The Mormon church was recently charged with fraud and reached a settlement with the SEC agreeing to pay five million dollars. Their chief infraction was failing to properly file and misstating in filings they did submit about the church investments with the church-owned investment company Ensign Peak Advisors. The fraud reached all the way to the top as the SEC clearly found that The First Presidency (Russell M Nelson, Dallin H Oaks, and Henry B Erying) approved the illegal activities. The fine was shared between the church and Ensign Peak, with the church paying one million and Ensign Peak paying the remaining four. This is because the SEC could see the church directs Ensign Peak and they were fully aware of what they were doing.
Why would the church leaders do this? Are we not instructed to obey the law of the land and to also be honest in all that we do? When a whistleblower first leaked the amount of wealth the church was hiding, the head of Ensign Peak mentioned to the press that church leaders were concerned that knowledge of the church’s wealth would discourage members from paying tithing.
Are we not instructed to obey the law of the land and to also be honest in all that we do? The church leaders chose to hide the wealth of the church so that members would continue to tithe to the church. They hid their wealth illegally and then got caught. Was it worth it to the church to dishonestly report funds and get caught in order to grow the Mormon Billions at the expense of integrity? In the end, they were only fined a small amount compared to how much tithing they receive, so they played their cards well in the short term. Time will tell if, in the long run, this deception will cause more church members to wake up to the abuse and dishonesty in the Mormon church.
Why would church members feel like they shouldn’t make a contribution? There is precedent for this. When tithing was becoming a larger part of practicing the faith, church leader Joseph F Smith made it clear that tithing was to help the church get out of debt, and that it wouldn’t be a requirement forever. He saw a date in the future when there would be tithes sufficient in the storehouse to pay for everything that is needed.
I want to say to my brethren and sisters here this morning, that in my opinion there never was a time when the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were living better lives, were more faithful and more diligent, than they are today. We have various means of judging of this. One very accurate way of knowing is the fact that the law of tithing is being observed. There never has been a time in the history of the Church, I believe, when the law of tithing was observed more universally and more honestly than it has been observed by the Latter-day Saints of late. The tithes of the people during the year 1906, have surpassed the tithing of any other year. This is a good indication that the Latter-day Saints are doing their duty, that they have faith in the Gospel, that they are willing to keep the commandments of God, and that they are working up to the line more faithfully perhaps than ever before.
I want to say another thing to you, and I do so by way of congratulation, and that is, that we have, by the blessing of the Lord and the faithfulness of the Saints in paying their tithing, been able to pay off our bonded indebtedness. Today the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owes not a dollar that it cannot pay at once. At last we are in a position that we can pay as we go. We do not have to borrow any more, and we wont have to if the Latter-day Saints continue to live their religion and observe this law of tithing, It is the law of revenue to the Church. Furthermore, I want to say to you, we may not be able to reach it right away, but we expect to see the day when we will not have to ask you for one dollar of donation for any purpose, except that which you volunteer to give of your own accord, because we will have tithes sufficient in the storehouse of the Lord to pay everything that is needful for the advancement of the kingdom of God. I want to live to see that day, if the Lord will spare my life. It does not make any difference, though, so far as that is concerned, whether I live or not. That is the true policy, the true purpose of the Lord in the management of the affairs of His ChurchPresident Joseph F Smith, 77th Annual Conference April 1907, General Conference Opening Remarks
Is that not what has happened today? With the church having a vast collection of wealth among investments and real estate and commercial enterprises, all this income more than pays for the church expenses. The interest along in the church investments is more than the total tithing donations annually. Leaders know that if members became aware of this, they would start to ask questions, so they hid the information, at least for a while.
Members are starting to learn about it and these questions are being asked. Members are asking themselves if they should continue to make contributions to an organization that hoards money and gives very very little relatively back to the communities that feed it. How did you learn about the vast Mormon wealth or the illegal obfuscations of Ensign Peak and the First Presidency? Did it challenge what you thought about the church? Did you continue paying tithing or did you stop your contributions as they feared you would? Is the church honest in its dealings? Do they obey the law of the land? Tell us your thoughts and how they fit into your faith journey on wasmormon.org.
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- Stop Paying Tithing and Challenge the Tax Exemption Status of the Mormon Church
- Whistleblowing On the Mormon 100 Billion “Rainy-Day Fund”