The Top 10 Richest Churches

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Minyan Man
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

The Top 10 Richest Churches

Post by Minyan Man »

I saw this video recently and found it very interesting.
I don't know how accurate it is.
For what it is worth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=punHm4v8uOI
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DarkJedi
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Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: The Top 10 Richest Churches

Post by DarkJedi »

It is an interesting little watch. I'm dubious of the criteria used. And while numbers (statistics) don't lie, people do (and the other adage "lies, damn lies, and statistics"). This video seems to rely more on "cash assets" and ignore the value of property (and the Catholic Church owns a great deal of priceless art). They do indeed mention assets such as property near the beginning, but don't seem to really use them in their totals, and there doesn't seem to be any verifiable data presented. The other thing that stood out to me was that the Catholic Church was divided by country, while the CoJCoLDS was just that. The Catholic Church is one entity and should be lumped together as one (making it far richer than any of the others). Likewise, if the LDS church was divided in the same way as the Catholic Church, it might still make the list based on US assets but again I'm not sure it would be the richest. Also, I noticed the absence of another very rich church (at least in physical assets), in the Orthodox Churches. There is clearly an agenda with this video, and the point is made - but is it valid?
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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Old-Timer
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Re: The Top 10 Richest Churches

Post by Old-Timer »

I was going to say exactly what DarkJedi just said.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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Roy
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Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: The Top 10 Richest Churches

Post by Roy »

Some of the other commenters on YouTube complained about the video quality of misplaced images, repetitive music, and computer generated voice. The creator didn't put much effort into those elements and it wouldn't surprise me if they were similarly lackadaisical about the data they were presenting.

I found it interesting that two LDS commenters objected to the description that we LDS do not believe in the trinity. I'm thinking that these individuals are not well versed in our definition of the Godhead vs. the general Christian understanding of the trinity.
"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

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Minyan Man
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: The Top 10 Richest Churches

Post by Minyan Man »

I think you have to be skeptical about everything that you see on the internet.
I always look for the ulterior motive behind what is being presented.
Even if it is 100% true. It is a sad commentary.
Roy
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Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: The Top 10 Richest Churches

Post by Roy »

Yes, indeed. Gather information from multiple sources and compare and contrast them.
"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
AmyJ
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Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: The Top 10 Richest Churches

Post by AmyJ »

It does not surprise me that the LDS church has a lot of money.
  • Tithing is still being actively taught, and Fast Offerings are a way for members to complete charitable donations quite easily without having to do more research on the charity itself, or how that member wants to contribute to the community.
  • Fast Offerings have been streamlined into the existing money management systems within the church organization).

  • The church organization has placed into leadership financial-focused individuals (either by calling or by hiring) who championed money-retaining measures.
  • Consolidating the Relief Society funds from the Relief Society organization into the general church in approx. the 1970's (ish) generated some money (which has gone on to earn more money).
  • Money has been saved through frugality on how local activities are funded (including post-BSA), and that members volunteer to clean the church building as opposed to the church organization paying for the church building to be cleaned.
  • They switched to a less transparent method of telling the membership where the money is/was budgeted (not sure when - but at least 30 years ago) during General Conference, and switched to the "the Auditing Department says all the rules were followed" (loosely).
  • That doesn't even start to talk about the Ensign Peak leaks or the SEC ruling in the last 10 years. Or on the temple-building spree as a prioritized way to spend money (instead of hoarding it).
  • I believe that Michael Quinn wrote at least 1 book on the topic of "the church organization and how they spend money". I also recollect that that is one of the reasons that he was part of the "September 6" group.

The church organization is being seen spending more money on humanitarian efforts (though some of that is diluted as calculations of volunteer hours may be impacting how the state of Utah spends the government budget), and may have brought local budgets more in line for all youth groups. The church organization may spend more money then it used to, but I don't see it changing very much from most conservative money management practices before it has to (if it has to - remember that they are a big player in the "religious freedom" camp in part to maintain current spending policies/expenditures instead of being held to more expensive federal standards).

For me, the greater consideration was that the only "seat at the table" that i have in where the church spends the monies it acquires was a) what I turned in for my receipts for reimbursement as part of my callings (usually nothing because I didn't want to deal with the paperwork), and b) whether I donated at all (in terms of tithing or fast offerings). I realized that I wanted to more meaningfully contribute to organizations and be a more active stake-holder with a voice in the process of contributing to change rather then send some money into a the void of a system. I can honor the times in the past when that donation process was good enough for me - and still make deliberate choices in how I help fellow humans.
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