I talked about this book in a different thread as a sideline. I am working through it, but wanted to share reviews that I thought captured my feelings about it so far:
4.0 out of 5 starsAltruism of Mormon Leadership Confirmed!
December 14, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really liked the proof provided that the Church leaders are using the funds donated by members for the mission of the Church and not for any selfish interests with rare exceptions. The trend is certainly in the right direction and ironic that Brigham Young, the proponent of ZCMI the other cooperatives and opponent of capitalism was personally the least altruistic of the general authorities with respect to private business affairs and personal finances. Even great leaders have their weaknesses some of which are not insignificant. But overall the picture is really inspiring of leaders who practice what they preach and live on very modest allowances from Church funds as full time servants of the Kingdom. It was particularly satisfying that no one can claim that the author of this book is an apologist for the Church and its leaders. I was impressed with the general fairness and objectivity, and my only complaint was the lack of the author's knowledge of the larger business and financial history of the Great Basin Kingdom that would have helped contextualize the data set forth in the book.
And this one:
Johnny T. Townsend
5.0 out of 5 starsExhaustively researched
And this one...
October 9, 2017
Like many fans of Michael Quinn’s work, I’ve been waiting impatiently for the “Wealth and Corporate Power” volume of “The Mormon Hierarchy.” And I think it was worth the wait. Quinn is notorious for his detailed scholarship, and the book is heavily footnoted. In addition, the bulk of this book is a series of 21 lengthy appendices. It is a thorough and exhaustive reference work on the subject of the finances of the LDS Church and its leaders. That said, no one takes the material at face value. On the exmormon reddit forum, for example, there was a lengthy discussion of the table on page 35 estimating tithing income, why some people felt the figures might be a little off. But I found most of the material in the book both fascinating and convincing. Quinn explains his methodology in understandable terms, and he converts figures from throughout the history of the Church to their equivalent in 2010 dollars, to make the material easier to comprehend. On page 70, Quinn notes the limitations of his Appendix 5, but in so doing reveals just how exhaustive his research was. What’s truly amazing is that Quinn has been able to put tens of thousands individual pieces of data into a cohesive, understandable format.
Something worth noting is that the book appears to have no political agenda. Some readers may want to find some kind of smoking gun that embarrasses or hurts the LDS Church, but we are basically just being given information that is difficult (or impossible) for the average person to get on their own. The reader or activist can make what they will of it. Part of the “problem” with the book is that most of the information is ancient history. While it is useful, perhaps essential, to understand the past of the Church, the information regarding the U.S. pretty much stops several decades ago. Canada, Australia, the UK, Tonga, the Philippines, and New Zealand require the Church to disclose its finances, so this is certainly helpful, but with information from the US lacking, readers are left with questions even this important tome can’t answer. This, of course, isn’t a fault of the author—it’s simply a result of the iron-willed secrecy of the Church. There is some information available to fill this gap, thankfully, such as the discussion of church service employees, where the Church “calls” members to fill jobs that would normally be paid, such as clerk, receptionist, real estate specialist, forklift operator, ranch hand, shop foreman, welder, etc. The Church also coerces its members to act as a volunteer janitorial staff for its local meetinghouses. We also hear about the Perpetual Education Fund, started in 2001 to help members in various countries have the opportunity to attend colleges in their area. Information about the City Creek mall in Salt Lake and other projects is also helpful. These and other pieces of information keep that huge gap in current Church financial transparency from becoming a black hole. The bottom line is that this book is as comprehensive as is possible at this time and thus gives us a wealth of information that is both enlightening and useful. Well worth the time and effort to read.
Also this one...
John K. Skousen
5.0 out of 5 starsFive Stars
November 14, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent read. Objective treatment. Like a historian rather than an agenda.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD
"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD
The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576