Good Reason

It's okay to be wrong. It's not okay to stay wrong.

He really just wanted Doritos, and I said no.

This happened when my son was so hungry he could eat a three-day-old corpse, and I don’t just mean ritually.

18 Comments

  1. This comic/story is totally adorable, even if a believer would probably disagree.

  2. Daniel, this is disappointing. You have either forgotten what fast offerings are for, or you've outright lied. Perhaps you just misspoke. Either way, it's misinformation. Isn't that the opposite of what a blog called Good Reason should be about?

  3. Daniel, this isn't disappointing and it isn't misinformation. It's right on the money. I wish someone could explain to me how the church can afford to build multi million dollar temples, a multi billion dollar mall, expand buildings and curriculum at both BYU Provo and BYU Idaho, build a conference center, etc… without having some investments. And where did the "for profit" ventures come from that create all of this extra spending revenue? They came from tithing. All of it originates in the money given to the church. And, now that the church has all of this extra spending money, why aren't they expanding on their ability to care for the poor and needy? Because they can't do it, since all of the money is tied up in ventures that create more revenue, but can only be spent to further their religious empire.

  4. Misinformation: Tithing and fast offerings are two different things. When a church member fasts and offers money, it goes to help the needy. Tithing goes to completely different things. This "comic" is about fasting and fast offerings, not tithing. Basically, it's making fun of people giving to charity. That's certainly a worthy target. Disappointing.

  5. Glorious.

    Brent: Used to be, when you donated fast offerings the money was kept and used at the local level. I'm pretty sure that nowadays, all money donated to the church gets sent to SLC which then distributes some of it back to local wards. In any case, any fast offerings you donate that are not used by your local ward are certainly sent back to SLC.

    That's the point of the comic strip: the Church's financials are opaque. You don't know what your fast offerings are being used for. And as far as I know, the Church doesn't even claim that every penny of your fast offering goes to help the poor and needy.

  6. Sorry, but that's exactly what the church claims. Fast offerings go to the needy. What does it matter where the money goes in between? Why is that such a point of contention?
    http://www.lds.org/new-era/2008/05/where-do-fast-offerings-go?lang=eng

  7. Brent, I would love to be wrong on this. The problem is that, given the church's fiduciary opacity, you have no way of knowing if you're right.

  8. What does it matter where the money goes in between?

    If I claimed to be a huge philanthropist — such a charitable giver that I was exempt from taxes — but I took the money you gave me, invested it for a few years, built up a vast empire, and then gave a few percent of your money to the poor, you'd have reason to question my big-heartedness.

  9. What's with the left hand drive?

    One of the mistakes the church made as I was on my way out was to get me to do one of the ward audits. You get to see all the tithing and fast offering receipts and all the outgoings (on things like ward activities but also to needy people in the ward boundaries).

    I wish I could remember the exact numbers (or had written them down) so I could satisfy someone like Brent, but let it suffice to say, there is a disturbing gap between the two.

    No doubt Brent will say that the funds will go to needy people elsewhere, but if you look at the amount of money leaving a little place like Perth, bound for Salt Lake, and then look at the paltry assistance that the church gives out around the world and spruiks in the church news (I remember reading, but can't reference, I apologise, some story about a few bags of rice after a disaster in the Philippines)its pretty pathetic.

    And don't go off on some crap about the church doing alms in secret, left hand right hand, whatever, nobody believes that.

  10. Okay. Let's forget my point about the comic being misleading because it ignored that tithing and fast offerings are different donations. So let's take this as a question of charity. Forget that we're talking about a church. (Come on, I know you can do it.)

    Now look at the things you're saying are problems: 1. People give fast offerings to be exempt from taxes, 2. the money goes to a central system first, 3. only a portion goes back to the needy, 4. they could give more assistance around the world. 5. And "nobody believes" they give alms in secret.

    1. I certainly don't give money to the church in order to get a tax break. If you know anyone who does, I'll eat my hat.

    2. Show me a world-wide charity that doesn't have a centralized system to distribute the money, and I'll eat my other hat. Still, you (nor I) do not have any kind of numbers to back it up, but you infer that there's money missing that should be going to a certain community because that's where it was donated. Let's assume that's true. Let's assume your community did not donate as much as is actually needed. Isn't it reasonable to take some from a place that has excess?

    3. You have absolutely no proof that "a few percent" goes to the needy. It's an assumption you've made because (I assume) you don't like the organization. And you're just going to keep assuming that until someone else proves it to you. Is the problem that the money doesn't go where it's needed or is the problem "opacity," that you just don't believe the organization?

    4. "A few bags of rice"? Right. Major world disaster. International charity comes in. Says, "Here. Here's five bags of rice. Hope that helps. See you next time." I understand hyperbole. But do you really believe any other relief organization would do so little during such an emergency? Why would you assume this one would? There are reports all over the place about how this organization helps around the world. Are you saying it's all just a publicity stunt? Do you say that about any other charity?

    5. That's certainly logical. Because nobody believes it, I guess it doesn't happen.

    What bothers me most about this discussion is the falsehoods, assumptions, and simply illogical statements coming from a site that claims that proof is the only way of knowing.

    • The church could certainly end this argument by being transparent on the issue. I think you are a bit confused about on whom the onus of proof is here. They claim that all the fast offerings are used for the needy. I say, "Really? show me." They say, No. Should I believe them just because I can't disprove their statement?

      For the record, I don't hate the church or even have much of a bone to pick with it. I just don't believe it.

    • 1. No, I'm saying that the church is a tax-exempt organisation.

      2. This one doesn't actually bother me so much, but I can see why people would want to keep the money local.

      3. The church says it's donated $1 billion dollars to humanitarian aid,
      http://mormon.org/faq/mormons-help-everyone
      which sounds like a lot, until you realise that's since 1985, and the church pulls in an estimated $14b — but who knows — a year. Yeah, that's a tiny percentage.

      4. I am critical of WorldVision. I did a cartoon about it once, which I'm sure they were all cut up about.

    • I'm terribly late to this party but –

      Assuming $1 billion spread over 25 years divided among 5 million active members amounts to $8 per member per year.

  11. Thanks, I liked your cartoon Daniel.

    As an atheist of long standing, (since the tender age of 16), I am continually stunned by the nonsense religious people believe and the concept of "choosing to believe" that Christians and others seem so comfortable with. There is no choice for me, I am compelled to believe or not, depending on the evidence and plausibility of a proposition.

    Christianity, with its: God made original man perfect, but they used their freewill and became imperfect, so he sends the boy down as a sacrifice of himself to himself, is a concept that I find staggering for its stupidity.

    The Mormon religion however, accepts all of the above as I understand it, and goes on with even more extraordinary stuff, that is completely laughable. How do you, as an ex Mormon looking back at the time you were strutting your stuff as an "Elder", understand how you could have been duped like this.

    • It's really simple. It just takes two things:

      1. A belief in a magical being that can do anything.
      That makes horribly implausible things seem almost believable.

      2. A social group that continually reaffirms your faith in the values of the group.
      That tends to quiet doubts.

      It doesn't work on everyone — you are evidence of that — but it works on enough people to keep the system going. Or has done, heretofore.

  12. God is good for business, little doubt about that.

  13. I realize that I'm a bit late to the conversation, but I think its important to point out the the LDS "Church" is among the LEAST charitable "non-profit" organizations in existence. Businessweek estimated that the LDS Church only spends approximately 0.7% of its income on charity! Its mind-bogglingly uncharitable! http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-07-10/how-the-mormons-make-money

    For comparison, the United Methodist Church spent about 29% of its revenues on charity. REAL charities often spend around 90% of their revenue on charitable causes. The Red Cross gives away approximately 92% of all revenue on charity.

    So if you really want to do some good, stop paying tithing and fast offerings that almost exclusively goes to the fat cats in SLC; give to the Red Cross instead!

    Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Mormons aren't charitable people. Some of them are incredibly charitable, they donate millions to charities (unfortunately most of it doesn't end up going where they were led to believe it would) and they donate countless hours of real service. Quite honestly, they put their leaders to shame! The organization that they choose to subscribe to, on the other hand, pisses all over their generosity and runs off with a dump-truck full of cash.

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