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Mormons to build 32-story tower in downtown Philly

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  • SLC_Mormon Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 10:18 p.m.

    I'm a mormon but am completely alarmed at the fact our church is becoming a real estate mogul. I'm aware we've owned millions of acres of farms but for some reason for me having them go into SLC and Philly and Own multi-million dollar malls and buildings makes me feel like this is more of a corporation than a church.

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 10:35 p.m.

    No, I think the truth is that Philly is a pretty rough city. The Church realizes that it has to buy up and develop the land around the new temple to keep the area safer and nicer. That's why the mall was built in Salt Lake - to preserve the area around Temple Square from further decay. The same thing is also happening in Ogden, where the temple is undergoing a complete renovation.

  • coloreader fowler, CO
    Feb. 12, 2014 10:44 p.m.

    The second paragraph stated a "private investor" is building the apartment etc., not the LDS Church. Birder is correct, the neighborhoods near Temples need to safe and inviting, especially when, in the future, the Temples will be running 24 hours a day.

  • Vladhagen Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 10:49 p.m.

    I think that Birder is exactly right. The Church is seeking to develop that land into something positive. And I do not think that residents are complaining about the 1500+ jobs being created. That is always a benefit.

  • Ted H. Midvale, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 10:51 p.m.

    I trust president monson is making good decisions. I really don't worry about it. I love what the church has done to city creek. They greatly improved the city and simultaneously are giving millions to the poor each year through jobs they otherwise would not have.

    Win win!

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 10:50 p.m.

    Coloreader: What? We should read the article before rushing to conclusions?

  • fairmindedone Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 10:57 p.m.

    I'm sorry that you are so alarmed... FYI... The Church owns thousands of chapels around the world and over 140 temples. It also invests in money making ventures. The ultimate goal of such investments is financial stability and a stable platform upon which to spread the Gospel throughout the world and assist its members to live healthy and happy lives. The construction of the new Philadelphia Temple is a significant expense for the Church and will bless the lives of members and non members alike. Such an investment is deserving of our very best efforts to protect and enhance its environs. The construction of the meetinghouse next to the Temple will also bless the lives of thousands of individuals. The residential apartment building is being developed by PRI and not directly by the Church. Personally, I am glad that the Church has the vision to make strategic investments that help to better our communities and protect their original investments.

  • Thinking_Clearly Sandy, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 11:03 p.m.

    To SLC_Mormon I will take your word for it that you are Mormon but you clearly do not know much about the history of this church. From it's very founding the church has been involved in all sorts of developments, they developed Kirtland Ohio that was on the very western frontier of the nation at the time, built a temple, had a bank, ran a mill and a farm lands, they moved west and developed land in Missouri, built a massive city bigger than Chicago in Illinois, came to Salt Lake and developed the desert, had banks, the first department store sent settlers to Las Vegas, Carson City, San Francisco, San Diego. This is a church that builds, develops and makes places better, it is an industrious church that moves on several fronts and all of these things allow the church to further it's work to share its message, help its members, feed the poor and assist in times of need all around the world. It is a church that embraces the Parable of the Talents and does not sit idle. It's also a church that does all of these things without going into debt.

  • Chachi Charlottesville, VA
    Feb. 12, 2014 11:03 p.m.

    Hey, I get it: it seems weird for a church to be in the real estate business. But consider:
    1) Commercial properties are not tax-exempt like religious properties.
    2) Tithing is not used in these projects.
    3) Development around temples in urban areas helps prevent blight.
    4) This isn't anything close to those megachurches with Starbucks and dance clubs inside them. The religious and commercial are clearly differentiated.
    5) The building will exemplify the very best in mixed-use urban design, which helps reduce car dependence. Hopefully it will also have a LEED certification, and with Robert A. M. Stern as architect, I wouldn't be surprised.
    So...other than the fact that it seems odd, is there anything actually WRONG with this?

  • Dr. G Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 11:02 p.m.

    Didn't urban decay ruin all the real estate around the Johannesburg temple since it was built? Now the surrounding area is riddled with crime and has become an inner city sort of environment. Good idea to try and do what you can to keep the area around the temple from blight.

  • Tom in CA Vallejo, CA
    Feb. 12, 2014 11:12 p.m.

    SLC -

    Calm down. Everything will be ok. If our government managed its money/resources like the LDS Church does, we would all be much better off.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 11:29 p.m.

    I'd bet philly would benefit more from something besides a pre qualified enclave designed to displace reality from a temple area. Nonetheless, keeping up appearances is important to the corporation. Either way, it doesn't matter. We've been told what will happen. The accountability is nil on these decisions because the righteousness is understood by faithful (contributors) as absolute and compliance is expected.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 12:17 a.m.

    SLC_Mormon said, in part, "...for some reason for me having them (the LDS Church) go into SLC and Philly and Own multi-million dollar malls and buildings makes me feel like this is more of a corporation than a church."

    Don't worry. The (LDS) Church and the gospel are still "true" (i.e., God's divinely sanctioned organization here on earth). The 'Corporation' part is kept together sufficiently financially and management wise, I gather, and apparently tolerated by the "Man Upstairs" enough, despite a lot of things that often seem not always so wise that go on sometimes among the many sub-entities that are under it's over-arching umbrella.

    So many decisions among both employees under the Corporation of the President (of the Church), as well as some things that also sometimes happen among members and ecclesiastical authorities at all levels in the (LDS) Church, sometimes seem to reflect the fallible human nature we are all susceptible to. But, we pray that the Lord will still be merciful to those among whom social politics sometimes seem to prevail, where we suppose the Lord's will should prevail more (instead).

  • TriSam North Carolian, AP
    Feb. 13, 2014 1:40 a.m.

    This is wonderful. I have glad the church is expanding its investments. this creates greater stability, creates jobs and builds the church reputation as a whole. Tithing is not used in these type of ventures. And as always, and i mean always in my book. If Pres Monson bottom lines it, then it is way good enough for me. He da Man!!

  • Open and honest Manchester, 00
    Feb. 13, 2014 3:59 a.m.

    From lds.org

    Jesus was protective of the sanctity of his Father’s house. In the very early days of his ministry, he cleansed the Temple court of the merchandisers and money changers. (See John 2:13–16.) Then during his final week in mortality, he again “went into the temple of God, cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers.” (Matt. 21:12.)

    Irony?

  • Ricardo Carvalho Provo, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 4:54 a.m.

    PRI is owned by the Church basically so there is little difference. Having said that, i have no problem with the LDS Church (or any other for that matter) using its extra funds to invest in future returns that will allow it a steady stream of income to fulfill its mission.

  • Bob A. Bohey Marlborough, MA
    Feb. 13, 2014 5:17 a.m.

    This is an amazing story! After all of the stories in the news recently about the all out war on religion in America, getting something like this built in a major east coast city seems nothing short of a miracle, especially, during a religious war.

  • Mike Johnson Stafford, VA
    Feb. 13, 2014 6:07 a.m.

    Some of the real estate is undoubtedly for the temple presidency and full time missionary couples sent out to serve as the core of temple workers.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Feb. 13, 2014 6:48 a.m.

    Probably saved the church a great deal of money to obtain a wonderful place to build another Temple. Wise and inspired use of sacred funds!

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 7:23 a.m.

    @ birder, Philly isn't "a pretty rough city", no more than any other major U.S. city. And the area the temple is in is elite territory. The first location picked for the temple was on the edge of a less desirable area, but the Church moved to the Franklin Parkway.

    I'm not sure what to think about this - it's more than building a chapel or a facility for Church purposes. Apologists should be slow to condemn commenters like "SLC_Mormon" who raise legitimate questions about these types of projects, even if it might be a joint venture with others.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 7:27 a.m.

    By the way, I find it interesting that the DesNews didn't "break" the story. It came from Philly. I saw it yesterday, way before it showed up here, and here it's still only an AP story. Was this paper asleep, or was it supposed to happen on the QT? When relatively minor administrative decisions are touted and shouted from the rooftops, I am surprised this news didn't get more attention from the Church-owned newspaper, Even now, it's in the Faith section. Very odd, if you ask me.

  • scwoz gambier, oh
    Feb. 13, 2014 7:31 a.m.

    We have made many real estate mistakes in the past but those days are gone, the Church makes slow and deliberate decisions and does them in cash, no debt to worry about, so I trust the Church to make wise choices and I see this as only helping to improve Phili and improve the Church in the area. If the Church loses money, then it does, and it will have been worth it to improve conditions in this historical town.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 9:37 a.m.

    The Church acted in a most responsible manner with the reconstruction of the Nauvoo Temple. Anyone familiar with what the area was like before and after could see the difference. Maybe in Manhattan and Hong Kong the Temple is the only building footprint affected by the Church's decision to build, but that is not the case in very many places. Those who want to criticize the doctrine also want to criticize the corporate decisions, too. That's no surprise, especially when the criticism is to condemn those who support the Church and also the Corporation.

    This project will only benefit the City. I know; I've been there recently. Have you?

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 10:24 a.m.

    I think SLC Mormon's attitude is a healthy one.

    Lord Acton warned us that "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." When LDS members place blind, unquestioning trust in Church leaders, they are enabling absolute power. SLC Mormon is questioning. That is a healthy check on the development of absolute power and the corruption it engenders.

    The more wealthy and powerful the LDS Church becomes, the more concerned and watchful members (and non members) must be.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 10:55 a.m.

    The LDS Church owns a lot of property and a lot of businesses. Each business is expected to turn a profit. Tithes are not used to build businesses. Profits, which are taxed, are used to build Church owned businesses. Those who jab and poke at the Church for creating businesses that employ people and make the lives of individuals more enjoyable seem to have no understanding of the mind and will of the head of the LDS Church, who is Jesus Christ, the Savior. His mission is to make like better for all who accept His doctrine. That building, with the rents received for the apartments will turn a profit and it will give those who rent space in that building a safe and enjoyable place to live or work.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 11:32 a.m.

    Let's see the federal government has spend $17 Trillion and made few improvements to this country. So, why not people of faith and companies use their money to improve neighborhoods and build up this country.

    As we have seen from Senator Reid, Mayor Naggin, John Swallow etc. When politicians get around money they seem to put most of it in their pocket, while demanding that everyone else be more charitable and eat healthier.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Feb. 13, 2014 12:00 p.m.

    To "SLC_Mormon" you act as if this is something new? As others have pointed out, the church has had commercial interests from the very beginning. It may be a shock to you to learn this, but the LDS church as radio stations, TV stations, Universities, newspaper, Book publisher, an insurance company, and a retirement financing company, in addition to the realestate holdings.

    What you probably don't know is that the church uses the profits from its business holdings for charitable work by the LDS Foundation. The Foundation has been a significant contributor to the new LDS Hospital wing, the new Primary Children's Medical Center, the new Holy Cross Hospital, the Salvation Army, Saint Vincent De Paul Center soup kitchen for the homeless, the Salt Lake City Homeless Shelter, the Utah Symphony, Ballet West, the United Way, and related organizations. Income from Church business operations permits participation in local community causes without using the tithing of members from around the world.

    Why condem them for using businesses to further aid the needy?

  • sid 6.7 Holladay, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 12:25 p.m.

    You hit the nail right on the head Esquire.

    They run a story about a 7" foot Alaskan getting Married in the Temple front page on the internet site and a story about a LDS Temple/Apartment/Office Skyscraper being built in the heart of Philly is relegated to the Religion section? Now when was the last time the D-News or KSL for that matter did something like that?

    I am fully aware this paper and KSL are Church owned, they can print any thing they want and usually news like this is front page. To me this looks like an attempt to not promote this to it's Utah/Western members.

    So what gives?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 12:37 p.m.

    @J Thompson
    "Seem to have no understanding of the mind and will of the head of the LDS Church, who is Jesus Christ, the Savior."

    Jesus didn't start a carpentry business and proclaim that hiring a bunch of workers while making a good profit was his purpose.

    The church can do what it wants, but let's not pretend that starting a business is a spiritual pursuit... (or that putting twice as much money into a shopping center than it puts towards humanitarian aid in the past 20 years, is an organization whose primary purpose is charity).

  • riverofsun St.George, Utah
    Feb. 13, 2014 12:58 p.m.

    ......in elite territory.
    But, of course.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 1:10 p.m.

    @ Scientist

    If what you say is true, where is your expressed concern about the Pope, then? All you seem to want to do is hammer the LDS.

    Questioning those in charge may be healthy at times, but usually it just shows a lack of trust, faith and confidence. Similarly, complaining can at times be therapeutic but usually is just counter productive.

    There are those who we can always count on to be negative to all things LDS and by so doing they have become easy to ignore and have become irrelevant. That's a pity because they may have a good point occasionally, but not every comment, every story, every time. That's because they appear to be totally agenda driven and just anti- to everything. And they support others in that same vein to the point it reinforces that perception, sorry to say.

  • Gregorio Norco, CA
    Feb. 13, 2014 1:32 p.m.

    Zion is where the LDS pay their bills. Everywhere the LDS people live and work make my community better. They keep the sabbath day and their children are leaders in the grade, intermediate and high schools here in town. They are good examples to our children and for the most part make better choices than others. They do not smoke or drink or use profane language. Why wouldn't we want more of these citizens in our communities?
    If our government leaders ran their civil servant jobs as well as these church leaders, our country would not be in less debt and have a greater citizenry of self reliant workers than government dependent unemployed.
    Good for the LDS church and this project. Giving people jobs and a hand up rather than a hand out on the government dole.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Feb. 13, 2014 1:34 p.m.

    To "atl134" but starting a business can be a spiritual persuit.

    According to the Book of Mormon, wealth can be a good thing if your intent is right. Jacob 2:19 states "And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good, to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted." Explain how you can seek riches without building up a business? Plus, think of it this way what is the best way to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, or administer to the sick and afflicted? Do we help the needy better by giving them stuff or by employing them allowing them to earn a living?

  • Bill McGee Alpine, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 1:53 p.m.

    To Thinking_Clearly: Explain to me again how the illegal Kirtland Safety Society (bank) was a boon to the development of Kirtland?

  • che1968 Exton, PA
    Feb. 13, 2014 3:01 p.m.

    Thrilled with the news that the Church is expanding it's influence, and that the local public leadership is welcoming the venture. Not only will it create construction jobs, but in the near and long term, there will be employment opportunities for hundreds, if not thousands. It will only add grandeur to an already beautiful location. At 32 stories it will be a highlight to the skyline, and if the architecture is reflexive of the city and it's history, will be a gracious addition. Also with a meetinghouse in the downtown area, it will effectively serve a growing inner city membership that is public transportation dependent. For the City of Philadelphia, this must be a "sight for sore eyes", taking a low tax producing property and making it a better tax producing property.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 3:29 p.m.

    @Redshirt1701
    [Jacob 2:19 states "And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good, to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted."]

    Sadly a decent number of Christians (obviously the non-LDS use different verses/basis) think that riches are something that come with being faithful (prosperity gospel).

    "Do we help the needy better by giving them stuff or by employing them allowing them to earn a living?"

    Depends what sort of wages are being offered. In some third world nations, for instance, the exploitation of their labor leaves the workers one step above slavery. In the U.S. we do have companies that deliberately pay their workers so little that they can be subsidized by the rest of us (through food stamps, etc.). I'm not going to pretend to know what workers at City Creek make.

  • SCfan clearfield, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 3:54 p.m.

    The Scientist

    Were you talking about the LDS Church, or President Obama?

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    Feb. 13, 2014 4:00 p.m.

    To "atl134" regardless of the wages paid, which is better. Simply giving the poor and needy money or is it better to give them a job where they can gain skills and move into jobs that do a better job supporting them and their family.

    Did you know that in the US we have workers that have no desire to improve themselves with new and more desireable skills? Did you know that the government subsidizes workers who's career goal is to flip burgers and take out the trash?

    So again, tell me which is best, do we seek riches with the intent to help the poor, or do we abhor riches and just give the poor stuff?

  • Unreconstructed Reb Chantilly, VA
    Feb. 13, 2014 4:50 p.m.

    Much ado over nothing.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 5:38 p.m.

    @Open and honest

    Irony? NO. No money changing or commercial business goes on in the temple.

    Perhaps you visit an LDS temple, or atleast the visitors center, and learn about LDS temples.

  • joemakati Slidell, 27
    Feb. 13, 2014 7:57 p.m.

    The Mormon flourish, and no body can't stop it, get use of it.

  • donn layton, UT
    Feb. 13, 2014 7:57 p.m.

    RE: Redshirt1701, Jacob 2:19…,"if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good, to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted."

    The Mormon church has no hospitals and only a handful of primary schools. Its university system is limited BYU in Utah, Idaho and Hawaii, and LDS Business College. Seminaries and institutes for high school students and single adults offer religious studies for hundreds of thousands.

    In contrast, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which had about 17 million members a year ago, appears to be getting a better return on investment: It builds smaller meeting houses and lots of schools and hospitals.

    "The Seventh-day Adventists clearly have a much more expansive humanitarian project in terms of building hospitals and medical schools and schools and universities and long-term developmental infrastructure around the world," Aug 13, 2012 ,

    Enter comment

  • SLC_Mormon Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 12:11 a.m.

    Birder

    I see why they would want to buy the block next to the temple because maybe its a rough neighborhood but what about the block adjacent to the mall or the one next to that? Where does it stop? If we can convince ourselves that building malls are what God wants then what could be next...

    All this money going into developments when I know first hand that in many wards around the world members are going hungry. I talked to a bishop in Africa and he said 60% of his members don't have enough money to feed their families. When I hear that I feel like this building is a bit unimportant to those members.

  • Ralph Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 12:36 a.m.

    Just because Jesus beat up the money changers doesn't mean that the Heavenly Father is averse to making a little prophet.
    I think it's great that the LDS church makes money. Why shouldn't they?
    They have as much right to capitalist endeavors as any other entity in this wonderful country. That's what made this country great!

  • Shelama SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 4:22 a.m.

    Whatever the benefits and whatever the good will come of it, it getting harder and harder to see where the Mormon concept of "Kingdom of God" resembles very much the "Kingdom of God" that the Galilean peasant taught along the dusty back roads among the downtrodden poor and marginalized.

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 4:32 a.m.

    @ atl134

    Yes it is true that Jesus was not ostentatious while in his mortal ministry. He was born in a stable. No opulence there. His mortal mother was forced to travel from her hometown of Nazareth to pay taxes/tribute to the powerful world government. The only visitors that Holy night were shepherds in a stable where animals gave place in a manger.

    Jesus is now a glorified resurrected being. He is the Son of the Most High, Man of Holiness. We see 'Holiness to the Lord' etched in stone on His Temples.
    If you think his authorized servants, the Quorum of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Council of the Twelve, have business acumen, you are right.

    These small business ventures in creating architectural splendor against the backdrop of the building blight of inner cities will be as nothing compared to the profusion of abundance to be displayed at His second coming in clouds of Glory.

  • Tasha B A Place, UT
    Feb. 14, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    @esquire. Actually, Philly can be pretty rough in certain stats. For example its murder rate is higher, numbers wise, to Chicago, NYC, and LA even though it has fewer people. Though the area near the temple is definitely not one of those rougher areas

    As for the building. Another article I read mentioned it was to keep with the promise of investing in Philadelphia made with the city earlier. I'm pretty happy about it, personally. Philly could use the boost, especially with it's high unemployment rate compared to the rest of the state.

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    Feb. 14, 2014 12:54 p.m.

    Those that are criticizing the building of the tower do not understand at all how the finances of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints actually works.

    One poster above mentions that most of a ward in Africa is having trouble meeting their financial needs. What they fail to understand is that there are budget matters that allows the ward/branch to meet its obligations pertaining to their sacrament attendance. Fast offerings are used to assist those who are in need. It only a temporary solution, not a permanent solution. The LDS Church teaches self-reliance. Unfortunately, the United States welfare program decides we as a nation give to the poor but fails to teach anything else.

    The Gospel of Jesus Christ teaches that a man is reliant upon himself and thus the LDS Church tries to meet these needs on a temporary basis. Once they are able to become more reliant then less assistant is required. The perpetual education fund is what helps some of these individuals to become self-reliant. You don't just throw money out there and hope to get someone out of trouble. It takes a lot of sacrifice.

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Provo, UT
    Feb. 15, 2014 12:52 a.m.

    Open and honest,

    I'm against selling a market in the temple, "selling salvation" if you will. I'm not against buildings homes next door. In fact, I love the idea. Does that make me horrible? No.

    If you don't have the spirit with you, you'll never understand the scriptures.

  • sukiyhtaky us, CA
    Feb. 15, 2014 7:21 a.m.

    Perhaps this is a benevolent gesture to add low income housing to downtown Philly? Lets hope so because I don't think Jesus would look kindly on more housing for the 1%. I'm going to think positively and believe it is.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Feb. 15, 2014 1:06 p.m.

    It would seem that every time the church announces a project red flags start waiving all over the place. The buildings are eventually built, the surrounding area is greatly enhanced and then the 'nay' sayers hang on the edge of their seat waiting for the next announcement to be made so that more criticism can be voiced and more complaints can be filed.

    For a generation now we have tried to enforce the notion that religion must be confined to Sunday mornings and securely locked behind sanctuary doors so as not to disturb the population at large. We have successfully removed the notions of right and wrong from society and now are wondering why our politicians are so untrustworthy.

    The LDS church seems to have vision. They preach of improving lives, so let them work to build a better society and not just a secluded chapel behind a thorny hedge.

  • Rikitikitavi Cardston, Alberta
    Feb. 15, 2014 1:17 p.m.

    The LDS Church is unrelenting in doing good around the globe. Compassion for others who are in dire need leads to countless humanitarian projects which extend far beyond disaster recovery. In Philadelphia the building announced by the Philadelphia media is an example of how this project is welcomed by that city. For temple workers and patrons what a relief to be so close and not have to fight traffic. What a blessing to serve in the evening and not have to be afraid being out after dark in the city.

  • PP Eagle Mountain, UT
    Feb. 15, 2014 1:20 p.m.

    atl134 "Jesus didn't start a carpentry business and proclaim that hiring a bunch of workers while making a good profit was his purpose."

    Are you sure? At the age of 30 Jesus quit working and turned his life over to the Ministry. He had no income for the next 4 years of his life. Maybe his carpentry business made a little more profit than you know. Not many people are in a financial position to take the next 4 years off.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 15, 2014 1:46 p.m.

    @ SCfan, why, oh why, did you have to pull Obama into this discussion? Please stop with the irrational obsession. He has nothing to do with any of this.

    @ Tasha B, I know Philly really, really, really well....

  • cambodia girl Phnom Penh, Cambodia
    Feb. 15, 2014 3:32 p.m.

    I think this is wonderful news. The Church was restored in a free nation, what better place to have a Temple built than the city where the Declaration of Independence was signed. I'm sure it will be lovely!

  • wYo8 Rock Springs, WY
    Feb. 15, 2014 4:58 p.m.

    besides tithing and fast offering funds. there use to be a ward or stake building fund plus the local budget fund. These funds are no longer needed because of the church investments, etc.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 15, 2014 5:03 p.m.

    Esquire
    Springville, UT

    The Philadelphia project is similar but larger than the Manhattan Temple. SLC Mormon needs to understand that all commercial property owned by the LDS church is tax paying. It is incorrect to believe that PRI is owned by the church and therefore is the church. The IRS doesn't see it that way. Only those that are for religious purposes are tax exempt. The after tax profits from commercial properties are used for multiple charitable purposes that are seldom publicized and are not paid to share holders. That is far better for the tax payor than to have a private equity fund build the tower.

  • Xbalanque DC, VA
    Feb. 15, 2014 11:02 p.m.

    This is great for Philadelphia. Like, like, like!

  • BehindTheGoldenCurtain San Diego, CA
    Feb. 16, 2014 3:37 a.m.

    When the San Diego Temple was built it was the most expensive project the Church had ever undertaken and there was a lot of criticism about the cost. To quote President Hinckley when speaking to a group of members while visiting San Diego to review the progress of construction he said, "Nothing is to expensive or to good for the Lord." I don't see anyone calling for the Church to sell or tear down the Temple. I'm sure the same will happen in Philadelphia and that the people will come to realize what a good decision this was in years to come.

  • BrentBot Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 16, 2014 7:02 a.m.

    The New York City (Manhattan) temple is adjacent to a tall church-owned apartment building. It provided the flexibility of using part of the apartment building for ward classrooms, and housing for the temple presidency and full-time workers.

  • Aggie5 Kuna, ID
    Feb. 16, 2014 7:43 a.m.

    I kinda see that lots of members don't understand how much real estate we own. We. In Oregon alone it's hundreds of thousands of acres.

  • Informed Voter South Jordan, UT
    Feb. 16, 2014 9:28 a.m.

    I hope the sales price levels are much more reasonable than the high prices in all three City Creek condo buildings. Sales in all three are very slow....just look at the dark buildings at night. Sure, some owners are non-residents but the number of unsold units exceed 50% after three years of attempted sales. The Church is correct to develop investment properties while improving and maintaining downtown areas. The carrying costs of unsold condominiums are large and would be avoided if market sale prices were used.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    Feb. 16, 2014 11:21 a.m.

    I am amazed that so many members of the LDS Church do not understand that the LDS Church throughout its history has made investments to support itself and provide, or prepare to provide, blessings of various types for the people.

    Highly organized and successful churches throughout history have done that as well. Look at the great artistic and architectural marvels of the Middle Ages and Renaissance in Europe. These works feed our souls. Look at what Catholic Social Services, Seventh Day Adventists and the Salvation Army have accomplished in modern times.

    Do I wish that the LDS Church could position itself to do more direct humanitarian work? I think it should and over time it will. But it must do so from a position of strength. And there are more needs than those of the economically impoverished.

  • Kaotic USA, UT
    Feb. 16, 2014 12:15 p.m.

    How do we know for certain that the 10% collected from the 'members' so as to be considered worthy isn't used for real estate development and non-religious buildings? The church won't allow anybody out of the elite to see the books. Who receives any of the profits from these real estate investments? That should all be public record to anybody that pays tithing to the church. People should be skeptical to the fact that the LDS Church is very secretive to not allowing their own 'members' or 'shareholders' to see (by accountability) where their 10% is invested in the realm of the church...

  • beehiver Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 16, 2014 12:35 p.m.

    I love all the speculation. The truth is the Church is building this because the city of Philadelphia wouldn't give their consent to the Temple etc. unless the Church did something for the City. Thus, as a "quid pro quo" the Church agreed to build a large apartment complex (at a significant loss, I'm sure) in order to help with Philadelphia's ongoing inner-city renewal project.

  • get her done Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 16, 2014 1:12 p.m.

    Are the apartments for the poor and homeless?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 16, 2014 4:00 p.m.

    @PP
    "Are you sure?"

    Even if he did it wasn't notable enough to put in the Bible so it must not have been of much value spiritually.

  • West Coast1 Secane, PA
    Feb. 16, 2014 6:53 p.m.

    birder said "No, I think the truth is that Philly is a pretty rough city. The Church realizes that it has to buy up and develop the land around the new temple to keep the area safer and nicer. That's why the mall was built in Salt Lake - to preserve the area around Temple Square from further decay. The same thing is also happening in Ogden, where the temple is undergoing a complete renovation."

    I believe that this is true. I went to church today 2 miles from the temple site in Philadelphia and can confirm that the area could definitely be improved.

  • bj-hp Maryville, MO
    Feb. 16, 2014 8:23 p.m.

    Kaotic the tithing that I give to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints becomes the Lord's money as soon as it leaves my hand. It doesn't matter how it is spent as the Lord Jesus Christ is at the head of the Church.

    We are taught from the very beginning what our tithing is spent on, just as we are taught that all humanitarian funds are spent 100% on humanitarian efforts. I don't need an accounting from the leadership to know where it goes because it is no longer my money when it leaves my hand. I have unrelenting faith to know that the money is spent wisely and the leaders of the LDS Church are beyond reproach. If our Government spent our tax dollars as wisely as the LDS Church does we wouldn't ever have a deficit. All real estate, buildings built and etc. are all bought and paid for before the project is completed. If the money is not available, the project is put on hold. President Gordon B Hinkley spelled it out quite well in a conference talk a few years back.

  • gittalopctbi Glendale, AZ
    Feb. 16, 2014 11:13 p.m.

    Well, it's just that many of us do not feel that SLC_Mormon raised any legitimate questions.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    Feb. 17, 2014 7:40 a.m.

    "Didn't urban decay ruin all the real estate around the Johannesburg temple since it was built? Now the surrounding area is riddled with crime and has become an inner city sort of environment. Good idea to try and do what you can to keep the area around the temple from blight."

    Other writers express similar concerns. Is there something about a temple that causes urban blight and decay nearby? I would think that a nice temple building would inspire similar architecture and quality development.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 17, 2014 8:36 a.m.

    Shopping malls vs. hospitals. Luxury high-rise housing vs. schools. "By their fruits ye shall know them."

    Perhaps when fewer people are starving and dying of malnutrition in the world it will become appropriate for churches to build and develop commercial real estate.

  • InspectorC Wasatch Front, UT
    Feb. 18, 2014 11:18 a.m.

    TO: 1aggie (and all other critics)---

    It never ceases to amaze me how confused you can be as to the realities of how this world works. 8)

    Why is it considered (in your myopic view) "good and worthy" to build hospitals and schools, and to feed the hungry, etc. but NOT to build-up "businesses", "investments" and "assets" which ULTIMATELY DO ALL OF THE ABOVE **TIMES TEN** (with their subsequent, RENEWABLE profits)?

    Why build a hospital to heal the sick, if the healed cannot then go-forth into this world and "be fruitful" in their livelihood??

    Why build schools to educate the children of the world, if they are not then expected to go-forth and "earn a livelihood" and multiply themselves and their talents??

    Why feed the hungry, if you don't --in the process-- teach them to "fish for themselves" and to stand independently and to PROSPER on their own two feet?? 8^)

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    InspectorC and others who believe in helping others only in ways that turn a profit: please explain to us how a high-rise building in Philadelphia or a shopping mall in Salt Lake City helps starving and malnourished children in developing countries. Almost all the need is in developing nations and almost all the investment is occurring in the mist developed nation.