Friday, April 8, 2011

Profit or Prophet? (City Creek Mall). Which one matter's more to the LDS Church?

I have been thinking again, and counting. In 2005 it was only supposed to reach 500 million but obviously over budget and wanting more of the really cool construction things, the LDS Church keeps funneling money to the downtown rejuvenation/shopping mall project. Recent church owned media outlets are quoting the cost now of over 3 Billion 'tithing free' dollars (see note below). The pedestrian Skybridge alone is worth over one billion dollars alone. Imagine the good works and service to the planet that could performed if the LDS church were to call and pay for 300,000 "Service Missionaries" to be called at no cost or burden to their families. This is how many service missionaries could 'flood the entire planet' and serve mankind, were the LDS church to invest in more appropriate causes than giving the good people of Salt Lake City another place to purchase more things they likely cannot afford and do not need.
Imagine the good image this would have given the LDS church in the world, imagine the help to the poor and the needy and the care for humanity that would and could be provided. Wouldn't this have been a more appropriate cause for an organization that calls itself a religious institution then another massive business for profit investment. Which drives the LDS church more? Profit or Prophet? NOTE: Although the 'Prophet' has stated that no tithing funds are used, the LDS Church accounting department does not consider any monies to be tithing once it has sat for a period of more than 24 months. Strange accounting, but technically sound.
Construction Analysis.
 Mohammed Bin Zayed City: $7.1 Billion or $132/sq. foot Sears Tower: $105 Million or $142/sq. foot ... Petronas Twin Towers $1.6 Billion or $367/sq. foot Taipei 101 Tower: $1.8 Billion or $405/sq. foot Burj Khalifa Tower: $1.5 Billion or $450/sq. foot City Center Las Vegas: $11 Billion or $655/sq. foot City Creek Center, Salt Lake: ~$6 Billion or ~$3000/sq. foot


  1. This really opens my eyes to a whole different meaning of Nephi 8: 26-28 (Lehi's Iron Rod dream). I think it's fair to say that a strong Mormon family longs to vacation, atleast once, to Lake City. Perhaps they've been moved by the spirit to go or maybe they're going to seek a deeper affirmation (the fruit). They're in for a rude awakening when they look to the heavens and all they see are high value condos with people looking down at them through their solar-shield plated windows

    26. And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the cair, high above the earth.
    27. And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.
    28. And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.

    Interesting, for me, to think that Lehi's vision was so detailed yet he forgot to mention who was in those lofty places. I suppose he never dreamt they'd be Mormons.

    Michael G.

  2. And they are paying the workers -probably Mormon. So those workers aren't out of a job and thus not on church welfare. Then these same people pay 10% of the money just given to them by the church's non-tithing tithing fund BACK to the tithing fund. Can't fault THAT kind of expenditure. Did they learn this straight from the way the USA deals with giving money to other countries ( by having the money go to usa companies using american workers in that country to build stuff that wealthy americans etc. need or want ) or did they come up with it on their own. Doesn't matter really, i'm just so glad i haven't contributed to this mall in years.

  3. @Michael: they sure are building A LOT of great & spacious buildings down there aren't they?!!

  4. oops, the above comment was mine too. i forgot to sign it. i will punish myself later...maybe.

  5. I remember going to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building many years after my mission (the old hotel Utah). I saw chairs, just chairs valued at $20,000 or more. I remember being repulsed.
    Then.... I watch a movie in the beautiful theatre there I think it was called Legacy. I felt all goowie inside and all was well, once again.:)

  6. When I toured the huge conference center in SLC the tour guide boasted that the stage was large enough for a 747 to land on. Talk about a great and spacious building.

    It does appear that the church cares more about profit and prestige. They also waste a lot of money on temples -- of course, they keeps the tithing flowing in from "the worthy" who want admittance.

    Norm, if you were to watch that movie again, my guess is you probably wouldn't get all gooey inside this time. :)

  7. Just makes me want to cry when I think of how many hard working families sacrified to make this atrocity. Kids from poor families have gone hungry. This is what happens when there is no accountability, very shameful. I truly don't know how the church leadership sleep at night.
    -Kim S

  8. Donna, good point. I believe looking at the LDS Organization as an economic model, and not strictly a religious one, you can predict that temple building which equals increased tithing revenues (via strange and unusual covenent making and death threats, formerly) is a great and ongoing investment for the LDS church as it compensates for reduced growth and activity rates. would still cry....just like I did at the movies recently. This time though.....I would not confuse with with anything more than simple fiction and emotion.:)

  9. @Karin: I don't think the issue is how it's built. I think his point that it's being built at all is being focused on
    And as far as your direct question goes? Yes, I do think it's a lot. But if you're point is to be fairly accepted then fine, let's see the church utilize CCM money, instead, by employing local Haitian church members to help rebuild Haiti. Shanty-town isn't acceptable.
    But I don't share the churches view of charity. Charity, to me, is unconditional: Members/Non-members, Sinners/Saints.

    Michael G.

  10. I am intrigued by the note you wrote Norm.

    "NOTE: Although the 'Prophet' has stated that no tithing funds are used, the LDS Church accounting department does not consider any monies to be tithing once it has sat for a period of more than 24 months. Strange accounting, but technically sound."

    I've never head of this policy/accounting practice within the church. Would you please further expound on that.

  11. Mark 10

    17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

    18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

    19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

    20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

    21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

    22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

    23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

    24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

    25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

  12. David your question "I've never head of this policy/accounting practice within the church. Would you please further expound on that".

    This is a very, very good question. "How would I know that" is basically your question. My retort would be "why don’t we know that".

    Unfortunately the LDS Church, speaking on a per capita basis (see time magazine article for the 90's) is one of the wealthiest religious institutions on an international basis, in the world today. Yet its one of the worlds only major religions to NOT publicly account for its finances. This in any reasonable non-Mormon mind, both legal or ethical, presents major concerns.

    Like much regarding speculative information on LDS finances, we can only look to a few sources. What they did when finances were published (pre-1959) what we know from sources who have worked for the COB and what has leaked.

    Basically its speculative, so why do I include the information?

    Because it’s what I believe after receiving the information from a number of sources, is likely accurate. Additionally, the LDS church has yet to deny the accusation.

    The only I can say that might not always be correct, is that the 24 month period, seems to have changed over the years. At one point there was evidence that it was seven year (formerly published records), and I cannot be certain of the current time frame.


  13. Part 2

    Just to let you know, the UK has published records also. Once again its not a financial statement like most charities publish but similar to the revenue Canada statements required.

    If the LDS were to publish their finances the GOC would allow it to register as a different charity and many of these problems would go away.

    One of my favorite blogs to date on the subject of LDS finances by someone who has spent much more time than I researching the issue is here.

    He does a comparison on the square footage cost of other much larger international projects in the US and around the worlds and it becomes abundantly clear that either the LDS org is the dumbest organization on earth and is getting fleeced in a major way by its construction company's or something else is in play here. What that is exactly......who know....some have once again speculated, a massive bomb helter underneath the mall (unlikely) others have speculated funneling of huge amounts of cash through construction companies. Some have indicated other things, what is clear, is that the square footage cost of this project in a relatively low land value metropolis ,is astronomical. His other sections of his blog explain some things including the church description of what is considered tithing and when it is no longer considered such.

    Regardless of any evidence for the argument, it’s very hard to understand how a Church leader could ever fairly make the statement since we know that all original sources of revenue for the LDS Organization begin with member donations of tithing. Everything else is simply a byproduct of that initial pool of funds.

    One thing to consider of note, the LDS church is currently showing expenses of just a bit more than 10% of its annual tithing revenue (5-7B). In other words it could fully exist with one tenth of what it is earning from tithing sources as well as some investment income sources. How many members could comfortably live on 10% of their income?

    It doesn’t seem very fair to continue to burden the membership with this type of challenge in today’s ever income consuming economies. The most fair thing I can honestly state with certainty……’s simply no longer needed.

    From an online article.

    “Here is what the then Prophet Gordon Hinckley said about the funding:
    "Funds for this have come and will come from commercial entities owned by the Church. These resources, together with the earnings of invested reserve funds, will accommodate this program" (LDS Church News May 23rd 2009 "Rising On Schedule").

    ...the earnings of invested reserve funds...

    I think there are a couple of key questions that Mr. Hinckley deliberately chose not to address.
    1. The commercial businesses that are part funding City Creek were originally set up using funds from where?
    2. What is the source of the funds that have been invested to produce the earnings being used to part fund City Creek?

    It is obvious that the answer to both of those questions is tithing, but perhaps Gordon didn't know that he knew that...

    To extend the official description of money laundering:
    "Money laundering often occurs in three steps: first, cash is introduced into the financial system by some means (tithing donations?), the second involves carrying out complex financial transactions in order to camouflage the source; and the final step entails acquiring wealth generated from the transactions of the funds."

    Does the Mormon Church 'launder' tithing monies...?,133106

  14. Part 3

    Another good viewpoint from an active and supporting member’s blog-

    “Currently, the estimate is $3 billion, and as I mentioned, some insiders expect the final cost to be in the neighborhood of $8 billion. Presumably the money is coming from the pooled resources of the entities held by Deseret Management, the church’s holding company.
    A lot of ex-Mormons (and some active Mormons) have expressed dismay and some outrage at the church’s project. I think the main reason is that many ex-Mormons regret having donated 10% of their income to the church, and it’s doubly galling that the money they gave is going toward such business enterprises. And in a sense they are right because money that could otherwise have augmented church programs has been diverted to this large project. Indeed, at the very time the church is undertaking this massive expenditure, local church budgets and staff have been cut quite a bit.
    It’s telling that the church, with every announcement about the project, insists that no tithing money is being used to pay for it, as if they recognize that such a large expenditure on non-religious efforts will raise some eyebrows in the church. Ultimately, however, the church’s money, even their for-profit entities, at some point originated in religious donations; the church could not have funded these for-profit businesses without some seed money, which of course had to have come from donated cash or property.”

    Sorry for the long response but basically all of the LDS church’s large scale investments come from tithing or from income generated from tithing. Any way you look at it.

    Mr. Hinckley likely knew this very clearly when he made the statement. He made numerous white lie type of statements to the LDS membership and the media. Take a look at the famous Larry King interview, when he denied knowing much about the King Follet Discourse, or that it was ever doctrinal, or when he denied that Mormons practice or have anything to do with Polygamy (think of temple sealing’s polygamous still ongoing, today).

    Did he really say these things with full integrity or was he motivated as many LDS leaders in the past have been to ‘protect the Church at all cost?”.

    A modern day term for it is called “Lying for the Lord” you are free to view additional information for this here.
    (Ken Clark, a former LDS CES Institute Director for 27 years illustrates how the Mormon Church utilizes deceptions and out right lies to maintain control over members and potential converts to Mormonism).

    Its all very difficult things to consider and not easy to face, in any manner, but thanks to Google is easily viewed by anyone who is seeking.


  15. This stuff just makes me ill. So much could be done in the world to make it better. This is pure selfishness on the part of the church to ensure that it can control it's surroundings and the behaviors of those that live in that city. They truly do live in a bubble. When the Mormon converts in the third world countries learn of this, I hope they revolt.

  16. Frustrating on so many levels. That members are expected to be moved by conference talks making point of those that work in salt mines for years to afford a single trip to the temple while this monster mall is rising in salt lake. That is accounting that needs no rules or policies to understand, it simply stinks. It matters not where that money came from, who is being employed to build it, or how it may benefit a local economy - there is a latter-day "saint" killing himself and spending time away from his family so he can trek to a far away temple that he paid for the right to enter. How, please tell me, can this story inspire?

    Sick to my stomach.

  17. The old ZCMI Mall was fine, this is a total waste of money, I am discusted in the Church for spending so much money on this. I remember my dying father virtually crawling to church in the last week of his life, to pay his tithing one last time - for this??

  18. @ Michael: my comments were tongue in cheek. how they justify it to themselves and more than that: how the church gets rich both from the average poor/ hard working member as well as the rich mormon companies who get the contracts and then pay the members who then stick some of that money right back in the GA's wallets thru tithing. And then the GA;s can self-righteously say that they are' keeping Salt lake area workers employed'. if they were REALLY actually interested in keeping memebers employed, they could start make-work projects like habitat for humanity does, projects that keep the people gainfully employed and at the same time benefit members of their community. i know habitat works mainly with volunteers, but the church, having such a large income, could pay the workers to build homes their cities- esp. in Japan and other earthquake/ tsunami ridden places. then the name of the church would be highly regarded, but that would only be a side effect because the work would have been a charitable act in and of itself.

    (see John Perkins 'the secret history of the american empire ) to see what 'games' american corporations played to get rich by using the manpower of other nations, esp. 3rd world nations.

    I also don't think the church really needed that great and spacious conference center. but the GA's wanted more people at a time to publicly worship them. That's probably around the time i stopped paying tithing to the church. i figured my family needs our hard-earned money more than the church does. our donations now go to places we believe actually need the money. :)

  19. There are 4 temples within a half-hour drive in Salt Lake county, and now a $4B mall, and yet over in India and surrounding countries, people are having to eat their own waste out of hunger. People are working 3 jobs to have enough to feed their families and be able to pay tithing to go into said temples. This is sick and embarrassing. I now pay "tithing" but my money goes towards Akshaya Trust, not "The" church.