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.)