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Philosophy of Religious Finances - Mormonism

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Newme

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Philosophy of Religious Finances - Mormonism

Post Number:#1  PostMarch 28th, 2012, 1:03 pm

Recently, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon church) opened up a $5 Billion shopping mall.

I'm trying to understand the philosophy behind this move by the church, considering I am an active Mormon. It seems to be a contradictory message claiming to be the church of Jesus Christ and building & owning a $5,000,000,000 shopping Mall, City Creek Center in Salt Lake City.
http://www.shopcitycreekcenter.com/
This is a very elegant & high-end mall, but I can't imagine Jesus (and all he stands for) prioritizing something like this (& the many other corporations the Mormon church owns), when almost 1,000,000,000 men, women & children are starving.
http://www.worldhunger.org/articles/Lea ... 202002.htm

When the church was first established, celestial weddings were performed anywhere, sometimes in temples, sometimes outside of temples. When they were performed in temples, all were invited, whether they were Mormon or not. Now, in order to be considered worthy to go to heaven (celestial kingdom) and to enter the temple, one must pay 10% tithing to the church leaders. Church leaders regularly check if members are full tithe payers by conducting temple interviews and tithing settlements. Yet, they will not allow members to know how they spend church funds. I see this as contradictory.

When I bring this up to other Mormons, they say that they trust in God's servants, the prophets (church leaders).
I wonder how others see this.

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Xris

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Re: Philosophy of Religious Finances - Mormonism

Post Number:#2  PostMarch 28th, 2012, 3:30 pm

From an agnostic perspective Mormonism has always been a constant stream of contradictions. So your recent revelations are not surprising. I am sure many honest roman catholics must have the same feelings when they find out how much their church is worth. You must remember jesus the man was never interested in formalising his message of hope and love. Truth be known he was a simple teacher abducted by men with desire for power and wealth.
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Re: Philosophy of Religious Finances - Mormonism

Post Number:#3  PostMarch 28th, 2012, 6:47 pm

Xris wrote:From an agnostic perspective Mormonism has always been a constant stream of contradictions. So your recent revelations are not surprising. I am sure many honest roman catholics must have the same feelings when they find out how much their church is worth. You must remember jesus the man was never interested in formalising his message of hope and love. Truth be known he was a simple teacher abducted by men with desire for power and wealth.
Thank you for your response. I wondered if I was the only one who was seeing a major contradiction. As mentioned, it seems that many have tried to put a price tag on hope and love.
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Re: Philosophy of Religious Finances - Mormonism

Post Number:#4  PostMarch 29th, 2012, 1:34 pm

This seems to be a problem in many religions and even in non-religious cultural institutions or even fads. In terms of religion, according to the legends Jesus's main complain against the Church was its materialism and luxury, throwing over a gold table and whatnot. Ironically, of course, the modern major Christian Churches with their huge gold buildings represent the exact opposite of that teaching despite naming their religion after the man. We similar things in many religions: Original teachers preaching modesty, non-materialism, charity, human equality and asceticism but big institutions in the business of leaching on the legacy of such a person seem (to me at least) to have a strong tendency towards the opposite particularly in the sense of gaining wealth and materialist advantages for their organization and supporting their own hierarchy among men against equality. Even Hindus and Buddhists have turned aspects of their religion into commodities for their own wealth and power like multi-million if not multi-billion dollar yoga industry. And as I referenced earlier, we see the same problem where-ever a secular person can achieve a similar level of worthy leadership. Find me a top of the line 'financial self-help adviser' and I will find you millions of customers wasting money on overpriced books by that author and expansive travel and hotel accommodations for non-free seminars involving that person. For every one person giving sound advice there seems to me to be thousands of clever self-serving business-people (i.e. Churches) willing and able to abuse the message for usually the opposite of what it teaches.

With all that said, the particular example given in the original post seems even absurd to me than all the rest. A 5 billion dollar church or collection plate collection would be absurdly disgusting; an openly commercial 5 billion shopping mall seems to be beyond words.
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Re: Philosophy of Religious Finances - Mormonism

Post Number:#5  PostMarch 29th, 2012, 7:59 pm

Every religious institution requires a God for its initialization and authority. Once sufficiently established it's the "Authorities" who become the Gods. The more questionable its practices the greater the necessity for its "justification". This invariably invokes the phrase - against which there is no expectation of a counter argument - "it is Gods Will" or one of equal potency to exclude appeal by human reason and right in the name of "Divine Right". We need the Gods to create the human ones, God's so-called servants. What a load of crap! There is more corruption in religion than in everything else put together on planet earth including politics.
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Re: Philosophy of Religious Finances - Mormonism

Post Number:#6  PostMarch 30th, 2012, 1:20 pm

Every common revolution has been kidnapped by men with desire for power and wealth. It does not need to be god driven. Political rebellion has the same result. As one well known revolutionist commented. We need constant rebellion.
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Re: Philosophy of Religious Finances - Mormonism

Post Number:#7  PostMarch 30th, 2012, 8:02 pm

Xris wrote:Every common revolution has been kidnapped by men with desire for power and wealth. It does not need to be god driven. Political rebellion has the same result. As one well known revolutionist commented. We need constant rebellion.


This is certainly true! But it's the religious gamble for power which is the most potent. Once established it is also the least vulnerable to revolution. That could be expounded as rebellion against God which includes his earthly emissaries! There just is nothing equivalent to ruling by Divine Right going back to the Pharaohs and Alexander. Sometimes I try to imagine what God's status would have amounted to if he hadn't proved to be such a useful entity in the collection of power. What would the world be like now!
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Re: Philosophy of Religious Finances - Mormonism

Post Number:#8  PostMarch 31st, 2012, 6:51 am

Am I the only one who doesn't see a problem here? If we look at the church as a tree, then one can perceive that this new 5 billion dollar shopping mall, is just one branch of that tree. I am quite sure that the Mormon church has many branches which look after the poor and help those in poverty. This shopping mall is a very wise way of securing the church's financial future. In building the mall, the church has created jobs and opportunities for individual businesses and general business growth.

There is a point of view that I find fallicious, that because Jesus was poor and meek in his time that the church must also poor and meek today. Why should that be so? If people see christians living a high standard of life and being wealthy, then more people will aspire to be christians, that is natural, people gravitate towards success.

God never said in the 10 commandments, 'thou shalt be poor' or 'thou shall not prosper financially' indeed, king Solomon was the richest man who ever lived, and he was greatly loved and blessed by God, enough to write the wise proverbs. I believe that God can love both the rich and the poor equally.

Newme, I think that in makng this topic, you have created a straw man for atheists to attack. I feel that if you look at the new mall with an open mind and a 'glass half-full' approach you will begin to see the positive aspects of it.
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Re: Philosophy of Religious Finances - Mormonism

Post Number:#9  PostMarch 31st, 2012, 9:24 pm

According to the Bible (I personally don't believe anything it says simply because it says it, but I'm not a Christian), Jesus didn't merely happen to be poor, he was mad at the Church for its luxurious splendor and wealth and preached non-materialism; right?

The Bible wrote:And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all of them who sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,

And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. — Matthew 21:12-13

Matthew 6:19

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Luke 14:33

Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.

Matthew 6:24

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Money.

Matthew 19:21

Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

Hebrews 13:5

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Phil 2:3

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

Acts 2:44-45

All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
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Re: Philosophy of Religious Finances - Mormonism

Post Number:#10  PostMarch 31st, 2012, 9:44 pm

Hello there, I was just reading these posts, and since I live in Utah, but am not a Mormon, I think that the quotes from the Bible that Scott has given need to apply here, particularly to the LDS church, but also to those other Churches that claim to follow Jesus Christ, yet hold out a golden offering plate every sunday. Although I am a Christian, a minister for that matter, I have always pointed out to those who were willing, and those not willing especially, to listen, Jesus Christ did not preach governmental change, materialism, property onwership, wealth, but actually taught against it in many parables and sermons. Read the sermon on the mount as it is, not trying to read into it anything that modern American society has taught us, and you'll walk away a different person. This similarities between what Jesus taught and what Diogenes the Cynic stood for are too close to be a coincidence. For whatever reason churches amass riches, they do so to their bane. Diogenes of Utah
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Re: Philosophy of Religious Finances - Mormonism

Post Number:#11  PostApril 1st, 2012, 2:16 am

Hi there! This may well be endemic in many churches' a classic case of fusing Christianity with capitalism. I am an agnostic, who doesn't mind occasionally attending the Salvation Army, or Salvos as we call them here in Australia.

Here in Melbourne there is a Unitarian 'Church' which is about 95% atheistic. I don't know how rich they are, no comparison with the Mormons, but to my knowledge they pay no tax; a bit of a conflict in interests?
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Re: Philosophy of Religious Finances - Mormonism

Post Number:#12  PostApril 1st, 2012, 2:51 am

I believe that man is a creature that desires to worship something, be it a god, money, fame, sports, even philosophy. The tax laws here inthe United States were designed to be fair about what and who paid taxes. we didn't start income taxes to the Federal Government until the early 20th century, I believe in 1916 it started. Originally churches were poor, at least most were, preachers barely able to be paid, many had to work to make ends meet. Those of us who ministe and work to make a living pay our taxes as we are required to. Unfortuantly there are some who will always use religion, and christianity in particular, to do as they please.
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Re: Philosophy of Religious Finances - Mormonism

Post Number:#13  PostApril 1st, 2012, 3:13 am

Hi Diogenes.book.Wealth of Nations. Diogenes was quite a character; he even got stuck into Alexander the Great.

Yes , we all hold gods of varying value; I am not against Christianity per se, just some of the man made perversions of it.
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Re: Philosophy of Religious Finances - Mormonism

Post Number:#14  PostApril 1st, 2012, 5:35 am

Most people are aware that Jesus was a poor and humble man, and that he taught against the valuing of material wealth. I think that he did this because he wanted his church to be built upon the foundations of his teachings and ministry. Therefore, if the Mormon church maintains the foundations of Jesus' ministry and preaches his message, I see no problem or contradiction, with the church becoming wealthy and expanding into business.

The Mormon church is not selling things inside of it like a market place, which is what happened it the scripture which Scott refers to, the Mormon church has built a shopping mall, where there will be new jobs and opportunities for continual development. Why should the church be wealthy and not use its wealth? These are the times of capitalism that we live in. By buliding a high end shopping mall, the Church has secured its financial future.

Before criticising the church, we should study the work that it has done in Christ's name i.e. how many people it has brought to Christ, what kind of charities does it support, how does it help the poor; instead of branding it as 'immoral' for building a shopping mall. I'm a theist who believes in Christ, and I would embrace becoming wealthy. If I became wealthy, I would remember the teachings of Christ and try to help people less fortunate than myself. I would think that the Mormon church is doing this, but it is also making practical use of it's wealth.
Wisdom and understanding are necessary requisites of life, but in order to acquire them, we must have good teachers. I believe the art of philosophy is one such teacher, if not the best. E.M.Bedeau aka The Reader.
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Re: Philosophy of Religious Finances - Mormonism

Post Number:#15  PostApril 1st, 2012, 10:07 am

Money changes everybody, either the lack thereof, or the attainment. do a study on the history of any church, not just the LDS, take the catholic, or state churches of Europe, the Charismatic churches here in the States, once free from the love of money, which Paul states is the root of all evil, they even teach now you should demand wealth from God. I disagree that any good a church or any organization has done outweighs its rejection of its founders teachings. Diogenes of Utah
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