This is the only talk I sat all the way through during conference. After Hales was done with his inspired piece, I had to go go the kitchen and find some chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better...
This isn't the entire talk, I edited out the storytelling...
How blessed we are to be led by a living prophet! Growing up during the Great Depression, President Thomas S. Monson learned how to serve others. Often his mother asked him to deliver food to needy neighbors, and she would give homeless men odd jobs in exchange for home-cooked meals. Later as a young bishop, he was taught by President J. Reuben Clark, “Be kind to the widow and look after the poor” (Thomas S. Monson, “A Provident Plan—A Precious Promise,” Ensign, May 1986, 62). President Monson looked after 84 widows and cared for them until they passed away. Through the years, his service to members and neighbors throughout the world has become the hallmark of his ministry. We are grateful to have his example. Thank you, President Monson.
Brothers and sisters, as did President Monson, our children are growing up in times of economic uncertainty. Just as our grandparents and great-grandparents learned vital lessons through economic adversity, what we learn now, in our present circumstances, can bless us and our posterity for generations to come.
I love it when they tell stories about the old ladies Monson helped. Wow, he really did something nice, didn't he? That proves the church is true!
Now, lets discuss these economic things you bring up, Mr. Hales...
First step in learning to be good with money is to keep track of how much money goes where. How much money does the church have? Where is this money going? How much did you spend on the mall in Salt Lake City? Billions, right? I am sure God approves of that, even though there are starving, sick, and abused people in the world. Who cares about them? God needs a new Nordstrom!
Next step is to stop spending on unnecessary things. Tithing comes to mind. If your church has enough funds to spend 2 billion on a mega-mall-condo-complex and build temples with the finest of marble, you should have enough to sustain yourself. Thanks for that! It's nice to have an extra 10% in the budget to feed kids and clothe them. Whew.
Anyway, it's nice to know Monson grew up in the depression and helped out old ladies! What a good man.
When faced with the choice to buy, consume, or engage in worldly things and activities, we all need to learn to say to one another, “We can’t afford it, even though we want it!” or “We can afford it, but we don’t need it—and we really don’t even want it!”
Wow. So do you really need 5 billion temples? You want them, but do you really NEED them? And if you NEED them, why do you NEED the finest of marble and all that Jazz? How about vinyl?
So, in these rough economic times, why are you still building a mega mall? Why isn't that money going to help the members of your church who need it? Why isn't it buying immunizations? Food? Clothes? You *CAN* afford it. Right? Just sayin'.
In addition to our tithes, we should also be an example with the payment of fast offerings. A fast offering is at least the cost of the two consecutive meals from which we fast each month. By not eating these two meals, we draw close to the Lord in humility and prayer and also participate in anonymous giving to bless our brothers and sisters all over the world.
Oh, I thought you were trying to tell us to watch our money?
Let me get this straight... You want to spend money on a mall-condo-disaster, and we get guilted into paying 10% of everything we have, plus fast offerings? How about we just volunteer at a soup kitchen and kill two birds with one stone? Why does it have to be money instead of time? Oh, yeah... you have temples and malls to build. My bad.
I think the Lord groans out loud every time a family's hard earned money ends up in the hands of the LDS Church instead of going where it should go. If you want to claim that your fast offerings and tithing goes right to the needy, I will have to ask you for some proof. Oh, thats right... you don't show your financial records, do you? I will have to pray about that.
Whenever we want to experience or possess something that will impact us and our resources, we may want to ask ourselves, “Is the benefit temporary, or will it have eternal value and significance?” Truthfully answering these questions may help us avoid excessive debt and other addictive behavior.
Give me a break, Mr. Save-your-money-except-for-the-moolah-you-give-to-us.
I am eternally grateful that I don't buy into this BS anymore, and that when I give money to a non-profit organization, I KNOW that money is going where I want it to.
I don't trust these men with 10 cents.