Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Prominent Ex-Mormon Sues Church For Fraud In The Use Of Members' Tithes

Suit was filed this week in a California federal district court against the Mormon church by a prominent former member who had contributed millions of dollars to it alleging fraud in the solicitation of contributions from members. The complaint (full text) in Huntsman v. Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, (CD CA, filed 3/22/2021), alleges: 

For decades, in a fraudulent effort to elicit the donation of tithing funds from Mr. Huntsman and other devout Church members, the LDS Corporation repeatedly and publicly lied about the intended use of those funds, promising that they would be used for purely non-commercial purposes consistent with the Church’s stated priorities – namely, to fund missionary work, member indoctrination, temple work, and other educational and charitable activities. Behind the scenes, however, rather than using tithing funds for the promised purposes, the LDS Corporation secretly lined its own pockets by using the funds to develop a multi-billion dollar commercial real estate and insurance empire that had nothing to do with charity.

According to an RNS report on the lawsuit, plaintiff is a filmmaker, the son of a prominent philanthropist and the brother of a former governor of Utah.

The complaint says:

Mr. Huntsman ... will ... use the recovered funds to benefit organizations and communities whose members have been marginalized by the Church’s teachings and doctrines, including by donating to charities supporting LGBTQ, African-American, and women’s rights.

KUTV News has published a statement from the LDS Church responding to the allegations in which it denies using tithed funds for a commercial development.