I heard this story on Friday on NPR.
I support the Utah LDS church’s movement towards openness and honesty.
I admit, this effort seems a little like a drop in the ocean. Yet I have to acknowledge the attempt. One of the comments Quentin Cook made was that they were “surprised” by the reaction from the public during Romney’s campaign and with prop. 8. While I respect some of the surprise, I can’t say I’m shocked by the secretive perception that many non LDS have. Even some active LDS I know are shocked to find out certain things about their religion’s history and its doctrine. It’s easy to not take the pulse of current cultural opinion and trends when you live not “of the world” and spend most of your time in an office building in Salt Lake City (surrounded by yes men). Many active and former LDS (throughout the world) could give the leadership lots of input about choices and attitudes that could be adjusted. But I digress.
One thing that would lead to greater openness would be full financial disclosure. This would mean that each person or ward could understand exactly where their tithing funds were being spent. Also – any investments or business that are owned or operated by LDS Inc. would be disclosed.
I mentioned this proposal before, in this post My Legislative Suggestion that will never go anywhere. I think it’s important for members of an organization to feel like they have a voice. That they understand what the organization (that they are members of) is doing and spending their money on. Considering the ongoing debacle over Prop. 8, this type of disclosure is even more important. I paid tithing as a child. I have no idea where that money was spent or where it went. It could have supported the upkeep on the church building. It could have paid for imported wood and gold inlay on a new temple. In the end – I have no idea. And members who contribute thousands of dollars per year also have no idea.
What other suggestions can you think of to dispel the secret nature of the Utah LDS church? I’m thinking of suggestions in addition to finances and an open and frank discussion of the past?