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 Post subject: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:53 am 
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I was discussing the $100B with my TBM wife and we were talking about why it angers some people so much. I had the thought that it is just another permutation of the Problem of Evil. She hadn't heard of that so I explained it like this: some feel that if God has the power to stop some horrible event, like the rape of a child for instance, and he fails to intervene to stop the event from occurring, he gains some complicity in the act itself. That's the standard I would hold myself to if I were witnessing such an act, were in total power to stop it, and failed to do so. Presumably, an all-powerful and all-knowing God is all three of those things in every case of a horrible event like a child rape. OK, Problem of Evil covered.

I explained that there is a great deal of evil and suffering in the world that a common man such as myself is aware of, but I really lack the power to make any real dent in them, so I try to find ways to better the world on a small scale and I have to just accept that the vast majority of the world is outside of my influence. This is very different than the situation with the church. Your sphere of influence gets quite large when you possess $100B; at that point you have enough to make very real and very measurable differences in the world's problems if you choose to. Bill and Melinda Gates seem to be taking this path and I admire them a lot for it. $40M out of $100B (.04%) per year does not represent a serious effort to do good in the world with your money. It is similar to me sacrificing $50 per year to better the world. (Actually, that's not really a good comparison, since I have mandatory expenses and taxes that need to come out of my salary; the church's fund is 100% gravy.) So what makes people like me mad is that the church now has immense power to do great good on a global scale, but doesn't seem to be doing much except promoting itself.

My wife indicated that she understood that line of reasoning and why it would bother people (I sensed maybe some reluctance to empathize too deeply with the Problem of Evil as applied to God). She then shared with me that she has essentially lost confidence in nontransparent LDS church processes and would no longer tithe to the church. I felt my jaw really wanting to drop to the floor but somehow managed to keep it up through sheer strength of will. I mean, she earns no income so doesn't currently pay anything but hearing that she wouldn't even if she did really kind of shocked me.

I think a lot of mistrust of the leadership hierarchy was sown in her mind a year or so earlier by the fact that she wrote several letters to church leaders and the church legal department informing them of her knowledge that a currently-serving bishop sexually abused someone as a teen to which the church took no action (he still serves to this day and presumably talks sex details with children one-on-one).

She is noticing that church leaders aren't denying anything about the $100B sum or the transfers to for-profit businesses, and that there are weasel-words and misdirection in their statements. I think she knows deep down that the church would immediately deny if the allegations were false. The church leaders have lost her trust. She claims to still be a believing Mormon but this all leaves me wondering what the nature of her belief really is. I guess that's what the next conversation will be...or not. Years ago I decided that I would support her as a Mormon until the day I died if she would support me as an ex-Mormon and not treat me as some kind of misguided fool. She has held her end of the bargain so I feel zero desire to influence her relationship with the church. I just genuinely have trouble understanding how anyone could want to maintain any kind of relationship with such a controlling organization once trust in the leadership is lost. It baffles me.

Anyway, I think that while the revelation of the $100B sum maybe doesn't do that much with the TBMest of the TBMs, its effect is yet to be felt fully. It really smashes the perception that the church is using its means to do great good in the world, which is something I believed strongly back in my TBM days, despite the complete lack of supporting evidence. Today's TBMs don't get to feel that anymore, instead they get to feel proud that the church is doing everything it can to build a power fund to achieve financial dominance. Certain personalities will love that; others may not.

And most gratifyingly, I don't think the church will ever receive another dollar from my household and for that I am very grateful for this information to have been made public.

Anyone else have any stories/thoughts to share?

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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 11:48 am 
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Wow....my heart is full and I am having some great faith in the eye awakenings of Mormons. I admire your wife!!!


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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 11:54 am 
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Your wife sounds like a reasonable TBM :) I wonder why a believing TBM, even one who has no problem with the church's $100B fund, would continue to pay tithing. Once you learn that the church has enough money that it can continue to pay for all of its operations and support healthy growth simply off the interest earnings of its assets, how do you justify donating 10% of your income to them? I assume the answer is it's not a donation, it's a commandment and fire insurance. Maybe TBMs here can weigh in.

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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:29 pm 
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Thanks for sharing. It is a touchy subject with some folks and I’ve had several family members text, email or call me with their TBM version of how the $100b+ revelation landed on them.

I knew about the $100b about 8 months ago and have shared with a small number of friends some of the details behind that, with a bit of color from the inside. All of that detail was validated in the public whistleblower materials. But I kept it close, for the most part, not wanting to get anyone in trouble for sharing. The NDAs at EPA are ridiculous and link to church standing.

It shouldn’t be a surprise, but the most comforting aspect of all of this for believers is that leaders aren’t personally enriching themselves with monetary emoluments. Neither are the EPA folks, by the way, and several of them are personal friends of mine. They make slightly more than Apostles do, in fixed salary with no performance incentive bonus whatsoever. Benefits are church employee standard and there are some odd quirks with an otherwise low intensity (8 hour days) job, such as required studying classic investment management books together, like companion study for missionaries.

I know 3 couples who were impacted by the public complaint. They have been going through various stages of questioning, dealing with the hard topics while remaining active and engaged like I have done. Giving equal time, as they say, and for various social and family reasons. One is a bishopric counselor, for instance, and another is his ward’s EQP. The implications of the $100b disclosure, together with the dismissive statements out of church HQ, hit all of them pretty hard for exactly the reasons you outlined. All three told me they’ve decided as couples to stop paying tithing until they see evidence of good- doing (or is it do-gooding?) with the money.

It wasn’t lost on any of them that the size and secrecy of the cash hoard sends a powerful message to members that leaders do not actually believe the second coming is imminent, nor do they feel a burden to do the works of Jesus in the world.

That’s a serious problem and it’s own kind of violation of trust. Not for mismanagement of funds, a sin of commission, but for the sin of omission on such an unprecedented scale.

My opinion: they’re afraid of the money.

The cash represents security and long duration, perhaps even signifies truth and divine endorsement, but deploying that much cash is exponentially more difficult than just investing it. It is the ecclesiastical machine that rewards leaders with power and authority. The money is just a byproduct, an edifice that has no direct utility for sustaining that power and authority.


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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:33 pm 
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fetchface’s wife is restoring a small measure of my faith in humanity. Kudos to her! She sounds like a sensible and principled person.

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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:52 pm 
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Kishkumen wrote:
fetchface’s wife is restoring a small measure of my faith in humanity. Kudos to her! She sounds like a sensible and principled person.

She's certainly a keeper!

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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:58 pm 
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Dr Moore wrote:
That’s a serious problem and it’s own kind of violation of trust. Not for mismanagement of funds, a sin of commission, but for the sin of omission on such an unprecedented scale.

My opinion: they’re afraid of the money.

I think you are right. Putting this money to good use would be hard work and would demand a lot of time and attention. I think they just want to continue doing what they are used to doing, which seems to me to be a bunch of administrative busy-work. They probably don't have much energy left after that is all done. I think they too are victims of the church hamster wheel set up for them by previous generations of leaders.

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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 5:20 pm 
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fetchface wrote:
And most gratifyingly, I don't think the church will ever receive another dollar from my household and for that I am very grateful for this information to have been made public.

Anyone else have any stories/thoughts to share?


I have had some very defensive responses from Mormons to the $100B reveal. The first response, as usual, is denial. " once again no proof allegations - if you are going to bag something at least have proof" Now that there has been no unequivocal denial they are moving on to praising the good work the church does with a few million bucks here and there.

I think the $100B reveal is going to be a sleeper issue. Every time members hear the Church humble-bragging about giving a few thousand dollars here and a million there, a little $100B neuron will fire. The Pacific Area Presidency recently put out a call for the Saints to fast on 5 January for an end to the drought in Australia that's fueling the fires. (They probably saw the available detailed forecasts of rain on 5-6th January). They reassured the members the church is giving "thousands" of dollars in aid (Bing - $100B neuron fires). In the midst of their humble-bragging they petitioned the members to contribute funds on their donation slips to humanitarian support for people affected by the fires (Bing - $100B neuron fires, Bing - "church reserves right to use any donations how they like" neuron fires).

Saying the church is donating thousands sounds extraordinarily hollow, now that members know the church is growing its war chest by at least $7B annually. And then you have the hide to ask the people who are responsible for building that war chest to dig even deeper into their pockets?

The $100B reveal will also do more damage outside of the US. More than anyone else on the planet, Americans tend to equate what's legal with what's ethical. If you can get away with something legally then it must be morally (sorta) OK. That sort of defense just won't wash in plenty of countries, making it almost impossible for Mormons to defend the church among their non-Mormon friends.

The hoarding of $100B is simply immoral. Member's $100B neurons are going to get a bit of a workout in the coming months and years.

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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:21 pm 
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Simon,

I should have read your post here before responding to your other post on the fires. You hit the nail on the head here.

Over at MAD, so many of the defenses rest on pointing out that what they are doing is legal, especially from the likes of Bob Crockett and SMAC, both lawyers, as if that makes it okay. They have no clue that the big question for members here isn't one of legality, it is one of morality and appearance. The world at large is not looking to see if the church is paying it's taxes, it is looking to see if it is acting the way one expects from a church claiming to be following the teachings of Christ. It is astonishing to see some people who actually openly state they think Christ would be pleased with the Church in this regard, as if Christ and capitalism are one and the same.

Brags from area presidencies about the church spending a measly few thousand dollars on aid really illustrate that problem and the more the frothing faithful shout out how they are following the law, the more they draw attention to the immorality of what they are doing.

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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 1:36 am 
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It's enough for apologists and probably many other people online or elsewhere who run up against criticism of the Church to support the 100B merely to spite people they don't like or who offend them. And then, there will be a tendency for many who lack self-confidence to cherish the connection to money. It's kind of like having a super rich relative that doesn't give you a dime, but the fact that you're connected lends bragging rights. Finally, there are those self-destructive types who believe tithing is a commandment and that they must sacrifice the money to the Brethren, even if the Brethren stockpile it or flush it. These are the three main tendencies I see behind defenses of the Church and its 100B. Dr. Scratch brought up a good point: where are the defenses that say, the money is simply necessary for the Second Coming as revealed by the Prophets, Seers, and Revelators?

The apologists have all but admitted they know the leaders are frauds since they have no interest whatsoever in backing up the Church leaders on this matter. But it's not just the apologists: Any member who doesn't rise and bear testimony of the immanent need of the funds for the Second Coming is essentially in apostasy, which pretty much accounts for the entire membership and a good number of the GAs themselves.

At this point, the entirety of the Church membership is oddly in this weird state of overt complicity in letting the leaders get away with a transparent untruth. They are basically saying that they know the leadership is fraudulent but support them anyway. Really weird.

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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 3:16 am 
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Something worth keeping in mind. The $40 million a year in humanitarian aid (cash + time + material goods) does not come from the cash interest earned on the $100 billion of tithing that's sat there being counted each month. It comes from additional member donations over and above tithing. The only "good" that's been done with the hoarding of the widows mite is to bail out two for-profit enterprises and to build a shopping mall.

I think the next time an impoverished member is faced with the choice between paying tithing or paying their fuel/food bill, the Church might lose the debate.

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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 5:36 am 
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I agree the effect of the hoarding revelation will come in probably less overall contributions from some of the members. The church doesn't need the money so why continue to sacrifice? Also, if I were an Australian member, I'd want to know what the church was going to contribute to the special appeal for the fire victims. The answer is probably nothing, unless it could get a little P.R. in the process. So, the incentive to sacrifice for miser church is further diminished.

Of course we will never know if the hoarding revelation leads to losses in future contributions, unless some future whistle blower spills the beans. However, one day we might see the church suddenly start using the money for actual charitable purposes out of the blue. But of course if that happens, it will be explained away as having nothing to do with the current hoarding revelation.

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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 7:48 am 
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Gadianton wrote:
At this point, the entirety of the Church membership is oddly in this weird state of overt complicity in letting the leaders get away with a transparent untruth. They are basically saying that they know the leadership is fraudulent but support them anyway. Really weird.

And statements encouraging obedience even when it is wrong and messages like "Wrong Roads" sure seem to encourage such patterns.


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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2020 7:11 pm 
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meadowchick wrote:
And statements encouraging obedience even when it is wrong and messages like "Wrong Roads" sure seem to encourage such patterns.


yeah, not to mention, "Have the faith NOT to be healed".

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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:49 am 
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Gadianton wrote:
They are basically saying that they know the leadership is fraudulent but support them anyway.

Think about that for a moment: What an utterly FANTASTIC position for any leader, anywhere, to find himself in!!

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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:00 am 
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Dr. Shades wrote:
Gadianton wrote:
They are basically saying that they know the leadership is fraudulent but support them anyway.

Think about that for a moment: What an utterly FANTASTIC position for any leader, anywhere, to find himself in!!

Downright Trumpian.

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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:11 am 
God
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Simon Southerton wrote:
I think the $100B reveal is going to be a sleeper issue.

I think this is a good way to put it. As a believer, I was very proud of all of the money that I assumed the church was spending on humanitarian efforts. I assumed it was probably hundreds of millions per year. I assumed it was a very significant percentage of the church's annual income.

Members today don't get to feel that pride. Instead, they get to feel proud that their church is hoarding vast sums of money. Maybe this doesn't cause 20% of the church to walk out in disgust, but it does give them one less reason to believe that the church is a major force for good in the world.

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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:59 pm 
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Gadianton wrote:
At this point, the entirety of the Church membership is oddly in this weird state of overt complicity in letting the leaders get away with a transparent untruth. They are basically saying that they know the leadership is fraudulent but support them anyway. Really weird.


Ultimately, the only argument the LDS have left is the same one Catholics use to explain the Borgia popes: They Have The Keys.


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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 2:01 pm 
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I imagine the whole point of the $100B is so that church HQ can run without tithing of the members. And, ironically, the $100B may cause the members to stop paying tithing.


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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:12 pm 
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lemuel wrote:
I imagine the whole point of the $100B is so that church HQ can run without tithing of the members. And, ironically, the $100B may cause the members to stop paying tithing.

I think that $100B is sufficient to run the church without tithing if the investments are doing well. I imagine that they are trying to save up a sum that will insulate them from the need for tithing and the condition of the markets entirely. How much is that? $500B? $1 trillion? How much does it take to guarantee $6B+ per year at very low risk?

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 Post subject: Re: My Anecdotal Experience with the $100B Revelation
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:30 pm 
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fetchface wrote:
I think that $100B is sufficient to run the church without tithing if the investments are doing well. I imagine that they are trying to save up a sum that will insulate them from the need for tithing and the condition of the markets entirely. How much is that? $500B? $1 trillion? How much does it take to guarantee $6B+ per year at very low risk?


https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/18/the-sp-500-has-already-met-its-average-return-for-a-full-year.html

Says the S&P 500 has averaged a 9.8% return over the last 90 years. So with $100B they should be fine without our tithes.

Also show your wife Rock Waterman's post on tithing if she hasn't seen it yet. tl;dr: We should be paying on surplus, not gross or net income . http://puremormonism.blogspot.com/2012/12/are-we-paying-too-much-tithing.html


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