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January 27, 2020 9:45 am
One member is examining the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective view .1 Mormonism 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.
How much money is too much money for a church to have welcome to this additional viewpoint on Mormonism under host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is my colleague Eric Johnson. There was an article that came out by the Washington Post on December 17, 2019 right before Christmas. The headline was Mormon church has misled members on one hundred billion dollars tax exempt investment fund whistleblower alleges and naturally. What this article did was to bring attention once again to the wealth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Now there's a lot of things in this article that I have to admit Eric, I don't agree with. And I think we're probably going to run a risk with what were about to say in this show and shows following because I'm sure some are going to say, will your siding with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and some are going to say well you're being too hard on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints so I don't know if were really going to win on this, but there were a lot of things in this article that troubled me personally and folks you know me I am a very strong critic of the LDS church. Theologically, I've always maintained that the church's teaching false doctrine has false prophets at the head and do a lot of things that I think that our un-biblical theologically, but this makes some accusations that I am cautioning even my Christian brethren, be careful, don't jump on the secular bandwagon without going through all of the facts. While I think what you're saying.
Then Bell is the knife cuts both ways and so if you're going to be saying that the church out of the tax and they lose their tax-exempt status will what is that going to mean to the many millions of Christians around the United States who are going to churches that would also be affected if you're going to get rid of the tax-exempt status for the church when they haven't done anything wrong is working to see as far as legality.
Now the morality of it's a whole different issue but as far as the legality they haven't done anything wrong.
Although this is what this whistleblower is alleging I think you make an excellent point Eric because though there's no evidence to show that the church is done anything illegal in order to accrue this amount that they're being accused of having you mentioned the moral aspect of it or let's say the ethical aspect of it. Now that becomes more subjective and this is where I'm cautioning our brethren to be very careful because when you see numbers like this thrown out, it becomes shocking and I'm sure this article is meant to shock, but let's look carefully at what it has to say and I hope that we can convince our fellow Christians, at least to be more cautious and maybe even understanding and like I said earlier, we're gonna run the risk of some of those who support what we do here is being sympathetic to the Mormon church. I just want to be fair that's all I want to be and I think we have a pretty good history over 40 years of trying to be very fair when it comes to the LDS church. Even though we may disagree with them theologically. This article was printed on December 17, 2019 in the Washington Post. It was immediately picked up by newspapers all over, probably the world is certainly the United States and the Salt Lake Tribune had it on the front page. The next morning after as well so this is an article that has what would you say shock waves that go all the way through the entire United States.
Everybody has seen this and perhaps there are some people who who read the headline that you mentioned Mormon church has misled members on $100 billion tax exempt investment fund and said there you go, and the church is wrong, but they do have in there, whistleblower alleges the worker and a look at this article were going to see what the whistleblower is alleging working to see if he is accurate in this and if the IRS should take action or not.
This is how it starts in the lead. A former investment manager alleges in a whistleblower complaint to the Internal Revenue Service that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has amassed about $100 billion in accounts intended for charitable purposes.
According to a copy of the complaint obtained by the Washington Post. Now let's stop right there because when this whistleblower alleges that this money is intended for charitable purposes. When you start a church or even a nonprofit religious Corporation. The money is not designated just for charitable purposes that comes in the money is going to be used to run the operation now. Some of it may go to charitable purposes and if the church clearly stated that this hundred billion dollars that they are talking about was earmarked just for charitable purposes, and they can prove that it didn't then maybe they have a case but a church can really do whatever it wants with the funds with the church has basically the last say on this article continues the confidential document received by the IRS on November 21, 2019 accuses church leaders of misleading members and possibly breaching federal tax rules by stockpiling their surplus donations instead of using them for charitable works. It also accuses church leaders of using the tax-exempt donations to prop up a pair of businesses. The church did not respond to detailed questions from the post about the complaint and said in a statement Monday that it does not discuss specific financial transactions on Tuesday after the first version of the story was published, the church said it takes seriously its responsibility to care for members donations. We should also mention that since this was published on December 17.
The church has come out with an official response on their newsroom website page. There were links to three videos giving an explanation of how the church does things but we don't want to get ahead of the story here. We want to go through this and tried to gather what these accusations really are, at least in the mind of the whistleblower. According to a statement attributed to the church's first presidency its governing body quote claims being currently circulated are based on a narrow perspective and limited information. The church complies with all applicable law governing our donations, investments, taxes, and reserves." Let me stop you there because many times people will assume because let's see a church has accumulated a large amount of money and I'm going to admit $100 billion is a lot of money, but this is a huge corporation as well and has 16 million+ members at the time of this recording and so certainly it's got vast holdings not only liquid assets but it also has real estate assets that probably couldn't be sold at quickly. Anyway, let's say, for instance, let's say they were going to sell the property that the temple lies on the moon was going to buy the property for the building the temple because is not functional for anything else but what the Mormons built it for that naturally would have to be raised, they would have to tear down that causes expense. That's not something that's liquid. This is talking about some liquid assets but when it says the church complies with all applicable law governing our donations investment taxes and reserves. If you don't like the LDS church as I'm sure the whistleblower does not, you can jump to the conclusion that they must be doing something underhanded and as a Christian I think it behooves us to prove all things, and hold fast to that which is true. Let's not let her emotions jump ahead of us.
If they are doing everything according to the law, then there may be something wrong with the law. But there's not something wrong with let's say the LDS church. If it's complying with the law and I think we need to be careful about that.
The article goes on to say. The complaint provides a window into the closely held finances of one of the nation's most visible religious organizations based in Salt Lake City.
It details a church fortune, far exceeding past estimates and encompassing stocks, bonds and cash. The complaint was filed by David a Nielsen, a 41-year-old Mormon who worked until September as a senior portfolio manager at the church's investment division, a company named & peak advisors that is based near the church's headquarters that we should mention that insulin peak advisors is a subsidiary of the LDS church. This article brings that out. It says that it & peak is registered with authorities as a supporting organization and integrated auxiliary of the Mormon church. This permits it to operate as a nonprofit and to make money largely free from US taxes and that's true that's not just for the LDS church any nonprofit can take advantage of those tax laws and do the same thing if they had the ability to do so that the LDS church. Let's be honest, it has the ability to do so and it has done so that we had never heard of & peak advisors before until this article came out so I decided to call the at the company just to find out what they were all about because we saw on the Internet that it has a total holding of $124 billion and that came out in an interview with a former Mormon by the name of Bill real. He was on a podcast and he mentioned that and had a reference to it.
So that's how that that came about and was made more public a little.
Most people even knew that that information was on there wasn't an insulin peak website either. It was some other website that that did say they had total assets of 124 billion that we should make it clear were not sure what all those assets are the whistleblower only uses the number hundred billion he actually uses between 99 billion and 101 billion. So everybody's average unit out to about 100 billion but he's very specific as to what the number would be and so when you see 124 billion on this website be in attributed to & peak, we have to assume if this whistleblower is trying to be precise that whatever is above and beyond the number he is stipulating is probably investments from someone else, maybe orders something else we don't know. It would have to be within the church that so whether the church employees are allowed to put into a 41B year, whatever that the program might be.
We don't know about that other 24 billion sorta use 100 billion but I did ask them if they did take investments from anybody else and they said no they work solely for the church. So this is as you said, a subsidiary of the church itself. The article continues, nonprofit organizations, including religious groups are exempted in the United States from paying taxes on their income. The exemption requires that & operate exclusively for religious, educational or other charitable purposes, a condition that Nielsen says the firm has not met, but in the article.
All it really mentioned was charitable purposes and that seem to be the primary complaint of Nielsen and you can see here. I think this sentence is being quite open and honest operate exclusively for religious, educational or other charitable purposes.
So, in tomorrow's show were going to continue looking at this complaint made by this whistleblower and tried it. Better understand what this complaint is really all about. Thank you for listening you would like more information regarding his research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website www.mrm.org you can request a free newsletter research. We hope you'll join us again as we look at another viewpoint is as with most Christian organizations is a research ministry depends on the generous financial support of friends like you. If you like what we do and how we do it, would you consider helping MRA meet its financial obligations really go to my website MRM.org right you'll see in only click there and follow the instructions.
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