Monday, March 16, 2015


"I give money for church organs in the hope that the organ music will distract the congregation's attention from the rest of the service."
--Andrew Carnegie

A few months ago the Mormon church produced a film called "Meet The Mormons." This propaganda piece, which focuses on the stories of six carefully selected camera-friendly Mormons, came with an interesting catch: all proceeds will go to the American Red Cross. Earlier this week, the church made good on this promise to the order of 1.8 million dollars. Interesting.

Although the film itself contains no useful information about the church's teachings or history, I do know a jaw-dropping thing or two about how the film came to be.

First, the film was funded entirely by tithing money offered by church members. Second, the church told members to pay to see the movie (which explains why it was so well-received...), effectively coercing members to pay twice. Third, the movie grossed over 7.8 million dollars (there is some discrepancy between sources, 7.8 million is the highest estimation). After expenses (paying back the church the tithing money spent to produce the film and to distribute the film to theaters and on media, about 6 million dollars in total), the church gave what was left to the Red Cross, 1.8 million dollars.

So, the church spent 6 million dollars of members' money in order to raise 1.8 million for the Red Cross? The return on this investment seems minuscule, unless you're the Mormon church, of course.

The church got a free propaganda film, which was designed to show the positive face of Mormonism without addressing any real or meaningful issues, while giving a fraction of the costs of that film to a true charity. They poured more money into the movie industry to promote themselves than they gave to people in need of life-saving blood.

Keep in mind, while 1.8 million dollars is not chump change, if the church really wanted to help the Red Cross they could have just given them the money they spent on the film. After all, the members paid for it anyway.

What is 6 million dollars to a multi-billion dollar religious corporation with an annual revenue of about 8 billion dollars a year from tithing alone--tax free? After all, they recently threw over 10 times the 1.8 million given to the Red Cross at a for-profit shopping mall in Salt Lake City. That's right. The church spent 1.8 billion (with a "B") on a shopping mall and they gave a tenth of that to a charity that saves lives.

Maybe they just payed their tithing...

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