The Mormon Church is trying to create a small city in Florida:
The church-owned Deseret Ranches is going through the bureaucratic process in Florida to win approval to transform rural farmland, used for 65 years to raise cattle, into a metropolis of a half-million residents within a 133,000-acre corner of Osceola County, not far from Orange County, the home of the world-renowned Disney resort in Orlando.
Eric Jacobsen, general manager of Deseret Ranches, says turning portions of the ranch into a residential and commercial development is simply a practical business decision.
All of this would make sense if we were talking about Donald Trump (well, okay, not even then)… but why do Mormons want to create a small city that’s open to the public when preaching Mormonism to them isn’t listed as one of the goals? To make a profit, presumably, but why? They’re not supposed to be a business!
But if that’s the case, ex-Mormon Justin wants to know why money that was tithed is being used — directly or indirectly — to finance things that don’t involve spreading the word of God (which is why people tithe in the first place):
The apologists claim that only dividends from previously invested tithed money was used to pay for the $1.5 billion shopping atrocity [City Creek]. Why was that money invested in dividend-providing accounts in the first place? Why does any tithed money go unused? Why is it not, instead, used to invest in future tithers — er — members? Why was that money not used to build more churches? Open more missions? Recruit more missionaries? Lower the financial burden for faithful missionary families. Increase humanitarian aid? Or — ha ha ha — reduce the amount of tithing that members are required to pay? I feel that at least one of those alternative investments might be something a certain Nazarene might feel comfortable in endorsing.
It’s a great question. Of all the things you’re supposed to do with tithed money, building a shopping center or a full-blown community — even if profits eventually get used to promote the religion — isn’t on the list. And if making money is part of your Church’s mission, why are members getting tax exemptions for their donations?