Ca$h Money

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felixfabulous
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Ca$h Money

Post by felixfabulous » 02 Jul 2019, 07:39

Recently, I have had several discussions with orthodox friends and family about Church wealth and spending money on humanitarian efforts. In my view, the Church has too much money (if they are buying office buildings, upscale housing developments and shopping malls, etc.). I think that hoarding and building this wealth has become an end in and of itself and they should spend it on humanitarian efforts, like building more schools and hospitals and fewer temples. I would love to see missionaries build these schools and hospitals and staff them during the day and teach and proselyte at night.

My orthodox friends and family agreed and disagreed to various extents. Responses were generally that the temples did more good than schools and hospitals and that we should not question how the Church spends the Lord's money. My dad, surprisingly, agreed with me to an extent and thought that we should do away with offerings and just have tithing cover everything since we had a huge surplus.

Someone pointed to this talk from the last conference from E. Christofferson https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... n?lang=eng that answers this question. The main takeaway is that we have put everything we have into preparing for the Lord's return and spend our energy and money on temples, missionary work and building the Kingdom. We give to humanitarian efforts to relieve suffering where we can, but our focus is on preparing and people should not expect anything else.

As my views on the exclusive truth claims and Second Coming have changed, I have become more concerned about how we spend our money. While I still have the same concerns, I think this job did a good job of clarifying the Church's position and setting expectations. I wonder if more members will shift their views and in the future we will be spending less on temples and more on humanitarian efforts.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Ca$h Money

Post by DarkJedi » 02 Jul 2019, 08:57

felixfabulous wrote:
02 Jul 2019, 07:39
The main takeaway is that we have put everything we have into preparing for the Lord's return and spend our energy and money on temples, missionary work and building the Kingdom. We give to humanitarian efforts to relieve suffering where we can, but our focus is on preparing and people should not expect anything else.
I don't know why this is a surprise to anybody. They actually say it all the time from at least SWK on. TSM did add caring for the poor and needy to the list of then three missions to make it four and it has made some traction, mostly in unseen ways. RMN says says all of the changes he has made are to accomplish the mission (principally building the kingdom).

That said, I agree with you. I was around in the days when ward budget donations (and "assessments") were eliminated, and I recall when it was necessary for member donations before a new temple or meeting house would be built. Those things, among others, now come completely from tithing funds. I do believe the church could delete all other contributions and pay everything from tithing and investments (although I believe missionaries/families should pay for themselves as in the current system). I also believe we would do better by building schools, medical facilities and providing wells than by knocking on doors. Alas, I don't direct how the money is spent and my opinion probably doesn't matter to those who do.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Roy
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Re: Ca$h Money

Post by Roy » 02 Jul 2019, 10:55

Yes, this can certainly change depending on perspective. I was very disheartened upon reading the big RMN message to the youth. His central theme was that our youth were sent to earth at this time and place for a special purpose. That purpose is … to preach the gospel / perform missionary work. I suppose the D&C scripture says "“And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" Read that again. If your life's work was to convert people to the gospel and you only had one convert, it would be a lifetime well spent. It makes sense from a certain point of view but not from the other POV.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

nibbler
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Re: Ca$h Money

Post by nibbler » 02 Jul 2019, 11:19

With closed books it's hard if not impossible to tell. All I can say is that the church is much better off than I am and that the church has much more bills than I do.

At one time my line was "opportunity cost." Spending 1.5 billion dollars on a mall means 1.5 billion dollars that doesn't go towards completely funding every single missionary's monthly mission expense for a three year period (or whatever) but the people calling the shots and writing the checks probably view the malls and office buildings as having some return on investment. Sure, they spent 1.5 billion on a mall, but they may have hopes to bring in 2.5 billion on the investment (or whatever).

It could be that people in charge have interpreted the writing on the wall and feel the need to position the church such that tithing is no longer the principle source of income. Meaning they think tithing revenues will trend downward. Either that or they believe expenses will go up while income remains flat. For instance, leaders are likely worried about expansion into Africa, where tithing contributed likely won't cover the cost of building and supporting infrastructure.

Building schools and hospitals and having missionaries assist would be something. Missionaries could go to a MTC that operates like a trade school, go out in the field to assist with construction projects (doing safe things like plumbing, dry wall, framing, etc. and not so much the electrical work), and come home with real world experience - if nothing more than being self sufficient by doing home improvement projects themselves.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Ca$h Money

Post by SilentDawning » 02 Jul 2019, 11:33

felixfabulous wrote:
02 Jul 2019, 07:39
Someone pointed to this talk from the last conference from E. Christofferson https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... n?lang=eng that answers this question. The main takeaway is that we have put everything we have into preparing for the Lord's return and spend our energy and money on temples, missionary work and building the Kingdom. We give to humanitarian efforts to relieve suffering where we can, but our focus is on preparing and people should not expect anything else.

As my views on the exclusive truth claims and Second Coming have changed, I have become more concerned about how we spend our money. While I still have the same concerns, I think this job did a good job of clarifying the Church's position and setting expectations. I wonder if more members will shift their views and in the future we will be spending less on temples and more on humanitarian efforts.
I agree. I believe that we have to cut the church slack for the temporal issues they face, like all organizations. They need a reserve, and money for a rainy day. There needs to be some allowance for growth. But when we get to egocentrism -- an over focus on organizational goals at the expense of an altruistic mission, or individual member interests, I think we have a problem.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

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Roy
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Re: Ca$h Money

Post by Roy » 02 Jul 2019, 12:51

SilentDawning wrote:
02 Jul 2019, 11:33
I believe that we have to cut the church slack for the temporal issues they face, like all organizations. They need a reserve, and money for a rainy day. There needs to be some allowance for growth. But when we get to egocentrism -- an over focus on organizational goals at the expense of an altruistic mission, or individual member interests, I think we have a problem.
Yes. I think the difficulty lies in defining the mission as "preaching the gospel" and "building the kingdom" and both gospel and kingdom are thought to be synonymous with the church organization. What then becomes too much?

I personally reach peace on this issue by saying to myself that what the church does with the church's money is not really my concern. I trust that they are not doing anything illegal or grossly immoral. I believe that they are generally following GAAP and are not secretly funding freedom fighters through illicit arms or drug sales. I also believe that what the church does with the church's money is generally good (even if not what I would personally prioritize as the higher good). For the most part, that is enough for me.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

nibbler
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Re: Ca$h Money

Post by nibbler » 02 Jul 2019, 12:57

SilentDawning wrote:
02 Jul 2019, 11:33
They need a reserve, and money for a rainy day.
If they expect it to rain more than 40 days they should probably think about building an ark instead. :angel:

My point is... when does building up against a rainy day transition over to simple hoarding?

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DarkJedi
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Re: Ca$h Money

Post by DarkJedi » 02 Jul 2019, 13:52

Roy wrote:
02 Jul 2019, 12:51
I personally reach peace on this issue by saying to myself that what the church does with the church's money is not really my concern. I trust that they are not doing anything illegal or grossly immoral. I believe that they are generally following GAAP and are not secretly funding freedom fighters through illicit arms or drug sales. I also believe that what the church does with the church's money is generally good (even if not what I would personally prioritize as the higher good). For the most part, that is enough for me.
This is pretty much where I'm at as well. I choose to donate, what they do with it is really up to them. If I was concerned about it I may stop donating.

I was sort of thinking about this recently. One of the reasons I tithe is so I may be able to go to the temple for the important events in the lives of my children. At this point that probably means temple marriage for the two who aren't yet married (there are actually 3 unmarried, but one is pretty hard core inactive and that's not her goal). BUT, with the recent policy change that's not such a big deal. I could see both of them choosing to be married outside the temple so family members and friends could attend. The church, or more correctly individual leaders, has a little less power over me than they had a few months ago. But there are other reasons I pay tithing.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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QuestionAbound
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Re: Ca$h Money

Post by QuestionAbound » 02 Jul 2019, 18:13

My husband's side of the family is devout Southern Baptist and their youth missionary trips look totally amazing.
I am so jealous that we don't do such a thing.
I mean, we could pay $$ for the Humanitarian EFY, but that's just a little extreme for me.

Anyway, our family...
They are out working WITH people to build things like schools.
They are out helping to dig wells.
They are out helping to care for new babies.

My cousin is very involved with a 3rd world school that we like to support.
I would love to see our missionaries do that very thing...help build and run a school...a clinic...something that could help others who find themselves limited by economic position.

Arrakeen
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Re: Ca$h Money

Post by Arrakeen » 02 Jul 2019, 19:39

QuestionAbound wrote:
02 Jul 2019, 18:13
I would love to see our missionaries do that very thing...help build and run a school...a clinic...something that could help others who find themselves limited by economic position.
I also really wish our missions were more humanitarian focused. We talk so much about giving up two years to serve the people of such and such country, but in reality we mostly just end up serving the church. I was quite disappointed by how little real service I did as a missionary, even though I was always telling people about how our purpose was to help others.

I think more humanitarian work would also be more effective for missionary purposes, since I really don't see the traditional proselyting working anymore. People want to see churches out doing good for the community, not sending people to knock on their door.

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