A Quicksand of Deceit

“They are as sick that surfiet with too much as they that starve with nothing.” – William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

My wife and I have been known to give amounts of our income to charity.  When we do, we always attempt due diligence to ensure that they money we give is not being squandered. We visit Charity Navigator, and other websites in an attempt to learn how much of our money actually gets to the intended recipient. Some charities are just terrible; with overpaid CEOs and staff, extravagant management costs, buildings, fundraising costs, etc. As we want to help as many people as we can with our donation, we avoid those. Others, like The Road Home, do so much with so little, it’s hard not to want to give them more and more so that they can help everyone in need.

This is probably why I gasp in awe, wonder, and justifiable rage at the singular audacity of The LDS Church.

We’ve known for years that they hold profit making companies and corporations – largely renamed or built into a tangled web of corporations and holding companies in attempt to conceal direct involvement (Bonneville Communications, Property Reserve Inc, Deseret Ranches, etc.) For some reason, The LDS Church owning broadcast stations never bothered me. I thought it funny that they often aired the most euphemistic and humorously filthy shows on television (Will & Grace, Friends), but it didn’t really bother me. It seemed largely out in the open – everyone knew that KSL meant “LDS News”.

City Creek, on the other hand. That bothers me. That bothers me a lot. The LDS Church used tithed money – money they require from their parishioners in order to remain in Temple Worthy standing – to buy and build a giant for-profit shopping center. Not a church. Not a Temple. Not a meetinghouse. Not a humanitarian aid station. Rather, a glorious monument to excess, gluttony, and opulence.

But, the restaurants there will not sell alcohol, because Mormons consider drinking alcohol a vicious sin.

Oh. Well, rather than scare off all those exceedingly profitable eating establishments, who won’t come near a location upon which they cannot sell booze, The LDS Church chooses to manipulate their leasing and perceived ownership through a third party to make sure they can say, “We don’t profit from the selling of demon alcohol,” while profiting from the selling of demon alcohol.

I’ve seen it argued on LDS apologist websites that no tithed money was used. Nonsense. Accounting tricks may, apparently, fool God, but they do not fool me. The apologists claim that only dividends from previously invested tithed money was used to pay for the $1.5 billion shopping atrocity. Why was that money invested in dividend-providing accounts in the first place? Why does any tithed money go unused? Why is it not, instead, used to invest in future tithers – er – members? Why was that money not used to build more churches? Open more missions? Recruit more missionaries? Lower the financial burden for faithful missionary families. Increase humanitarian aid? Or – ha ha ha – reduce the amount of tithing that members are required to pay? I feel that at least one of those alternative investments might be something a certain Nazarene might feel comfortable in endorsing.

Not content with the success of its lecherous City Creek experiment, The LDS Church is seeking to build another monument to its seemingly true focus of worship; currency.

Under the name of ‘Deseret Ranches’ in Florida, The LDS Church is planning, along with other organizations, “a decades-long rise of a Central Florida metropolis of a half-million residents within a 133,000-acre corner of the county.

Revolting.

Mormon families are often counseled to pay their tithing first. A whopping 10% straight off the gross amount of their income. Before shelter. Before food. Before medical expenses. The Church needs have the first taste.

From the December 2012 issue of the church owned magazine, The Ensign:

If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing. If paying tithing means that you can’t pay your rent, pay tithing. Even if paying tithing means that you don’t have enough money to feed your family, pay tithing. The Lord will not abandon you.”

In my godless opinion, it is of the utmost immorality to ask this massive sacrifice of church members whilst The Twelve Apostles and other General Authorities are given generous stipends, who then use the monumental excess of tithed money (and their dividends), not to spread The Word of God into “Every corner of the Earth”, not to feed the starving, nor clothe the need, nor heal the sick and suffering, but rather to ensure that their coffers continue to overflow with glorious abundance.

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