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
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
The Second Amendment was established to keep governments from turning on their own people.
Where else can you find a group of elderly men so genuinely loving towards each other? How much happier the people of the earth would be to have such good friends.
by Robert John Stevens, October 22, 2017
On October 20, 2017, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released Standard Interview Questions for Prospective Missionaries (see also my saved copy).
If these new questions were in place, I wouldn’t have been able to serve a mission because I had a serious speech disorder—I stuttered so badly that when going door-to-door on my mission, people regularly slammed their front door before I could say my name.
In my first area, I ordered an $800 delayed auditory speech machine like the one BYU had my use for speech therapy about the time they filmed me for future study.
And yet my companions and I baptized dozens of people. At least two of those young men later served missions—one later became a speech pathologist.
I’ve only met one person who stutters worse than I did and he builds stain glass windows for Mormon temples.
Moses also had a speech disorder.
According to Mormon history, Jesus recruited Sidney Rigdon to speak for Joseph Smith who until the late 1830s was not mighty in speaking.
In the New Testament, we learn Saul consented to the stoning and murder of Christians and yet Jesus choose him. Saul (later named Paul) wouldn’t have qualified either under these new guidelines.
People who committed sin can relate to and guide those with similar problems. Jesus was required to feel the pain of all sins to accomplish his job.
The faithful will defend these qualifications as being inspired. The unfaithful may see them as uninspired, hypocritical and detrimental.
Response from a friend:
Having a focused conversation about a speech disorder to ensure the prospective missionary feels confident in their ability to proselyte seems pretty reasonable to me.
Yes, that’s true and a very good perspective—All discussions are reasonable. A church, entity or any government institution that discourages or shuns free and open discussion will have difficulty establishing the foundational mindset necessary to receive new inspiration necessary for advancements.
I felt confident that I could proselyte but if my Bishop asked me if I could say my name, teach a discussion or give a talk without severe stuttering, I would have admitted that I wasn’t confident I could. So would I have been denied going on a mission under the new rules?
I’ve observed that most close-minded people, especially those who are determined to comply with man-made rules, would enforce adherence.
Interestingly, note the phraseology on this subject used by Jesus in D&C 98:7 — “pertaining to law of man” — as though it was clear to Him the source of most laws.
As previously mentioned, our son Wesley was repeatedly denied missionary service because of his severe psoriasis. He was asked to interview with a psychiatrist who concluded that he was also depressed. Of course, Wesley was depressed–repeated denial of missionary service by “inspired Bishops.” Plus, who wouldn’t be if they had Wesley’s condition? Finally, a Bishop let him serve a local summer temple mission. He did. During his mission, his psoriasis mostly disappeared. He’s content. Work got done, he’s now a returned missionary dating a nice girl, and his future is bright.
Given regulations, without the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, most men will strictly abide by them. I think Jesus was clear about telestial leaning in Mark 2 when his disciples were plucking corn on the Sabbath. We could propose an unauthorized rephrasing for His solution, “Missionary work was made for man, and not man for missionary work: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the missionary work.”
I am sure the Twelve Apostles know that raising the bar will also increase virtue—That’s positive.
But if they want to discuss speech impediments, then why not also discuss impediments for all senses, including poor-functioning limbs? Where will it end?
Will Bishops also disqualify Tiny Tim? Consider this quote from A Christmas Carol:
“And how did little Tim behave?” asked Mrs Cratchit, when she had rallied Bob on his credulity and Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart’s content.
“As good as gold,” said Bob, “and better. Somehow he gets thoughtful, sitting by himself so much, and thinks the strangest things you ever heard. He told me, coming home, that he hoped the people saw him in the church, because he was a cripple, and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day, who made lame beggars walk, and blind men see.”
Wesley’s mission was further evidence to me that a one-size-fits-all approach fits only the laws of man. Youth no matter what their sins may be, or having undesirable physical or mental conditions, with or without a testimony should know there is a mission available for them–whether it be proselyting, temple, physical service, mentoring, etc. If a mission can elevate the missionary one notch and help others then would there be greater youth retention and more determination for future blessings?
I still question why my mission was cut short to 18 months due to Church policy and then later raised back to two years. To me, that is plausible evidence of fallibility that I’d like discussed.
Reply from the same friend:
I’m not sure if the church would have sent you or not with these new questions…but everyone is talking about these new “rules”…when they are simply standardized questions that will be asked of every prospective missionary. Your interpretation is that the church is trying to “limit” who is going on missions. Perhaps this is from your experience with Wesley, which I’m sure has been difficult for you to observe. However, while the church must take seriously who it sends out to represent it, I can tell you that they are ultimately concerned about each young man. While it is true that a mission experience can help elevate some young men, for others, they go out either unworthily, unprepared, or unconfidently and then have to come home and face the embarrassment of coming home early. So these new questions simply ensure that bishops can have more focused conversations about issues that may ultimately cause a missionary to struggle in the mission field. To me, it makes total sense. I’m sure there will be bishops that don’t enact the intent perfectly, just like there were bishops who are way too lax or way too strict in the way they approach prospective missionaries before these questions were given.
Tiny Tim would not have been called as a missionary given that I don’t think he was LDS ;). However, assuming he had been converted, as his Bishop, I think it would make sense for me to have a conversation with him about his physical disability and whether he could adequately meet the physical demands of the full-time missionary service. If he couldn’t serve a full-time proselyting mission, the church provides all kinds of alternatives for full-time missionary service to those that need accommodations for various physical or mental challenges. So already, they do not apply a one-size-fits-all approach…and I think this helps them adapt even more by helping to identify individuals who want to serve but may need to serve in alternative capacities.
Thanks for taking the time to reply, for discussing this with me, and for increasing my understanding. You’re right–asking specific questions during pre-mission interviews makes sense or the questions may not be asked. I know of a recently returned mission president who had several missionaries confess to him on their mission that they hadn’t repented about something serious.
I also realize that when 15 spiritual men agree1, they create much better policies that the three Utah County Commissioners where 2 out of 3 votes wins and then their regulations become law and backed by force, fine, prison or forfeiture.
1 The living prophet, his two counselors and the twelve apostles
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in—Matthew 25:35
Another historic case for the 2nd Amendment where people are murdered after they are asked to disarm:
The militiamen, who included prominent pioneers and church officers, guaranteed the migrants safe passage if they laid down their arms and followed them north.
The migrants agreed, only to be lured to their deaths. On a predetermined signal, the militiamen shot the men and boys in the head at one location and bludgeoned the women and children at another.
Only 17 children, those under age 6, were spared. The dead were left where they fell or received cursory burials.
Young, single Mormons: Don’t think moving to the DC area will be sunshine. For most of the week you’d be alone in your religious convictions and your time to meet and mingle with those of your faith will be short and limited. Look also at the graph at how your generation is abandoning religion.
by Robert John Stevens, March 29, 2017
A church friend sent me a link to the article How Utah Keeps the American Dream Alive. After reading it, here are my comments.
The Mormon Church encourages and supports government-forced redistribution of wealth by taxation to build and maintain homeless shelters in Salt Lake City. Taxation is theft—period. God commanded, “Thou shalt not steal.” Jesus and Paul reiterated that. In this regard, the Mormon Church has not figured out how to love your neighbor without stealing.
My wife and I once had financial difficulties and agreed to be a recipient of the Bishop’s storehouse—the Mormon welfare program for local churches. It was miserable, bullying and condescending. Having paid tithing and fast offerings for more than thirty years, had those monies went directly into mutual funds I would have accumulated a very large sum, probably close to a million dollars. Had that happened with church support or without church interference we could have simply withdrawn funds during financially bad times.
Instead, we had to be humiliated by working through church channels and meeting weekly with the female Relief Society President to fill out a checklist of items, mostly unhealthy, to get us by. It felt like humiliating begging to an organization that was increasingly reluctant to give back even a portion of my life-long contributions.
No brother or elder ever came over to offer me employment or to invite me to their place of work for lunch, which is probably the best way to get a job. None in executive or corporate positions would hire me for a day to prove myself, or even permit me to volunteer for a day, not even those I’ve known for decades.
Having a B.S. in Computer Science and completed my M.S. coursework also in Computer Science from Mormon-owned Brigham Young University in Provo, and with more than 25 years of professional experience at that time, I was highly qualified for church programming positions but even though they had dozens of openings, not even their management would give me a chance to prove myself for a day. I realized then that full-time career church employment is evil and desensitises church employees so they are less likely to be loving and charitable outside of their assigned, paid tasks.
Once when I mentioned to our Mormon landlord I wasn’t sure if my declining revenues would provide enough money for our rent, they immediately panicked. The Bishop was reluctant to help with our rent payment and when he finally committed he was late so our Mormon landlords immediately asked us to leave. The Bishop wouldn’t let us rent just anywhere—it had to be the lowest-priced rental. Those we could find nearby were unreinforced masonry structures which will collapse during a major earthquake so rather than put our family at risk, we moved our into a friend’s 600 sq ft basement and paid him rent.
The correct principles described in that article are not new to Christianity or Judaism. The Mormon Church is just in a healthy position to work on the problems because of 187 years of tithing accumulation, volunteer missionaries (mostly elderly in this category), and thousands of full-time career church employees who think they were chosen by and working for God himself.
If I were a Mormon apostle, I would not compromise on theft by supporting government theft. I would not employ tens of thousands of full-time employees supported by religious taxation aka tithing punishable by damnation vs secular jail time. Surely there are better ways such as teaching correct principles and encouraging Mormon college graduates to temporarily work at the Church but not a mandate as Israeli youth are required to serve in their military.
The American system of limited government was not intended to support government handouts. Mormon Presidents David O. McKay and Era Taft Benson taught it is not the proper role of government to provide welfare. That responsibility belongs to the people and to their churches. The Mormon tithing monies used to employ more than ten thousand full-time, career Church employees in Information Technology alone is more than enough to provide shelters for the homeless in Salt Lake City.
by Robert John Stevens, March 2, 2017
Joe Alfandre is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was in my ward in Potomac, Maryland. He created the Kentlands, one of the most successful planned communities in America and a model for all subsequent planned communities to study. In this interview he also describes subsequent mistakes:
Years ago I scheduled a time to visit with Joe and his wife. We met in Potomac Village at a restaurant. I complimented him for his great accomplishment and emphasized how the Kentlands was so often studied with great interest, and that was anxious to learn some of his insights. I was both amazed and disheartened by his response: He said the great thing about planning a community was that I could do it however I wished.
I don’t remember other comments but I do remember we discussed how planning urban communities was a function of inquiring what the people wanted and making it fit with the history and landscape of the area.