This is an archived copy of a post written by Conflict Of Justice ( Used with permission: Conflict Of Justice may not agree with any alterations made.

Helmut Nemetchek:‘In my country, we say the people’s Churches–the Protestants, the Catholics–they publish all their budgets, to all the public. ‘
Hinckley:‘Yeah. Yeah. ‘
Helmut Nemetschek:‘Why is it impossible for your Church? ‘
Hinckley:‘Well, we simply think that that information belongs to those who made the contribution, and not to the world. That’s the only thing. Yes. ‘” (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen)
Out Of Context – Anti-Mormons spin this quote to mean LDS tithe payers supposedly receive a published budget. But that’s not what he was saying. Mormons who pay tithing have access to what those funds are spent on, instead of the general public. That’s what he was saying, if you look at the full quote. CES Letter snips out the part directly beforehand:
Helmut Nemetchek:‘The LDS church… is considered by the other churches, old churches I would say, as a religious sect… Would you prefer to have better relations to the other older churches?’
Hinckley:‘Of course, yes, of course we would.’…
Helmut Nemetschek:‘Critics of your church maintain that LDS is anti-Democratic’…
Hinckley:‘If you count all of our assets, yes, we are well-off. But those assets, you have to know this, are not money-producing. Those assets are money-consuming. Those assets, including meeting houses, churches–thousands of them across the world–they include temples, they include universities, they include welfare projects, they include educational facilities, they include all the missionary work, they include humanitarian work. They include all these things which use money, which don’t produce money. The income of the church comes from the consecreations of the people, who tithe themselves–pay their tithes–the ancient law of the tithe is the church’s law of the manse. And that’s where the money comes which operates the church. If you look at our balance sheet, that shows all the facilities that we have, and the programs we carry. We appear very wealthy. But you must realize that all of those programs consume money, they don’t produce it–that the money which we use comes from the consecrations of the people.’ (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen)
See also:LDS Church Transparent With Finances?

So when the German reporter asked about making the budget public, they were talking about who has access to meeting houses, temples, and universities that the church spends money on and who pays money to the church. Gordon B. Hinckley was explaining that tithe payers have access to use the church programs. We are not the “people’s” church. We are the Saints’ church. That’s why, for example, zero tithing money went to pay for the City Creek Mall project in Utah, which was a program for the general public rather than tithe payers.

Back To The Dark Ages – Old European churches are different. Notice how in the question, the German interviewer called them “the people’s churches.” Gordon B. Hickley was aware that in Germany the churches are united with the federal government, and the reason budgets are fully available to the general public is because the church budgets are tied with government programs that the general public uses. They do not have a separation of church and state. Unlike CES Letter, Hinckley was educated about how churches in Germany operate, and he knew how closely tied they are to the government. This is why they are known as “the people’s churches.” Tithing is literally a government tax in Germany that people pay to the government. People must jump through hoops if they want to avoid automatically paying this tax to the church and participating in government programs tied to it. If churches want to separate themselves and their tithing from the government they must “demand that the tax authorities reveal taxation data of their members.”

This was the context of this interview. The interviewer was asking why the LDS church does not unite its budget with the civil government, and Gordon B. Hickley explained that the Mormon budget is for the Saints, not for the “people.” So why should we make our budget public? The LDS church is not “the people’s church,” not “the Democratic Republic of Jesus Christ.”

Or maybe CES Letter actually is aware of the church tax in Germany? Is that what they want? After all, they attack the Mormon church for “keeping its books in the dark” because “corporate secret wealth is breeding ground for corruption.” What is the alternative to a “corporate” system of church that is separated from government? A state-church. Those who push this question tend to promote a system of church-government, like what we see in Marxist countries and which hearken back to the Dark Ages of Europe, when people did not have control over which church they belonged to and where their income went. This question hearkens back to the Great Apostasy.

Zero Corruption – The LDS The church follows a rigorous internal audit every year, as well as an annual audit by a private accounting firm. Strict policies and close oversight prevent church leaders from skimming tithing donations or profiting from conflict of interests.

The church is perfectly transparent about its finances to governments. As a non-profit organization, it is required to discose its finances in a form. Nothing is covered up from IRS authorities.

Church Financial Data Leaked – Besides, Anti-Mormon infiltrators have lied their way deep into the church and regularly leak financial documents. So we actually aren’t in the dark. These infiltrators have scoured the church for anything they could, and the best dirt they could come up with was some financial documents about General Authorities being compensated for things like travel expenses. No corruption. They were compensated for far less than anyone expected. The living allowance comes from returns on financial investments and not tithing.

Don’t Want To Get Nit-Picked – So if the church has nothing to hide, why don’t we proudly declare the details of the audits? Well, why should we? Either you trust the church or you don’t. Do your parents disclose their bank statements to you? Does your state senator disclose their finances? It is not the role of church members to oversee finances and hold priesthood leaders accountable for their honesty.

Maybe Mormons don’t feel like getting nit-picked about every little detail by hateful anti-Mormons? A detailed public disclosure would feed into the anti-Mormon narrative that we need them to look over our shoulder to keep us honest. They would nitpick every little expenditure that they don’t like. They would push their Marxist narrative that church funds should go to “the people.” Anti-Mormons in general already do that with the documents that get leaked. So either way, they would complain about our finances. There is no need to give ground to the hateful anti-Mormons.

CES Letter asks:

“Where can current tithing paying members go to see the books? The answer: we can’t.”

(CES Letter)

Well, the church follows a rigorous internal audit every year, as well as an annual audit by a private accounting firm, and the results are presented to tithe payers at General Conference. LDS meeting houses, churches, temples, universities, missionary work, welfare work, and humanitarian work.

Anti-Mormons give all kind of long-winded speeches about morality, but I find it interesting that in the end it comes down to dollars and cents. Their ideology comes down to economy, and they end up making the exact same arguments as Marxists of old. This is why anti-Mormons make totally baseless accusations of corruption, because it feeds their Marxist ideology. In fact, CES letter took this line “breeding ground for corruption” straight out of Karl Marx and Engels:

“But as the finest fruit of bourgeois society, as the breeding ground of extreme corruption… the Stock Exchange is indeed of immediate interest to us.

(Karl Marx)

Marx and Engels considered the stock markets to be “temples of Mammon… where ownership becomes directly synonymous with theft.” Likewise, Anti-Mormons consider tithing to the church literal theft of the temples of Mammon. The only thing we should pay money to is the government.

Any “corporate” institution thus would be considered a breeding ground of corruption, as far as Marxists are concerned. Why? Well, as CES Letter says themselves: “secret wealth.” Karl Marx refers to it as “secret funds” in the same publication. The opposite of “secret wealth” or private wealth is communual equality. So, isn’t CES Letter pretty much calling for Communism, one central power to regulate religion and keep everyone honest? Power to the people! It is up to the people to stop corporate corruption!

This is why anti-Mormons pretend like there is some kind of corruption in the church and regularly call for a church tax. They call for strong oppressive control over churches and other non-profit organizations, and for other infractions of religious freedom. They would take us back to the church tax of European nations from which the Pilgrims fled.
Are Anti-Mormons Transparent? – Do we get to see CES Letter‘s finances and donations? Where do I go to see that? Are they transparent? Do Anti-Mormons practice the kind of transparency that they demand from Mormons?

CES Letter Logical Fallacies

Non-SequiterPresident Gordon B. Hinckley said Mormons don’t publish a budget because the benefits of tithing belong to tithe payers of the church and not “the people.” If we published the budget, obviously it would become public to everybody. What is dishonest about that?
Ad Hominem“dishonest statement”
Argument From IgnoranceCES Letter omits important parts of the quote to change the context. This was a discussion of church and state, not of publishing a budget for members of the church.
RepetitionCES Letter repeats the same question several times about seeing the LDS church’s finances, and repeats the ad hominem attack of Hinckley’s statement as “dishonest.”
Burden Of ProofThe burden is not on Mormons to make our budget public so Anti-Mormons can nit-pick it. The burden is on Anti-Mormons to either find evidence of corruption or be quiet.

Concern TrollingCES Letter says:

“I’ve paid tithing. Where can I go to see what the Church’s finances are?”

(CES Letter)

Oh, CES Letter has paid tithing? Why would they pay tithing if they hate the church? It seems like if you don’t trust the church then you shouldn’t join it and you shouldn’t pay tithing. Very simple. Unfortunately for the people of Germany, they don’t get to say which taxes they don’t want to pay and which programs they don’t want to support. But luckily for Mormons, we do. If you don’t want to pay tithing, that’s fine.

Do any of the Anti-Mormons or atheist activists publish their financials? Do they hold themselves accountable to “the people,” or it just Mormons who have to do it?

Use Opponent As Authority Tactic – This is a popular Marxist tactic that anti-Mormons use. They use Mormonism’s own authorities to discredit the faith, such as an alleged Mormon scholar. What makes this argument powerful is:

  • Deceptively discredits the vast libraries of study on Book of Abraham by LDS professionals.
  • Gives more focus to a phony frame that attacks the Mormon church.
  • Divides the ranks of the church.
  • Establishes a frame that demands a clear, modern explanation in the Book of Abraham for every religious issue in existence, and that it be exactly corroborated by every other Mormon source.
See also:CES Letter Marxist
Contradiction Strategy

Contradiction Strategy Communist Saul Alinsky famously put it: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Marxist Anti-Mormons complain that Mormon priesthood leaders keep the Saints “in darkness” over such a stewardship,” and they invent some kind of expectation that church members need to review the church’s financial details. Suddenly priesthood leaders are guilty of corruption entirely on the innuendo that there could possibly be corruption.

Naturally, Anti-Mormons don’t practice what they preach. I haven’t seen public disclosures of their finances. They probably don’t even see the hypocrisy in themselves. They lie and infiltrate the Mormon church, illegally leak financial documents, complain that the financial documents are secret, and then lecture Mormons about honesty?

Furthermore, who is funding these Anti-Mormons? I see all kinds of high-quality video productions, extensive media strategies, organized protests and meetings, book publishing and websites, subversive activities in the church; this all costs money. Where does the money come from? Why can’t we see their finances? For the same reason Soviet Union agents complained about secret wealth in the United States yet kept their own records sealed, that’s why.

Attack Freedom Of Religion – The danger of this argument is that it attacks at the heart of religious freedom. The Pilgrims sailed to the New World and the United States was founded fundamentally on the freedom to practice religion according to the dictates of one’s conscience. The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees a separation of church and state. Which amendment guarantees that CES Letter gets to see the financial incomes and expenditures of the Mormon church?

The big push right now from the Left is to tax churches. This would erase this religious freedom that the Pilgrims fought for, that our ancestors bled for, and install the European system where the government forces us to pay tithing and we have no say over what it gets spent on. It would take us back to the Feudal ages where we are the working serfs and the big government is the central authoritarian power.

Categories: Apologetics