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Mormon Leadership: You (and not I) Should Sacrifice

Timothy Kincaid

October 13th, 2008

The Sacramento Bee has an article today about the sacrifices that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have made so that they can take away the right to marry from same-sex couples.

Rick and Pam Patterson gave $50,000.

He drives a 10-year-old Honda Civic to his job at Intel. She is a stay-at home mom who makes most of the family meals and bakes her own bread. The couple, who have five sons between the ages of 3 and 12, live in a comfortable but modest three-bedroom home in Folsom.

David and Susan Nielson gave $35,000.

The couple will forgo a vacation for the next two years and make other sacrifices to pay for their donation, he said.

Yes, they are faithful members of their church. And while the couples deny that they were pressured to contribute, both couples did so after the June 29 letter came out from the First Presidency and the church leadership requesting that Mormons “do what you can”.

However, this sacrifice seems not to have extended to the leaders actually contributing from their own personal funds. A search of the contribution database listing all contributors of $100 or more yields:

  • President and Prophet Thomas Monson – $0.00
  • 1st Counselor Henry Eyring – $0.00
  • 2nd Counselor Dieter Uchtdorf – $0.00
  • Apostle Boyd Packer – $0.00
  • Apostle L. Tom Perry – $0.00
  • Apostle Russell Nelson – $0.00
  • Apostle Dallin Oaks – $0.00
  • Apostle M. Russell Ballard – $0.00
  • Apostle Joseph Wirthlin – $0.00
  • Apostle Richard Scott – $0.00
  • Apostle Robert D. Hales – $0.00
  • Apostle Jeffery Holland – $0.00
  • Apostle David Bednar – $0.00
  • Apostle Quentin Cook – $0.00
  • Apostle C. Todd Christofferson – $0.00

Perhaps “our best efforts” means something different to the leaders than it does to the followers.

Comments

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AJD
October 13th, 2008 | LINK

Wow, so they just donated $50,000 for a ballot initiative whose outcome will not affect them in any way, even though their own church fathers may have donated nothing at all?

It appears that Intel’s basic standards for employees’ intelligence has really gone down the drain.

Ben in Oakland
October 13th, 2008 | LINK

What a scam.

Eddie89
October 13th, 2008 | LINK

Perhaps all of these “men” in the LDS hierarchy work pro-bono?

Their devotion to Christ and the LDS body is payment enough? And the Church provides for all their daily sustenance?

Do these guys live like Franciscan Monks? Perhaps they too have taken vows of poverty and thus cannot contribute 1 red cent to the cause?

David
October 13th, 2008 | LINK

I feel so sorry for their five sons. What do these parents have left for their sons’ future college expenses?

Eddie89
October 13th, 2008 | LINK

Just doing a quick Google search turned up this article on the LDS former President, Gordon B. Hinckley – LDS prophet dies at 97

Seems he received a monthly salary of $65.

Nothing close to the salaries of the high rolling televangilists.

But, I assume that the LDS Church is tax exempt and perhaps they don’t need to reveal to the IRS the complete payment package for these people.

Who knows.

Still, even if it was me and I were only getting paid $65 per month, I would still donate like a $1.00, just for the principle and to show my flock that I gave something.

Eddie89
October 13th, 2008 | LINK

David – I believe that their sons can attend BYU for free or close to it. As long as your “in the club” you’re pretty much taken care of. As long as you don’t step out of line, of course.

Reminds me of the carrot and stick method.

Eddie89
October 13th, 2008 | LINK

Perhaps their parent’s generosity towards yes on 8 will help them get a scholarship. Mormon College Scholarships

California – Vote “NO” on Prop. 8!
Arizona – Vote “NO” on Prop. 102! AGAIN!
Florida – Vote “NO” on Amendment 2!

Eddie89
October 13th, 2008 | LINK

Another thought, perhaps the LDS’ tax exempt status would be in jeopardy if any of it’s employees made any monetary contributions to any political campaigns?

Hence why they ask the flock to give generously, but can’t do so themselves, lest the IRS come in and take away their tax exmption.

Timothy Kincaid
October 13th, 2008 | LINK

Eddie,

Nope. They can contribute to propositions to their heart’s content. In fact, the church itself could make contributions to Yes on 8.

The only restriction is that churches cannot endorse political candidates for office. But even then a minister or employee can usually make individual political contributions to whomever they personally support.

cowboy
October 13th, 2008 | LINK

Two things to note: Russell M. Nelson was a top-notch heart surgeon in Salt Lake City. Dallin H. Oaks was a prestigious lawyer and a former Utah State Supreme Court justice. They both had very lucrative and prestigious careers. The minute they were “called by the Lord” (the Prophet) to be a member of the General Authorities (an Apostle) they dropped their jobs immediately to do the Lord’s work.

I don’t think they are living the life of any sort of Monk, however, they (and their immediate family) have some perks that might be rather modest in comparison to what they would have made in the public sector.

I’m still amazed they would give up their careers for their current jobs.

In defense of them, (and I’m not sure many here can understand), they are not living high on the hog in the same manner we see some Evangelical-like Preachers.

The perks of being a General Authority might be a company car (a Grand Marquee…not a Lincoln, mind you) and a whole lot of frequent-flyer points.

David Roberts
October 13th, 2008 | LINK

Good catch.

Dave Hughes
October 13th, 2008 | LINK

What’s sadder than this is that there seems to be less sense of duty in the overall GLBT community to make donations that are large enough to be considered a sacrifice to our cause.

Yes, some have donated generously. But so many more have not.

Dave Hughes
October 13th, 2008 | LINK

I still remain optimistic that these amendments will fail in all three states.

Afterwards, perhaps some of these large givers will reflect upon what they got for their money, and whether or not they will blindly heed such orders in the future. Perhaps they will reflect upon all of the read good that could have been done in the world with the $26M in California and $7M in Arizona.

……………..Nah.

Bob
October 14th, 2008 | LINK

what! they didn’t contribute? dewds, if they donated, it wasn’t under their own names. go figure!

the church leaders do give up a lot when they become one. cowboy has it right. fwiw, local leaders don’t get a dime for what they do — all volunteer, plus their full-time job, etc. wish more people would give for the community the way they do.

Jason
October 14th, 2008 | LINK

They can’t give any money to any political organization or cause. Not even their personal money because of the possible consequences. They are unpaid for their service although as was already pointed out, they do receive a modest living expense, housing and travel. These donations can’t even be collected on Church grounds due to the consequences.

It amazes me how everyone always tries to point out the negative. No one ever talks about the hundreds of millions of dollars that are donated yearly for the poor, disaster relief, etc. The Mormon Church is one of the largest partners of the Red Cross and the first on the ground during a disaster. They’ve vaccinated over 8 million children for malaria in Africa alone and never seek the glory or praise.

The Mormons are a very loving, tolerant and generous people. They generally avoid getting involved in politics because of this type of bashing and half truths that comes when your political views are so closely intertwined with religious beliefs. Obviously this is a very important issue to them and all religions that consider marriage between a man and a woman to be sacred. And just because a religious belief does not agree with someone’s lifestyle does not mean that they are intolerant or anti-gay. Forcing someone to believe and accept a lifestyle by crying injustice or inequality is not right.

Its funny how this whole argument is over a word, “Marriage”. It has nothing to do with equal rights. It used to, but since all the rights of Marriage were granted to domestic partnerships the battle is now over the word “Marriage”. It just seems like the gay community will never be satisfied until we are all 100% accepting of their lifestyle

Timothy Kincaid
October 14th, 2008 | LINK

Jason,

They can’t give any money to any political organization or cause. Not even their personal money because of the possible consequences.

If you are talking about tax rules, you are just flat wrong. Churches and clergy can endorse and contribute towards initiatives.

And just because a religious belief does not agree with someone’s lifestyle does not mean that they are intolerant or anti-gay. Forcing someone to believe and accept a lifestyle by crying injustice or inequality is not right.

Sexual orientation is not a “lifestyle”. Same-sex attraction is an attribute of a person, just like race, sex, height, and handed-ness. It developes early – perhaps at or before birth – and is for all practical purposes immutable.

It’s easy to be disapproving of a “lifestyle” because it puts the onus on the other person to live up to your expectations and justifies discrimination against those who don’t meet your standards.

But you, Jason, are justifying inequal treatment towards persons based on an attribute.

cd
October 15th, 2008 | LINK

Its funny how this whole argument is over a word, “Marriage”. It has nothing to do with equal rights. It used to, but since all the rights of Marriage were granted to domestic partnerships the battle is now over the word “Marriage”. It just seems like the gay community will never be satisfied until we are all 100% accepting of their lifestyle.

The minute SSM gets legalized where you are, you will be talking about how your “equal rights” are being violated by it.

However, that is an “equal right” along the lines of not having to deal with black people, or ability to avoid any dealings with an interracial couple. Or not having to see Mormons in public places. And keeping them all out of jobs in your neighborhood and your business.

So…careful with tossing them stones, Mr. Glasshouse.

Kevin
October 15th, 2008 | LINK

It should be pointed out that Mormons banded together to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment.

http://www.rickross.com/reference/mormon/mormon232.html

It’s helpful to view their attacks on the LGBT community as part of a larger conspiracy to keep and maintain a hierarchical, straight, male dominated culture.

http://www.pbs.org/mormons/interviews/toscano.html

By the way, keep your eyes and ears open for a notice concerning an upcoming demonstration against Mormon involvement in supporting Prop 8. Try to make yourselves available to attend if you get “the call”.

Kevin
October 15th, 2008 | LINK

Someone might have posted this link already, but here it is again:

http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pe2023SzWXxE8wYX5qWeoIw

It’s a spreadsheet of individual donations to Prop 8 by Mormons, grouped by name, location, and amount.

csz
October 15th, 2008 | LINK

To see the spreadsheet that Kevin linked to in its full context, look at http://www.mormonsfor8.com

Ben in Oakland
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

I live irght next door to the mormon tmeple in oakland. We’re demonstrating on sunday.

Ben in Oakland
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

And Jason, this or for you.

Your church may do all sorts of wonderful things– I don’t doubt it. But your church– and other churches– also do all sorts of terrible things.

And this is one of them.

I don’t believe for a moment that this is truly about marriage, any more than Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell is about military preparedness, or anti-gay-adoption laws are about the welfare of the children, or sodomy laws are about morality and family values. It is about what it has always been about: how much the very existence of gay people bothers some straight people, and some wanna-be-straight-but-ain’t people. I have yet to hear one reason against the full inclusion of gay people in our society that doesn’t boil down to that– logic, fact, truth, principle, and compassion be damned.

Prop. 8 concerns CIVIL MARRIAGE only– the granting of a license by the state, and the fulfillment of that contract. It has nothing at all to do with your church– except that your church has decided it does. Individual Mormons may be tolerant people. I have no idea. but your church is a raving bigot when it comes to gay people. It used to be a raving bigot when it came to non-white people as well, but that was seen as no longer politic, and they stopped.

right before the sCOTUS sodomy decision, there was a bill on the table in the Utah legislature which would have made it permissible to deny a hotel accommodation to anyone the clerk “suspected” of intending to violate Utah law– specifically the sodomy laws which throw people in jail for their private behavior.

that 11 million from your church and its members could have gone towards helping a lot of people instead of beating up on people whom you don’t know, know nothing about, and how have done you no harm. I don’t know what the book of Mormon has to say about gay people– I couldn’t get through it. as Mark Twain remarked, if you take out all the “and, lo!”‘s and “It came to pass”, you’d have a good sized pamphlet.

But I do know that Jesus had nothing to say about gay people, but a great deal to say about charitable works. how many children in Sudan are dying because of that $11 million. But they are just poor, black (check out your church’s history on that one) and far away.

At least they believe in Jesus.

Oh wait. they don’t. they are just poor, black, and far away.

Todd
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

Ben,

Just an FYI, Mormon Temples are pretty much closed on Sundays. No activities or services go on at a Temple on Sundays as that is the day Mormons go to their meetinghouses for services. While some families may come to visit the grounds on Sundays, the building itself will be closed.

Ben in Oakland
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

Thanks, todd. i have informed my compatriots.

Ben in Oakland
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

Jason– one more for you.

Nearly every word that has come out of the prop. 8 campaign has been a lie, distortion, half-truth, or outright slander– including “the” “and” and “but”. All easily proven– timothy has done so. and that lying pperdine lawyer knows it.

So what exactly is the moral stand that your church is taking?

Beating up on gay people who are not mormons? moral.

Beating up on gay people who arE? moral.

Lying through your ecclesiastical teeth to support your bigtory. Also moral.

Honey. you do the math.

Jason D
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

“Its funny how this whole argument is over a word, “Marriage”. It has nothing to do with equal rights. It used to, but since all the rights of Marriage were granted to domestic partnerships the battle is now over the word “Marriage”. It just seems like the gay community will never be satisfied until we are all 100% accepting of their lifestyle”

Dude, you don’t have to accept a thing. I just expect the federal and state governments to give equal protection to gay couples. That’s it.

There are plenty of people who don’t accept interracial marriages, plenty of kids get disowned for marrying the “wrong” person whether that be because of weight, gender, background, religion, class, etc.

When you get down to it, legally, marriage is a contract, nothing more. It’s voluntary, and you are not required to produce children, happiness, or anything else. You are simply legally bonded to one another. This allows you to make decisions for each other when needed, visit the hospital, deal with the unpleasant business of the remains of your partner, but this is not a sacred or sanctified institution. It’s a contract. You want the sacred? You want the holy? Then talk to your church about it. You want it to be legal? Then you need a contract, a government contract. All we’re after is the government contract, that’s it. I don’t care if every church in the nation says we’re not really married, I really don’t care what they think. I just don’t want to spend the next 50 years of my life caring, laughing, and loving someone only to have it all mean zero when one of us passes on. I want the dignity and respect from my government that any straight couple can get any day of the week.

cowboy
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

Do I sense some anger there in your words, Ben? Don’t get caught up in the hate. [I’d insert an appropriate emoticon here if I knew how] I know what you feel. I want to stand across from the Mormon HQ with a sign; “I’m NOT Inferior [to you]” but reality settles in a bit and I realize nothing I say or do will change the hearts and minds of the Prophet and of his Quorum of 12.

(Also, the Temples are generally closed on Mondays too.)

Ben in Oakland
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

Nah, cowboy. It’s not hate. It’s just anger, which tends to make me want to be clear. Clarity is sometimes seen as hate and anger. I just see it as clarity. I want there to be no doubt about how i see things.

I suppose I was being less than temperate when I called the church a raving bigot. Maybe i should have left it at bigot. If somebody tried to do to the mormon church what they do to gay people, they would definitely use the word bigot. and feel attacked because they did not share those others’ religious beliefs.

Oh, wait!!!! somebody already did that to the mormons. that’s how they ended up in Utah. You’d think they would have learned something about acceptance from that experience.

cowboy
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

I think the Mormons got caught up in this a little too fast and furious. My opinion is this little test of obedience (as instructed in the “The Letter”) will be fodder for several decades to discuss on erudite Mormons blogs.

But, this is really an indication for all of us to see how strong and powerful a group can get. We are witnessing the sheer numbers and the value of unpaid volunteers and how phone trees can work. I believe some Mormons are seeing/reaffirming their “power”…or maybe seeing a demonstration of their organizational skills.

They’re proud of this….and will continue to be proud of their might and dedication to the cause no matter the outcome on November 4th.

cowboy
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

Post script: This is just a real-world application they learned from Stephen R. Covey (do a wiki on him) and the folks that brought you the Franklin Day Planner.

Ben in Oakland
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

if they lose, do you think it will even occur to them to think that maybe they have it all wrong? Maybe they made a mistake, and that goddam civil marriage for gay people is perfectly fine after all?

cowboy
October 16th, 2008 | LINK

You know, I think most Mormons, deep down inside, have no problem with gays and marriage which brings us to this unique set of circumstances…i.e. the perfect storm. There is the infallibility of the Po…err…Prophet thing going on here. You have read accounts here (and maybe other places) the deep conflict some Mormon have with this issue.

Some of the rationalizations have been shallow and almost laughable: (using semantics about the word “marriage”, “we’re not anti-gay” (when obviously they are), “forcing something down our throats” (when we are the oppressed faction here), etc.

But, my dear family and friends are struggling with what they feel in their gut. I’m just hoping in the privacy behind the voting booth curtain they do what is right. It’s only them and the ballot and no one from the Church is looking at how they voted.

cowboy
October 18th, 2008 | LINK

A couple of interesting items:

A group protests at the LDS HQ:
http://www.sltrib.com/ci_10753975?source=rv

A cartoon:
http://extras.sltrib.com/bagley/Archive.asp?Vol=content&Num=3

Jenny
October 22nd, 2008 | LINK

Why don’t people leading the efforts against Prop 8 focus their efforts on winning new opinions rather than suppressing and intimidating other’s opinions?

Obviously, you are really concerned with what Mormons think.. more so than promoting your own cause to people who might actually accept your side.

Protesting against temple workers and goers definately shows the lack of understanding of LDS people, not to mention many other parts of the LDS religion such as their feeling towards SSA.

I’m very sorry if anyone in previous posts has felt violation from people in the LDS faith because of their SSA. It mustn’t have been easy for you and regardless of what happened no one should feel unloved or rejected. Please remember that not everyone in this world has the hurtful intentions you expressed, including in the LDS church, so it’s unfair to demonize LDS people just because of unjust treatment done to you by imperfect individuals.

Good luck to all in their convictions! May the polls be the judge of what’s “best”

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