Monday, October 29, 2012

Storing up treasure in heaven? Try deferred tax-exempt savings accounts

There are two stories out about how Mitt used the LDS Church's tax exemption to defer taxes and earn investment income (tax free?).  This "trust" account (ironic term, huh?) earned Mitt a load of cash.

see:
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/10/29/bloomberg-news-romney-rented-mormon-churchs-exemption-to-defer-taxes-for-15-years/
and
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/wp/2012/10/29/romney-avoids-taxes-using-exempt-status-of-mormon-church/


When Mitt refused to disclose his financial/tax information, he said (around the end of August), "Our church doesn't publish how much people have given...One of the downsides of releasing one's financial information is that this is now all public, but we had never intended our contributions to be known." (
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/54744938-90/romney-says-church-tithing.html.csp )

I wrote that "This underscores a pattern of secrecy that he likely learned as a member of the LDS church." I discussed this on the blog and in an MT article on Sept 12.
It was Sept 16 when I was hauled into the stake president's office because I was "reported to be in apostasy".
These leaders had never met me, and they told me to stop writing my blog and articles, of which the Romney pieces were the latest writings I had put up. I saw the timing as suspicious. No, there was no direct admission by the church that it was over my Romney articles that they applied pressure. A lot of media speculation went around and around.


Now that we know Mitt 'rented' the church's tax exemption to defer his own taxes, we see he was doing some very shading dealing, and apparently with church approval. When I wrote, in the article/blog that "Hiding financials is a lesson Mitt may have learned early in life as a young Mormon" I didn't realize how close Mitt was to the heart of the problem and how the church is mixed up in it.

The LDS church does something similar to Mitt, I believe. They take tithing, invest it for a period and accrue investment interest earnings. They take those earnings and then use them to build malls and develop land. They claim that technically no tithing/donations are used for profit. They defer using the donations for ecclesiastical (i.e., "LDS charitable") purposes and use the earnings for profit. This is almost just what Mitt has been doing.

I repeat: Hiding financials is a lesson Mitt may have learned early in life as a young Mormon. Or maybe recently as a Mormon leader.  Recall, he has been a stake president and a bishop.  Less than 1% of the claimed 14 million Mormon membership can "brag" about serving as high up as Mitt has.  There's no doubting he has had and could have plenty of face time with the highest ecclesiastical authority as well.



13 comments:

  1. Not getting hits on your other articles huh? So, you up the ante by writing about Mitt Romney.

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    1. This is your retort to the problems these events raise about Mitt Romney's credibility? That a blogger who's written some media-attention pieces in the past has nothing better to do than to write more?

      It's a legal action by Romney. It's probably even smart. The issue isn't Romney, it's that the loop hole exists. Romney being clever, the LDS church being clever about using their own money isn't illegal. Of course, an ethical person/organization who has good motives would speak out about the crazy-ass loopholes and about the tax-exemption status that allows them to use donations to create investment profits for buying land. An ethical person/church would call out the government on this, and perhaps show that they really mean it when they say they want to save the constitution from hanging by a thread, rather than say, hey--it was legal for us to act unethically so go suck it!

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    2. Thanks for articulating an eloquent response. I wanted to just say "I know you are, but what am I?" Yours is better.

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  2. You know in an ideal world everyone would have everything they need. Everyone would be a hero and never take advantage of anything or anyone. In an ideal world. If this is true about Mitt Romney he no doubt justifies what he is doing. Right or wrong I know that there are much more evil people out there doing much worse things with the money they have and make. What is to be gained by downing Mitt Romney? I thought David T. wanted to make the church better. What a joke! He has set out to trash the church and in the process tries to shed every member in a bad light! I watched the videos on Youtube, and to me the fact that someone would tape and upload that is sick and twisted. In this church there is a lot more to its beliefs than what is on the surface. To take a small snippet and publish it is unexcusable, and I repeat sick!

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    1. Right, because nothing in the temple is wierd, uncomfortable, and it all makes perfect sense with the simple message of Christ in the New Testament. What could anyone in the church leadership stand to gain by having people agree under "divine penalties" to give everything they have to the church, and to be worthy to go to the temple often so the message sticks. Mr. A, if you like being spoom fed your salvation at so high a price, and love the terms, good for you. But I've been this car before. The video should make you feel uncomfortable because mow people see and hear secrets shouted from the roof-tops. That should ring a bell.

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    2. What I said was that the filming of Temple rites is taken out of context. We can all be shed in a negative light for anything. If any one of us had a snippet of our life filmed, and published. Would that small snippet in total represent you? No! Of course not! Neither does the video taping represent the church as a whole! No one is forced to attend this church or become Temple worthy. IF anyone feels pressure it is of their own doing. And who do you think you're kidding? The Temple rites haven't been a secret for a long time. They are sacred and people like you do not understand sacred. People like you would lift the robes of the Pope and film it for the world to see! Disgusting!

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    3. I know that I prepared to enter the temple by fasting with my wife, studying the scriptures, attending temple prep classes, talking to our bishop, stake president, former youth leaders, parents, friends, and neigjbors about the beauty of an eternal perspective that the temple brings to their lives. I know that I was completely confused about what the temple signs and tokens had to do with the rest of Mormonism. A mason friend of mine told me about the connection between masonry and the temple, and I felt even less comfortable. The last time I attended was for a family members wedding, and when we got out, they asked me "so, what was that about". I just shook my head, and I told them that you get used to it. If you get something sacred out of it, you could probably get something sacred out of waiting in McDonalds drive-thru. I resent your statement about feeling pressure. Many Mormons are isolated from strong relationships outside of the church. Then, since we are three years old, we sing I Love to See The Temple, Follow the Prophet, Families Can Be Together Forever, and many others that solidify the certainty that you do what you're told when you're told, OR ELSE! I am not going to try to convince someone who is satisfied with their decision to change it, but if you have faith crushing doubts in what you're being taught, look at it from a different perspective. I don't think the church is evil, on the contrary, I think it does a wonderful job helping people and I 've been a beneficiary of it s charity. I just wish it would stop excusing the poor behavior of its founding leaders, and some current ones. Best of luck to you.

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    4. And by the way, people like me had people like the Pope looking up our robes, and I agree that its disgusting. People like you don't know people like me.

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    5. matejoh,

      As I have commented before. I am a convert that read everything I could get my hands on, including the negative. I still converted. Before converting I went to mainstream churches. Throughout my life I had questions, some I verbalized and some I didn't. When I would have questions regarding the Bible and the beliefs coming from it, the answer I would here...well we will find that out at the end of the world when Christ comes. I have no doubt that you were uncomfortable the first time you went to the Temple, I hazard to guess most people feel uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable, however that changed when I continued to visit, at least once a month. I'm sure you have heard what others say they have experienced so I will not repeat it. You have a right to your opinion. What you or other do not have a right to is taping what goes on live and putting that small picture of the church for the public to see.

      Your perspective is different because you were raised in the church. But, make no mistake...I have met people that were raised in the church who are very real about the Temple rites and other things to do with the church. They don't feel threatened by the church, or forced.

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    6. If you stay in your seat, its worth the price of admission. If not, vote with your feet and leave, right? You are happy with it, good for you, Mr. A. I know peopke who are fine with these things, accepting on faith that all is well in Zion. For me, it smells fishy. Maybe people will think twice about an endowment if they realize its a video you make promises that you've made before, just raise the stakes. Its called full disclosure, in contract law. Or, the current is called bait and switch.

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    7. @matejoh,

      No religion makes full disclosure because you'd have to have 100% truth that what they believe is true, and or can be touched. What church do you know that falls under contract law?

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    8. You are correct that religion is held to a much lower standard of the truth than, say, your average legaly binding contract. What if your Bishop signed a Baptismal form that had one of the following statements:

      A) the lds church cannot prove its origins to be accurately documented as they are currently taught, nor can the modern prophet be proven to be a true prophet seer and revelator, and that the signee understands that these things are completely in the forum of faith.

      Or

      B) The signee understands that all things taught by the Brethren are 100% true, irregardless of whether others say they can prove discrepencies in doctrines and history taught by the church, and the signee understands that his soul will hang in the balance the second he/ she enters the temple, that they must comply with the ordinances therein or face the eternal pains of a damned soul, having denied the Holy Spirit of Promise. Thus saith the Lord.

      Covenants were explained to me in terms of contracts, but I've never seen the terms and fine print, until after I made them. That's why I bring up contract law.

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  3. Hi David,

    After leaving the LDS, which church you plan to go? I am looking for a "true" church other than mormon to go. Is it silly?
    Do really have a true church on the earth?

    Best,

    Frank

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