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Author Topic: Pope Benedict announces resignation.
scholarette
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Black blade, I think you are overly naive. But I have known a lot of Mormons who have been pretty badly treated by bishops and counselors. Heck, I know a pedophile who just got set apart as second counselor last Sunday.
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Rakeesh
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I'm afraid I have to agree with scholarette. If the gradual increase of knowledge about child abuse teaches us anything, it's that the reason for rules such as 'never alone with a child' for priests, teachers, so on and so forth, is that 'never' is too long a word. That in fact we have an interest, speaking generally of human beings, in avoiding the sort of 'never' talk that feels right when discussing such a terrible crime. Fully aware of the contradiction, I say that we should never say never.

As for official records of church finances, well, it's not for me to tell you what you should believe about the integrity of those managing Mormon accounts, BlackBlade. In fact I don't try to, not knowing enough one way or another to have an opinion. Except this-my instinct tells me that for any institution whose records and activities aren't open to the public, to rely on their integrity and on eventual whistleblowers is not uncommonly an unwise policy.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by scholarette:
Black blade, I think you are overly naive. But I have known a lot of Mormons who have been pretty badly treated by bishops and counselors. Heck, I know a pedophile who just got set apart as second counselor last Sunday.

Could you explain how I am being naive? I conceded that both things can happen. I only argued against it being likely to have an institutionalized sex ring amongst missionaries, or a prolonged instance of child abuse from a bishop towards the same person.

I know a pedophile scout master who abused a boy for so long, when the boy grew into a consenting adult, he was convinced that he actually was in love with his abuser, and left his family to be with him. Both were members of the church.

Nurseries in the church all have windows (often one way where you can see from the outside in, but not inside out). There are always at least two nursery leaders in the class. When a child needs to be removed a second responsible adult is always summoned before two adults take the child to their parents or to the bathroom.

When I was a missionary and my companion held closed door interviews, I always sat right outside the door. We were not permitted to sit and teach a discussion with a single person of the opposite sex, regardless of how trustworthy or pure their motives were.

--------

Rakeesh: I completely agree, and I have been long contemplating why the church does not disclose its finances. It doesn't sit exactly right with me, but I am trying to not let my bias about the propensity for secrecy to turn into corruption lead me to immediately conclude the church is corrupt because it is secret about it's finances.

Maybe I just don't want to believe it, but the leaders do not use the funds for their own unrighteous purposes, as evident by the fact none of them are especially wealthy. For some reason the richest Mormons are never general authorities. They are not sending the money abroad to tax havens, or funding satellite groups with evil agendas. From what I can tell, the money stays in the church, goes towards good investments (good as in good for people and the community). So, so far, I am at least suffering the anonymity.

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Boris
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Do I need to point out that the church releasing its financial information to the public serves no purpose except to expose the church to pointless and unnecessary scrutiny at the hands of armchair politicians? Releasing it to just the membership will inevitably lead to an unapproved public release of that information. I suspect that your desire to look into the church's financial records is entirely about legitimizing your own hatred.

quote:
Heck, I know a pedophile who just got set apart as second counselor last Sunday.
A convicted pedophile? That seems unlikely. If so, tell the local church leaders about it. The church doesn't have a system of background checks in place for choosing leaders (though it might be a good idea for the church to develop one).

If he's not a convicted pedophile, do you have personal knowledge of this individual actively abusing children? I haven't been here in a while, so I can't remember if you are a member of the church. But there's this part of sacrament meeting where members are asked if they approve of an appointment like that. If a member has knowledge of some misdeed that should be addressed, it's not unacceptable for people to raise their hand when they say "Are there any opposed to this appointment?". Even one person raising their hand at that point calls for a private discussion with leadership regarding the reasons for opposing. If you're a member and knew something about this but didn't oppose...why didn't you? If you aren't a member or are inactive, please...Call the bishop and bring up your issues.

Regarding mistreatment of people by bishops. This is why we have a somewhat hierarchical leadership system. If a bishop is mistreating people, they have every opportunity to speak with a Stake President. If they have issues with a Stake President, they can talk to an Area Authority. And so on, all the way up to the first presidency. If there is abuse in the church that continues unopposed, it is most often due to people *not pointing it out*.

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scholarette
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The nursery with windows and all the rules on nursery are actually fairly new, like last decade and based on timing, that safety push came from my parent's ward after their nursery teacher was arrested for molesting several nursery students in their ward.


I don't think there is an organized sex circle, but I think there are many things setup that allow abuse easier than should be. Also, bishops having 5 years of access is for an abused child a very long time. I also know of bishops and stake presidents who have chosen to cover things up, which again for a child who finally trusted an adult with abuse to have that abuse covered up and allowed to continue is devestating. But, I guess people like to confide in me because I have heard a lot of stories and the setup of the bishops and interviews has been abused often.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Do I need to point out that the church releasing its financial information to the public serves no purpose except to expose the church to pointless and unnecessary scrutiny at the hands of armchair politicians? Releasing it to just the membership will inevitably lead to an unapproved public release of that information. I suspect that your desire to look into the church's financial records is entirely about legitimizing your own hatred.

Oh for pity's sake, hatred? Can you discuss this like a calm, rational human being or not? I'm happy to attempt it myself, but not if you're going to fly so far off the handle as that-which also, though I doubt you intend it, illustrates some of the points people are making.

Now, then. First of all, it's interesting that you clearly think publicizing church finances would only lead to widespread public mockery. Isn't that somewhat at odds with the claims I'm hearing here, which I suspect you would agree with, that this spending is strictly aboveboard and for good causes? Second, let me understand this: because it *might* lead to public loss of some prestige, the church should keep records of how it spends the money of its members a secret from those members. The important thing in the reasoning you're putting forward is that the critical thing is to save the church's reputation.

Well, that sort of thinking bears a very marked resemblence to another topic of discussion in this thread, which has been one of my points. But in any event, you're supposed to be God's church. Why does God's church recoil so fiercely from even the possibility of the scorn of unbelievers?

quote:
Regarding mistreatment of people by bishops. This is why we have a somewhat hierarchical leadership system. If a bishop is mistreating people, they have every opportunity to speak with a Stake President. If they have issues with a Stake President, they can talk to an Area Authority. And so on, all the way up to the first presidency. If there is abuse in the church that continues unopposed, it is most often due to people *not pointing it out*.
Oh, yes, this too is generally the way of institutions run by humans. When there are transgressions, the fault generally lies with victims not being noisy enough about it. It's the fault of these victims, not of the institution. Because again-prestige must be preserved.

-------

BB,

quote:
Rakeesh: I completely agree, and I have been long contemplating why the church does not disclose its finances. It doesn't sit exactly right with me, but I am trying to not let my bias about the propensity for secrecy to turn into corruption lead me to immediately conclude the church is corrupt because it is secret about it's finances.
This would seem less to me a 'bias' than a very sensibly prudent precaution. Not even the prophet of your church is said to be speaking and acting always with the righteousness of God, with that degree of virtue-and the concern isn't only malicious greed, there's also a question of competency. For the sake of argument let's say there were good, sound reasons to be sure the money wasn't being used for bad purposes-does that necessarily mean it's being well spent?
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BlackBlade
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Rakeesh: Define well-spent? I went to church in one of the last remaining colonial style mansions left in Hong Kong. The church purchased it many years ago. The church wanted to renovate it so that parking wasn't such a nightmare, but the Hong Kong press was furious with the church for wanting to alter a piece of Hong Kong's history. The uproar caught the church off guard so it hastily made a deal with the HK government that it would sell the mansion in exchange for a building elsewhere in downtown. The value of the mansion vastly outpaced the building the church got in exchange, and the new building doesn't have any parking lot to speak of. So members have to train/bus in, or else use a pay lot nearby.

The church lost hundreds of thousands if not over a million dollars in the bad deal.

BYU is in part subsidized by the church, which keeps tuition costs down. Just about any student can tell you that it has extremely old facilities in alot of places, it's research is behind in multiple fields. It's missing many academic programs. Just about the only well-funded thing I can think of is the football team. And yet, BYU hemorrhages money. It's been such a costly lesson, the church probably will never construct a new university elsewhere ever.

The Mormon church built a very expensive temple in Kirtland, Ohio, in their poverty. They were chased off their land, and had to abandon the temple. So, they built another one in Nauvoo, Illinois. They were chased out again, and an arsonist burned the temple to the ground. Who is to measure how well that money was spent? Ask a Mormon at the time and many if not most would say it was money very well spent. Ask a secularist and it's a freaking waste. Worse than a Ferrari.

I guess I'm trying to say, I'm comfortable with the fact that the church leaders will mismanage the money they are given. They are learning too. Jesus himself said make friends with the mammon of unrighteousness, or in other words, learn to be good at managing your money. This requires mistakes to be made. I'm also happy to leave that responsibility in the hands of those whose calling it is to manage church funds.

I don't want prolonged mismanagement to continue because of secrecy, but there are definite downsides to church finances being endlessly scrutinized.

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Boris
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quote:
Oh, yes, this too is generally the way of institutions run by humans. When there are transgressions, the fault generally lies with victims not being noisy enough about it. It's the fault of these victims, not of the institution. Because again-prestige must be preserved.
You insufferably arrogant ass. Did I say it was the fault of the people who were abused? NO! You have this HORRENDOUS habit of sticking words in my mouth and I will not stand for it. I am referring specifically to people who stand on the sidelines, knowing when people are being abused and then do *nothing* to stop it. Absolutely nothing. Not even raising their hands in a church meeting when asked if they know that something is going on. If you want to accuse me of blaming victims for not coming forward about their own abuse, please, point to where I said that.

And you have no business whatsoever knowing anything about where the church spends its money. None at all. That's why the church doesn't release that information, because it *doesn't have to*. Show me an organization that releases its books in such detail that would allow the average person to determine if *every cent in the tithing fund is spent only for certain things*. Particularly when you're dealing with *billions* of dollars. And by unnecessary scrutiny, I mean things like, "The church spent xxx dollars building a parking lot in Downtown LA! That money could have been spent doing xxx!!!" You realize how much of that kind of crap the church *already* puts up with?

[ February 28, 2013, 01:56 AM: Message edited by: Boris ]

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Rakeesh
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Boris,

The name calling was whistled. Just being public about it.

Now, then.

quote:
If there is abuse in the church that continues unopposed, it is most often due to people *not pointing it out*.
Perhaps you didn't mean these words the way you typed them out and posted them. Nevertheless, you said them and I didn't put words in your mouth. You attributed ongoing 'unopposed' abuse when it happens to victims remaining silent. You said that. If having it said back to you elicits such outrage, well, might be a good sign to reconsider your opinion.

quote:
And you have no business whatsoever knowing anything about where the church spends its money. None at all. That's why the church doesn't release that information, because it *doesn't have to*. Show me an organization that releases its books in such detail that would allow the average person to determine if *every cent in the tithing fund is spent only for certain things*. Particularly when you're dealing with *billions* of dollars. And by unnecessary scrutiny, I mean things like, "The church spent xxx dollars building a parking lot in Downtown LA! That money could have been spent doing xxx!!!" You realize how much of that kind of crap the church *already* puts up with?
Well if you will whine about my putting words in your mouth, here's quite a few claims I didn't make. I quoted you saying what I said, so I'll ask you to do the same. First of all I didn't say the church owed anything to *me*. In fact I focused more on questions of why it keeps these things hidden from its members. Second, my point wasn't that the church has some huge moral obligation to open its books to the public but to ask why you were so afraid of publicity. Third, if you're going go compare your church to other organizations...well, that don't wash. Not many organizations claim to be founded by Gos and to communicate His teachings to not just its members but the world. So yeah, I'll rate shadiness on the part of a trading house as a bit less troubling than in God's supposed institution on Earth.

You all are making some mighty big claims for yourselves. That's fine, incidentally. I don't buy into them, but thankfully I've a choice in the matter. But if you're going to make those claims for yourself, then damnit be prepared to face a sharper more skeptical eye. Only natural.

Oh, and if we're going to talk about not standing for things-I won't have it said that I hate your church without giving you the lie for doing so. I pointed out that the claim was nonsense, and you rolled right over it as though it hadn't been said. Looking squint-eyed at an organization which keeps its finances secret from its own members isn't the same as hatred, not by a long shot. You know this to be true for two reasons: one, I've plainly said as much and two, I'm having a perfectly civil conversation with BlackBlade, a man who has the guts to hear a critical word without getting angry, on this very topic. If he can do it, you can do it.

If you're going to leave that accusation out there, though, I hope you soon arrive again at another tantrum and proclamation that you're done with this place.

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Boris
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Now that I've calmed down a bit...I want to point something out to you, Rakeesh. My post was an admonition for someone to speak up with knowledge about what she knows of possible abuse to the leadership of the church. My comment that you outline above, you took completely out of context. In context, it's very plain that I mean people with knowledge of abuse who aren't victims doing nothing about it. Not the victims themselves. You made a *very* unfair misrepresentation of what I said, without me asking for your input. I was not speaking to you, and you decided to, again, make a snarky, arrogant snipe at me. I'm sorry I got pissed, but you do that in almost every controversy laden thread I post in and I'm getting really tired of it.

Furthermore. My other point was that the church has no need to outline every expense it makes to the membership of the church or the public. Demanding it do so is an unnecessary burden on the leadership that would require a level of expense to distribute that would most definitely be better spent helping people.

Also, the church views public declaration of good deeds to be a prideful act that destroys the purpose of doing good deeds. For the church to publish the money it spends on humanitarian aid, public welfare, and other initiatives would be viewed by cynical people as an attempt to garner good press, and "Crying your good deeds from the roof tops" is one of the things the church implores people to avoid. There are a multitude of reasons why the church wouldn't want to publish its finances even to the members. Not the least of which includes the fact that those finances contain records of charitable donations. Both who gives and how much. That type of information *should* be kept private. For you to automatically assume that there is some cloak and dagger hidden evil secret reason behind it is incredibly cynical and extremely insulting to members of the church. Do you realize that? Do you realize that by being so publicly cynical as to claim that because we believe that the church holds the truth of God that it should be completely transparent about how it spends its money would be insulting to someone who believes in the teachings of the church? You are basically saying "It can't be true because they don't tell everyone how they spend the money they get." Can you not see how that is probably one of the most logically *weak* arguments you could make against the church?

And I used the wrong word in saying "Hatred"...I meant prejudice. I used hatred because my vocabulary broke. Basically, I was saying that people in the public who want to view the finances of the church want to because they feel that it would reveal some deep dark evil that the church is doing so they can justify their prejudice against the church. Realistically, it's probably more like Romney's tax returns. A whole lot of "well that was boring".

[ February 28, 2013, 03:36 AM: Message edited by: Boris ]

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
There are a multitude of reasons why the church wouldn't want to publish its finances even to the members. Not the least of which includes the fact that those finances contain records of charitable donations. Both who gives and how much. That type of information *should* be kept private. For you to automatically assume that there is some cloak and dagger hidden evil secret reason behind it is incredibly cynical and extremely insulting to members of the church. Do you realize that?

Wow. It's insulting to be reasonably suspicious of a multi-billion dollar operation that claims to act under the aegis of a supernatural being, which doesn't make its financial dealings public, even to the members whom it asks to tithe a large percentage of their personal incomes. And to cast suspicion upon that (as you so hyperbolically put it "automatically assume," even though no such assumptions were in fact proffered, only suspicions), is INSULTING.

Really, *you* ought to feel insulted that you belong to an organization that has become filthy, filthy rich on your back, and the backs of millions of other people, and that they keep those finances secret, even from you, and actually have the gall to claim that it is for your good, and that to do so is "righteous," or "proper." You've been sold a bill of goods you wouldn't buy from any government, or from any business you invested in. But your church can do it. Imagine how that looks to a person who has not even a glimmer of hope that your church is actually serving anything but itself, and pointless, magical superstition.

In fact: imagine we had an "athiest church," that functioned in *exactly* the same way as the Mormon church functions in terms of finances. Would you consider it an insult to question that arrangement with suspicion? Because let me tell you, I would be VERY suspicious of such an organization- as an Atheist, and as a rational human being.

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Boris
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Right...Because the LDS church doesn't operate one of the most successful privately owned welfare systems in the world (That is, contrary to popular belief, accessible be anyone who wants the assistance. Not just members). It doesn't provide 10s of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid every year. It doesn't have a fund devoted specifically to paying for college tuition for individuals in third world countries. It doesn't operate 3 high quality universities that charge a tenth of what comparable universities charge for tuition (and that's the rate for people who aren't members). It doesn't provide a relatively stable social environment for people from all walks of life. It doesn't provide safe, stable locations for people in poverty stricken regions to meet, socialize, and discuss topics of spiritual significance with one another. The church hasn't organized millions of volunteer man hours dedicated to disaster relief. It hasn't expended millions of dollars in helping rebuild communities devastated by natural disasters.

Oh wait. The church actually *does* do all that. While asking only 10% of my income from me. Show me a government that can do as much as the church does with its "Bill of goods" that I've been sold for what it costs me and I'd be happy to move there and change my citizenship ASAP.

What, do you think that the leadership of the church are driving around in ferraris and crap like that while laughing all the way to the bank with all that money they've bilked out of their loyal followers? The current president of the church was a bank executive before he became a church leader. He currently lives in an expensive (due to location) but relatively small condo across the road from temple square that was purchased by the church to house the church president. He spends most of his time flying around the world, visiting third world countries and giving speeches *for free*. I would like for you to point out one thing that would suggest that any of the leaders of the church are living a life of opulence and luxury on the backs of the church membership. Sorry. Your representation of the church's finances is both misguided and bereft of actual facts, Orincoro. You choose to believe that the church is wasting my money, with no evidence to support that belief, because you *want* the church to be this evil thing you think it is. I'm sorry. It isn't.

quote:
imagine we had an "athiest church," that functioned in *exactly* the same way as the Mormon church functions in terms of finances.
Ever bought a book by Richard Dawkins?
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Scott R
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When we were in need recently, members of the Church accessed Church programs and gave us two weeks of food for free.

While we were gone, they cleaned our home. They took turns watching our youngest who isn't in school yet. They took turns giving rides to our other four children to the various events and practices they had scheduled.

They visited us and comforted us when we allowed them to. They offered to pay the bills, and didn't ask for anything in return.

This is the church built upon my back, as Orincoro would say.

I am happy to pay tithing and to give generously to such an organization.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
Right...Because the LDS church doesn't operate one of the most successful privately owned welfare systems in the world (That is, contrary to popular belief, accessible be anyone who wants the assistance. Not just members). It doesn't provide 10s of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid every year. It doesn't have a fund devoted specifically to paying for college tuition for individuals in third world countries. It doesn't operate 3 high quality universities that charge a tenth of what comparable universities charge for tuition (and that's the rate for people who aren't members). It doesn't provide a relatively stable social environment for people from all walks of life. It doesn't provide safe, stable locations for people in poverty stricken regions to meet, socialize, and discuss topics of spiritual significance with one another. The church hasn't organized millions of volunteer man hours dedicated to disaster relief. It hasn't expended millions of dollars in helping rebuild communities devastated by natural disasters.

With alacrity I declare that it indeed does all of those things.

So does the US Government. And its books are open. The Mormon books are closed, and that I find suspicious. And for that I think you are foolish to contribute.

quote:
What, do you think that the leadership of the church are driving around in ferraris and crap like that while laughing all the way to the bank with all that money they've bilked out of their loyal followers?
I have no way of knowing how much of the church's spending ends up in the pockets of friends, and friends of friends, of Mormon leaders. It's perfectly natural really: you need to buy concrete to construct all those parking lots, and strip malls, and churches, and houses, right? Somebody has to get the work, buy the materials, sell the materials, on and on. And if that leader with the cousin who's a major developer hires him on as a "consultant..." what's the harm in that? If it resembles any other organization of similar size on Earth, then this happens A LOT.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:

I am happy to pay tithing and to give generously to such an organization.

And I would be happy to be treated in a Cuban hospital. But I would not want to live in that society.

See, you can provide me with a thousand true anecdotes about Mormon charity. I would believe all of them. It would not stop me from being rational about how people and money work. It would not inspire an iota of trust. Mormons are not any different from anyone else in that regard- despite your press to the contrary (and it is press).

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Rakeesh
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Boris,

I didn't take it out of context. In fact I specifically used the context you used-ongoing 'unopposed' abuse-both times. But even if I hadn't, it's a discussion board. I don't need to ask for your permission to remark upon what you say.

quote:
Furthermore. My other point was that the church has no need to outline every expense it makes to the membership of the church or the public. Demanding it do so is an unnecessary burden on the leadership that would require a level of expense to distribute that would most definitely be better spent helping people.
Since this is the very first time you've made this point, I'm not sure how I can be expected to have known it. Now, this point seems pretty strange. I don't see how it would cost very much money to allow members access to the church's own bookkeeping records.

As for crying from the rooftops, this is also the first time you've offered this reason. Finally we're getting somewhere. First let me say that you're *already* crying them from the rooftops-the defense of secret bookkeeping is that the church does great, virtuous things with the money, making a need for transparency unnecessary. As for publicizing charitable contributions, I'm not sure why you think I'm talking about total, absolute publicity down to the smallest detail of every facet of the church's finances, to be made available to anyone anytime.

Again, I'm not insisting on an evil conspiracy. Did you just gloss over when I said that concerns about malice or greed aren't the only matter? What about simple inefficient or foolish use, as BB and I were discussing? Anyway, as for being insulting, if anyone chooses to be insulted by my expressing wariness and skepticism about the virtue and efficiency of the spending of an organization whose records are secret, well, that's their business. But it's a strange sort of emotional blackmail-if you're so 'cynical', you're being insulting!

quote:
And I used the wrong word in saying "Hatred"...I meant prejudice. I used hatred because my vocabulary broke. Basically, I was saying that people in the public who want to view the finances of the church want to because they feel that it would reveal some deep dark evil that the church is doing so they can justify their prejudice against the church. Realistically, it's probably more like Romney's tax returns. A whole lot of "well that was boring".
Ok, this is important. Mistrust of secret bookkeeping doesn't equal a belief that there's an evil conspiracy. It simply doesn't. I know because I mistrust secrecy like that without insisting that there is an evil conspiracy. Now, you can either believe that I'm stating my truthful thoughts on the matter or not, but you don't know the minds of the people questioning your institution half as well as you think.

As for Romney, his returns were far from boring, what we had of them, but it's interesting that you draw such a comparison. It was an election for public office. He was effectively asking us for a job. In that case, we decide the questions asked in the interview, not him.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
They visited us and comforted us when we allowed them to. They offered to pay the bills, and didn't ask for anything in return.
Without disparaging the aid your community gave you when you needed it, because I value that sort of commitment to others and respect it, they did ask for something in return. It wasn't a condition of the assistance, but they did ask.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Your representation of the church's finances is both misguided and bereft of actual facts, Orincoro. You choose to believe that the church is wasting my money, with no evidence to support that belief, because you *want* the church to be this evil thing you think it is. I'm sorry. It isn't.
You don't know what the facts are. Nor does he. That's the point.

Richard Dawkins doesn't run an atheist church. This is another area in which you've decided, quite against the actual truth of the matter, what a group of people believe about themselves and others. Now if I were going to approach this conversation as you have, I'd insist you hate them and believe there's an evil secret involved. But I don't-I'll simply point out you're wrong.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:

quote:
imagine we had an "athiest church," that functioned in *exactly* the same way as the Mormon church functions in terms of finances.
Ever bought a book by Richard Dawkins?
No, Richard Dawkins is an asshole. And a poor writer to boot.


quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
Your representation of the church's finances is both misguided and bereft of actual facts, Orincoro. You choose to believe that the church is wasting my money, with no evidence to support that belief, because you *want* the church to be this evil thing you think it is. I'm sorry. It isn't.
You don't know what the facts are. Nor does he. That's the point.

Richard Dawkins doesn't run an atheist church. This is another area in which you've decided, quite against the actual truth of the matter, what a group of people believe about themselves and others. Now if I were going to approach this conversation as you have, I'd insist you hate them and believe there's an evil secret involved. But I don't-I'll simply point out you're wrong.

Exactly so. I am on record as saying, I doubt the Mormon church is actually evil- in the way that I doubt all things that are likely to be far more complicated than anyone is willing to admit. Just like I thought the Bush administration wasn't evil, when a lot of liberals said they were. It just couldn't have been that simple.

Same principle here, really: I am suspicious -extremely suspicious- of an organization that demands so much trust, and characterizes its secrecy as "propriety." But I am suspicious only because I adhere to a very simple axiom of human behavior: absolute power corrupts absolutely. And the knowledge of the church's finances, or a reign on that knowledge, is a form of power. If the organization is apprehensive about seeding that power to its members, and goes so far as to set up a dummy (excuse the characterization, but audits are not audits if they are internal) auditing mechanism to give the appearance of order and openness, I wonder. Real order and openness would be to give some group who *opposes* the Mormon church, the job of auditing its finances. Wouldn't that be interesting?

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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:

I am happy to pay tithing and to give generously to such an organization.

And I would be happy to be treated in a Cuban hospital. But I would not want to live in that society.

See, you can provide me with a thousand true anecdotes about Mormon charity. I would believe all of them. It would not stop me from being rational about how people and money work. It would not inspire an iota of trust. Mormons are not any different from anyone else in that regard- despite your press to the contrary (and it is press).

Cynicism is definitely an effective strategy for avoiding hucksters. I wish you all the best with it.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
They visited us and comforted us when we allowed them to. They offered to pay the bills, and didn't ask for anything in return.
Without disparaging the aid your community gave you when you needed it, because I value that sort of commitment to others and respect it, they did ask for something in return. It wasn't a condition of the assistance, but they did ask.
I'm not following. What do you think they asked for?
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Orincoro
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Thank you Scott. It saves me %10 of my income every month. And it doesn't inspire me to emotionally blackmail people who don't share my beliefs.

You would feel the same way, if you were a good person... [Wink]

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
They visited us and comforted us when we allowed them to. They offered to pay the bills, and didn't ask for anything in return.
Without disparaging the aid your community gave you when you needed it, because I value that sort of commitment to others and respect it, they did ask for something in return. It wasn't a condition of the assistance, but they did ask.
I'm not following. What do you think they asked for?
I would suppose that they tacitly asked for your fealty.
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Rakeesh
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Oh, I was keeping it strictly monetary-they ask for money. But, to their credit, it isn't a precondition, or at least not exactly.
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BlackBlade
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I too have received welfare assistance from the church, including food, and even therapy paid for. There was no discussion whatsoever about what I needed to do from my end to earn these benefits. I needed only ask for help from the bishop, and it was given.

When I moved into my current home, the new ward sent 10 men and boys to help me with my things. I wish I could say I've been very active in this new ward, but things keep coming up. When I do go to church, nobody mentions the help I received. When I get an email from the priesthood leader indicating somebody needs similar help, I make time to help out.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
Do I need to point out that the church releasing its financial information to the public serves no purpose except to expose the church to pointless and unnecessary scrutiny at the hands of armchair politicians? Releasing it to just the membership will inevitably lead to an unapproved public release of that information.

This is some eye-opening rationalization.

It could serve no other purpose? Do you genuinely believe this?

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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Oh, I was keeping it strictly monetary-they ask for money. But, to their credit, it isn't a precondition, or at least not exactly.

Actually, no. Tithing isn't necessarily a component of exchange in the Mormon church.

For example, a bunch of us spent a three weekends up in NJ, helping people clean up from the hurricane. Few of the folks we helped were Mos.

I know a couple families who need help and who receive it consistently even though they never come to church. Granted the distribution of this kind of aid is locally managed; other leaders may have different ideas about how welfare should work.

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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Thank you Scott. It saves me %10 of my income every month. And it doesn't inspire me to emotionally blackmail people who don't share my beliefs.

You would feel the same way, if you were a good person... [Wink]

I try not to emotionally blackmail people. This is the ideal to which I aspire:

quote:
39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.
41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—
43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.
46 The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever. (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 121)


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stilesbn
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I'd like to address a point I think Rakeesh has made but I want to make sure I understand the point first. Are you of the opinion that if the Mormon church is perfect in it's dealings with tithing then what do they have to hide? Why are they keeping it secret?
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scholarette
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Back to the abuse and victims thing, The second counselor who is a pedophile, I cant do anything about it. He was not legally convicted, I am not in his ward and I was not his victim therefore, I may have heard from two witnesses about his abuse, but my reports mean nothing. I have to convince his victims to come forward if I want anything done. One victim did report to her stake president what was happening at the time, but the stake president covere it up (abuser was his buddy's son). So, from my attempts this week to stop this pedophile, the church is not being helpful at all. Also, there is a prestige and trust embedded in being a member of the bishopric. A pedophile will use that trust to get access beyond what the church officially grants him. For example, the nursery leader in my mom's ward used to offer to babysit for free for the parents of his nursery kids using lines about how great the kid is in nursery and how the kid is already comfortable with him and he loves the kids and so it would be no problem.
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advice for robots
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Tithing funds are not used the same way fast offering funds are. It's the fast offering funds that a ward bishop has discretion to use on behalf of ward and community members in need.

Unlike the payment of tithing, which is voluntary but is tied to a member's ability to attend the temple, the payment of fast offerings is absolutely at the discretion of the member and not under any kind of accountability or obligation. The fast offering funds collected are devoted 100% to welfare use at the local level. It is, in effect, a charity with little to no overhead costs. Members can even request that their donations be used for a specific need in special instances.

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Scott R
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scholarette:

"not legally convicted."

So...was there a trial? Was he found not guilty?

I'm sorry, but from what you've been able to say here, I'd have a hard time condemning the guy even outside church standards. There's just not enough evidence.

I've seen it go both ways-- a stake president and a bishop who were just completely unprepared for allegations against a member and who were overwhelmed by the potential impact; and a bishopric who took quick action to protect the ward against a predator.

There's no doubt that leaders in the Church need to be trained beyond the concept of two-deep leadership. Given an unprepared and naive leadership, the hierarchical structure of local congregations can feed predators.

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scholarette
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The victim wouldn't go to trial so no trial happened. If they had, he would have been convicted and he did admit everything to the stake president. Right now, there is enough evidence to open an investigation regarding another victim but again, no one is willing to report anything to official yet.
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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by scholarette:
Back to the abuse and victims thing, The second counselor who is a pedophile, I cant do anything about it. He was not legally convicted, I am not in his ward and I was not his victim therefore, I may have heard from two witnesses about his abuse, but my reports mean nothing. I have to convince his victims to come forward if I want anything done. One victim did report to her stake president what was happening at the time, but the stake president covere it up (abuser was his buddy's son). So, from my attempts this week to stop this pedophile, the church is not being helpful at all. Also, there is a prestige and trust embedded in being a member of the bishopric. A pedophile will use that trust to get access beyond what the church officially grants him. For example, the nursery leader in my mom's ward used to offer to babysit for free for the parents of his nursery kids using lines about how great the kid is in nursery and how the kid is already comfortable with him and he loves the kids and so it would be no problem.

Honestly, if the flipping stake president is involved in a cover-up like that, it needs to go to the next level with the area authority overseeing your stake. Now I wish I were more familiar with the procedures for reporting something of this nature; I will have to find out more. By all means, don't let this matter rest.

There is certainly trust that goes with being a member of the bishopric along with a certain amount of deference--but by no means immunity or protection from the consequences of such actions.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by advice for robots:
Unlike the payment of tithing, which is voluntary but is tied to a member's ability to attend the temple,

"tied to?" I was under the impression that tithing was mandatory to be allowed to attend the temple (and everything else that's a gateway for, such as getting married)
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stilesbn
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by advice for robots:
Unlike the payment of tithing, which is voluntary but is tied to a member's ability to attend the temple,

"tied to?" I was under the impression that tithing was mandatory to be allowed to attend the temple (and everything else that's a gateway for, such as getting married)
Marriage isn't a precursor to getting into the temple. All prospective missionaries go to the temple before their missions. Many women go before they are married (or have a prospect of being married).

Also, I think you are straining at the gnats over syntax in this case.

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Xavier
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You seem to have not parsed his statement correctly. He wasn't saying you need to be married to enter the temple. He was saying you need to enter the temple to be married.

Tithe >> Temple Recommend >> Temple Marriage

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advice for robots
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In order to be issued a temple recommend, yes, one of the requirements is declaring yourself a full tithe payer. However, paying tithing is not a requirement to being a member of the church. It's not mandatory any more than being able to attend the temple is mandatory.

Church members can be married outside the temple. Ceremonies for members are often performed at church buildings or other venues. Yes, being married in the temple is regarded as preferable in the church, and comes with more blessings and promises, the same as being able to enter the temple is regarded as optimal in terms of making the most of what the church promises.

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Rakeesh
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To Scott and BlackBlade, I think we may be coming at this with some different definitions in mind.

When I say the church does ask for something in exchange for its charitable work, I do mean 'ask' literally, not in the sense of purchase as it is often used. The church does ask its members to contribute in the form of tithing-it cannot be said that it offers out charity without asking anything in return.

However, what I meant when I said that it was to its credit, it really is often an 'ask'. It will provide meaningful help to people in need, and not just in the form of a friendly casserole but also in labor and service. So big ups to the LDS church-the serious commitment I have read of and observed to serving others is one of the reasons I do respect many elements of the church, particularly compared to many other churches. My only point, having included all of those qualifiers, was to say that the church *does* ask something of its members, however. And to be even more clear, that wasn't even a criticism, or at least s very light one. It's hardly immoral to ask for tithings if they'll be used to support charity, and as a practical matter it's necessary to do so.

The discussion, for me, isn't focused on tithing or charity, but to ask why it is necessary for the details of these things to be secret from not just the public at large (which lacks standing to insist), but from its own membership. My criticism is to express surprise and confusion as to why this must be so, if the money us so honorably spent. In many cases this would be taken to mean I don't think it *is* honorably spent, but that's not what I'm doing. What I'm doing is pointing out that none of us know, or at least none of us know beyond much except anecdotes. I'm saying that if the church wants the story of its spending to be a straightforward 'spent justly and charitably and righteously', then it has to throw some daylight on the matter. Until it does, it doesn't get to insist upon that as the verdict.

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scholarette
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The problem with saying go to the next level is that we are looking at terrified children. The girl only reported the abuse because she wanted to go do baptisms for the dead and since she had been involved in a sexual relationship (unwillingly but still involved) se thought she couldn't go. The girl was not going to be able to hande reporting up the ladder. Shes an adult and she still can't talk about what was done to her. So, the multilevel structure of the church might be good, but it doesn't work if the one beig abused is a child. There is a lot more going on there that I can't talk about.

I will admit that the nursery leader pedophile's bishop hadled that circumstance with remarkable ability. If you want an interesting sacrament, come to the first fast meeting after that is revealed, especially if you hadn't heard about it yet.

I guess my complaint is that I would like some more uniformity to the system. I think every bishop needs to have some classes/training on sexual abuse before anyone is allowed to talk to them. I also would like a unit on no means no- if the girls story is I said no, he did x anyway, a bishop needs to understand that is rape.

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kmbboots
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It is frustrating to me that people are still (and this is mostly true for my Church) "reporting" crimes to their religious leaders instead of to the police. If I were caught shoplifting, the store manager wouldn't call my boss; he would call the cops.
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stilesbn
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
It is frustrating to me that people are still (and this is mostly true for my Church) "reporting" crimes to their religious leaders instead of to the police. If I were caught shoplifting, the store manager wouldn't call my boss; he would call the cops.

Seconded!
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scholarette
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I agree, but I think that since the abuse cases I know of almost always were not being reported as crimes but as issues of sexual purity that te victim thinks they need to repent of, bishops need to be aware and educated because they might very well be the first and only person it is reported to. I dont think a victim should feel ashamed but many do.
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Rakeesh
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Another frustration, on a matter that likely is one of the foundations for Western problems dealing with sex abuse-that something a figure in authority does to a child would be viewed by that child, thanks to their teaching, as a matter of *the child's* 'sexual purity' being somehow tarnished.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:

I am happy to pay tithing and to give generously to such an organization.

And I would be happy to be treated in a Cuban hospital. But I would not want to live in that society.

See, you can provide me with a thousand true anecdotes about Mormon charity. I would believe all of them. It would not stop me from being rational about how people and money work. It would not inspire an iota of trust. Mormons are not any different from anyone else in that regard- despite your press to the contrary (and it is press).

Cynicism is definitely an effective strategy for avoiding hucksters. I wish you all the best with it.
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Thank you Scott. It saves me %10 of my income every month.

Yeah I don't think the avoiding hucksters line was anything but a trap when you are talking about how easy it is to be wary of a religion founded by joseph smith, so
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Scott R
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Can you clarify? I'm not sure i understand what you are trying to say.
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kmbboots
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An attempt to wrench us back on topic.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/28/opinion/a-vatican-spring.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

An interesting article by a theologian who was once a close colleague.

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Black Fox
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
An attempt to wrench us back on topic.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/28/opinion/a-vatican-spring.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

An interesting article by a theologian who was once a close colleague.

Hopefully the conservatives finally lose out, but it's unlikely. The Church could really use a return to a more decentralized era, but they are constantly afraid of straying far from tradition. The question is how another conservative pope might negatively affect the membership of the Church and conversely what the election of a liberal pope would do to the membership of the Church. It will be interesting, and I hope and pray that they elect someone that isn't a complete let down.
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Black Fox
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Thank you Scott. It saves me %10 of my income every month. And it doesn't inspire me to emotionally blackmail people who don't share my beliefs.

You would feel the same way, if you were a good person... [Wink]

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on who you are, our current tax system means that we are essentially subsidizing donations to churches. In the end if you're smart with filing your taxes you aren't "actually" giving up 10% of your disposable income.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
Do I need to point out that the church releasing its financial information to the public serves no purpose except to expose the church to pointless and unnecessary scrutiny at the hands of armchair politicians? Releasing it to just the membership will inevitably lead to an unapproved public release of that information.

This is some eye-opening rationalization.

It could serve no other purpose? Do you genuinely believe this?

Yeah, there was some strangeness in that one.

Imagine:
"... the US government releasing its financial information to the public serves no purpose except to expose the government to pointless and unnecessary scrutiny. Releasing it to Americans will inevitably lead to an unapproved release of that information to other countries."
" ... UNICEF releasing its financial information to the public serves no purpose except to expose UNICEF to pointless and unnecessary scrutiny. Releasing it to just to people who give to charity will inevitably lead to an unapproved public release of that information."
" ... the Communist party releasing its financial information to the public serves no purpose except to expose the party to pointless and unnecessary scrutiny. Releasing it to just to party members will inevitably lead to an unapproved public release of that information."
" ... Apple releasing its financial information to the public serves no purpose except to expose Apple to pointless and unnecessary scrutiny. Releasing it to just to shareholders will inevitably lead to an unapproved public release of that information."

There are just so many contexts in which this kind of statement would draw immediate suspicion.

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