Resignations From The Lds Church
One of the main parties to this phenomenon, the online legal service QuitMormon, has processed over 30,000 resignations for former members of the church. The site, run by Mark Naugle and Ryan Sorensen, enables members of the church to retain legal counsel that represents them in the proceedings required to remove ones name from official church records.
Many reach out to QuitMormon out of desperation, Sorensen says. Some who tried to leave by way of quiet inactivity find its hard to get the church to leave them alone, Sorensen says. Between missionaries stopping by and members of the bishopric, youre basically a project. If youre inactive, there is a list and people are told you need to be activated.
But for others, resigning is an act of symbolic protest because they know their names are being reported, and dont want to be counted and dont want to be part of this, Sorensen says.
Revealing How Much Church Leaders Are Paid
From left, Jeffrey R. Holland, M. Russell Ballard and Henry B. Eyring wave to attendees after a session of General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Sunday, April 3, 2022. Several years ago, The Truth & Transparency Foundation revealed how much top church leaders are paid.
Dodge, who lives in San Jose, Calif., reached out to McKnight just after the first YouTube videos emerged.
At the time, Dodge was still pretty fresh out of the church, having decided I didnt believe in any of its truth claims in March that same year, he recalls. It was one of the hardest times of my life. I was still hurt and felt very betrayed.
It became obvious to Dodge that a dedicated site to accept leaks would be successful, he says. Having a cybersecurity background, I thought I could help him and help hold the church accountable in that way.
The attention the two got the day they launched MormonLeaks was unreal, he says. It was probably thanks to the fact that we were called MormonWikiLeaks the first week of our existence and WikiLeaks tweeted asking us to change the name.
Australian hacker Julian Assange, who had published tens of thousands of secret government documents, asked McKnight and Dodge to remove Wiki from the name. They obliged.
At first, Dodge chose to go by a pseudonym because someone close to him worked for the church, and he didnt want to affect that persons career.
Church Monitors Members’ Critical Publications
Richard Abanes and the Ostlings criticize the LDS Church for maintaining a group called the Strengthening Church Members Committee, led by two church apostles. According to the Ostlings, the purpose of this committee is to collect and file “letters to the editor, other writings, quotes in the media, and public activities” of church members that may be publishing views contrary to those of the church leadership. The committee has also recruited students to spy on professors at Brigham Young University who are suspected of violating the church’s dictates.
The Tanners state that throughout the 20th century the church denied scholars access to many key church documents, and in 1979 said that it had refused to publish Joseph Smith’s diary. Apologists point out that The Joseph Smith Papers project provides access to Smith’s journals.
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Joseph Smith And The Early Church
Polygamy is perhaps the most controversial early LDS practice, and was a key contributing factor for Smith’s murder. Under heavy pressure Utah would not be accepted as a state if polygamy was practiced the church formally and publicly renounced the practice in 1890. Utah’s statehood soon followed. However, plural marriage remains a divisive issue, as despite the official renunciation of 1890, it still has sympathizers, defenders, and semi-secret practitioners.
Sarah Pratt, first wife of ApostleOrson Pratt, in an outspoken critique of Mormon polygamy, said that polygamy:
completely demoralizes good men and makes bad men correspondingly worse. As for the womenwell, God help them! First wives it renders desperate, or else heart-broken, mean-spirited creatures.
Pratt ended her marriage to husband Orson Pratt in 1868 because of his “obsession with marrying younger women” . Sarah Pratt lashed out at Orson in an 1877 interview, stating:
Here was my husband, gray headed, taking to his bed young girls in mockery of marriage. Of course there could be no joy for him in such an intercourse except for the indulgence of his fanaticism and of something else, perhaps, which I hesitate to mention.
However, Bushman notes that evidence of sexual relations between Smith and any wives of his followers is sparse or unreliable. Compton argues that some marriages were likely dynastic in nature, to link families.
Churchs Rainy Day Fund
Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks at a news conference in 2019. He oversees the denominations vast financial, real estate, investment and charitable operations.
As for the $100 billion reserve, the church has called it a rainy day fund to help pay for, among other things, operations in poorer parts of the world such as Africa, where the faith is booming where member donations cant keep up.
Church officials said the money is less about stashing cash for the Second Coming, as was initially widely reported, and more about providing safeguards against more earthly events like credit crunches, stock slides and recessions.
Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé, the ecclesiastical leader who oversees the denominations vast financial, real estate, investment and charitable operations, noted a year ago that humanitarian expenditures have doubled in the past five years and that the church now provides nearly $1 billion annually in humanitarian and welfare aid. Latter-day Saint leaders say the church has provided record amounts of relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.
From the start, many tax experts doubted Nielsens whistleblower complaint would succeed.
The governing First Presidency has maintained that the church complies with all applicable law governing our donations, investments, taxes and reserves.
News editor David Noyce contributed to this story.
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Can I File A Lawsuit If I Was Sexually Abused While In The Lds Mormon Church
Most likely, yes. Many states have changed the statute of limitations for when victims have to file a civil lawsuit. The first step is to contact an experienced sexual abuse attorney to see if you can still file a claim.
Some states, such as New York and California, have enacted limited-time lookback windows that allow child sex abuse victims and adult victims to file a lawsuit, no matter how long ago the abuse happened or how old the victim currently is.
An experienced attorney will help you determine whether or not you can still file a claim.
Criticizing The Mormon Church
In the United States in 2019, two Mormon brothers filed a whistleblower complaint to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service that the church used part of tithing money to amass about $100 billion US in accounts intended for charitable purposes through its investment arm Ensign Peak Advisors.
“You have billions of dollars in Apple and fossil fuel-burning companies and energy companies that rattled people, and then the lack of activity in doing something that that money is designed to be used for,” Lars Nielsen, one of the two brothers, told The Fifth Estate.
The IRS didn’t want to confirm or deny if there is an investigation into the church activities.
“Ensign Peak works daily with the church’s treasury department to ensure the church’s financial needs are met. Such needs include providing humanitarian assistance,” the church said.
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The $100 Billion Complaint
In its details, Huntsmans legal action draws on claims revealed in late 2019, when a former investment manager for the church filed a whistleblower complaint with the IRS, alleging the Utah-based faith had nearly $100 billion in accounts meant for charity work but not spent that way, with some of it instead used to pull church-backed businesses out of financial trouble.
The allegations by David Nielsen, a former portfolio manager with Ensign Peak Advisors, revealed the investment arm of the church held one the biggest investment funds in the U.S. at the time.
In March 2020, fund managers quietly filed their first report ever to federal regulators detailing investments of some $37.8 billion in excess tithing paid by its nearly 16 million members, spread across a portfolio of more than 1,650 stocks and mutual funds, including Wall Street icons like Amazon and Walmart.
A subsequent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission showed the fund gaining more than $6 billion in 2020, according to a FOX 13 investigation, a 16% jump during the pandemic.
Nielsen, who initially disclosed Ensign Peaks $100 billion reserves in the IRS complaint with twin brother Lars, did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment.
A church spokesperson confirmed Tuesday that Latter-day Saint officials were not in talks with the IRS regarding the whistleblower complaint.
What Changes Did Warren Jeffs Make
Sanders: He officially became prophet of the FLDS in 2002, but for years before that he was extremely influential his father, Rulon Jeffs, was prophet before him. Years before Warren actually became the prophet, he was literally and figuratively whispering in his fathers ear, telling him to do things like take more wives, younger wives. Warren started raining down rules about what people could wear. They had to dress more and more modestly. He stopped all community celebrations and banned most holidays. At one point he stood up in church and kicked out 21 prominent men for not being loyal enough to him. At another point he ordered everyone to pull their children out of public school, because he didnt want them associating with Gentiles or apostates. So many of them obeyed that some schools basically had to close in the area because they didnt have enough students.
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Mormons Rejected Trump As Blasphemous Now He Likely Cant Win Without Them
Latter-day Saints had been among the most reliably Republican voting blocs until Trump took over the party.
Vice President Mike Pence talks to supporters after speaking at the Latter-day Saints for Trump event on Aug. 11, 2020, in Mesa, Ariz. | Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo
09/13/2020 12:14 PM EDT
In 2016, Mormons rejected Donald Trump in numbers unheard of for a Republican nominee viewing the thrice-married, immigrant-bashing Republican as an affront to their values.
In 2020, the president is going all-out to change their minds a little-noticed effort that could make or break him in Arizona and Nevada, home to more than a half-million members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints combined. Joe Bidens campaign, sensing an unlikely opening for a Democrat, is also targeting Mormons in the pair of Western swing states.
Before Trump became the party standard-bearer, Mormons had been among the most loyal GOP voters in the country. A 2010 Gallup survey found that Mormons are both the most Republican and the most conservative of any of the major religious groups in the U.S. today. But many Mormons found Trump blasphemous, and the church itself made thinly veiled statementscondemning the candidates rhetoric on immigration and religious freedom.
Mormon support for the Republican ticket dropped from 80 percent in 2004 and 78 percent in 2012, to 61 percent in 2016, even as most other Christians moved further to the right, according to Pew.
How Has The Lds Church Responded To Child Sexual Abuse Allegations
Though in the past LDS leaders have failed to properly respond to abuse allegations, in recent years, more and more family members and abuse victims are coming forward to hold the church responsible.
The LDS Church has now enacted training programs for officials to be able to prevent abuse and properly report it. The Church also provides multiple resources for members. However, whether or not these policies will prevent sexual predators from abusing children or committing inappropriate sexual contact will only be seen in the coming years. The Church still needs to face legal liability for the decades of sexual abuse it did allow to happen.
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Alleged Distortion Of Its Own History
An analysis of B. H. Roberts‘s work History of the Church, when compared to the original manuscripts from which it is drawn, “more than 62,000 words” can be identified that were either added or deleted. Based on this analysis, Jerald and Sandra Tanner contend that the church distorts its history in order to portray itself in a more favorable light. Specifically, they allege that there was a systematic removal of events that portray Joseph Smith in a negative light.
D. Michael Quinn responded to these charges by pointing out that methods by Roberts used in creating History of the Churchwhile flawed by today’s standardswere not uncommon practices in the nineteenth century, even by reputable historians.
FARMS responds to the “author and proprietor” charge by arguing this title conformed to the governing copyright laws in 1830.
The Ostlings consider other omissions to be distortion, noting that the widely distributed church manual Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young omits any mention of Young’s polygamy, and that the book’s chronological summary of Young’s life includes the date of his first marriage, the date of the first wife’s death, and the date of the second legal marriage, but omits mention of Young’s dozens of other marriages.
Mcfarland Guilty: Sentenced To 32 Years
San Diego Police arrested McFarland in 2004.
He was later charged with eight counts of Lewd Acts on a Child.
The following year, in 2005, he pleaded guilty to four felony counts and was sentenced to 32 years in prison.
In 2020, McFarland walked free from prison after serving less than half of his sentence. He now lives in Chula Vista and is listed as a “very low-risk” sex offender on the state’s website.
Now, Elizabeth hopes to hold the church accountable.
On August 11, 2022, she filed a civil lawsuit naming her father and the San Diego chapter of the Church of Latter-Day Saints.
“What we’re looking for in this lawsuit is some accountability, some responsibility to be taken by the church for all the things that they did wrong,” said Sam Dordulian, a former Los Angeles County prosecutor who now represents sex abuse victims. “Elizabeth could have been saved, gotten into therapy, and maybe that would have impacted her life. And she would have had a different life than what she ended up experiencing.”
Dordulian says the LDS Church and other religious institutions can no longer hide from failing to report sexual assaults to the police.
“Their response always is, ‘we have nothing to do with it. We can’t stop a perpetrator like this from doing these bad things.’ That’s utterly untrue, says Dordulian.
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Historical Authenticity Of The Book Of Mormon
Discussion regarding the historicity of the Book of Mormon often focuses on archaeological issues, some of which relate to the large size and the long time span of the civilizations mentioned in the book. Joseph Smith founded the movement in upstate New York in the 1820s. The faith drew its first converts while Smith was dictating the text of the Book of Mormon from golden plates which had reformed Egyptian writing on them which he said he found buried after being directed to their location by the Angel Moroni. The book described itself as a chronicle of early indigenous peoples of the Americas, known as the Nephites, portraying them as believing Israelites who had a belief in Christ many hundred years before his birth. According to the book, the Nephites are one of four groups which settled in the ancient Americas. The Nephites are described as a group of people that descended from or were associated with Nephi, the son of the prophet Lehi, who left Jerusalem at the urging of God c. 600 BC and traveled with his family to the Western Hemisphere, arriving in the Americas c. 589 BC. After the translation was complete, Smith said he returned the golden plates to the Angel Moroni.
Trump Fumes Over Biden Ad Media Coverage At Nevada Rally
The public embrace of Trump by some LDS members has created fissures in a community that was once largely monolithic in its politics. Former Arizona state Sen. Bob Worsley, a Republican and the founder of SkyMall, recently began publicly organizing for Biden after he felt the Trump-aligned LDS group that hosted Pence last month implied that Church leadership supported the president.
Ive never voted for a Democrat in my life, but we think this man is an abomination, Worsley said. He thinks more Mormons will vote for Biden than in 2016 because some found Hillarys husband Bill a similar lack of an example of a good moral person.
The Churchs leadership, which members watch closely for political signals, has strained to stay neutral in the race even as it continues to push back against Trump on immigration. In 2018, the church protested the administrations policies that resulted in the separation of families at the border.
We are deeply troubled by the aggressive and insensitive treatment of these families, it said at the time.
Bidens campaign hopes Trumps record on immigration will push LDS voters, including the many Hispanics who have joined the church in recent years, toward the Democrat. The campaign is building up an LDS volunteer program, utilizing members of the church who support Biden to reach out to fellow Mormon friends and neighbors.
Whether they can stomach his erratic behavior, Noble said, will likely be the deciding factor for many Mormons.
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