LDS Church Financial Apologetics w/ Spencer Anderson [Mormonism Live: 173]

On this week's program we take a look at the Faith matters Podcast with Aaron Miller where they answer the 100 Billion Dollar Question. But do their answers hold up? We sit down with Spencer Anderson to get his perspective on whether these Financial Apologetics hold water or if Miller is just blowing smoke. RESOURCES:

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Streamed 9 hours ago

[Music] [Music] [Applause] w good evening everyone welcome to Mormonism live this is Radio free Mormon how are you Mr Rio I am great rfm I have to chuckle every time because every time I gotta look to my left where you are definitely not and then it shows up on the screen as if I'm looking towards you so I'm getting better at that yeah we have to do everything the opposite here just because of the way it shows up on the screen but I'm glad that everybody is here who is here tonight because we've
got a great show this evening this is Mormonism live number 173 episode 173 today's date is March 27th 2024 Mr real do you have any announcements to make before we begin tonight's show no I think you had mentioned doing this in your show that you released uh you're actually going to release tomorrow night but that you played uh a little video that I put together to uh ask for donations and somewhere in the middle of this show tonight I'll if you don't mind I'll interrupt us and play that but ot
herwise life is good and I hope everybody's doing well and I'm really excited you've got a great guest and a great show for tonight thank you very much the title of tonight's show if I haven't said it already is LDS church Financial apologetics and what the show is about is you may remember it was only a little over a year ago February of 2023 I believe it was when the SEC issued its order sanctioning the LDS church $5 million for violating the law in their reports to the SEC um there is an intr
oduction here that will go over the details of that so I won't go over them again now but what happened was that in July I think it was about July of last year so several months later a group called Faith matters which is starting to gain some prominence it's a bit of a softer gentler kind of Mormonism and it's attracting a lot of people they have conferences they have get togethers they have a podcast and in this podcast they have two young interviewers named Tim Chavez and Aubrey Chavez and th
ey have a guest on their show and the guest on their show is a man named Aaron Miller who is a professor at BYU I believe he's a professor of business ethics ironically enough and they're going to be asking him questions about the whole SEC and the insign peak uh advisor account and all the issues related to that and what the professor is going to do is try and give I don't know justifications defenses explanations on behalf of the church so this is apologetics light and yet it is still I think
largely misleading in what it says so we wanted to have our own Professor come on the show this is a professor of accounting at Indiana University named Spencer Anderson he's been on the show before he's kind enough to come on the show tonight and give us his expertise as we play some clips from the interview at Faith matters how are you doing tonight Spencer Anderson are you there there he is how are you doing hey how you guys doing tonight good to see you it's good to see you how are things in
Indiana uh really great there's a lot of trees out here and the buds are coming up on the trees it's beautiful out here oh wonderful that's great to know and how are things going with your new job I know you moved there from Illinois University yeah so Illinois and Indiana both have great accounting programs uh but I really like it here at Kelly um the Kelly School of Business is really fantastic highly ranked um in accounting and I've got amazing students here so I get to talk a lot about acco
unting with students and they actually their eyes light up instead of their eyes glazing over when I talk to most people about accounting yeah yes so it's a lot of fun yeah well I'm glad we have you here tonight to talk with us and to uh comment on what it is that another professor Aaron Miller is saying about the church and its finances and I know you've gone over this already you know in large part what you're going to be saying so if we can play this first clip now the first clip is a one min
ute and 55 second clip it's just audio it's the introduction to the faith matters show where they recapitulate what it is that had been going on and who it is they're talking to why they're talking to him so if we can play that it's just two minutes and if you need that refresher here it is and and I just want to note before we start I don't know the exact circumstances but just to help people kind of place who Faith matters is uh Terell given played a very prominent role getting them off the gr
ound sort of as the original host of the podcast and he plays uh a very direct role whether on screen or behind the scenes uh with this podcast at least in its origination um so here so it's more Under the Umbrella of what we would call Neo apologetics at least when they're doing their apologetics you got it hey everyone this is Tim Chavis from Faith matters in May of this year the news program 60 Minutes aired a segment exploring the finances of the Church of Jesus Christ to vatter Day Saints D
avid neelen a former portfolio manager at IGN Peak the investment arm of the church alleged that the church had been operating improperly as a tax exempt organization and called for that tax exempt status to be revoked 60 Minutes also interviewed W Christopher wadell first counselor in the presiding Bishop Rick who denied neon's claims near the end of June the Wall Street Journal published an article of its own again emphasizing the size of the church's assets and the opulence of its temples thi
s is an issue with an extraordinary amount of complexity and significant moral weight though the church hasn't publicly disclosed the value of its assets estimates place it at over $100 billion put in context that's about double the size of Harvard's endowment making the church one of the wealthiest religious institutions or non-governmental organizations of any kind in the world the questions this raises are clear how did the church acquire this much wealth is it reasonable to see assets of thi
s size as a rainy day fund even for a religion with a name ATT testing that we live in the last days is tithing simply God's money and a matter of faith alone or should members have insight and transparency into church finances and how their donations are used and of course what good could be done in the world with a hundred billion doar or more we felt like this was the right time to explore these questions on faith matters and we brought on Aon Miller to help us sort through some of them Aaron
is a teaching professor in BYU's George Romney Institute for public service and ethics where he teaches classes on business ethics and nonprofit structure in finance though he's quick to point out that he doesn't have privileged insight into church finances he was able to walk through these issues in a really detailed but understandable way and to us he represented extraordinarily clear objective and openhearted thinking on this subject okay so there's the introduction now I do notice uh positi
vely that they are treating this seriously and they even said in the introduction that these issues about the church having so much money in their EPA account is an issue of significant moral weight they said so I think that's good that they recognize that and that they're talking about it in those terms I did also notice that they said that is it appropriate for a church to have 100 billion it's over hundred billion dollars uh in in the savings account when even though it's name a test that it
is in the latter days and I thought well yeah but the name also attests it's supposed to be the Church of Jesus Christ and I think that factors into it too do you have any comments Spencer before we go on to the actual video clips I mean from a from a members perspective not from a financial perspective uh this was something that I feel like I was missing when I was in the church when I was still in um it feels like this is sort of the new age unorthodox perspective that the Nuance perspective t
hat a lot of people are aching for um as we get into it you'll notice that some of the details are a little bit off that as you said like a lot of it is apologetic some of it is a little bit misleading I think the aerin's goal here the professor uh in the the guest um his goal is to not necessarily muddy the waters but but to make it a little bit more of a complex issue than it really needs to be and so uh his goal is to make it so that because it's such a complex issue I can then fall back on f
aith as an answer I think that's kind of the goal here um and I think that that's probably uh if you just keep pushing and kind of thinking about your doubts and what and whether this is right or wrong it doesn't take much to actually still come to the conclusion that this was a moral um an immoral act right that the church was engaging in and then I just want to give shout out to Aubrey and we'll see some of the questions that Aubrey had um she had s her questions were worded in such a way that
you could tell that she was acting in good faith she either she either had real significant uh serious authentic doubts about the church's finances or at the very least um I feel like she had taken the time to really understand those who were concerned ConEd and did have doubts about this topic so you know she wasn't straw Manning the issue um you know I feel like sometimes uh from the faithful perspective the questions will be like how can we um bolster our faith enough that we can follow God'
s teachings to pay tithing um despite our despite our incorrect views about how the church uses its money you know it's just sort of this leading question where the answer is already set and she didn't do that so I I appreciated that so anyway I wanted to give a shout out despite the fact that you know we're going to go through some mistakes and errors and judgment here and perhaps like uh you know fallacies fallacious reasoning that we're probably going to see in the next hour or so right well
more of an apologetics making the simple complex since 1830 that we're this is about an hourong their podcast and the first part really is just going over stuff about the history of the church for some reason when the whenever the church wants to talk about or Defenders of the church want to talk about how wealthy it is now they always want to talk about how poor they used to be as if that's some kind of a balancing act if that as if that makes any difference in the equation of whether they shou
ld be hoarding $150 billion doar and not doing anything with it to help alleviate suffering in the world so they do that we're not going to go over that so we get about halfway through when they start really getting into the nuts and bolts of the issues and the questions are asked and then Aaron Miller the professor will give answers if we can get that first video clip ready we'll play that and then we'll comment on it when it's done yeah let's talk about a little bit about some of these numbers
at least where we've guessed or there have been leaks occasionally so yeah it's roughly we think a hundred billion dollar that that probably more based on recent market conditions the peak is investing is that is that right yeah okay and then you're estimating that the church is collecting six to seven billion maybe closer to seven in in tithing yeah or maybe as much as eight is my guess okay I don't know okay but that's sort of the range um and then church expenditures how how much would you s
ay those roughly amount to so what the what we know what I guess what The Whistleblower is said is that the church is essentially setting aside about a billion dollars a year and that's been doing it since the late 90s okay and so it's it it spends up to until there's about a billion left and then that billion goes into en Peak where it gets saved essentially and invested to grow okay so enine Peak is growing through uh through the profitability of its own Investments plus this additional Surplu
s that comes in through church operations yep yeah so it's it's B I mean if we use an analogy you could think of it as like a retirement account yeah right I mean if you have a 401k or you know or an IRS or whatever you know it grows based on the performance of its Investments but you also put continue to put money in it so it grows faster yeah okay the first thing that I noticed was that he presents as not knowing anything in fact he goes into detail about how he's not speaking on behalf of the
church how he doesn't have any inside information he's just talking as a professor who knows a thing or two about this subject in general and yet and yet when Tim Chavez is saying uh the account has about 100 billion in it uh Aaron Miller goes probably more and then he says what what um oh and he says and they make S billion dollar a year in tithing and Aaron says uh probably closer to eight which I found remarkable a person who claims to know nothing about the subject is correcting somebody el
se on their figure saying they're too low what do you make of that Spencer I mean throughout throughout the podcast episode um they do this they do this back and forth where they talk about huh well what about this number what about this estimate what do you estimate Aaron and he'll give an answer but he doesn't say where he gets the answer from and so it's really interesting to me because I think it's pretty obvious that there are two sources where they could have gotten this information one is
The Whistleblower report and number two is the Widow's might report and neither of them ever get cited uh specifically especially the widows might report and we'll see even more specific examples where um it's obvious that they have gone to the widows might report but they just are failing to acknowledge so you know if any apologists are listening tonight at least you know cite your sources um because the widows might has gone through a ton of effort to uh come to these conclusions to come to t
hese estimates and he just puts them out there as if like the church provided them or something right and so as if they're really easy to to come up with which isn't the case and in fact Spencer when he says 8 Mill he goes maybe even as much as8 million is my guess my guess my guess means I did some research this is the information I came up with here it is in reality he's getting his he's lifting it from some other place he's directly borrowing as the church would like to say yeah right this is
all out there in the public domain now because of the Widow's might in spite of the fact that the church has sought diligently to hide this information and in fact violated the law and got sanctioned by the SEC $5 million because they were trying to keep this information hidden so the public and the members would not know how much money they had in the US Stock Market are you ready with the second one second clip there bill yeah I can put that up and also just a note we covered this in the Morm
on newscast by the way folks if you're a regular to this show but you don't check out the other programs we do we have the Mormon newscast which is a live news program we do on Monday night on the same channel here Mormon discussion channel uh Radio free Mormon and myself are part of uh the host of that uh Rebecca biblioteca and uh from time to time John delin as well just a note in the Mormon newscast we covered that the church's total accumulated wealth their financial investments seem to be s
omewhere in maybe the and you can correct me if I'm wrong I won't be doing my guesses but 150 billion or so but the actual accumulated wealth of the church at this point I think is around 265 billion when you include everything that they've got okay you're muted rfm but I I'm not sure how much it is you're not sure not sure how much it is but later on in this interview it is made clear by Professor Miller that the amount totaled in the EPA does not include real estate yeah and the total I gave y
ou I think does okay well it's certainly more than whatever's in the EPA account yeah and quite a bit more because the church has a lot of real estate 2% of Florida yeah okay okay I think that's really helpful to sort of get the lay of the land contextually historically but also what what's actually going on can we talk about the SEC sure fine and explain the accusation and the cease and desist and let's let's break that down so I'm I'm I'm not a Securities lawyer and I didn't when I was a lawye
r I didn't I didn't do Securities Law so there's a lot of complexity here um if you are investing in publicly publicly traded stocks is anything you can buy like on the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ or whatever generally you don't have to tell people what you're buying and selling unless you're buying and selling more than hundred million dollars a year worth of Securities and if you're doing that then there is a filing that you're supposed to do I think it's called a 13f if I remember right
you remember right and that filing is just after you've done the trades telling the public hey here's what we bought and sold yeah and the amounts and the amounts and the reason is because somebody with that size of portfolio could be a market M meaning that they could they could with a single purchase shift the value of a stock in a dramatic way yeah and so even if it's even if it's disclosed after the fact the point is the public gets to know what you own in how much okay or what you tradeing
how much I should say and so um the the church as it started managing this big portfolio a sizable choke of it was publicly traded stock and uh it trying to preserve the um the confidentiality of his financial investments uh talked to some lawyers who told them well what we can do is we can attribute these trades to a smaller chunk of 13 different subsidiaries they were still reporting all trades but they were breaking out across these 13 different entities and the trading of those 13 different
entities was not obviously tied to the church and they were all underneath the100 million doll threshold so they wouldn't have they were above it but they but it was being broken up so that you didn't know that entity number one was being managed by the church you didn't know entity number two was being so so the church was controlling these 13 entities but not disclosing that to the public um and so enzy Peak was telling these 13 entities what to do with all these Trad um yeah I agree with you
so Aaron got it mostly right um he got all the facts right I I I think we've gone into a lot of detail to kind of look at whether the it makes sense that they that the lawyers were the lawyers might have been involved but the lawyers weren't the impetus behind this action right and so we'll see in a in a couple of Clips here just how kind of he goes down this this path that just makes absolutely no sense it's conspirator oral it's it's devoid of the facts and so yeah this is just kind of settin
g up for his arguments down the road right and I want to go ahead and repeat here we've said it it's been about a year now I think it was last July we talked about this last time but if the church or anybody else had gotten bad legal advice and relied upon it to their detriment that is a defense in an action or investigation by the SEC that can be raised during the investigation the church never raised that as a defense to the SEC and almost certainly the reason why they didn't raise it is numbe
r one because it wasn't true and number two because if they had raised it then the SEC investigators could go to their lawyers and ask them if that were true and the lawyers would say no it wasn't so they never brought it up as a defense during the investigation we also know that because if they had it would have been written into the order that was issued by the SEC a little bit over a year ago and and it would talk about they raised this defense and we investigated it so they never raised the
defense what they did was they waited until the order was issued and they said we consider the case closed paying the $5 million right four million assessed against the EPA one one million against the church because the SEC said the church needs to pay a million because you were directly involved in this they waited until the order was entered the investigation was over to start raising this idea that we got bad legalist advice and I find that to be in bad faith so if we continue on now Bill uh
we'll see how this develops so and and this is the part that was the most disconcerting to me because I feel like I H I have so much trust that there that this that the church is ethical and that there was nobody in a dark room making you know trying to get away with something or hoarding money for themselves and all the things that you see in actual fraud and so I want to I want to walk into this with some Grace but the thing that felt really shady to me is that there was such an effort to to m
ake I mean confidential feels like a really nice way to say hide it it feels really shady that they were creating business managers in in the I was reading in the SEC the order for the season toist and it said that they were looking for church employees who had very common names and weren't really on social media so that they could be the business managers for these L llc's that just feels like so not the church to me so so tell me is that normal is that like a thing that happens have you or doe
s it seem Shady to you no because I was a lawyer okay so that's I want to know yeah I I mean no I can I absolutely can see what I feel shady I mean I I see where that perspective comes from because um the the immediate question everybody's going to ask is if you're hiding something why are you hiding it that's the most I mean that's the obvious and immediate question and having a background in business ethics that's I I see that's an instinctive and very rational response to to to ask when you s
ee somebody hiding something your next question is why are you're hiding it yeah okay so number one of course he says that's a lawyer right it's a lawyer who did this he has no idea if it's a lawyer now lawyers were certainly involved but the other side of it in addition to what I've already said that shows it wasn't just the lawyers doing this right is the fact that the president or the operating manager of the insign peak advisor's account was Roger Clark with a silent E on the end who wrote t
he book on investments and he had been he knows how to do this he was the president during basically this entire 20-year time period when the EPA when the church was uh filing false 13 FS and creating this entire structure with all these shell companies in order to hide the fact that the church had this much money in the stock market Roger Clark knows you have to file 13 Fs in fact we know that he knows that not only because duh this isn't rocket science this is very basic 101 stuff that you kno
w if you're doing this stuff for a living which he does he had his own Investment Company running for about the same 20 years as he's the president president of the EPA and guess what his own account that he was running filed their 13 FS every time they were required he absolutely knew exactly what was supposed to be done and what he did was he allowed somebody who he thought was in a position of authority over him to persuade him to do something that he knew was against the law and that somebod
y wasn't Podunk lawyer it was a person he considered to be a prophet Seer and Revelator and a person who speaks for God Spencer yeah I mean I I even think that like let's just give him the assumption that there was a lawyer involved which I I don't think that there was um Aaron's response just blows me away because he thinks that being a lawyer and his experience as a lawyer suddenly makes this action less Shady what about what about the commonality of this would ever have anything to do with wh
ether it's Shady or not what would the fact that lawyers have a certain mentality or a certain reputation what does that have to do with whether it's Shady or not and so when she when Aubrey she has this real concern it's very heartfelt it does feel shady and that's because it is Shady and she asked is this normal is it the kind of thing that happens is it does it seem Shady to you and he says well no because I was a lawyer so it doesn't seem Shady to me what does that even mean that just doesn'
t even make it's not a AR make any sense because let me tell you as a lawyer lawyers are actually held to a very high bar of ethics and attorneys do not advise their clients to break the law okay that's not you don't do that why would you do that as an attorney you've gotten a client a client that you represent and you're advising them to break the law this is not like some kind of um nuanced way of challenging a tax code or maybe trying to get some kind of benefit where the language and the sta
tute might be ambiguous or susceptible to Alternative interpretations right lawyers do that all the time that's fine that's good faith but telling your client to break the the black letter law okay no attorneys don't do that and if attorneys did they should be disbarred and if attorneys did the church would have told that to the SEC which they did not not and if the attorneys did that Roger Clark would have said are you out of your mind we're not doing that we're not going to break the law this
is the Lord's church we believe in honoring and sustaining the law and we're going to obey the law but no he didn't do that he compr he compromised his own ethics in order to allow the church to continue to operate in darkness as far as letting anybody other than this like group of five people at the top of the church who are in on the secret letting anybody else know including the membership how much money the church had and Roger Clark is on record is saying the reason they did that is because
they were concerned if the membership knew then they might not start uh they might stop paying their tithing uh ahead now go ahead well the two things I was going to share is number one what seems more rational to me is that the men in the room top 15 or top three along with the investment folks go hey you know here's our fears here's what we're worried about and then you can go to a lawyer and say if we get caught how does the law play out how what's going to happen okay we can live with that
let's do it it seems absurd to think that lawyers on the front end are going to look for loopholes and Investments investment loopholes they're going to be brought the lawyers get brought in after the fact that's that's the most rational thing and then also just to note this started under Gordon B Hinkley Elder Oaks is a lawyer Number One MH uh Elder iring we also got some word that Elder iring was personally brought into the 12 because of his expertise in sort of helping with this he was a prof
essor of business at Stanford I believe yep yeah and so just to know there are men in the room if he's going to say lawyers did this there are men in the room who essentially effectively acted as that as the top leaders of the church yeah either they initiated it or they knowingly went along with it and that's why the SEC spanked him with a million dooll fine against the church alone yeah I do want to say on the other hand that uh Professor um H Aaron Professor Aaron Miller did agree that the pe
rspective of seeing this is Shady he said it was a rational response so he's at least admitting that much and I want to give him credit for that yeah I I mean I would say that it is somewhat common in financial reporting among companies to try and you know maybe they have Trade Secrets or maybe they have some new um uh competitive advantage in their industry that they're trying to they don't want to publicize or anything like that and so by divulging that kind of information maybe they give up s
ome of that advantage and so the role of lawyers in financial reporting is often to make sure that they can lower their transparency but within the law I mean I think that that's the key here right it's to the the lawyer is there to interpret the law to interpret Securities Law and I just don't believe that lawyers would come in and say that this was um keeping up with um the law with Securities and Exchange Commission 13f so I think that um it doesn't it doesn't square with uh a lawyer providin
g this type of advice because this is very clear what you have to do um in order to comply with the uh with uh reg 13f and I'll tell you Spencer I've been a member of the church for 46 years now and I have been taught since I was 18 by the church to be responsible and take responsibility for my own actions by way of repentance of sins I have yet to see Church leadership ever take responsibility for their actions instead when it comes to hiding information like Joseph Smith using a sear Stone the
y blame the artists there are rogue artists out there who are putting their pictures unbeknownst to us in our magazines and fooling our members into thinking that the translation process was done a different way than it really was and now it's Rogue lawyers these guys they refuse to take responsibility for their actions and that does not tend to make me have a lot of respect for them as a Believer I always kind of well as a person who is kind of going through faith transition the problem with an
y of these arguments is that it always the buck eventually does still stop with the prophets and with God because prophets are supposed to be directed by God to circumvent any of these bad this bad advice that might be coming their way you know God's church is supposed to be protected from this type of thing and so even if this is why I even if the argument even if I just grant them the argument that lawyers were the ones behind them this it doesn't work because God should have intervened and st
opped the church from doing something that was egregiously wrong from breaking the law um he should have intervened and told the prophets what to do so there's just never any way around that when it comes to apologetics I think when you know it ends up be that anytime that you try and throw the lawyers under the bus eventually if you lead it to its logical conclusion you're throwing God under the bus as well that's a good point and I think Roger Clark gave away the farm when he said the reason t
he church did this was because they didn't want the membership to know how much money the church had that's the motive yeah and one only need look at the church handbook of instruction to recognize how serious the church and God take uh Financial melant uh illegal behaviors regarding finances whether it be embezzlement or other types of financial frauds uh by the church's own standard the top leaders of the church should have went through a disciplinary Court um but as you can see the rules don'
t apply uh universally uh across the church I'm available Sunday night and I'll get the subpoenas out in the mail yeah can I deliver them absolutely I'd love it that'd be great okay so can we go to the next clip that doesn't mean hiding it is obviously dishonest um and this is where the lawyer part comes in okay so um one of the ways that lawyers manage risk is through opacity they make it hard to identify assets and the reason they do that is because the law allows them to do it to a great exte
nt and if you talk to any for example financial planner estate lawyer one of their one of the tools in their tool belt is opacity they make it hard for like let's say somebody wanted to sue you for I don't know ridiculous amount of money because you bumped into their car right fender bender but they want to sue you for a crazy amount of money their lawyer if their lawyers during their job is going to try to find everything that you own to make sure that it's available to the lawsuit should they
win and your lawyer prior to this if they had done their job would have done their best to make as much of that as opaque as possible as as much as the law allows essentially and so this is I mean I know this sounds like a cop out um and uh you know we can get into the bigger questions about transparency on Church finances generally once you start with the position the church wants to keep it's it's uh it its Financial Resources uh confidential and then you turn to lawyers and say hey lawyers ca
n you help us do this this was 100% lawyers being lawyers okay and it's important to reflect on the fact that the church did not avoid any any Financial payments it owed this is purely reported yeah there well all the stock trades were reported but also they weren't avoiding taxes they weren't avoiding fees that were owed they they weren't trying to defraud the government out of money so that's the first important point there was nothing about this that meant they could avoid a payment that they
owed to the government secondly all of these trades were being reported to the public it's just the public didn't know that all these 13 entities were controlled by the church and they got some you know a couple decades ago they got some bad ADV voice advice from some lawyers doing what lawyers do to say hey we think we have a legal theory that justifies separating into these 13 different entities yeah and so that's what happened that's what happened the guy who doesn't have any inside informat
ion and goes to links to say he doesn't have any information now not only does he know it's the lawyer's fault but it was years ago they got this bad information from lawyers and they've just been following it ever since he go goes through all the things that the church didn't do okay notice he says twice that lawyers will try and hide your assets within the law he said that twice within the law the problem is this was not within the law this was in violation of the law Aaron Miller you know tha
t that's why you you cleared your throat and you said I know uncomfortably you look like you were kind of on the hot seat in this point and you also said I know it sounds like a copout anytime somebody says I know that what I'm saying sounds like a copout it's a copout okay and I think we heard a copout from him these were in violation of the law he goes through all the things that the church didn't do the church didn't uh the church did report you know all their uh their finances just under all
these different shell companies and they didn't uh avoid taxes I mean you could run that list forever they didn't try and assassinate the president they didn't try and take over the country yeah that's not the issue the things that they didn't do the question is in the issue is the thing that they did which was in violation of the law which you're still trying to Pawn off on the lawyers did you notice oh Bill did you notice that he he did have a little slip of the tongue there and he actually d
id admit that the church would have had to have come up with it first and that the lawyers then said that he could get they could get away with it so and then he wants to back off of that and go no the lawyers the lawyers did this no no no no if church leaders brought the plan to the lawyer knowing that the this breaks the law again you have a lawyer in the top 15 you you have a business uh erudite from Stanford in the top 15 you you have the people who have awareness that you know what this thi
s is breaking the law but I think we can get away with it and they brought it to the lawyers he admits that and then he sort of changes the story you got to hold to something my friend Aaron you got to you got to stick to a story draw a line in the sand and and stick to your guns you can't keep changing because people see that yeah you're spot on Bill I mean I think has to say I will just say that it is clear that Aaron came into this and he was going to blame the lawyers as many times as he cou
ld during this interview that's what I'm seeing Spencer I'm sorry go ahead no yeah I was just going to say Bill your spot on because he goes through this reasoning that like well lawyers like to avoid legal liability and that's why they're going to get into this you know they're going to engage in opacity and things like that but all of that argument as bill is kind of mentioning is completely irrelevant because the whole goal was originated not from lawyers the lawyer the church leaders were th
e ones that wanted to hide the information it wasn't the lawyers that were saying you know what church leaders you know we really need to think about legal liability you know what if there are some frivolous lawsuits that come your way it was the church leaders that went to the lawyers that said we want to hide this and so the whole goal behind this has nothing to do and can't have anything to do with frivolous loss suits or or anything like that so um and you know if it if that is the reason we
now know that the church has a lot of money and so frivolous lawsuits can come their way anytime now so there's a you know if his reasoning is true there's absolutely zero reason for the church to not be transparent now the cat's out of the bag we know that the church has a ton of money um there's no protection by being vague about your the finances of the church now now and so um it just doesn't the the whole argument just Falls completely flat the other thing I'll mention too is that number o
ne out of all of the things that are ethically wrong the vast majority of those things are legal so for him to like equate legality with honesty you know where he says I know that you know it doesn't mean that hiding it was dishonest and here's where the lawyer part comes in um it's so funny you know the whole argument in this area is comparing church the church to like the lowest standards of legal responsibility which the church failed to meet by the way and then compare the church to you know
to these lower standards um so as a business ethics Professor I you know I think that he would argue in his class in any other circumstance that legality is not the same as ethicality legality is bare minimum it's the bare minimum that's right and the last thing that I'll say too is that he said you know they made all their payments and all of the trades were available and reported to the public but there are two problems with this argument the first one is that the whole reason that these 13f
uh requirements exist is number one not to report the trades just in general but who is in charge of all of those trades and they failed to do that and that's important for the public to know because then they know who the Market Movers are number two not all of the church's trades were reported to the public because we know since then that dmba uh separate subsidiary of the church was simply failing to report any 13fs despite the requirement to report so yes enine Peak through its shell compani
es was reporting 13f um was filings but the but the dmba was not even though they were above the $100 million threshold and so um so there's just a lot kind of it's just really bad reasoning and I think that you to it's the same as Bishop padell in the 60 Minutes interview I feel bad for them because they're put in this position to like defend the indefensible I also am not persuaded by his argument about frivolous lawsuits and I noticed that he wants to go to some kind of fender bender lawsuit
where it's a fender bender and someone comes after you for an enormous amount of money okay is that what's happening with the church are they getting sued because of fender benders or are they getting sued primarily over child sex abuse and you know that Professor Miller but you don't want to say it I will also add frivolous lawsuits get thrown out of court okay frivolous lawsuit you file a motion you get it thrown out of court because it's frivolous the church has enough money it has its own La
w Firm they can handle the lawsuits and get them dismissed and take care of any frivolous lawsuits it doesn't have anything to do with how much money they have if the church has Insurance okay you sue the church if you get a recovery it comes out of insurance or they can self-insure and pay it out of whatever account they have you don't have to have $150 billion in order for people now to start lining up and filing frivolous lawsuits I think that's a Phantom Ghost kind of excuse that he's making
there and I just want to note you guys have been saying it all along but I want to just say it differently if church leaders got in trouble for doing something that broke the law church leaders did something illegal I'll just let that sit for a while yeah so what you're saying if church leaders got in trouble for breaking the law the church leaders did something that's illegal that's that's what breaking the law means when you when you get your hand slapped that you crossed the line that's been
written out and you get in trouble you broke the law good point it's illegal it's illegal and yet they are still the first presidency of the church and nobody can do anything about it because everything runs from the top down I I would wonder how one would do illegal things and maintain the spirit of discernment or the holy ghost or the Light of Christ it seems as though they would be void of those things and yet from Gordon beh Hinkley till today until recently the church seems to have operate
d with leer leaders who had no problem doing illegal things and doing things that violated uh the law of the handbook as well it's a good point definitely something to think about do we have the next clip now Bill and you know it turns out that was illegal that's the point of this of this whole complaint right it was yeah and and the church you know and I my guess is that this was several years in the works it wasn't just you know um like SEC found out about it in January and then they settled y
ou know however long ago it was now I think what's more likely is that um what's much more likely is that uh this was like an ongoing investigation negotiation back and forth and the the $5 million agreement was a settlement you know where they basically said Church said we're going to stop fighting this we'll pay this fee we'll admit to wrongdoing because what we did was not legal not legal boom boom not only does Tim Chavez say at the very beginning of the clip Professor Aaron Miller agrees at
the end of the clip that what the church did was not legal so I want to give him kudos for that any thoughts from the two of you about that before we go to the next clip Professor Anderson no that's great yeah it's already been said okay yeah so you mentioned that lawyers like to do this because it helps them manage risk what what do you mean by that in this context like what's what's the purpose of of hiding these these trades so uh a lawyer is g to be like looking over their shoulder yeah in
every situation right you just there's a degree to which you can't predict legal risk you don't know what's going to happen or who's going to do what or what you know undertrained volunte here is going to mess up on your behalf and and now make you legally responsible for their screw up that you're now on the hook for with a big lawsuit this these are the kinds of things like lawyers that do this kind of work they just they're paid to see ghosts essentially you know what I mean to look for any p
otential risk that they could find um a organization with large resources is always going to be a target for litigation even if it's really kind of like sketchy reasoning to justify the lawsuit that's always going to be happening too and lawyers that work for is the size of the church are just constantly I mean they're paid to be paranoid about that kind of thing so that they can cover every eventuality so once again he's blaming the lawyers and you know it strikes me that I think that even with
this argument that Professor Aaron Miller is making he's tacitly admitting that the church is not run by prophets seers or revelators it's run by lawyers what do you think Professor Anderson yeah I mean like he says that you know lawyers can't foresee the risks and you have to pay them to see ghosts and I thought that the church was run by other people that were allowed to see ahead and see around corners and were paid and not paid but that were able to see ghosts and so I just found the wordin
g very interesting the turns out that it's the lawyers that are that are asked to see ghosts and not the prophets right the prophets are supposed to see holy ghosts yeah yeah you're gonna say Bill yeah well no but they the same idea that they're the ones who claim to talk to spirits including Jesus Christ himself right they they're the ones who claim to talk to entities on the other side of the veil and as uh Spencer said the phrase that they use they see around corners they teach the truth prop
het seers and revelators are the lowest sort of human being walking on on the planet they're the ones who are manipulating covering up child abuse claim to talk to God but seem to never really have the answers when they're needed if I can be clear let me just suggest that when this order came out the SEC order the same day it came out if not before all three of the first presidency presidents Nelson Oaks and iring should have resigned from their positions they should have that's what I would exp
ect to see in any other organization but they did not because they know they're intachable yeah they can do whatever they want they can break whatever law they want and there's nothing that the members can do about it and the only thing that makes it more goting is that they tell the members to follow the law which they are not willing to do themselves apparently yeah so one one last thing that I'll mention to from this perspective is that whenever faithful people talk about this issue they tend
to bring it down to a secular perspective they say well this is the way businesses work and this is the way lawyers work and whenever people that are critical about the church bring it talk about this issue they try and remind everyone that this is supposed to be the church led by God and by prophets so it's just really interesting that to me that from a faithful perspective this is the one instance the one area where suddenly prophets are incapable we have to rely on lawyers um you know don't
even mention the prophets the prophets have nothing to do with this um don't talk about God's involvement in this or anything there's no inspiration in the church anymore it's all based on hiding legal liability because we can't know what's going going to happen in the future it's just really odd like all of a sudden whenever we talk about the finances of the church it's like all of a sudden this isn't the Church of Jesus Christ in every other situation it is and so it's just kind of an odd um D
the position yeah it's a contrast yeah yeah I agree and once again for the second time now he makes the analogy about frivolous lawsuits as if the only kind of lawsuit that can ever be brought against the LVS church is frivolous that's what he said both times he's never acknowledged any kind of good faith lawsuit with any Merit behind it and as your point as you're pointing out rfm first off that's a distraction but but beyond that the church has already said the reason for why they did it we d
on't have to propose a frivolous lawsuit reason for why church leaders have already told us that the reason this was done was to hold tithing numbers back from the members in the general public out of fear that tithing would go down they never said it was about frivolous lawsuits they gave you the reason Aaron you don't have to give another reason just go with the one that's sitting there right in front of you right are you going to accept the reason that Roger Clark and the church gave themselv
es or are you going to make up new excuses to try and cover their ass for them amen next clip so Church ended up settling this with the SEC paid a fine I can't remember yeah how much it was five was it $5 million million okay so drop in the bucket well compared to his total resources my understanding is it was a right-sized fine if you were to compare it to similar you know okay violations of the law no actually I don't know what a right-sized fine is is that a term of art Spencer have you ever
heard that before a bright sized fine yeah I don't know this is hard to like even gauge because first of all there are only what was it I think three or four companies that have been dumb enough to make 13f violations in the history of 13f violations and so I don't want to say dumb enough I don't know but there's it's a very uncommon thing so it's a very small sample size but five million versus the normal fines for this were like around like 15,000 yeah and so that's quite a different quite a d
ifference on the other hand to his point and to be fair to him this was 20 years of obfuscation this is you know uh you know over 20 years of 13f violations and so yeah I guess it would add up to maybe the right size would be if you accumulated all of the 700,000 or 7 million uh omissions that they made in those 13 FS then you could probably get to 5 million I don't know I don't know what the calculus was behind the decision of five million or anything like that I think the point you make is goo
d is that in this comparatively small sample of companies that have been sanctioned for filing 13 FS inappropriately they're not defrauding they're not grabbing the money for themselves they're just defrauding well I want to be careful when I use they're violating the law that requires them to let the government know that they actually do have all this money in the stock market okay so the secd is required to know that by the law and they violated violated that for 20 years other companies who h
ave been sanctioned for doing the exact same thing got substantially less of a fine like you said around 15 or $50,000 compared to the $5 million that the church was sanctioned so it's a huge fine it's by far the biggest fine in history against any Organization for a violation of this nature is that fair to say that's right yeah and I my suspicion is that the reason for that is because the church was um knowingly engaging in these violations whereas a lot of times these are you know sort of born
out of ignorance or born out of uh neglect it's not something that is so nefarious as to like create all these shell companies with mailing addresses and with people that answer the phone and uh right and so there's just there was a lot going on to to to engage in this sort of violation so that's probably why and then I just want to throw up as an an anecdotal data one of the things that happens here is there's a negotiation between the church and the SEC and the church is going to do everythin
g in its power to reduce the penalty that it pays and it has power and influence to do do that it has uh politicians uh it has other avenues it has all the money in the world obviously it has Avenues to influence this was a Reddit post from five years ago uh Andrew Bustamante was a former covert CIA agent and somebody asked the question here uh are there any secret societies or powerful people that have huge influence on the intelligence Community okay he says Texas A&M and the Mormon church and
that's not a joke so I just want to note uh I just want to note that in a negotiation a extremely powerful entity has ability to influence how outcomes turn out much more than if if Mormon discussion Incorporated had suffered this penalty and these guys were screaming down our throats it would be a very different game I would have no bargaining power at all the Mormon Church the LDS church uh has power and influence out in out in the world it has the ability to negotiate in ways that most entit
ies could never even get close to any thoughts about that Spencer I mean I don't know I don't have any personal information I'm privy to here but I do know that the church threatened to sue the city of Cody Wyoming um basically sue them to bankruptcy if they kept fighting this fight about the temple and that's kind of a microcosm of kind of I think what bill is speaking to is they have a lot of they've got a lot of money they have a lot of members that are everywhere in the SEC you know there ar
e definitely people BYU grads at the IRS and you know places like that and so yeah I mean to what extent they can influence those people or to what extent they do I don't know but they certainly have the ability to very good do we have the next clip ready to go does that does that also mean that as it stands today we could look at some filing and see what trades the church is making it's been going on for a couple years now okay so enzyme Peak has been reporting since 19 sorry since 2019 or 2020
I don't remember the exactly when that started but enzyme Peak has been reporting instead of across the 13 entities enzyme Peak and they got caught under just that one entity okay so we can't see the asset base but we can see trades that are made no I think it's the portfolio if I remember right and in but it's only the publicly traded Securities so it's only going to be stock that is sold bought and sold on like the New York Stock Exchange ndaq could we could see how much the church essentiall
y has in in stocks and publicly traded secur and it's about 45 billion oh 45 billion oh okay so the other billion between 60 and 100 is real estate uh I'm not sure real estate actually counts in that bucket so the 150 billion might be a small number that's part two of because a separate a totally separate legal entity manages the church's real estate if I understand it oh did you see the look on Tim's face when his eyes went to the side like that holy crap at the end yeah and it it wasn't the uh
the 45 million it was 45 billion even though Tim incorrectly said 45 million it was probably just a slip of the tongue but 45 billion now in the stock market and all of a sudden now Aaron who doesn't have any inside information knows it's not 100 billion in the EPA it's closer to 150 billion notice how that suddenly just shifted during the course of the conversation even the title of their episode has to do with a hundred billion doll question right no it's 150 billion and where did he get that
information from Spencer yeah I mean of course he got it from The Middle my I can't think of any other place I don't know any other place where they where this has been where all the work has been done to create this stimate so I know the church isn't providing it no and I wanted to play that clip also so that we could have uh Aaron Miller mentioning admitting might be too much of a word but admitting that the church's real estate is not included in the 150 billion dollar in the EPA account tha
t's when Kim's face went what yeah and I think that they were talking over each other or misunderstanding each other because either either they were misunderstanding each other or at the very least Aaron's wrong about that so the so EPA does control the real estate the for-profit real estate arm of the church oh and so all the real estate is included in the EPA 150 billion amount yes oh okay so then I had that wrong I what but he had no but he had a wrong no he had wrong one that was saying that
it's separate and it's not so like if you think about you know the EPA Universe it's about as of end of 2023 widows might estimates that it's around 182 billion 182 billion that includes all of what's under the purview of EPA and that includes all of the for-profit real estate now it doesn't include like temples chapels those types of things as as far as I'm aware so um it would include you know the BYU endowment it would include enzyme Peak which includes you know uh both equity and debt instr
uments it would include uh you know private Capital Ventures things like that um as well as real estate my eyes are glazing sorry can I ask a a question here it's just it's really important to know exactly how it's all broken down you're right maybe not on the show it seems like you're trying to explain it but it's something I've always been confused by is I keep hearing this you know 40 something billion dollar number here and I keep hearing the $150 billion do number and some people are walkin
g away thinking the church only has 45 M 45 billion so by the way the other thing I want to say was that in the comments people are noticing that multiple times it seems like the folks involved in the conversation that we're sharing here uh sort of slur billion and M Bo and aren't really saying it clearly almost almost intentionally the last one seemed like a slip but there people are noticing that it seems like it's intentional to sort of Muddy billion with million yeah but there's that did tha
t at the press conference didn't he I don't remember offand but oh yeah yeah he said million and then they went back and they changed it on the long shot and they had his voice over going a billion dollars because people called him out but maybe Spencer I know you're sort of speaking to it but can you explain people are getting confused about that 40 billion something that 150 billion can you just say you know why what that number represents and what that number represents okay so enzy Peak is t
he investment arm of the church it has around 180 billion of assets within that 180 billion is 40 billion in public stock and that's those are the ones that we that they have to file a 13f for so in total if you think about all of like the non non Church stuff that the church owns that's all under the umbrella of enzyme Peak and it's 180 billion of assets and Investments of lots of different kinds 180 billion now if you add on top of that 180 billion that the enzyme Peak owns you get you add an
extra 83 billion or so which is the church itself so the church itself like the ecclesiastical the the theocracy or whatever you want to call it that's only 83 billion worth of assets enzyme Peak is 183 billion so is the church itself 83 billion or so in addition to the 180 billion in EPA yes so everything the church owns Church stuff private stuff everything in one kitty is about $260 billion is that correct 2 26 265 at the end of 2023 that is more than a quarter of a trillion yeah that's a lot
of lunch money yeah it's enough lunch money to pay for free lunch for every kid in Utah into perpetuity that's what you're talking about wow yeah that's a lot of money next clip Bill okay I think it's really helpful I like what you said that there when you when you see that something is being kept hidden then you have to ask why and I think for me it was a I I had a more emotional response to the fact that it was deliberately hidden and so this is helpful to understand because that was my NE je
rk reaction that oh this wasn't a mistake this was something this this was a deliberate decision and so those little details about the business manager and the addresses those mattered to me because it was like this wasn't something was overlooked but I think this is a creative lawyer actually said you know one of the ways we can help prevent this being traced enzyme Peak is if we can get people that have pretty unremarkable names so if you do a Google search they won't turn up I mean that's a l
awyer that's a creative lawyer I appreciate that yeah I appreciate that perspective I feel like starting to get really really nailed here by Aubrey who is telling him exactly how so many people felt apparently she felt this way too she's saying this is not a mistake this is not an accident this is deliberate the way they set up the shell companies the way they had different addresses the way they had different people who were in charge of each of these shell companies and the way they picked peo
ple who' had very common names so it wouldn't show up in a Google search or have any kind of high profile or searchability on the Internet and what does Aaron Miller do he goes right to the lawyer excuse and I think that was maybe not his best moment in this interview what do you think Spencer yeah this is hard to hear again like it's possible that the lawyers were the ones that came up with the weird plan after being asked to do it right uh but the whole reason that they did it was because the
church leaders wanted to hide it not because the lawyers were trying to avoid fris frivolous lawsuits so it just doesn't the whole argument is uh it doesn't work from the very beginning we already know contradict yeah yeah he is contradicting himself with his excuses I agree Bill Rogue lawyers Rogue artists it's always someone Rogue out there who's who's just viol the the church leaders want to do the right thing they do you know they've never hidden anything they always teach the truth but damn
it every time something goes astray there's always somebody Rogue besides them to blame maybe just just maybe it's those top 15 guys who have been hiding history for 200 years cutting out pages of letter books putting things away in vaults claiming that nothing's ever been hit maybe the buck just stops with them and maybe there simply just not what they claim to be let me say the same thing in a different way the problem isn't Rogue artists and the problem isn't Rogue lawyers the problem is Rog
ue profits next clip so talk about why those let's talk about the why something should be hidden like what what do what does the church have to lose by just being completely transparent because it feels like that's the call everybody's asking for and maybe most especially the youngest generation of adults is asking for transparency and expecting transparency and getting transparency in most other contexts of their lives so does this work is it going to keep working to just to to be so to keep ev
erything hidden uh yeah I don't know I mean I I I'll give more it'll give more behind that answer but but I don't know I mean the reality is there are definite pros and there are definite drawbacks to uh keeping things confidential I mean and and I'm pretty confident the church leaders know this I don't think they're naive or or stubborn about this I think they're I would imagine I mean they're all very smart and Incredibly successful and capable people and so I'm sure they're weighing these thi
ngs in the balance and probably more often than we realize is my guess I I will say this um the the pros of it are risk mitigation and um you know when the total assets are are not known it can discourage a lot of bad behavior by Outsiders who would want to take advantage of or threaten the church um you know not true the cat's out of the bag as far as that's concerned now like I think the church benefited for a long time with risk mitigation by people not knowing how much the church actually ha
d in assets by them hiding it now that that's known maybe that that Advantage goes away um even if it's not known in detail it's known in broadstones since when do you get to call risk mitigation like that's what you that's the phrase you use but what you're really saying is deception and dishonesty yes yeah exactly by the way when he said it is it's not really known but it is known in Broad Strokes I thought that was a tcid admission to the widows might having it right did you think the same th
ing Spencer yeah for sure I thought that it was interesting how suddenly the church leaders were competent so before they had to rely on lawyers they they didn't really know what they were doing and then he said you know they're really smart people they know what they're doing they're not being stubborn about this I'm sure that they understand the trade-offs when it comes to transparency why couldn't they make that tradeoff 20 years ago why couldn't they have foreseen this right this is kind of
a you can't you can't argue both sides of this yeah even if we're not in the religious realm and the prophet realm and the Holy Ghost realm these guys are very successful in business they're very intelligent apparently they just have a problem with ethics I think that's the only thing that they lack do we have the next clip bill yeah but before we do rfm oh oh oh yeah Hello friends of Mormon discuss discuss I'm and CEO anding out to our in incred our mission support thosea ofis reding Rel their
relationship our claim lineup moris morison discuss a healing and healing we need your help we need your help your donations your our work our expanding our Outreach expand improving our content and creating new initiatives visit Mormon discussions. org click the Donate button and make a difference today donate to your favorite show like this one as your support empowers us to empower others thank you for being a part of the change together we're making real impact all right now now we can do th
at sorry about the echo folks whenever I have a screen share with the audio turned on that will always happen apologize for that people will be inspired to donate twice as much now I I would hope so um yeah we we won't blame the Rogue artist or the Rogue lawyers so it's the Rogue tech people um I I think think uh you know the and again this was before the amount was known um a lot of people have opinions about what should be done with that money um and if people don't know how much the money is
or how it's managed then they're less willing to SN and guess your decisions yeah H we're seeing a lot of SN and guessing happening now where people are constantly asking like why isn't the church doing this or this or this or this knowing that they could where before they might have never it might never even have occur occur to them so in other words so in other words it's okay to deceive the membership about how much money you have because if they know they might think that maybe you should do
something with it to alleviate suffering that's the that's the excuse I'm getting from him here he's got a whole list of excuses some we've heard before some he's come up with himself I'm not hearing a lot about taking accountability and being like Jesus and doing the right thing and obeying the law all I'm hearing is a Litany of excuse from the professor about why it is that hiding stuff and breaking the law to do it is okay Spencer I don't have anything to add to that that's great I mean ever
ything he said was true like he's just you know he's basically saying like this is the here are some of the reasons you know if you get to control the narrative um you get to go off on the side of and tell people that you're really you don't really have all this money uh you know you get to tell people in Africa that you know we're not a wealthy Church yes we give what we have or you get to give people this impression you know that you are the greatest humanitarian organization in the world whic
h I hear on face see on Facebook comments all the time you get to control the narrative when nobody knows what's go what's behind the curtain and so he's right like that's that is one of the benefits of non-transparency who gets to receive that benefit the church does and so I don't really understand why um why would be we would be arguing for that right especially if it leads to nefarious action you uh when you say you're not a wealthy church and again that's a by the way folks that's a real qu
ote that church leaders used in order to give off the idea that we're not that wealthy but we do a lot in the world they they when you say you're not a wealthy church when in fact you are among the top if not the wealthiest Church in all of this country right like it's not even it's not like the southern Baptists have got this much money I don't think I don't think the methodists are doing this good I don't think the Jehovah's Witnesses or the scientologists are doing that great um Mormonism uh
financially is is Elite uh they are at the very top and they have said that on a number of occasions before this came out maybe even since it came out but they try and portray themselves as a relatively poor Church in order to accentuate the value of what donations they give because if they're poor and they give a certain amount let's say $20 million right that's huge that's amazing that's that's Christlike but if you've got $150 billion dollar in the bank and you give 20 million now it's lookin
g like chump change yeah next clip we're trying to move along through these as quickly as possible we still have a few left to go but they're all good cons are obviously a lack of trust um yeah you know it uh um transparency you know and this is speaking from an ethic standpoint transparency is not necessarily itself an ethical good it leads to other ethical Goods right it discourages bad behavior that kind of thing there's actually interesting research by a scholar named D Kane who found that i
n some cases increasing transparency actually leads to less ethical Behavior it's called a sunshine effect and when people feel like they've disclosed now they feel good about engaging in conflicts of interest because they've told everybody that doing it oh interesting so so I mean transparency on its own is not necessarily an ethical good now you could make say make the case that there are you could argue that that you know church members have a right to know what what the church's finances are
and you know that'd be interesting to to discuss but um but the idea that trans what transparency does though is it leads to in most cases ethical good which is it discourages dishonest dis you know fraudulent behavior and and that's where I think it's worth reflecting because there is thus far zero evidence of that right yeah of Church of church resources being abused for p personal enrichment that by the way would be illegal as far as the IRS is concerned would cause huge penalties and potent
ially even cause the church to lose its taxis status um if there was substantial personal enrichment happening but we don't have evidence of any of that and The Whistleblower nobody is that ever come forth to say like hey here's the secret Corvette right right that uh that this General Authority is hiding from the public that he bought with hiding yeah it is pretty remarkable is it a strange thing Spencer to argue on the one hand that there's no transparency in the church but also to say hey it'
s okay because there's no evidence that there's been any abuse of the lack of transparency yeah right like how would we know this is the dumbest I I am like I hate this part because I just wish I just I wish that they had eded this part out of the podcast because I think that if we asked him later I think he would say you know what actually this was not the best argument because I know about this study by the way that he's mentioning this Sunshine effect tell us about that it it Bas it's based o
n moral licensing and moral licensing just means that when you get yourself as a person if you give yourself good points for doing something good then you feel more justified in being able to do something bad turn it around and do something bad that's the gist of moral licensing but in what other domain would we ever say do less of a really good thing because otherwise you might feel good enough to do bad things so like uh you know don't better avoid exercise or because if you exercise you might
eat some sugar afterwards uh don't cheat on your spouse uh or don't be faithful to your spouse I guess don't be faithful to your spouse because if you're faithful to your spouse you might feel okay about lying to your boss like this is that this is the S this is the line of reasoning that he's giving it's just not a good argument um so whenever you talk about the downside of transparency these are second order effects the the broad benefits of transparency are way outweigh any of the downsides
and so and I think he sort of acknowledges that at the end yes um where he says yeah it does lead to ethical behavior for the most part but in almost every just like in almost every instance in every instance it's I don't understand why the church would be an exception here and in fact it's not an exception we've already seen that it's not an exception um and so you know we've seen that the church suddenly has ramped up its humanitarian spending once it was forced to the transparency table so th
is is uh he also makes the argument at the end he says uh you know we don't have any evidence of any of this and what he was referring to before is he's meant unethical Behavior but we do have evidence of unethical Behavior by the church because they were being um because they were being non-transparent they were allowed to do that that's kind of what transparency is is trying to circumvent so one other thing too is you know it's interesting when you say like okay well we trust the church in thi
s one area even though they're not transparent well there's a 2015 study an accounting study that found that companies with Charity status have a 60% higher prevalence of accounting errors than non than for-profit entities and so you would think you know that for that not for-profit entities are very on the up and up um compared to for profit entities but that's actually not the case like you shouldn't trust companies just because they're a not for-profit or just because they're a church they ac
tually have uh you know 60% higher uh likelihood of accounting errors than than for-profit companies and the reason for that is that they can take advantage of the trust of that people inherently have in them and the second reason for that is because they're such misers with their money because they're not for profit that they don't dedicate the resources that they should to internal audit functions to a good financial reporting system to being transparent with their constituents all of these th
ings that cost money they go cheap on because they're not for profits or their churches and then they end up you know being susceptible to fraud because they don't have good internal controls and things like that and so to argue that the church is somehow not going to get a benefit from transparency is just ludicrous um he sort of argu you know again I I totally get this on one hand you're admitting that these guys aren't transparent but then you're then you're saying like what's the problem it'
s not like these guys have Corvettes or whatever but folks if you don't know how this all works I mean I dare these men to step forward and say they've never gotten a free car that they've never gotten Transportation provided by the church that they don't fly first class on the on the church's budget that they don't have the best insurance in the world to the point where they all seem to live to be in their 90s late 80s their 90s their hundreds um that that the uh their children or their grandch
ildren get free education at the church schools um that that these men who are supposed to be not well off I'll give examples Thomas S Monson and Boyd K Packer who both came through very meager lines of life I think Boyd kacker worked for the Deseret News if I'm not mistaken I forget he a CES man too yeah and uh Thomas Monson I forget what he did but it was something very meagerly as well but when these men die they all have three four five six houses they have tons of wealth if you think for a
second all they get is that meager stipend of 130,000 which isn't meager to begin with which is probably closer to 200,000 Now by now these men accumulate at significant amounts of wealth over the course of their time in the church and when they die at significantly old ages because of the care that they get these men often have way more wealth than what their line of work said they should have accumulated I'll just make two more observations first off about moral licensing I hadn't heard that e
xpression before but thank you for introducing me to that Spencer an example of moral licensing might be that if you're the head of a church and you are sustained and believ that you are a prophet Seer and Revelator and have a direct pipeline to God that you might think that because you're that good and that righteous that it's okay for you to defraud the federal government and file false 13f claims in order to hide how much money you have would that be an example of moral licensing Spencer yeah
absolutely yeah so if you think you've done good in one area you give a blessing to a widow you can turn around and on the way home smoke could join or something I don't know yeah the other thing was uh Aaron has tried to blame lawyers lawyers lawyers I want to bring up for the record there are two internal accountings that were done in the church and two of them I think it was 2012 and 2014 something like that but there were two of them done separately that both remarked on this issue with the
SEC and with the 13 fs and said to the church this is not a good practice you're going to get in trouble if you continue doing it did they listen to their internal accountants no they kept doing it so much for your lawyer argument yeah yeah and his argument about personal enrichment I mean has anybody seen Joel Austin or Ken Copeland they have not for profit Church entities and they have plenty of personal enrichment much more than the church leaders appear to have and so um the idea that by th
e way that would be illegal the the law is so squishy there that it's really not wouldn't be a problem and then the other thing to Bill's point about the salary thing even if you do like just accept that they only get you know 150,000 a year 200,000 a year that 200,000 is basically off the top of all of their other expenses that are already paid for completely so imagine that you have a salary and then on top of that whatever you have in terms of discretionary income on top of everything that's
paid for your housing your food your education your travel expenses your clothing all of those things are paid for your insurance that's a huge deal right now you that gets all paid for and then on top of that you get $200,000 that's what's really kind of that's closer to what is going on here and so yeah that would make you rich pretty fast if I had an extra 200,000 to stock away every year good point it's a pretty sweet gig yeah yeah it is next clip bill uh I don't know the answer to that okay
um I mean I could speculate about it yeah but I mean I will say this you know and this is based on math I've done if if the church stopped collecting tithing first of all which is one of the arguments people have made why do you need tithing if you have this can we just run the church on the growth of this endowment um I don't think the church would I think well I think the church would run out of money if it did and I say that part because um the investment returns would exceed what's coming i
n tithing in the short term those would shrink if we had a crash like 2008 yeah most nonprofits saw their Financial Resources shrink by or their endowments I should say their savings um shrink by somewhere in the order of 20% just within a year I mean it's a huge job and size and it took a long time for those to recover um the church is growing very very quickly in what's known as the global South uh these are parts of the world where the tithe payers there are being heavily subsidized um by the
church's finances at headquarters um if we want you know like the church's growth in subsaharan Africa for example is kind of crazy right now and those are people who need in their religious worship all the benefits that the rest of us enjoy they need chapels to meet in they need uh temples to to receive endowments in and get married in um and and uh and that's that's continuing to grow and I won't be surprised if we see a point where because of the growth of the church in the global South we s
ee the the figure flip where instead of a billion dollar Surplus each year the church is operating on a billion dollar deficit that's being pulled from its endowment W so you know how much is enough I don't know I mean God knows I believe that yeah and uh and it wouldn't surprise me if in his wisdom this resource was built up for things to come and yeah so God knows that this is enough this is basically his argument it is enough because the LDS church is doing it they're led by God so it can nev
er be too much and now he makes an argument that actually the church could not perpetuate itself indefinitely with no more income based upon the reserves it already has you heard the argument Spencer do you think that argument is made in good faith no or at least it's made out of ignorance because you know he made this argument that you know what he wouldn't be surprised if it flipped where suddenly the church was um dipping into the reserves at a billion dollars a year well you know how much th
e reserves grew last year $25 billion so I think it'll be fine I think it'll be fine if it dips if it you know flips if it ends up having two billion more in expenses every here that's a perfectly fine argument yes the global South would have to be subsidized by other tithe payers or by enzyme Peak but nin Peak has plenty to cover that and more um just let me put it this way let me give you a couple of examples so if the church was three times the size that it is right now it could take enzyme P
eaks assets sell them off and just turn them all into cash and just sit on the cash no interest or anything and it could it could keep going without any tithing no interest whatsoever a church three times the size that it is right now it could go on for 10 years that way 10 years for a church go 30 years right now the size It Go for the size that it is right now it could go for 30 years or more without any interest without any tithing for the next 30 Years just off what it has also also Erin was
talking about uh the phenomenon of a recession like in 2008 and how that might impact things what do you have to say about that Spencer yeah I mean I I guess if he's expecting a 35y year recession but you know the 2008 recession yeah it took a little bit to bounce back it took about you know three or four years to bounce back and now the church is fine right so like this is not it has 130 billion cushion 180 billion cushion they're just it it's not a logical argument um because it does bounce b
ack right so there's just not a there's no logical argument behind this any any of what he's saying so if you it's funny how suddenly the numbers become very vague when you don't want to engage in the actual analysis but like when you look at the actual numbers the church has enough money to operate into perpetuity without asking for another dime of tithing if it just feeds off of Just interest and that includes the the taking into account inflation that includes taking into account the global S
outh being subsidized that includes you know you could actually kind of you could build a thousand temples without um without even dipping into enzyme Peak um so this is just the argument is is just devoid of the facts I was talking with Colby reddish about this earlier today and he was talking in a different context about Divine command Theory which is the idea that uh two basic different ideas that there is a law irrev decreed even by which God himself is bound right that's one idea in Mormoni
sm but there's another idea in Mormonism which is the Divine command Theory which is that whatever God commands is right because God commands it and we see that in the happiness letter from Joseph Smith talking about what is right under one circumstance may be an of actually what is wrong under one circumstance maybe an often is right under another circumstance and it depends on what God commands so that's the Divine command Theory I see what Aaron Miller is saying saying here is tapping into th
e Divine command Theory which is that if God commands that the church have $180 billion in uh the bank right it's always going to be the right number and there's always going to have to be excuses to explain why it's okay for that to happen and not to have any outlays to help alleviate suffering in the world what do you think of that bill yeah well I agree with you and I just want to put up a comment on from the uh from the live comment from the live chat Philip cook who I think is again excuse
my language but a shill for the church says Mormon discussion in if that that's if it continues to operate the way it does it is likely to increase spending as time goes forward this is all speculation first off Phillip the church has Consolidated expenses it's the reason you're cleaning the every month and a half at the church because we longer follow me now yeah it's one come follow me it's why we got rid of a high priest group and now we have an Elders Quorum it's why it's why there are Ward
buildings being closed all over the place and they are moving more members into into one building into smaller Stakes the last 20 years what the church has done is cut cost and the church is no longer growing now they may say they are but they're no longer growing uh again thanks to the widows might and some of the reports that have come out recently we see significant decline in active membership at least by the indicators that they show so Philip what you just did was give a straw man response
that doesn't actually hold up to any sort of real uh rational conversation secondary I took my calculator that I I do all the accounting for Mormon discussion on and I put $150 billion and you guys correct me you guys are way better at math than I am but if I took $150 billion and I just stuck it into a good CD today you know just stuck him into a bazillion Banks all FDIC insured into CDs that are collecting right now a good bank is offering you about 5% interest $150 billion at 5% interest wis
ely invested is seven and there's no risk in a CD FDIC insured 7 b500 million would simply be the safe interest you would earn on a cash deposit today of your 150 billion I think it's plenty to work on I think they've got enough that maybe maybe people shouldn't be cleaning the bathrooms anymore Spencer what do you think of Philip's argument if you were paying attention enough to remember it and now sorry sorry I I think that that's a that's a fine argument to make Philip but um but in the model
so the widows might model they take into account the fact that probably spending will increase because the global South is growing globally in and especially in the first world the is shrinking but in yes in Africa the church is growing in the Philippines the church is growing in you know a lot of these places that don't have internet ironically the church is growing and so um so yes that stuff does need to be subsidized right they need chapels they need temples that is taken into account in th
e model and so uh you know I would encourage you to go to widows might report uh just Google it and you can kind of dig into kind of how the model is made and what kind of assumptions are made into it how much he wants to follow-up question of how much should they have in reserves not this much this is way too much this is obscene philli this is obscene and if you are defending it then you're barking up the wrong tree pal because what I'll let Spencer answer the question but they've got like eig
ht times as much as is even way more than they need in reserves go ahead yeah when you think about yeah when you think about cash Reserves a lot of companies or a lot of you know not for-profit entities have about six months of cash reserves and this one has about 30 years of cash reserves and so it is quite obscene 60 times more and so I you know I I actually appreciate the comment that like I don't think that like we should um if if we were in a scenario where it was like the church was was wi
thin some reasonable range of having reserves then people could quibble and I think that like we could come to different conclusions and agree to disagree but we're just so far beyond the that range we're just so far in the extreme the church is in terms of how much it owns it's it's it could buy every single NBA team today it could it could own every single NBA team the Utah Jazz the LA Lakers it could buy all of them with cash so it's just a little bit I I don't know like what the right exampl
e is to use to like really convey how much money that it has but it's the largest not for-profit entity in the United States it's also the largest landholder in Florida it's also buying up land all across the country it also owns multiple media Outlets newspapers TV channels it owns lots of Agriculture businesses it owns lots of uh industrial businesses it owns so much stuff you can't even even as somebody who has explored that you can't even comprehend how much in hold Holdings the LDS church h
as it is it is as my dad would say it is unfathomable all right well we've got four more clips left just want everybody to know that we are approaching the end here the next deals with the moral dilemma that many members of the church are facing now that word is getting out thanks to the Widow's might about how much money the church has in its stockpile can I can I add one thing though I really like the Philips asking these questions like I think that's awesome because like a lot of faithful mem
bers they wouldn't be I I'm assuming that he a Believer but like um that's awesome because like a lot of people will just make these claims without any evidence to support them push back on us because the Widow's might has the evidence we have the facts in front of us and you can go to widows might and we and you can look at it yourself um so good on you for asking the questions um I think you should push and be skeptical I hope that you'll be push you'll push and be skeptical on both sides of t
he issue graciously done next clip I think that brings up maybe what is the most difficult for a lot of people who are learning about all of this is that it there's sort of this new for some people I think they're really experiencing an actual moral dilemma and maybe they they really do believe in the law of the tithe and that this is a this is a commandment from God and it brings blessings and you you want genuinely to to obey this law and at the same time this is a this is human and a Divine i
nstitution and if we were handing over our 10% to God that wouldn't be a question but the but it gets complicated when you have imperfect fallible leaders who are really good people but fallible because they're human deciding where those funds go and and I think for some people they're experiencing this real crisis of conscience and trying to decide is is it ethically wrong for me to give my 10% to something that some people are calling a hoorde like you know this is a big sacrifice for us singl
e family but like is anyone really going to feel the benefit of this 10% and would it be more beneficial to give this to a literally hungry child who's suffering today yeah with you know like would that be better would that would God prefer that that's where we put our 10% and can I tithe that way so I don't know what do you what do you think like how do you how do you reconcile or I guess not it's more just a wrestle like how do you feel like this is something that as individuals we have to kin
d kind of figure out in the church yeah so that's an interesting question and I think actually it's going to be mostly latterday Saints the United States or other developed countries who experience it but in particular the United States and I'll say why uh we get to deduct well depending on our taxes and whether or not we do a standard or itemized deduction we get to deduct donations from our taxes all donations to charity and so I think culturally in in the United States we see as the same as a
donation to an organization that does good in the world yeah I I wouldn't expect that you'd see that in a lot of other parts of the world really if you look at people who are Faithfully paying tithing in other parts of the world they have a different rationale it's not what it's not I'm giving this money to do good for the person who needs it their rationale is I'm paying tithing because it's a way to give it back to God as a as a form of gratitude and worship so I'm not sure why he's drawing a
distinction by these rationals I don't think they're necessarily legitimate anyway because I know when I was paying tithing in the church it was under the same rationale that he says is not us-centric it's that God gave me everything I have and he asked for 10% back and that's why I would pay 10% back I think that's largely why members everywhere including in the United States give and pay tithing so I don't think there's a sharp distinction and I'm not sure why he goes there really because I'm
not sure that's it's really addressing the question at the heart of the issue what do you think Spencer yeah I agree I've never heard of this argument before anyway I just uh it's an interesting argument I would love to see data that would suggest that people who are donating to churches outside of the United States see it as less of a charitable act than people within the United States is what he's arguing and the reason that he's making this argument is he's basically throwing now he's throwi
ng the constitution in the IRS under the bus saying that well it's it's the problem is that the church has this tax exempt status and you're getting a tax deduction and so I don't know if he's trying to make an argument for taxing the churches I'm all for it um so if he wants to make that argument and he wants to say that you know this is the downside of this is the cultural output of of having uh churches be given a tax exemption and for our donations to TA churches being tax exempt then I gues
s sure yeah I'm all for that thank you let's start the petition if I'm following his argument and I'm trying to actually follow it it's almost as if as if he is saying that members of the church in the United States they think that when they're paying tithing it's going to humanitarian Aid it's going to a charitable purpose and so they're the poor saps who are being fooled by this because really it isn't it's just going into a hoorde and a stockpile so I'm not sure why he's bringing it up it's l
ike he's saying the people who are dumb enough to think that this is really going to charitable purposes are the ones who are at fault here yeah I think Aubrey's real concern is not uh you know where is the money going or why or my expectation about it's not a problem with me her concern is that shouldn't the Church of Jesus Christ shouldn't if I want to follow Jesus if I want to pay money to Jesus to show my devotion to him shouldn't I give it to an organization that is doing something that I w
ould expect Jesus would approve of and so her real concern is with what the church is doing with the money he's saying well maybe your expectation shouldn't be there maybe your expectation should just be that this is a a fee to be a member of the church it's the fee to get into the sea Le shal Kingdom and and I just want to add so in developing countries we already know they're not given the same Narrative of church history of church doctrine they have a different book they you you know differen
t manuals they use we already have evidence that they go into these countries and manipulate the people into thinking it's a poor Church number one number two here in this country in America and other developed countries like England and Denmark wherever wherever the church is in develop developed countries it has what it calls a bishop storehouse person comes in they're having a hard time Bishop sits down and however long that person needs it they get free groceries they get assistance with the
ir bills getting paid in developing countries it doesn't work that way they because the church is able to leave those people hanging and not help them and not suffer the backlash for doing that that's exactly what they do to the point where Robert Reese and other good natured Latter-Day Saints have created a charity which is I forget what it's called today but it used to be called the Leah hona foundation and what they would do is go look look the church does a great job with its Bishop Storehou
se and bill assistance pay from Bishops to members in developed countries but in third world or developing countries the church doesn't use the bishop storehouse at all it leaves those people hanging they can maybe get assistance for a week and then they're cut off and these are the people who are in deep poverty they have children who are literally going hungry in the storehouse isn't a real thing over in those countries the church doesn't use its funds to help them in the same way it do folks
here and the folks who are wor are not well off over there are much worse off than the folks who are not well off here the church is not doing some great good in the world it does some good but it's such a small percentage drop in the bucket compared to the total money that they're bringing in and I just want to note how much good real good in the world clean water uh vaccines uh uh Health Care uh you know feed Starving Children how much good in the world could you do with $265 billion it's a he
ll of a lot in this next clip aerin's going to talk about tithing as an Act of Faith but interestingly he's also going to talk about the fact that he's wealthy enough that he can also on top of paying tithing he can donate and does donate to various Charities the interesting part to me is that what he will tell us is that before he donates to Charities he does his due diligence and investigates the charity and makes sure that the money he's donating is going to actually help people on the other
end do we have that clip ready it's about a minute long and so this is my this is a way for me to exercise faith in God and gratitude and worship is to say Hey you gave me this 100% I'm going to give you back 10% to do whatever you see fit to do with in addition to that I also make donations to other kinds of organizations and and we and my wife and I do that we have regular chable donations that come out of our bank account every month organizations that we've chosen carefully because the natur
e of their impact the data backing up the quality of their impact and and so we make sizable donations of Charity on top of that we're fortunate that we can I I wouldn't even presume to say that everybody should do that if they can't afford it financially did that have the clip in there where uh he talked about that unless it's the next one I don't that's where it cut off do you have that I'm glad you had the whole thing pulled up Bill and if you could go to that place here and let's make sure b
ecause I'd hate to leave that out that was supposed to be 4927 to 5010 and if you could go to like 50. o yep give me one second 50. [Music] o I'm gonna actually let me move this over and hopefully I'm not misremembering this but you saw this too remember Spencer you saw it we talked about it yeah yeah so I mean good on him for for giving to charity um I do agree that paying to the church is not giving to charity obviously um I I would say that like he does make this illusion before in the clip b
efore about like uh deducting your tithing and that's why we think of it as Charity but most people in the US today take the standard deduction I think he's wealthy enough or maybe he's taking an itemized deduction and so he's seeing it as tax deductible and therefore equating it with Charity but yeah um most people most people are paying tithing most people in the US even are paying tithing without any tax benefit yeah I think the standard deduction for a couple filing jointly is like $27,000 a
nd you can drop off bags and bags of clothes at the good Goodwill pay 10% of your tithing and do a few other things over the course of the year and you would never get close to that that would be like if you're making two thou 270,000 a year right yeah wouldn't that be the tithing on that yep 10% right 27,000 if you have that bill I do so let me yep donations of Charity on top of that we're fortunate that we can I I wouldn't even presume to say that everybody should do that if they can't afford
it financially but um but what I but what I would say and encourage I guess anybody and I've had students come and ask me the exact question you're asking um is that the purpose of tithing is it's an act of worship before it's ever an act of you can go ahead and stop it anthropy and and what you're saying is that I must not have gotten the right clip on that part but it is in there trust me because Spencer's my second witness and in the mouths of two or three Witnesses what Spencer yeah yep ever
y word beish absolutely we God's we are God's mouth today tonight okay so uh let's go to this next clip we're almost to the end and this is a place where they're questioning how many okay this is a good place and I wanted to include this because I think this is a good spot for them it's getting toward the end and Aaron is acknowledging that people who question how the church is using its money I.E maybe not using it money but anyway how it's using its money and they have doubts about it that the
y their faith should not be questioned any more than a person who says I just donate 10% and whatever they do with it is fine I think this was an important part to conclude the conversation on and I think this is one of the best parts of the entire interview and can I just say before we started this church originally instituted tithing with the definition being Surplus or interest the church has manipulated the definition over over time in order to get 10% of gross out of most of its members tha
t are active Temple attending you know the folks the folks who want to be both feed in and now they've accumulated more money than they were supposed to based on changing the definition of tithing and have stored it away almost entirely as a rainy day fund that even when the Rainy Days come it never uses yep they didn't touch it when covid grew yeah so yeah yeah if that's not a rainy day there's no such thing right that I keep thinking about how you're talking about these are both expressions of
faith and I can see how someone putting their heart on the altar might look like okay I'm gonna like honestly ask myself if I'm doing the right thing like that can that could really be an expression of faith for someone and for others it will look like I I trust and this feels right to me and you could burn the money and I appreciate the both of those perspectives like we'll be incapable of telling if someone is really expressing Faith by the way that they pay tithing and I think that's a reall
y beautiful reminder and I think it's good to not have one group get away with criticizing the other unfairly I think the people who get mad at the questioners are saying that they're just hurling criticisms you know and that's obviously not the case and the inverse is true I mean to criticize the people who are very just faithfully and simply saying I trust what the leaders are going to do with it um you know the accusation of them might be that they're naive or foolish and I also think that's
unfair any thoughts about that I already said what I had to say at the beginning Spencer no I agree I mean that was very gracious to of them it would be nice if you know I I would love to see more of that in the church where um that kind of attitude where you don't have an orthodox perspective you know I I admire people like Jan Reese who have chosen to give their tithing to other entities and I'm sure that that's that's a very difficult decision but I I think it's a very faithful decision from
their perspective like they are they're not their faith isn't in the church their faith is in God and they they from their perspective they're following God by uh by paying tithing to some other entity and you know there are benefits to that too I would I would add uh janese mentioned how when she had to when she chose to pay tithings somewhere else besides the church she suddenly had to think for herself about what was what her values were and where her money was going to go that would help peo
ple the most that would be the most Christlike um uh destination for that for that donation and so for her like that was like a a Growing Experience for her and so yeah I I'm I'm happy that somebody that probably does pay tithing has it taken straight out of their paycheck maybe um is willing to acknowledge that there's another way to see it bill yeah just somebody noticed here I mean uh during Co they increase the monthly rate that families pay for their kids serving admission so while their ra
iny day fund grew another $20 billion the amount that a kid pays to go on a mission went up a hundred bucks per month and you know again we all understand cost of living goes up there's inflation groceries cost a lot totally but recognize that that's within an institution who had surpassed inflation by significant amounts they made more money than they lost through inflation like they did they did fine and yet they put the burden on the families even greater I I think they put a Hiatus on the in
crease during covid but the point is still the same yeah I thought yeah and that's what I had remembered is that they had announced it there was backlash and they said uh okay we won't do this right now is that right they should have done a survey first and checked and seen what the people were gonna say I mean they would have done it except for the backlash right they said okay well I guess this isn't a good idea to increase the rates um this last clip that we have um Aubrey who's been my hero
in the interview now all of a sudden gets ped uh it seems like she feels like the professor has answered her questions adequately and now so they start talking about how long it's going to be and I think it's 30 years at present rates that the church is going to end up with a trillion dollars right and now it seems like Aubrey gets sucked into it and thinking wow a trillion dollars imagine how much good we could do with a trillion dollars and when I say sucked into the Trap I mean the idea of al
ways thinking that however much money you have even $180 billion dollar right is not enough to start doing good with it's always going to be when you have more money and that's part of the Trap that people can fall into uh I think that's the Trap that she falls in I'm not sure but go ahead and watch the clip and you'll see what I'm talking about I was watching the YouTube videos about what's the different like how big is a trillion versus a billion versus a million because it really is mindboggl
ing you know it they sound but it it it's mind-blowing how much bigger a trillion is than than 150 billion but also it's exciting because the restoration is still ruling forward right and we're part of this and is this how our generation is going to continue building out what the restoration actually looks like and so I wonder if you could just talk about do can you imagine what what we could do with a trillion dollars as a church what kind of good in the world could we actually do whether that'
s partnering with people who are already doing good things or or starting something new or continuing what we're doing you know what could that Vision look like for them what did you say 25 yeah about 25 years okay so about 25 years any comments on that Spencer is this the last one is that you said this is the last clip then we're going to go to that one page from The Widow's might and then we'll be done I mean why not question what the church could do with $150 billion right so um in the meanti
me while the church is growing to a trillion dollars uh children are dying uh people are starving uh you know vaccines are you know in poor areas are not being administered um there's all sorts of good that could be done in the meantime and so why wait for 20 years and then we expect that at that point that's when all of God's love will be Unleashed and that's when suddenly all the good will be done do we have I mean it just seems a little bit um optimistic too too optimistic with anoid yeah dev
oid of the evidence that we have at hand yeah yeah with an accumulated wealth of $265 billion the church chooses to spend like 1% of it on humanitarian Aid what where in the hell do you think that when they have a trillion dollar they're going to go hey all right we got it that's it that's all we needed now we're going to now we're going to spend 30% a year guys you're lying to yourself that they're not going to do that much more they're doing this thing where they're doubling the amount that th
ey spend every year we'll see if 20 30 40 years from now because at some point that exponential growth is going to bite you in the rear end they won't do that forever so they'll change that at some point um this thing is going to hoard wealth because often the leaders come as the descendants of the past leaders and this thing wants to have a large chunk of accumulated wealth to be able to work with with the same Bloodlines through all Time and Eternity um I have no trust I told you guys this las
t time we had the three of us on talking I don't believe for a second this is me sharing not anything necess silly fact-based but I think it's based in rationale which is it's hard to believe a church leadership only in an effort to protect the church's wealth would break the law it seems like when people break the law they do so for personal benefit and my inside hunch is that by making billions and billions and billions of dollars there's a there is a personal benefit to the top 15 and their d
escendants who come after who also take on Church leadership and again can't prove that but I just don't believe these guys did it out of the goodness of their heart to break the law for the church to accumulate wealth that makes little sense to me okay and speaking of this fact that now they're up to about a billion dollars a year in humanitarian Aid we have a slide from a recently released widows might report in fact I think it's the most recent thing that they've released it went up over this
weekend it's just going to be page two from it because what it's going to show in graph form and we're going to have Spencer explain it to us is that from the point in time that the Widow's might started exposing how much money the church has and the church has started taking criticism for it that is coincided with a marked increase in the church's donations to humanitarian Aid let me know when you have that bill there you go Spencer can you explain this to us yeah so first of all to set the se
tting like for a long time the church was claiming that um around 40 million had been given uh in humanitarian aid over 20 years or something like that so it wasn't very much it was like 40 million in in over two decades and so we think about you know what that actually means for a huge organization like this well in 2021 around 2021 when you know all of this information started coming out um estimated charitable expenditures which includes uh fast offering assistance Church welfare uh things li
ke that um total expenditures went from 96 million to 1.36 billion which might not seem like a huge increase but part in particular Faith blind Aid so um what we would normally think of as humanitarian Aid it's given without regard to whether you're Mormon or not it's not fast offerings it's not Bishop Storehouse that's in the green graph at the bottom it's in the green graph at the bottom since 2021 that has increased by about five times it's doubled and then it's more than doubled since then a
nd it includes you know around 500 million in Goods given and uh and cash donations given um in 2023 so half a billion you might say yes from two things can be true at once at one on on one hand it's still very very little compared to what could be given but on the other hand the ramp up has been uh extraordinary compared to what it was 20 years earlier and there's one event that happened that in my mind explains all of this and that's that the church was forced to the transparency table by The
Whistleblower and um to some second effect widow's might as well and so this is what transparency does this is this is the effect of transparency we all know it um this is what this is kind of the result of it is in three short years of humanitarian Aid has increased by five times so that's great good news right I mean like I don't care whether it comes from the church or whatever kids are being fed uh blood is being donated uh all that all that stuff so good so thank you to David neelen thank y
ou to the widows might people for the transparency that you have forced upon the church once again it seems that the church needs to be shamed into doing the right thing but I agree with you Spencer I'm just glad that they're doing the right thing regardless of the reason and hopefully they will continue to do more of the right thing your thoughts bill yeah um there's no way to be rude about the fact that humanitarian Aid has gone up to some degree exponentially over the last few years uh I hope
that that Contin that pace continues because they could afford to do a lot more they have the money to do it and just holding that money for some possible day decades and decades if not centuries into the future not really knowing again we can pretend they're profits but not really knowing what the future holds we could be on the back end of a World War we could we could see economic collapses we could see anything and everything when you don't know what's coming you absolutely should save enou
gh to be able to to to have a rainy day fun for sure um but you have so much money that you could do real tangible good in the world today and I think there's a balance there but as we pointed out you are so egregious in One Direction that you are missing out on an opportunity to really be a true and Living Church with which the Lord is well pleased thank you so let's open the lines we'll take a few phone calls here we've been going for two hours so let's try and keep it short here on the back e
nd I don't want to uh limit anybody's time but go ahead and give us a call especially if you have a question for Spencer Anderson or a comment that you'd like to make the number is there's a lot of sixes in it there's a couple sevens and maybe a two yeah I think it's 662 667 6667 uh or 662 Mormons yeah 662 there it is now I can read it 662 667 666 7 or 662 morons give us a call if you want to join the show Bill's checking it out right now seeing who's calling in and we've got I believe it's Edwa
rd Edward are you there yes I'm here um you're on so first I I wish I had a question for Spencer but um he's done such a great job I just want to say thank you for uh you and what the WID mights have done and this is actually a a big topic for me because of how the well I call it the corporation has behaved but um so I I never I I went to the church for um I don't know about five years I never bought into it from the first time the elders talked to me um and told me the story of how um Middle Ea
st people came over here I I say well if you darken my skin I might look like an ugly version of Robert Downey Jr and Tropic Thunder but I'm not going to look like a Native American like they so so and and like I always I always say things that I don't hear from you guys and one of the big things is for me is there is responsible churches out there that do good things and if if some of the things that you guys have said like maybe getting uh maybe using one penny of a of everyone's tithing dolla
r um is irresponsible and and if all churches behave like this and this is what I believe like our founding fathers wanted is regardless of if a church is true or not they're helping people this organization is not helping people and um that's some so I I I mean I I was sad when John Larson left the left the team but I said I I sent him a text and said you you know John like I need to stay here for a bit because um because of the IR responsible way that they're handling things and um yeah it's j
ust um this topic was a big topic and I have to get up at 4 o'clock in the morning guys it's going to be 11 o'clock before I get up I gota get up at 4 but I couldn't go to sleep I had to I had to at least call in and and make a comment but thank you yeah and oh I just wanted to say one thing about um you guys shows um love them um and rfm the only version of um uh Shakespeare I've ever seen was conscious of a king on the first um St Treck series and uh uh I'm looking forward to learning a little
bit about him it's actually inspiring me to do my own shows like I'm going to do a show on the relevance of DC and um roddenbery creates magic the second time on Next Generation but you won't watch that but anyway I might watch it just because you're doing it Edward but there would be no other reason I would do it for you thanks Edward thanks for call oh one more thing I I wanted to say rfm is I'm going up I live in New Hampshire and I'm going up to see the uh the Eclipse which I think is the o
nly time I've ever seen it before was when I was a little kid but but yeah we're going up there but anyways I just wanted to end on a light note because this we're good wear nice clothes because Jesus is coming I mean he is I don't know why you're laughing well because because what does what does God need with a Starship rfm like yeah wh why do they need all this money what does God need with a Starship because he's going to be Paving the streets of heaven with gold [Laughter] you guys are doing
a great job thank you so much Edward thanks for calling please get some sleep all right and then the next one here uh says 423 Morman uh I don't is that the name you want to go by 423 Mormon hello what Florida free Mormon Florida free Mormon is that what you said yeah yes okay go ahead Florida freem Morman so I just wanted to bring up a few points uh in regard to uh the show tonight so number one in regard to uh engaging the attorneys I really believe that yeah the church you know had their mot
ive and I'm sure that they did reach out to their attorneys and ask for advice and part of the advice probably was the setting up of these multiple llc's in order for them to be able to stay under the threshold um however one thing that needs to be uh brought up here is the money actually had to be transferred from enzyme Peak to the llc's in order for that to work and then also had to be separately managed um separate from enzyme Peak and that's where it didn't happen and my guess is is the chu
rch did not follow the uh proposal that the attorneys may have presented to them so that's item number one and then with that obviously they go out and they get these common name Mormon employees who they basically set up to sign fraudulent SEC forms which I think is complete BS um and can't believe that the church would actually engage in that behavior um then in regard to the FC order itself you know the church can put out all the press releases the apologists can come on and give all their ex
cuses but that's all noise the SEC order is actually a document that the church and the SEC agreed to and it cannot be disputed um by law and with that said basically the church is admitting to what is contained in the SEC order and as far as I'm concerned that was the Tipping Point for me because certainly there is no church that can claim that they're led by Jesus Christ that would engage in that behavior certainly not the Jesus Christ that I was raised in the Mormon church to believe in nor t
he Jesus Christ that I actually do believe in now so I am very disappointed in this regard and I have a very negative feeling right now in regard to any organized religion and just uh I really feel that the Mormon church has failed a lot of people in regard to the actions that they've taken and I think they have thed a lot of people on the way so thank you very much for those comments I tell you I don't know sorry go ahead go nope go ahead I'm not sure if we captured it in the clips but there's
a place excuse me I've got to clear my throat almost completely over what I've had anyway uh it's either in one of the clips or if you go back and watch that show at Faith matters there's a place where Aubrey says that when she heard heard about this she's going this is not my church this is not my church and I want to say Aubrey that's the problem this is your church this is your church that did this and of course that's kind of what she means when she says this isn't my church like you said th
is isn't the church that taught me all these principles and taught me about what Jesus would do this isn't that church no this is some other organization that has actually now been revealed as doing what it does and it's not the church we were trained and raised to believe the church is that's true this is what the church really is and what it tries to hide from its members that got exposed in the SEC order no good point thank you thanks so much for calling thank you Mormon uh Mormons free Flori
da whatever your name Isa on the verge of a copyright okay he's right like if if the the it would be much more plausible if the lawyers had set up these entities independently and they had their own managers that would have been legal it still probably wouldn't have been ethical in my P from my perspective you should be transparent with your members you have a they have a right to know but at the very least that would have been the type of advice that a lawyer would give so that was a great exam
ple if the different office managers of the shell companies were actually man managing the money correct yeah yeah we didn't even get into that tonight which was there were so many facets of this deception that that talk about major planning and organization in order to carry it out and deception on every level level picking people who didn't have a large social media presence picking people with everyday names that you wouldn't be able to pick out uh among other names and naming the shell compa
nies these blah blah names that would not raise any any antenna any alarm any question about it being related to the church it was a multifaceted deception on every level yeah okay I believe this is uh maybe Clark let me see if I can we got one one more caller caller y Clark is that you um yes my name is Stephanie Clark and I'm giving you a call gotcha you're on Mormonism live what can we do for oh thank you so much we really appreciate your reporting and everything you do and um I definitely ne
eded to hear this as far as just just getting an understanding of what was actually going on um so I I really do value your reporting um but I do have a question and it's rather naive but um okay so on one hand what's so bad with the church becoming really really wealthy okay so if you think about it um governments are really really wealthy we have really really wealthy billionaires who do a lot of bad stuff so on one hand wouldn't you kind of rather have the church have that money like if someb
ody's going to be the wealthiest organization on the planet like okay so there you go that's my question why not the church yeah I can take a sabit part of it Spencer I've been talking a lot what you're the guest why don't you go ahead and address this no I was just going to say it's not a horse race you you can you can uh be mad at the billionaires that waste the money you can be mad at the government that waste the money you can be mad at the church that Hoards the money right none of this is
uh a competition uh and so yeah go ahead I don't know if rfm had where to that was gonna say that that once again um a natural tendency is for us to immediately go to talking about apples and oranges okay and there's only one orange in the world that claims to be the only true and living orange on the face of the Earth and that's the LDS church okay which yes Jesus Christ at the head and prophet seers and revelators who receive his will and implement it right so when you have that one church hav
e 150 plus billion dollars just in an account that is not doing anything except sitting there and growing and growing and growing that's what made me understand the passage from the New Testament where Jesus says you cannot serve God and Mammon for either you will love the one and hate the other or vice versa you'll hate the one and love the other you can't serve them both so right now for me this has helped me understand the truth of what Jesus said because right now the eldest church has falle
n in love with serving Mammon and because of that they can't serve God the the fact they have so much money means that they're not using it to help people out which I would think would be the prime directive for any church that really does have Jesus at its head and Prophets and apostles governing it that's my take what do you think Bill and abs oh Stephanie go ahead I'm sorry no absolutely fair enough fair enough point there um what about maybe the thought that um that that when the Savior come
s again it it it is his Earth ultimately he's the creator of it um and he will have dominion over all of it so um on oneand you know would it be him that's you know rendering under under unto Caesar that which is Caesar's I don't know I'm just throwing that out there and you know I do agree with you Bill I mean thank you you again but uh and I appreciate your thoughts hey Stephanie I would just say yeah I agree with you when Jesus comes again for those who believe in the second coming and it's g
oing to be April 8th by the way remember April Fool's Day will be held on April 8th this year when he does come again the Earth Is His so what does he need with this account this is the same guy who turned uh water into wine Loaves and Fishes coins inside fish's mouths this is that guy right he can he can magically make money make substance where there was none why do we think he's going to use the US currency system why do we think that he's going to none of that makes any sense and I don't mea
n that rudely I just mean that when Jesus comes if he really is who he claims to be and he shows up again with a resurrected body and ready to put the earth into submission uh and Reign for a thousand years I don't think that $265 billion do in land and money from the LDS church is really going to have much effect for that yeah and Stephanie I don't know if you watch the Star Trek movies um there's only one that's really good but beyond that there's a there's a great thing where Admiral Kirk ask
s this trenchant question he says what does God need with a Starship and in the same vein one might ask what does God need with $150 billion so just a few different way good question yeah well good question yeah no you're quite right and and I appreciate that well thank you very much for calling I appreciate your calling in at least we were a little more gentle with you than with Phillip all right Philip by the way sorry about that if I was a little rough with you I'll get my apologies out of th
e way before the show's over don't have to track him down and call them up and apologize like Justin all right I've ended the phone call lines or we took our three shows we are uh good to go our three calls you know something when I do just the radio free Mormon by myself and then I play it back and I see I made this mistake that mistake you know I know what I'm talking about usually but I'm I'm thinking about what I'm saying so much that I miss State something like you just did yeah and I wish
that I were on a show with somebody else so that they could correct me so it doesn't get you know just published that way but anyway so yeah it doesn't bother me I mean correct me and when you make a mistake which isn't very often I'll correct you please do I invite that Spencer thank you so much for being on the show I know it's very late there you're on Eastern time as well so it's going on 11 o'cl there too when do you have to get up in the morning uh I teach at 8: a.m that's my first class t
hat's not too bad so 7:55 you're roll out of bed yeah sure thank you so much for staying up late with us really appreciate it really appreciate your Insight and expertise thank you Bill thank you Maven backstage for helping us out with everything that we're doing and all the clips and everything else that you helped so much with and thank you everybody watching the show thanks for joining us again here on Mormonism life please join us next week when we hope to have Rabbi Joe on the show to talk
with us s Mo about a marvelous work and a wonder and his appearance in defense of the LDS church until then good night everybody good [Music] night Mormonism live better than touching your