I will soon be interviewing D. Michael Quinn about his new book: The Mormon Hierarchy: Wealth & Corporate Power.
Please post your questions for Michael below. Thanks!
It is my understanding that the church is exempt from taxes on donations, but that they pay taxes on for-profit businesses. Is there any evidence that the church engages in any practices to make monies that should be taxable appear to be tax-exempt?
Thank you so much for your work on this and your past projects.
We’re you able to gather supporting documentation that shows the financial benefits the Q15 receive?
Do the G.A.’s pay tithing like everyone else does?
Do all the G.A.’s know that the church is made up or false? top 15?
What resistance or pushback have you received from church counsel based on the publishing of this book?
What range of emotions have you had as you researched and wrote this book? Did you experience outrage, disgust, or perhaps you reacted with a twisted sense of humor? Does anything phase you? What surprised you?
How are you able to gain access to key people and documents given your notoriety and (brilliant, awarded, and respected) past works?
I would like to know who he believes is calling all the shots and keeping the active membership in the dark regarding the real history of the church. Are all
of the top 15 complicit or is it a smaller group that has most of the power and makes these decisions. Does he ever see a time when they will come clean and tell the truth over the pulpit and what does he see as the fallout if that were to ever happen?
Ordered his new book over a year ago through Amazon. Was to be a gift for my 84 yr old mom. We were looking forward to reading and discussing it. Mom has since died which is so sad but I’m still looking forward to reading his book. Does anyone know when Amazon will be releasing it?
Recently I heard Ryan McKnight state something like, “Mormons want you to believe that the Church is a religion that dabbles in business. Nevertheless, I maintain that it is a business (an actual corporation) that dabbles in religion.” Would your research support or refute that view? Historically? Presently?
Do any of the GA’s privately recognize that the church is not what it claims to be, or…?
—That Joseph Smith didn’t actually “restore” anything but, instead, invented a lot of things?
— That the “first vision” and the BoM, BoA, JST and PoGP are all just made up?
— That the standard timeline of when Joseph Smith first knew Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery is not as claimed?
— That Joseph Smith just made up D&C 132 to give to himself the appointment, power, keys. authority, excuses and forgiveness to justify his extra-Emma girls and women?
— That Russell Nelson went rogue and manufactured his bogus “revelation from the Lord” regarding the Nov. 2015 policy for same-sex marriage and their children? And that the policy itself was a big mistake?
Direct compensation for prophets and apostles. Sweetheart deals to boost compensation (e.g. “Private purchase of Packers bird collection and dmsubsequent donation to BYU.” Family business deals. Book deals. Loans. Vacation homes, etc.
Quinn’s got a lot of pushback from the extrapolated tithing numbers. I’m sure the figure is in the billions, but 33 billion just seems too much.
So my quasi question is can you show some real evidence towards this? Something more than a projected formula that uses data from the 1960’s? If not then you need to change your figure, because for some it affects the credibility of your book. Think of Fairmormon dismissing the whole book by pointing to this one part.
It looks like their is exponential growth away from eating meat ie companies like beyond meat, impossible foods environmental impact, more an more vegan options in mainstream restaurants , documentaries what the health, forks over knifes etc. shows how that consumption of meat and dairy, especially at the high levels seen in states, can cause cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other diseases. Sustainability in an ever growing world population. How does the church square holding Deseret Ranches, the largest cattle ranch in the U.S.. Are they monitoring trends away from meat? Are they looking at using Deseret Ranches land for housing? D&C 89:12 asks us to eat meat “sparingly,” but verses 13 & 15 tell us it is “pleasing” to the Lord if we do not consume meat except in times of need (winter, cold, famine, and excess of hunger).
Presiding Bishopric are to oversee the temporal affairs (buildings, properties, commercial corporations, etc.) Is there a financial group that oversees the Presiding Bishoprics affairs ie an investment firm.
Is there a vision an overall goal in the later days that the church will liquidate its wealth to help the poor in the later days.? Why is the acquiring and retaining of wealth so aggressive?
Why is the church stock holding so much wealth and putting it into property instead of hospitals , schools and medical schools and universities.
Has the church ever addressed disgruntled members complaining that the church spends too much on real estate and for-profit ventures, neglecting charity work.
Why has the church laid off janitors and called on members to clean temples and meeting houses? Couldn’t they give these duties to unemployed members and pay them a minimum wage.
Has there been anyone on record who has sued the church and received there tithing back? Have any class action Lawsuits resulted gained any kind of traction?
In greater London and the surrounding areas many of the church’s have a fraction of the members it use to. Why doesn’t the church liquidate the building and opt for smaller meeting houses? This must be a trend in other major metropolitan areas!
How do you think the church reconciles its behavior with the teachings of the savior to “sell all one hath, and come follow me”, “You cannot serve two masters for you will either hate the one and live the other… you cannot serve God and mammon.” His explicit directions to his apostles to travel without purse or script, and his very clear instructions to help the poor, fatherless, widows, etc. The Catholics make much better efforts at following these teachings than we Mormons do.
Just YESTERDAY I listened to (for the second or third time) an interview you did with John Larsen years ago and one of the topics was if you could interview ANY individual who would it be. The answer you both gave was Mike Quinn. You also said, “he won’t do it.” Your persistence has paid off. Thank you. Can’t wait to hear what this great man has to say.
With so much wealth, why is downtown Salt Lake area filled to the brim with homeless and needy. The church seems to ignore them and provide no homeless shelters or food areas to help. “If ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me” Christ said, even King Benjamin stated “when you are in the service of your fellow beings, are in the service of God.” The claim that, Being the only true church on the face of the planet and having the only authority from god himself puts the responsibility on the church to behave as such. When I ask myself what would Jesus do, the answer is usually pretty obvious on what should be done. A lot of what the church does has very little to do what Jesus would do himself . I know this is more of a statement than a question . But can the church explain why it does not help the poor and the needy but rather just the poor and the needy in the church. Whereas, Catholic Charities help everyone and have thousands of hostel type places that close, feed, house the homeless.
Why won’t the church disclose its finances to members? What don’t they want members to know? if honesty and integrity really matter like they preach in church and ask member in temple recommend interviews, why can’t the church be honest with members about money?
I noticed that the publication on this book was delayed a couple times (I know this since I preordered it), was this due to new findings such as the financial data printed by MormonLeaks?
What is the real percentage of Florida land owned by the Church? Are there other significant land purchases in other states?
Grant Palmer wrote in his latest book that a GA told him apostles receive a large (1 million dollars). signing bonus. Do you have any cooraborating evidence of this or is it just Palmer hearsay?
How did the church acquire such massive land holdings in utah. It is my understanding they do not pay property tax nor do the pay income tax when they sell it for profit to all the developers, i.e. all the development around Eagle Mountain by Utah Lake (mormons).members are taking it hook, line, and sinker that it is a church and not a business.
How can the church ever have claimed an unpaid clergy? Some anti-Dehlins (aka my mom based on Maxwell Inst.) bring up that John has a profit motive. My response was “How is it that so many church leaders whose sole source of income for decades is the church can have such nice vacation homes?” How can a college professor turned apostle like Bednar afford an Eagle Mountain luxury home and a second home in Heber?” Pretty much shut the critic down.
What was the single biggest discovery that you made in this research pertaining to the LDS Church that is a potential “game changer ” for the average member?
My great-grandfather hung a sign in his grocery store in the Avenues that read, “Live and Let Live”. I thought it was benign until my husband asked about that sign that now hangs in my uncle’s basement. My uncle said the sign was painted because there was a time when there was a lot of pressure to only buy from vendors who had lived in Utah for generations. Because my great-grandfather and his first wife converted to Mormonism in England prior to moving to SLC and opening a grocery store around the turn of the century, he didn’t want trouble for immigrant vendors or customers or himself. It seems, “Live and Let Live” may have been a controversial (albeit peaceful) motto for the time and place.
My question is: does an anti-immigrant movement ring true to Michael regarding turn of the century Salt Lake businesses?
Perhaps you can elaborate on the contention that the church deposits tithing into an interest paying account for three years before using it,; and takes the interest paid during that time to finance non-religious business ventures.
A list of questions:
1) How did Joseph Smith go from poor to wealthy? Was sale of the Book of Mormon profitable, was he getting generous support from the members, was he using church funds as his own, other???
2) Are any other churches with broad national and international presence organized as a “corporation sole”?
3) When/why was the change made to only use donations to humanitarian aid (LDS Charities, other) for charitable purposes? These funds are donated IN ADDITION to tithing for the members, which is a financial challenge for much of the membership; meanwhile, many members feel justified in not donating to worthy charities because they feel they have already given generously through tithing.
4) If no tithing funds are used for investments such as the City Creek mall, the splashy 111 South Main skyscraper, the luxury apartment building in Philadelphia, etc., where did such a large pool of funds come from? What funds does the church have that didn’t at some point originate as tithing or other direct charitable contribution from members?
5) The church’s financial decisions are under the direction of the Presiding Bishopric; however, these are “callings” not necessarily given to highly trained wealth managers. Who ACTUALLY makes the decisions about money management? And have any programs or policies originated from financial need instead of from “revelation” or “inspiration”? Is there any way the membership would ever know?
6) Are tithing funds from other countries used for operating expenses (or typical tithing-use expenses) within the US?
Thoughts on November 2015 policy.
Thoughts on how the church changes over time.
Division of the 12?
I heard on “A Thoughtful Faith” podcast that Canadian tithing donations were used to support BYU to the tune of many millions (I can remember for sure whether it was $30-something million or $80-something million..), but Quinn reports that the US church subsidized Canadian congregations in the amount of $166 thousand in 2010. The interviewee on “A Thoughtful Faith” was also relying on the required reporting of financial information in Canada. Why the discrepancy? Or do both the Canadian submissions to the US and the US subsidies to Canada both appear in the required disclosures? Can Mr. Quinn please respond to this apparent conflict.
Can you please ask him to give a small example of a primary, secondary and tertiary source material. Did the average Baby boomer in their 20’s and 30’s have access to primary source material. Did the church finances start to expand exponentially during the time the Baby boomers were in their 20’s and 30’s.
In 1995, Mike wrote: “When I say that I regard Joseph Smith as a prophet in the same way Moses was, I emphatically mean that both Joseph Smith talked with God face to face and received the words of God through ‘revelation.’ When I say that I believe the gold plates of the Book of Mormon were as literal as the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, I mean that both were physical objects that could be (and were) touched…” Have Mike’s beliefs have become more nuanced since then, and, whether they have or not, could Mike expand some on the nature of his Latter-day Saint beliefs?
Dr. Quinn has published research supporting a belief that before the mid-20th Century or so the LDS Church exhibited a more tolerant view toward homosexuality. Could he touch on this?
What is his opinion on the following statement? In 1991 April General conference, Gordon B. Hinckley said the following:
“I repeat, the combined income from all of these business interests is relatively small and would not keep the Church going for longer than a very brief period. I add, also, that these commercial properties are tax-paying entities who meet their tax obligations under the laws of the areas where they are located.
Again, all such commercial properties are taxed under the government entities where they are located. Not only do they pay property taxes, but also income taxes on any profits. So it is with all of the commercial operations of the Church.”
Is he lying again like his 60 minute interview?
Are there any footnotes? ;-)
I finally got my pre-ordered copy of the book and have begun reading. Perhaps the answer will come in later chapters, but do the current General Authorities still sit on corporate boards (of companies under church control or significant ownership), or serve as directors, etc., and get remunerated – either through director fees, stocks, or anything else? If not, when did this practice stop?
Thank you Mr Quinn for your magic world view book, helped me understand everything so much better,
I have no doubt that the top tier leaders probably about 200-300 people make millions in one way or another through all the businesses that are lds owned. It sure would be an interesting legal issue to go back and prove my ancestors and yours as well helped in the building of this giant and then have them break the COB up and split it up with all of us, LOL never happen I know but its the truth. Again thank you so much for all you do and you John also. I wont be visiting this site to much though as I have found a deep connection to God/Positive energy that incorporates everything everywhere. Much Love To ALL
I am interested to know the actual membership numbers. I recently learned a person stays on the membership rolls for 110 years, which would inflate the appearance of an actual membershio. Also, is there a record of how many have actually resigned or left the church?
Is there any evidence that the Church’s doctrinal change in 1978, regarding extension of the priesthood to all worthy males regardless of race, was influenced by a perceived threat that the Church’s tax exempt status was in jeopardy?
Also – how does the Church’s spending on disaster relief/assistance to the poor etc., compare to it’s spending on more “self serving” or business interests such as City Creek, Prop 8, etc.?
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