Share This Episode
Viewpoint on Mormonism Bill McKeever  Logo

$100 Billion in the Savings Account of the LDS Church Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
January 27, 2020 8:00 pm

$100 Billion in the Savings Account of the LDS Church Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 662 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

January 27, 2020 8:00 pm

A whistleblower from an investment firm owned by the LDS Church revealed in December that there is $100 billion in cash and short-term investment accounts. Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson take a closer look and give their ideas about this money. Check out Eric’s perspective as well at


Viewpoint is to examine the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a viewpoint when Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism welcome to this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM we continue looking at an article that was published on December 17, 2019. It came out originally from the Washington Post titled Mormon church has misled members on $100 billion tax exempt investment fund whistleblower alleges and were going through this article because as I mentioned in yesterday's show I'm trying to be as objective as possible when it comes to the complaints by this whistleblower and sometimes it's easy to let emotions get ahead of us and we see a very inflammatory title for this article, such as the one I just read and I think as Christians we need to be much more cautious and listen to his many of the facts that we can possibly glean and then make a decision.

This is one of the reasons why we waited this long to do a show on this subject and I hope that I can encourage my fellow Christians that even though we might see this hundred billion dollars that is in this disinvestment firm called & peak, which is a supporting organization and integrated auxiliary of the Mormon church as I asked in the opening of yesterday show how much money is too much money for the church.

There's no answer to that question, the IRS doesn't even have an amount where they say this is the That a nonprofit organization or a church entity is allowed to bring in, or even put away for quote unquote a rainy day, the IRS doesn't even have a number for this.

So even though some may claim that having $100 billion squirreled away in an investment portfolio might be an ethical bordering on immoral.

That is a personal, subjective conclusion.

It's not really an objective conclusion and it doesn't prove that the Mormon church has done anything illegal, and I think we need to keep all that into perspective because in this article that were going through by the Washington Post. There's a paragraph in here that describes the whistleblower as a man by the name of David a Nielsen who worked for & peak, and he no longer works there. He worked there until September 2019.

He was a senior portfolio manager at the church's investment division.

The article says, but in this article it goes on to say in the declaration signed under penalty of perjury, Nielsen urges the IRS the Internal Revenue Service to strip the nonprofit of its tax-exempt status and alleges that & could oh billions in taxes he is seeking a reward from the IRS which offers whistleblowers a cut of unpaid taxes that it recovers a bill, something that we don't get to know about and we do not know you when I do not know why he was let go from & peaks in September, a few months before this is reported that there certainly is a financial motive for him to bring this out. Maybe he just wants the church to have trouble with this membership who probably many members are not going to like this, they may stop their tithing, so he has done great damage, whether or not he's accurate or not, but what you say that the church ought to lose its tax-exempt status and that they auto oh billions in taxes will here's the thing. If the church has in fact done something that is illegal, knowingly illegal, I would say perhaps there's a case here.

Maybe the IRS should look into this may be Nielsen's assumptions are correct. We don't know if that's the problem Eric you're right there's a lot we don't know about this but I'm sure a lot of people are drawing conclusions based on the limited information that they have but to say that the church should be stripped of his nonprofit tax exempt status over what this person is alleging becomes troublesome, especially when you hear Christians echoing for that same type of punishment. Personally, I would say that if in fact the church did do some things with its income that it shouldn't of done. First of all you're going to have to prove that they knowingly did something illegal.

If you can't prove that they knowingly did something illegal at the IRS will probably send them a letter saying look, you did this you shouldn't of done it that way. This is what you owe in back taxes.

Plus, these are the penalties the church will still go on as a church as a nonprofit entity, it will not be dissolved over that. So I think Nielsen is asking for an awful lot.

He better have a lot of firm substantial evidence behind this complaint.

If he's asking for the IRS to strip the church of its nonprofit status. That's a large order I would say on his part, because he's making some accusations that need to be proven. And of course they would have to be proven in a court of law that now the church has argued been studying this for over 40 years and I'm on many occasions gone to bat for the church when people talk about all the church holds as far as properties and income properties including even city Creek downtown, a huge shopping mall, but I've always understood that when it comes to the moneymaking ventures of the LDS church that they pay taxes on those moneymaking ventures. They are paying taxes on. For instance, city Creek Mall and they are paying taxes on other business ventures that the church is behind that's not illegal they're doing what they're supposed to be doing when it comes to their moneymaking ventures. The article quotes the presiding Bishop Gerald because the article reports them as being a high ranking cleric while yeah he's easy. He's a pretty important person and he says that what you're saying, though, that the church pays taxes on any income. It derives from revenue producing activities that are regularly carried on, and are not substantially related to its tax-exempt purposes.

So, for city Creek Mall. They rent out the place lease the different places in the building and and that money that they make off of that is certainly going to be taxed money and I'm sure the church is not going to be this foolish enough to try to take that a move that into its accounts without paying the proper taxes I would agree with you. I don't think they would be foolish enough to do that and this is why I'm kind of skeptical about the accusations that are being made by Nielsen. Then again I don't know what kind of evidence he hasn't is going by this article that I'm reading here the church we know being a large organization is naturally going to bring in a lot of times revenue in the article talks about that as well.

This is a church typically collects about 7 billion each year and contributions from members according to the complaint. Mormons like members of some other faith groups are asked to contribute 10% of their income to the church, a practice known as tithing, while about 6 billion of that income is used to cover annual operating cost. The remaining 1 billion or so was transferred & which plows some into an investment portfolio to generate returns. According to the complaint now the Michael Quinn who is officially a former Mormon. He was excommunicated from the church back in 1993, but the Michael Quinn has written three very good books on what he calls the Mormon hierarchy and one of the books that he wrote was called Mormon hierarchy wealth and corporate power. This one came out in 2017.

In that book he goes into a lot of detail as far as how the church has handled its funds since the very beginning, will do.

Michael Quinn was interviewed for another article that was published on this very subject and Quinn challenges that $7 billion number though I'm looking on page 35 of the book that you just mention the Mormon hierarchy and he lists a table 1.7 and eight.

It's the LDS church as tithing extrapolated 1960 to 2010 and US dollars based on average annual increase of 12.9% and in here. He says that the church had been making $7 billion in 1997 and then in 2010. He says that that the annual tithing was 33.7 billion a much different number than what the whistleblowers using at 7 billion. And so in the Salt Lake Tribune article that is on this very story that stated on December 17, 2019.

They quote the Michael Quinn Acoma historian who has studied LDS church finances. He said the income figures cited in the complaint are difficult to reconcile with his own research which suggests annual tithing receipts of roughly $35 billion, and then he said to me that slow Quinn said of the complaint. 7 billion income estimate very low for tithing, but should we be shocked that the church even brings in 35 billion in tithing, it's a church of 16 million+ members on so I'm not totally shocked that the members would be them that high, but I don't know where they got the 7 billion in this complaint and my question is does insight and peak have the tithing numbers available to them when it doesn't seem like that's the kind of group that would be taking the tithing money in in the first place.

Does it to you know how they know this. I don't know that they don't say in this article, how they came to that number but I think Quinn is probably much more accurate when he comes up with his 35 billion number he documents everything and in this book that might Mormon hierarchy. We get no documentation from the whistleblower 7 billion seems rather low to me because if you had 60 million people giving a dollar a day for 365 days of the year, you would have a total of close to 6 billion is just one dollar day. Now I realize not everybody is able to give in other countries. Third World countries they might not be able to get very much but at the same time.

I think that 7 billion sounds rather low.

When you have 60 million members and many of them are tithing because they want to get the very best this religion has to offer through the temple, which requires 10% to be able to get into the temple.

I think you're right.

It's kind of hard to believe that, let's say, a member of the LDS church living in Haiti is going to give a substantial amount of their income because of just how poor that country is to begin with and let's also fit figure and the fact that we can't kill children okay. Even though the Mormon family, let's say, on average, just just hypothetically, that a family of five was to give a dollar for each family member 57 is $35 a week. Still in an American situation that seems pretty low.

Certainly when you have some people in the United States, tithing, in the millions that certainly would make up for a deficit. Let's say from the tithe payers in Haiti. Still, you would think that that $7 billion is a very low figure. As I said before I do think that Quinn's number closer to 35 billion is probably more accurate. The question we have to ask ourselves, should that shock us. It doesn't shock me and I would be surprised if it was shock to many people. Thank you for listening. If you would like more information regarding this research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research.

We hope you join us again as we look at another viewpoint is in their own words collection of Mormon quotations compiled by reminiscent research ministries Bill McKeever is a valuable resource when wanting to know what Mormon leaders have said on a given topic. Pick up your copy of the Utah lighthouse bookstore or

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime