We already know of allegations that the Mormon Church has a $100 billion investment fund lying around — for charity, theoretically, though virtually none of it has gone there. The public revelation of that fund has Church leaders fearing that followers may reduce their donations.
We know about the fund thanks to a former LDS employee who filed a whistleblower complaint with the IRS. But now we’re finding out even more about the organization’s motives thanks to an interview with Roger Clarke, the head of Ensign Peak Advisors, which manages the church’s investments.
The interview was published in the Wall Street Journal. If you don’t have a subscription, there’s a summary at the Salt Lake Tribune, which features Clark saying tithing for Mormons “is more of a sense of commitment than it is the church needing the money.”
“So they never wanted to be in a position where people felt like, you know, they shouldn’t make a contribution,” Clarke said.
So the hunches were right about Church officials fearing public knowledge of the investment fund.
Carolyn Homer, a Latter-day Saint who lives in Virginia, told The Journal that after she heard about the money held by Ensign Peak, she resolved to tithe less and give more to other charities.
After The Post piece, Patrick Mason, head of Mormon studies at Utah State University, told The Salt Lake Tribune that stories like this “will undoubtedly trouble many church members and lead them to wonder whether their charitable giving is best directed toward an institution that reportedly has a stockpile twice as large as Harvard’s endowment.”
Still, the Tribune reports, not every Mormon cares about monetary transparency among the leaders of the LDS.
A recent Tribune/Suffolk University poll revealed that while a majority of Utahns, from across the religious spectrum, support the idea of requiring tax-exempt religious organizations to publicly report their finances, barely a third of “very active” Latter-day Saints do.
Regardless of that poll, it’s clear there are some Mormons who really would reduce their tithing if it meant contributing to a group that already has $100 billion sitting in the bank. So, whatever you do, don’t share this article on any social media.
It might make Mormons less likely to give the Church money. We wouldn’t want that now, would we?
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