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Work on temples begins, ends around the world

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  • Matt
    Sept. 13, 2007 6:48 p.m.

    Man, the Schonbek company is making out like bandits on this one account! One celestial room chandelier can cost upwards of $80,000 and the larger Trilliane ones can push $120,000 each. Not to mention the Baccarat and Lalique vases & bowls that are $2,500 and I've seen some over $5,000 each. The kids in Honduras and the Ukraine are excited because they will be blessed because the temple will be built there.

  • Different View
    Sept. 13, 2007 9:47 p.m.

    Bitter Bitter Matt.....You are right on one point, the children in Honduras and Ukraine will will be blessed because the temple will be build there. Obviously you know nothing about the aide and contributions that the church has made, worldwide. The LDS church is always the first to step up and help in many ways including financial, which makes us able to build beautiful temples without a conscience about the nice things inside. When the wise men visited the infant Jesus they brought the best gifts they had to offer. The temples are a token of our giving the best we have to offer, to the Savior.

  • Matt
    Sept. 13, 2007 10:27 p.m.

    I'm not bitter. Why would you say I'm bitter? How do you know I'm bitter? I've always enjoyed temples. I'm a huge fan of the Schonbek line. I'm a huge fan of Baccarat & Lalique. I think that temples can be quite beautiful.

    I do know, Mr./s View, all about the aid and contributions that the mormon church has made worldwide.

    According to the LDS website from 1985 to 2006 the TOTAL contributions were $1,000,000,000 (one billion) US dollars. On average that equates out to less than $3.50 per member/per year.

    This figure is flawed. This organization never divulges income, but when it comes to PR for humanitarian activity, they will divulge contributions. It has posted info from 1985-2006. 1985 saw very little aid and 1995-2006 saw a much greater contribution, so the only thing you can do is average.

    Let's just say the organization is being modest. Let's say they actually gave 3 billion in aid over the last 22 years. That would equate to $10.49 per member per year.

    Out of all the donated money that you have given to this organization, I think it's safe to say that less than you thought ended up as humanitarian aid.

    Let's be honest with ourselves.

    Please dont get me wrong. I do think its great that your group does this. It is a help where help is needed. I only ask that things really be put in perspective. Dont think pro/anti, but think perspective.

    What would Jesus do with these resources? Would he build these monuments to himself or would he give all he could to the needy?

  • Curious
    Sept. 14, 2007 12:02 a.m.

    To: Matt.

    Honestly Matt, why the hangup? If you have been a member you know that the church does so much more than the "visible" stuff. There is rarely a week that goes by in my church group that we aren't providing food, making house or rent payments, or providing other assistance to the needy. Last year our local church group even paid for the funeral of a member who passed on, whose family, incidently, were not members. I really don't think you know the extent of which the church has reached out, which is much further than you see on that website. I'm guessing that the business side of the church feels obligated to make charitable information public knowledge but not so that they can pat themselves on the back. I'm sure that in order to maintain their tax free status they need to disclose the use of their donations.

  • Matt
    Sept. 14, 2007 12:58 a.m.

    to Curious:

    I guess my hang-up is that this is not a church as much as it is a Real Estate Corporation.

    It is admirable that your local group gives freely of its resources. It has always been my understanding that that is what the 'fast offering' is for. You have a good group there.

  • Xavi
    Sept. 14, 2007 3:12 a.m.

    I fully agree with Matt's comments. Perspective and open-minded are keys to a full understanding of what is true and what's not. If you are 'indirectly force to pay' to enter the temples, then, something is not quite right. Doesn't self-cleanliness suffice to enter the kindgom of God? I honestly think that Jesus would be appalled by the luxury and expensive items you can find in those beautiful terrenal buildings. I like the church a lot and I think it has some very good things to offer, but I do not like blind obedience to rituals nor someone's selfish created ideas in the name of god.

  • Dave - TN
    Sept. 14, 2007 4:00 a.m.

    What would Jesus do? In response to Matt's rhetorical question about "what Jesus would do"... that question has already been answered. See Matt 26:7-13. In this story, some disciples are indignant about the apparent wastefulness of a woman's gift of expensive ointment to Jesus. Jesus replies, "Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial."

  • Deseret Dawg
    Sept. 14, 2007 4:40 a.m.

    Matt - It's obvious that you're a chronic cynic trying to stir things up by taking a cheap shot at the LDS Church.

    Not all contributions can be measured in dollars and cents. Of the 700 volunteers who showed up daily to help search for Camille Cleverley, many of them were undoubtedly LDS. And of the volunteers who sandbagged Salt Lake and Bountiful streets during the 1983 floods, undoubtedly many of them also were LDS.

    And quite frankly, I grow weary of people who play the "What Would Jesus Do" card to try to trip our guilt levers. You want to know what Jesus would drive? An SUV, if he needed it. You want to know what Jesus would wear? A mink coat, if it got too cold. Jesus wasn't some pot-smoking hippie who lived in a cave like bin Laden, dispensing loaves and fishes 24/7. He was practical.

    So what would Jesus do? Whatever is necessary to get the job done. Our temples are well-appointed to promote reverence and respect for the Lord. There is no equality or democracy in heaven, thank God, and our temples are designed to make people think and act more heavenly.

    Tell you what, Matt. If you want to start your own personal crusade against churches that don't meet your personal and unique standard of accountability, visit the www.ministrywatch.com website and review their report about 30 ministries who got a letter grade of "F" in transparency. That ought to keep you gainfully occupied for a while.

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 14, 2007 5:34 a.m.

    Temples are sacred buildings where holy ordinances that make a difference in time and in eternity are performed. Our Heavenly Father has always had temples on the earth. Building a beautiful building for spiritual and ordinance work doesn't limit, but builds, the amount of good that people can do in their lives. Becoming more Christlike and therefore more charitable and loving, is a multi-step process. Temples teach and prepare people to be more Christlike. Until a person has the motivation and will in his/her heart to give and help others, it doesn't matter how much money he/she has, it just stays in his/her pockets. Charity, as taught by Jesus Christ, is a matter of the motivation. THEN the dollars begin to flow to those who need it most, and in the way that will help them most. In our wicked and perverse world, dollars can feed people, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ (including temple rites) prepare them to live their lives in ways that first do no harm, and secondly bless and help everyone they come in contact with.

  • Jason
    Sept. 14, 2007 6:02 a.m.

    Well in order to be a worldwide church they would have to own real estate, wouldn't they? The Catholic church, the Jews, the muslims, they all spend money or did at one time on elobarate catherdrals, mosques, synagoues (sp). It is part of the LDS faith to help the needy AND build temples. I believe the LDS church is trying to accomplish both. With the belief that temples are Houses of the Lord then they should be built with the finest materials. This has not prevented the LDS church from helping the needy, regardless of religion, as mentioned in various on other posts above with millions of dollars given.

  • Gifts for the Poor
    Sept. 14, 2007 6:02 a.m.

    Far more than money, the poor need inspiration and training to overcome poverty.

    Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day.
    Teach to catch fish, you feed him for life.
    Inspire him to teach others to fish, you feed a village for life.

    Church money is not used to indulge the leaders. The only reason the LDS Church makes money or collects donations is to feed the poor and inspire all of us to serve.

  • WWJD
    Sept. 14, 2007 6:07 a.m.

    Jesus allowed the very costly ointments to be "wasted" on His feet. A great deal of money is spent on that which is of great worth. The Saviour Himself said that we would always have the poor among us. So, we know what Jesus would do...

    It would be unfortunate if someone were getting rich off of the righteous desires of others, but a judgment day will come for them. Until then, I believe that The Church attempts to keep costs down. The eternal blessings of the Temple are much greater than the temporary blessings of feeding the hungry.

  • arc
    Sept. 14, 2007 6:18 a.m.

    Matt, what do you mean this isn't a Church?
    Of course it is. You may or may not agree with the teachings, that is you option, but it is a church.

    That said, it is not uncommon to save money in one area of a building and then to spend it in an other area.
    You aren't just showing off you knowledge of light fixtures, you are looking to make fun of something others believe is sacred. Grow up!

  • samhill
    Sept. 14, 2007 6:39 a.m.

    To curious:

    You may have noticed that the number of temples is around 124-140 in the world. That may seem like a lot to you but there are many thousands of other LDS buildings. The difference in the furnishings between temples and the other buildings are obvious, and for a reason.

    Temples, LDS and others, are meant to represent and express the highest realms of spiritual attainment. That such is symbolized with costly materials and furnishings is something you can thank God for. Meaning, if you read the Old Testament you’ll find that God demanded that his temples be constructed in the most expensive manner and with the most expensive materials available. It was meant to be a sacrifice and an indication of devotion. Solomon’s trouble with God came because he built his own house larger and more elaborately than he did the temple he was commanded and instructed how to build by God.

    Ironically, the LDS church as become so rich that despite spending enormous amounts on its temples, they don’t represent anything like the sacrifice they once did. The construction and maintenance of all the early temples were a vastly greater sacrifice than any of the recent ones, more numerous though they be. But the idea is the same.

    Incidentally, it may be tempting to think that God must be awfully shallow and petty to demand such symbols from us. But, I think the truth is that it is done because of our need to sacrifice in order to demonstrate, to ourselves, the object of our devotion. In other words, it is demanded for our sake, not God’s. Like everything else.

  • Ed Clinch
    Sept. 14, 2007 7:15 a.m.

    My mother and stepdad were LDS Charities Supervisor missionaries for a year and a half in Cambodia. They themsleves saw to between 1 1/2 to two million dollars of aid in 18 months to worthy Cambodian causes, most of whom were not related to our faith.

    They also did a LDSC mission for two years in Java, Indonesia. Not as supervisors, mind you, but how do you value monetarily all these hours (years) of humanitarian service?

    Jesus would approve.

    I know my prophets, apostles and local stake presidents and bishops do, as well as the rest of my Christian and Muslim, Jewsih, Buddhist, etc. communities.

    God bless the righteous and poor, the meek at heart.

    Jesus loves you. He loves His Church. He loves charity. He is charity. There is no price on that.

    Or maybe the ultimate price.

  • Quin
    Sept. 14, 2007 7:15 a.m.

    If someone donates his computer to a family in Honduras or Ukraine (something many Hondurans and Ukrainians don't have), then his poking fun of the 'nice things' in the temple (from the keyboard of a public library computer) might be slightly less hypocritical.

  • Lee
    Sept. 14, 2007 7:36 a.m.

    Does anyone know the status of the Harrison, New York temple. It was announced, site purchased, years of legal wrangling, and now nothing. Has it been scrapped?

  • Mark
    Sept. 14, 2007 7:38 a.m.

    They keep building and building like there is a need, but most of these temples operate part-time because nobody attends them. Don't believe me, make a few phone calls to find out days open and weekly operating hours when you're trying to plan a temple trip. Instead of a new temple, how about a hospital, or an orphanage, or something that actually helps people?

  • Anon
    Sept. 14, 2007 7:40 a.m.

    Yes, a real estate organization.

    Hmmmm...

    That would explain why the church builds temples, churches, humanitarian aid centers and the like on all of their "real estate."

    If I were a real estate organization I would consider trying to make a profit on my land. I probably wouldn't let anyone and everyone use the land for free, at no monetary charge.

    Now, I know what you're thinking -- "yes, but they tithe their members! So the members aren't getting it for free!"

    Good point. Seems like a reasonable real estate plan: Convince your members to pay you 10% to fund the free public buildings which the members could use themselves anyway even if they didn't pay the 10%. And on top of that, give the members of your "real estate organization" no return on their 10% investment.

    Brilliant business plan.

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 14, 2007 7:46 a.m.

    Matt,
    The kids in Honduras and Ukraine are excited because
    --------------------------------------------
    Have you been to the temples in other parts of the world? Please look into them first before you comment. Your comments sound racist and discriminatory. Some of these temples are modest.
    They are not palaces. But to people in these countries they are like palaces.
    FYI, there are different funds in the church contributions slip. Each fund has a different purpose. Like any other church, money raised have different destinations. Temples and chapels built in the world are a result of the faithful tithes.
    If you want to contribute as a non-member you can do it through fast offerings. That will really help your cause worldwide. i.e. The church recently sent a loaded plane to the victims of the church in Peru.
    It was not mentioned in papers in Peru or this country. The ones in Utah were filled with confusing blogs. And now your we have to stand your comment about a house of worship. What a shame.

  • Matt has hang ups
    Sept. 14, 2007 7:51 a.m.

    The Lord is in the real estate business too - is it not why he created the earth - so he could have some real estate ..... good greif .....

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 14, 2007 8:00 a.m.

    Joseph Smith said building the nauvoo temple actually helped many poor people. (teachings of the prophet joseph smith) Think about it our resources are going over there and look at all the people we are paying to do a job that would otherwise be unemployed. that is helping the poor and is anything to goood for the lord.'

    Individuals and churches should help when needed but it is not necessary for all income to be given the poor. And temple work actually helps people that can't help themselves wereas many of hte poor people with help can eventually tget by without assistance from others.

  • Brazilian
    Sept. 14, 2007 8:13 a.m.

    I feel that a temple in Manaus is much needed. You have a country the size of the continental United States and it has only 4 temples in operation. Having been to Manaus and understand what it takes to travel there I can understand why a temple is needed there so much. I feel that Brazil needs about 10 more temples constructed to serve the needs of the people there.

  • rj
    Sept. 14, 2007 8:19 a.m.

    You have no idea what you're talking about. The church gives hundreds of millions of dollars (don't know the real number, and it doesn't matter) in aid and welfare to the poor and needy every year. The church has spent way, way more on welfare than it ever has on temples.

    If you want a national welfare system, go to the government, the church, any church, is not a national welfare organization. And giving money to the poor through government sources has proven an absolute failure, it has probably hurt more than it has helped.

    The church, at least, makes those who receive assistance, accountable, responsible, and requires them to change some of their practices (budgeting, reducing expenses, etc).

    The church "welfare" system is the best in the world, bar none. It is available to help those truly in need, does not create an "entitlement" system, counsels those who receive assistance, helps them get better employment and to manage their money better, and it helps them spiritually.

    So let's not talk about the church being a real estate business (since it rarely sells any real estate), and let's not criticize the church for not doing more to help the poor (since a huge focus is to do just that, help the poor), and since you obviously are not a member nor have any idea how the church operates, you have no basis for criticism. Stick to things you understand, this obviously is not one of them.

  • Greg the Aggie
    Sept. 14, 2007 8:26 a.m.

    I think we are all forgetting the fact that God doesn't change. He has always required sacrifice for certain things. Even the Tabernacle of the Old Testament was built with the finest materials, and they were constantly on the move. Don't let us forget the temple of Solomon either, it was full of riches. Why would it be any different now? Can we offer anything but the best to the Lord? The early Saints didn't when they sacrificed so much to build the Kirtland and Nauvoo Temples.

  • Amused
    Sept. 14, 2007 8:44 a.m.

    Matt,
    Please replace the batteries in your calculator.
    A billion dollars would require a donation of $77 per church member, not $3.50.

  • DougS
    Sept. 14, 2007 8:52 a.m.

    Re what Jesus would so with His resources:

    Well, today, if He were a) smart and b) wanted to DO good rather than LOOK good, I suspect He'd invest His meager resources carefully until they became a serious chunk of change. That would remain the "nest egg", and the interest would be used to fund humanitarian work.

    Most of the Churchs' bottom-line growth has come in the last 50 years (it stopped releasing financials in the late 1950s out of embarassment about how POOR it was becoming). Since then it has quietly been building its nest egg while providing limited humanitarian aid (mostly to its own members). As that nest egg has stabilized and grown--especially over the past 20-30 years--the Church has been able to increase its humanitarian aid proportionally.

    I suspect the aid the Church distributes over the next 20 years will be exponentially greater than what it has distributed since the mid-1980s.

  • frona fileccia
    Sept. 14, 2007 9:22 a.m.

    temples might be delayed or moved to a different lot or location but i dont think it would be scrapped, sometimes it takes years to break ground, prayer. brings it closer to being a temple

  • Air Force Pilot
    Sept. 14, 2007 9:41 a.m.

    To the person who commented about the temples never having enough attendance, I respectfully disagree.

    I can tell you when we lived in the San Antonio temple district, that temple was so full that we had to get a bus to attend the bigger Houston temple. When we lived in Oklahoma, there were hardly enough open chairs in the sessions in Oklahoma City. Now, in North Dakota, the Bismarck temple (which is 4 hours away)is always packed when we go. Is there a need for many temples? I would say yes, but I am only speaking from my own first-hand experiences living in many different parts of the country.

  • DougS
    Sept. 14, 2007 9:52 a.m.

    Mark--

    The fact that a religion operates an orphanage does not, by default, make that religion charitable. My grandfather, who spent time in a religious orphanage, could tell you stories about this. Nevertheless, the LDS church does operate LDS Family Services which places children for adoption.

    And perhaps you didn't know this, but IHC is the secularized descendant of a chain of hospitals originally operated by the LDS Church. Even before IHC became secularized, I'm sure there were people carping about how the Church didn't "do enough" for the community.

    At the end of the day, the issue with many such people isn't that they truly want to see the LDS Church provide more humanitarian service. The issue is that they want to see the LDS Church broke and defunct--even if that means that the golden stream of humanitarian service dollars trickles down to nothing.

  • Matt
    Sept. 14, 2007 9:53 a.m.

    Amused -

    Please check your FACTS.

    According to the LDS website, it's a billion dollars SPREAD OVER 22 YEARS FROM 1985 TO 2006.

    Cheers.

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 14, 2007 9:56 a.m.

    Matt,
    It's interesting to me that you are relating the aid as dollars per member. I am a memeber of the LDS church, and have fortunately not ever needed the aid, so they spend less than that on me each year. When I give fast offerings, I give so planning on that money going to the poor. When I pay tithing, I plan on that going to the upkeep and building of temples and churches and the general running of the church. I'm sure if you looked over all the church books, you'll see that the different resources are being used in the way they are intended to.

  • Al R
    Sept. 14, 2007 10:04 a.m.

    If you think on the eternal nature of the way the church operates and that the Lord has commanded his people to prepare every needful thing then you would understand why the church builds these temples (even though they are not operated everyday). When the time comes when internal conflict engulfs this nation and all nations these temples will be in place to provide solitude for those faithful who will enter into their walls and communicate with the devine. You must understand the prophecies of the last days to know why the church is doing what it is doing right now.

  • NorthboundZax
    Sept. 14, 2007 10:06 a.m.

    Amused - Matt's batteries are fine. His calculation was per year (for 20 years). It probably would have been better to divide by ten since only a small fraction of that $1B was distributed between 1985-1995, so $7.50 per member per year would be a good working number to go with.

    Mark - it all depends on which temple you call. Those in the intermountain west are quite busy. I bet the Rexburg temple will be extremely active as well. Whether that time could be better spent at an orphanage or something is a different question. It would certainly be more efficient if one apostle (or other designate) would do the proxy work for and behalf of 'everybody that is dead' so it could clear out the backlog. I think the CoC does some variation of that for their work for the dead.

  • DClark
    Sept. 14, 2007 10:28 a.m.

    Matt, have you found out how many members are actually active and paying tithing? What would you say if not even a 1/5 of all members pay their tithing? Yet many not paying recieve of those benefits.
    I think you have made the mistake of a statistion. Look at the facts you want, pull your conclusions, presto, you have the facts you want. Re-calculate with the real facts of how many pay, how few actually attend the temples, and yet how packed they are.
    It's sad when you know everything, without knowing all the numbers in the game.
    By the way, I am poor, but I pay tithing. Why am I poor? (I make less than 10,000 a year in the states, under 30,000 is near poverty according to the US government as I understand it) So why am I poor? I'm a student at a university, that might be. But I can tell you the real reason. I have no work ethic. You know how hard it is for me to want to stay at work when I could be home relaxing or doing whatever? I am poor because I don't care enough. Before you go and talk about all 'those poor people', realize many are poor because they don't care enough. There are many who have incredibly horrible things happen to them. But what about those who have 10 credit cards, max them out, file for bankruptcy, and then are poor and expect all the aid given to them. No, my friend, they are not poor in money, but poor in thought. Think about that.

  • KW
    Sept. 14, 2007 10:34 a.m.

    Did they not blow about that amount on a shopping mall downton SLC all in ONE year as compared to 22 years?

    I rather you chose the Salvation Army for your humanitaran donation. Most or ALL of their work is humanitarian.

  • Pete
    Sept. 14, 2007 10:41 a.m.

    I find it so amusing that somebody can take a simple article about the different temples and when they are to be dedicated and turn it into a battle back and forth about finances. Do you guys read your own comments. It is an article about temple dedications, not financial reports. Come on. If there is an article on the church's financial status, than I believe that would be a good time to comment, until than, the comment section on this particular article should be about how awesome it is there are a few temple dedications coming up. Thanks

  • Justin
    Sept. 14, 2007 10:44 a.m.

    "You must understand the prophecies of the last days to know why the church is doing what it is doing right now."

    Of course, if you don't believe those prophecies, then the Mormon, Inc., fiasco looks a little foolish and a lot capitalist.

    Not that capitalism's bad. But our region's religiocapitalism ... well, let's just say if you'd rather live in a Salt Lake that's open to free expression, encourages traditional human activity, and preserves the individual's ability to chart his own life's path and carry it out ... this whole apocalyptic vision gets more than a little annoying.

  • Sam Hofer
    Sept. 14, 2007 10:48 a.m.

    I've said it before, this company, or church if you will, is all about show, especially in real estate. Fanciest, best managed properties in town. I've drawn my own conclusions about how and why and what it means; it's not something to discuss when you're behind the zion curtain.

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 14, 2007 11:12 a.m.

    These comments are tedious. All of the back-and-forth arguing accomplishes nothing. The only point to them seems to be to wrankling writers/readers of opposing viewpoints. Why perpetuate contention?

  • Cynic
    Sept. 14, 2007 11:36 a.m.

    I'll tell you what Jesus would do, he would wipe out all of the ignorant lovers of sin with vengeance, GO JESUS!

  • to lame-o sam hofer.
    Sept. 14, 2007 11:36 a.m.

    its probably best you just didn't talk. I take pride in how well our church is run and how wealthy it is. Look at our churches, beautiful, the grounds are kept mowed and clean. Temples beautiful. If we didn't have our building like so, and they were dirty or unappealing, then you would ask, with all the money you have, why don't you make your churches Nicer? so for those looking to bash the church, they'll always think of something to rag on it.

  • Connell
    Sept. 14, 2007 11:45 a.m.

    Now, just who was it that said "sell all you possess and give it to the poor"? Oh right! Jesus....

  • Sunny
    Sept. 14, 2007 11:49 a.m.

    I am reminded of this statement, "There are those who will leave the church, but they will never leave the church alone".
    What a world it would be if each of us would look for the good and cease to be critical. Our critisism is often unfounded because we lack knowledge and understanding. I am saddened by you remarks, so demeaning and critical of a church you apparently know so little about.

  • imacmom
    Sept. 14, 2007 12:12 p.m.

    Do Matt and Sam have jobs? Your comments seem to show up all over the place today on all kinds of subjects, and over the whole morning.
    BTW Folks, tithing that goes to the "business" or "organization" you speak of gives all who honestly and faithfully pay it and along with following other principles and practices, an incredible return on our "investment", if you will. Can't begin to count the times or ways. Don't knock it till you try it.

  • AGM
    Sept. 14, 2007 1:08 p.m.

    A Chapel in every neighborhood and a Temple in every region. Are we witnessing a modern day Tower of Babylon? Would not some of these funds be better spent on the building of private schools for our children? Well funded K-12 schools staffed with excellent teachers would allow us to send our children into an educational atmosphere that would provide not only the best education avaiable, but also provide a good moral foundation for our youth.

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 14, 2007 1:09 p.m.

    I wonder if anyone remembers that in the late 80s or early 90s the church stopped asking for a "Ward Budget" donation to maintain the local ward and stake buildings. The explanation was that tithing donations had reached the point where they could cover those expenses.

    In addition, new church buildings, including temples, no longer required large building funds to be collected locally. The reason? Tithing funds were sufficient. Of course, anyone can donate to humanitarian, missionary, education, and temple funds who wishes, but it is not required.

    When the President Hinckley announced the new Conference Center was going to be built in SLC, he made it very clear that the funds for it were not coming from tithing funds, rather from investments the church had made. (I suppose it's evil for a church to make investments? Grow up!)The funds for the remaking of downtown SLC, to protect the vitality and value of that area for the church and many others are not coming from tithing funds. (Of course all that investment must be part of an "apocalyptic vision." No it's more of a positive expectation of continued growth and prosperity.)

    My point: Members are expected today to pay a much smaller percent of their income than just 25 or so years ago in donations to the church, and the building and humanitarian programs have grown almost exponentially. In my mind, this indicates excellent wisdom and stewardship on the part of the church, and as well as a humanitarian concern for people all over the world.

  • Brown
    Sept. 14, 2007 1:25 p.m.

    For those who find fault...what have you given lately? Is it more or less than you should? We each need to look at ourselves and see if we measure up. We will only be judged according to our own deeds and not the deeds of others.

    I think it is marvelous that temples are dotting the land. It fulfills prophesy and shows the Lords work is moving forward. I couldn't be happier.

  • To Matt, the Mathematician
    Sept. 14, 2007 1:33 p.m.

    As pointed out above, your calculation is way off--your underestimating by atleast 20x. Please share how you arrived at it. For your next attempt, please consider the following into your calculation: Church growth over time, adult/child status, inactivity, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, the 5 plus million members in developing nations who have about $1 for every $100 or so that the average American/Canadian/Western European has. This will allow you a better understanding of individual level Mormon donations to the poor and needy.
    Regards,
    James

  • Saddened
    Sept. 14, 2007 1:35 p.m.

    "as IIII have loooved you..looove ooone anooother.." Sing it with me now!

  • Thomas
    Sept. 14, 2007 2:24 p.m.

    This is pathetic. What should be the precise cut-off for religious-building construction costs per square foot? $100? $300? $500?

    Assuming a church genuinely believes that temple worship is important, what law says it has to use the shoddiest possible construction methods? It's all on a continuum, you know -- if a temple were built to premium standards, the critics would argue for general-commercial; if it were built to commercial standards, they'd argue for residential-tract quality; if it were built like a slapped-together Standard Pacific model, the critics would argue for ... cardboard. Or something. They can't be satisfied, so why bother arguing.

  • Matt H.
    Sept. 14, 2007 2:50 p.m.

    There is a precedent for costly sanctuaries in the Bible. Look at what Moses Tabernacle was built with or what David and Solomon spent on the temple in Jerusalem. I'd guess that the temple built in Jerusalem at the time of Solomon was far more costly than any LDS temple.

  • so misunderstood
    Sept. 14, 2007 2:57 p.m.

    Tithing goes to building funds
    Fast offereings go to helping the poor.

    isn't this so?

    And yes full tithe payers are a small number in some areas. Remember that in some countries a full tithe payer is a very small amuont of money. And a fast offering is even smaller.

    Isn't it wonderful that money from one part of the world, and more prosperous, can go to a poorer area and help people.
    Not a welfare state, but a lifting hand.
    The same can be said for the Perpetual Education fund. wonderful!
    And giving to LDS charities gaurantees that 100% of your money goes to the people affectd.

  • Daniel Bryson
    Sept. 14, 2007 3:21 p.m.

    I am glad that more and more Temples are been building all over the world! That fulfills quite a few prophecies:) Being now in Europe, I particularly rejoice for the Saints in Ukraine.

  • KRM
    Sept. 14, 2007 3:37 p.m.

    There has always been criticism, comtempt, and hatred for the Mormom church. I suspect that Matt and others like him would have celebrated the murder of Joseph Smith had they been living then. It looks like bigotry is alive and well in Utah.

  • Me
    Sept. 14, 2007 3:53 p.m.

    It seems to me that those who have been complaining about the LDS church and how much it is, or is not donating, would be a lot better off focusing on acutally DOING more themselves to help someone else, and less time complaining that others aren't doing enough.
    Lose yourselves in service for others and you won't CARE what, or how much, others are doing! and EVERYONE will be a lot better off.

  • Bigdog
    Sept. 14, 2007 3:55 p.m.

    There needs to opposition in all things.
    The sign of a true church or prophet, some will love it or him and others will hate it or him.

  • Greg
    Sept. 14, 2007 4:20 p.m.

    I believe that Jesus once said to focus on the beam in your own eye and not the mote in others' eyes.

  • mormonmomof4
    Sept. 14, 2007 4:43 p.m.

    Who really cares about how much the church is or isn't spending. As far as i am concerned they can build as many temples as they want. If their members are willingly donating the funds for it Great! The prophet and his counselors and their financial advisors know what they are doing and until you have taken care of the donations of 12 million plus members and know exactly how much is coming in and going out you should keep your comments to yourself.

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 14, 2007 5:33 p.m.

    MORMONMONOF4 AND ME- WELL SAID!!!

  • WWJB
    Sept. 14, 2007 6:25 p.m.

    What would Jesus Build?
    Sorry, the comments just wont keep to myself. And, I'm not sorry.
    The church, of course, can build what it wants, spend, embezzle, or throw away the flock's wool as it pleases. i don't begrudge them that. Of course, temples, along with the church and seminary bunkeresque buildings, are public manifestation in the community as a whole, where even pagans like me get to exist. And some of them, well they're gaudy. Once again, I'm sure that, to anyone in the church, it's a lame observation but so what..it's mine and the comments, as I said, aren't staying home. But they are gaudy, these things, and kind of over the top. Speaking of which, isn't that horn player on the top the trademark of a coffee place?
    Really, the buildings, especially temples, try too hard to be churchy. Lots of spires, steeple thingies and the like. And yet, wholly uninviting. Imposed in and on, but not of the community around them. Again, they're welcome to build them. I don't care that people willingly give to them, or if they sacrifice frogs in pentagrams at midnight.

  • Move along folks!!
    Sept. 14, 2007 6:37 p.m.

    Sigh!! People have been bickering over almost any little thing the Church does or does not do. One minute people demand an apology for MMM, the next they demand money after said apology, the next they demand that the Church release it's figures, and don't get me started over the doctrinal bickering and whether or not Mormons are "Christians". Etc, etc.

    Come on people, don't you all have lives? Move along, folks, there's nothing to see here!!

  • FYI to KWand Matt
    Sept. 14, 2007 7:09 p.m.

    Any humanitarianism should not be scoffed at, however, my aunt and uncle, who were officers in the Salvation Army were both paid wages when they worked at the SA store and were out doing there humanitarian work. Check to see how many of the LDS people get wages for the hours they spend at canning kitchens, bishop's warehouses, the Humanitarian Center etc., and you'll find the sacrifices are not only monetary. If you counted the countless hours of volunteerism, I believe you, and Matt, would find far more than $3.50 per member is provided.

  • Conejo
    Sept. 14, 2007 7:50 p.m.

    What would Jesus do? Correct me if I am wrong but scripture doesn't mention how much Jesus gave to the poor. He did feed them at times but for crying out loud he didn't even use money to do that! The real blessings of the church are related to peace and love and not money. You don't have to pay to go into the temple. If you don't make any money there is no tithe. Who is willing to do it? Hopefully no one does just to get out of paying tithing. The whole purpose of the Gospel is for those that have received blessings to be in a position where they can help others who need it. Once those people are helped and have the love of God they become willing and able to help those who do not. Whether it be money or a helping hand it doesn't matter.

    Matt,
    I hope some day you can recognize the love of God in your life. Meanwhile, hate toward any group that is doing good, no matter how little is misguided.

  • JP
    Sept. 14, 2007 9:30 p.m.

    Matt: typical lib!! Always telling everybody else how to spend their money! Go earn your own money so you can do with it how you choose. As long as the LDS church doesn't have millionare preachers, that's good by me.

  • Gretzky
    Sept. 14, 2007 9:51 p.m.

    Keep the Commandments, keep the commandments, in this there is safety in this there is peace, keep the commandments, keep the commandments...and play some Hockey!!!

  • Laughing in TN
    Sept. 14, 2007 10:05 p.m.

    I don't know when the last time I laughed this hard was. You people in Utah sure are hard up for contoversies if this is what you choose to argue over. How a group of people decide to spend their own money is their business alone. How a group of people choose to worship is their choice alone. This argument is so stupidly trivial! Go do something useful. If you don't like it too bad. Do what you want and leave others to do as they will. In other words, put a plug in it and quit wasting time on something you can't do anything about put sputter anyway.

  • Anonymous
    Sept. 14, 2007 10:36 p.m.

    Just a thought:

    Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain...and most fools do. (Author Unknown)

  • GWC
    Sept. 14, 2007 10:38 p.m.

    The growth of temples around the world has truly been remarkable and a great blessing to LDS Church members around the world!

    Many memebers of the church may not realize the impact President Hinckley has had on the acceleration of temple growth. In 1981 when he became part of the First Presidency, there were only 20 temples worldwide. Since 1981, in a relatively short period of 26 years, President Hinckley has dedicated 85 temples and rededicated 4 others. 14 other temples have been dedicated by his counselors, President Monson and President Faust in 2000 when there were 34 temples dedicated that year alone. So many temples were dedicated that year (some temples on the same date) that President Hinckley needed his 2 counselors to help with the dedications. It is conceivable that President Hinckley could have dedicated 103 of the 124 worldwide temples, or approximately 82% of the operating temples worldwide.

    To me it is a miracle to see the growth of the Church take place so quickly, and I rejoice that many members of the Church can now partake of the blessings of the temple. It is my conviction that President Hinckley, now 97 years old, is a prophet of God. His leadership and vision as prophet and president of the Church has been simply amazing to me. I rejoice in the blessings of the temple and growth of the Church! I love to see the Church grow throughout the world and see so many temples of God dot the land.

  • Anne
    Sept. 14, 2007 11:18 p.m.

    Lets stop the childish bickering...I say the members or non-members who choose to donate their money to tithing, fast offerings, perpetual education fund, missionary fund etc.. do it with love and reverence. These individuals are choosing to make this donation with the understanding that the church leaders will choose how the funds will be distributed. Those who don't like how the funds are distributed will eventually choose to not donate. Those who choose not to donate...stop complaining. It's not your money.

  • loveathome
    Sept. 14, 2007 11:19 p.m.

    sheesh ! All you people must be doing really well if all you all have so much spare time that you can spend it appointing yourselves monitors over someone else's money and what they do with it....

  • amen loveathome
    Sept. 14, 2007 11:44 p.m.

    I couldn't agree more. Its amazing how one person's misguided attempt to "thwart" the church and its members creates such a stir on the boards. Who cares how the church uses its money? If you don't realize the amount of humanitarian aid the church does, you are ignorant and need to rethink your stand about the church not being more charitable. So they don't give out as much money as people would like. Not every member of the church is a millionaire. Some need help themselves. The church helps out in many ways, some of which don't involve just handing stuff over. They provide jobs and training to individuals who need extra help. They have set up a scholarship fund for individuals in other countries to go to school who otherwise couldn't afford it. They pay for vaccinations, donate food to ravaged areas, etc. etc. The cool thing about it is they don't go around saying, "oh look what we did, aren't we the best church for doing our christian duty?!" Once again, this is just the adversary's way of trying to thwart anything that is good in the world. For those of you who try to put people of different faiths down and ridicule them, congratulations, you are fighting for the other side! A true christian would never put another believer down. I know its not God's way.

  • loveathome
    Sept. 16, 2007 10:02 a.m.

    I've noticed that the LDS Church doesn't spend its time trying to build up the attendence each Sunday...after all, in most Protestant churches the more people at Sunday worship, the more money goes in the offering plate as it passes...the LDS Church runs on tithes freely given and given privately...only the church leaders know who does or doesn't contribute...being run by a lay ministery, money goes to causes particular to LDS people ie: welfare programs, missionary work, and yes, Temple building and not to minister's salaries...

  • Guinnila
    Sept. 16, 2007 10:49 a.m.

    loveathome-

    So you're telling me that you've never heard your church ever speak of "re-activation" or "retention problems". You've never been involved in trying to get somebody active in church again.

    Delusional

  • alwaysagoodday
    Sept. 16, 2007 11:31 p.m.

    loveathome-
    lay ministry? no salary? All General Authorities get an allowance, i.e., salary.

  • loveathome
    Sept. 17, 2007 9:44 a.m.

    General Authorities must give full time attention to their callings. They receive compensation for their expenses. Honestly...do you really begrudge some form of compensation to them? I 'd bet the ranch they aren't living high on the hog from the money they are "paid" for their time and efforts in running a 14+ million member church! Yes, the church does have a reactivation program...don't all churches? The difference is...( I truely believe) the church wants to reactivate members for their eternal wellbeing....not their money.

  • SC Mormon
    Sept. 17, 2007 11:24 p.m.

    Just some numbers from the Church website:

    623,153 hrs donated at Church welfare sites = $4,673,647.5 donated at $7.5/hr.

    3,552 welfare missionaries at 5 days/wk * 8 hrs a day = 7,388,160 hrs or $55,411,200 donated at $7.5/hr (they probably work longer hrs, and this doesn't count what they spend on living expenses, etc. while servings these missions).

    Fast offerings is not mentioned. I think it is safe to assume this is in the millions.

    The Perpetual Education Fund is not mentioned.

    Humanitarian assistance rendered (19852006) = $906.5 million. The Church was around 6 million strong in 1985, but assuming it was 12 million strong all 21 years, you can arrive at Matt's calulation of around $3.6/member/year. This number is assuming we were twice as strong 21 years, and assumes that everybody is active and contributes equally. I have a wife and four of my 6 children are baptized. The average would assume my 4 children and my wife are all contributing $3.6 each despite the fact that I am the only breadwinner. It also assumes that a family in Africa would be giving the same amount as a family in Utah. If we go for another between 6 and 12, you get 9, so assuming we averaged 9 million strong for the last 21 years, and assuming that 50% of the 9 million were not active, and probably not contributing, you have 4.5 million. Then assuming that the average Mormon family has four baptized members (mine has 6 out of a family of 8), you get roughly 1.125 million households or an average of $38.37 per household/year. Again, this assumes a family in Mexico and a family in Africa gives the same $38.37 per household. This number does not count the donated time, fast offerings, perpetual ed, or tithing.

  • loveathome
    Sept. 18, 2007 9:12 a.m.

    amen SC Mormon

  • Matt
    Sept. 18, 2007 10:20 a.m.

    Amen, SC Mormon. All you did is a better calculation of the money that I did. You think $38.37 per household (knowing how much is actually paid to the church) is good enough? If you do, that's fine & up to you, but I think that percentage wise, they can do more aid and less real estate development.

    Just my opinion is all.

  • Arm of Orion
    Sept. 18, 2007 11:33 a.m.

    Matt your missing a point though is that $38 per person in 12 million people world wide where many of the people in the LDS organization come from a poor developing nation where $38 dollars can buy more than said money could in the United States. So explain how this is not enough for the world wide church where many members make that much in a few weeks of work. Further more what about the raw hours with opportunity cost at US minimum wage that would account for a few billion dollars over that twenty year span. Stop picking at a single thread in a tapestry.

  • Frank
    Sept. 18, 2007 12:53 p.m.

    I was actually expecting a lot worse in this thread. Quite a few voicing their opinion like -Matt- have been initially repectful. But opinions are opinions, nothing to act over.

    All I can say is if I'm starving and homeless and you offer me a place to live, food and temporary comfort instead of what I know is offered by the Temples, I would be absolutely furious till the end of my days(whether that was in the old testament times or now). Comparibly if Jesus stopped me in the street and gave me a handfull of gold and all the bread he had instead of the gospel of eternal life, I would curse his name till my death and beyond. But thats me, maybe some people would prefer the bread.

  • Matt
    Sept. 18, 2007 12:54 p.m.

    After some thought, I've decided that you guys are probably right about a lot of this. Of course, to people like me who don't understand all the intricacies of any given church, a huge organization like the LDS Church would look like a business that's just in it for the money and power. If you think about it, though, the Church is not only helping the spiritual and temporal aspects of Mormons' lives, but trying to help the spiritual and temporal aspects of everyone's lives. They have so much to accomplish and they are so big that there are bound to be critics like me; I shouldn't be so critical.

  • Fredd
    Sept. 18, 2007 1:34 p.m.

    I think there is a lot of truth in matt's original line of thinking. And I hold all religious and/or charitable instutions to the same standard. If an institution professes to do good works and is worth billions of dollars then spends its tax free money on glorious edifices and its taxable money on shopping malls and land, then its fair to criticize them. Sorry.It dooesn't mena their bad. And to frank: Jesus could feed you, give you wealth, and preach the word. They are not mutually exclusive. I've learned more about what the church gives in this thread then I ever knew so don't give my words to much weight. Instinctively, when a church requires tithing as a condition of heaven, then uses the money for profit, I have a problem. I think any tax exempt organization should have to open their books completely.

  • loveathome
    Sept. 18, 2007 2:22 p.m.

    we love you Matt.....

  • Frank
    Sept. 18, 2007 3:03 p.m.

    -Fredd -Matt I think both your perspectives and statements are understandable.

    Like I said before as far as religious observations go most of the ones here have been pretty respectful. Hopefully though its understood if even the politest critic makes us overly-defensive.

  • Matt
    Sept. 18, 2007 4:06 p.m.

    It's funny. We all have got it "figured out" so that when somebody else comes along with a different line of thiking we really dig in our feet. To set the record straight, somebody else cleverly posted in my name. How very sly of you :-)

    Lying for the lord. Nice.

  • anonymous
    Sept. 19, 2007 12:37 p.m.

    Well, yes, tithing is used for building temples and for welfare efforts. For those of you suggesting that the church squanders its money. Consider the general operating costs of the church. My water bill last month was $96...that's just for one modest, 2000 square foot home occupied by me, my husband, and my 3 month old daughter. Imagine what the church must spend in water bills worldwide? I mean, just for church buildings alone? Then there's electricity, and gas... lots of bills. Plus, while the church DOES have a lay ministry, it still has paid employees. I wonder how much tithing money is spent just on salaries in a year (think about its 3 universities with faculty, staff, student employees, etc.)? It's no wonder the church makes investments and business deals...there are a lot of legitimate expenses to cover. And it still gives millions of dollars in aid - all without going into debt. Tithing dollars are put to good use. And if you don't believe it, then don't pay tithing. Just don't knock those who WANT to pay tithing. It's their money, they can spend it how they want.

  • Economist
    Sept. 19, 2007 7:17 p.m.

    Money isn't being burned here people. The money purchases goods and services. Temple costs are transferred from the church to the original land owner, excavation crews, architechs, construction workers, building supplies, etc. The money employs many people which is much better than giving the money away to someone who does nothing to earn it. The land, meetinghouses, & temples are primarily used by the church members who are donating the money. The church should be growing in many ways, including financial growth. The parable of the talents clearly indicates that the Lord would have us increase what has been given. Prosperity generally brings condemnation from those who wish it were theirs. You can be critical all you want, but I'll keep paying my tithing as I've found it is very well spent.

  • Jesus is Master
    June 1, 2008 1:25 a.m.

    I'm sure many of you are aware that the Church doesn't just live off tithes and offerings. It re-invests that money into businesses such as insurance companies, beef cattle ranches, etc. Then the multiplied income is used for temple building, humanitarian aid, and so forth. And it makes no apologies in so doing. Yes the Church is a business, a non-profit business. In fact, it is the most perfect business on the planet. But its business is centered upon seeing to it that the fullness of the Gospel and the saving ordinances are extended to as many people as possible, as well as satisfying the requirements the Lord has placed upon the quality of the temples. There is no room for argument or contention. The Lord will command what He pleases. If He wants extravagant temples, as described in the Old Testament, He gets them. If He commands you into utter poverty, you will live with it, complaining or not. Ultimately it is for your own good. Complainers just don't get as many blessing as they could.