Is the Mormon Church Buying Real Estate Near BYU With Cash?

For several years I have tried repeatedly to purchase a condo, house or apartment near BYU in Provo, Utah for my children so they don’t continue to live in unreinforced masonry structures that may collapse during the next major earthquake.

Each time I lose out to a cash buyer.

This week I made a full-price offer for a BYU-approved townhouse on 700 East. The seller’s Realtor said there were four offers and gave us until Monday evening so I increased my offer by $5k. Later I was told the owner accepted a cash offer.

Who are these cash buyers who can afford $230k to $270k without applying for a mortgage?

I thought perhaps these buyers are smart, wealthy LDS Church members who are looking for safe investments but at today’s real estate prices near BYU and the likelihood that the current real estate bubble will collapse, is a 5% cap rate really attractive for the wealthy?

Before making an offer, I consider the annual rental incomes, HOA fees, property taxes, mortgage insurance, announced HOA assessments, and maintenance (which is usually 20% of married and 25% of single housing income). To save money, I would not pay a property management company.

Unless a significant down payment is made, these properties produce a negative monthly return.

This morning I read how the Mormon Church invests. See the text I highlighted:

“The church invests the money, Bishop Caussé said, following the lesson taught by Jesus Christ in the parable of the talents, by investing in stocks and bonds, agriculture, majority interests in taxable businesses — including Deseret Management Corporation, which owns the Deseret News — and in commercial, industrial and residential property. Those investments are managed by a professional group of church employees and outside advisors.” — see Mormon leader shares details on LDS Church finances.

Is the Mormon Church buying real estate near BYU with cash? Whether they are or not, I cannot compete with cash buyers.

by Robert John Stevens, March 3, 2018

Why do we teach Old Testament to youth under 18?

I’m reading the Book of Genesis. If the rest of the Old Testament is filled with vivid descriptions of adultery, fornication, polygamy, and sodomy, why do we teach Old Testament to youth under 18?

My wife and I teach Old Testament to fourth graders for their Sunday School hour but just read Old Testament verses in class that are listed in our teacher’s manual.

Maybe our church assumes students won’t read outside of class. I hope we don’t inspire our students enough to read Genesis on their own. There are many things that I would rather not have to explain. 🙂

The best cure for Christianity is reading the Bible. – Mark Twain

by Robert John Stevens, February 20, 2018


Commments

I would probably just focus on the stories that do not contain the material you are talking about. I’m guessing the primary manuals do not encourage you to teach about adultery, polygamy or sodomy. There are lots of great stories in the Old Testament but it is a complicated book! — a smart and wise friend.

Why Won’t Mormon-Owned Newspaper DeseretNews.com Allow the Word Democide?

Mormon-owned newspaper DeseretNews.com will not allow the word democide (“the murder of any person or people by their government, including genocide, politicide and mass murder”).

To prove it for yourself, Google site:www.deseretnews.com democide

In contrast, Google site:www.deseretnews.com gun control

I submitted this comment to the article on DeseretNews.com entitled
In our opinion: In the wake of tragic shootings, does the country ask the tough questions? and they rejected it:

Democide–The murder of citizens by their government. Google “20th century democide” and read the stats by the University of Hawaii. In the 20th-century alone, 262 million humans were murdered by their own government and in most cases, it was after citizens were disarmed by their governments. Now, who wants gun control?

So I submitted this comment and they accepted it:

Why did the Founding Fathers create the Second Amendment to the Constitution and why didn’t it support gun control? Or was the Second Amendment designed to help us protect ourselves against home invaders or shoot animals for food?

The Founding Fathers had just fought a war on their own soil against the most powerful army on the earth. They also studied history and knew that without arms, citizens were powerless against foreign invaders as well as their own governments should they turn against their people.

Governments in the 20th-century alone, according to the University of Hawaii (Google 20th-century democide), murdered 262 million of their own citizens– the People’s Republic of China, 76 million; U.S.S.R, 61 million; Colonialism,50 million; Germany almost 21 million; China (MT), 10 million; Cambodia, 2 million; the list goes on. See 20TH CENTURY
DEMOCIDE
.

The Second Amendment was established to keep governments from turning on their own people.

The Kind of Church I Want to Belong To

I’d like to belong to a church that teaches its youth ethics, honesty, self-mastery, etiquette, charm, table manners, to smile and greet each other and strangers, fundamental principles to raise the bar, forgiveness, the importance of making friends for life, never-ending learning, that life is a fountain of opportunity, critical thinking, original thought and public speaking.

I’d like to belong to a church where members are encouraged to bless the human race, hire, mentor and train youth, volunteer as individuals and with groups outside of church assignments, temple ordinances and chapel cleaning, help those in need, care for the poor and needy, and to share knowledge and truth whenever and wherever one feels inspired to share it.

I’d like to belong to a church where members study original sources instead of materials whitewashed by committees.

I’d like to belong to a church that teaches its members to not support the involuntary redistribution of wealth, how to recognize truth versus error and cover-up, the proper role of government, the falsehoods of evolution and the awe of intelligent creation, righteous vs unrighteous dominion by discussing hundreds of case studies including the lives of religious reformers and heroes outside of religious history who didn’t murder, rape, commit adultery, steal or plunder.

I’d like to belong to a church that promotes tithing, giving and the sacrifice of the widow’s mite or to give when we know we don’t have enough to pay our bills because we know we’ll be blessed, but then rigorously and repeatedly examines their own spending to ensure the widow’s mite isn’t wasted.

I’d like to belong to a church where members become so refined that they jump at opportunities to help each other, especially when not assigned by their religious leaders.

by Robert John Stevens, February 13, 2018

It is Time for Church Members to Hire and Mentor Youth

by Robert John Stevens, February 9, 2018

I see a problem in our church that probably extends nationwide to all faiths: Many young, capable people can’t find jobs and older church members won’t take a chance on them.

When the U.S. dollar finally collapses, it will surely get a lot worse.

I have two sons who graduated from BYU in Provo and can’t find work. Tyler graduated in physics. Andrew later earned an MBA from UVU and still can’t find a job so he volunteers and films BYU’s innovators for Tech Transfer Director Mike Alder at BYU.

Andrew applied to more than 1,000 jobs. Several friends and career advisors reviewed his resume and cannot figure out why he can’t get interviews and a job offer. There is nothing wrong with him. I watch his self-esteem sink weekly.

Hundreds of times he’s asked himself why he is turned down repeatedly and what can he do to improve his resume and interviews. One problem is he didn’t graduate with a degree in the E in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

This begs the question, “Would it be easier to get jobs after graduating from college if job training began in their youth?”

Often I hear employees tell me their best employees grew up on farms. Whenever I hire, I want to know how they earned money in their youth.

When I was young it was easy to get jobs from neighbors and church members. They took a chance on me and were never disappointed. I worked eight months for Bob Rowe in Potomac, Maryland and picked up his house one piece at a time after it blew down and then hung all his interior doors and moldings without any previous training or experience.

My brother and I sealed Brother Colton’s asphalt driveway, sealed Bishop Rolapp’s driveway and then repaired it with cold asphalt and rolled over it with our parents’ yellow 1972 Ford Gran Torino Squire Station Wagon, painted the exterior of Brother Hart’s home, mowed lawns, raked leaves, washed windows and sealed driveways all over Potomac and Darnestown. I was so successful that my father often called me “money bags.”

During my 37 years living here in Utah Valley, I’ve never seen a teenager mow another man’s lawn. In the dozens of neighborhoods we’ve lived, I am not aware of any youth who were employed by church members other than babysitting and at their retail businesses.

It is common to hear, “Kids these days don’t want to work.” Perhaps, but would things be different if they were given opportunities in their youth?

I have always been disappointed that so many of my generation, even after they earned degrees from BYU and other colleges, were never given the opportunity to work for the previous generation of millionaires and billionaires of church members in Potomac, Maryland ; hence, few graduates could afford to return to Potomac where the median home value rose steadily and is now $848,600.

I suspect at some point in their careers, many wealthy members of my church did hire youth and other church members from their congregation but now don’t. I do not understand that. They must know something that I do not.

Has litigation made it too risky? Did they lose money? Or has one too many relationships resulted in bad feelings?

What good is our money after we are dead? At Judgment Day will we rather say, “I used my resources wisely and with my keen knowledge of business I started farms, factories, manufacturing ventures and for-profit businesses, trained and employed the youth of my church and increased their salaries proportionally as their combined labors increased my profits?”

From Gordon B. Hinckley: “A man out of work is of special moment to the Church because, deprived of his inheritance, he is on trial as Job was on trial—for his integrity. As days lengthen into weeks and months and even years of adversity, the hurt grows deeper. …The Church cannot hope to save a man on Sunday if during the week it is a complacent witness to the crucifixion of his soul.”

I don’t have an obvious solution for employing youth. My kids babysat and sold Christmas videos but when they travelled outside of our ward or congregational boundaries in the same neighborhood they were treated with disdain.

I’ve personally mentored, trained and employed more than sixty adults. Sometimes they produced and I earned back my investment and more; sometimes they produced nothing and I lost my entire investment. As a whole, women very much outperformed men.

It is time for church leaders to speak out in public and from the public to ask members to mentor, train and employ our youth. Maybe it is time for my church to direct a portion of tithing to assist in a wise and clever manner.

I know there is great pain in this area and that something heavenly could be done if inspired leaders urge members to act. What would Jesus do?