Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

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Mormorrisey
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Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by Mormorrisey » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:26 am

I've been rather busy the last few days, and haven't really looked at our board lately, but I have to admit I'm a little surprised not to see any discussion on this yet. Maybe it's just me, that I'm a little more annoyed at the church's rising corporatism than the gaslighting on historical stuff, but this one really bothered me.

For a great write-up about it, and I don't mean to toot jfro18's horn too much, but ldsdiscussions nails it:

https://www.ldsdiscussions.com/blog-ensign-peak

The two things that bothered me:

I know it's only the Ensign Peak guy's opinion, but I think the real reason the church hides its money is the same reason that Clarke gives - if members really knew how much money was hoarded, they'd stop paying tithing. End of story. And I agree. Dan Peterson had a series of posts on his Sic et Non blog called LDS INC, and his main contention was that the church didn't open its books because then critics would have a field day, and the church is simply avoiding feeding the trolls. Uh, no, Dan. The real reason is that the church is hoarding billions and they're afraid that the members will stop greasing the wheels. And it's true - at least with some of the disaffected people I've talked to.

The second point that bothered me, is that the church is STILL lying about tithing funds not being used to bail out Beneficial Life or the City Creek Mall project. The whole point of the Ensign funds are the excess of tithing going into the fund, and then turning a profit on it. Which is fine, really, but then don't tell me that the investment returns are the money they're using - it STILL CAME FROM ORIGINAL TITHING FUNDS. Give me a break.

In any event, is it just that this bothers me? Is anyone else bothered by this?
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
"And when you try to break my spirit, it won't work, because there's nothing left to break."

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jfro18
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Re: Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by jfro18 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 10:43 am

I was obviously bothered by it :lol:

So the initial story bothered me a lot, but honestly not as much as the church not being true. I guess to me it just furthered my belief that this church is not *good* unless you're a member that doesn't think about these things. They are horrible to LGBTs, they have been horrible to blacks, Native Americans, and Polynesians, they are horrible to mixed faith marriages or to those who leave, etc, etc.

But this WSJ article confirms not only that the whistleblower was being truthful, but that the church had a system of using shell corporations to hide their wealth not just from the government, but from their own members as well. And not only did they hide their money, but they imply that they're "not a wealthy people" as they're sitting on the kind of cash that eclipses the cash holdings of the biggest companies in the world.

What kind of organization hoards $124 billion in liquid assets from their members in order to keep the tithing money rolling it?

So yeah it definitely pisses me off, and what's even worse is that the church puts out these releases to members where they allude to these "$1B in donations a year" to pacify them while not providing any details... and the details we do have show that about 2/3 of those donations are the *time* donated by members to projects...

I could go on all day but i guess I put it all in the write-up. It really makes me mad because my family won't even look beyond the church's statements, and it's really clear that things are not well in Zion, and that the leaders of this church are damned liars who use the threat of damnation for not paying tithing while withholding that not only do they not need it, but that they're not even helping people with it.

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RubinHighlander
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Re: Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by RubinHighlander » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:29 pm

I'll pray to whatever god or gods there may or may not be if I thought it would help a class action actually come to fruition. I think of the hundreds of thousands of dollars I paid that corrupt corporation over 40+ years and what I now lack in retirement savings. It makes me feel really sick inside and really angry. It's the most dishonest living in the world, IMO, getting people to believe you represent god and getting them to sacrifice and pay all that money, tied to false promises and false consequences.
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jfro18
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Re: Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by jfro18 » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:57 pm

RubinHighlander wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:29 pm
I'll pray to whatever god or gods there may or may not be if I thought it would help a class action actually come to fruition. I think of the hundreds of thousands of dollars I paid that corrupt corporation over 40+ years and what I now lack in retirement savings. It makes me feel really sick inside and really angry. It's the most dishonest living in the world, IMO, getting people to believe you represent god and getting them to sacrifice and pay all that money, tied to false promises and false consequences.
That's what drives me nuts - especially given that DW always gives a bit more than 10% plus fast offerings.

I imagine what that could've done in a retirement account getting that average 7% growth... or what it could've done if it had gone to local organizations that really need the cash to exist because they spend every dollar they get to help people, animals, etc.

It's really angering.

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Mormorrisey
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Re: Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by Mormorrisey » Sat Feb 15, 2020 4:18 pm

Well, guess I was wrong. Things are great in Mormonland, according to this "interview" that the presiding bishopric "granted" to Deseret News.

https://www.deseret.com/faith/2020/2/14 ... eal-estate

The one thing that caught my eye? This beauty quote:

"He and the other two bishops said they know it can be difficult for the poorest members to pay tithing, but all church leaders teach that all members should do so. They said no church member has to choose between eating and paying tithing.

Bishop Waddell said some are making an assumption that the church is bleeding the poor by having them pay tithing so it can amass reserves.

“It’s anything but,” he said. “They pay their tithing because it’s a commandment, and they are encouraged to, if they only have enough money to pay tithing or eat, ‘Pay your tithing and we’ll help with food,’ because the blessings that are associated with the payment of tithing will then be theirs, and they won’t go hungry, because we have the ability to assist them now.”

Well. Thanks for clarifying what I've heard. And what happens when a bishop DOESN'T give you any food assistance? Do you still have to pay tithing? When you have a group of people who can't even conceive of problems with the system they support, you can't really talk to them about it. What a load of nothing this article was.
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
"And when you try to break my spirit, it won't work, because there's nothing left to break."

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jfro18
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Re: Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by jfro18 » Sat Feb 15, 2020 6:11 pm

That article was such BS - North Korea doesn't have state media as good as the church does.

And again they flaunt the $1B number and yet refuse to show the receipts. They then say it counts pretty much anything that supports anyone within the church - in other words the fast offering money that the church takes from members and redistributes to members.

They are such liars and the only reason they're talking now is because once again they got exposed by others and have to play damage control, yet they act as if it's some volunteered insight into the inner workings of one of the largest real estate companies in the world.

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Re: Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by Reuben » Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:14 pm

For example, Latter-day Saint Charities carefully and thoroughly assesses each partner. “The last thing you want to do is just give them money and then you really don’t know where it goes,” Bishop Davies said.
Absolutely. Couldn't agree more. Now, why can't he see that this applies to donating members?

Aside from the thought-stopping "it's the Lord's money" claptrap, the statements in the article are probably factual. It's the spin and lack of verifiability that makes it a load of butt pudding.
You were born to trust, not fear. It is your birthright.

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alas
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Re: Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by alas » Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:11 pm

Mormorrisey wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 4:18 pm
Well, guess I was wrong. Things are great in Mormonland, according to this "interview" that the presiding bishopric "granted" to Deseret News.

https://www.deseret.com/faith/2020/2/14 ... eal-estate

The one thing that caught my eye? This beauty quote:

"He and the other two bishops said they know it can be difficult for the poorest members to pay tithing, but all church leaders teach that all members should do so. They said no church member has to choose between eating and paying tithing.

Bishop Waddell said some are making an assumption that the church is bleeding the poor by having them pay tithing so it can amass reserves.

“It’s anything but,” he said. “They pay their tithing because it’s a commandment, and they are encouraged to, if they only have enough money to pay tithing or eat, ‘Pay your tithing and we’ll help with food,’ because the blessings that are associated with the payment of tithing will then be theirs, and they won’t go hungry, because we have the ability to assist them now.”

Well. Thanks for clarifying what I've heard. And what happens when a bishop DOESN'T give you any food assistance? Do you still have to pay tithing? When you have a group of people who can't even conceive of problems with the system they support, you can't really talk to them about it. What a load of nothing this article was.
As someone who was allowed to go hungry, I can testify that this is a load of crap. Back when 60% of Provo was supported directly or indirectly by the steel mill, when the steel mill went on strike the whole city suffered. There was no income for many to pay tithing on. I was about 8, and the union voted to strike over safety concerns. 3 men had fallen into the blast furnace. The company refused to put up guard rails around the catwalks over top of the blast furnace. The strike drug on for six months. My dad was a union member and management was doing a good job of making the union members sound greedy, rather than wishing to survive. So our bishop decided he couldn’t help everyone, so he wasn’t going to help the families of union members. Union members were evil communists, every good republican knew that. So, I went without any shoes, and our family ate what relatives and neighbors could give us. I remember my mother sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor, sobbing because we were out of floor. Needless to say, there were times we went hungry during that six month strike. My dad went out of state and found minimum wage jobs and sent home what he could, but it wasn’t enough for a family of 7 to live off of.

So, no you cannot depend on the church to help if you pay your tithing first. The church is perfectly willing to let women and children go hungry. Put that 10% in the bank and save it for when you need it and you won’t be needing to depend on some bishop’s political views for grocery money.

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Re: Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by Thoughtful » Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:48 pm

I believe I read somewhere that tithing is already down.

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moksha
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Re: Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by moksha » Sat Feb 15, 2020 10:05 pm

I think that using shell companies to hide things also prevented pressure on the IRS to reconsider how religious exemptions should be made.

It also forstalled economists and political scientists asking whether religions should also be vast financial empires.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
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Mormorrisey
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Re: Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by Mormorrisey » Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:04 pm

alas wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:11 pm

So, no you cannot depend on the church to help if you pay your tithing first. The church is perfectly willing to let women and children go hungry. Put that 10% in the bank and save it for when you need it and you won’t be needing to depend on some bishop’s political views for grocery money.
This was a tough story to read, alas. Thanks for sharing.

I have to admit, I was that bishop, that offered food and other assistance if tithing was an issue. I would always say, because I believed it, that I would pay their bills and their groceries, and if they would pay their tithing, they would see that it wouldn't last long, God would bless them, and their lives would be great. It never really happened, and I was still rather generous - even though really, I was robbing Peter to pay Paul. Here's the additional problem. When I was released, the gravy train stopped for many of these individuals. That's not a slag on the bishop that replaced me, he just saw things different. And all these people left.

So the system is a problem, asking inexperienced and silly people like me and the other guy to make decisions based on no data, no expertise, and expect it to be the right one. All the while the church is building up a war chest. I can't believe I fell for it all these years.
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
"And when you try to break my spirit, it won't work, because there's nothing left to break."

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Mormorrisey
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Re: Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by Mormorrisey » Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:10 pm

Reuben wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 7:14 pm
For example, Latter-day Saint Charities carefully and thoroughly assesses each partner. “The last thing you want to do is just give them money and then you really don’t know where it goes,” Bishop Davies said.
Absolutely. Couldn't agree more. Now, why can't he see that this applies to donating members?

Aside from the thought-stopping "it's the Lord's money" claptrap, the statements in the article are probably factual. It's the spin and lack of verifiability that makes it a load of butt pudding.
Yeah, didn't see that the first time I read it. That's an excellent point. I had the same question for an LDS investment banker acquaintance of mine a few months ago. I said, "would you ever invest in a company that basically told you they did their own internal auditing, and that things were on the up and up?" He said, quickly, "No way!" Then he saw my smirk, saw where things were headed and walked away quickly. You don't have to be an a-hole to be an apostate, but it sure livens things up. And it probably explains why I'm the ward pariah. It's not just the way I think, but the smartass way I show people. Thank goodness Sis M sticks with me, despite my occasionally disagreeable personality.
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
"And when you try to break my spirit, it won't work, because there's nothing left to break."

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Not Buying It
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Re: Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by Not Buying It » Mon Feb 17, 2020 11:15 am

The Presiding Bishopric can pat itself on the back all day long and gush about the Chruch's humanitarian expenditures and how it is oh so concerned about taking care of members across the world all forkin' day long if they want, but it doesn't change this simple truth:

Children in the Church go hungry while the Church sits on over $100 billion in accumulated wealth like Smaug on his pile of gold. A truly mind-blowing amount of good could be done with $100 billion, and that good isn't done, and the mealy-mouthed suit-wearing upper-class well-connected Church leaders who try and defend that are going directly against Christ's teachings, He who taught "lay not up for yourselves treasures in this world" and "give all that you have to the poor and follow me".
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

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Re: Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by MoPag » Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:12 pm

Dang Alas! That is so sad.

I feel like I grew up hearing "faith promoting" stories of people who chose to go hungry or go with out to pay tithing. The people in the stories were always presented and "so faithful." The back tracking they are trying to do now is such BS. :evil:
...walked eye-deep in hell
believing in old men’s lies...--Ezra Pound

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moksha
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Re: Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by moksha » Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:43 pm

Church Net Cash Comparison

Image

Total Operating Cost Comparison

Image

http://www.mormondiscussions.com/phpBB3 ... =1&t=53018
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
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Just This Guy
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Re: Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by Just This Guy » Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:12 am

If you want to to really make yourself sick, think about the fact that since this story first broke on Dec 17, 2019, the church as added nearly 2 billion dollars to that amount. As of today, it is worth about $125.67 billion

Let's say that they had $124 B on Dec 17, 2019. They state that on average they get about $1 B in tithing more than they need for operating expenses each year and that they make about 7% interest annual.

So just looking at simple interest here, their annual addition to the fund is 1+124*.07 billion or about $9.68 B. That works out to $26.5 million a DAY and as of today, 2-18-20, they have added $1.67 billion to that fund. Likely a bit more than that due to compound interest.

-----

Okay, just to play with the numbers, I did a simple chart showing how the compound interest works, I am getting, that by the end of the year, the amount will be $134.45 billion. If you assume the tithing contribution stays a constant $1 B/year and they maintain 7% APR: In 2021, they will add over $10 billion to this fund. It will cross the $200 B mark on March 20, 2024, and will be worth $265.08 billion at the end of the decade.
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jfro18
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Re: Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by jfro18 » Tue Feb 18, 2020 10:26 am

Just This Guy wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:12 am
If you want to to really make yourself sick, think about the fact that since this story first broke on Dec 17, 2019, the church as added nearly 2 billion dollars to that amount. As of today, it is worth about $125.67 billion

Let's say that they had $124 B on Dec 17, 2019. They state that on average they get about $1 B in tithing more than they need for operating expenses each year and that they make about 7% interest annual.

So just looking at simple interest here, their annual addition to the fund is 1+124*.07 billion or about $9.68 B. That works out to $26.5 million a DAY and as of today, 2-18-20, they have added $1.67 billion to that fund. Likely a bit more than that due to compound interest.
They've probably added more than that. The stock market has been very strong since December, so not only are they getting dividends and interest, but they're getting large gains from the stocks they have (which I believe are well above $40 billion now?).

Now if the market were to crash 30-40% in the next recession, they'll obviously lose a lot of money too, but even then they'd have enough to where they could fund the church simply off the interest/dividends alone.

That's what makes the "rainy day" fund excuse so terrible, and what also makes the church's deception that they give out $1 billion *per year* such an angering manipulation of its members.

I know the church isn't true... but this is what makes me positive that it's not good either. It's awful to think of how many members are struggling to pay bills or putting off retirement because they gave 10% a year to a church that doesn't even need it and doesn't even follow the very rules of tithing they use in the Bible to collect.

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Hagoth
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Re: Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by Hagoth » Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:59 am

Just This Guy wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:12 am
That works out to $26.5 million a DAY and as of today, 2-18-20, they have added $1.67 billion to that fund.
That's why it doesn't really matter if they get busted by the IRS. By the time that circus runs its course they will have more than made up for any fine they will have to pay in penalties, then more business as usual. For all we know, this is just one of several secret funds they're sitting on. You can't know until a whistleblower comes forward, and those are few an far between.

The only real justice would be to force them by law to dump that money into legitimate, non church-interested charities or to remove the church's charitable status and make them pay taxes on everything. Neither of those things is going to happen.

They should add a huge swimming pool to their new office complex so they can fill it with gold dust and swim around in it, because that's basically what their doing right now. Maybe pour in a few thousand gallons of some of the poorer members' blood to lubricate it.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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Re: Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Wed Feb 19, 2020 7:28 pm

Regarding this subject my Dad likes to point out that all these men save a few token foreigners are all tightly related by blood. This is literally a family trust program to keep their offspring on free tuition and other nice benefits in perpetuity.

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Re: Wall Street Journal and Ensign Peak

Post by Thoughtful » Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:27 pm

FiveFingerMnemonic wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 7:28 pm
Regarding this subject my Dad likes to point out that all these men save a few token foreigners are all tightly related by blood. This is literally a family trust program to keep their offspring on free tuition and other nice benefits in perpetuity.
Yep. Pay their college. Set them up with a job. Send projects their way to keep the job funded. Promote them to paid positions in middle management (GA, mission president, temple president).

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