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. I am going to have to shout a loud "HUZZAH!" Yes! my thoughts, precisely.

  2. I shared this info with my brother and his wife. They didn't care. "Mike Wallace did an audit of the church and he said he's never seen more pristine records in his life..." and..."If they're dishonest then that's their issue that they will have to answer to god for."

    J.S. polyandry = "he was just a man"

    blood oaths in the temple = "I get a really bad feeling when you share these hateful ideas, that's why I choose to stay away from anti-mormon websites and atheist books."

    1. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.


  7. 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!

    1. You may be interested in sites like mormonstories.org if you really want to try to relate to some of the people who post here. There are many interviews there with intelligent people, many of whom are devout members who know how to carry on a dialogue without intentionally sticking fingers in everyone's eyes. At the moment, you poorly represent what good can be found among TBM's.

      If you don't really wish to understand or relate to people, if you want to treat this like a talk show that you can stand up and run your mouth just to be seen and heard, that's all you will be treated like.

    2. Another site I find to be uplifting and helpful is Mormon Stories Sunday School, and Rational Faiths. Please check those out, Anon. I think a lot of the tension in these comments will be eased when you see the personal journeys we have made, exemplified by sites such as these. Dave's blog does't usuaally touch the faith issues you seem to gravitate toward, so yo may be better fitted elsewhere until you can get a handle on the business dealings discussed here. Look up the sources that Dave provides if his tone is too harsh, or offensive. To me, some of it is cathartic. I apologize for being rude to you previously.

      Happy hunting.

  8. 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.

    1. Cool. I found Mormon Stories thru a link on Mormon Think. The interviews are very good, balancing faith, reason, doubts, history, progress. I feel that Mormon think set me free and mormon stories gave me a sense of belonging, stronger than anything I pretended to feel while attempting to conform.

  9. After reading the letter Dave linked to, I'm more wary than I am disappointed. The letter states that the purpose of cancelling professional cleaning services is to use that money for helping those in need. Will it be a direct 1:1 proportion? Should it be more? How does that $50+m compare to $5 billion for corporate investment, and what will be done with those profits? Very business oriented.

    1. Exactly, matejoh. Wary is what everyone should be when seeing these actions by leaders.

  10. matejoh, I went to the mormonstories and it is very similiar to this blog, just a different format. I know you believe yourself too intelligent and therefor far superior to anything I say or believe, but you are so wrong! You are so puffed up about yourself that you can't see truth when it hits you in the face. All you want to see is your truth. You Dave, Becky and others that post on here sound like you're members of Alcoholic Anonymous. "Hello my name is ******, and I'm an alcoholic." Only instead it is "Hello my name is ******, and I'm a Mormon." Only unlike a substance addiction, there is no such thing as a religion addiction. No one is forced to participate in any religion. And from what I've been reading most of you are more caught up in the culture of the religion then in the teachings itself. Also, from what I have been reading most of you have left the church. If that is the case then leave it alone too! Picking at the church is like picking at a scab all your going to do is hurt yourself. What do any of you get out of posting what you feel is wrong with this church?

    1. For starters, something like this would be nice. Please read the.entire thing. It puts past and present changes into perspectuve.

      I don't think I'm too intelligent, just very disappointed that I was taught one set of truths my entire life, then finding supressed histories, half-truths, and out right lies. The reason people don't or can't let go is that many of us are still culturally Mormon, our familes are Mormon, our friends, co-workers, and are classmates are Mormon. We cam't completely let the the church go without letting them all go. Black members who tried to stick it out up to 1978 weren't told "if you want full membership, start your own church and build your own temples". Changes happen constantly. If some of those changes involved more comprehensive discolsure of finances, that would be awesome. If some of those changes involved better inclusion of women and minorities in meaningful leadership callings, that would also be great. I've seen some progress from the outside over the past few years, amd this almost gives me hope to come back. But check out that link.

      Not sure what your tone is, but I totally offered you an olive branch. The apology still stands. FYI, there are about four hundred interviews on Mormon Stories, many of which follow the format you describe, but I don't enjoy those as much as the ones from Terryl Givens and his wife, or Buschman, or the Book of Mormon Girl. Faithful members providing insight. Don't mistake my critism of the church for hatred, rather I want it become something better, more Christ-like. Its hard for me to do that with my own actions, I don't expect things to change over night in the church.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

  11. Symptoms of Religious Addiction:


    More on religious addiction from the book Toxic Faith


    Spiritual abuse recovery site, as a result of religious addiction.


    1. Very informative. Thanks for sharing this.

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

  13. Matejoh,

    I went to and read the site you suggested about how this person feels the church would improve by changing. Before I converted I'd read sites by mainstream Christian churches in which they'd point accusing fingers and say, "SEE THIS CHURCH IS WRONG BECAUSE THEY CHANGED****!" Or, they'd say, oh they need to change this or that. The church can't win, so at some point they have to stop adjusting to the comforts of others.

    In regards to gays being accepted, not sure where you stand on this but the scriptures have always been clear on this issue. I'm not for bashing gays, however, I don't believe this type of relationship should EVER be acceptable. It is sexual deviate behavior and will need to the end of the human race as we know it. If you or people in general cannot see that far in advance, if they/you can't intellectually see where this will lead, (And this is not a put down or insult) you lack true intelligence.

    In regards to women serving in other areas. Personally, me being a female, I like how it is now. First, women, even women in the church, tend to be catty and they gossip. Men may gossip but not ever to the extent that women do. They don't need to have their hands in finances.

    In regards to sexuality.....again being a convert I've been there and done that so to speak. Sex within the bounds of marraige is wonderful! However, from experience it sucks badly outside of it. I think we have bought into Satan's plan regarding sex. It is blown out of proportion.

    I believe as you get older you come to understand what is ultimately important and what isn't. Your focus changes...

    1. I don't think heterosexual people are going away anytime soon, so I can't agree with you in the slightest degree that condoning a monogamous relationship between consenting adults of the same gender leads to the end of the human race. I'm very strait, have several children, and most people I know are very strait and have several children. In terms of perpetuating the species, I think we have that covered. But what did you think of making better efforts to counsel with and be more compassionate toward people who attracted to the same sex? Sex is a very personal topic, and is a central part of our identity. It is difficult enough growing up as a Mormon, but I could't imagine what it be like to be gay and Mormon. Your thoughts on women's roles are intriguing because I don't know many women who think the way you describe. Don't get me wrong, I know several gossipers, but the most efficient project manager in my years working with engineers and developers was female. Give your gender more credit.

      Remember, no one is perfect. The church can't live up that expectation, but it can make course corrections. I don't know what will change, only that changes have been made in the past to rectify wrong-headed practices. Some practices have gotten worse. If you read the entire article, changes were made to the temple endowment only after the leadership surveyed members to ask what they liked/ didn't like about the temple ceremony.

      Thanks for your response.

    2. It always comes to this, you start talking about toilets, and suddenly you're discussing homosexuality! I'm a homosexual who regularly helps clean my ward's chapel. I enjoy the opportunity of having conversations with church members that I could not have on a Sunday morning. I also point out that Ms. Anonymous reads her scriptures very sloppily. The clobber scriptures are used regularly to beat me about my head, but neither my (same-sex) husband or I give it much regard. You are missing a lot of scriptural context if you read only the words in the KJV. God gave you a mind for pondering, for thinking.

      From personal experience, I believe that homosexuals can clean church toilets as well or better than heterosexuals.

    3. 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. matejoh,

    Yes, the human race, as we know it, will not exist. I have no doubt it is headed in that direction, this is part of how the world ends so to speak. How will it affect the human race? Gay's cannot reproduce, without going outside of the relationship. If they get artificial insemination you increase the chance of brothers and sister having relationships without their knowledge. It is already happening, because artificial insemination is not regulated. Plus, there are men that sell their sperm by advertising online and in newspapers. This issue was something I saw either on 20/20 or 60 minutes. We already know this increases birth defects. Back when I was a child people didn't talk about being gay and it wasn't an "okay," thing to be. Now days not only is it considered okay, it is considered normal. At one time I worked at a high school, during that time girls talked freely about kissing other girls, just for the thrill, just for something new. That is what they said, not something I'm making up. It seems your implying that heterosexuals will always outnumber gays. I say that I don't believe that will be the case. I say that once you label this as being okay, as being normal, people will wrap their minds around it and embrace it. I believe your sexuality starts in your mind, that is is what you allow your imagination allows it to be. Once you tell yourself it is okay, then the next step is to act on it. I do believe this will lead to other sexual deviate behavior. I think we do gay people a GREAT disservice by saying it is okay. I think the recent steps the church has taken regarding gays is compassionate. I think they are going as far as they can within the bounds of the Lords laws.

    In regards to women. You may have very well had a very efficient project manager. However, no man will know a woman as well as women know women. Besides gossip they are much more into what someone is or isn't doing. They are much more judgemental than men. They are perfect for paying attention to detail, but this can also be a bad thing. I think it is sweet that men think they should be in more priesthood positions, but I still say no thank you!

    Yes, I did read that there were changes in the Temple clothing and garments. And I'm not saying that all of the things mentioned on the website are bad ideas. What I am saying is that the church needs to be careful about having a custom made church. It has to be careful not to change things just to make people feel comfortable. I came from churches that keep morphing to make everyone happy, and you know what? Now, when I go to this type of a church when I visit with my family it feels more like an entertainment center rather than a church. It seems all show and no spirit, no learning.

    1. 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.


    National Geographic Explains the Biology of Homosexuality


  16. 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.

  17. The part in the letter that cracked me up was where it said it would free up more money for the needy...

    I guess the first pres is needy...