Suckering the Saints?

crime discrimination Evangelicals Family Homosexuality Marriage Political Economy of Religion

Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because its excesses are not subject to the regulation of conscience.
Adam Smith

Justin Maclachan reports that the evangelical charity California Family Council is spending less than one sixth of its donations on programs. Most of the collection goes towards overhead, namely, the salary of founder and executive director Ron Prentice.

Since 2003, Ron Prentice, a former staffer of Focus on the Family, raised around $3 million of which he spend $1.1 million on himself and his deputy. Another $900,000 went to the remaining employees of the charity.

Ron Prentice also controls protectmarriage.com, a PAC that promotes Proposition 8. According to mormonsfor8.com as much as 80% of the contributions to protectmarriage.com might have been donated by Mormons. According to some reports, the donors have been approached by Mormon priesthood leaders.

I do not know how much PAC money Ron Prentice is paying himself but I suspect that California campaign finance requires protectmarriage.com to disclose its expenditures eventually.

16 thoughts on “Suckering the Saints?

  1. It will be interesting. However, Mormons are fairly immune to the concerns of overhead costs. You know, it’s not comfortable to ask about the details –especially when your reward is in heaven and/or in the form of some open windows of heaven.

    Someone should pursue the implications of church-organized PAC funding efforts. This tax exemption for churches has got to end.

  2. Well, the more he scams for his salary – the less there is to promote the proposition – I say – GO RON!!!

  3. Hi, Chino Blanco!
    That line is hilarious.

    Hi, Matt!
    It’s true. There is so much waste and inefficiency in Mormonism but we have been carefully raised not to criticize leader. No wonder that we are getting suckered.

    Hi, Mermaid!
    That’s what I thought. Maclachlan is getting criticized for his “gay agenda.” In reality, it is Ron Prentice who is executing a “gay agenda” by depriving the yes on 8 campaign of valuable resources.

  4. O my gosh, children getting hit by cars? That’s a first.

    Angry teenager kills his peers? That’s sensational!

    Pious people ripping each other off? What a surprise!

    Damages are no less just because a problem is common, Seth. Why should evangelical fundamentalists be allowed to rip off their Mormon donors?

  5. Come on Hellmut. We’ve been through this song and dance a number of times.

    You start talking about something the Church is doing wrong. But people here are never content to leave it there. As we observe in this little snippet:

    “There is so much waste and inefficiency in Mormonism but we have been carefully raised not to criticize leader. No wonder that we are getting suckered.”

    Not content to simply point out how things are not well in Zion, there always seems to be an urge to peg the blame on something UNIQUE TO MORMONS.

    Then I will, inevitably, point out that such failings are not unique to Mormons. At which point, someone here is always quick to point out that “everyone is doing it” is no excuse.

    Well, of course that’s no excuse. Duh.

    Did I ever say it was? No.

    What I did say is that your attempt to pin this on something unique and inherent in Mormon culture or in Mormon religion is sketchy at best, and full of crap at worst.

    I don’t care if you want to say that Mormons are being suckered. But that’s not what you’re saying. What you are saying is that they are being suckered BECAUSE they are Mormons.

    Year after year, it’s the same old tune. It’s never just human nature. Oh no. It has to be the fault of the Church Office Building.

    Well, prove it.

  6. I have certainly argued elsewhere that Mormons become vulnerable to exploitation because of certain aspects of Mormonism. (Hence the clustering of multi-level marketing schemes and white collar crime in Utah). However, I did not advance that particular argument in this post.

  7. It’s never just human nature. Oh no. It has to be the fault of the Church Office Building.

    Of course, it’s human nature, Seth. Human nature, however, is mediated by institutions. Different institutions will generate different manifestations of human nature.

    If you are Mormon then you are less likely to smoke, for example. The reason is faith in modern revelation.

    There are institutional reasons why America attracts more immigrants than France, why Swedes live longer than Germans, and why Mormons are more likely to fall victim to confidence tricksters than Jews.

    None of this is relevant to this particular post. In this case, I just find it sad that Evangelical political entrepreneurs are exploiting Mormons. That’s all.

  8. Not content to simply point out how things are not well in Zion, there always seems to be an urge to peg the blame on something UNIQUE TO MORMONS.

    I was brought up to understand that “Zion” meant a community of Saints that was, by definition, uniquely Mormon.

    So, if something’s not well in Zion, how could that not be a uniquely Mormon problem?

  9. Hellmut and Chino point out one of my biggest pet peeves about religion in general and Mormonism as a big offender … that there’s this tendancy to assign all that is measured good to god, godliness, and–yes–to that which is uniquely Mormon. But anything deemed bad is just human.

    Net message: without god, humans are hopelessly bad. AND, the church cannot be blamed for anything, and therefore need not and will not repent.

    This notion has got to be the single most destructive to human hope and social progres that I know.

  10. Seth (#7):
    Are you denying that the ‘No Criticism’ syndrome doesn’t hide some waste, some (much) hurtful conduct in Morland?
    In ‘religious’ matters, tscc doesn’t claim to be comparable with other religions/churches, they’re ‘in a league of their own’; why shouldn’t that hold for financial & business integrity (or lack thereof)?

  11. Hellmut, do you have any references for this claim:

    “Hence the clustering of multi-level marketing schemes and white collar crime in Utah”

    I found data showing Utah ranks in the top 15 for property crime (and has for the last 40 years), but don’t know where to look for multi-level marketing schemes or white collar crime.

  12. This study by a consumer protection group claims:

    3. Utah – a hotbed of MLM activity – is a good place to seek answers.

    There is a high concentration of MLM companies based in Utah. (Nu Skin and Usana are two notables.) Utah County, in particular, is a hub of MLM activity. With at least 11 recruiting MLM’s in a population of 398,056 (2002 census estimate), that’s about one MLM for every 33,503 people – considerably greater density of MLM’s than any other county in the country. So what better place to study the profitability of MLM programs than in Utah? Surveys have shown a fairly consistent rate of 5-6% of Utah households participating in MLM as a distributor at any given time.5 Approximately, one in five (21%) have participated at some time during their lifetime.

    Obviously, advocacy papers are not the gold standard of research but it sounds plausible to me. In a previous paragraph, the writer reports that MLMs have become so ubiquitous and discredited in Utah that they now have to rely on out of state recruits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *