't uncommon at all.  It states what the goals and objectives of the organization are, and why or how they need the investment strategy they have chosen. I didn't call for full transparency. I didn't ask for the ledgers. I only stated I'd like to know why the account exists and what they hope to accomplish with it. Truthfully, I don't even care to know about any specific account. 

Trust comes from relationships.  And depending on the type of relationship, such relationships of trust are built in different ways.  You're looking at the Church as a business organization, a machine to plop out the goods that you're paying for through your dollars.  So, naturally, you want the accountability at a level similar to the contractual obligation that you'd expect from a business transaction.

Most of the defenders on this board are objecting to this methodology because we realize it is not through business transactions that build trust with a religious organization -- at least, not ours.  It is through faith.

1 hour ago, MarginOfError said:

And there it is...just a simple lack of faith......

15 minutes ago, estradling75 said:

Oh please faith is not a binary.  You can have faith that the Lord commanded tithing... And yet totally lack faith that the Lord is still in charge even when people you consider dirt bags are called by the Lord to serve. . .  is not faith and it never has been,

The most shocking thing you (MOE) have ever said that I've been privy to read was when you declared "I don't give a ...$&^%&#@... what the Prophet says."

For some reason, you believe you can have perfect faith in "The Church" being true, while having NO concern for what God's chosen leader has said.  And you also don't really believe the Book of Mormon is what it purports to be.  I have to wonder what is it that you believe is true regarding this Church/religion/faith?

From a purely commercial standpoint, as a ward clerk, you should be well aware of at least SOME of the safeguards and oversights that the Church has in place regarding finances.  But you speak as it is has none.  I can't really reconcile that.

Edited by Mores

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22 hours ago, MrShorty said:

I admit I have not searched very hard for the information, but you may be surprised to learn that I have not searched because, according to those who have searched (like Sam Brunson mentioned earlier in the thread or D Michael Quinn who wrote a history of Church finances a couple of years ago) assert that such a financial report is not required in the US. The most common financial report that I see referenced is the one for the UK where the Church is required to file, and I see mentions that Canada and maybe Australia also require such disclosures. As near as I can tell, everything the public thinks it knows about Church finances is extrapolated from those countries where such financial disclosures are required by law.

Charities regularly submit a form (IRS form 990) which you can look up.  Everything on that form is public domain.

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11 minutes ago, Mores said:

Charities regularly submit a form (IRS form 990) which you can look up.  Everything on that form is public domain.

As far as I understand it, you are correct. Charities are required to submit form 990 to the IRS which becomes public. However, I also understand that churches are exempt from this requirement. If it was as easy as finding/requesting a form 990, then I expect that any good tax attorney (like Brunson) or historian (like Quinn) would have gone there first. That these experts are claiming that there is no 990 for the Church to be found suggests to me that the Church has not filed a 990.

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Is the Church accountable to its members?  Are we commanded to tithe if we can't track our tithing?  At what point are we released from tithing?

Edited by Grunt

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Great points @Grunt

3 hours ago, Grunt said:

Are we commanded to tithe if we can track our tithing?

Quote

D&C 119
3 And this shall be the beginning of the atithing of my people.
4 And after that, those who have thus been atithed shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord.

Nothing about an individual tithe payers ability to track being a prerequisite or requirement in the commandment.
In addition, D&C 120 teaches us the pattern of who, how and when sacred funds should be used:

Quote

Section 120

Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Far West, Missouri, July 8, 1838, making known the disposition of the properties tithed as named in the preceding revelation, section 119.

1 Verily, thus saith the Lord, the time is now come, that ait shall be bdisposed of by a council, composed of the First Presidency of my Church, and of the bishop and his council, and by my high council; and by mine own voice unto them, saith the Lord. Even so. Amen.

Financial reserves are used where and when the voice of the Lord declares it. He uses the funds on his timeline, not when the world or even individuals in the general membership think so. Elder Robert D. Hales shared the following:

Quote

The Lord directs the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve, and the Presiding Bishopric in how to use the sacred tithes of the Saints. This council is called the Council on Disposition of the Tithes.

Again, the Lord directs this.
 

Edited by NeedleinA

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12 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

Great points @Grunt

Nothing about an individual tithe payers ability to track being a prerequisite or requirement in the commandment.
In addition, D&C 120 teaches us the pattern of who, how and when sacred funds should be used:

Financial reserves are used where and when the voice of the Lord declares it. He uses the funds on his timeline, not when the world or even individuals in the general membership think so. Elder Robert D. Hales shared the following:

Again, the Lord directs this.
 

Thanks.  You folks always know where the answers are.  This pretty much confirms what I said earlier.  I'm commanded to tithe, and will be held accountable for my tithing.  The "Church" is commanded to use tithes as He directs.  Those so directed will be held accountable for how they follow those directions.   

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5 minutes ago, Grunt said:

Thanks.  You folks always know where the answers are.  This pretty much confirms what I said earlier.  I'm commanded to tithe, and will be held accountable for my tithing.  The "Church" is commanded to use tithes as He directs.  Those so directed will be held accountable for how they follow those directions.   

Bing-o-o-o. ^^^Spoken like someone who is about to be called as the next Stake High Councilor. :)

Edited by NeedleinA

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2 hours ago, Grunt said:

Thanks.  You folks always know where the answers are.  This pretty much confirms what I said earlier.  I'm commanded to tithe, and will be held accountable for my tithing.  The "Church" is commanded to use tithes as He directs.  Those so directed will be held accountable for how they follow those directions.   

Indeed... exactly this.  People call us sheeple for "trusting people"  But it is not in people we trust.  It is in God.  Men, even prophets of God can and do make mistakes and even sin.  The Lord will hold them accountable for such... But the Lord is still in control.

I think we see a perfect example of this in the lost 116 pages of the Book of Mormon.  Joseph Smith screwed up and was held accountable for such, and the Lord had it covered.  I would much more Trust the Lord to cover it then any amount of mortal transparency any day

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22 hours ago, MrShorty said:

As far as I understand it, you are correct. Charities are required to submit form 990 to the IRS which becomes public. However, I also understand that churches are exempt from this requirement. If it was as easy as finding/requesting a form 990, then I expect that any good tax attorney (like Brunson) or historian (like Quinn) would have gone there first. That these experts are claiming that there is no 990 for the Church to be found suggests to me that the Church has not filed a 990.

This leads me to believe that the SJWs will at some point require that even charities and churches will have to pay taxes after a certain level of income.  This is the camel's nose.

It will eventually evolve into all nonprofits being treated like any for-profit venture.  Eventually, no charitable donation deduction.

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17 minutes ago, Mores said:

This leads me to believe that the SJWs will at some point require that even charities and churches will have to pay taxes after a certain level of income.  This is the camel's nose.

It will eventually evolve into all nonprofits being treated like any for-profit venture.  Eventually, no charitable donation deduction.

Slippery slope can be a logical fallacy, so, maybe. Maybe this is the first step on the slippery slope to taxation of charities and churches, I don't know. It seems that churches operate just fine as non-profits in nations where they are required to report, so mandatory reporting by itself does not seem to necessarily lead to taxation and integrating charities into the same category as for profits (at least not yet). I'm not sure that requiring churches to report finances will inevitably lead to the worst case scenario.

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23 hours ago, MrShorty said:

Slippery slope can be a logical fallacy, so, maybe. Maybe this is the first step on the slippery slope to taxation of charities and churches, I don't know. It seems that churches operate just fine as non-profits in nations where they are required to report, so mandatory reporting by itself does not seem to necessarily lead to taxation and integrating charities into the same category as for profits (at least not yet). I'm not sure that requiring churches to report finances will inevitably lead to the worst case scenario.

I agree with your comment here.  Unfortunately, that was not my point.

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On 12/23/2019 at 7:50 AM, MrShorty said:

As far as I understand it, you are correct. Charities are required to submit form 990 to the IRS which becomes public. However, I also understand that churches are exempt from this requirement. If it was as easy as finding/requesting a form 990, then I expect that any good tax attorney (like Brunson) or historian (like Quinn) would have gone there first. That these experts are claiming that there is no 990 for the Church to be found suggests to me that the Church has not filed a 990.

The Church is not required to file any forms regarding tithed funds. There is, nor will there be any government reporting regarding these. 

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I want to see someone pipe up now and complain about the Church having financial reserves set aside for a rainy day.
Enter... the rainy day.


The church this...(complaint)
The church that...(complaint)
I would like to see if any of those same naysayers will now step forward and seek financial assistance from the Church, you know the one they once tossed under the bus.

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Well, as we have brought this up, seeing how much the stock market has fallen...instead of 100B - 124B they may now only have 70-90B...depending on how it was invested.

I'm not sure this counts as a Rainy Day for the Church though.  Their income is supposedly only around 6-7B a year if we even 'BELIEVE' the report about this entire thing.  We don't know how much people are going to pay this year in tithing yet.  The Fiscal year for their accounting isn't over.

If a LOT of General Authorities start to die...that might count as a Rainy day. 

If many of the Church properties are damaged and require a LOT of repairs (which cost a lot of money) that probably would be a Rainy Day for them.

If a War breaks out and most members fall away and the Church has no income because no one is paying tithing or not enough are...THAT's a Rainy Day for them.

A simple pandemic which affects people, but may not really impact their financials is not what I'd call a Rainy Day for the Church yet, though if there is a sizeable drop in tithing donations it may become that...at least as far as this thread and their economic savings go.

It's basic income vs. expenditures...and I don't see the church going into the red anytime soon on that end.  If they didn't have it occur with a massive effect upon their savings when the last recession was in full bloom, I don't think it's set in stone that they will have that happen this time either.

They probably have lost money due to investments, but I think the tithing is still going to keep on flowing in for now.

Edited by JohnsonJones

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1 hour ago, JohnsonJones said:

Well, as we have brought this up, seeing how much the stock market has fallen...instead of 100B - 124B they may now only have 70-90B...depending on how it was invested.

I'm not sure this counts as a Rainy Day for the Church though.  Their income is supposedly only around 6-7B a year if we even 'BELIEVE' the report about this entire thing.  We don't know how much people are going to pay this year in tithing yet.  The Fiscal year for their accounting isn't over.

If a LOT of General Authorities start to die...that might count as a Rainy day. 

If many of the Church properties are damaged and require a LOT of repairs (which cost a lot of money) that probably would be a Rainy Day for them.

If a War breaks out and most members fall away and the Church has no income because no one is paying tithing or not enough are...THAT's a Rainy Day for them.

A simple pandemic which affects people, but may not really impact their financials is not what I'd call a Rainy Day for the Church yet, though if there is a sizeable drop in tithing donations it may become that...at least as far as this thread and their economic savings go.

It's basic income vs. expenditures...and I don't see the church going into the red anytime soon on that end.  If they didn't have it occur with a massive effect upon their savings when the last recession was in full bloom, I don't think it's set in stone that they will have that happen this time either.

They probably have lost money due to investments, but I think the tithing is still going to keep on flowing in for now.

Too bad you took such a limited view on what defines a rainy day for the Church. Attempting to boil it down to a Church structure issue, in some kind of selfish business nature of: buildings/tithing/reserves/income vs. expenditures totally missed the point.

The rainy day I was referring to, and illustrated, isn't what the Church structure faces as a rainy day itself but rather the rainy day the members face.
As members face potential unemployment, loss of income, mounting bills, etc. many will inevitably approach the Church for assistance. This spike is already occurring.
As this continues to occur... good thing the Church was prepared for a rainy day. Now they have the ability to help others during their rainy day.

Edited by NeedleinA

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I'll be the first to admit that I didn't have "global pandemic shutting down our economy, crippling small businesses on an unprecedented scale, and leaving millions without jobs" on my Rainy Day bingo card.

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3 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

Well, as we have brought this up, seeing how much the stock market has fallen...instead of 100B - 124B they may now only have 70-90B...depending on how it was invested.

I believe that in the last month or two Ensign Peak filed a disclosure indicating around $40-50 billion in stock market holdings, which would mean the rest of the $120-billion holdings would be in real estate or privately-held corporate interests.  If the Church’a stock holdings track the DJIA, then the total “rainy day” holdings might have lost $13-17 billion in value; leaving it with a cool $103-107 billion.

But I agree with you that I don’t expect them to get into the fund for this.  First off, doing so would require to cash out their holdings for less than what they paid for them—never a fun position to be in.  And second, like you, I think there are worse things over the horizon.

 @NeedleinA is right—it sure feels good to look at all the critics from last December and say “yeah, who’s the crazy one NOW?!?”  But we should probably steel ourselves for the likelihood that the Church is not about to appreciably increase its humanitarian spending in any easily visible or publicly quantifiable way—not from its rainy day fund, anyways..  

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