Shout-out for a great topic

Dave, BCC’er and mastermind of Dave’s Mormon Inquiry, has a tremendous post up about fiscal transparency in the Church. Some very strong arguments all over this issue, and raises some fun questions about Church fiscal policy and our relative wealth. I wonder if the Church engages in derivatives, swaps and hedges in complicated structures, Enron-style, or whether it is all about straight-up asset valuation in the Warren Buffett tradition. Clearly, the consecrated funds view is a solid argument for conservative transactions — but at the same time, the parable of the talents rewarded the highest gains! If Warren Buffett used his middle initial more prominently (it’s “E”, for Edward) he could almost be a G.A. — his annual letters could be slapped into the Ensign, they’re that fun to read.

P.S. hot presidential debate tonight, supposibly focusing on the economy. Stay tuned for a poll!


  1. john fowles says:

    But at the same time one could argue that they don’t ask to see our tax returns to make sure we’re paying the proper 10%, so we shouldn’t expect the church to open their books up to us.

    That’s a nice point.

    As to John H.’s position, I very much agree with that. If some scandal did break, it still wouldn’t affect me. Testimony has to be good for something, as I see it. Anyway, John H. articulated a very pragmatic reason for weathering such a situation: people are people and if they screw up, it doesn’t necessarily say anything about the Church or the restored Gospel, except that the individuals involved will have to repent for their misdeeds. Incidentally, you might say that I also apply this principle to many other areas; thus, if the Church historian is being tight about allowing access to certain items, or if some GAs are trying to “whitewash” history, I don’t hold it against the Church or the Gospel. Pragmatically speaking, they are just humans with their own ideosyncracies.

  2. I love that episode of Friends!

    Just for the sake of shocking poor John Fowles to death, I actually tend to agree with his comments over at Dave’s Inquiry about tithing money.

    For all the crap I give the Church about white-washing history, anti-intellectualism, blind faith, etc., I’ve just never had a problem paying tithing or worrying about how the money is spent. I’ve never had the slightest hint that leaders are mismanaging or abusing their roles as trustees for the Church corporation.

    Sure, it might be nice to see more money going to fight AIDS in Africa, or poverty, or whatever, instead of sinking 15 million into yet another temple. But even the skeptic in me has a hard time finding fault with a sacred space that has the power to uplift and energize many people.

    If there was a scandal involving Church funds, I wouldn’t much care, frankly. People are people and money can make the best among us greedy. It certainly wouldn’t reflect some sort of lack of divinity on the part of the Church, in my mind.

    I guess it’s ironic that a guy like me might weather a storm of scandal better than more “faithful” folks. I don’t have any unrealistic expectations to be shattered.

  3. I see no reason why the church shouldn’t in some way disclose its finances, even if the disclosures are not that detailed. What have they got to hide?

    But at the same time one could argue that they don’t ask to see our tax returns to make sure we’re paying the proper 10%, so we shouldn’t expect the church to open their books up to us.

  4. I stole it from an episode of ‘Friends’. It’s one of Joey’s made up words. “Did they go to the museum?” “Supposibly…”

  5. Aaron Brown says:

    I will refrain from scrutinizing and complaining about how tithing funds are spent, as long as the Church continues to tolerate the “New Member pay an additional 5% to the Ward Mission Leader” program that I recently implemented in my ward.

    Aaron B

  6. Steve, you can’t just disagree, especially when you take such an anti-church, anti-God position. You must explain to us why you insist on being unfaithful…And then you must repent.

  7. john fowles says:

    supposibly? I like that word.

  8. Thanks for the shout-out, Steve. I’m honored to have found a question that could bring John H and John F together on the same side of an issue.

  9. When two Johns are together, there am I also. Except that I don’t agree with either of them!!!

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