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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:27 pm 
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Elder Eyring gave a talk in October conference that really bothered me. Here is a link and the quote that I have issues with.
Elder Eyring wrote:
Years ago I heard President Ezra Taft Benson speak in a conference like this. He counseled us to do all we could to get out of debt and stay out. He mentioned mortgages on houses. He said that it might not be possible, but it would be best if we could pay off all our mortgage debt.

I turned to my wife after the meeting and asked, “Do you think there is any way we could do that?” At first we couldn’t. And then by evening I thought of a property we had acquired in another state. For years we had tried to sell it without success.

But because we trusted God and a few words from the midst of His servant’s message, we placed a phone call Monday morning to the man in San Francisco who had our property listed to sell. I had called him a few weeks before, and he had said then, “We haven’t had anyone show interest in your property for years.”

But on the Monday after conference, I heard an answer that to this day strengthens my trust in God and His servants.

The man on the phone said, “I am surprised by your call. A man came in today inquiring whether he could buy your property.” In amazement I asked, “How much did he offer to pay?” It was a few dollars more than the amount of our mortgage.

A person might say that was only a coincidence. But our mortgage was paid off. And our family still listens for any word in a prophet’s message that might be sent to tell what we should do to find the security and peace God wants for us.


http://lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/trust-in-god-then-go-and-do?lang=eng

I found his comments to be in very poor taste for the following reasons -

1. The U.S. and global economies have taken a nose dive. Many have lost their homes, and others are hanging by a thread. Seems very insensitive in such a climate. Many would be grateful to have a mortgage.

2. Many members struggle just to make it day to day. They certainly don't have investment properties laying around like Elder Eyring did. I think of a dear friend whose family has been through hell and back job wise, yet always pay their tithing, go to church and the whole nine yards. Does the Lord not see their efforts to follow the prophet and at least help them to not choose between rent and food every month?

3. This is a worldwide church. Having served a mission in South America I can tell you that 90% of the members in my mission didn't even know what a mortgage was. Most had .01% chance of ever having the privilege of getting a mortgage in their lifetime. And, if you have lived in or experienced true poverty you know that having the income and stability necessary to get a mortgage is truly a privilege.

4. With all of the heavy duty suffering going on in this world, are you really telling me that the Lord is using his powers to help your invesment property sell so that you can have the luxury of owning your home free and clear? Is there not a more down to earth example you can use? The whole thing feels like a the promises you get from an MLM sales man. "I signed up and it paid for my house in the first year!"

Anyhow, I am sure some of you will want to call me out for being too harsh on the guy but this one is just repugnant to me.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:48 pm 
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I see it as the indication of that more and more church members are requesting some help from the church with their mortgages (or bills) and the church is trying to "inspire" them to look in other sources to solve their financial problems.
The story may even be a faith promoting straight lie; as I tend to believe most of the stories of GAs are - they will say anything or come up with anything to keep the church floating above the water. The church supplies them with some very material "blessings"anyways, why wouldn't they?...


Last edited by guppy on Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:49 pm 
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Nope, not gonna call you out one little itty bit.

I like Elder Eyring, but this hit me in exactly the same way as it hit you, for exactly the same reasons.

I would like to give the general authorities the benefit of the doubt, assuming that they mean well. But seriously, this is insensitive given the challenges that most people face in the current financial climate of our country, as well as others. Also, it is incredibly coincidental, as even Elder Eyring admitted to.

So, when given this suggestion by Pres. Benson, the Eyrings just "happened" to have land that they could sell, and that land just "happened" to sell at the exactly right time so that they could be righteous and do as the Prophet instructed them to do. In reality, there was no extra effort expended at all in Elder Eyring's attempt to be righteous. Well, maybe a phone call. But, he didn't take an extra job to pay down his mortgage, as many other people may have done in response to this talk. He just had extra land he could sell. Don't get me wrong -- if this is what Eyring believes is right and just, then he did a good thing. But the effort involved was not as admirable as a lot of people's efforts probably were. I didn't find this part of the talk inspirational at all.

I really hope that it is true, as some NOM's have said may happen, that the general authorities or SOMEBODY at the church headquarters reads this board every once in a while. I wish that the general authorities would catch a clue and quit being so unbelievably insensitive to other people's financial problems when they put forth information such as was available in Benson's talk. Besides, paying down your mortgage is NOT always the best advise. Paying down all other debt is, and an effort should be made to do so. We have come into an inheritance recently that allows us to do this (we could never do it before now), but in no way would I put forth that we had done a great thing by paying down our debt just because we lucked into an inheritance at just the right time. This required VERY LITTLE EFFORT on our part to be able to do this. It required much effort on my parent's part, though, so THEY are the righteous ones -- not us.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:58 pm 
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Art Vandalay wrote:
Anyhow, I am sure some of you will want to call me out for being

No I agree with you totally.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:59 pm 
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A mortgage and an investment property to boot? Seems sort of elitist and out of touch with the average member, if you ask me. What should those of us that don't just happen to have a spare investment property around to hawk do?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:35 pm 
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Unfortunately this talk may have the converse effect on those who are unable to miraculously get out from under their own debt: G*d must not care about your problems or you are not living worthy to receive such a blessing. It's also amazing that he wasn't even struggling to pay the mortgage or behind on payments or any such thing - he just wanted to be totally out of debt. Wouldn't we all.

I don't know. I don't think Eyring is such a bad guy as far as GAs go, but he can't help being a product of his environment. He's likely not had much adversity in his life so he pulls a story like this out to show how important it is to "listen to the prophet." As others have noted, someone in South America or who hasn't had the nice middle-upper class American upbringing may not relate very well.

fh451

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:27 pm 
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Reminds me of a quote I once read:

Poverty is an anomaly to rich people. It is very difficult to make out why people who want dinner do not ring the bell.

Walter Bagehot (1826-1877)

In other words, solutions are simple to the well off. Often one fails to realize just how condescending such advice can be.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:47 am 
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It's sad for lots of reasons already stated. It also falls right in line with that constant reinforcement of following whatever the prophet du jour says no matter how trivial or inapplicable to your situation, and reinforces magical thinking.

As fh451 mentioned, it can have a demoralizing effect when the promised "magic" doesn't work out. It also might push people to blindly try to eliminate their mortgage debt without considering all the other financial outcomes.

I remember when the GA's used to berate the members in GC about living beyond their means, that yes, you need a house, but do you really need that big and expensive of one? Perhaps this was only centered at the Utah rich, but I couldn't help thinking, "do you guys live in the real world?" (answer: apparently not, since you're a GA and get to live "out of the world").

If you want to live in a safe neighborhood, you have to reach a certain level of income in order to afford a house in a nice area. I'm not ostentatious at all, but have had to struggle just to get into a bracket where I can buy a house in a neighborhood I can not worry about my kids walking out into. Now tell me, how exactly does the mandatory 10% of gross income help someone who can just barely make that level, when often that 10% can equal almost another house payment. And then members get berated for having to live paycheck to paycheck. At any rate, I find such stories, as many GA stories are, self-serving, institutional-reinforcing, and insensitive, even if ignorantly/unintentionally so. Eyring is the hero, again, for his "obedience", and the magic was only 1 phone call away. They're so entrenched in their own little worlds and worldviews, that they can't see other views that may conflict and be totally opposite. Like Schleppenheimer intimated, generically trying to slap on their experiences as applicable to so many millions of people in a global church, where many members struggle, is truly shortsighted and ignorant, IMO.

Wouldn't it be nice if the GA's, instead of touting their own magical outcomes, would outline and reinforce what good finances are, and how to achieve them? Wouldn't it be better to have members prayerfully, and wisely consult with financial experts and try to find ways of reducing debt as simply wise counsel, instead of putting some idealistic burden on a God who apparently does not respond the same way to everyone who "follows the prophet"?

Latterday Skeptic

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:18 am 
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We are debt free but can't afford to get a house loan or service a mortage as I am sole provider. We do well for our circumstances - but living with inlaws in a basement 1 bedroom flat below them (with a baby to boot) doesn't cut it IMO. Unfortunately there's not much I can do about it for now but hopefully in the near future a change of country and job will bring reward and a better lifestyle for my little family.

Oh and even a 10% rise in income only helps a bit. I don't know how we managed before but in anycase it's wonderful :)

I didn't like his talk and really thought he was blowing Moroni's trumpet so to speak. It was also a great example of a mega buttkiss to the top dog.

I am gratefull to be able to live how I do knowing people in less developed countries struggle so much more than us. But yet we get dirt like that spewed forth from the GC pulpit. Bleech! :x


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:46 am 
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What does Eyring have to say about paying off "underwater mortgages?"

My first reaction to Eyring's talk was "What the heck? The Lord involved in real estate transactions?" Then I remembered the scripture that says:

"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive [them], and ye shall have [them]."
--- Matthew 11:24

I suppose that includes quick real estate sales to meet Eyring's early mortgage payoff needs. But what about all the faithful members who, despite prayers, have lost homes to foreclosures, short-sales an bankruptcy? Possible answer: they've had their eyes open knowing that "renting" in this economy makes more sense than paying off or paying for upside down mortgages. All because of huge equity losses.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:22 am 
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Art Vandalay wrote:
4. With all of the heavy duty suffering going on in this world, are you really telling me that the Lord is using his powers to help your investment property sell so that you can have the luxury of owning your home free and clear?

Yeah, kinda like how the Lord helps a middle-class white American find his car keys, while at the same time completely ignoring the pleas of a starving African to help feed his family. :roll:


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:23 am 
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guppy wrote:
I see it as the indication of that more and more church members are requesting some help from the church with their mortgages (or bills) and the church is trying to "inspire" them to look in other sources to solve their financial problems.


Spot on.

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Cynics are well-informed optimists” - Jeff Frieden


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:28 am 
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Latterday Skeptic wrote:
I remember when the GA's used to berate the members in GC about living beyond their means, that yes, you need a house, but do you really need that big and expensive of one? Perhaps this was only centered at the Utah rich, but I couldn't help thinking, "do you guys live in the real world?" (answer: apparently not, since you're a GA and get to live "out of the world").


I remember the talk you're referring to, and it was definitely aimed at the wannabe rich folks in Utah. Here on the Wasatch Front where there are a lot of members, some interesting dynamics with wealth and prominent callings come into play. First of all, the average house size here would be obscenely large in many urban markets. My house is considered a starter home, and it's nearly 3,000 sq ft. There are many, many houses in the 4-5,000 sq ft range with 3 car garages, huge decks, basketball courts (some indoor), RV pads, stainless steel appliances, etc.

There's a strong keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality that is reinforced by church social dynamics. I've seen many instances where Brother and Sister Jones and their 5 kids move into the largest house in the neighborhood, fill it with their "toys", and immediately Brother Jones is given an important calling (Bishop, HC, counselor in Stake Presidency). Since a lot of TBMs equate prominent callings with heighted spirituality/righteousness, there's a strong incentive to keep up appearances and be upwardly mobile so that one can fill those prominent callings as well.

Thanks to the economy, it's just about impossible to sell a house for over $400K anymore. Most of the houses that are selling are in the 100-200K range. I'm surprised we're not leading the nation in foreclosures.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:44 am 
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Essentially, don't look critically at where a 10% boost in income to pay down the debt would be beneficial. Instead, pray, pay 10% to the Church (tm) and then deal with everything else.

Pardon my simple math, but 10% of a 30k a year job is 3k which 3k is a load to a family making that much!

If only someone could do a remake of the song "life's been good" for the general authorities

Quote:
My Toyota Avalon does eighty-five
I lost my license, i'm old, now I don't drive
I have a limo, ride in the back
I lock the doors in case I'm attacked

I give hit talks, my fans, they can't wait
They write me letters, tell me I'm great
So I got me an office, gold plates on the wall
Just leave a message, maybe I'll call

Lucky I'm sane after all I've been through
Everybody say I'm cool, he's cool
I can't complain but sometimes I still do
Life's been good to me so far

I go to meetings, sometimes until four
It's hard to leave when you can't find the door
It's tough to handle this fortune and fame
Everybody's so different, I haven't changed

They say I'm lazy but it takes all my time
Everybody say oh, yeah, oh, yeah
I keep on going, guess I'll never know why
Life's been good to me so far, yeah, yeah, yeah

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:17 pm 
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Patcheefee wrote:
So I got me an office, gold plates on the wall
Just leave a message, maybe I'll call


This line made me LOL! :lol:

fh451

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:26 pm 
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Leukarktos wrote:
Art Vandalay wrote:
4. With all of the heavy duty suffering going on in this world, are you really telling me that the Lord is using his powers to help your investment property sell so that you can have the luxury of owning your home free and clear?

Yeah, kinda like how the Lord helps a middle-class white American find his car keys, while at the same time completely ignoring the pleas of a starving African to help feed his family. :roll:


QFT!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:10 pm 
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Could it be that someone called about the property because of the "advertisement" in conference?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:44 pm 
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I have a little saying that most close friends and family have heard me say when asked how my family is doing. Whenever I am having a self pity day or feeling poor I think about how much worse it could really be.

"We don't live in a grass hut with a dirt floor, so I think we are doing pretty good."


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:35 pm 
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Benson was president 1985-1994. He probably gave this talk earlier in his presidency.

Eyring served as president of Ricks College from 1971 to 1977. Eyring was Commissioner of Church Education, from September 1980 to April 1985. And in church leadership from then on. None of these were/are low paying jobs. No wonder he had plenty of money.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:30 pm 
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highpriestinaspeedo wrote:
Latterday Skeptic wrote:
I remember when the GA's used to berate the members in GC about living beyond their means, that yes, you need a house, but do you really need that big and expensive of one? Perhaps this was only centered at the Utah rich, but I couldn't help thinking, "do you guys live in the real world?" (answer: apparently not, since you're a GA and get to live "out of the world").


I remember the talk you're referring to, and it was definitely aimed at the wannabe rich folks in Utah. Here on the Wasatch Front where there are a lot of members, some interesting dynamics with wealth and prominent callings come into play. First of all, the average house size here would be obscenely large in many urban markets. My house is considered a starter home, and it's nearly 3,000 sq ft. There are many, many houses in the 4-5,000 sq ft range with 3 car garages, huge decks, basketball courts (some indoor), RV pads, stainless steel appliances, etc.

There's a strong keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality that is reinforced by church social dynamics. I've seen many instances where Brother and Sister Jones and their 5 kids move into the largest house in the neighborhood, fill it with their "toys", and immediately Brother Jones is given an important calling (Bishop, HC, counselor in Stake Presidency). Since a lot of TBMs equate prominent callings with heighted spirituality/righteousness, there's a strong incentive to keep up appearances and be upwardly mobile so that one can fill those prominent callings as well.

Thanks to the economy, it's just about impossible to sell a house for over $400K anymore. Most of the houses that are selling are in the 100-200K range. I'm surprised we're not leading the nation in foreclosures.


Many are called but few are chosen. That's quite a trip to make good money and be favored with higher callings too, isn't it? How else could it be?
Fact is, some people do make boat loads of money regardless of the economy and many of them are helping the poor in their own wards, without them knowing it. I am not so quick to condemn the rich because they are the ones creating jobs so that we, the poor, can work. Take all the rich people away from the market and bang, HUGE unemployment.
Thank goodness for rich people in America. Where would the poor be without them? Notice I said rich, not greedy. But the greedy help too. They create jobs for all types of people both foreign and domestic. Without the rich, there is no credit to enslave the poor, AKA, consumers. As for foreclosures, banks are more interested in short-sales right now and probably for the next 2-3 years. Think about it, a short-sale is easier on the credit as far as conventional loans are concerned, the home owner/agent finds a buyer for the bank, takes care of the bank's asset through free rent and when it's said and done, it nets the bank a lower loss than a foreclosure. Banks have bailout money, insurance and collateral. For the banks that foreclose inventory, there are scores of investors both in the U.S. and abroad, ready, able and willing to buy discounted REOs in bulk without worrying about evictions and near retail prices. The rich win again while the poor scramble to find rentals owned by investors.


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