“Your fast offering will do more than help feed and clothe bodies. It will heal and change hearts.”
Possibly, but let’s take a look at what the Fast Offering money gets used for. It’s hard with a church so secretive about its finances to verify such a claim. We can look at the Humanitarian aide portion of the church’s website and see that in 2010, about $1.3 Billion was given to individuals to help them, which seems like a lot until one does a bit of math. 1.3 Billion from 1985-2010 (15 years) divided by number of members (14 million) is about $3.71 per member. If we go with active members (~5 million) it’s around $9 per member per year, which… frankly seems a bit like someone is skimping some dollars. I know that as a member I gave between $30-60 each month to Fast Offering, so either I was WAY above average (about 40-80 times the average payer) or some of the money isn’t making it to “heal and change hearts”.
As further evidence of issues the church has stopped publishing the dollars used for humanitarian aid after Business Week investigated as you can see on the 2014 welfare sheet, only hours are reported, no dollar values.
On this sheet, we have some noble goals. Fighting Ebola, Phillipean Earthquakes, Immunization campaigns and Clean water initiatives are all nobel (although I feel it necessary to point out that the church took credit for a member, Bishnu Adhikari‘s, private initiative for clean water that happened to be run by a Mormon in its film Meet the Mormons, so one must question if these are church initiatives or member-led initiatives that the church is claiming as its own). And I totally respect the church in these efforts, but noble goals aren’t evidence against someone skimming funds for less-than-noble goals.
Fast Offering can also cause a lot of pain. Fast offering money was funneled into West Ridge Academy, a for-profit venture that tried to reprogram homosexuals and troubled teens with reparative therapy and harsh conditions. It was heavily sued by boys who left the organization. I wonder how many times tithing has been said to go to feed poor families, when the idea that Gays were being sent to reformation camps was left unmentioned.
When we offer succor to anyone, the Savior feels it as if we reached out to succor Him.
Hiding finances, misappropriating funds, changing tithing slips to state that money donated in any category can be used for any other category. Mr. Eyering might have said
“When we offer to sucker anyone, the Savior feels it as if we suckered him”
Why so many shady business practices? I guess Jesus never said “blessed are the transparent”.
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
“Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
“When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
“Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”1
I can’t help but wonder if another scripture might apply if one trusts an organization so completely that one only donates to that organization and very little of the money reaches the hungry, the naked, but instead is used to abuse a portion of Heavenly Father’s children:
Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
Eyring then states that this God asks something so simple, even a child can understand it: to pay the church money:
“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
We call upon members everywhere to demand of their leaders that money donated is accountable. That it cannot be hidden once discovered that the numbers are low. That no more camps where individuals are tortured or abused be funded by dollars dedicated to feeding the homeless. That leaders be held accountable for building Malls and Real Estate for-profit ventures while LDS members starve.
Finally, we leave with the reader with the thoughts of George Carlin: