is the LDS a corporation?


#1

In every single court case I have found on the lds church, they are titled as being a corporation. In fact, the presidents position seems to be a corporation.
can someone please clarify this.


#2

There is a legal entity called the corporation of the first presidency of the CoJCoLDS.

This element of the LDS church conducts necessary business transactions. I beleive you will find a number of similar situations with many other churches and that this something that came about as a necessity in dealing with the US legal system.


#3

I wouldn’t consider the LDS church’s use of a non-profit corporate entity to be particularly notable. It’s kind of like asking whether or not Vatican City is an independent nation (it is btw, though it cooperates very closely with the surrounding Italian communities when it comes to things like electricity and water since it can’t provide these things on its own).

What would be interesting to know is how much individual members of the church know about the activities of the corporate shell. How accessible are the financial statements? If I were a Mormon curious about how my tithe is being spent (helping the poor, funding the local stake farm, or repairing aging church buildings), could I investigate the matter? How would my curiosity be received by elders in the church?

I’ve heard contradictory answers to this question from LDS members. Some seem to think that such investigations are acceptable, but they’ve never really looked into it themselves (and so aren’t sure). And others have told me that kind of information isn’t accessible at all and members are expected to “have faith” in the leadership of the church. I’d be curious to know which is the correct answer, not so much as a measure of LDS’ validity as a faith, but just out of curiosity.


#4

[quote=MEP]I wouldn’t consider the LDS church’s use of a non-profit corporate entity to be particularly notable. It’s kind of like asking whether or not Vatican City is an independent nation (it is btw, though it cooperates very closely with the surrounding Italian communities when it comes to things like electricity and water since it can’t provide these things on its own).

What would be interesting to know is how much individual members of the church know about the activities of the corporate shell. How accessible are the financial statements? If I were a Mormon curious about how my tithe is being spent (helping the poor, funding the local stake farm, or repairing aging church buildings), could I investigate the matter? How would my curiosity be received by elders in the church?

I’ve heard contradictory answers to this question from LDS members. Some seem to think that such investigations are acceptable, but they’ve never really looked into it themselves (and so aren’t sure). And others have told me that kind of information isn’t accessible at all and members are expected to “have faith” in the leadership of the church. I’d be curious to know which is the correct answer, not so much as a measure of LDS’ validity as a faith, but just out of curiosity.
[/quote]

The LDS Church tells its members exactly where every penny of tithing goes, and every penny of fast offering, missionary fund, African Temple patron fund, Perpetual Education fund, Tsunami relief fund etc. All the donations I make are accounted for exactly on a receipt listing the donations I am making. At the end of the year each person meets with his bishop and is given a written accounting of all donations for tax purposes. We do not put our money in a basket at church, we mail it in, or give it to the Bishop the first Sunday of each month, or some pay bi-monthly or once a year. It is a personal decision of how we pay.
My Catholic husband, on the other hand has no idea where his money is going when he donates to the RCC. He actually believes it is going to settle the legal problems in our diocese with wayward priests. We hope not, but always wonder. There is no receipt or acknowledgement of the offerings and we have donated over $6000.00 to the RCC in the past two years. Plus what he puts in the basket every Sunday. So does the RCC give you an exact accounting of every penny they spend, and a receipt for the money you donate? If so, please let us know how to go about getting this information. Thanks in advance for your help with this.
BJ


#5

Actually You have no clue where your tithing goes. Your Donation forms and tithing settlement with your bishop only tell every penny that yuo donated and which category it went into (tithing, fast offering, missionary, etc.). I receive every year in the mail a detailed financial report for the diocese much like a corporate report that gives a very detailed accounting of EXACTLY where the money went for the entire diocese including salaries and benefits. I can get the same level of detail at the parish level whenever I want by asking the business manager.

Do you honestly beleive that you can go to your bishop and find out how much money your spends on general authority travel expenses? (or any other detailed category?)


#6

BJ,

Your post is very misleading.

All the donations I make are accounted for exactly on a receipt listing the donations I am making. At the end of the year each person meets with his bishop and is given a written accounting of all donations for tax purposes

In the tithing settlement with your bishop, you bring your W2s and the LDS church calculates if you’ve paid your 10% (on your GROSS, mind you). If you’re not up-to-date, they will withhold your temple recommend which you need to be exalted, right?

All these other “special” case situations

fast offering, missionary fund, African Temple patron fund, Perpetual Education fund, Tsunami relief fund etc

are IN ADDITION to the 10% expected from you.

So in essence, the only penny-for-penny accounting you are getting a record of IS YOUR OWN TITHING RECORD for your tax purposes. For instance, they notate that YOU donated $500 for Fast Offering. You DO NOT get a record of what your ENTIRE WARD or STAKE donated for Fast Offerings.

Whereas in the Catholic Church, many times a year, often in every Sunday bulletin is the financial statements of that parish. You can find out how much total the church brought in last Sunday. It is PUBLIC information. You can find out the entire Diocese financials if you want to. All spending is PUBLIC information. Want to know how much it cost to build the new Catholic elementary school? You can find out.

The LDS church DOES NOT SUPPLY this information to it’s members or anyone else. Like I stated before, YOU GET AN ACCOUNTING OF YOUR OWN DONATIONS, BUT NOT OF THE CONGREGATION AS A WHOLE.

The Catholic Church also does have special fund-raising events…Bishop’s Appeal, New Catholic school, etc…again, we are provided with full financial disclosure of money raised and money spent. Each Parish within our diocese have goal amounts to raise in the Bishop’s Appeal. In the bulletins, you can see which parishes have met their goals, exceeded, and how much each parishes’ goal amount is. As with all demographics, some parishes are much richer and others are much poorer–their goals reflect this.

If you choose to anonomously put money in the basket at church during Mass (which many do) of course you won’t get a record of that donation. However, if you register at a parish they will send you donation envelopes (usually once a month). You can drop the envelope in the basket, you can mail it in…I imagine you can even hand it to the priest! If you are registered, and use those envelopes (ours are pre-printed with our name, etc) then your donations can be kept track of for you for tax purposes. This is something you have to set up with the parish office. We can go into the office and get our tax statement at the end of the year.

I can’t speak for all parishes, but within our own diocese–we were specifically told that NO money donated was ever going to the legal problems of the church. Instead, our diocese sold off property and assets to pay victims of sexual abuse.

Peace :stuck_out_tongue:


#7

[quote=BJ Colbert]The LDS Church tells its members exactly where every penny of tithing goes, and every penny of fast offering, missionary fund, African Temple patron fund, Perpetual Education fund, Tsunami relief fund etc. All the donations I make are accounted for exactly on a receipt listing the donations I am making. At the end of the year each person meets with his bishop and is given a written accounting of all donations for tax purposes. We do not put our money in a basket at church, we mail it in, or give it to the Bishop the first Sunday of each month, or some pay bi-monthly or once a year. It is a personal decision of how we pay.
My Catholic husband, on the other hand has no idea where his money is going when he donates to the RCC. He actually believes it is going to settle the legal problems in our diocese with wayward priests. We hope not, but always wonder. There is no receipt or acknowledgement of the offerings and we have donated over $6000.00 to the RCC in the past two years. Plus what he puts in the basket every Sunday. So does the RCC give you an exact accounting of every penny they spend, and a receipt for the money you donate? If so, please let us know how to go about getting this information. Thanks in advance for your help with this.
BJ
[/quote]

Thanks for the answer. I didn’t expect the Mormon church to be completely secretive with their finances and I’m glad to see they aren’t.

As for your problems with RCC, I find it very odd. Having once attended a parish with serious financial problems, I’m used to full disclosure on the part of local parishes. If nothing else, the church bulletin should always state the weekly expenses and income totals for the parish (always has in my experience). In my archdiocese, it is required that all parishes publish at least annually “a summary balance sheet and income statement reflecting total parish financial activity.” This would include exactly where funds were disbursed, not just bank statements or a simple statement of total income and total expenses (I would provide the whole citation of the archdiocesan document I found this in, but it’s spread over several different places and written in thick legalese that’s taken me over an hour to penetrate). I also know that in my archdiocese, a similar end of year accounts summary is published in the diocesan newspaper which is published locally and that this account summary can be requested for free in any parish of the arch-diocese after it’s publication.

But these policies are all defined in public documents specific to my archdiocese so I’m not sure if similar policies are standard in other dioceses (how do we pluralize diocese anyway?). I’m not sure if these summaries would provide you with the detail you want, but since you just want to see if any of that money is going to legal defense, it would probably give you a good idea if you could find something similar in your diocese. I don’t think the church even could provide details on where “my” contributions specifically went since it all winds up in the same kitty essentially with everyone else’s contributions, but looking at the proportional spending for the whole congregation could probably give you some idea of how your specific dollars are spent.

I’ve always felt that if you want your money to go to something specific in the Catholic church, the best way is to donate directly to whatever Catholic charity or organization is responsible for that particular need. I suppose it’s harder to say what you don’t want your money to go to, but if you don’t want it go to legal defense, pick a Catholic organization you wouldn’t mind it going to and just contribute to it directly rather than through RCC contributions. That’s how we always approached it in my family at least.


#8

MEP

Thanks for the answer. I didn’t expect the Mormon church to be completely secretive with their finances and I’m glad to see they aren’t.

You must have missed my and majick275’s posts…The LDS church as a whole and on local levels is COMPELTELY secretive about income and expenditures. The only financial statements obtainable by members is their OWN donation accounting record. That’s it.

Peace :stuck_out_tongue:


#9

[quote=ArizonaAmy]MEP

You must have missed my and majick275’s posts…The LDS church as a whole and on local levels is COMPELTELY secretive about income and expenditures. The only financial statements obtainable by members is their OWN donation accounting record. That’s it.

Peace :stuck_out_tongue:
[/quote]

It took me a while to write my response and several people posted while I was doing so. I’m still reading those responses.


#10

Quoting myself in a forum post, that’s new for me.

It seems like the disagreement revolves around a different understanding of how individuals make general versus task-specific contributions. When I want to contribute funds to a particular part of the church (like contributing money intended to go specifically to a missionary appeal, analogous to BJ contributing money specifically for missionary funds) I usually do so by going through an organization other than my parish or at least make the check out to someone other than my parish, and my parish is completely unaware of this contribution (and any tax documentation I receive comes from the org. to which the donation was made). Whereas, when Mormons contribute money to a specific fund, they do so through their local wards and so that information is available to/through their bishop.

The money that they contribute as part of their 10% tithe is not broken down for them as far exact disbursements are concerned but neither is the money that any of us Catholics individually give to RCC for obvious reasons (such a breakdown for each individual would be essentially impossible or at best a rudimentary proportion breakdown that would be identical for every member in the same parish/ward).

Catholic parishes and dioceses do generally make their financial data public though and this allows Catholics to get at least a general idea of how their individual contributions to their parish or diocese are being spent and also allows us to get a very detailed view of how our parishes and dioceses manage their finances and just how much money their parish/diocese is really dealling with.

Short aside: I wonder how far up the foodchain this goes for us. Do you suppose I could get the same public records from the Vatican? Not that I’d really want them (unless I suspected something was amiss which I don’t). Just another point of curiosity really.

Someone correct me if I’m missing something, but I think that summarizes it pretty much. As a non-profit corporation in America, isn’t LDS required to make financial statements public? My grasp of corporate law is both old and generally limited to the for-profit publicly-traded variety as that’s what I have actual experience with so I could be mistaken.


#11

Here BJ—

Here is a link to my diocese financial disclosure. Very nice with pie charts and everythingDiocese of Tucson Financial statement 2004

Our diocese was the 2nd in the nation to declare bankruptcy due to the sexual abuse scandals. Unfortunately, we had many of the pedophile priests here. It is clearly stated within this financial statement that

We are honoring our commitment to donors that what is given so generously to the Annual Catholic Appeal only will go to the support of the 23 charities and ministries that depend upon the Appeal. We are honoring the intent of all other donors who restrict the use of their gifts to specific charities, ministries or activities.

Our bishop had also stated that the majority of the money to pay the victims of priest sexual abuse would come from the selling of real estate and other church assets. Here is a link about the Tucson Diocese bankruptcy Catholic News Service

If that is not full financial disclosure, I don’t know what is. So the point is–many diocese are in a similar situation and I don’t know of any that are not honoring the request of donors who prohibit their donations from helping the church with their legal problems. BJ, your husband’s parish should be no different and you should inquire if it is important to you.

Peace :stuck_out_tongue:


#12

[quote=ArizonaAmy]Here BJ—

Here is a link to my diocese financial disclosure. Very nice with pie charts and everythingDiocese of Tucson Financial statement 2004

Our diocese was the 2nd in the nation to declare bankruptcy due to the sexual abuse scandals. Unfortunately, we had many of the pedophile priests here. It is clearly stated within this financial statement that

Our bishop had also stated that the majority of the money to pay the victims of priest sexual abuse would come from the selling of real estate and other church assets. Here is a link about the Tucson Diocese bankruptcy Catholic News Service

If that is not full financial disclosure, I don’t know what is. So the point is–many diocese are in a similar situation and I don’t know of any that are not honoring the request of donors who prohibit their donations from helping the church with their legal problems. BJ, your husband’s parish should be no different and you should inquire if it is important to you.

Peace :stuck_out_tongue:
[/quote]

And where did the money come from to buy the assets, that they now are selling? I mean come on. If anyone really wants to go down this road. In the end you have hundreds of millions of dollars worth of assets going to settle lawsuits. Do you really think that the Catholic Church is standing on firmer ground, if we could know where every last cent ended up?


#13

[quote=wademann]And where did the money come from to buy the assets, that they now are selling? I mean come on. If anyone really wants to go down this road. In the end you have hundreds of millions of dollars worth of assets going to settle lawsuits. Do you really think that the Catholic Church is standing on firmer ground, if we could know where every last cent ended up?
[/quote]

You’re totally missing the point. Earlier in this thread BJ wrote:

“My Catholic husband, on the other hand has no idea where his money is going when he donates to the RCC. He actually believes it is going to settle the legal problems in our diocese with wayward priests. We hope not, but always wonder.”

Arizona Amy was simply responding to that comment, ie. the money you donate at Mass is not going to settle lawsuits. She was not specifically commenting on the sexual abuse scandal.


#14

[quote=BJ Colbert]The LDS Church tells its members exactly where every penny of tithing goes, and every penny of fast offering, missionary fund, African Temple patron fund, Perpetual Education fund, Tsunami relief fund etc.
[/quote]

Really? I didn’t think you were told what became of your tithing. Do you get a statement from the church itemizing how the tithing collection was spent?


#15

[quote=Chris-WA]Really? I didn’t think you were told what became of your tithing. Do you get a statement from the church itemizing how the tithing collection was spent?
[/quote]

I guess my last reply on this got kicked out, but I elaborated, that we also have a pie printout telling us where our donations go, as well as other specific printouts. Why would you think we don’t have the same information you have, actually we have more than you have? Our church record keeping is meticulous to the penny. Our Chapels and Temples are completely mortgage free before the ground breaking. I know exactly where my money goes and I trust that it goes to the purposes that the LDS Church tells me it goes to.
Since tithing settlement is in December and W2s come out in January, I have never had the Bishop compare a W2 to my reported tithing. They trust us, as we trust them. What kind of church member would not trust their leaders? All of our offerings are completely voluntary, and private between us and our Bishop.
Fast offering is the first Sunday of each month, when we fast and donate the amount we would spend for two meals to the ward for the poor. Perpetual education fund is a fund set up for the youth of impoverished countries to provide college education for their youth and they in turn, can better themselves and their families through education. They also contribute back to the fund when they graduate and have good paying jobs. It has worked to make many families self supporting and raise their standards of living.
The African patrons fund is to provide the money to help the people of Africa, specifically Ghana, Tanzania, and others to have the funds to travel to the Temple to do their family temple sealings. There are special funds for Hurricane and Earthquake and Tsunami devastation and when those needs arise we donate what we can.
I am probably, according to US government standards boarderline poverty, but I always have plenty to share with others, because the Lord blesses me. When I pay my tithing the blessings increase in direct proportion to my generosity. I have written my tithing check wondering how I will pay a bill that is owing, and had the next mail bring a check from unexpected sources for the same amount or more than the check I wrote for the Lord’s work.
Exaltation does not depend solely on paying tithing. The Temple recommend must be renewed each year, and sometimes I have not been qualified to receive the recommend, but next year I try harder to follow the commandments and take one step at a time to become a better person and follow Jesus Christ, as well as I possibly can. I will never be perfect , but it is a goal I work toward and keep getting up and working harder when I get knocked down.

What exactly is the purpose of this thread? Why would Catholics be worried about what LDS do with their money? I have never wondered or worried about what Catholics or LDS do with the donations.
I think both Churches are widely known for their humanitarian causes all over the world. I think it would be pretty impossible to ask the Vatican to account for each and every member’s donations. Let’s see paperwork for 1 Billion plus people, or is it 2 Billion? Our individual wards give us the same accounting as your parish gives. As in the pie etc. I never required more. BJ


#16

[quote=majick275]Actually You have no clue where your tithing goes. Your Donation forms and tithing settlement with your bishop only tell every penny that yuo donated and which category it went into (tithing, fast offering, missionary, etc.). I receive every year in the mail a detailed financial report for the diocese much like a corporate report that gives a very detailed accounting of EXACTLY where the money went for the entire diocese including salaries and benefits. I can get the same level of detail at the parish level whenever I want by asking the business manager.

Do you honestly beleive that you can go to your bishop and find out how much money your spends on general authority travel expenses? (or any other detailed category?)
[/quote]

Yes, if I was interested in having that information. Why would I care? Do you care how much the Catholic Church spends on the travel of the Pope and Cardinals and his entourage and Monsgniors(sp)and Bishops and priests and nuns? If you called the Pope would he mail out an itemized statement to you specifically? Our local leadership is all volunteer, so our church spends much less on salaries and travel than the Vatican, I am sure.
We also, support the entire Church with our tithings, so no ward or stake is left to go bankrupt if they fall on hard times as the Catholic Church has recently. As I said we have the pie chart which shows exactly what portions of our donations go where, and that is all I care to know. I trust my Church to do the best they can with the money I donate for the Lord’s work, and I am very satisfied that they are doing a good job of managing the money.
We also have our own welfare system which takes care of our own people who have lost jobs or need financial help. Our people do not have to accept Federal or state welfare. That takes a large load off the federal government programs. We are the first to send help in times of hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, tsunamis or other disasters. We often work with the Catholic Church infrastructure in providing relief for disasters.
Again, do I care what portion of my donation goe to what? NO!
I don’t ask the Red Cross what they do with the money either, I trust they manage it as well as they can. :thumbsup: BJ


#17

That would be my fault I think. This thread started as someone wondering why LDS was classified as a non-profit corporation (which is totally legit IMHO, since most religions in the US do the same). I asked a question solely out of curiosity about whether or not LDS are given a break down of how their tithes are spent. It wasn’t intended to be a criticism regardless of how the question was answered – really I was just wondering aloud (and I was only wondering because I had heard contradicting answers on the subject prior to this thread). I had no intent of this leading into a criticism of anybody really.


#18

[quote=BJ Colbert]Yes, if I was interested in having that information. Why would I care? Do you care how much the Catholic Church spends on the travel of the Pope and Cardinals and his entourage and Monsgniors(sp)and Bishops and priests and nuns? If you called the Pope would he mail out an itemized statement to you specifically? Our local leadership is all volunteer, so our church spends much less on salaries and travel than the Vatican, I am sure.
We also, support the entire Church with our tithings, so no ward or stake is left to go bankrupt if they fall on hard times as the Catholic Church has recently. As I said we have the pie chart which shows exactly what portions of our donations go where, and that is all I care to know. I trust my Church to do the best they can with the money I donate for the Lord’s work, and I am very satisfied that they are doing a good job of managing the money.
We also have our own welfare system which takes care of our own people who have lost jobs or need financial help. Our people do not have to accept Federal or state welfare. That takes a large load off the federal government programs. We are the first to send help in times of hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, tsunamis or other disasters. We often work with the Catholic Church infrastructure in providing relief for disasters.
Again, do I care what portion of my donation goe to what? NO!
I don’t ask the Red Cross what they do with the money either, I trust they manage it as well as they can. :thumbsup: BJ
[/quote]

Okay now I am really confused. I thought that you were telling me in one post that you did have detailed financial information from your church complete with charts. Now you say that you aren’t interested in the information?

Yes I want to know how much of the parish, diocese info is spent on travel. I want to know how many dollars are taken in and from what sources. I want to know what assets they own and how many dollars are spent on schoolbooks, building repairs, etc.

I especially find your reference to the red cross alarming as they just recently went through having to explain why such a low portion of their donations went to actual aid.

What is so wrong with full financial disclosure? Or are you afraid of what of what you might find? (Like the hundreds of millions of dollars the LDS church spent on a shopping mall in Salt Lake City)

Your welfare comments are in error as well. Talk to your Bishop and he will be happy to clarify for you that the LDS church asks its members in need to first go to their Family members, then the appropriate government agencies and only then the church. Claiming that your church is saving us significant tax dollars is certainly an embellishment. I’ll gladly acknowledge your church’s prompt relief efforts in many disasters. I am bit cynical though of the motives of those who are always there when the cameras are filming…where are the LDS hospitals? Homeless shelters? Schools? The things that make life better in thirld world countries, our own country? The day to day charities?

You are good at recruiting and fund raising, but I want to know what my church does with their resources.

In any case I think the tone of this thread has gotten a little angry so I pray that the Lord bless you and humbly apologize to you if I have given offense.


#19

[quote=majick275]Okay now I am really confused. I thought that you were telling me in one post that you did have detailed financial information from your church complete with charts. Now you say that you aren’t interested in the information?

Yes I want to know how much of the parish, diocese info is spent on travel. I want to know how many dollars are taken in and from what sources. I want to know what assets they own and how many dollars are spent on schoolbooks, building repairs, etc.

I especially find your reference to the red cross alarming as they just recently went through having to explain why such a low portion of their donations went to actual aid.

What is so wrong with full financial disclosure? Or are you afraid of what of what you might find? (Like the hundreds of millions of dollars the LDS church spent on a shopping mall in Salt Lake City)

Your welfare comments are in error as well. Talk to your Bishop and he will be happy to clarify for you that the LDS church asks its members in need to first go to their Family members, then the appropriate government agencies and only then the church. Claiming that your church is saving us significant tax dollars is certainly an embellishment. I’ll gladly acknowledge your church’s prompt relief efforts in many disasters. I am bit cynical though of the motives of those who are always there when the cameras are filming…where are the LDS hospitals? Homeless shelters? Schools? The things that make life better in thirld world countries, our own country? The day to day charities?

You are good at recruiting and fund raising, but I want to know what my church does with their resources.

In any case I think the tone of this thread has gotten a little angry so I pray that the Lord bless you and humbly apologize to you if I have given offense.
[/quote]

Are you kidding me? I would much rather have my church INVEST my money in a shopping mall for future returns, than pay out hundreds of millons for deviant actions of the leaders. Do you have any evidence of the LDS church misappropriating any funds? Your insinuations are rediculous.


#20

This thread is deteriorating into a less than charitable tenor, which is unacceptable. The original post asked about the LDS’ corporate status; that query was answered. I allowed it to continue on the premise that a general discussion as to church finances was not far afield from the thread topic.

The thread is now closed. I invite all who participated to review their posts, consider the charity and civilty of those, and reflect on whether they might have made their points in a more civil and charitable manner. More especially, I suggest you consider whether some of these posts and the veiled or unveiled accusations made therein were appropriate or even necessary.

Joe


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