Updated Jan. 2006

Subject: Utah #1 in bankruptcy again in 2005  - Utah was #1 in 2004 and in other years! 
Date: Jan 11, 2006
Author: Rebel Scholar

The heart of the corridor, Utah, is #1 in bankruptcy filings again. Not only are we #1, the state of Utah had a record number of (bankruptcy) filings for 2005. Here is the article from SL Tribune:


Note:  The reasons for the large number of bankruptcy filings are due to: 1.) Mormons paying 10% or more of their gross income to the Mormon Church in tithing and other offerings, 2.) large families, and 3.) the pressure in Mormonism to be, or at least appear, financially successful as proof the Lord is blessing them.  Comments are below.

Subject: UTAH WINS FIRST PLACE AGAIN!! (in bankruptcy filings)
Date: Jun 22 12:50 2004
Author: alex

Time for all you wicked naysayers to repent. Utah has won first place again. See http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,595072079,00.html for the scoop.

By their fruits ye shall know them!!

Subject: Link for more details

http://www.abiworld.org/statcharts/HouseRank.htm  Good table rating all the states.


"Households Per Filing, Rank

During the 12-Month Period Ending March 31, 2004

Utah 36.5 Rank 1 - the highest # of filings for any state
Vermont 156.2

Rank 50th  - (Alaska ranked 51st was lowest at 171)

It is interesting that the "liberal" states of Vermont, Maine, Connecticut and other eastern states, which have populations who pay little in tithing, have very low rates.  Utah has more than 4 times the filings of Vermont!  Utah has lead the nation for the last number of years in bankruptcy filings.  

Subject: Wow, they're finally starting to mention tithing...
Author: Joe

It seemed like last year the financial gurus were clueless about the culture of tithing in Utah. This years article mentions it, but they call it "higher charitable contributions."

Subject: Let's not forget Salt Lake City Weekly's great article on tithing being the possible cause!
Date: Jun 22 14:41
Author: Empowered


They even mention the "t" word on the COVER!!!

Subject: Lenders do not figure in charitable donations
Author: gemini

I have harped on this before, but lenders do not figure in charitable donations ( i.e. tithing) into the debt to income ratios. So, when a person goes into the local bank to get a car loan (for example) and they are right at the top debt ratio limit, they can still get the loan even though 10%+ of their income is going toward tithing. If that same 10% were going to an obligation that demanded payment, no WAY would they qualify for the loan. Same thing on mortgages and the foreclosure rate in Utah is also one of the highest in the nation.

I have family members who are 40k in credit card and student loan debt and who make no more than 20k per year. How in the world did they get all those loans??????

Subject: Exactly...
Author: Joe

This is a huge problem because these financial people assume financial contributions are optional and come after everything else is paid. They have no idea that for Mormons, tithing is not an option, and it is often paid first.

See related articles Exmormon.org short topics:   

#274  Pay Tithing - Ignore Other Obligations   and  #332 March 2004 Ensign on Tithing   

The church demands that tithing be paid before all other obligations.  The March 2004 Ensign (official Mormon church magazine) article is written by a Mormon bankruptcy attorney who also advocates that tithing should be paid first.

Subject: I emailed Anderton about this after the last article.
Author: Makurosu

I asked him back in March why he didn't mention tithing contribution in his last article on the subject as a possible reason for Utah's high rate of personal bankruptcy. Here is part of his reply:

From an anecdotal perspective, some economists have suggested there might be a connection. I have included their comments in past stories on the subject.

Nationally, the top three reasons for bankruptcy are: job loss, divorce and catastrophic medical expenses.

One way to determine whether there is a link between tithing and bankruptcy would be simply to conduct a survey of filers and whether they paid tithing. However, tithing alone would probably be only one component. Credit card debt, conspicuous consumption, high mortgage payments and living outside one's means also would influence the move toward insolvency.

Further, a recent study says only roughly half of Utah's population is now Mormon. Of that half, only about 20 percent of Mormons pay a full 10 percent tithing, according to some LDS officials.

Tithing may a contributor to bankruptcy, but so again might be a family that purchases boats or spends their disposable income on expensive vacations every year. It's difficult to say whether tithing contributes to bankruptcy. If there is a connection, I want to know.

Dave Anderton

Subject: LOVED this line:
Date: Jun 23 12:16
Author: Empowered

"Further, a recent study says only roughly half of Utah's population is now Mormon. Of that half, only about 20 percent of Mormons pay a full 10 percent tithing, according to some LDS officials."

Does that mean only about 20% of Mormons are temple-worthy? WOW!!! Sad commentary!

I would venture to say that the vast majority of these folks (also) don't know how to manage money and would probably have to file bankruptcy even IF they didn't pay tithing!

Subject: I've written the author (David Anderton) two years in a row about this issue
Author: PtLoma

This story is published (with new stats) every June. In 2002 and 2003, I wrote to the author (DesNews business reporter David Anderton) and criticized his complete failure to mention family size or tithing as possible factors. The first year, he wrote me back that "I suppose those factors are possible" and the second year he wrote back that "none of the studies published about the causes of Utah's bankruptcy rate tested the role of tithing or family size, therefore we can't comment on it".

This year, while not saying so himself, at least he had the guts to quote an economist who listed family size and "larger than average charitable contributions" as possible causes. The economist went on to say, "I'm not saying in any way that it's wrong to have kids or wrong to have a contribution schedule that's different to the national average, but I think we have to be careful in the amount of debt we put on, relative to those circumstances." At least he's learning to put the truth in his articles, even if he can't come out and say it himself. At least he's quoting people with a non-LDS viewpoint.

Subject: That's true. At least he's being more honest.
Author: Makurosu

However, calling tithing a "higher charitable contribution" really sugar-coats it. Paying money to be saved doesn't really qualify as "charity" in my opinion. But then the Deseret News is owned by the Mormon Church. Shouldn't Anderton have to state that in the article?

That's funny that you got the same reply I did. I emailed him after 6pm and got a reply minutes later. I remember thinking.. wow, that was fast. Well, I guess he's a quick writer. LOL

Subject: Re: That's true. At least he's being more honest.
Author: PtLoma

He must have had a form letter ready to copy and paste to answer critics all writing in with more or less the same questions.

If you look carefully at the article, he quotes the economic analyst, but never draws any conclusions of his own. That's probably about as far as he can go, considering that he works for a church-owned newspaper.

In my first diatribe to him, I asked him how he could call himself a serious business reporter while ignoring unique features of Utah's bankruptcy problem. Last time around, he simply quoted "the top five reasons NATIONALLY" as if to imply that those reasons are also the top five causes in Utah. Well, credit card debt IS a big factor, but it may be worse in Utah if people try to pay tithing first, feed a huge family second, and then try to settle all their consumer debts last.

Subject: not just tithing; other factors too:
Author: Langdon

Tithing is obviously a huge factor, as the SL Weekly article pointed out (mortgage lenders don't adjust ratios/scores to account for the loss of 15% in net income for those who tithe on gross)......

1) Younger marriages w/immediate profligate breeding ==> more mouths to feed before financially stable

2) wives counseled by GAs to be housewives, NOT to be employed ==> more households on single income

*) combine #s 1+2 above; exacerbates ==> household ratio of dependents to income source much higher

3) Magical Thinking of the Mormon worldview (protective underwear; priesthood blessings; Isaiah 55:6-9; Holy Ghost will tell you what is true so that you don't have to learn facts; secret handshakes and code-words will earn you entrance into Heaven; etc) ==> acceptability of making irrational choices that will magically "work themselves out if you just have faith"

4) Authoritarian Epistemology: (trust the testimonies of those in 'authority' above you, their inspired word is more reliable than factual evidence) ==> susceptibility to con artists, scams, pyramid schemes (Amway / NuSkin / PamperedChef / etc.)

5) Materialist/Hyper Consumption Politics: tendency for Mormons to identify strongly with a certain political ideology because of 'moral' issues (abortion, homosexuality, feminism) but in the process also adopting that ideology's focus on materialism, consumption, and wealth, economic hierarchy (supervision of subordinates) ==> implicit divine approbation of wealth-seeking, belief that worthiness translates into prosperity

Subject: Re: UTAH WINS FIRST PLACE AGAIN!! (in bankruptcy filings)
Author: bitterroot

Utah Taxpayers Assoc.

Click "How Utah Compares".


Subject: Utah has what is known as a "high dependency ratio"
Author: PtLoma

Too many people being supported by too few wage earners:

1. Look at a typical two wage earner family outside of Utah. Two people supporting perhaps a family of five (assuming three kids), ratio = 5/2= 2.5

2. Utah family with one wage earner, stay at home mom with six kids: ratio = 6.

Also, the lower per person income must be taxed at relatively high rates (note Utah is about #10 in per person local and state taxes) to provide social services such as schools. When you have one home sending six kids to public schools, the property taxes alone won't come close to paying for schooling for that many kids. That's why nearly all of state income tax in Utah is budgeted for public schools, and why their state tax rates have to be relatively high (especially for a conservative, Republican state)....too few wage earners are supporting an education system with too many kids in it.
Subject: VERY SAD.
Date: Feb 21 22:28 2005
Author: skater
My friend just took out a home equity loan to pay his tithing I heard last December. It was around 9k and he paid on gross.

If that's not enough, they are mortgaged to the tilt with debt.

I wish he would see the light.

Subject: Re: Unbelievable--However, I don't know why I am surprised....
Date: Feb 21 22:36
Author: Lara C

.because there are lots of people who pay their tithing faithfully who have credit card debt and home equity lines....it's the same thing, because they could be paying down their other debt, instead.

They just treat the tithing as a necessary expense. It IS really sad.

Subject: My brother just did the same thing!
Date: Feb 21 22:40
Author: J-Out

My older TBM brother and his wife refinanced to consolidate their debt; went from a high interest rate to sky high - from ~$1000/mo payments to $1600 INTEREST ONLY payments and are locked in for TWO YEARS! With all that "good news" she tells me, "well, I paid off my van and had enough to get caught up on our tithing"! WOW! They will be paying on that little tithing loan for the next 30 YEARS!!! They are on church welfare now.

Subject: Re: VERY SAD.
Date: Feb 21 22:50
Author: Noelle

I really do think it is done more often than people want to admit. I told my Bishop 2 years ago that I was no longer going to deficit spend to pay tithing. Paying tithing was slowing putting me in the poor house and deeper into credit card debt. He frowned at my decision. They want you to cough up the money anyway you can.

Subject: Re: VERY SAD.
Date: Feb 21 23:21
Author: Don't Get It

I really do think it is done more often than people want to admit. I told my Bishop 2 years ago that I was no longer going to deficit spend to pay tithing. Paying tithing was slowing putting me in the poor house and deeper into credit card debt. He frowned at my decision. They want you to cough up the money anyway you can.

Subject: It sucks so bad
Date: Feb 21 23:54
Author: Alison_is_free

My mom has a friend who is a single mom with 4 kids. She was active TBM, got her endowment, was doing everything right. She was having a very hard time making ends meet and got behind on her tithing. Her bishop was "counseling" her regarding her finances. (He works in a mine--he's NOT a financial adviser.) He told her that paying tithing is of utmost importance and should take precedence over bills and other obligations. He told her to use her credit card to pay her tithing and heavenly father would bless her for it. Heavenly Father blessed her by letting her go bankrupt. She had to file bankruptcy because of how tithing maxed out her credit card. She couldn't afford tithing in the first place, let alone the credit card payments and interest. What a messed up "church".


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