Christians v Pharisees: Choosing Sides And How To Fight For Them In The Mormon Civil War
EPISODE 5C - THIS IS YOUR PLACE IN THE PHARISEE FINANCIAL FEUDAL SYSTEM: THE MORMON MIDAS TOUCH
- THE MORMON MIDAS TOUCH
- THE SKEPTICAL ACHILLES HEEL
- YOUR PARTY IS OVER
- ‘OTHERS DID RECEIVE GREAT LEARNING BECAUSE OF THEIR RICHES’
- ‘PLEASE SIR, CAN I HAVE SOME MORE?’
- THE PRIESTHOOD PROSPERITY GOSPEL
- HOW TO GET THE TREASURE BACK TO WHERE OUR HEARTS ARE
Christians v Pharisees: Choosing Sides And How To Fight For Them In The Mormon Civil War
EPISODE 5C THIS IS YOUR PLACE IN THE PHARISEE FINANCIAL FEUDAL SYSTEM – THE MORMON MIDAS TOUCH
THE MORMON MIDAS TOUCH
THE SKEPTICAL ACHILLES HEEL
YOUR PARTY IS OVER
‘OTHERS DID RECEIVE GREAT LEARNING BECAUSE OF THEIR RICHES’
‘PLEASE SIR, CAN I HAVE SOME MORE?’
TH PRIESTHOOD PROSPERITY GOSPEL
HOW TO GET THE TREASURE BACK TO WHERE OUR HEARTS ARE
In this Episode 5C I will complete this journey into the Pharisee General Authority’s exercise of power over our people and our money by investigating how the General Authorities DO get personally rich from their callings, how they do everything they can to suppress the skill of skeptical critical analysis in themselves and all the Church members and how this backfires on them, how they have begun to behave like royalty, cancelling our fun while making us pay for theirs, how the Church’s universities use all of our tithing to pay for the white American Mormons’ middle class education and opportunities that underpins the lifestyle they expect us to imitate for free, how they have refused to pay for basic facilities in our countries while splashing our cash on theirs, and how this could all change overnight if we choose to use the General Authorities’ love language to tell them how.
THE MORMON MIDAS TOUCH
Are wondering if there’s more? Oh, there’s more!
The General Authorities ARE getting personally rich from this system. Even if they are already wealthy and retired with their pensions long ago…. you know, like all of the rest of us are going to be living entirely on our pensions and any investments when we retire without any extra cash, the prudent savings and pensions the Church prophets have been urging us to prudently and providentially prepare all our lives… So we would never need to be a financial burden to others in our old age?
… even if they have followed their own commandments to us and have all that in the bank, every Apostle, Seventy, Presiding Bishop and Mission President receives every year as a salary just under one and a half dollars for every million dollars of tithing money hoarded in the Ensign Peak stocks and shares. A few years ago when one of President Eyring’s payslips was leaked it was revealed that they got an annual salary of $120,000 plus many perks and expenses, which means most of it is basically fun money because the Church is already additionally paying for their homes, their travel, their healthcare and life insurance etc. And as ‘sacred funds’ they probably aren’t required to pay tithing on it either, unlike the insanity of expecting the rest of us to pay tithing on our welfare checks and our pensions that come from money we already paid tithing on when we are their age.
In Finland everyone’s salaries are published publicly and the mission President there is now being paid $140,000 so we can assume that is the same for General Authorities too now. This is in the top 10% of salaries in the USA and UK, two of the richest countries on earth. I constantly hear when discussing this with enthusiastic and successful American Mormon capitalists that this is such peanuts compared to what they could be earning in their previous careers so why I am I making a fuss about it? Well, that’s baloney. For a start, they are mostly well past working age. If they weren’t General Authorities most of them would be living comfortably off their pensions like they already are. And that is nowhere close to even an average wage. It’s the wage of the most rich in countries that are already very wealthy on average.
Let’s have a little look at the fascinating history of Mormon clergy and their salaries.
Until 1896 Bishops received a wage of 10% of their ward members’ tithing donations and Stake Presidents received 2% of the stake’s tithing donations, and they continued to be paid salaries or percentages until the early 1900’s and long serving ones received retirement allowances after their release. I bet those tithing settlement meeting were interesting! Throughout the 1800’s stake patriarchs charged a fee for giving patriarchal and healing blessings, and the prophets charged a fee for cancelling temple sealings and setting apart missionaries. Then the Apostles decided to stop paying the Bishops and Stake Presidents but continue paying themselves.
Throughout the 20th century General Authorities published a lot of books which people paid for and read because they were General Authorities. A few gave their royalties to charities or didn’t claim any, but most kept theirs and Joseph Fielding Smith for example was making over a thousand dollars a month that way by the end of his life. I presume this is still happening.
Until an announcement in the April 1996 Ensign ending the practice, General Authorities sat on the boards of different companies and received salaries for those roles, some in the private sector nothing to do with the Church and some owned by the Church which they only sat on because of their ecclesiastical roles representing the Church for which they were already being paid … but they still got paid for this in money and stocks like the other board members. Being a General Authority was a Cash Cow Calling, and it still is.
Gordon B Hinckley always played down the scale of the church’s real wealth and how much the General Authorities were getting by his time in office. In an October 1985 General conference talk called ‘Questions and Answers’ he said ….
“3. Is the Church an institution of great wealth, as some claim?
The Church does have substantial assets, for which we are grateful. These assets are primarily in buildings in more than eighty nations. They are in ward and stake meeting facilities. They are in schools and seminaries, colleges and institutes. They are in welfare projects. They are in mission homes and missionary training centers. They are in temples, of which we have substantially more than we have ever had in the past, and they are in genealogical facilities. But it should be recognized that all of these are money-consuming assets and not money-producing assets. They are expensive to build and maintain. They do not produce financial wealth, but they do help to produce and strengthen Latter-day Saints. They are only a means to an end. They are physical facilities to accommodate the programs of the Church in our great responsibility to teach the gospel to the world, to build faith and activity among the living membership, and to carry forward the compelling mandate of the Lord concerning the redemption of the dead.
We have a few income-producing business properties, but the return from these would keep the Church going only for a very short time. Tithing is the Lord’s law of finance. There is no other financial law like it. It is a principle given with a promise spoken by the Lord Himself for the blessing of His children.
When all is said and done, the only real wealth of the Church is the faith of its people.
4. Why is the Church in commercial business of any kind?
Essentially, the business assets which the Church has today are an outgrowth of enterprises which were begun in the pioneer era of our history
……….. All of these commercial properties are tax-paying entities. I repeat, the combined income from all of these business interests is relatively small and would not keep the work going for longer than a very brief period. I should like to add, parenthetically for your information, that the living allowances given the General Authorities, which are very modest in comparison with executive compensation in industry and the professions, come from this business income and not from the tithing of the people.”
Jeffrey Holland who has a somewhat tenuous relationship with the truth when talking publicly about Church data, like the time he claimed we were adding several new stakes a week to the Church when we weren’t, said at a groundbreaking for a new Campus at BYU Hawaii on 17 December 2011 that “There is no money in the Church except what our members offer.” Apparently he hadn’t noticed the massive City Creek Shopping Mall the Church was building in Downtown Salt Lake City and nearing completion as he was driven past by his Chauffeur to the airport to catch his First Class flight to the Polynesian Idyll that President Gordon B Hinckley had insisted to the press was entirely funded by profits from the Church’s commercial investments and definitely NOT the primary donations of the members. When asked if the direct tithing of the people would be used to underwrite the City Creek Mall project President Hinckley insisted it would not. This is why the whistleblower’s revelations about the City Creek Mall being secretly and probably illegally bailed out by hundreds of millions of dollars of tithing donations saved and invested in the tax exempt charitable Ensign Peak portfolio was a double whammy of a revelation. It proved that President Hinckley was lying and the Church HAD made undertakings to use tithing money to keep the City Creek project afloat if it went bankrupt.
The 2014 Doctrine and Covenants Church History Seminary manual for the Church’s teenagers says:
“In our day, General Authorities of the Church give up their livelihoods to serve full-time, so they receive a modest living allowance—enough for them to support themselves and their families. This allowance comes from the church’s corporate funds, not from tithing funds.”
This is a bit weird because the manual had just quoted from a Doctrine and Covenants Section 70 scripture indicating that it’s fine for them to receive a living allowance from Church members so it could and should be coming from the tithing funds, although of course all the commercial investment assets of the Church began as tithing donations so really it’s the same thing…. And they do call them both ‘sacred funds.’ Maybe it’s because they are a bit embarrassed that the huge pile of wonga plus expenses they are actually getting from the Church is way more than a ‘basic living allowance.’ It is 3 times the median wage for men in the USA, which is already much more than a ‘basic living allowance.’ It is nowhere close to a basic living expenses amount and is far more than the vast majority of Church members are living on globally. It’s more than 90% of Americans and Brits are earning. While they preach to us intensive frugality and living within our means and always paying a “FULL” tithe as absolutely essential, and making whatever sacrifices we must to do that, they are coining it and living in what to most of us is pampered luxury.
The average wage in Kenya is $7000. Which is 5% of $140,000, but the prophet earning $140,000 of mostly fun money a year on top of all his pension and investments from an illustrious career as a heart surgeon told them to make sure they pay him and his corporation a full 10% of everything they earn.
Tragically, but tellingly, there are plenty of Mormons who presented with that data will, and do, say “See! They aren’t raking it in at all! They only get a tiny fraction of the money they manage as a salary! That’s not that much” instead of saying “What the actual f*** is our Church doing with $100 Billion dollars in stocks and shares?!!! And why are we paying these people 3 times more every year than I will ever earn?” That is what being brainwashed actually looks like in real life folks.
And the thing that will upset those brainwashed people the most in all the horrific information I am presenting here about our beloved religion is that I just used the F word. That is what brainwashed PHARISAISM looks like. Did you have a little Mormon brainstorm there? Did you suddenly think ‘Oh No! he just said the F word! I really shouldn’t be listening to this! I can’t share it with my friend now because it has an F word in! I don’t trust anything this guy is saying any more! He just said the F word which proves he really IS an anti-Mormon apostate servant of Satan! Look how Peter’s let himself go! I wonder if he’s already an alcoholic committing adultery! Once you let one thing like that go you no longer have any kind of reliable moral compass. There are no laws or truth any more! How can I even tell what is right or wrong?!!!!! See what happens to people who question the prophets?! They may have some points, and yes I’d really like to see some these reforms he is advocating for happen, but it is far too dangerous to go there because the risks are so great that you will end up in sweary rebellion against God! How did I get sucked in like this?!!! I’ve been listening to this guy for HOURS! He said the F***ing F word! Oh F***! I just said the F***ing F Word! See?!! It’s happening already!!! I feel dirty!!! AAAAAAAAUUUUGGGHHH!!!!!”
Amazing isn’t it! The evil genius of the Pharisee religion. It’s all about distracting the people from noticing really epic things that they should be by far the most concerned about like daylight robbery of the Mormon poor by reconfiguring their entire religious sensibilities to obsess about trivia that doesn’t matter anything like as much instead. Or as Jesus said it in Matthew 23:23 “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
Let’s stop assuming people don’t have God with them or some important truths to teach us because they drop some F bombs, or have tattoos, or wear a blue shirt or a beard or two pairs of earrings or you can’t see that celestial smile through their shirt because they aren’t wearing their temple garments, or heaven forfend you CAN see their belly button or they have left the Church or they think that the Book of Mormon could work for them as a metaphorical scripture even though they serious doubt it’s historically literal. Or…..brace yourself Deznat Desperados … they are DEMOCRATS!!! Aaaaaagh!!! Focus on the message instead of judging the messenger. Truth prevails, whoever is speaking it and however offensively or ineptly they are speaking it. And it deserves to be heard. YOU need to hear the truth. Everyone does. Everyone deserves to have the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints be honest in ALL it’s dealings with them.
Incidentally, if you are still reeling from the bleeped F words, I’ve literally copied the bleep over from a series in Youtube produced by FAIRMormon, the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, which for many years has been the main ‘apologetic’ organisation affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and which the LDS Church website links to for Church members seeking more information about difficult issues of history and doctrine. They have realised they are having zero impact on supporting young Latter-day Saints in trust and faith crisis, so have panicked and decided to bring in the most aggressive and irrational young LDS apologetic Youtube stars, who they have been collaborating with for a while, and fund them to produce a series aimed at your LDS teenagers and young adults which seems to have missed the messaging from General Conferences about maintaining truthful and respectful dialogue about the Church in online conversations with critics.
The series is called ‘This Is The Show’ riffing on Brigham Young’s famous statement that ‘This Is the Place’ when he arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, or TITS for short. The bleeped F word is in the episode titled “The CES Letter LOLOLOL Seer Stones Are Awesome!’ It’s only 5 minutes long. Go and check it out and experience the future at least one branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ convoluted bureaucracy seems to have in mind for engaging YOUR kids and persuading 80% of them not to leave as they are currently. Then come back and tell me I’VE got problems! The bleeped F word is the LEAST offensive thing in that episode, but it will tell you everything you need to know about the deluded, out of touch and entirely incapable of self-awareness state of Pharisee Mormonism, and its messaging to the kids and the world at large.
They are so sure they are holding the line for truth and decency yet somehow they end up sponsoring the complete opposite and cannot even see it. No alarm bells ring. Noone in the planning meeting says ‘Um, this is completely insane and won’t work!’
THE SKEPTICAL ACHILLES HEEL
The reason this happens is very simple to understand. It is because Pharisee Mormons have worked very hard to switch off all the bits of their brains made for critical analysis in order to swallow whole and never question totally contradictory or irrational teaching from their Prophets and Apostles, and it seems to leave them incapable of applying those skills in ANYTHING else they do. The effects on our members are devastating. This is why affinity fraud is rampant in LDS communities the world over. They are taught to be gullible and far too trusting and very easy to manipulate. They make irreversible fundamentally important life choices about marriage and making babies and education and careers based on naïve trust in a warm fuzzy feeling or a dangerously oversimplified one-size-fits-all commandment from a prophet that they will tell you in private will be a terrible idea for you personally to trust, but not from the pulpit so you go for it, and in far too many cases that decision you never questioned, or applied sensible cautious critical analysis to, totally ruins your life or make it a LOT more difficult than it needed to be
This is one of the sure ways to identify the leaders and followers of Lucifer’s Pharisee religion and distinguish them from Christians or any people with basic integrity: They teach one set of values as words but end up actually doing the complete opposite in practice and usually can’t even see it. This is why the most common descriptor word Jesus used for them is ‘Hypocrites!’ – hypocrisy being to say one thing and not actually live it yourself. And the point I’m making here is that while there are of course plenty of intentional deceptive hypocrites around in any community, and in Mormon leadership as I have been providing the proof of, that hypocrisy of teaching and believing one thing then somehow actually doing the opposite in practice ALSO happens unintentionally a LOT in our Church community because of this loss of critical analysis or cautious skepticism. Cautious critical analysis and healthy skepticism, which are essential tools for protecting ourselves and our loved ones and our communities, is literally demonised by the Pharisee Christians – it is associated with, and taught as being, faithless, a hostile doubter, hard hearted, stiff necked, stubborn, negative, deceived, a servant of Satan, chasing the spirit away and all the other terminology we pile onto it. And it is one of the biggest ways that Satan succeeds in making us self-sabotage our own ministry and mind-forge our own manacles.
Christian Mormonism is totally unafraid of critical analysis, of skepticism, of debate and discussions, of playing ‘devil’s advocate’ to really test whether an idea or plan is going to hold up and achieve what we want it to before we invest time and resources in it. In 2 Nephi chapter 2 the prophet Lehi tells us that the whole universe, the fabric of existence, is literally set up to have a devil’s advocate, the opposition in all things without which Gods cannot be God and there can be no truth and good, to test and challenge everything, to be free and choose, because this is absolutely essential to any process of learning and growth. And it is essential to help us discover which of the voices claiming to be from God actually are.
2 Nephi 2:13 “And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.”
Pharisee hypocrite Apostles say they love children and they are our most precious responsibility to love and nurture, and then declare as a revelation from God the November 2015 Policy of Exclusion shunning children and forbidding them to come to Christ and be blessed or baptised or ordained or set foot in a temple and contaminate it… and they say they are doing this because of their love and care for those children.
Pharisee hypocrite Apostles tell everyone to post their gratitude in social media every day for 7 days with a hashtag, then don’t do it themselves. Pharisee hypocrite Apostles insist God’s truths and standards are unchanging, then keep totally reversing their doctrines and standards while claiming it is the same unchanging God telling them to perform the U-turns. So when I refer to the incompetence of the Pharisee Mormons and their leaders I’m not just throwing out some random frustrated insult. Their incompetence or inability to actually achieve what they set out to do with strategies they claim are God’s infallible will or that God inspired them to try, or how THEY somehow keep ending up doing or being the opposite of what they say WE should all do or be, is a crucial spiritual and intellectual warning to us. It is a sign. It is the fruit Jesus taught us to judge people and their ideas by.
What else does this look like in real life? It’s the Europe Area Presidency declaring that we can and kinda will double sacrament attendance in Europe in 10 years in 2010 and it then spent 10 years falling to less than 15% of the members still coming to sacrament meetings. It’s pretty much every silly and totally unrealistic numerical target and gimmic strategy missionaries and ward councils have wasted years of their lives investing time and effort in to turbocharge our convert baptism rates or reactivate the inactive members when a bit of basic critical analysis and reviewing all the other times the same things didn’t work would have nipped that nonsense in the bud at the planning stage. But we went along with it because some Pharisee Mormon in local or international leadership was totally convinced that THIS time they’d found the winning formula to type into the human robots that would force them to comply and do the right things.
Because as I have been discussing, Lucifer’s Plan of salvation and the Pharisee religion that fervently believes it, sees all people as machines to control if you can just persuade them to follow your instructions and programming, that humans are all identical or meant to be identical so there is only one very specific one-size fits all lifestyle or family type or sexuality or gender identity or politics or language of prayer or style of artistic expression, or way of styling and wearing clothes and jewellery and makeup, or kind of music to listen to, or hand to take the sacrament with, or interpretation of the scriptures that is acceptable to God or holy.
And coincidentally ALL the details of what those things specifically look like end up exactly matching the average or dominant culture and point of view of the community and family the specific handful of people given all the power and no moderating or balancing accountability in our leadership grew up in. They literally make God and everything God thinks and does in their own image. It just feels natural so in the absence of real revelations from God, which God has told them very clearly in Isaiah 58 they have no hope of expecting until they use their vast wealth to feed the poor and stop robbing and binding the poor they have power over, they kid themselves that all their own ideas and brainwaves are a download from God. President Nelson and his plural wife Wendy have described this to us several times – he wakes up in the night or early morning with loads of great ideas for strategies and solutions to problems popping into his head in a stream of consciousness, so he kicks Wendy out of bed so he can concentrate and write them all down on his yellow pad – and then he emerges with a whole gameplan to present to his colleagues. Well, we can all do that! It’s called being human with a mind. That’s precisely how I’ve written all these podcast episodes. There are piles of early morning stream of consciousness note papers all over my house right now. I’ve felt very inspired too and ideas and words have come that are exhilarating and made sense of stuff I never thought of or connected together before. Our brains are designed to process and make sense of everything we experienced the day before while we sleep – most scientists believe that our dreams are a conscious manifestation of that process for example.
This is deep theology and philosophy and I don’t want to get into the weeds here of how we can really tell any difference between our own human brain and mind at work and what we interpret as religious experiences and revelations from an external personal God. But I am mainly emphasising here that most Latter-day Saints probably can agree that an encounter with real deity usually involves being humbled and challenged to change and do better, to make radical changes to be very DIFFERENT to how you were, and take on challenges that stretch us towards more sophistication and to get us right out of our comfort zones, and always to move us towards the lost sheep we never used to feel a concern or connection to. If the dominant message of claimed revelations from spiritual leaders is to put up walls, to tighten the boundaries and leave more and more people outside the circle of our love and care and ministry, to look to the past as the ideal life and undo or ignore the things we have all learnt to understand and done better since then, and to basically declare ‘We were right all along! When I was in my twenties! Nothing needs to change! Tradition is truth!’ then I suggest that is a sure sign that those people have become disconnected from the radical, revolutionary Elohim and Jesus who are all about kick starting progression and growth and the long but dramatic journey of transformation required to turn an eternal spark of intelligence into a God.
Those people cannot progress. Those people have convinced themselves they have already arrived at perfection in all the important ways. Those people will think it acceptable to declare to each other as they wash their feet in the Second Endowment in the temple that their exaltation and deity is already assured and then spend the rest of their lives trying to persuade everyone to be and look and sound and think exactly like them. And they may seem kind and gentle and like cuddly grandparents, but some of them are really not. By their fruits of teaching the opposite of Jesus and functional incompetence they are your most dangerous spiritual enemies. Some of them are the wolves in the clothing of apostolic sheep and shepherds. They will waste your time trapped in an endlessly repeating feedback loop holding pattern doing and saying and teaching the same old things that give you just enough spiritual food to stay alive, bit never enough to really live and grow. They will keep you where you were as a 12 or maybe 18 year old. They will be experts at stages 1-3 of Fowler’s stages of Faith development but panic and shun and excommunicate you if you progress to stages 4, 5 or 6 . They will be experts at Richard Rohr’s first half of life religiosity, but panic and shun and excommunicate you if you progress to the second half of life religiosity like we were always meant to in Christian Mormonism, as I will explore in Episode 6 which will be all about the civil war between the Christians and the Pharisees for control of our minds.
They will control and confuse you and distract you from the true path with all their timewasting gimmics and telling you they are having new revelations to ‘Hasten the Work’ when it is exactly the same stale old thinking that never worked all the other times, and still won’t work however many times you try it again more fervently or more hastily. One of the simplest ways we could save our Church and save us from wasting so much time is to simply stop doing ANYTHING that didn’t work the first 20 times we tried it. If we followed that rule of thumb as a people we would be in a VERY different place right now as a Church. We wouldn’t be doing 80% of everything we do in our Mormon lives. And we wouldn’t have lost 80% of our children. We would have learnt our lessons, left them all behind and moved on to far more effective and inspired alternatives. We have a MOUNTAIN of dead manmade ‘good ideas, programs and expectations’ that once President Dieter Uchtdorf pleaded with us all to destroy so that our precious gospel flowers being crushed by them can grow.
My sons have left Mormonism and will probably never return so I am desperate for my amazing multitude of Mormon nieces and nephews and cousins to be able to inherit from my generation a Church that actually practices what it preaches, that is a safe place for them to flourish regardless of their sexuality or gender identity or gender or race or culture or clothes or music or politics or the good causes they want to be anxiously engaged in without being attacked and criticised and suppressed and limited by the LDS Church and its people for no good reasons except the lies some stupid Pharisees blasphemously invented in their own image and taught as their Heavenly Father’s mind and will.
But that will never happen till we develop honest and humble critical analysis and skepticism strong enough to be like dynamite and actually blow up a mountain of rock. Pulverise it. Turn it into sand. That’s what I’m trying to pour into these tough, critically analytical podcasts and WHY I am making them even though it may upset as many people as they are encouraging and giving hope for change to, and even though it may lead to my excommunication, which I do not seek and would much rather not have happen.
YOUR PARTY IS OVER
The Pharisee Feudal System doesn’t just involve harvesting money on false pretences from the faithful Mormons of the world and shovelling it into the American stock market and the General Authorities’ personal bank accounts. The overt displays of privilege and power and the channelling of resources to the families and friends of the Celestial Class fellow travellers in the good Ship Zion take on all kinds of other forms as well.
The puritanical regime of Oliver Cromwell’s rule in England after taking on the catholic-sympathising king Charles 1st in a civil war and chopping his head off famously cancelled Christmas. In the Christmas season of December 2018 President Nelson decided to announce that he was cancelling most of the traditional Mormon pageants that were a big part of our people’s cultural expression in the following year, but had no problem with the Church funding and broadcasting to the world a gala pageant with a choir, orchestra and celebrity performers the following year to celebrate and praise… his own 95th birthday! THEY still get to have their fun and have people literally sing hymns of praise to them while cancelling and failing to see any value in our fun and creative storytelling about our scriptures or our stories.
I find the transformation of the joyful and welcoming and inclusive Youth Conventions that punctuated my formative years into the uniformed culty boot camps of FSY and EFY disturbing in lots of ways and one of the saddest consequences of this transition from Christian to Pharisee and the leadership’s determination to turn the kids into identikit machines and missionaries, while they fail to see or understand why so many of the few young people who stay active long enough to go on a mission now come home from them early or leave the Church soon after that experienced that in far too many cases has traumatised and scared them off wanting to touch Mormonism ever again. It has become for too many of them a profoundly disturbing encounter with the exact obedience and manipulative culture of the Pharisee religion’s unrighteous dominion, and I say that as someone who loved my own mission in the recently deceased Florida Tallahassee Mission and served as a ward mission leader 3 times since then. Because they are mostly humourless automatons themselves with no appreciation of Arts and Culture and DEFINITELY not comfortable with expressions of diversity, they don’t understand how vital it is to healthy and appealing communities. Like all Pharisees they are convinced that if you take the obviously deep and spiritual bits of something like a youth convention such as the scripture study seminars and the testimony meetings wearing sunday best and then multiply that by 10 and remove most of the social flim flam and downtime as they see it, the outcome will be young people who are 10 times more spiritual and ready to go on missions! It’s maths! So that’s what they did to Mormon Youth Conventions.
But what they completely miss is that actually by far the most important thing that happened in the youth conventions was in the downtime. The kids can hear or bear a testimony or study the scriptures every Sunday at Church. They don’t need to spend another 2 or 3 days doing that over a weekend in identikit uniforms in between being taught to chant slogans and sing special songs like the Hitler Youth. What used to be by far the most important thing was to develop friendships with each other that would last a lifetime and help each other through their normally very isolated Mormon lives as one of the only Mormon kids your age in your school or your entire ward which is the normal experience of the vast majority of our children outside Deseret. Or to get to know the non-member friend someone brought along and show them that Mormons aren’t culty weirdos. And to practice how awesome it is to be your own unique self wearing whatever you want and have a load of fun without the need for artificial stimulants, and model how you can go home and carry on living your ordinary life and being your real self with your own quirky or normal teenager interests AND be a more than good enough Latter-day Saint with some spiritual interests and depth and purpose in your life.
EFY and FSY are intense and amazing and huge resources are invested in running them and training up the Young Adult counsellors who mentor and supervise the pods of kids assigned to them. They can be a spiritual feast. A transformative and inspiring immersion into a powerful and wondrous generic Utah middle class American way of looking, thinking and being.
And for precisely ALL of those reasons…. it is a disaster and it mostly fails the teenagers who need it most. Because it bears no relation whatsoever to their real life. And when they get home afterwards back in their normal clothes in their normal life with hardly any other Mormons their age in it and their normal interests, they crash. And some never come to Church again. This happened to one of the young men in my ward when I was Young Men’s President. Apparently he absolutely loved his experience at FSY. He came home from it buzzing and fired up with idealistic fervour and was going to change his life and be more enthusiastically Mormon than ever. Maybe even go on a mission one day. We never saw him on a Sunday again and before long he stopped coming to midweek youth events too.
It’s the same phenomenon we see with a far too large percentage of our young full time missionaries when they also experience that disorientating culture clash between full time fanatical Mormoning and real life.
They have had drilled into them the message that only full time fanatical Mormoning is good enough, and that to do Mormonism well enough requires a really complicated and expensive and time consuming superstructure of hours of scripture study and groupthink conditioning with uniforms and songs and slogans and being unrealistically disconnected from the culture of your own people and your peers. Unintentionally I’m sure, the way we do youth conventions and missions now tells them that you can only be truly Mormon when you are totally disconnected from the real world. We set them up to fail. Particularly if they don’t at home have a really peak Mormoning household of both parents and all your siblings fully active and doing all the spiritual practices every day. The further your real family and home life gets from that cliche the harder it is to see yourself as good enough and in harmony with the ideal that the Church expects. We have to flip that script and heavily prioritise accepting and celebrating our young people and our adults just as they are, and seeing all the positives in who they are and whichever teen culture tribe they are in, and whoever their single or cohabiting parents and siblings are.
They need to be the FIRST people we talk about as our ideal every time we describe the Mormon ideal person so they know that the accidents of their birth into their particular homelife should never be too much of a barrier for Jesus and His gospel to break into it and make wonderful as it is, NOT by putting on a costume and acting like you are someone else…. From Midvale Utah.
Packer and Oaks and too many ward councils’ obsession with only teaching about temple married heterosexual fully active families with children as the acceptable model for personal and family life and dealing with the messier families as a tragic disappointment to discuss in private or as an afterthought, and hope they will get fixed when everyone gets reshuffled into polygamous families in the afterlife, is horribly failing the lost sheep and the dispossessed and socially orphaned individuals and families that Jesus commanded us to prioritise, not demonise, as I discussed in Episode 4.
These are all different outcomes or manifestations of the same fundamental Pharisaical problem, and they sabotage our good intentions every time. I’m not kidding when I say the Pharisee takeover of our religion has infiltrated and poisoned every corner of it, just as Hugh Nibley predicted in his ‘Managers and Leaders’ speech warning that letting the lawyers and business managers take power in the Church or any society means that before long they infiltrate every part of your organisation with their mindset, and it ceases to flourish.
How much further do our leaders need to go with this behaviour of an aristocracy giving themselves birthday parties with our tithing and making our children dress up and jump about shouting ditzy American slogans just like their children and grandchildren do in their parochial midwestern culture to teach them how to be acceptable to God, before we realise we are all being taken for granted and exploited and brainwashed into imprisoning ourselves in mind-forged manacles in a feudal class system to service a corrupt oligarchy made numb to the real world and our real needs as they gorge on the money and cultural power we have handed over to them?
Once -Bishop Bloor has been reflecting on the 10 years since he left the Church. He shared a powerful quote from Daniel Goleman’s book ‘Vital Lies, Simple Truths: The psychology of self-deception’ that he has found helpful in processing his experiences:
“Self-deception operates both at the level of the individual mind, and in the collective awareness of the group. To belong to a group of any sort, the tacit price of membership is to agree not to notice one’s own feelings of uneasiness and misgiving, and certainly not to question anything that challenges the group’s way of doing things. The price for the group in this arrangement is that dissent, even healthy dissent, is stifled! In order to break through the cocoons of silence that keep vital truths from the collective awareness you need courage. It is the courage to seek the truth and to speak it that can save us from the narcotic of self-deception. It is a paradox of our time that those with power are too comfortable to notice the pain of those who suffer, and those who suffer have no power. To break out of this trap requires the courage to speak truth to power!”
This is what I am trying with everything I have got to do as best I can in these podcast episodes. It is what hundreds, thousands of others are trying to do to call our corrupted leaders to repentance and to better reflect the compassion and honesty and integrity of their grass roots members instead of letting us down and betraying us and lying to us, stealing from us so much of our time and money, and practicing and teaching the opposite of all that the Church taught us to hold dear. It used to be comparatively easy to ignore these voices calling for common sense and justice and reforms, and demonise them as the bitter and twisted and ignorant proverbial ‘anti-Mormons’ who leave the Church but can’t leave the Church alone …. Even though of course the Church members spend years not leaving alone the people who left, so that’s yet another epic hypocrisy we have normalised in our culture.
But it gets much harder to ignore the truths being spoken to the complacent powers when your active membership is down to less than 15% and there are more people who left your congregation in the last 15 years than are still coming. Active Latter-day Saints are increasingly finding themselves outnumbered by their own recently disillusioned friends and acquaintances pleading with them to step up and do something about the things that drove them away from the community they still care about and are forever connected to as their tribe and literally their relatives a lot of the time, and stop the cycle of pain and divorce and bitter disappointments between siblings and parents and children that comes from it. Will we listen and learn, or keep driving more people away or excommunicate them if they care to even speak about this tragedy?
‘OTHERS DID RECEIVE GREAT LEARNING BECAUSE OF THEIR RICHES’
3 Ne. 6:10-14 says “And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches. Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble . . . And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up.”
Having looked at tithing, investments and General Authority salaries and cultural imperialism, the final component of the Pharisee Financial Feudal System I will explore in this episode is how the Pharisee oligarchy that has taken over our religion has used money and opportunities for learning to recreate precisely the same descent into hell through an exploitative class system achieved by the Nephites in the final fall of their empire.
We don’t just pay the General Authorities and Mission Presidents a huge tax and insurance and expenses free salary with our tithing. We also pay for their children’s entire university tuition at the Brigham Young Universities. And they also use our tithing to halve the average American costs of university for the thousands of other mostly middle class white Americans in the world’s richest country who go there to study with 15-20% of all our tithing donations regardless of whether our kids get to go, which they mostly don’t. The 3 BYUs and Ensign College educate about 90,000 students. They are all located in the USA. Each student receives a subsidy for their university education from tithing to reduce their annual tuition fees to $15,000 a year, which is half the costs they would pay on AVERAGE at other American universities. And piles of extra tithing money are piled into the infrastructure and other programs running at them for the students as well as whatever the tithing subsidy per student adds up to, which might be a lot more than $15,000 if overall costs are higher than the average for running a university in the US.
So who exactly is this huge donation of more than a tithe of all our tithing actually helping? The students of all 4 universities are roughly 80% white, 95% American and less than 2% of BYU Provo students are from low income families (defined as the bottom 20% of income nationally) and falling. BYU is in the bottom 1% of the USA’s universities for social mobility of low income students. We are not charitably helping the needy get higher education through our tithing donations to these universities. And there is no BYU Nairobi or Paris or Lagos or Mexico City.
What they are doing is redistributing wealth in a colonial system from the tithe paying LDS families of the developing and developed world to make the opportunities and wealth and lifestyles of the already wealthy white middle class overlords in the USA much more comfortable. And in yet another act of spectaclar hypocrisy and inability to look at themselves honestly, most of those graduates refuse to support political efforts in the USA to use taxpayers’ money or legislation to subsidise or bring down the USA’s exorbitant and exploitative university costs. They fill social media with their right wing rants against socialism and state education as satanic communist conspiracies while having huge families and only being able to afford to put their children through college and thus maintain their Mormon multiplying middle class lifestyle because of a massive socialist redistribution of wealth from the international Mormon tithe payers.
And THEN they tell all of OUR kids to follow exactly that lifestyle wherever they are in the world without providing any of the massive resources required for the white Middle Class American Mormons to make it work at all in THEIR communities, which are already rich. They tell our kids to go to university AND marry young AND start having babies immediately with no consideration of how much it costs because they managed to make it work when they were students…. at BYU with massive socialist subsidies from the rest of us paying for it. And they make sure that every ordinary Mormon kid in my country, or anywhere else, where that would be not just reckless stupidity but financially entirely IMPOSSIBLE feel inadequate and somehow a failure if they can’t afford, or aren’t educationally bright enough for, university, or they have career goals that don’t require university. Or they aren’t married with a second child on the way by the time they are 30. Or they’d just rather not put themselves into that much debt, but still have to face endless devotionals and photos in the Church magazines and social media videos populated with these grinning, cleancut but totally generic looking BYU students gushing about how awesome their lives are in the eternal sunshine of the Mormon junkmail.
Imagine the difference it would make in young Latter-day Saints’ lives around the world if they gave educational subsidies of a quarter of that amount to the young members in the developing world. Their subsidy from tithing of $15,000 or more would cover the entire university fees of students in the UK and leave plenty left over towards their living costs, and we are a wealthy nation. To salve some of their conscience about this outrageous nationalist and effectively racist inequality in who the Church helps with all of our tithing money, President Hinckley launched a program 20 years ago for supporting poor LDS students internationally called The Perpetual Education Fund and members have been pouring millions into it for years now. But decades later hardly any of it has been given to anyone yet, and if they ever do pay out they expect the poorest people on earth to pay back their loans from the Church plus a small interest! The little manual on the Church website for training potential recipients is a piece of work. You can see it is written by some Utah racist who assumes that all the foreigners being given the loans are dishonest scammers who will just waste the money on cocaine as it predominantly, from the very first paragraph, goes on and on in a super patronising tone about being strictly honest and you have to tick off and sign a declaration that you are living a perfect life, and it piles on the guilt for needing the loan so you’d better be grateful young foreign brown person and be sure to pay it back with the interest as a sacred obligation otherwise the Church won’t be able to afford to help another person with that money it loaned to you with an interest rate!
I know they have the Gestapo Honour code thing that the BYU’s students have to sign, but there’s nothing like this rigmoroll that they have to go through to be handed 10-15% of our tithing money that they DON’T have to pay back to the Church. That’s right folks. We don’t ask the young family members of the General Authorities and their entire community to pay back a penny of their massive loans from the Church, or rather GRANS, grants from the Church…. but they are so uptight about giving any educational funding to the rest of us they have basically hoarded the Perpetual Education Fund donations into more investment portfolios, and are only given out a tiny percentage of the INTEREST they are earning from them as the loans to the global poor. And even though they have configured this to mean none of those loans NEED repaying because it is all coming out of annual INTEREST and not touching the bulk of the money which is locked up and protected as investment seed funding, they are telling the young people they give it to in their training that it IS the seed fund and the only interest being earned on it is the interest that THEY will pay for the loan, and if they don’t the whole program will break down and run out of money. Lie after lie after stingy grinning lie.
One has to start asking oneself if there is any single part of the finances of the Church and its associated rhetoric that is anywhere close to being honest with its donors or its recipients. I literally can’t think of one and I’ve been a Ward financial clerk twice.
This system of colonial exploitation and taking money from people on false pretences is obscene… and I LOVE it! As a proud British Imperialist whose ancestors did very nicely out of exploiting the resources and labour of brown people in our colonies and who was born at BYU Provo to a father who had actual servants at home in the mansion he was born in and had a fantastic subsidised time there with my brilliant Mum, I thank you all for your kind donations and fully approve of this unethical robbery. I’m totally worth whatever sacrifices you had to make to pay that tithing.
Anyway, back to being woke and empathetic towards the oppressed…. these and many other issues are what I and many other Church members think the last few remaining active Latter-day Saints are going to have to face up to and change to save our religion from disappearing. And save it from the actual destructive wrath of God who has made it crystal clear in all those scriptures I have referenced that He is INCANDESCENT with righteous wrath at all the egregious violations of everything that is good and true and protecting the poor from oppression and financial exploitation that His REAL religion is about.
Wrathful Old Testament God has a penchant for punishing the wicked who violate his commandments through the second and third and fourth generations of their families. Isn’t that exactly what we are seeing now as our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren flee this corrupt and hypocritical institution and raise THEIR children as far away from it as they can get? How much are we going to have to change to turn that wrath a way? Whether that is literal wrath from an angry personal God or simply a metaphor for the karma – the inevitable consequences of choosing to prioritise the dark side of the force, the religion of Lucifer and the Pharisees, and repel our own children who are seeking and want to dwell in the light of truth?
What are we as individuals going to have to do to have our testimonies survive the headlong rush by our international leaders over a cliff as they continue to refuse to face reality or take any responsibility for it. The Apostles, and what THEY are teaching and doing, have become by far our biggest problem because they now mostly preach and practice the gospel of the Pharisees instead of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And they aren’t even much good at either. It’s a mess.
Isaiah 58 says it all. If you are sitting on great wealth taken from the poor and hoarding it and enriching yourself with it instead of feeding the poor you can fast for a healing miracle to end a plague, twice, but it won’t work. You can fast and pray for revelations to help you make wise decisions, but the heavens will be silent as if God is not there. You can stay up all night scribbling ideas that pop into your head on a yellow notepad and convincing yourself they are all from God, but they won’t be.
You aren’t the voice of the righteous prophet shouting to the world to repent. The people of the world are shouting their prophetic warning to YOU in your great and spacious buildings about your rebellion against the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and your sins you refuse to repent of. You pretend to be a nation that is doing right, whether it is framed as your American Exceptionalist obsession with the constitution of the United States of America, when the Book of Mormon prophecies could just as much apply to Canada or Haiti or any of the Latin American countries that embraced Christianity and taught or forced it upon the native Americans. Quite a lot of them manged to truly practice principles of liberty and end slavery long before the precious US of A managed to get round to it. Or you pretend the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the exemplary true kingdom of God on the earth, the shining city on the hill being the example for everyone else while you sit on a mountain of gold several times as big as that of the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church the Mormons spent most of our existence, including my childhood, condemning repeatedly as the Whore of Babylon corrupted by worldly riches and power. The Ensign Peak fund could buy 2750 US tons of gold.
You Pharisee Mormon General Authorities hypocritically exploit your workers, secretly paying yourselves a fortune while teaching that this is a sin called priestcraft, and paying the LDS office drones a basic wage that definitely isn’t in the top 10% of American salaries. You fired all the janitors and told the already overstretched members of the ward council that they need to clean the buildings to save the Church money. These amazing, selfless, devoted souls are always going to be treated by you as unruly children and unwelcome visitors to the chapels they have paid for many times over and made holy with their service and love. But you tell them this cleaning labour they will do instead of having time to clean their own homes is good for their souls because it will teach them to appreciate and respect their building better, as if they don’t already. And they’d better scrub it clean with toothbrushes before you ever set foot in it, Mr Inspector General.
Some of us been having an incredulous chuckle to ourselves here in the Sceptred Isles as we read the Church’s annual financial statement on the UK Charity Commission website for 2019. In the bit where they describe where their money comes from they wrote on page 17 “Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have the privilege of paying voluntary tithing donations of one-tenth of their income. They may also choose to make donations to the Church’s restricted funds. All donations are unsolicited, and no fundraising is done for the Charity’s own funds.”
Where do you even begin with that?! Interesting use of “Voluntary” and “unsolicited” I guess it means the LDS version of voluntary and unsolicited like Joseph Smith telling the teenage daughters of his friends and their parents that he was commanded by an angel waving a very threatening flaming sword that they must marry him and have sex with him even though he was already quite thoroughly and repeatedly married, and if they did not marry him and offer up their body and soul to a man twice their age then he would be destroyed by God and the whole Restoration of the Gospel to the earth would go up in smoke. But if they did agree to marry him and have sex with him their parents and extended family would basically be guaranteed some really amazing mansions in heaven. It’s SO much fun watching LDS apologists and so-called historians spinning THAT as ‘voluntary and unsolicited. ‘
Or maybe they mean this kind of voluntary and unsolicited as described by then Apostle Russell M Nelson in April 2011 General Conference in his talk titled ‘Face the Future with Faith’:
“Teach of faith in God’s plan of salvation. Teach that our sojourn in mortality is a period of probation, a time of trial and testing to see if we will do whatever the Lord c ommands us to do.
Teach of faith to keep all the commandments of God, knowing that they are given to bless His children and bring them joy. Warn them that they will encounter people who pick which commandments they will keep and ignore others that they choose to break. I call this the cafeteria approach to obedience. This practice of picking and choosing will not work. It will lead to misery. To prepare to meet God, one keeps all of His commandments. It takes faith to obey them, and keeping His commandments will strengthen that faith.
Obedience allows God’s blessings to flow without constraint. He will bless His obedient children with freedom from bondage and misery. And He will bless them with more light. For example, one keeps the Word of Wisdom knowing that obedience will not only bring freedom from addiction, but it will also add blessings of wisdom and treasures of knowledge.
Teach of faith to know that obedience to the commandments of God will provide physical and spiritual protection. …..
The Lord chose His strongest words to reassure us! Seal! Testament! Sworn! Decreed! Immutable covenant! Brothers and sisters, believe Him! God will heed your sincere and heartfelt prayers, and your faith will be strengthened.
To develop enduring faith, an enduring commitment to be a full-tithe payer is essential. Initially it takes faith to tithe. Then the tithe payer develops more faith to the point that tithing becomes a precious privilege. Tithing is an ancient law from God. He made a promise to His children that He would open “the windows of heaven, and pour … out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Not only that, tithing will keep your name enrolled among the people of God and protect you in “the day of vengeance and burning.”
Why do we need such resilient faith? Because difficult days are ahead. Rarely in the future will it be easy or popular to be a faithful Latter-day Saint. Each of us will be tested. The Apostle Paul warned that in the latter days, those who diligently follow the Lord “shall suffer persecution.” That very persecution can either crush you into silent weakness or motivate you to be more exemplary and courageous in your daily lives.”
I’m SO looking forward to Rusty’s cheerful Pharisee Mormonism vision of the future where the Second Coming is always just around the corner but never quite happens so you have to tell yet another generation of kids that they are the most special ones saved for the last moments of the earth as we know it, and until that happens we are just going to be bracingly PERSECUTED!! by that God-awful world out there going to hell in a handbasket.
You charge far too much for an acceptable tithing when you should no longer be expecting any tithing at all, and you have made a priority of insisting that the literally starving poor must pay you tithing when you should be paying it to them so they never come anywhere even slightly close to starving their children ever again. Because the Bible tells you so. Jesus tells you so. In the Gospels. Repeatedly, just in case you missed it the first 7 times.
Of COURSE you don’t hear the voice of God and get real revelations any more even when you fast. You have corrupted tithing and fasting into an outward performance of self-righteous humility and piety and completely forgotten that its purpose is to actually help people and use all the money for what it was given to accomplish. You told us you were making sure it is doing good for the people, not burying it in stocks and shares where it is only doing good for arms manufacturers and polluters and the internet pornographers you pretend are like drug dealers in your ludicrous ‘Porn is the New Drug’ propaganda. Put your money where your mouth is instead of where your corrupted Pharisee hearts really are. Invest in your rapidly dwindling people, not petrol and pornhub.
Yes, you can buy anything in this world with money. Now that you have more money than the GDP of most of the world’s nation states, how about using it to buy a fricking clue? Hire Bill Gates. Your Ensign Peak fund alone is twice as big as Bill and Melinda Gates’ entire Foundation which is already working on eradicating malaria from the world and saving millions of lives while you turn up at an earthquake with some tents and tell Kenyans to get their entire country out of poverty by putting their money into the Ensign Peak fund. Hire David Attenborough. Hire the Queen of England! You can afford them all! If you haven’t got the first clue what’s going wrong and how to save your own Church from destruction, hire some people who actually do! PAY them for ideas! And I don’t mean some Apostle’s son or undereducated nephew like you usually do, or whatever dysfunctional juvenile Deznat rebel without a clue that FAIRMormon has dredged up from the sludge lurking at the bottom of the Bloggernacle to lead your social media crusade to reclaim the lost children with incomprehensible rants about the CES letter they’ve never heard of or read… until you made it sound so forbidden and interesting!
Or just develop some humility and intellectual curiosity and talk to your remaining millions of ordinary members who don’t live in your mentally exhausted Salt Lake and BYU echo chamber. They’ll tell you what to do. Or better still, talk to the millions of lovely people who left! If you don’t trust the great ex-mormon unwashed, just talk to the Bishoprics and Stake Presidencies and Relief Society Presidencies who left! There’s HUNDREDS of them. They’ll tell you what NOT to keep doing, which is much more important as a starting point. The bloggernacle you keep demonising is a brains trust with all the answers you could possibly need about how to save the Church. And they’d LOVE to help you. They’ll do it for free! They’ve already done it for free! They DESPERATELY want t he church to be better and stop messing up their friends and family members still in it and turning them into hostile Pharisaical hypocrites.
‘PLEASE SIR, CAN I HAVE SOME MORE?’
David Bednar wailed like a delusional baby recently, with no clue whatsoever about reality, that we must never allow governments to prioritise keeping petrol pumps open that people use one at a time while social distancing, while closing churches where people gather in large numbers during a pandemic and infect each other and die, as happened a LOT in Utah after he said this. For 179 years you have repeatedly failed to bid enough to buy my last ward, Welling Ward in Maidstone England stake, land for a chapel. This is a congregation where Brigham Young preached as a missionary 6 years before he trundled into Utah in a wagon probably driven by one of the pioneers’ black slaves and started building cities with our tithing money. Most of Welling’s members live in Woolwich. Woolwich branch was organised in 1841. But you have coughed up hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on shares in……. the oil companies that run the petrol pumps! Which do YOU really care about more David Bednar? The people or the pumps? Your money is in the pumps.
This repeated failure to use the vast wealth we handed over to you with our faith and trust to bid enough to buy land for a chapel for Welling Ward has relentlessly cost that congregation the stability and growth it could have achieved. While peaking as the top baptising congregation in Europe while I was ward mission leader there (sounds BRILLIANT doesn’t it?! But it wasn’t me – the missionaries were amazing there were 6 of them…) like nearly all the other congregations in my country it is declining steadily instead of turning into a stake under your leadership.
We have done enough decades struggling on in rented accommodation. I began my service as a 12 year old deacon joining the faithful priesthood holders of Tunbridge Wells Branch getting to Showfields community hall early before sacrament meeting to join in our Sabbath cleansing ritual by sweeping it from one end to the other with battered, stinking old brooms to pick up all the cigarette butts and beer cans scattered about from the drunken wedding reception the night before and then mop it and set out the food-stained chairs and decant our entire ward’s infrastructure and library and primary toys from the battered metal cupboards in the kitchen they lived in. Somehow we managed to grow there enough to be granted a beautiful and very welcome chapel by my mid teens and for a long time the ward flourished because at last we had a home to be proud of rather than uncomfortably ashamed of. We were the beneficiaries of an amazing stake president whose career involved international travel selling jewellery to millionaires and he was passionate that his stake deserved just as much bling as any in Utah. When the Church finally decided that the nominal stake centre could move out of the scout hut it was renting and offered a plan for a chapel that would basically be another hut he very politely and charmingly lost his shit with Salt Lake, reminding them that he had actually BEEN to Utah where there was a massive stake centre on very corner with lounge areas and cultural halls and nursing rooms and his stake members were just as faithful and deserving as theirs… so we ended up with probably the biggest Stake Centre in England and it was the hub for my generation of Mormon kids to mostly make it to our twenties. There can’t be many active Latter-day Saints for whom the stench of cigarette ash and stale beer makes them nostalgic for Mormon sacrament meetings of childhood. My whole Mormon life has been one of struggle and guilt on a shoestring budget pleading for pennies from the Salt Lake coffers and somehow never noticing that we received back FAR less than we gave them and we were being robbed the whole time.
This repeated failure to bid enough for land for a chapel for Welling Ward by penny pinching Church officials pretending the Church was poverty stricken, sometimes bidding as low as a third of its value, which of course they knew all along would be too little, while we yet again had a special fast as they instructed us to and pleaded with God to make the miracle happen THIS time, was one of the primary reasons David Silsby, counsellor in the Maidstone Stake Presidency who has given me permission to name him, began to seriously question the integrity of the Church he had grown up in and served faithfully all his life. He eventually lost his testimony and trust in the LDS Church entirely, one of the final straws being going to the FAIRMormon website as his last safety net to explain the lies he had been told about our history and the origins of our scriptures. What he found there was such a shambles of desperate mental gymnastics and gaslighting he knew the game was up. Noone’s excuses were anywhere near good enough. This was WHILE serving in the stake presidency. He left the Church with his amazing family, which broke a lot of hearts. I think it’s fair to say that any lingering doubts about that decision evaporated when the full scale of the Church’s secret wealth was recently exposed. People who are lied to and exploited eventually find out. And they revolt. Empires always fall. The colonies declare independence.
And of course last year’s financial plans for the LDS Church in the UK reported to the Charity Commission in cluded no plans for building a single chapel in the country anywhere, and forecasts no plans to do the same this year. But it did say on page 9 that “During 2019 the charity leased or rented 23 premises … to house Wards and Branches that do not yet qualify for their own meetinghouse.” You’re still not doing enough to qualify after 180 years Welling! You’re not even on the ‘To Do’ list.
But there WAS a rather startling transfer of £103 million pounds into the Church’s UK bank account because the financial managers in Salt Lake have decided to spend that much tithing money purchasing an office block in central London as a commercial investment. It’s called Alder Castle. It’s at #10 Noble Street in the heart of the city of London and has recently had a gorgeous total makeover of its 12,000 square feet of gleaming office space. Check out the website! It looks like a temple inside.
Welling ward is meeting in a school again. But for quite a few years it also met in an office on the high street with very limited parking. It was basically a one story shell that used to be the regional HQ of the racist National Front political party and then a second hand car dealership. The Church paid for it to be refurbished to spruce it up a bit and we crammed in with our congregation of 150 people and were grateful to have a few years not living out of cupboards in someone else’s space… until the lease ran out. Guess how long it takes to drive from Welling Ward to Alder Castle on Noble street? 25 minutes. That’s right. You couldn’t make it up could you. Given our entire country to choose from, the biggest commercial investment by the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Britain for years, that we know of, is to buy a gleaming palace 25 minutes drive away on a big red London bus from where Woolwich branch was created in 1841 that the Presidents of the Church have refused to buy or build a home for for 180 years this year.
Maybe it’s time for a socially distanced ward outing to a castle. We Brits LOVE a picnic at a castle. We could hop on a double decker bus and take a trip to Alder Castle and bring some sandwiches… and some placards… and a journalist. We could have a blast!
And it’s not just us they do this to. I just heard about a newly formed branch in my beloved Deep South whose members were solemnly promised a chapel of their own in their home community a long journey from their nearest existing chapel. Less active members were perking up and the elderly members who can no longer travel great distances were excited and looking forward to being able to attend on a Sunday again. One of them offered the Church a huge plot of land to build on for free in a prime location, but the office drones in Salt Lake who have no idea at all about the realities of Mormon life where there isn’t a huge chapel on literally every street corner have now decided not to build them one after all and break the promise. And told them to go and meet as a branch in a chapel even further in the opposite direction to the ward they started in. They are, of course, crushed. I hope they won’t have to somehow hold it together as refugees for 180 years like the Woolwich and Welling Mormons. Deep Southerners are not as polite or patient as the British Southerners. The map-making drones in the Mormon Mecca had better start coughing up some of their cash for the Confederacy or it won’t just be the Capital in Washington being invaded by rampaging mobs shouting Rebel Yells and waving the Southern Cross!
The hypocrisy, deceptions and mismanagement of the LDS Church’s colonial feudal system robbing the poor of the world and giving it to the already rich Mormon Oligarchy and their families and communities is not a victimless crime or sin. It directly embarrasses and demoralises amazing people who deserve much better. People who deserve to have their sacrifices honoured and the promises made to them in return for those sacrifices kept instead of ignored, humiliated and betrayed. People who are annually interrogated to check that every single penny of fake tithing requirements has been paid, and guilt tripped for not giving more in fast offerings because the poor in their ward cannot be provided for if they don’t and told that their whole country’s welfare system is being subsidised by American fast offering donors when it isn’t, and taught to be hypervigillant about their finances and feel incredibly guilty if they buy anything for themselves or their children when it could go to the Church deserve to have that Church practice what it preaches.
You announced in October 2018 another status symbol temple in Tallahasseee Florida!!! I served in the Tallahassee Florida Mission paid for by my faithful family and friends including the amazing member missionary who introduced my Mother to the Church and kept dragging the missionaries back! Awesome! And then 3 months later you closed the Florida Tallahassee Mission. Talk about an emotional roller coaster for the Mormons of Florida! I wonder if there’s a noun for sadistic cruelty to Florida Mormons. “Flormormodism” perhaps? We’re going to need one as time goes on I fear. I wonder who they are expecting to GO to the Tallahassee Temple if they are disinvesting in the Mission there and generally alienating the LDS kids of the entire world so much that fewer and fewer are serving missions.
...but then you actually bought 2% of actual Florida! For real. Let me just say that again because it’s too surreal for a brain to process just the once. You closed the Florida Tallahassee Mission I gave 2 years of my life to serve in at no cost to you... but you bought 2% of actual Florida!
Of every 50 trees in the sprawling Everglades, the LDS church has used tithing money to buy one. Of every 50 acres of farmland in Florida whether it’s growing peanuts or cows, the LDS Church used tithing money to buy an acre. Of every 50 gallons of water in the alligator infested swamps, of every patch of sugar cane and forest throbbing with the pine scented poetry of the buzzing insects and the farts of the cuddly raccoons… of every 50 Gentle Bens …. you get my point here? They will use your tithing money to buy one in every 50 pieces of Florida, but not to pay for your chapel, or for your chapel to have a minimum wage janitor, or to keep your mission open, or to run a school in your country if you are brown. My family and friends invested their money and my time in growing the Church in Florida and Alabama. They decided they couldn’t afford to any more.
Jesus said it! “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
He also said
“Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”
We CAN rebuild and repair the ruin the Pharisees have made of what should and could be our Christian Mormonism. It seems overwhelming and impossible but we really can. But first we have to remove their corruptions in every program and power structure and ideology that they have infiltrated and killed. THEN transformative and renewing revelations and power can stand a chance of flowing into our derelict institution and turning it back into a city with beautiful buildings and gardens. A real Zion where every citizen is welcomed and equal and fed and there are no high tables and titles and exclusive expense accounts and where our children will be safe to stay and flourish in the dwellings we restored.
THE PRIESTHOOD PROSPERITY GOSPEL
What you do with this information is entirely up to you of course but it occurs to me thinking a bit strategically that it provides a significant opportunity.
Psychologists and therapists often talk about the importance of understanding ‘love languages’ in relationships. To truly communicate you need to identify the most effective love languages to use to send messages to someone you are in a relationship with. It might be food or touch or, as the Mormonads used to constantly tell the world ‘It’s about TIME’ or something else. It is crystal clear from listening to what they say and how they think and watching what they do that the primary love language of the pharisee General Authorities is money. It is the currency of their love. Jesus taught us to observe where people put their money to know where their heart is and they are putting stacks of megamillions of dollars where their hearts are…. In places where I will turn into more money!
The Presiding Bishopric’s entire paradigm and strategy is that the safety and security and future strength of the Church of Jesus Christ can ONLY be found in the Church’s money. So they are choosing to invest the vast majority of the money they manage in more money instead of people, or the actual CHURCH of course, but we’ve already established thy aren’t very bright so they can’t see the irony. They are so distracted feeling the love for and from their money they haven’t even noticed two obvious things:
A – They don’t need anything like that much money to run the entire temple and missionary and places of worship operations of the Church even though they claim that’s what it is for – that’s their fundamental MATHEMATICAL and business incompetence. They are already running all of those with a microscopic fraction of what is in the Ensign Peak portfolio.
B – If any of those things really were under pressure and under-resourced during our journey to the Second coming of Jesus, they genuinely don’t think you or I would step up. They have absolutely zero faith or trust in the members of their own religion to volunteer, to dig a bit deeper into their pockets, to make some extra sacrifices, to keep the entire missionary and temple programs going if that were needed. Let that sink in a moment. They don’t love you. They don’t trust you. Their Pharisee religion is not about you. It is all about getting a buzz from playing with the big boys of Wall Street and managing the Church as a business enterprise whose purpose is to have the most gold when the Master returns, as Jesus obviously taught in the Parable of the Talents.. not. Even the First Presidency think that’s what the parable means! They don’t trust their entirely expendable and irrelevant workers.
I started with the statement in the Church newsroom that Presiding Bishops are chosen for both their Business Management skills and their religious devotion. These men and rather a lot of their predecessors clearly haven’t got either. You don’t buy all the bakeries and wheat fields in the world in case you might need one loaf in the last days that you could ask your millions of brothers and sisters to make for you when the need arises anyway. But that’s literally ALL they’ve got for justifying their wild abandon in the stock market with the tithing money.
I caught something really fascinating in the news last week. The Church of England had some rather embarrassing publicity a few years ago about the unethical companies it had bought stocks and shares in while its ex-stock broker Archbishop of Canterbury was calling on the financial district of the City of London to clean up its act. They resolved to do better. They were already doing much better than they were a couple of centuries ago when the Church of England was bequeathed by a faithful dead man in his will some Caribbean slave plantations and 300 slaves, to its missionary program, “The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel” to fund the establishment of a college in Barbados with the profits of those slaves’ often fatal labour. The enslaved men, women and children were branded on their chests with the word ‘Society’ so if they escaped people would know which Church to return them to for a flogging.
One of the things I used to love the most about being Mormon was the incredible sense of self-satisfaction and superiority to all the other messed up Christian Churches. In particular, it used to be so easy to feel superior to our official state religion, the Church of England, even though facilitating its founder to have lots of wives featured VERY heavily in ITS formation as well, so they were kind of like badass Tudor Mormons in some ways!
But once again Bloody Brigham Young has screwed that up because he accepted the slave Green Flake as a tithing payment from his master’s widow when he died in Utah. Brigham and his First Presidency counsellor Heber C Kimball availed themselves of Green Flake’s no doubt ‘voluntary and unsolicited’ services for a year after taking possession of him before freeing him from inhuman bondage. This was one of the many quirky ways Brigham and his sidekicks interpreted the concept of being head of the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints back in the day, and managed to die rich, and have the Church pay off any remaining debts when they died. If someone gave the Church a slave, the First Presidency got to have personal use of the slave. Nothing really changes does it…
Anyway, the Anglicans are mending their ways and have decided to assertively use their enormous financial clout as owners of £8.7 BILLION in stock and shares to heavily influence the financial sector to prioritise ethical behaviour in workplaces, promote investments in climate change-sensitive technologies, and insist on more racial diversity in the board rooms of the companies it invests in. Our Ensign Peak fund makes almost as much as that just as profits each year. Imagine how much the LDS Church could use ITS power to radically influence and reform the corporate world, and its impact on the actual world, with 10 or more likely 30 times the invested power of the Church of England if it chose to.
But anyone who knows what really goes on in the Mormon heartlands knows that is NEVER going to happen without a major overhaul. To say financial and criminal corruption is rampant in Utah and Idaho is an understatement. There is no separation of Church and state and politics and police and the judiciary and juries where Mormons are the majority. It is a perfect storm of the aforementioned population of hundreds of thousands of people taught from birth to trust warm fuzzies and charismatic leaders over critical analysis and a world where the corrupt affinity fraudulent stake president’s arresting officer, lawyer, jury and judge might all be people he knows personally or is related to or is the ecclesiastical authority figure of.
Friends of mine who have tried doing business there or exposing the endemic corruption all tell me the same story – that the higher up the clergy ranks a Mormon businessman ascends, the far more likely they are to rip off their investors and partners and customers because they have been taught a prosperity gospel sense of entitlement to financial success as a reward for faithfulness to the church, and if the wonga isn’t forthcoming by itself they will help things along however is necessary to make SURE God blesses them for their service.
Prosperity Gospel Peter? That thing the ridiculous televangelists do? WE don’t teach that! You’re exaggerating again. Well, I’m afraid we do. Awesome Englishman also trying hard to sort out the Americans John Oliver’s show did a spot about Prosperity preachers that helpfully summarises the Prosperity Gospel concept:
-Play Clip –
Amazing bloggernacle researcher and podcasting educator Jonathan Streeter was inspired by watching that to put together a little compare and contrast with some people more familiar to Mormons. We have already heard what Costa Rican Elder Valeri v Cordon had to say in Episode 5B about paying your tithing instead of feeding your children. Lets have a quick listen to some of the others:
Our prophet’s plural wife Wendy Nelson gave a talk called ‘Becoming the person you were born to be’ at the infamous BYU Hawaii devotional on January 10 2016 when Rusty proclaimed the November Policy of Exclusion to be a revelation of the mind and will of God 3 ½ years before re-writing history to downgrade it to just a ‘policy’ and abandoning it in a mist of darkness of lies:
“When we’re desperate to have more money, we eagerly follow the Lord’s law of finances—which is, of course, tithing!
Consider President George Q. Cannon’s approach to tithing when he was an impoverished young man. When his bishop commented on the large amount of tithing poor young George was paying, George said something like: “Oh bishop, I’m not paying tithing on what I make. I’m paying tithing on what I want to make.” And the very next year George earned exactly the amount of money he had paid tithing on the year before!”
Apostle Neil L Anderson at BYU Idaho in his commencement address titled “Reverence for God is the beginning of wisdom’ 10 April 2009 quoted a story Gordon B Hinckley told in April 2002 General Conference in HIS talk titled ‘We Walk By Faith.’:
“Let me share an experience from a noble Latter-day Saint in São Paulo, Brazil. She tells of her struggle between paying her tithing or her tuition. Here are her words: “The university … prohibited the students that were in debt [or who had not paid their tuition] from taking tests. I remember a time when I … faced serious financial difficulties. It was a Thursday when I received my salary. When I figured the monthly budget, I noticed that there wouldn’t be enough to pay [both] my tithing and my university. I would have to choose between them. The bimonthly tests would start the following week, and if I didn’t take them, I could lose the school year. I felt great agony. … My heart ached.”
Here was a direct conflict between the wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God. …..First, she paid her tithing on Sunday. She made the decision….. You will find that you are confronted with these types of tests many times throughout your life. Where will you put your trust? “
Gordon B Hinckley in the April 1982 General Conference taught in his talk titled ‘Tithing’:
“We hear some these days who say that because of economic pressures they cannot afford to pay their tithing. I recall an experience I had as a stake president some years ago. A man whom I knew came to get his temple recommend signed. I questioned him in the usual way and asked, among other things, whether he was paying an honest tithing. He candidly replied that he was not, that he could not afford to because of his many debts. I felt impressed to tell him that he would not pay his debts until he paid his tithing.”
Elder Lyn G Robins of the Seventy really went for it in his very honestly titled talk called ‘Tithing - a commandment even for the Destitute’ in April 2005 General Conference. Notice how he completely conflates the rules associated with making animal sacrifices in the Old Testament religion in rituals of worship and repentance with paying tithing, which in all the ancient and more recent scriptures is described as a donation to be used to literally house and feed the full-time temple priests and the poor. Noone was ever asked to sacrifice 10% of their flocks, just an individual animal without blemish, or a tokenary sample of plant crops.
This whole idea that he is going to teach that God requires the desperately poor to pass the ultimate test is not just a modern invention of the LDS Pharisee General Authorities teaching it, it I the literal opposite of what God wants. Notice how he implies that this is a test all of us are going to face at some time in our lives, to be absolutely destitute and have to put tithing before survival. That’s utter nonsense. The normally well off or wealthy are never in their lives going to come close to being required to pass this ultimately demanding test that he makes seem so essential to pass. They get a pass from his Pharisee God. This extra mile of faithfulness is only expected by the Church of its very poorest members, and as I said earlier, don’t they love to fetishise and make holy that suffering instead of doing their solemn duty to make sure it never happens in the first place - WITH the tithing! They make it a commandment to all the poor and destitute. You MUST suffer like this and risk the very survival of yourself and your starving children on a huge gamble or test of faith to fling yourself off a cliff and expect God to catch you.
Wasn’t that precisely one of the temptations of Lucifer that Jesus rebuked him for? A wicked act of sign-seeking? To put yourself, or the poor people you are teaching and giving commandments to from the General Conference pulpit, in danger just to test God and see if He would rescue you? But this is precisely what all these General Authorities are commanding the destitute Mormons to do, with the clear framing that if they don’t they will fail a crucial test of their faith and betray their God and forfeit blessings and perhaps even heaven.
“The natural man has a tendency to think only of himself—not only to place himself first, but rarely, if ever, to place anyone else second, including God. For the natural man, sacrifice does not come naturally. He has an insatiable appetite for more. His so-called needs seem to always outpace his income so that having “enough” is forever out of reach, just as it was for the miser Scrooge.
Because the natural man tends to hoard or consume everything, the Lord wisely commanded ancient Israel to sacrifice not the last and poorest of the flock, but the firstlings—not the leftovers of the field, but the firstfruits (see Deut. 26:2; Mosiah 2:3; Moses 5:5). Genuine sacrifice has been a hallmark of the faithful from the beginning…. Among those who do not sacrifice there are two extremes: one is the rich, gluttonous man who won’t and the other is the poor, destitute man who believes he can’t. But how can you ask someone who is starving to eat less? Is there a level of poverty so low that sacrifice should not be expected or a family so destitute that paying tithing should cease to be required?
The Lord often teaches using extreme circumstances to illustrate a principle. The story of the widow of Zarephath is an example of extreme poverty used to teach the doctrine that mercy cannot rob sacrifice any more than it can rob justice. In fact, the truer measure of sacrifice isn’t so much what one gives to sacrifice as what one sacrifices to give (see Mark 12:43). Faith isn’t tested so much when the cupboard is full as when it is bare. In these defining moments, the crisis doesn’t create one’s character—it reveals it. The crisis is the test.
“And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die” (1 Kgs. 17:10–12).
A handful of meal would be very little indeed, perhaps just enough for one serving, which makes Elijah’s response intriguing. Listen: “And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first” (1 Kgs. 17:13; emphasis added).
Now doesn’t that sound selfish, asking not just for the first piece, but possibly the only piece? Didn’t our parents teach us to let other people go first and especially for a gentleman to let a lady go first, let alone a starving widow? Her choice—does she eat, or does she sacrifice her last meal and hasten death? Perhaps she will sacrifice her own food, but could she sacrifice the food meant for her starving son?
One reason the Lord illustrates doctrines with the most extreme circumstances is to eliminate excuses. If the Lord expects even the poorest widow to pay her mite, where does that leave all others who find that it is not convenient or easy to sacrifice?
(That’s a lie. If you actually read the Bible you will find that the Old Testament and Jesus forbid the priests from taking a widow’s home and last pennies. It is a violation of their obligation to use the tithing donations to the temple to feed and house the poor and it is a violation of the commandment to honour your Father and Mother which primarily involved making sure your elderly parents are housed and fed. The Lord NEVER expected the poorest widow to pay her last mite.)
Repeat: One reason the Lord illustrates doctrines with the most extreme circumstances is to eliminate excuses. If the Lord expects even the poorest widow to pay her mite, where does that leave all others who find that it is not convenient or easy to sacrifice?
No bishop, no missionary should ever hesitate or lack the faith to teach the law of tithing to the poor. The sentiment of “They can’t afford to” needs to be replaced with “They can’t afford not to.”
One of the first things a bishop must do to help the needy is ask them to pay their tithing. Like the widow, if a destitute family is faced with the decision of paying their tithing or eating, they should pay their tithing. The bishop can help them with their food and other basic needs until they become self-reliant.
In October of 1998 Hurricane Mitch devastated many parts of Central America. President Gordon B. Hinckley was very concerned for the victims of this disaster, many of whom lost everything—food, clothing, and household goods. He visited the Saints in the cities of San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, Honduras; and Managua, Nicaragua. And like the words of the loving prophet Elijah to a starving widow, this modern prophet’s message in each city was similar—to sacrifice and be obedient to the law of tithing.
But how can you ask someone so destitute to sacrifice? President Hinckley knew that the food and clothing shipments they received would help them survive the crisis, but his concern and love for them went far beyond that. As important as humanitarian aid is, he knew that the most important assistance comes from God, not from man. The prophet wanted to help them unlock the windows of heaven as promised by the Lord in the book of Malachi (see Mal. 3:10; Mosiah 2:24).
President Hinckley taught them that if they would pay their tithing, they would always have food on their tables, they would always have clothing on their backs, and they would always have a roof over their heads.
When serving a meal, it is much easier to set one more plate at the beginning of the meal than it is to find food for a latecomer once the meal is over and the food has been served. Likewise, isn’t it actually easier to give the Lord the firstlings or the firstfruits than it is to hope that there are sufficient “leftovers” for Him? As the founder of our feast, shouldn’t He be the guest of honor, the first to be served?”
Don’t his first statements there about the wicked ‘natural man’ perfectly describe what the Pharisee First Presidencies and Presiding Bishoprics have done with the tithes and offering handed over to them on false pretences?
“For the natural man, sacrifice does not come naturally. He has an insatiable appetite for more. His so-called needs seem to always outpace his income so that having “enough” is forever out of reach, just as it was for the miser Scrooge. Because the natural man tends to hoard or consume everything,”
They hoard and consume our money and our time and what we give them is never enough. Pharisees are always busy inventing MORE ways to take them. More toxic behaviours and anxieties to be scrupulous and judgemental of each other about, more layers on Uchtdorf’s mountain of sediments of man-made good ideas. Programs and expectations. Fire the janitors and YOU do the cleaning. Pay a GENEROUS fast offering. A ‘FULL’ tithe. ‘Magnify’ your callings. Go the extra mile. Obsess about every detail of your clothing and grooming. Take the sacrament with your right hand. And piece by piece they replace Christ’s clear instructions for how to live and what to believe with Lucifer’s plan for Pharisee living and believing that is their true religion.
The revelations about how superstar General Authority Seventy Paul H Dunne spent the years before his fall from grace being the totally trustworthy face of massive insurance scams robbing the faithful are just a drop in the swampy ocean that makes Utah the nation’s capital for affinity fraud and the FBI has established an office in Utah exclusively dealing with Affinity fraud to save on the airmiles of its agents.
A 2012 article in The Economist reported that Utah is believed to have the highest per-capita rate of affinity fraud in the U.S. due to about two-thirds of the residents being members of the LDS Church, among whom such crimes tend to flourish. Authorities estimate affinity fraud cost Utahns an estimated $1.4 billion in 2010 alone, an average of about $500 per resident. In 2017, a statement from the FBI noted that Utah consistently ranked high in the United States with "the most significant white-collar crime cases." And that’s not even including the affinity fraud of tithing and fast offering and International Humanitarian Aid funds and the Perpetual Education Fund and making elderly missionaries sell their homes and use their life savings to serve that the Church is perpetrating on its members there.
Now imagine starting with a community like that… and then like some kind of mad game show or movie where the guy has to spend every penny of $1 million or $1 billion in one day to inherit 10, imagine what must actually go on when the Ensign Peak Advisers fund managers and their General Authority overseers have the challenge every year of spending yet another $9 billion on investments. $7 billion from Ensign Peak dividends and ANOTHER $2 Billion overpaid by the tithers AFTER they have spent every penny they can, or are willing to, on the Church. Like, you’d actually run out of shares to buy wouldn’t you. It’s no wonder Deseret is awash with rumours now about otherwise failing and mismanaged businesses run by Mormons with connections suddenly getting a huge cash boost from the Church’s investors desperate to find somewhere to shovel their gold into.
Since the Whistleblower went public about the Ensign Peak Fund it has suddenly gone from top secret to publishing lists of the hundreds of companies it invests in and how much online. I simply don’t understand why investigative journalists are not all over this. There is a trophy cabinet full of Pulitzer Prizes just waiting for anyone willing to put some time into tracking the epic levels of affinity investing that must be going on as the people with the influence splash all this cash about the place.
It would only take microscopically insignificant percentages of such vast sums, that would hardly be noticed on ledger pages, to make a LOT of friend and family and the companies THEY have invested in very rich in countless ways when you are talking about a tiny church with more money that the GDP of 155 of the world’s nation states before any expenditure. The scale of secrecy around the Church’s finances and membership data is legendary. But it really wouldn’t be that hard to get behind the Wizard of Oz’s curtain and find out what’s really going on in a community with no natural immunity towards or fear of predatory journalists because their local ones are so tame, or just employed by the Church at the Church News or Deseret News or the TV and radio stations they own. And like all high demand fundamentalist religions that strictly forbid gossiping, Mormons absolutely LOVE to gossip!
So I’m calling out the few remaining investigative journalists in the USA or even some of the tame Utah ones who fancy being a proper journalist and doing something to really make a difference before they die to do their jobs. There are countless Pulitzer prizes waiting to be won if for once they don’t leave it to the British Broadcasting Company journalists to lay waste to the Church’s lies, sinister surveillance of dissident members and hypocrisies like John Sweeney did in just one interview with Jeffrey Holland in March 2012. The fruit of Ensign peak is so low hanging it’s burying itself in the ground because it’s made of 2750 tons of solid gold.
Super-rich and powerful organisations need accountability or they will justify any kind of corruption to themselves, and Mormons are already epic at being both bumbling naïve amateurs and mental gymnasts. The conflation of that scale of wealth in a culture that infantilises its adult members and neuters their critical thinking skills so thoroughly and unscientific magical thinking is a virtue is surely absolutely teeming with corruption. Well, we already know it is. Until Mitt Romney turned up and kicked butt, the Salt Lake Olymics was rapidly becoming the most financially corrupt in the history of the Olympics. It was external scrutiny that turned what would have been Mormonism’s worst PR disaster since America found out that after publicly abandoning polygamy its leaders had carried on merrily polygamizing for years at the Smoot Hearings in the early 1900’s into a triumph and a ‘Mormon Moment’ that nearly got them a Mormon President.
Eventually the many circling vultures are going to all attack at once on our institutional child abuse coverups that give the Catholics a run for their money, just as they already have on the many conspiracies to hide true history. The scale of money the Church has hoarded and hidden is astronomical and has global financial implications. Eventually the hungry journalists will flock to feed on such juicy fruit and quite justly that will become the fruit by which our unsupervised and dangerous leaders will make us all known just as they did in previous mini dispensations with polygamy and then racism. Wouldn’t it be amazing to just not have to watch yet another car crash unfold and get these things RIGHT for once in our history?!
The journos are already tentatively pecking our eyeballs. We are desperately short of time to make the radical reforms in all those areas needed to have any chance of getting ahead of the curve and surviving when they really tuck in, but the naïve and ineptly corrupt amateur shambles the Church’s leading oligarchy of clergy and lawyers makes of everything they touch, as I have been documenting, really doesn’t inspire confidence. The ostrich approach of ignoring problems and hoping for the best in full Stockdale Paradox mode, or blaming the members for problems, is not going to save the Church.
I want our Church to be healthy and there is no way that will happen without robust checks and balances on decision making and scrutiny by the free press and the honestly and completely informed common consent of the entire membership instead of layer upon layer of secrets and lies. The reforms that will save the Church from journalistic and legal scrutiny or attacks or whatever you want to call it are the same things that will save it from losing all of our children. Throughout the 20th century the Church’s leaders have NEVER reformed anything without concerted and persistent external pressure or public shame. That’s the game they have chosen to play as backward looking and fearful old men prioritising a terrified stubborn resistance to change and modern realities, or ANY realities really, so let’ play it. It’s not the forward-thinking, visionary and joyful Christian game they SHOULD be playing of course, but they have all the institutional power and they have chosen the rules of the war, so we need to engage with that reality to be effective and win for Christianity. And the inevitable consequences of fruits and karma are always going to be on the side of truth and justice, so that is encouraging when it feels like we are facing daunting odds.
HOW TO GET THE TREASURE BACK TO WHERE OUR HEARTS ARE
So let’s talk to them in their love language. Stop giving them more money. Christian Mormonism and its prophets from the bronze age all the way to the 20th Century were completely clear that according to all their criteria not a single one of us should be paying any financial offerings of any kind to the Church in the present circumstances of overwhelming egregious wealth. So between you and God and His real Church that’s settled. There is no shade of gray or wiggle room or different way to interpret those scriptures and prophetic statements. Joseph F Smith was clear.
Worried about your temple recommend? Declare yourself a full tithe payer. It is your right. YOU decide what that means. The Handbook tells your Judge in Israel this:
Definition of Tithing
The First Presidency has written: “The simplest statement we know of is the statement of the Lord himself, namely, that the members of the Church should pay ‘one-tenth of all their interest annually,’ which is understood to mean income. No one is justified in making any other statement than this” (First Presidency letter, Mar. 19, 1970; see also Doctrine and Covenants 119:4).
Doctrine and Covenants 119 defines tithing as “one-tenth of all their interest annually.” According to the Church’s current companion manual to the study of the Doctrine and Covenants called “Revelations In Context” in its chapter titled ‘The Tithing of My People’ this meant to the early Latter-day Saints 10% of any interest their net worth would make in a year if invested, which was then around 6% based on their typical interest rates. 10% of 6% is 0.6 %. Basically 10% of your annual profits, or 0.6% of your net income or net worth, not 10% of your net or entire gross income as usually taught to us today.
So to be very specific, while the Pharisee Mormons whose love language is money have been telling us all our Church life that a “full” tithe is really 10% of your gross annual income but at a push you can drop it to 10% of your net income after taxes and they’ll turn a blind eye, ALL ALONG the Handbook has pointed everyone to tithing really being about 10% of your annual profits if you have any.
Or rather, the Handbook WASN’T pointing everyone to this for our entire lives until last year when it all went online. Until then only the Church leaders allowed to HAVE the Handbook will have seen or been aware of that actual instruction while in most cases teaching us all something quite different to it and enthusiastically guilt tripping everyone into handing over 10% of everything plus a generous fast offering.
Now the truth is out about all this, the way I see it we all as Church members have 3 options for how to respond to it.
Option 1 - Don’t pay. Evidence for that is crystal clear from Ensign Peak and Joseph F Smith’s promise and prophecy to the whole Church. Crystal clear. Your tithing has been paid, and then some. By you or your ancestors, either way, we are there now. Tithing and all other offerings is over while we can live off the interest of what was already been given. You are a full tithe payer.
Option 2 – Reboot to the original canonised tithing commandment in the scriptures as being 10% of your annual profits if you have any profits. Nothing else has ever been canonised or put into the Handbook. The temporary ‘Get the Church out of debt and pay 10% of income if you can afford it’ thing finished decades ago. Or it should have done. A subset of option 2 could, and in my opinion should be, they lied to you to pay far more than that all the time you have been paying at the 10% of net or gross income rate so do a bit of maths. Work out how much you have already massively overpaid above what you would have paid at the accurate percentage of 10% of your annual profits only, if you had any, and each tithing settlement take off that year’s 10% of profits from what you already paid, declare yourself a full tithe payer, and if that lump sum you already paid runs out, start giving them more money again at 10% of your annual profits.
Option 3 – If you are one of the amazing Mormon mental gymnasts totally unable to cope intellectually, spiritually or emotionally with God allowing your beloved prophets and apostles to just lie to everyone and rob them of a fortune without it being part of a higher plan and still somehow what God wanted to happen, because He won’t let them lead the Church astray, I think you’re crazy, but we can go with that! Why not? Hallelujah!!! The Lord be praised for his bountiful blessings and mercies. Behold the miracle He hath wrought and turned your mere handful of loaves and fishes into a mind boggling gargantuan mountain of gold! Dance in the streets with your tambourines daughters of Zion! (…just make sure you have only one pair of earrings..) These Latter Days are still a day of miracles and prophecy. President Joseph F Smith, son of Hyrum Smith and nephew of the Prophet of the Restoration Joseph Smith Jr did prophecy and promise the plan of the Lord for his people and in our day his prophecy, that he yearned to live to see, has been fulfilled! There has now been gathered in from the faithful enough and more into the storehouse of the Lord to provide for everything from the interest thereof! We no longer need to give another tiny cent to the Church for the Lord hath provided and declared unto us His Jubilee! Rejoice! And lo, even though it beeth totally unnecessary to even mention any more, let us keep the tithing question in the Temple Recommend interview so that we and our children and our children’s children shall join us in this rejoicing and cry out with us all through every succeeding age when askethed if we have paid an honest tithe, that YES!!! Yes we HAVE Lord! Israel your People have Paid!
What about you Bishops and Stake Presidents? What is your moral and spiritual duty as guardians of your flock, watchmen on the tower charged to warn them of invaders who would corrupt and harm them and to fight the wolves in sheep’s clothing teaching lies for truth? Did you honestly know that you were part of a system of exploitation and robbery of the poor that Jesus precisely and repeatedly forbade you to ever be a part of? If not, then you are a victim of this elaborate web of lies and half-truths as much as anyone else. You sinned in ignorance and Christ’s atonement has already absolved you.
But now you KNOW, and your very soul is in peril. Knowledge is power and with great knowledge and great power comes great responsibility. Don’t get cross with me for doing this to you and putting you in this dilemma – how many times have you taught people that when they heard the gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them they left neutral territory, specially if they know that what is being said is the truth? From that moment on and every moment where we learn a true principle or commandment of God, we are all under an obligation to live up to it and be blessed or refuse to live up to it and be punished. So don’t go all snowflakey on me Bishops and Stake Presidents. You’ve been doing exactly this all your ministerial lives – being the first to tell people something that is true they didn’t know about or understand before you told them and put them in a position of heightened responsibility to actual God regarding what they do with that information. Don’t be sad – remember, greater blessing come to those living greater laws and knowing greater truths! It’s ALL onwards and upwards!
If you continue to teach or administer this system of lies and robbery you will become a sinner condemned along with its architects to a deeply unpleasant retribution from an angry God, and to paraphrase W Christopher, we’ve already seen what He did to that Boyd K Packer guy and his secret combinations with the internet! And unfortunately as a leader you have the additional duty to not remain silent about this but to teach the truth to your people. And stop taking donations from them unless it is their informed choice as President Joseph F Smith stipulated in 1907 and they are fully aware that God and His real Church, the Christian one not the Pharisee one, does not in any way expect a penny from them and that they will in no way be punished, burned at the last days or denied essential blessings because they do not carry on paying money to the Church that stopped needing it years ago. If they want to keep paying, tell them to pay it to charities that will give it to the poor like God wants them to as he made clear in Isaiah 58.
You may be thinking ‘But the living prophet supersedes previous prophets like Joseph F Smith! President Nelson wants us to pay 10% of our total income and the Presiding Bishopric and these Seventies keep telling us even the starving should pay tithing!” Well, they can say what they want but what does their recently updated Handbook still actually say? And that study manual HAS been correlated. If you are really going to have a prophet-off between Joseph F and Russell M, Joseph F was the last prophet to have a proper revelation canonised as a section of the Doctrine and Covenants. Russell M has a logo and he threw Presidents Hinckley and Monson under the bus as offending Jesus and giving a victory to Satan.’ Which one do you think is more prophety?
This will feel awkward I’m sure. You’re thinking of all those desperately poor people you guilt tripped and promised would be blessed if they handed over their widows’ mites instead of providing for their own families and all the Relief Society Presidents you instructed to leave their families and totally waste hours of their lives doing other people’s shopping for them, but only dropping off on their doorsteps the own brand bland food in some plastic bags, like a Christmas Hamper from the Anti-Christ on behalf of Baby Jesus. You are going to have to process a LOT of guilt. But what do you always say to other people, no matter how overwhelming their sins and their guilt are ? You know the Atonement of Jesus is big enough to cope and heal that hurt. So suck it up and do the right thing! Even if it’s the harder thing to do, like President Monson, the Prophet who President Nelson taught us gave victories to Satan, used to say all the time with his twinkly eyes and wiggly ears. I miss him.
Seriously, what other possible ethical options can you have when you know the truth about this titanic, highly organised and intentional fraud? The First Presidency have used you as cannon fodder. All along they have used that single simple statement reiterating Doctrine and Covenants 119 as their fig leaf of plausible deniability, their get out clause if anyone challenged them. Their way to blame YOU most specifically as the only ones with access to the Handbook, rather than themselves because they have TECHNICALLY always said to the bishoprics and stake presidencies that TECHNICALLY the Church has not expected anything from them other that the interest on annual profits that scripture was about all along.
And as awesome Roger Clarke who has met with the First Presidency every month for years knows perfectly well, they knew there would be no need for expecting anyone to donate another penny to the Church while it was so rich already and could run itself entirely from the investments interest. They KNEW it. They KNOW it. But because they love money more than us they kept this secret from us all because “they never wanted to be in a position where people felt like, you know, they shouldn’t make a contribution.”
Ultimately the First Presidency should repent and apologise for this, and this time for once the rest of the Apostles are not complicit because they were never told what was in the Ensign Peak and whatever other funds the First Presidency and Presiding Bishopric have hidden away even when they asked, like Elder Packer did. Which SURELY is all the proof you need that they knew they were doing something really really bad?!! They were too ashamed or simply evil to even tell the other apostles! The First Presidency aren’t even accountable or honest with THEM.
But they probably won’t ever apologise of course because Dallin Oaks has already declared that they don’t make apologies. It’s hilarious how he framed that as some kind of equal transaction when he said “The Church doesn't seek apologies and we don't give them." As if that’s some kind of cute ‘we’re all in this together as equal sinners before God. We are simply modelling for the world that everyone should forgive other people’s sins because we all sin and need forgiveness. So let’s just forget it and move forward.’ Well, they don’t practice it. What he meant was The Church will never apologise to YOU for the cruelties it inflicted on you when it knew better and its own scriptures told it not to do any of those awful things to you, but if you spend too long looking at some boobies in a catalogue the Church will put you through a living hell before it declares you forgiven! You need to go and apologise to Jesus, His Church and the Bishop IMMEDIATELY!” The flabbergasted incredulity that greeted Oaks’ apology fatwa is usually framed around him not understanding the need for apologies in a repentance process, but what everyone seems to have forgotten is that in addition to that, the Church demands apologies from every single one of us all the time! But this doesn’t compute in Dallin’s brain because he thinks he and all the other Apostles and prophets are infallible and always have been. So there’s nothing for them to apologise for.
The real power dynamic going on in his statement was, to use a metaphor (someone cover W Christopher’s ears – he’s not good with metaphors) it’s like we once accidentally stepped on the Church’s foot last year but every day all year the Church punched you and your family in your nuts, and your wallet which for some people is even worse, and the Church says “Lets do a deal – I won’t ask you to apologise for stepping on my foot and you won’t ask me to apologise for punching you and your family in the nuts and your wallet every day for a year. This seems totally fair to me – let’s just focus on the future and all getting along now, shall we?”
By the way, if you want to watch Dallin Oaks go through that entire process of expecting people never to ask the Church to acknowledge its RACIST equivalent of kicking families in the nuts for years while pointing out that one time a black person stepped on his foot and then saying we should just forget it and move on in harmony as if it is now resolved, watch his recent ‘Racism and other Challenges’ devotional at BYU Provo.
So do your jobs Bishops and Stake Presidents. Teach the truth, I dare you. The whole truth and nothing but the truth. Give the people the information to make informed decisions instead of deceived decisions about their tithing and offerings, sign their temple recommends whatever they declare because of option 1, and if you are dealing with fundamentalist fanatical lunatics, give them option 3 so they can rejoice and save themselves a fortune they shouldn’t have to pay anyway.
The Church will still make a massive profit of billions of dollars this year and have even MORE money per active member, specially as the number of active members is falling through the floor precisely because of this kind of corruption and lying. NOONE will be harmed or go without, but literally millions of people will be released from at least some of their mind-forged manacles and no one needs to leave the Church to do it! Declare liberty to your captives!
And make that bold start to the changes that URGENTLY needs to happen to save the Church. Surely the first thing that needs to stop is actual robbery. And it will be so easy to just simply DO compared to any of the other changes that also need to happen fast. Start with the easy one. This is the low hanging fruit.
And use the only love language the Pharisee Apostles can translate clearly and send a strong message to them that the game is up. The caper was exposed a year ago. The Bamboozle is refuted. Just like FAIRMormon’s desperate mental gymnastics in the face of overwhelming evidence and truth that so helpfully provided this F work bleep, the Fraud is F****d. You’ve had more than a year now to get used to this new reality about the finances of the Church. The Pharisee General Authorities who don’t even understand the Parable of the Talents, or the Widow’s mite, or Joseph’s famine preparations, or the Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression are telling us all that absolutely nothing has changed, but YOU aren’t that ignorant or naïve or easy to manipulate and brainwash I hope. You understand that it completely changes everything, so after a year of changing nothing about what YOU are teaching or doing about this yet, don’t you think that’s long enough? Isn’t it time to stop letting them do this to you and to your ward and your stake members? Is your calling to serve Christ, the source and Light of Truth, or to continue facilitating theft and deception and charity fraud?
Isn’t it time to make clear to these people erasing your Sunday attendance statistics that we are no longer going to be their playthings in a dystopian feudal system? And they’d better start preparing Shakespearean Apologies to read at the next General Conference or they’ll be out on their ear and replaced by someone who isn’t heading for the OTHER kind of free room and board for tax and charity fraud and embezzlement.
We could even have a big party in 40 years like the ‘Be One’ fandango they did to congratulate themselves for stopping being racist. We could call it ‘Widow’s Mite Gone’ and have an elderly Roger Clarke wheeled in to great cheering holding the actual mite coin that used to hang on the Ensign Peak office wall and he could ceremonially present it to a Costa Rican family experiencing hard times. I’d be over the moon to make an ‘unsolicited voluntary’ donation towards funding THAT party!