The 96 Theses: Constructive Suggestions for Improving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1-12
As promised in an earlier post, I present the initial 12 of my 96 Theses, containing criticisms coupled with suggestions for how the LDS church can improve. Where possible, I have provided links to information that provides some basis for a particular critique. The first 12 Theses concern the church's lack of forthrightness and disclosure of information in various areas. This secretiveness breeds distrust among members and with suspicion among outsiders. I hope that readers of Equality Time will comment upon and discuss openly any of the issues raised in the 96 Theses.
- Except in countries where required by law, the Church does not disclose any information regarding the amounts it collects in tithes and other offerings or details regarding the disposition of the same.
- The Church should publicly disclose, at the very least, the amount of money it collects in tithing and other offerings and details regarding the disposition of the same.
- The Church discloses very little information regarding the extent of its financial holdings, church-owned business, real estate, and other investments.
- The Church should disclose as much information as allowed by applicable law regarding its financial holdings, church-owned business, and other investments.
- The Church perpetuates the myth that General Authorities, including the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency, are unpaid volunteers.
- The Church should disclose to its members how much the General Authorities receive in stipends, expense reimbursements, in-kind donations, and how much the Church expends on travel, security, and other expenses attendant to their ecclesiastical duties.
- The Church publishes and distributes images and ideas about Church history that are misleading or false in a calculated effort to indoctrinate its members with a “faith-promoting” version of its history.
- The Church should acknowledge that the “faith-promoting” history it has been teaching through its correlated materials is often misleading or false and the Church should present members with accurate and complete information about Church history. The Church should not teach through word or visual image things that are demonstrably false.
- The Church holds in its possession, in a vault to which only the First Presidency has access, numerous primary historical documents of tremendous interest and importance to the study of Church history. The Church does not grant access to this vault to even the most eminently qualified historians.
- The Church should open the vault and grant historians access to all primary documents more than 75 years old and/or make the documents available in electronic form and publish on the Internet.
- The Church presents a misleading statistical report on membership at each April General Conference that does not reveal the number of resignations, excommunications, and deaths.
- The Church should report the number of resignations, excommunications, and deaths, should include such number in the statistical report on membership, and should reveal the methods used to calculate the statistical report.