Subject: THE GREAT MORMON MONEY MACHINE
Date: Mar 19 10:43 2005
THE GREAT MORMON MONEY MACHINE
It's the World's Perfect Business Scheme and you can do it too. Just start your own "Afterlife Insurance Company" then make the greatest promise humanly imaginable -- promise your clients that if they totally obey you and pay their premiums, after death they'll become Gods! In fact, polygamous Gods who'll have eternal sex with innumerable partners! Until then, they'll enjoy moral supremacy over all humanity. You do need to claim that you're a prophet of God however, but this is the easiest claim on earth to make and no one can prove you're lying.
HERE'S YOUR BIG PAYOFF
Using the power of your "Afterlife Insurance Company":
You demand a whopping ten percent of each client's income for their policy premiums and...
You publicly humiliate anyone who questions you or fails to pay. This power is so great that...
You can even ban clients from attending things like family weddings! And yet, the absurd irony is...
You don't have to prove to anyone that your Afterlife Insurance Company actually works, so...
You are worry free because, in this business, all your disillusioned customers are dead. Therefore...
You never pay off a single claim (although you literally promised the Universe). Then, incredibly...
You reverse the Burden of Proof--If others don't magically know you're right--they're wrong! Now...
You destroy rational thought with the delusion that deeply feeling it's true is all that matters. Soon...
You addict clients so forcefully to your fantasy they fear they can't live without it! From all this...
You urge mass lying (re: the Emperor's New Clothes) by saying "All worthy people will know it's true."
You now multiply this gullibility with the following arsenal of business weapons --
You exploit your very clients as free labor to run your business for you, even on Sundays.
You command a massive volunteer sales force that must actually pay its own expenses.
You endure almost no outside government interference and with limited regulation and...
You have no inner accountability either, such as member or stockholder oversight! Better yet...
You run a company that pays no taxes, but instead enjoys tax-subsidized dues. Then for comfort...
You answer only to your inside buddies for your personal pay and perks! But not stopping there...
You find abundant opportunities for nepotism and cronyism even outside the firm, because...
You freely raise large venture capital funds for unrelated business schemes. And all this time...
You enjoy total administrative, financial and clubhouse secrecy. Now, Jaded by your aloof stature...
You callously use emotional, social and spiritual extortion as powerful revenue tactics. Coldly...
You hold hostage a family's togetherness in the hereafter, plus their closeness here. And amazingly...
You even intimidate your clients literally down to their underwear. Then for good measure...
You claim the right to acquire all their worldly possessions too! Your disrespect is so deep that...
You require them to make dour commitments, before even telling them what they're agreeing to! Yet...
You still passionately kindle their hero worship with great theatrical skill, because, as Matthew put it...
You wear charming sheep's clothing that makes False Prophets seem so totally respectable. Finally...
You exercise massive social, political and economic clout. And the proverbial "fruits" abound --
You and your cohorts rule vast empires wielding your colossal power and wealth!
This Great Mormon Money Machine is perfect,
it's just Lies, Dollars and Sanctimony
Two facts expose this money-making scheme: (1) The LDS church is one of the wealthiest religions in America while, (2) Mormon-dominated Utah is consistently first in personal bankruptcies. The Church gets rich--as members get poor. These two undisputed facts display the final outcome (fruits) of Mormonism and, according to Matthew, such fruits reveal False Prophets.
Subject: Wow! You hit it!
Date: Mar 19 11:30
An insurance policy for the afterlife. You couldn't have stated it better.
Religion preys upon the natural fear of human beings doesn't it?
Date: Mar 19 12:00
I've maintained this for a long time--the temples are nothing more than the money machine of the church. It's plain and simple extortion.
Convince people that the ONLY way they can be with their families in the eternities is to get into YOUR building and go through a ritual and the ONLY way to get into the building is to give you 10% of their income and voila! You have the best scam in the world. Top it off with the fact that just going to the building once is not enough. You have to keep going (i.e., keep forking over the 10%).
Then get your CEO to convince people that the company needs to put less money into it's money machines and THEY have to keep them running. Less money in--more money out.
The best point you made, though, is that they never have to pay out any claims, just keep collecting the premiums. I love how the sheep get so excited when the CEO announces a new money machine will be built. They don't even realize they're playing right into the corporation's greedy hands.
Subject: Re: THE GREAT MORMON MONEY MACHINE - a must read
Date: Mar 19 12:51
Author: Painted Pony
How I wish this could be printed on the front page of every newspaper in the corridor, archived at every mo info website, shouted from the roof tops, etc! And how about all the busy work for the dead - pure genius! Please archive this for future readers!
Subject: I agree Painted Pony, this post should be ARCHIVED...
Date: Mar 19 14:20
I feel like I've just watched a big Boxing Match where the other guy couldn't even life a glove!
Someone should copy this post and footnote it point-by-point with solid documentation -- A lot of outsiders (and some TBM's) might not believe it otherwise!
WHAT A SLAM!
Subject: Loved it. Thanks. My only criticism ...
Date: Mar 19 18:22
Author: bob mccue
is that this program is as old as dirt. The real question, in my view, is why does generation after generation of humans fall for this scam? There is a lot of good literature out there on this point.
I think we minimize the nature of the problem by portraying those who believe as simple dupes, stupid people etc. or those who run the scam as consciously dishonest. The social and pyschological forces are far more sophisticated than that.
That being said, I loved the way you laid the mechanism bare.
All the best,
Subject: Re: My only criticism ...
Date: Mar 19 18:44
I think what happens over time is that the institution naturally finds what works and what doesn't work, then saves what suits its interest best -- and discards the rest. The process is gradual and the institution can always conveniently frame things as "doing God's will".
Still, there are points in time when even the best among the leaders "knows better" and decides to be intentionally ignorant (faith promoting facts/history etc.). This is where dishonesty enters and power is the final motivation.
When power is in contradiction to principle, power has almost always won. Examples?
Subject: Re: My only criticism ...
Date: Mar 19 18:54
Author: bob mccue
I agree with you concerning the evolutionary nature of the process. However, that does not address its effectiveness and hence the respect we should have for those who are caught in its web. It is not enough, in my experience, to show people how ridiculous their faith system is. That does not move them.
There are only two things that move people in this regard. First, they are held in place by powerful emotional and social forces and can be moved by similar emotional and social forces. Second, for those who are intellectually inclined, an analysis of their belief system in its social context that shows how it is virtually identical to many other systems they reject out of hand is sometimes effective.
See http://home.mccue.cc:10000/bob/documents/rs.religious%20faith%20-%20enlightening%20or%20blinding.pdf at pages 78 - 84 for the kind of thing I had in mind at the intellectual end of the spectrum. Pages 40 - 62 are also relevant.
But please don't get the idea that I am seriously critical of your analysis. It is a useful summary of the social control mechanisms Mormonism uses.
All the best,
Subject: I see social, especially youthful, conditioning as a major factor...
Date: Mar 19 20:40
in the acceptance of ideas and actions that would be unacceptable or very uncomfortable under any other circumstance.
If every infant in Salt Lake were to be transported and raised in Rome, and every infant in Rome likewise transported and raised in Salt Lake, most of the original Mormon kids in Rome would grow up to be devout Catholics, and most of the kids in Salt Lake would grow up to be good Mormons. YET, if asked, the grown individuals in both groups would insist sternly that they came to their respective faiths completely on their OWN.
And I'm no different.
I once read the Iliad and was totally impressed by the historic journalism the author used. He was very careful to include all the facts and gain the credibility of the reader. Then - all of a sudden - he started to talk about how the Gods started to interfere in the battle! The whole story was instantly ruined for me! How could anyone have taken his account seriously after that?
Then I realized that this story was really no different than the detailed accounts of the Hebrews in Egypt. All that beautiful historic detail -- and then a bunch of magic stuff! Yet I never had any trouble at all reading the Old Testament; I was conditioned for it.
When it was the GREEKS who were talking, however, the stupidity of their account was totally upsetting to me.
Subject: Agreed ...
Date: Mar 20 12:49
Author: bob mccue
Mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
See http://home.mccue.cc:10000/bob/documents/rs.van%20hale%20show.pdf starting at page 8. It seems we are attracted to the same analogies.
All the best,
Subject: Re: Agreed ...
Date: Mar 20 14:39
It's a matter of taking EXACTLY the same facts, but putting them in a different context. Many good Mormons will have to admit that most of the points in this "Money Machine" post are based on fact -- but -- they've beet "twisted". They are responding to the context environment you've mentioned.
Yet, GBH has said himself that if the church isn't true, it's a fraud. This post is the fraud context and is a perfectly valid consideration by GBH's own observation.
Subject: Very well put...I've copied and saved this for future discussions!
Date: Mar 20 18:36
I used a similar analogy in one of my (mostly Mormon students) college classes...something along the lines of: Say Bill Gates is starting up a new company. He wants you to come to work for him. He tells you what a WONDERFUL opportunity it will be, but says "Don't quit your day job, because you won't be getting paid for this wonderful opportunity. Furthermore, you will need to pay ME 10% of everything you earn from your other job. And, you will need to take two years off from that day job and fund your own recruiting mission where you share the WONDERFUL opportunity with others! You won't get any money for this, it's most certainly not an MLM, BUT you will be furthering MY company because these new recruits will also have to pay 10%!"
Most people responded..."I'd tell him to go to hell!" Well, then may I suggest you tell your church the same??? Don't they GET IT? Apparently not!
Subject: Re: Very well put...
Date: Mar 20 23:18
This is the same thing Bob M. said: When you put the SAME thing in an unfamiliar context, it suddenly becomes absurd. Still, members don't see it.
Here's another one: Would the GA's ever sign a contract with a business if that business said the church couldn't even READ the agreement until AFTER the ink was dry? It's absurd. Yet that's basically what the LDS church asks its members to do when they go through the Temple!
Agree first, then we'll tell you the terms. It's absurd -- and it happens every day.
Subject: I agree that this is how it looks from the outside, but the GA's don't think this way.
Date: Mar 21 00:11
The picture you paint would be accurate if the people at the top were living a life of wealth and ease, but that ain't the case. Misguided and deluded they may be, but church leaders spend way too much time in meetings and travel etc - to the detriment of their personal lives - to be doing it for other than sincere reasons. If you could point to any church leader who owned a big mansion, personal jet etc, then the 'scam' picture would ring true. I believe that the church is very money-conscious but the leaders feel that this is for the advancement of 'the kingdom'.
Note: Hinckley lives in a $1,200,000+ condo (per city tax records) in SLC. The 12 receive huge stipends and live quite well at tithe payers expense
Subject: Re: I agree that this is how it looks from the outside......
Date: Mar 21 01:17
True, it's hard to know an individual's motivations - approval, recognition, ego, wealth - but it's much easier to know the OUTCOME of their actions. And it's outcome that finally matters.
It's entirely possible to do an arrogant or unjust thing in a humble manner. It's entirely possible that priests during the Inquisition prayed and wept for their victims as they were sent off to be tortured and killed. This is why Matthew spoke of sheep-like appearances, but wolf-like actions.
And we do, at least, know of past authorities, like Brigham Young and Joseph Smith, who did abuse their power and became wealthy - or were in the attempt.
Subject: You reveal more about yourself than you do about the leadership.
Date: Mar 21 01:37
Author: anonymous express
YOU would do it for a mansion. YOU will never be a great Mormon leader. They would want to be known and loved as great Mormon leaders who put their church interests above any other, which happens to include an economic empire. They are capable of ignoring all member interests with this attitude. Anyone can see that the Mormon church can't end or change its function, because it's a huge holding company now.
In reaction to hostile critics, the First Presidency issued this formal statement in 1907: "The charge that the Church is a commercial rather than a religious institution; that its aims are temporal rather than religious; that it dictates its members in their industrial activities and relations, and aims at absolute domination in temporal affairs,—all this we emphatically deny."5 The difficulty with such a denial is that LDS leaders were stating criticisms of their church in the categories and assumptions of non-Mormons, but answering them in the categories and assumptions of Mormonism....
Almost from the beginning, the business of the LDS church has been business. Established in March 1832, the same month Joseph Smith organized the First Presidency, the church's "United Firm" included merchandizing, real estate, and publishing.108 In 1841 Joseph Smith printed a revelation to establish a church hotel (D&C 124:59). In 1870 Brigham Young publicly announced a revelation for Mormons to invest in a railroad.109 In 1881 John Taylor privately dictated a revelation to organize an iron company, and in 1883 another revelation to invest tithing funds in a gold mine.110 In the 1890s the hierarchy gave certain men the religious "calling" or obligation to invest thousands of dollars each in a sugar company.111
During the first century of corporate Mormonism, current general authorities were partners, officers, or directors in nearly 900 businesses. Most, but not all, of these were church-owned, church-controlled, or church-invested businesses.112 However, a hierarchy-managed business has not necessarily been church-owned, -controlled, or -invested. Also, general authorities have sometimes been absent from the board of companies owned or controlled by the LDS church. Furthermore, some directorships have been honorary and lacked significant influence on the company.
Nevertheless, during the first third of the twentieth century it was possible for Latter-day Saints in and near Salt Lake City to have a cradle-to-grave economic association with businesses managed by LDS general authorities. Many of these businesses were owned or controlled by the LDS church itself.
Subject: Monetary gain is not the only possible motivation that can explain unscrupulous behavior.
Date: Mar 21 07:07
Author: Bottoms Up
The idea that the Brethren aren't stinkin' filthy rich and therefore they must have only pure motives is a red herring that TBMs often trot out, while ignoring the desire for power and unenlightened vanity, either of which can serve as a basis for impure motives.
History is full of stories of rich people whose continuing lust for power and glory spurred them onto tyranny after tyranny long after they had more personal wealth than they could possible enjoy.
One thing to keep in mind is that legal ownership of an asset without real control over such asset is worthless. On the other hand, real and complete control over an asset without formal legal ownership can be quite valuable. Control = power and there is no question about who controls the wealth of the LDS church. They exercise this control without accountability and without public disclosure.
There is also no question that the top General Authorities enjoy financial security that 99% of the world's population would envy. It is not appropriate to compare these self-proclaimed servants of god to the heads of Fortune 500 companies. The First Presidency and the Apostles have much less stress and much less accountability. Granted, they may not have the largest homes or ride in the most expensive cars in Utah, but they are well off by any reasonable standard and exercise control over wealth that is greater than the GNP of some nations. Furthermore, they are treated like celebrities wherever they go in their kingdom and millions hang on to their every word, as though each word came from the creator of the universe. Only the top General Authorities know what is really in their hearts. But I see just at least as much evidence indicating that their motives may be impure as I do that their motives could be pure.