Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Monson Vs. Francis -- The Pope and a Prophet

Pope Francis arrived in the US, riding in a Fiat 500L car, priced around  $20,000.

On the other hand, Mormon Prophet Monson rides around in Utah (at the 2011-2014 Days of '47 parade) in much much fancier transportation, including an armored security edition Audi A8 that with full upgrades runs over half a million dollars to buy new.

Pope Francis speaks to human rights, humbly asks leaders to help the poor, and takes selfies.

Monson cuts ribbons at super-malls and kicks off condo-high-rise developments, while only letting professional, LDS photographers take his likeness.

Pope Francis encourages the US government and the world to improve the environment, releases a 40,000 word official statement/encyclical on global climate change, and has proclaimed the environment is just as important many moral issues facing the world

Monson buys up land to develop into profitable industry, lobbies Florida counties for permission on a development at LDS owned Deseret Ranch  "for accommodating a half-million residents on an enormous piece of ranch east of Orlando [that] has triggered an environmental dispute that could be tough for even the state to solve.... The development plan for the 133,000 acres..."

Confidants involved in an environmental impact independent study of the Deseret Ranch fiasco tell me that the part of Deseret Ranch that they want to reclassify as urban is beyond the borders of the urban growth line for Osceola County, and that they "petitioned the county to extend the Urban Growth Boundary into their property so that they can convert this land to a curated cityscape."

Ecologically speaking, Deseret Ranch is a huge piece of the proposed Florida Wildlife Corridor which would provide a movement corridor for imperiled (and un-imperiled) species throughout the state (including black bear, Florida panther, etc.).

Florida counties, probably seeing dollar signs from the potential tax dollars, have been reviewing the LDS corporation proposal. It would seem that it is pretty much set to go.  However,  one of the county commissioners is rumored to have refused to sign off on it until an independent review is conducted.

Pope Francis, in ecumenical cooperation, could you tell Thomas Monson to stop his destruction of the environment?


***That being said, I should update that I just saw on the news that Pope Francis took a military helicopter from JFK in NYC to Manhattan. I suppose chartering a plane would have been about as costly, and if he had flown coach, the plane would have been mobbed and a security disaster. But who paid for it?

Addendum:  A reply below is point on.  Neither Pope Francis nor Thomas Monson are anything close to the persona that they claim to worship and desire to emulate.  The character of Jesus Christ as described in the bible didn't ride in gold-plated chariots (the meridian times equivalent of an Audi A8 L or a military helicopter).  Jesus didn't lay his head on silk-spun pillows in elaborate church-owned Vatican cities, nor have multiple homes including an upscale SLC condo near a billion dollar mall he commissioned.

The hypocrisy of both is telling.


  1. Interesting comparison, but let's not give the Pope too much credit; anyone who has been to the Vatican can attest to the unbelievable and outrageous display of material status, from St. Peter's Basilica, which stands as one of the most elaborate and valuable buildings on this planet (valued at nearly a billion dollars), to the mind-numbing Vatican Museum, where you can see artworks and artifacts collected, commissioned, and stolen by the most wealthy and expanded church on this planet.

    It is starkly true that Monson et al are little more than corporate stormtroopers, it seems awkward to shame them in comparison to the Catholic Church, which is no better, and in many cases far worse for it's holdings, focus on worldly acquisition, and political authority.

    I see the difference between Monson and The Pope as a matter of message; The Mormons distract from their corporate objectives with messages of spiritual salvation, leaving earthly distractions to their Catholic counterparts, and an unusually secular leader.

    Shouting "Hurray" for the Catholics when comparing them to Mormons is like favoring a hungry tiger over a hungry lion only because he has stripes; in either case you are going to get eaten.

    1. I appreciate your opinion. It's true that the Catholic Church and former popes have abysmal records. They have been about political power, riches and even oppression.

      However, my intent wasn't to hold Francis accountable for the entirety of Catholic abuses. And in this article, I don't use the Mormon past against Monson when comparing the two.

      From what I can tell, Francis is doing much better than Monson, but truthfully, I haven't researched the Pope as much. However, just his words and acts on the US tour far exceeds Monson term.

  2. Funny, the only record Monson did that is his back patting talks at general conference. I thought good acts were secret. But he declares them without record. On the other hand James E Faust gave so much credit to saints that donated their gold teeth to build temples... gold fillings

  3. To be fair, the Pope probably didn't have much of a choice of air transportation when he was flown in a military helicopter. Jesus might never have done such a thing, but Jesus wasn't never guarded by a powerful government in a situation where, had any harm come to him whatsoever, it would have been a highly damaging international incident and deeply embarrassing to that government.

    But that's *this* Pope, whose shows of humility often have more in the way of appearance than substance. The press loves to talk about how his living arrangements, refusing to live in the "opulent" Papal Apartments in the Apostolic Palace, and using instead a suite of rooms at a hostel on the other side of the Vatican. But the apartments are still there -- and while comfortable aren't particularly opulent by world leader standards -- while the hostel was built for clergy visiting the Vatican on business to save their home diocese the expense of lodging elsewhere. So he's probably taking up space that could be used by someone else, and leaving a perfectly good set of rooms unoccupied, for a net savings of zero. There was also an incident where his briefcase had already been taken aboard a plane. He sent someone to go bring it back so he could be *seen* carrying it on himself. His humble image is very carefully crafted, and allows Catholics to forget that, if he manages to implement any reforms, it will be mainly possible because he's the absolute monarch of the Roman Church whose word is law. That's not humble by any measure.