By my title, you might think I laud the 12 apostles of the LDS church. Don’t be silly. I speak of the twelve persons who have (so far) walked on a celestial body—namely on the moon. From July 1969 to December 1972, six manned missions to the moon enabled twelve men to walk on the moon. Let’s understand the costs of these missions. In order to go to the moon, millions of dollars go into training each astronaut so they can hold their arms high in navigating a spacecraft which must first leave the gravity well of the Earth, requiring a rocket of no less than 30,000 Kg of fuel, burned in three stages on variants of the Saturn V rocket engine. The cost of the lunar landing space program was enormous, even by today’s dollars. As Michio Kaku stated, “At the height of the Cold War, the superpowers spared no expense in funding the latest space spectacular. Dazzling stunts in space, not cost-cutting, were the order of the day. No one bothered to read their price tag.”
Some have put the lunar landing missions cost at around $24 billion dollars over a decade. This is not much lower than what the LDS Church collected in tithing/donations and investments at about the same period of time—roughly $20 billion in the 1960s-70s. Presently, the LDS church collects an estimated $6 billion in donations per year and another estimated $2 billion in investment income.
Imagine if the LDS Apostles were to invest that money in something as heavenly and miraculous as missions to the moon or even Mars? There are naysayers about the lunar-missions, claiming they are hoaxes. However, the evidence and witnesses to the six lunar manned mission are plenty: The photograph evidence, the ancient aged rocks and mineral evidence, the terrain mapping, the radio transmissions from amateurs, the amateur astronomer sightings, observed retro-reflectors placed on the moon, and more. The evidence supporting the miraculous twelve men who walked on celestial ground is enormous.
What evidence does the LDS church have supporting the twelve men claiming to have celestial contact and authority for god on earth? Nada. They have faith. After collecting the same moneys as the lunar missions ($20+ billions) they have nothing.
Maybe you think NASA is a waste of money. Let's do another comparison. UNICEF - one of the largest secular charities - receives about $3.5 billion a year in donations (about a third privately). It has financial transparency, listing its internal audits in complete, showing that it disperses just over 90% of its receipts back into charitable programs & services. The other ten percent pay to run and advertise its mission.
If UNICEF stopped receiving donations, it would likely disappear in a year. Just evaporate. Because it's a true charity and has no profit making agenda.
How would the LDS church appear if tithing abruptly quit flowing in? The LDS City Creek Mall would still retail fine apparel, gold watches and sixth-gen iPhones. Condos looking over the mall would still collect fees. The church-owned cattle ranches, timber farms, hunting preserves and Polynesian theme park would still butcher prime beef, hustle timbered oak, punch elite tickets and host luau dinners. Insurance agents would collect premiums. Deseret would still line the shelves with new books. LDS radio & TV stations would keep broadcasting advertisements. Money would flow, even if the members stopped prying open their wallets.
The LDS ”church” is a business--a tax exemption scheme disguised as a non-profit. It has no financial transparency, does not list audits information (other than to state it is well, and trust us), nor does it ever disclose its rate of disbursement on donations.
Let's continue the science comparison. What does the LDS church, with its billions each year, accomplish that science doesn't?
Religion, speaking for God, seems to have enjoyed a monopoly of claimant powers; that is did, until science and technology caught up with and now surpasses its predictive and miracle claiming abilities. Science has gone a long way to eradicating famine, if not turning one loaf into thousands in terms of farmland efficiency. Medical science finds cures for plagues, mends the lame and gives sight to the blind, with numerical healings that far far exceed the onesy-twosy healing claims of ancient priesthood holders. Claims, I repeat, because in modern times, faith healing has never been truly verified, while modern science healing is verified daily in tens of thousands of hospitals and clinics. These days, the prophets seem silent and science vociferous in predicting all kinds of future events--from the gender of unborn children to eclipses and tsunami, and even general trends in climate change. Science is beginning to look forward in ways only God was once claimed to do.
Carl Sagan once wrote the following: "...if you want to really be able to predict the future -- not in everything, but in some areas -- there's only one regime of human scholarship...that really delivers the goods, and that's science. Religions would give their eyeteeth to be able to predict anything like that well. Think of how much mileage they would make if they ever could do predictions comparably unambiguous and precise."
In October 2015, LSD Apostle M. Russell Ballard gave a BYU devotional to young single adults (transcript here).
Even though the LDS church has failed miserably to use its money wisely to benefit society, Ballard and company want to claim that THEY are the cause for societal advancement.
Here is a quote, at 14:30 into the whole talk:
"Where do you think the computer came from? Why did somebody invent the computer?
"I'll tell you why. Because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints needed it.
"Why did we need it? Because family history was moving and the church was growing and the temples were expanding and we needed more capacity to do family history.
"...you don't have to be a member of the church to have spiritual insight and promptings [for] the creation of that tool, the computer."
Oh! The arrogance! Yes, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and the others were more inspired for temple work than the inept prophets and their own employees. Ballard said this in late 2015.
Many of you will remember many LDS leaders have often claimed that inventors were inspired only because God wanted them to build something that benefited his kingdom on earth. Satellites exist only to broadcast general conference. Airplanes were developed to transport missionaries world wide. The internet propagated to spread the gospel. Science and its labs exist to further the church and its dogma.
An interesting difference between science and religion: churches have no laboratories. What I mean is that if a scientist has a clever thought (hypothesis), before he turns it into a belief (theory), he will comb the journals to see if it was already out there and tested. If not tested, he will go to the lab and painstakingly experiment until he has validated or--most often--eliminated the idea. It is in the lab where good ideas and bad ones are sorted out. Churches have no laboratories. Just belief systems.
Even the LDS Articles of Incorporation hints at the idea that the church should or could have scientific merit. From the fifth article:
"Upon the winding up and dissolution of this corporation, after paying or adequately providing for the debts and obligations of the corporation, the remaining assets shall be distributed to a nonprofit fund, foundation or corporation, which is organized and operated exclusively for charitable, educational, or religious and/or scientific purposes and which has established its tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code."So, the LDS Corporate Sole considerable wealth, property and ownership of businesses could be disposed of to any non-profit "fund" in the form of a "corporation" organized for "charitable, educational, religious or scientific purposes".
But this depends on them failing. WTF? Why not succeed now? LDS church, put your money where your mouth is. You're not even as much a religion as a business. Invest your considerable wealth in the very purposes and benefits you claim are yours when you are "winding up" and in "dissolution". Imagine--with those billions, you could cure cancer.
So far, you 12 Apostles haven't even bored me enough to cure my insomnia. Dammit. Compared with the dozen, hands-high navigating moon walking astronauts, the apostles are knuckle-dragging flat-earthers.
Yes, I have been on a hiatus. I was impeded from writing/posting on LDS topics due to an order (legal) on writings I have posted here. I cannot yet comment on those issues here except to say my blog postings are being used as evidence in a kind of proceeding. Suffice to say, I have decided that I will resume my general discussion on the LDS church until the final judgment comes down that I am not allowed.