Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Let's be the first one to clean the toilets

"Let's be the first one to clean the toilets"

This is a directive from a highly polished, commercial video produced officially by LDS inc (hear it at around the 2 minute mark).   The video is here (about 7 minutes long).

The LDS church wants members to clean the toilets so badly, they hired an ad agency and produced a testimoaning, sappy music playing, Utah-dialect speaking video that will appeal to the hearts and guilt of every member a custodian.

Apparently this video has been shown at Sunday joint Men/Women meetings in chapels the English speaking world over.  This along with letters to/from stake leaders telling them that they must get members to do the job that formerly belonged to paid janitors.  No longer will the church pay the minimum wages of a custodial staff to keep the Lord’s house shiny.  From thus forward, in order to be a full member of the LDS church, you must reject janitorcraft and only seek a lay janitorship.  One question is:  At what point do new converts find out that they've just covenanted to scrub urinals?

Some other memorable video-ad moments include the on-verge tearful narration done by a very GA looking man, who appeals over and over to the feelings of ownership in the church and to the feelings that members should feel guilty if they do not put a shoulder to the rim and push a long bowl-brush for sparkly porcelain.

Then there is the woman that at first says she is excited, then discouraged and again excited to clean the toilets because in this way, she lifts the burden from everyone else and gets closer to God.  Yes, folks, you can get closer to the God of Monson and Joseph Smith by cleaning toilets. Why? Because Smith’s god is crap and cleaning crap will help you to understand him. 

Okay, silliness aside…So why would a charitable organization with a vast volunteer staff need to produce a heart-felt, guilt-ridden advertisement?  Because it saves them $millions!  It does.

Let's do a little calculating to determine about how many millions the church saves with their lay custiodialhood.  First, we need to know how many buildings are being cleaned.

According to this:

There are 28,784 units. To estimate the number of buildings/chapels, we can divide by the number of units-per-building. Probably on average at least two units per building, and to be on the conservative side, say three-per-building.  That's ~9600. Multiplied out by $100 per week (low estimate of labor for a single minimum wage janitor), it would be around $50 Million per year. 

So the church is saving around $50M per year in motivating volunteers to clean for them.  That's a lot of cheddar not going down the drain.

You'd think they could spring a good $500k on propaganda videos per year to get the members really excited.

Interestingly, that $50M estimated increase is about the same on average they “spent” (cash and goods/services) on humanitarian aid for the past 26 years. “Spent” in quotes because the majority of it wasn’t cash or money…

Take a look at the scant record the LDS church has offered-- LDS stats from one of their many websites:

This kind of document is the only official source on the value the church gives to helping the poor. They do not disclose their financial worth, expenses, income or any other indication of financial responsibility in the US.

The LDS church since 1985 has given a combined $1.4 Billion in cash and service value to the poor as humanitarian assistance. (This breaks down to about $400M in cash and about $1B in non-cash service & in-kind donations. In any event, $1.4 over 26 years is about $50 million a year in value.)

We have to ask, where is the extra $50M per year saved in cleaning going?  Not to charity, that’s pretty clear.  Wouldn’t the church do better to hire its own members who struggle financially to do the work and pay them a reasonable wage while helping them get employed in better jobs?   That would be a welfare service befitting of a true church.  Instead, the $50M saved is going to places like a $2B mall, a $1B ranch and $100+M hunting preserve.

What if bowl brushing members were ever to find out that the top leadership enjoys perks of summer homes and beautiful country-side recreation camping?  If they learn these are paid-for/owned and/or operated by the church to be used exclusively by the top church executive leaders, what would be their reaction?

It may just be an angry, potty-mouthed revolution.

(note: even though it is 2013, the blog will remain with the year '2012' in its name, to preserve links for now.  It may be moved eventually.)


  1. The LD$ Church has changed from the friendly church of my youth to an authoritarian cult obscessed with money. Over and over in the Ensign and General Conference talks they tell the poor and destitute to pay tithing before feeding and clothing their children or paying their bills. This is sickeningly un-Christian. The demand temple recommends for more and more because it requires paying tithing. Then they laid off Janitors, one of their most cynical moves yet. Thoma$ Mon$on will be remember for his most famous exhortation "1-2-3 Let's Go Shopping!" (on the backs of the poor of course. Shame on all the LD$ leadership.

  2. In the spanish branch I'm from, this is going to hurt many of the families who are trying to squeeze dollars out of dimes, and who perform menial labor jobs for a pittance. One family was hired for the janitor tasks as a legit job. My family used to clean the church to get food and assistance when I was a kid. This was a fair task, in my opinion. I hope they at least keep that option open for people in poverty-stricken areas.

  3. Back in the day, preachers preached hellfire and brimstone too. In fact there were TONS of ways to get to hell, including cussing and smoking. So a blood oath would not be considered any more or less drastic than hellfire and brimstone.

    It is nice to read that someone thinks the same as I. We are to follow the Lords teachings as closely as we can. If others are not following the teachings, it isn't up to me to make that judgement that is the Lord's job.

    My ward has not talked about people getting their Temple Recommend. Or if they have, it hasn't been something that has stood out, or repetitive. I think the folks on this blog can't see beyond their anger and their imaginary dismay.

  4. That's funny, I get the same kind of responses from my brother too! These issues make him feel dark inside... then he tells me I'm sinful and that's how I've been deceived into believing these facts

  5. Wow, just, wow.

    We had a Stake President who's pet phrase was continually, "You as members are to do as I exhort you, and you are accountable to do it. If I have made a mistake in exhorting you, then I am accountable to the Lord."

    One day, I woke up and heard that phrase with new ears. So its okay for you to "lead us astray" in your own small way? Is it really alright to follow along that dumbly? If there was ever a phrase concocted to shut off critical thinking, that would be it. This designed solely to keep the rank-and-file with the nose to the grindstone and not ever looking up to see if the leaders are living up to the same standard--designed to keep the "little guy" strung along in his own little happy world "I'm doing my part, the Lord is pleased with me--doesnt matter what the other guy is doing."

    This "church" can get anyone to do anything that way. The church has indeed changed, like CanuckAussie has stated. Back in the day, it was a friendly church, because the church could still control what we knew about it. Now that Pandora's box has been opened via the internet, the church's only recourse is to tighten its fingers even more on what members remain.

    When I see things like this video, I have a visceral reaction to it. All the manipulation. Cleaning a chapel is now elevated to new levels of spirituality. What is next?

    Many of us who read this blog and who are free of all this control and manipulation still have loved ones in the church. It makes us angry to know our loved ones are being used in this way. We dislike intensely how commandments, admonishings, shoulds, and oughts by men are being attributed to the Lord.

    Some of us are sad, we are grieving. We would love to have our loved ones out of there. And most often, we just come across as angry.


  6. Really Becky? You are only as brainwashed as you want to be. You are making a choice to see the church in that light. The Lord doesn't pull the Holy Spirit from you. The Holy Spirit is there to guide you too. I have actually, (gasp) turned down two callings! Why? Because I didn't feel it was right, I didn't feel this was something the Lord wanted me to accept. So, (gasp again) even though there may be people in the church that will say you must accept and believe that is what the Lord wants for you, I have the freedom and/or agency to choose not take a calling. I have a the freedom to believe in what I feel the Holy Ghost is leading me away that calling. AND the freedom not to feel guilty about not taking it. Get real Becky!

  7. I left the church not too long ago, after being in it 20+ years. I remember the Bishop struggling to create a schedule where each family would clean the building about once per quarter.

    There was a woman who needed money and work in our ward. She used to clean the building. I wonder what ever became of her. She was replaced by this policy. THis is not a new policy, but the video is. I am guessing they made the video becuase members, busy people as they are, were balking at this new duty.

    I dont know any families who felt they had a choice. If they were able bodied, they were expected to fulfill their duty. If the duty was turned down, or if they plain just didnt show up, they usually got talked to by the Bishop.

    I was in the church enough years to see the flow of policy changes and how they are implemented. All of these policy changes are presented not as if coming from men, but as coming from God through the spirit. Following these policy changes, it is a given that the members will obey. The changes are implemented through videos like these, letters over the pulpit, etc.

    I have yet to see, after time wills these things out, that policy changes are revealed benevolently by the Lord, but as a result of an issue the church has had in the past. The issue usually involves one of three things: Money, Loss of members, and management of perceptions.

    I think Dave's entry speaks to this very thing.

    I know I am very concerned when organizations become one in which "policy is preferred over people."

    I think we can all agree that all religions try to love others and do the right thing. Mormons are no exception. But I have found great relief in no longer being part of an organization that guilts me into duty over so many things that it really messed with my mind.

    Matejoh, I really enjoy Mormon stories. I have seen just about every video and heard every podcast. Dehlin is a gifted interviewer.

  8. Again, it is not what is believed, rather, how it is believed.

  9. Hey Matejoh, well said. I have put some thought into the church morphing itself into something more Christ-like. It would take many things, but right now I think of two;

    1. As long as it views scripture the way it does, it will never be able to reverse itself on homosexuals. It would too big of a step.

    2. Also, it would have to give up the idea that it has the one and only true priesthood on earth with binding power. However, if it would renounce that, it would make it no different than any other church (except for Catholicism). And it wont, because, its what gives it the manipulative power to create videos on cleaning bathrooms and get people to obey it--and the like.

    To be more Christ-like would mean not using a priesthood to manipulate.

    You said you would consider perhaps going back if the church became more christ-like, but for me the priesthood issue is a deal breaker.

    I guess, yes, I am still stinging from the betrayal of all of it and the aftermath.

    And our anonymous friend has really named it well. It is very much like alchoholics anonymous. We do need support. And Alchoholics, who cannot see thee dysfunction in their thinking need help. This is why I post here. I dont know any ethical organization that leaves a wake of emotional distruction. The fact that people leaving the Mormon church end up damaged in the aftermath is the proof.

    Its just a fact. Its not hatred. Its the way it is.

  10. An interesting, and often overlooked fact about the priesthood is that there were women apostles in the new testament, mentioned by Paul. Jared Anderson covers this in his New Testament podcast on Mormon Stories. I don't see myself as bitter toward the people I grew up with, but very betrayed by leadership at the highest levels. I love and admire all of my home ward. They still talk to me and we're still friends. But, honestly, I like Brother Dieter Uchdorf (sp?) and his talks. Gives me hope for the future, once Monson and Packard slip beyond the veil.


    National Geographic Explains the Biology of Homosexuality


  12. At Guaranteed,

    I have used pens for so long a bump has formed on my finger. I have stood on the outside of the soles of my feet that it now impossible for me to stand straight forward. My body has formed to my actions. Just as the inside of your body forms to your actions.

    The National Geographic video on youtube is all supposition. That is why they use words like suggests, in theory, etc. People are searching for ways to prove that being homosexual is natura.. However it isn't natural. We are not animals, we are dicerning humans. We don't randomly bed people or the most of us don't so far. That is why most people in their 20's do not go out with people in their 80's and have sex with them. Our sexuality starts in how we view someone, in our minds. People that allow their minds to travel in the direction of deviate behavior can choose not to. Sex is not a requirement for an individual to live. It is a requirement for procreation but not to live.

  13. You know, Anonymous up there, the one saying women are gossipy ----- sheez. Where do you get off?!?! I don't know any gossipy women at church. Maybe you are, but don't go shaming the rest of us with your weaknesses. And just because you are happy with the way things are ---- isn't even the point! The point is making a better church by having women participating in, and having a say in ALL the levels of the Kingdom. It's about what's right and good, not what we feel comfortable with. Being comfortable is the antithesis to progress and improvement. We are so stifled as a church, and women with your gossipy judgments of other women hold all people back. Open your mind and let some celestial fresh air into your telestial ideas.

  14. You seriously need help. YOU are super judgmental! But to put this on your sisters is really you looking in the mirror. You do it. You gossip. But don't be putting that on the rest of us. Dont be judging gay people and their minds. You have NO clue what gays or anyone thinks. You are not a mindreader, and God did not appoint you a judge of gays or women. Seriously.....you need to get some counseling.