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LDS Church donates historic Wall Mansion to University of Utah

U. plans to use facility at its 'embassy' to downtown, gathering place for leaders

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  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2014 3:25 p.m.

    What a gift. The true market value of this place would be many millions.

    Proud Ute
    Proud Pac 12 member

  • gee-en Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2014 3:28 p.m.

    This is very kind and generous of the LDS Church. Thank you!

  • runnerguy50 Virginia Beach, Va
    May 27, 2014 3:53 p.m.

    Is it just me or does anyone else find it strange that the U didn't thank the Church in it's release ?

  • golfrUte SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    May 27, 2014 4:11 p.m.

    Mark my words, there will be those who criticize the LDS Church for giving this building to the U. It seems there is a growing population that spend most of their time criticizing the Church no matter what. When this story is reported on the Trib there will be critics, guaranteed.

    This is a wonderful gift of a historic building that will benefit the U.

  • SP Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2014 4:34 p.m.

    Great news. This building would be too big for a family and not the right shape for most businesses. But the University is a perfect fit for it.

  • Mormon Ute Kaysville, UT
    May 27, 2014 4:44 p.m.

    runnerguy50,

    How do you know the U didn't thank the Church? This is just an article written by a reporter who didn't quote everybody word for word. I'm sure thanks were expressed directly to whomever represented the Church at the presentation.

  • Lifelong Ute Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2014 5:16 p.m.

    @MormonUte,

    You need to re-read runnerguy's comment. He clearly refers to in the press release. Now you are right that not every word of the press release appears included here, but nowhere did runnerguy suggest at no point did anyone ever communicate thanks(as you suggest), just that we don't see any from the press release excerpts included here.

    A giant thank you hopefully was included in every bit of communication between the two parties - this is an absolutely massive gift and deserves some big time thanks, so I certainly would hope the press release would be full of thanks to the LDS church.

  • tennerifa Orem, UT
    May 27, 2014 5:25 p.m.

    I will admit to making some less than glowing comments about some Church practices/history, but reading a story like this goes a long way toward increasing my respect, and admiration for the organization.

    I agree that the fair market value of this property would be quite high, so it was a very generous gesture on the part of the Church. I also only have good things to say about the Church welfare program, and the Deseret Industries program. These kinds of programs exemplify, at least in my mind, the best of Christianity.

  • Guam_Bomb BARRIGADA, GU
    May 27, 2014 6:00 p.m.

    This was a win win for the church and for the U. The Church gets a ton of good PR and the U gets a historic building. This was also a very shrewd move by the church. Historic buildings are expensive to maintain. I'm sure the church has been spending thousands of dollars a month just to keep the building from degrading. This building needs to be renovated. The U is spending $7 Million to do that, which is probably about what the current market value is. So it's going to be difficult to sell as it doesn't make financial sense to purchase a building that needs that much work. Not to mention the fact that it's historical significance makes it that much more difficult for a private owner. So the church saves the upkeep costs on a historic building that they didn't want any more and gives it to the U who will use the building to it's highest capacity. Win Win.

  • Informed Voter South Jordan, UT
    May 27, 2014 6:41 p.m.

    RunnerGuy50: I noticed the same thing....no mention that the U thanked the Church. I am confident they did at some point, but seemingly not in the news release.

  • Grandma 20 Allen, TX
    May 27, 2014 6:52 p.m.

    The mansion is near and dear to my heart. I am a former student and attended the LDS Business College from 1973-1974. I applaud the brethren for donating such a fantastic gift to the U. Church.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    May 27, 2014 9:36 p.m.

    @Guam Bomb

    I would imagine the property could be sold for a lot of money regardless of its current condition. Even if it were true that the church were donating it to relieve the maintenance costs the church could still make a lot of money selling it and still relieve the maintenance costs. Your theory tries to make it look like the donation is not a charitable donation. But pretty simple logic refutes that since the property is obviously worth a lot and could be sold for a hefty price.

  • souptwins Lindon, UT
    May 28, 2014 12:13 a.m.

    I'd be very surprised if the building was in bad shape. It was being used by LDS BC through '06 and the LDS Church has a long & deep commitment to respecting historical buildings. They probably just couldn't find a use for it but wanted to be sure it would be cared for and used in a way that respected the integrity & history of the building. Regardless of its condition, I'm sure there would be plenty of people who would have bought it. After reading comments here and in the Trib. it's too bad some people can't just be grateful for a generous gift. I'm far from a Ute fan but am still glad to hear it will be preserved and in good hands.

  • goosehuntr Tooele, UT
    May 28, 2014 8:09 a.m.

    That was a pretty impressive donation. Beautiful architecture. It will be a real gem for the U. Hope it serves it's purpose well. I guess the U of U was grateful for it... it just never made it to the article. Oversight I guess...by the author of the story, not the U I'm sure.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    May 28, 2014 8:55 a.m.

    @Cats

    "There is a great deal of irrational hatred at U of U towards the Church...That's one of the reasons I am a loyal Cougar."
    -------------

    I am a die-hard Utes fan regardless of whatever anti-LDS sentiments some of the students and faculty have. It's best to let others have their opinions and still offer them a hand of friendship. With anti-LDS Ute fans that I have met, it works quite well, and most people (with few exceptions) really do believe in "agree to disagree". Given the Church leaders' extended hand of fellowship and friendship to the U of U, my guess is that they agree.

    Go UTES!!!

  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    May 28, 2014 10:55 a.m.

    This is a very generous donation by the LDS Church to the U of U. It comes at about the same time the LDS Church has donated about $5 million toward the new Law School building now under construction.

  • Spiff Salt Lake City, UT
    May 28, 2014 11:13 a.m.

    I loved my time as a student at LDSBC there in the mid 80'S. Met my wife in the library in the east wing, sad this area will be torn down. It is a beautiful building and I am glad it will have a new life.

  • BU52 Provo, ut
    May 28, 2014 12:53 p.m.

    What's the definition of a White Elephant? You spend a million here and a million there and pretty soon you are talking real money.

  • Hispanic Conservative Grantsville, UT
    May 28, 2014 3:15 p.m.

    I agree with Dutchman. Nowhere in the report we see any comment on the U being grateful to the LDS Church and nowhere we find any information as to the reason the Church donated such a beautiful and historic building to an institution that has demonstrated to be so adamant to foster ideologies and lifestyles so contrary to the very tenets of the Church. While I understand that the Church won't comment, it would have been very nice although out of the norm for the U's Spokesman to voice or at least insinuate some minor level of gratitude to the Church and its members.

  • Mormon Ute Kaysville, UT
    May 28, 2014 4:38 p.m.

    Lifelong Ute,

    I understood runnerguy50 perfectly, but I don't know where he was getting he press release from. There was no link to it in the article and I don't know of it being made available to the general public. Generally these comments are in reference to the article they are linked to so I was merely pointing out that I'm sure thanks were conveyed whether in the press release or in person. The University of Utah and the LDS Church have a very good, long standing relationship and the Church has made many large donations to the University including a recent contribution to the new law school building. Runnerguy50 just seemed to be trying to stir up controversy where it doesn't exist.

  • rhappahannock Washington, DC
    May 28, 2014 8:25 p.m.

    Both this donation of a building and the donation to the law school are a waste of the widows mite. The church should be taking care of it's own educational institutions where appropriate, and expanding the church educational system into Africa. The short-term positive PR does not compensate for the longer-term benefit to members in need.

  • Dave Duncan Orem, UT
    May 29, 2014 9:01 a.m.

    runnerguy50, "Thank you" is just a phrase. I think the gratitude of the U was well communicated in the article by their excitement to have the facility and their commitment to restore it--which the church, will also appreciate.

  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    May 29, 2014 11:02 a.m.

    Interesting but sad that what I read on this board is not Utah fans bashing the LDS Church but others taking the opportunity to bash the U of U. Is it because of some latent jealousy that the LDS Church makes regular donations to the U of U and that the U has found a prestigious home in the PAC 12 conference? The U has many buildings on campus named after prominent members of the LDS Church. That in itself is a significant expression of gratitude. Here is a direct quote from the former Dean of the Law School, Hiram Chodosh, when the LDS Church made a donation to the construction of the new law school building like they have to so many facilities on campus which help further the education of members and non members alike: "The donation from the LDS Church will support the college's efforts to construct a building that will produce incalculable reputational benefits and substantial economic value for the state and the community," Chodosh said.

  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    May 29, 2014 12:50 p.m.

    rhappahannock,

    The LDS Church's education mission is worldwide. As such more emphasis is now placed on supporting members worldwide to get an education through the financial resources of the Church's education fund and constructing facilities adjacent to public education campuses rather than expanding the Church's education system by building expensive facilities in other states and foreign countries. Members can apply for financial aide and then attend a local college or university of their choice. Also, the Church has built and is building institutes of religion in many states and countries outside the U.S. next to existing public institutions. In conclusion, the Church can donate to schools like the U and basically walk and chew gum at the same time. It is a far more efficient use of resources.

  • Mormon Ute Kaysville, UT
    May 29, 2014 3:12 p.m.

    rappahannock,

    I agree with Dutchman.

    You obviously don't realize how many members of the Church attend the U and will benefit from both donations. Until UVU grew to it's current size due to the overflow from BYU in Utah County, the U of U had the largest LDS Institute of Religion in the world with thousands of students enrolled each semester. Also, in response to many member's comments similar to yours, President Hinckley strongly encouraged members to attend state run colleges where they live and take advantage of the Institutes of Religion the Church has built near every university campus in the United States with some in foreign countries as well. President Hinckley stated that the Church can't possible build enough schools to educate all its members. So the Church makes donations to quality institutions to support them in that effort.

  • rhappahannock Washington, DC
    May 29, 2014 4:32 p.m.

    I predict that maybe 10 LDS students a year will attend classes in the Wall Mansion the LDS church just donated. I would estimate that if the building were sold for a few million dollars, the church could establish a university in Africa that would serve 1000 students a year, expanding to 10K within a fairly short time frame. Huge difference in number of saints served.

    Where should the widows mite go? I think the widows mite should go to people who really need it, not some secular institution that is mismanaging it's current facilities, as recently reported. It is immoral to waste the resources that should be used for spiritual goals.

    Bringing up PR value, this donation has largely been forgotten mere days later. If the church were to build a university in Africa, it would be a big positive story for years on how the church has changed for the better. It is PR that would result in changed attitudes and open doors, not just another forgotten press release.

  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    May 29, 2014 9:44 p.m.

    Rhappahannock,

    rhappahannock,

    There are no shortages of universities in Africa. The LDS Church is wise in not building another one. A quick search on the web reveals the top 100 universities in Africa with at least one in nearly every country with many more in addition to that list. Many get foreign money from the U.S. for research projects and scholarships. It seems the bases are covered. Those that want an education can get one. It is working. A recent study showed that poverty rates in Africa are dropping because of education. As stated, the Church provides financial aide to Church members who apply for it to attend the school of their choice through the Church's education fund. This is by far the best use of Church funds. Building another university owned by the Church would be a very risky venture due to the political instability and many times anti Christian activity in many of these countries. A Church owned school could be forcibly taken away.

  • greatbam22 andrews afb, MD
    May 30, 2014 8:22 p.m.

    @ rhappahannock

    With the amount of animosity the Church has to deal with just in the state of Utah as it is. I think this is was wise move.

    It is better to build a bridge in Utah than to make a hole in the ground in Africa.

    I have full confidence in the leadership of the Church.