Did Ed Snowden do the right thing?

Joshua Marsh joshua at themarshians.com
Tue Jun 11 08:16:45 MDT 2013

On Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 12:08 AM, Nicholas Leippe <nick at leippe.com> wrote:

> Are you suggesting that 100% of the $52 million/year in fast offering funds
> are spent in the communities they originate from, and that 0% of the $7
> billion/year in tithing collected is spent on the members (or anyone else)
> in need at all?

With respect to fast offerings, the local leaders can use all and even more
than they collect to help the needy. I've lived in areas where they only
used 10% of the money they collected but I've also lived in a country where
they used somewhere on the order of 1,000% of what they collected. Any
surplus goes into a general fund that is used for disaster relief, etc. The
$50m/yr figure many people quote is the surplus sent to the general fund.
>From what I can tell, it's never included the money spent by local leaders
to help those in need.

With respect to tithing, the local leaders are given what they think they
need to help fulfill the goals of the church in their area. Again, I've
lived in areas where there was a surplus, but I've also lived in a country
where the tithes collected weren't even sufficient to pay for the paper the
books they received were printed on. Any surplus goes into a general fund
that pays for things like: writing, editing, printing, and shipping books;
building and maintaining facilities, supporting missionaries, and more.
While it's not 0%, very little is used for what you probably classify as
helping those in need. But I don't see why that should make it worse?
Tithes are for the building and maintaining a multi-national religion.

Look at it from my perspective as a donor. I give 10% of my income
(tithing) to the LDS Church with the understanding that I'll get a building
wherein I can meet, books to help further my studies, apps on my
smartphone, videos my children watch, and processed ham at a Christmas
social. I also give ~5% of my income (fast offerings) to the LDS Church
with the understanding that it will go toward Bob down the street who lost
his job or Mary who needs help buying groceries or victims of the most
recent natural disaster. The LDS Church is simply doing what I've told them
to do with the funds I've given them.

> And what is the "right frame of reference" required to justify (or apply
> cognitive dissonance) character flaws in revered men. Does the magnitude of
> the flaw matter, or does the preconception/myth of the man have to be
> upheld so strongly that any flaw too great is simply discounted?

I guess in the end it's up to you. In my limited experience, I've concluded
that anyone looking for a character flaw that is sufficient to sway their
opinion of the character will find it. My point in my reply (which may not
have been well-made) was that what you consider too high in magnitude may
not be applicable to me or to the historical context. We don't have to go
too far back in history to find people doing things we'd consider
outrageous by modern standards but would be OK, or at least understandable,
given the context.

We all fall prey to conformity and groupthink. I feel like I'm a fairly
level-headed person. I've read a lot about Joseph Smith and come to the
conclusion that the good he's done far outweighs the claims of his critics
whether they be factual or not. If you have specific instances in his life
that you think are so far out there that I'm misguided, I'd be happy to
hear about them off-list.

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