Wednesday, August 6, 2014

God is my Co-signer

My sister recently sent out an email to the whole family linking to an article about the church's construction projects near the new Philadelphia temple site.

It's not a billion-dollar mall this time, but it is a little peculiar that, in addition to the temple and the chapel, the church is also throwing up a 32-story apartment complex and a row of posh townhouses.  The church is going to rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars monthly from this complex.

In a reply email, another sister casually asked if anyone knew why the church was putting up an apartment building...but that was the end of the discussion.  Nobody answered her question by pointing out that the church is essentially a for-profit organization, but nobody tried to explain that the church was simply trying to increase the quality and safety of the neighborhood surrounding its inner-city temple, either.  While I found it a little encouraging that at least one of my sisters felt the need to ask what I feel is a very important question, the fact that the conversation ended without a resolution is kind of depressing.  Most of my family legitimately doesn't care what the church is doing.  Apparently, since the church can do no wrong, they don't need to concern themselves with its corporate functions.

I wish I'd had the guts (or a strong enough relationship with them) to reply with links about the City Creek Mall, the expensive missionary-run hunting preserve, the huge property buys in Florida and the numerous for-profit businesses that are owned and operated by the church.  The problem is that, once I got going, I'd probably pick up so much momentum and be practically screaming at them via email.
...and people tend to understandably resist such angry and violent opposition to their most dearly held beliefs.  So I'd have accomplished nothing.  Meanwhile, the church would continue to make more money from them and a few million other people who willingly donate ten percent of their income to an organization that is starting to resemble a real estate company more than a church.

I'd used to assume that the church had so many business interests just because it liked making even more money than it already had.  But now I'm starting to wonder if the leadership is acutely aware of how membership statistics are flagging and they're working to build the business end of the church specifically so that they'll still have a substantial income once their loyal tithe-payers have dwindled.


  1. Whenever a new temple is proposed in Utah, the property values around the site immediately skyrocket. Wealthy members buy up the homes. If there are condos or rentals available, retired people buy or rent them as a place to stay when they attend the temple. Many move in full time and attend or work at the temple everyday. I assume that's what's happening here. The church will be able to sell those apartments, at a premium, to members and make good money off of them. I wouldn't be surprised if there are some "rentals" that'll be available for visiting general authorities, etc. Does that sound like a possible reason? I mean, how hard can it be for them to sell out 264 apartments to wealthy members and investors? Plus, with the building being so tall, it might keep people from complaining about all the steeples.

    1. Good point. I'd bet there will be a similar rush of members moving in next to the temple, although I doubt it will be as pronounced as it is in Utah.

      But either way, it's still just a grab for money.

    2. Yup. It's like a country club Mormon style complete with a temple instead of a golf course. It wouldn't surprise me if members from other cities bought apartments as investments and rarely even visited. Yes it is a money grab.