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Posted by: Greg M. ( )
Date: September 30, 2014 02:28PM

"tax exempt status" and Blacks and the Priesthood...

TBM General Authorities are claiming that the Federal Government of the United States never threated to take away "the tax exempt status" of the LDS Church. They claim that was never a factor in releasing the "priesthood ban"!

Is this just another attempt of the LDS Church to rewrite history?

Is there any documentary evidence or circumstantial evidence(witness testimony) regarding the LDS being threatened to lose their Tax exempt status?

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Posted by: whywait ( )
Date: September 30, 2014 02:52PM

If the federal government attempted to remove a religion's tax exempt status based solely on the faith's beliefs, that would violate the U.S. Constitution.

Americans are guaranteed the freedom to exercise their religion. If the government is going to subsidize any religion, then it must subsidize all religions, regardless of how offensive their beliefs might be.

Simple solution to this would be to subsidize no religions.

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Posted by: Spencer W ( )
Date: September 30, 2014 03:08PM

The Federal Government under Jimmy Carter DID threaten to cease all federal funds to BYU, including student loans, if the priesthood-ban did not end. It is "rumor only" about the tax exempt status threat. However, under the carter Administration, many Christian schools received threats if they segregated. There is no evidence that the rumor is true. Jimmy Carter has refused to comment on it. I would not spread the rumor unless it was said "this is a rumor only" because that is what it is. The Priesthood-Ban ended maily, I believe, because tens of thousands of Brazilian Mormons were already ordained, who had at least one Negro ancestor. The Church in Brazil would have become UNfuctional if the priesthood-ban was applied there.

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Posted by: lv skeptic ( )
Date: September 30, 2014 04:09PM

When I was at BYU in the mid 70's, there was a threat from the Feds to terminate federal funds to the school if BYU did not follow the regs in Title 9, specifically having to do with the funding of female athletics. There was no discussion of blacks and the priesthood, nor was there any discussion of tax exempt status. Again, a lot of schools were getting the same push from the feds.

I heard that BYU countered by saying that if certain federal funds were held up, that the school would refuse all federal funds. The kicker was that BYU had one of the largest ROTC programs in the country, and the feds backed down.

Or so the story goes. I vaguely remember this being published in the Daily Universe at the time.

I can say, however, that I do not recall ever having seen any REAL WRITTEN evidence of any threat to the LDS or BYU tax exempt status. If anyone does have copies of IRS correspondence making these threats, I would like to see them.

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: September 30, 2014 11:20PM

The Westboro Baptist Church has not lost tax exempt status. That should show how bleeping hard it is for an American church to lose tax exempt status.

And LDS Inc still discriminates against women with zero threat to its tax exempt status. The LDS tax exemption was never in danger over its priesthood policies.

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Posted by: Bert ( )
Date: September 30, 2014 11:28PM

The lawyer was named Wally Sandack. An old friend. He did volunteer work for the ACLU in Utah. He did threaten the church heavy enough that they had a vision. Hey maybe Steve Benson knows about this. Steve?

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Posted by: Here we go again ( )
Date: October 01, 2014 02:46AM

This idea has been thoroughly debunked many times right here on this board. The government has no authority to regulate religious teachings and *most* religious practices. None. Non-discrimination laws do not apply to access to religious rituals, church membership, clergy hiring, or the hiring of employees who work directly for a church.

The government can't do anything, for example, the Catholic church refusing to ordain women, or hire women as parish priests.

It can't do anything about the LDS church withholding the priesthood from women.

It couldn't have done anything about the LDS church withholding the priesthood from blacks.

The constitution simply does not allow it. This should be obvious to anyone who has any acquaintance at all with the First Amendment, even without doing additional research, but because this myth is so commonly repeated on RFM, I actually did the research.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 13, 2015 12:02PM

We are talking here about how LDS Inc.'s secondary ed system was at risk--specifically, BYU in Provo, Utah, then-Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho and the then-Church College of Hawaii, as well as other Mormon Church-owned schools,

--Color It Contrary: The Case of Mormon U.S. Solicitor General Rex Lee--

Reacting to Mormon mouthpiece Olsen’s dubious claims, Gary Anderson, in a letter to the editor of the "Salt Lake Tribune," countered:

"I was quite surprised by LDS PR man Bruce Olsen's attack . . . regarding the Mormon Church's motivations for abandoning its anti-Black doctrine . . . .

“His bold assault is particularly amazing in light of the fact that history ‘distortion’ and ‘invention’ have been trademarks of Mormonism since its inception. Of course, the risk in Mr. Olsen's gallant tossing of the gauntlet is that someone might just pick it up.

“For example, it didn't take much investigation to discover that in 1981 the Solicitor General of the United States, Rex Lee, a Mormon, recused himself from a case against Bob Jones University.

“In that case, the U.S. government was threatening to revoke Bob Jones University's tax-exempt status because of its racist policy of prohibiting interracial dating.

"When asked why he took himself off the case, Mr. Lee explained that previously when representing the Mormon Church in a similar case, he had argued that the Church should retain its tax-exempt status despite its racist policies and felt conflicted from arguing an opposing view in the Bob Jones case. (see, 'The Tenth Justice,' [by] Lincoln Caplan, Knopf, 1987, p. 51, note 2 . . . p. 293).

“If the [Mormon] Church's tax-exempt status was never threatened by the U.S. government because of its racist policies, why was Mr. Lee making such an argument, presumably in an era before 1978?

“Given Lee's explanation, Olsen's ‘categorical’ assertion that federal tax law was never a motivating factor in the Church's 1978 change in racial policy rings disingenuous. One thing true history teaches us is that secrecy breeds dishonesty.

“It's fairly easy for Mr. Olsen to hide behind the tightly secured vaults in the Church Office Building and demand proof. If he was a true knight, he would throw open the doors to the vault and invite inquiring minds in to examine the minutes of meetings held by church leaders in the months and days leading up to the 'revelation,' so we might decide for ourselves the Church's actual motivation for the change.

"What's that you say, Mr. Olsen? Salamander got your tongue?"

(Gary Anderson, Springfield, Virginia, letter to the editor, "Salt Lake Tribune," 22 April 2001)

http://www.salamandersociety.com/blacks/


In the book to which Anderson refers, author Caplan notes, in fact, that U.S. Solicitor General/Mormon Lee (who would eventually become president of BYU) did recuse himself from the case of Bob Jones v. IRS, wherein the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that religious schools which practice racial discrimination could be constitutionally stripped of federal tax exempt protection. Lee, writes Caplan, bowed out of the case because Lee had previously petitioned the IRS for tax exempt refuge in behalf of the racially-discrimnatory Mormon Church. Lee, notes Caplan, begged off because, given his previous advocacy for the color-bound Mormons, he now considered it improper for him to argue in behalf of the IRS against color-bound Bob Jones University.

From Caplan’s book:

”Rex Lee . . . who had been sworn in as Solicitor General seven months before [the Bob Jones brief was filed in 1982], had once represented the Mormon Church when it faced a problem like Bob Jones's and, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, he had taken himself off the case.” (p. 50)

“In 1970, the Internal Revenue Service ruled that Bob Jones no longer qualified for tax-exempt status because of [its] segregationist policy, so the school changed it. Blacks could be accepted if they were married to other Blacks, or if they promised not to date or marry outside their race . . .

"By the time of the Supreme Court case, a decade later, the number of Blacks attending the school was less than a dozen, making the ratio of Whites to Blacks about 550 to one.

“From the vantage point of the Solicitor General's office, the legal issue in the Bob Jones case was routine. It was a tax question.” (p. 53)

As one unpersuaded skeptic points out regarding the Mormon Church’s unpersuasive denials over its threatened tax-exempt status:

”If the IRS had never threatened the LDS Church's tax exempt status, why was Lee arguing over it and race with the IRS on the Church's behalf?”

Another understandable doubter observed:

"The only thing he [Olsen] stated is that the [Mormon] Church never was 'threatened' by the [federal] government, NOT that the Church wasn't worried that such a thing *could* happen and was watching court rulings [like the one that was occurring in Wisconsin] to see if they could continue discriminating against [Black] members.

"Yes, it is possible to lose tax-exempt status for discrimination--Bob Jones University lost it once for its interracial dating policy."

http://www.lds-mormon.com/taxes_priesthood.shtml


It should be pointed out here that although Lee recused himself from the Bob Jones case, the reasons why he did so are not universally agreed upon.

As one contributor on the RfM board, (formerly known here as "nao crer") has noted:

”It has been stated that he [Lee} did this because he had been previously involved in a discrimination case involving the Mormon Church. . . . He had been the dean of the BYU Law School which was one of the schools that would have been affected by the Bob Jones decision. That also would have been a reason to recuse himself. In 1986-87 Rex Lee did argue the Corporation of Presiding Bishop v. Amos, 483 U.S. 327 [1987] case and did not feel it was a conflict.”

(“What we DO know about the 1978 ‘revelation,’” RfM post by “nao crer,” nao_crer@yahoo.com, 8 February 2006; and idem, “Re: We do the best we can with the sources currently available,” RfM post, 8 February 2006)


Below is the text of "nao crer/Jim Huston's" case (which expands on his RfM posts), arguing that the Mormon Church eventually reversed itself on its anti-Black priesthood ban because, among other concerns, of fear of loss of its tax-exempt status for being designated by the U.S. government under the federal tax code as an organization promoting racial discrimination:

"In 1969 [LDS Apostle] Hugh B. Brown actively lobbied to allow Blacks to receive the priesthood. This was supported by a majority of the Apostles. They formed a 'special committee was to report on the Negro situation.' The change was approved while [Mormon Church president] Harold B. Lee was absent. Upon his return he rejected the decision and persuaded the Quorum to rescind the vote. The reaffirmation of the restriction was a collaborative effort of [Apostles] Neal A. Maxwell, Gordon B. Hinkley and G. Homer Durham. (Michael D. Quinn, 'The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power,' p. 14)

"For decades Spencer W. Kimball had been troubled about this race restriction. (ibid., p. 15) At the cornerstone-laying ceremony for the Brazilian temple 9 March 1977, Kimball privately told Helvecio Martins to prepare himself to receive the priesthood. He pointedly asked if Martins 'understood the implications of what President Kimball had said.' (ibid., p. 16)

"On March 23, 1978 he began discussing the matter with his [First Presidency] counselors. Kimball met privately with individual Apostles who expressed their 'individual thoughts' about his suggested end to the priesthood ban. (ibid.)

"After discussing this in several temple meetings and private discussions, Kimball wrote a statement and presented it to his {First Presidency] counselors on 30 May. He then asked his counselors and apostles to 'fast and pray'……at their temple meeting on 1 June. At the temple council that day 'the feeling was unanimous . . . . '" (ibid.)

"On 7 June 1978 Kimball informed his counselors that 'through inspiration he had decided to lift the restrictions on priesthood.' In the meantime he had asked three Apostles (including Boyd K. Packer) to prepare 'suggested wording for the public announcement of the decision.' (ibid.)

"A letter written to [Apostle] LeGrand Richards on September 11, 1978 corroborates this reason. Chris Vlachos wrote to LeGrand Richards confirming the content of explanations he had been given concerning the revelation. LeGrand Richards acknowledged the letter and in part said, 'It wouldn’t please me if you were using the information I gave you when you were here in my office for public purposes. I gave it to you for your own information, and that is where I would like to see it remain.'

"Here is an excerpt from the letter LeGrand Richards was confirming:

"'One of the most interesting items which you mentioned was that the whole situation was basically provoked by the Brazilian temple—that is, the Mormon Church has had a great difficulty obtaining Priesthood leadership among the South American membership; and now with this new temple, a large proportion of those who have contributed money and work to build it would not be able to use it unless the Church changed its stand with regard to giving the Priesthood to Blacks.

"'I believe that you also mentioned President Kimball as having called each of the Twelve Apostles individually into his office to hear their personal feelings with regard to this issue. While President Kimball was basically in favor of giving the Priesthood to Blacks, didn’t he ask each of you to prepare some references for and against the proposal as found in the scriptures?' (quotes taken from photostatic copies of the letters found in 'SI Banister – For Any Latter-day Saint')."

"The decision was monetary without a doubt. It was also very political. The Mormon Church could easily lose face. The Mormon Church had spent over $50 million on a complex in what was one of the countries producing the most baptisms. It was the new South American distribution center for all materials. It was also the new regional church offices.

"The Mormon Church views temples as profit centers. When a temple is built, they have an identifiable increase in all revenue from the area, and specifically tithing. (Richard and Joan Ostling, "Mormon America")

"There were not enough people with verified ancestry to run the temple, let alone be patrons. Even with the change, missionaries were taken from the field and trained as temple officiators and veil workers to man the temple for the first month it was open.

"As far as dates, the revelation was made June 1978 and the temple dedication was October 1978. Initial training of workers was held in September. Very tight time frames by Morg standards."

Besides the problem of Brailian Blacks not being able to enter or officiate in the newly-built LDS Brazilian temple (thereby depleting the available temple worker work pool), there was the looming threat of the Mormon Church being stripped of its tax-exempt status for advocating and practicing racial bias against Blacks:

"Then there is the issue of the tax exempt status. First you must understand that educational non-profits are treated differently than religious non-profits. Here is an explanation of how religious non-profits are treated.

"In the U.S., the Internal Revenue Service . . . grants non-profit status to churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other religious organizations. This is of tremendous financial benefit.

"Meanwhile, clergy and other employees are guaranteed free speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They are free to voice their opinions and beliefs, and advocate changes to legislation. They can attack women's freedom to obtain an abortion. They can advocate that special rights be reserved for heterosexuals, and not extended to gays and lesbians, including the right to marry.

"Christian Identity, neo-Nazi groups, and everyone else are free to engage in hate speech against women, racial minorities, sexual minorities, immigrants, and other groups. A pastor in Texas recently called on the U.S. Army to round up and execute area Wiccans with napalm. The tax exempt status of his church was not threatened. Religious groups can promote a stand on other similar 'hot' religious topics, from spanking children to the death penalty and physician assisted suicide.

"They are even allowed by the IRS to contribute small amounts of money and resources to the fight for changes in legislation. In the words of the IRS regulations: 'No substantial part of (church) activities (may consist of) carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation.' Unfortunately, the term 'substantial' is not defined precisely in the service's regulations.

"The IRS was putting pressure on private schools to stop discrimination with the US vs. Bob Jones University. This ruling would directly affect BYU, Ricks, CCH [Church College of Hawaii] and other U.S. Mormon [Church]-owned schools. These schools are organized under separate non-profit corporations which are owned by the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As you can see from the following excerpts from case document[s], the Bob Jones University case was directed at educational non-profits. This would have affected the Morg, but not the core [LDS Church] corporation.

"On January 12, 1970, a three-judge District Court for the District of Columbia issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the IRS from according tax-exempt status to private schools in Mississippi that discriminated as to admissions on the basis of race. (Green v. Kennedy, 309 F. Supp. 1127, appeal dism'd sub nom. Cannon v. Green, 398 U.S. 956 [1970]) Thereafter, in July 1970, the IRS concluded that it could 'no longer legally justify allowing tax-exempt status [under 501(c)(3)] to private schools which practice racial discrimination.' (IRS News Release, July 7, 1970, reprinted in App. in No. 81-3, p. A235)

"At the same time, the IRS announced that it could not 'treat gifts to such schools as charitable deductions for income tax purposes [under 170].' (ibid.) By letter dated November 30, 1970, the IRS formally notified private schools, including those involved in this litigation, of this change in policy, 'applicable to all private schools in the United States at all levels of education. . . ' (see id., at A232).

"BYU, Ricks and CCH probably received this letter.

"On June 30, 1971, the three-judge District Court issued its opinion on the merits of the Mississippi challenge. (Green v. Connally, 330 F. Supp. 1150, summarily aff'd sub nom. Coit v. Green, 404 U.S. 997 [1971]). That court approved the IRS's amended construction of the Tax Code. The court also held that racially discriminatory private schools were not entitled to exemption under 501(c)(3) and that donors were not entitled to deductions for contributions to such schools under 170. The court permanently enjoined the Commissioner of [461 U.S. 574, 579] Internal Revenue from approving tax-exempt status for any school in Mississippi that did not publicly maintain a policy of nondiscrimination.

"The IRS's 1970 interpretation of 501(c)(3) was correct. It would be wholly incompatible with the concepts underlying tax exemption to grant tax-exempt status to racially discriminatory private educational entities. Whatever may be the rationale for such private schools' policies, racial discrimination in education is contrary to public policy. Racially discriminatory educational institutions cannot be viewed as conferr'ng a public benefit within the above 'charitable" concept or within the congressional intent underlying 501(c)(3). (pp. 592-96)

"The government's fundamental, overriding interest in eradicating racial discrimination in education substantially outweighs whatever burden denial of tax benefits places on petitioners' exercise of their religious beliefs. Petitioners' asserted interests cannot be accommodated with that compelling governmental interest, and no less restrictive means are available to achieve the governmental interest. (pp. 602-04)

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=461&invol=574

"Rex Lee recused himself from the case. It has been stated that he did this because he had been previously involved in a discrimination case involving the Mormon Church. I have looked for further information about this but have not been able to find any. If anyone has information about original source information, please let me know. He had been the dean of the BYU Law School which was one of the schools that would have been affected by the Bob Jones decision. That also would have been a reason to recuse himself. In 1986-87 Rex Lee did argue the Corporation of Presiding Bishop v. Amos, 483 U.S. 327 (1987) case and did not feel it was a conflict.

"Corporate Sole is the safest organization for a racist 501(c)(3) . . . The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is a Corporate Sole."

"Here are [some] groups that are registered Corporate Soles in the state of Washington and recieving federal tax exempt status:

"--Harrie A. Schmidt Jr., state chairman of the Populist Party, which is run nationally by Ku Klux Klan leader Kim Badynski.

"--Glen Stoll, a Populist Party member who also is involved in the Embassy of Heaven, an anti-government religious organization based in Sublimity, Ore. Stoll was the leader of the Liaison Group, which called for militia members across the Northwest to assist Whatcom County constitutionalist Donald Ellwanger in a 1995 standoff with the IRS.

"--Doyal Gudgel, also active in the Liaison Group, but best known for organizing events in Seattle for David Irving, a British man who denies the Holocaust happened.

"Despite huge holes in the secretary of state's database, Lunsford was able to spot about 50 corporation soles associated with white supremacists, militiamen, constitutionalists or people who deny the Holocaust. He discovered some supporters of the Christian Identity, anti-government group Posse Comitatus had set up "soles" as early as 1979.

http://www.skeptictank.org/corpsoul.htm

"These are non-profits registered for religious purposes:

"The Creativity Movement (TCM) is a non-Christian, non-profit, religious organization, with their head office in Illinois. Creativity [doctrine is] based on the eternal laws of nature. Their prime objective is: 'The survival, expansion and advancement of the White race.' They regard themselves as being motivated by a love for the White race. This implies extreme hatred of non-white races. They are overwhelmingly hate-filled towards Jews, African-Americans, and other non-Whites. They hate homosexual behavior. However their concern in this area appears to be muted in comparison to other White-supremacist organizations.

"The Heritage Preservation Association (HPA) is a non-profit membership group whose purpose is to 'fight political correctness and cultural bigotry against the South.' To that end, the HPA declared 'Total War' last January on those who allegedly attack Southern heritage, focusing especially on the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference because of those groups’ opposition to the Confederate battle flag in South Carolina. Over the last three years, the HPA has worked closely with the white supremacist League of the South to stage pro-Confederate flag rallies and similar events, and in 1999 HPA President P. Charles Lunsford joined the League.

"The NAAWP, like David Duke, has tried to hide its hate but its racist and anti-Semitic views, like those of its founder, are evident. 'NAAWP News,' the group's newsletter, has regularly published articles with titles like 'Anti-Semitism is normal for people seeking to control their own destiny;' 'Jewish control of the media is the single most dangerous threat to Christianity;' and 'Why most Negroes are criminals.'

"From what I have found, the [LDS Church spokesman quote from Bruce Olson] . . . was consistent with the Morg's use of half-truth. [Olson's]statement . . . only addressed the [Mormon] Church as a religious organization. He was not addressing the related issue of the Mormon owned schools: 'It's one thing to distort history, quite another to invent it. Kathy Erickson . . . claims that the federal government threatened the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with its tax-exempt status in 1978 because of the Church's position regarding Blacks and the priesthood. 'We state categorically that the federal government made no such threat in 1978 or at any other time. The decision to extend the blessings of the priesthood to all worthy males had nothing to do with federal tax policy or any other secular law.'

"The Morg was not threatened directly; however their wholly- owned schools were threatened. The financial ramifications in conjunction with the possible political embarrassment made an untenable situation. I wonder if it was engineered it part by SWK. He was a supporter of the change in 1969. Building the temple in Brazil may have been his way of forcing the issue."

(For the full-text version of this critically revealing research paper authored by the above-cited RfM poster, "nao crer"--who has subsequently posted in this thread under the name "Jim Huston" and who has offered a link to his paper, see: http://jhuston.com/Documents/what_we_do_know_about_the_1978.htm)
_____



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/13/2015 12:28PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: lr2014 ( )
Date: October 01, 2014 04:47AM

I think this topic may require a little more research, because President Jimmy Carter was himself embarrassed when it was revealed that his own Baptist Church in Plains,Ga. prohibited black members,and even turned away a black minister seeking to worship. http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20067124,00.html

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 13, 2015 05:17PM

It might help explain Carter's interest in the racist rubbish he saw in the Mormon Church--along with his private note to Kimball expressing his appreciation that Kimball's' Cult had finally decided to shuck its long-standing, bigoted, anti-Black priesthood ban.

Money talks. Until it does, Mormons don't walk the walk.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/13/2015 05:18PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: October 01, 2014 01:17PM

Even the threat of removing LDS Inc's tax exempt status would have been the biggest church-state news story of the latter half of the 20th century (polygamy was probably the biggest news story of the first half).

No media (newspapers, television) ran a story on the details of how LDS Inc nearly lost its tax exemption. All those editors passed on this huge story because there is insufficient evidence (no evidence, IMHO) that it happened.

Have any of you had anything to do with the IRS beyond simply filing your taxes? All interactions with the IRS involves a blizzard of paperwork. There would have been so many people involved in a case like this, both in Utah and in Washington, and such a massive mountain of paperwork, something would have leaked sometime over the last 40 years.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: October 01, 2014 03:03PM

Whether or not there was private "pressure" from the Carter administration or others is unknown.

What's known is that the late 60's and into the 70's, BYU had a big racial problem. Other schools (such as Stanford) refused to participate in sports with BYU, stating the church's (and BYU's) racist policies. Individual atheletes from some schools that didn't officially refuse to compete (such as UTEP) boycotted athletic events.
The church's Scout program also had big problems, since the church required Scout leaders to be priesthood holders, and blacks couldn't hold the priesthood, so there were no black leaders. Additionally, while some church Scout troops allowed black boys to join, others specifically prohibited it (and claimed it was "church policy"). The NAACP filed a lawsuit over the church's racial policies in Scouting (1974)...in response the church changed its official policy about leaders having to be priesthood holders, but then appointed NO black Scout leaders for the next 11 years, claiming there were no qualified candidates (but they weren't being racist, of course!).

It wouldn't surprise me if the Carter administration (or some other) put pressure on the church to change, even to the point of threatening revocation of tax-exempt status. There's just no documentation that such a threat *did* occur, so we can't say that it did.

I should note that the IRS/Government *can* indeed revoke the tax-exempt status of any church without getting into 1st Amendment issues. The 1st Amendment guarantees churches can believe and teach what they want -- it doesn't guarantee they don't have to pay taxes on their income. While such actions are rare, there are at least 18 instances of the IRS revoking the tax-exempt status of churches since 1950, when the churches engaged in behavior the IRS considered contrary to the IRS code's description of charitable or religious organizations.

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Posted by: whywait ( )
Date: October 01, 2014 03:43PM

You may note what you want. It does not make it so, but you are free to note it.

IRS revocations have been because a church became involved in political activities, not because of what the church believes.

If the IRS were to revoke tax status based on a church's beliefs, it clearly would be in violation of the First Amendment.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 13, 2015 12:26PM

. . . and the LDS Corp. was dissolved because of its illegal practice of polygamy, as laid out by both a ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court and an act of the U.S. Congress.

At that point, the Mormon Cult came to Jesus. Wilford Woodruff miraculously had a convenient "revelation" that was designed (at least for public consumption) to get official Mormondum out from under the falling hammer of the feds for its flagrant violation of established law.

A good book for you to read would be "Zion in the Courts: A Legal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1900," by Edwin Brown Firmage and Richard Collin Mangrum (Urbana and Chicago: Board of Trustees of University of Illinois, 1988), 430 pp.



Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 11/13/2015 05:50PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: my two cents ( )
Date: November 13, 2015 01:34AM


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Posted by: Brother Of Jerry ( )
Date: November 13, 2015 09:37AM

The church is right on this one. Their tax exemption was never in any jeopardy over their priesthood policy. Steve Benson has a long post claiming it was in jeopardy. I disagree, and will post a rebuttal when I can find enough time to plow through the whole thing.

Westbrook Baptist still has a tax exemption. That should give you an idea of how difficult it is for a church to lose its exemption over its beliefs.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: November 13, 2015 05:22PM

Brother Of Jerry Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Westbrook Baptist still has a tax exemption. That
> should give you an idea of how difficult it is for
> a church to lose its exemption over its beliefs.

Did you mean Westboro?

The church's tax-exempt status wasn't in jeopardy over its *beliefs.* It was in jeopardy over its ACTIONS. Those two things are not the same.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 13, 2015 05:22PM

. . . and amounts to a smoke-screened dodge that is simply not borne out by the facts.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/13/2015 05:45PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: November 13, 2015 12:05PM

Threats of (or at least the possibility of) serious financial repercussions arguably helped l move the Mormon Church to eventually abandon its notoriously racist anti-Black doctrine that denied the priesthood to men of African heritage.

An examination of how the Mormon Church both faced the threat of legal punishment over it's anti-Black doctrine and how it fared in its attempt to preserve, protect and propagate its anti-Black priesthood denial doctrine is worth examining in the context of recent news coverage of the Mormon Church's expansion of anti-gay teachings, policies and practices.
_____


--Opening the Windows of Tax Exemption Through Black Priesthood Power: Reports of the U.S. Government's Threat to Hammer the Racist Mormon Church Over Its Anti-Black Priesthood Ban--


In a previous post in this forum, RfM participant "guynoirprivateeye" noted that "[o]ver on Facebook someone's making the tax exemption/blacks/priesthood association," and then asked:

"Did Jimmy Carter threaten ChurchCo with a loss of their tax exemption? (Did he have the authority to do so Without Congress?)

"Did said threat prompt the [LDS] Church to allow Blacks to have the PH [priesthood]?"

(posted by "guynoirprivateeye," on "Recover from Mormonism" bulletin board, 12 June 2012)
_____


--Almost Down for the Count: The Mormon Church’s Brush with a Federal Knock-Out Punch Over Its Anti-Black Doctrine--

What is to be made of reports that, circa 1978, the Mormon Church was in danger of losing its federal tax-exempt status due to its racially-discriminatory policies targeted against Blacks?

Predictably, true-believing Mormons have never been willing to admit that their Church was at one time had its back against the Internal Revenue Service ropes, where it was close to being stripped of its tax-exempt status due to its anti-Black doctrine--and barely managed to dance away from a federal government haymaker only by abandoning its officially-sanctioned racial bigotry.
_____


--The Official Mormon Cult Claim: Alleged Threats of Federal Tax-Exempt Revocation Had Absolutely Nothing To Do with Black Men Belatedly Getting the Priesthood--

Speaking for the Mormon Church’s Public Affairs Department in response to accusations about its suspicious reversal of its long-standing anti-Black priesthood doctrine, LDS spokesman Bruce L. Olsen flatly denied that the Mormon Church’s decision to grant priesthood authority to Black men was in any way related to fear of losing federal tax exempt status.

With a straight face, Olsen asserted:

”It's one thing to distort history, quite another to invent it. Kathy Erickson . . . claims that the federal government threatened the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with its tax-exempt status in 1978 because of the Church's position regarding Blacks and the priesthood. We state categorically that the federal government made no such threat in 1978 or at any other time. The decision to extend the blessings of the priesthood to all worthy males had nothing to do with federal tax policy or any other secular law. In the absence of proof, we conclude that Ms. Erickson is seriously mistaken.”

(Bruce L. Olsen, “Distorted History,” in "Public Forum," in "Salt Lake Tribune," 5 April 2001)


Interestingly enough, a former missionary who served under Olsen (when the latter was his mission president) made the following observation about both the Mormon Church’s decision to reverse course on Black priesthood and Olsen:

”If it was tax considerations and liberal Jimmy Carter that made the [LDS] Church abandon institutionalized racism, I can understand why the Church is now so Republican.

”[By the way,] Bruce Olsen was my [mission president] and is a great guy. He does have an impossible job representing the Church on PR issues. Like a Tobacco executive in charge of expounding on the health benefits of tobacco, he has his work cut out for him.”

(“Interesting stuff,” RfM post by “activejackmormon,” 7 February 2006)


Other Mormon apologists have also, of course, emphatically denied that the LDS Church was pressured into rescinding its anti-Black priesthood doctrine by federal officials holding the sword of tax exemption revocation over its white and delightsome head.
____


--Color It Contrary: The Case of Mormon U.S. Solicitor General Rex Lee--

Reacting to Mormon mouthpiece Olsen’s dubious claims, Gary Anderson, in a letter to the editor of the "Salt Lake Tribune," countered:

"I was quite surprised by LDS PR man Bruce Olsen's attack . . . regarding the Mormon Church's motivations for abandoning its anti-Black doctrine . . . .

“His bold assault is particularly amazing in light of the fact that history ‘distortion’ and ‘invention’ have been trademarks of Mormonism since its inception. Of course, the risk in Mr. Olsen's gallant tossing of the gauntlet is that someone might just pick it up.

“For example, it didn't take much investigation to discover that in 1981 the Solicitor General of the United States, Rex Lee, a Mormon, recused himself from a case against Bob Jones University.

“In that case, the U.S. government was threatening to revoke Bob Jones University's tax-exempt status because of its racist policy of prohibiting interracial dating.

"When asked why he took himself off the case, Mr. Lee explained that previously when representing the Mormon Church in a similar case, he had argued that the Church should retain its tax-exempt status despite its racist policies and felt conflicted from arguing an opposing view in the Bob Jones case. (see, 'The Tenth Justice,' [by] Lincoln Caplan, Knopf, 1987, p. 51, note 2 . . . p. 293).

“If the [Mormon] Church's tax-exempt status was never threatened by the U.S. government because of its racist policies, why was Mr. Lee making such an argument, presumably in an era before 1978?

“Given Lee's explanation, Olsen's ‘categorical’ assertion that federal tax law was never a motivating factor in the Church's 1978 change in racial policy rings disingenuous. One thing true history teaches us is that secrecy breeds dishonesty.

“It's fairly easy for Mr. Olsen to hide behind the tightly secured vaults in the Church Office Building and demand proof. If he was a true knight, he would throw open the doors to the vault and invite inquiring minds in to examine the minutes of meetings held by church leaders in the months and days leading up to the 'revelation,' so we might decide for ourselves the Church's actual motivation for the change.

"What's that you say, Mr. Olsen? Salamander got your tongue?"

(Gary Anderson, Springfield, Virginia, letter to the editor, "Salt Lake Tribune," 22 April 2001; for examples of Internet blowback against Olsen's Mormon Inc. spin, see: http://www.lds-mormon.com/taxes_priesthood.shtml)


In the book to which Anderson refers, author Caplan notes, in fact, that U.S. Solicitor General/Mormon Lee (who would eventually become president of BYU) did recuse himself from the case of Bob Jones v. IRS, wherein the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that religious schools which practice racial discrimination could be constitutionally stripped of federal tax exempt protection. Lee, writes Caplan, bowed out of the case because Lee had previously petitioned the IRS for tax exempt refuge in behalf of the racially-discrimnatory Mormon Church. Lee, notes Caplan, begged off because, given his previous advocacy for the color-bound Mormons, he now considered it improper for him to argue in behalf of the IRS against color-bound Bob Jones University.

From Caplan’s book:

”Rex Lee . . . who had been sworn in as Solicitor General seven months before [the Bob Jones brief was filed in 1982], had once represented the Mormon Church when it faced a problem like Bob Jones's and, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, he had taken himself off the case.” (p. 50)

“In 1970, the Internal Revenue Service ruled that Bob Jones no longer qualified for tax-exempt status because of [its] segregationist policy, so the school changed it. Blacks could be accepted if they were married to other Blacks, or if they promised not to date or marry outside their race . . .

"By the time of the Supreme Court case, a decade later, the number of Blacks attending the school was less than a dozen, making the ratio of Whites to Blacks about 550 to one.

“From the vantage point of the Solicitor General's office, the legal issue in the Bob Jones case was routine. It was a tax question.” (p. 53)

As one unpersuaded skeptic points out regarding the Mormon Church’s unpersuasive denials over its threatened tax-exempt status:

”If the IRS had never threatened the LDS Church's tax exempt status, why was Lee arguing over it and race with the IRS on the Church's behalf?”

Another understandable doubter observed:

"The only thing he [Olsen] stated is that the [Mormon] Church never was 'threatened' by the [federal] government, NOT that the Church wasn't worried that such a thing *could* happen and was watching court rulings [like the one that was occurring in Wisconsin] to see if they could continue discriminating against [Black] members.

"Yes, it is possible to lose tax-exempt status for discrimination--Bob Jones University lost it once for its interracial dating policy."

It should be pointed out here that although Lee recused himself from the Bob Jones case, the reasons why he did so are not universally agreed upon.

As one contributor on the RfM board, (formerly known here as "nao crer") has noted:

”It has been stated that he [Lee} did this because he had been previously involved in a discrimination case involving the Mormon Church. . . . He had been the dean of the BYU Law School which was one of the schools that would have been affected by the Bob Jones decision. That also would have been a reason to recuse himself. In 1986-87 Rex Lee did argue the Corporation of Presiding Bishop v. Amos, 483 U.S. 327 [1987] case and did not feel it was a conflict.”

(“What we DO know about the 1978 ‘revelation,’” RfM post by “nao crer,” nao_crer@yahoo.com, 8 February 2006; and idem, “Re: We do the best we can with the sources currently available,” RfM post, 8 February 2006)


Below is the text of "nao crer/Jim Huston's" case (which expands on his RfM posts), arguing that the Mormon Church eventually reversed itself on its anti-Black priesthood ban because, among other concerns, of fear of loss of its tax-exempt status for being designated by the U.S. government under the federal tax code as an organization promoting racial discrimination:

"In 1969 [LDS Apostle] Hugh B. Brown actively lobbied to allow Blacks to receive the priesthood. This was supported by a majority of the Apostles. They formed a 'special committee was to report on the Negro situation.' The change was approved while [Mormon Church president] Harold B. Lee was absent. Upon his return he rejected the decision and persuaded the Quorum to rescind the vote. The reaffirmation of the restriction was a collaborative effort of [Apostles] Neal A. Maxwell, Gordon B. Hinkley and G. Homer Durham. (Michael D. Quinn, 'The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power,' p. 14)

"For decades Spencer W. Kimball had been troubled about this race restriction. (ibid., p. 15) At the cornerstone-laying ceremony for the Brazilian temple 9 March 1977, Kimball privately told Helvecio Martins to prepare himself to receive the priesthood. He pointedly asked if Martins 'understood the implications of what President Kimball had said.' (ibid., p. 16)

"On March 23, 1978 he began discussing the matter with his [First Presidency] counselors. Kimball met privately with individual Apostles who expressed their 'individual thoughts' about his suggested end to the priesthood ban. (ibid.)

"After discussing this in several temple meetings and private discussions, Kimball wrote a statement and presented it to his {First Presidency] counselors on 30 May. He then asked his counselors and apostles to 'fast and pray'……at their temple meeting on 1 June. At the temple council that day 'the feeling was unanimous . . . . '" (ibid.)

"On 7 June 1978 Kimball informed his counselors that 'through inspiration he had decided to lift the restrictions on priesthood.' In the meantime he had asked three Apostles (including Boyd K. Packer) to prepare 'suggested wording for the public announcement of the decision.' (ibid.)

"A letter written to [Apostle] LeGrand Richards on September 11, 1978 corroborates this reason. Chris Vlachos wrote to LeGrand Richards confirming the content of explanations he had been given concerning the revelation. LeGrand Richards acknowledged the letter and in part said, 'It wouldn’t please me if you were using the information I gave you when you were here in my office for public purposes. I gave it to you for your own information, and that is where I would like to see it remain.'

"Here is an excerpt from the letter LeGrand Richards was confirming:

"'One of the most interesting items which you mentioned was that the whole situation was basically provoked by the Brazilian temple—that is, the Mormon Church has had a great difficulty obtaining Priesthood leadership among the South American membership; and now with this new temple, a large proportion of those who have contributed money and work to build it would not be able to use it unless the Church changed its stand with regard to giving the Priesthood to Blacks.

"'I believe that you also mentioned President Kimball as having called each of the Twelve Apostles individually into his office to hear their personal feelings with regard to this issue. While President Kimball was basically in favor of giving the Priesthood to Blacks, didn’t he ask each of you to prepare some references for and against the proposal as found in the scriptures?' (quotes taken from photostatic copies of the letters found in 'SI Banister – For Any Latter-day Saint')."

"The decision was monetary without a doubt. It was also very political. The Mormon Church could easily lose face. The Mormon Church had spent over $50 million on a complex in what was one of the countries producing the most baptisms. It was the new South American distribution center for all materials. It was also the new regional church offices.

"The Mormon Church views temples as profit centers. When a temple is built, they have an identifiable increase in all revenue from the area, and specifically tithing. (Richard and Joan Ostling, "Mormon America")

"There were not enough people with verified ancestry to run the temple, let alone be patrons. Even with the change, missionaries were taken from the field and trained as temple officiators and veil workers to man the temple for the first month it was open.

"As far as dates, the revelation was made June 1978 and the temple dedication was October 1978. Initial training of workers was held in September. Very tight time frames by Morg standards."

Besides the problem of Brailian Blacks not being able to enter or officiate in the newly-built LDS Brazilian temple (thereby depleting the available temple worker work pool), there was the looming threat of the Mormon Church being stripped of its tax-exempt status for advocating and practicing racial bias against Blacks:

"Then there is the issue of the tax exempt status. First you must understand that educational non-profits are treated differently than religious non-profits. Here is an explanation of how religious non-profits are treated.

"In the U.S., the Internal Revenue Service . . . grants non-profit status to churches, synagogues, temples, mosques and other religious organizations. This is of tremendous financial benefit.

"Meanwhile, clergy and other employees are guaranteed free speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They are free to voice their opinions and beliefs, and advocate changes to legislation. They can attack women's freedom to obtain an abortion. They can advocate that special rights be reserved for heterosexuals, and not extended to gays and lesbians, including the right to marry.

"Christian Identity, neo-Nazi groups, and everyone else are free to engage in hate speech against women, racial minorities, sexual minorities, immigrants, and other groups. A pastor in Texas recently called on the U.S. Army to round up and execute area Wiccans with napalm. The tax exempt status of his church was not threatened. Religious groups can promote a stand on other similar 'hot' religious topics, from spanking children to the death penalty and physician assisted suicide.

"They are even allowed by the IRS to contribute small amounts of money and resources to the fight for changes in legislation. In the words of the IRS regulations: 'No substantial part of (church) activities (may consist of) carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation.' Unfortunately, the term 'substantial' is not defined precisely in the service's regulations.

"The IRS was putting pressure on private schools to stop discrimination with the US vs. Bob Jones University. This ruling would directly affect BYU, Ricks, CCH [CHurch College of Hawaii] and other U.S. Mormon [Church]-owned schools. These schools are organized under separate non-profit corporations which are owned by the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As you can see from the following excerpts from case document[s], the Bob Jones University case was directed at educational non-profits. This would have affected the Morg, but not the core [LDS Church] corporation.

"On January 12, 1970, a three-judge District Court for the District of Columbia issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the IRS from according tax-exempt status to private schools in Mississippi that discriminated as to admissions on the basis of race. (Green v. Kennedy, 309 F. Supp. 1127, appeal dism'd sub nom. Cannon v. Green, 398 U.S. 956 [1970]) Thereafter, in July 1970, the IRS concluded that it could 'no longer legally justify allowing tax-exempt status [under 501(c)(3)] to private schools which practice racial discrimination.' (IRS News Release, July 7, 1970, reprinted in App. in No. 81-3, p. A235)

"At the same time, the IRS announced that it could not 'treat gifts to such schools as charitable deductions for income tax purposes [under 170].' (ibid.) By letter dated November 30, 1970, the IRS formally notified private schools, including those involved in this litigation, of this change in policy, 'applicable to all private schools in the United States at all levels of education. . . ' (see id., at A232).

"BYU, Ricks and CCH probably received this letter.

"On June 30, 1971, the three-judge District Court issued its opinion on the merits of the Mississippi challenge. (Green v. Connally, 330 F. Supp. 1150, summarily aff'd sub nom. Coit v. Green, 404 U.S. 997 [1971]). That court approved the IRS's amended construction of the Tax Code. The court also held that racially discriminatory private schools were not entitled to exemption under 501(c)(3) and that donors were not entitled to deductions for contributions to such schools under 170. The court permanently enjoined the Commissioner of [461 U.S. 574, 579] Internal Revenue from approving tax-exempt status for any school in Mississippi that did not publicly maintain a policy of nondiscrimination.

"The IRS's 1970 interpretation of 501(c)(3) was correct. It would be wholly incompatible with the concepts underlying tax exemption to grant tax-exempt status to racially discriminatory private educational entities. Whatever may be the rationale for such private schools' policies, racial discrimination in education is contrary to public policy. Racially discriminatory educational institutions cannot be viewed as conferr'ng a public benefit within the above 'charitable" concept or within the congressional intent underlying 501(c)(3). (pp. 592-96)

"The government's fundamental, overriding interest in eradicating racial discrimination in education substantially outweighs whatever burden denial of tax benefits places on petitioners' exercise of their religious beliefs. Petitioners' asserted interests cannot be accommodated with that compelling governmental interest, and no less restrictive means are available to achieve the governmental interest. (pp. 602-04)

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=461&invol=574

"Rex Lee recused himself from the case. It has been stated that he did this because he had been previously involved in a discrimination case involving the Mormon Church. I have looked for further information about this but have not been able to find any. If anyone has information about original source information, please let me know. He had been the dean of the BYU Law School which was one of the schools that would have been affected by the Bob Jones decision. That also would have been a reason to recuse himself. In 1986-87 Rex Lee did argue the Corporation of Presiding Bishop v. Amos, 483 U.S. 327 (1987) case and did not feel it was a conflict.

"Corporate Sole is the safest organization for a racist 501(c)(3) . . . The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is a Corporate Sole."

"Here are [some] groups that are registered Corporate Soles in the state of Washington and recieving federal tax exempt status:

"--Harrie A. Schmidt Jr., state chairman of the Populist Party, which is run nationally by Ku Klux Klan leader Kim Badynski.

"--Glen Stoll, a Populist Party member who also is involved in the Embassy of Heaven, an anti-government religious organization based in Sublimity, Ore. Stoll was the leader of the Liaison Group, which called for militia members across the Northwest to assist Whatcom County constitutionalist Donald Ellwanger in a 1995 standoff with the IRS.

"--Doyal Gudgel, also active in the Liaison Group, but best known for organizing events in Seattle for David Irving, a British man who denies the Holocaust happened.

"Despite huge holes in the secretary of state's database, Lunsford was able to spot about 50 corporation soles associated with white supremacists, militiamen, constitutionalists or people who deny the Holocaust. He discovered some supporters of the Christian Identity, anti-government group Posse Comitatus had set up "soles" as early as 1979.

http://www.skeptictank.org/corpsoul.htm

"These are non-profits registered for religious purposes:

"The Creativity Movement (TCM) is a non-Christian, non-profit, religious organization, with their head office in Illinois. Creativity [doctrine is] based on the eternal laws of nature. Their prime objective is: 'The survival, expansion and advancement of the White race.' They regard themselves as being motivated by a love for the White race. This implies extreme hatred of non-white races. They are overwhelmingly hate-filled towards Jews, African-Americans, and other non-Whites. They hate homosexual behavior. However their concern in this area appears to be muted in comparison to other White-supremacist organizations.

"The Heritage Preservation Association (HPA) is a non-profit membership group whose purpose is to 'fight political correctness and cultural bigotry against the South.' To that end, the HPA declared 'Total War' last January on those who allegedly attack Southern heritage, focusing especially on the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference because of those groups’ opposition to the Confederate battle flag in South Carolina. Over the last three years, the HPA has worked closely with the white supremacist League of the South to stage pro-Confederate flag rallies and similar events, and in 1999 HPA President P. Charles Lunsford joined the League.

"The NAAWP, like David Duke, has tried to hide its hate but its racist and anti-Semitic views, like those of its founder, are evident. 'NAAWP News,' the group's newsletter, has regularly published articles with titles like 'Anti-Semitism is normal for people seeking to control their own destiny;' 'Jewish control of the media is the single most dangerous threat to Christianity;' and 'Why most Negroes are criminals.'

"From what I have found, the [LDS Church spokesman quote from Bruce Olson] . . . was consistent with the Morg's use of half-truth. [Olson's]statement . . . only addressed the [Mormon] Church as a religious organization. He was not addressing the related issue of the Mormon owned schools: 'It's one thing to distort history, quite another to invent it. Kathy Erickson . . . claims that the federal government threatened the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with its tax-exempt status in 1978 because of the Church's position regarding Blacks and the priesthood. 'We state categorically that the federal government made no such threat in 1978 or at any other time. The decision to extend the blessings of the priesthood to all worthy males had nothing to do with federal tax policy or any other secular law.'

"The Morg was not threatened directly; however their wholly- owned schools were threatened. The financial ramifications in conjunction with the possible political embarrassment made an untenable situation. I wonder if it was engineered it part by SWK. He was a supporter of the change in 1969. Building the temple in Brazil may have been his way of forcing the issue."

(For the full-text version of this critically revealing research paper authored by the above-cited RfM poster, "nao crer"--who has subsequently posted in this thread under the name "Jim Huston" and who has offered a link to his paper, see: http://jhuston.com/Documents/what_we_do_know_about_the_1978.htm)
_____


--The Issue of Tax-Exempt Status, As Applied to the Mormon Church--

In order to understand what was at stake for the Mormon Church in regard to possibly losing its tax-exempt status due to its racial bias against Black men, it is important to understand what kind of tax-exempt protection the LDS Church enjoyed.

Again, reference is made to the research of "nao crer/Jim Huston," who identifies himself as “hold[ing] a CPA in the state of Utah and a Masters in Accounting,” adding that he received his CPA “in 1981, which is in the same time frame [as the Mormon Church reversal of its anti-Black priesthood doctrine].”

He observes that “[t]he IRS law concerning non-profit organizations has not substantially changed since the inception.”

He goes on to explain how educational non-profit organizations and religious non-profit organizations “are treated differently," noting that "[m]eanwhile, clergy and other employees are guaranteed free speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. They are free to voice their opinions and beliefs, and advocate changes to legislation . . . The tax exempt status of [their churches is] not threatened [by doing so]. . . . They are even allowed by the IRS to contribute small amounts of money and resources to the fight for changes in legislation.

“In the words of the IRS regulations:’No substantial part of (church) activities (may consist of) carrying on propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation.’ Unfortunately, the term ‘substantial’ is not defined precisely in the Service's regulations.”

(“What we DO know about the 1978 ‘revelation,’” RfM post by “nao crer” [aka "Jim Huston"], 8 February 2006; and idem, “Corporate Soles--IRS & Bob Jones University,” RfM post, 8 February 2006)
_____


--The Mormon Church Had Good Reason to Fear Revocation of Its Federal Tax-Exempt Status, in Light of the Bob Jones Decision--

The LDS Church which, as a tax-exempt organization, practiced notorious racial discrimination against Blacks, was most likely notified of the Jones decision by the federal government and would have undoubtedly become concerned about losing its tax-exempt status.

As one RfM contributor observes:

”A lot of tax-exempt organizations were worried during the Bob Jones case about losing their exempt status over discriminatory policies, according to my statutory law professor. . . .

“The Supreme Court decided the Bob Jones case in the ‘80s, at which point the federal government (under Reagan) was no longer behind the IRS's interpretation of ‘charitable organization’ defined as excluding those promoting bad public policies, like racism, but Bob Jones still lost in the Court.

“The controversy started years before when the IRS sent Bob Jones a notice that they were no longer tax exempt. Whether the Mormon Church received such a notice from the IRS, they would have been well aware of the situation with Bob Jones long before the Supreme Court case, as most non-profits apparently were.”

(“Aphrodite,” RfM post, 7 February 2005)
_____


Again, in all probability the Mormon Church was notified by the federal government of the potential ramifications it faced in the wake of the Jones decision:

“The IRS was putting pressure on private schools to stop discrimination with the U.S. vs. Bob Jones University. This ruling would directly affect BYU, Ricks, CCH [Church College of Hawaii] and other U.S. Mormon-owned schools.

“These schools are organized under separate non-profit corporations which are owned by the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. . . . [T]he Bob Jones University case was directed at educational non-profits. This would have affected the [Mormon Church], but not [its] core corporation.”

Why, and how, would this have affected the Mormon Church? The answer lies in the tax-exempt status of its privately-owned schools:

”Based on court documents, BYU, CCH, and Ricks were probably notified . . . [since] [t]his affected educational 501(c)(3) organizations.”

How the Bob Jones case, specifically, would have impacted BYU is explained as follows:

”The Bob Jones case was concerning a university and discrimination by the university. BYU is a separate 501(c)(3) corporation and there was a risk of losing its tax exempt status for the same reason as in the Bob Jones case.

“BYU received government research funds and participated in sporting events governed by the Amature Sports Act. It is an educational non-profit rather than a religious non-profit.”

”Religious organizations are allowed to discriminate. There are early rulings on this but in 1987 the Mormon Church was directly involved in such a case. In Corporation of Presiding Bishop v. Amos, 483 U.S. 327 (1987), it was affirmed that a religious organizations can discriminate in hiring under section 702 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Religions have always been able to limit their membership to any group. There are many examples of religious organizations that limit their membership. . . . Religions could always do whatever they want as long as they were not taking public money.”

To repeat, not only is the Mormon Church a registered 501 (c)(3) organization, it is a racially discriminatory one, safely organized as such as a Corporate Sole.

Just how the Bob Jones ruling affected private schools like Mormon Church-owned BYU was made clear in a federal court ruling that denied tax-exempt status to private schools. These rulings undoubtedly would have given the racially-discriminatory Mormon Church serious pause about its own standing before the federal government on the matter of continued tax-exemption protection:

“On January 12, 1970, a three-judge District Court for the District of Columbia issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the IRS from according tax-exempt status to private schools in Mississippi that discriminated as to admissions on the basis of race.( Green v. Kennedy, 309 F. Supp. 1127, appeal dism'd sub nom. Cannon v. Green, 398 U.S. 956 [1970]).

“Thereafter, in July 1970, the IRS concluded that it could ‘no longer legally justify allowing tax-exempt status [under 501(c)(3)] to private schools which practice racial discrimination.’ ( IRS News Release, July 7, 1970, reprinted in App. in No. 81-83, p. A235).

“At the same time, the IRS announced that it could not ‘treat gifts to such schools as charitable deductions for income tax purposes [under 170].’ (Ibid) By letter dated November 30, 1970, the IRS formally notified private schools, including those involved in this litigation, of this change in policy, ‘applicable to all private schools in the United States at all levels of education.’” (emphasis added)" (See id., at A232).

“BYU, Ricks and CCH probably received this letter.”

Why the Mormon Church, burdened as it was with its anti-Black priesthood doctrine, would have been concerned about losing its federal tax-exempt status was made abundantly clear in the district court’s ruling:

“On June 30, 1971, the three-judge District Court issued its opinion on the merits of the Mississippi challenge (Green v. Connally, 330 F. Supp. 1150, summarily aff'd sub nom. Coit v. Green, 404 U.S. 997 [1971]). That court approved the IRS's amended construction of the Tax Code.

“The court also held that racially discriminatory private schools were not entitled to exemption under 501(c)(3) and that donors were not entitled to deductions for contributions to such schools under 170. The court permanently enjoined the Commissioner of [461 U.S. 574, 579] Internal Revenue from approving tax-exempt status for any school in Mississippi that did not publicly maintain a policy of nondiscrimination.

”The IRS's 1970 interpretation of 501(c)(3) was correct. It would be wholly incompatible with the concepts underlying tax exemption to grant tax-exempt status to racially discriminatory private educational entities. Whatever may be the rationale for such private schools' policies, racial discrimination in education is contrary to public policy. Racially discriminatory educational institutions cannot be viewed as conferring a public benefit within the above 'charitable' concept or within the congressional intent underlying 501(c)(3).( pp. 592-596).

”The government's fundamental, overriding interest in eradicating racial discrimination in education substantially outweighs whatever burden denial of tax benefits places on petitioners' exercise of their religious beliefs. Petitioners' asserted interests cannot be accommodated with that compelling governmental interest, and no less restrictive means are available to achieve the governmental interest pp. 602-604).

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=461&invol=574 "


This key information pointing, as it does, to the real vulnerablity Mormon Church-owned private schools faced with regard to having their tax-exempt status removed by the federal government because of the LDS Church's racially discriminatory practices was completely ignored by LDS spokesman Bruce Olsen.

Worse still, Olsen grossly misrepresented the facts--a point that cannot be repeated enough. As Olsen's inartful dodging demonstrates, Mormon Church spokesmen are akin to diplomats, in that both are sent forth to lie in behalf of the organizations they represent:

"[Olsen's] . . . quote . . . was consistent with the [Mormon Church's] use of half truth. [His] statement . . . only addressed the Church as a religious organization. He was not addressing the related issue of the Mormon owned schools. [Again, quoting Olsen:] 'It's one thing to distort history, quite another to invent it. Kathy Erickson . . . claims that the federal government threatened the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with its tax-exempt status in 1978 because of the Church's position regarding Blacks and the priesthood. We state categorically that the federal government made no such threat in 1978 or at any other time. The decision to extend the blessings of the priesthood to all worthy males had nothing to do with federal tax policy or any other secular law.' [end quote]

"The [Mormon Church] was not threatened directly; however, their wholly-owned schools were threatened. The financial ramifications in conjunction with the possible political embarrassment made an untenable situation."

(“BYU (Edited),” RfM post by “nao crer," 7 February 2006; “Educational nonprofits,” idem, RfM post, 8 February 2006; “What we DO know about the 1978 ‘revelation,’” idem, RfM post, 8 February 2006; and idem, "I appreciate your thanks," RfM post, 9 February 2006)

**NOTE: For a paper written by the above-cited RfM poster, "nao crer" (who has subsequently posted in this thread under the handle "Jim Huston" and who offers a link to the entire paper), visit the site which Huston has graciously provided, at: http://jhuston.com/Documents/what_we_do_know_about_the_1978.htm
_____


--An Insider Source Within the Mormon Church Confirmed That Fear of Losing Its Tax-Exempt Status Helped Drive LDS, Inc. to Abandon Its Anti-Black Priesthood Ban--

Writing in their article, “Death of the Anti-Black Doctrine,” Jerald and Sandra Tanner recount what they discovered concerning the Mormon Church’s tax-driven disavowal of its racist teachings:

”. . . [W]e . . . learned from a source within the [Mormon] Church that Church leaders were very concerned that they were going to lose their tax exempt status on property they own in the United States.

“In the months just prior to the revelation, {LDS] Church leaders were carefully watching developments in a case in Wisconsin in which an organization was about to lose its tax exempt status because of racial discrimination.

“The Church leaders finally became convinced that the tide was turning against them and that they would lose their tax exempt status in Wisconsin and eventually throughout the United States because of their doctrine of discrimination against Blacks. . . .

“[I]t may very well have been the ‘straw that broke the camel's back.’”

(Jerald and Sandra Tanner, “Death of the Anti-Black Doctrine,” in "Salt Lake City Messenger," Issue No. 41, December 1979)
_____


--A Reported Warning to Mormon President Spencer W. Kimball from U.S. President Jimmy Carter--

According to one source, amid mounting pressures for the Mormons to join the 20th century, the Chief Executive of the United States did some arm twisting of his own.

”Kimball's announcement [reversing the LDS anti-Black priesthood ban] coincided with events which were adversely affecting the Mormon Church.

“For a period of time immediately prior to Kimball's declaration, several major universities, had announced that until such time as the Mormon Church reversed its policy of racial discrimination, they would no longer take part in athletic events in which BYU participated.

“More importantly though, approximately two weeks prior to Kimball's surprising declaration, President Jimmy Carter had phoned Kimball and informed him that the IRS was seriously considering removing the Mormon Church's tax exempt status unless changes were made in their policy of discrimination.”

http://www.unlimitedglory.org/txtmormon3.htm


Providing possible credence to the claim of a purported phone call from President Carter to President Kimball (in which the former allegedly warned the latter that the Mormon Church’s tax-exempt status was in danger of being removed unless it jettisoned its racially discriminatory practice of banning Blacks from the priesthood), are indicators that a Carter-Kimball line of personal communication did, in fact, already exist around the time that the LDS Church revoked its anti-Black priesthood ban.

One piece of tantalizing evidence indicating a close relationship between Carter and Kimball comes from Carter’s White House daily diary entry dated 11 March 1977, in which it is noted that Carter met with Kimball for 21 minutes, although the details of their discussion were not specified.

http://www.jimmycarterlibrary.org/documents/diary/1977/d031177t.pdf


A photograph of their White House encounter was actually captured on film.

As one observer noted:

”According to the President Carter Library, President Kimball and Jimmy Carter met on 03/11/1977. [T]his would be in the right time frame.

“And a good search revealed the actual photograph—at lds.org.

http://www.lds.org/churchhistory/presidents/images/presidents/SWK_JCarter_4018_14_tn.jpg

(“According to the President Carter Library,” RfM post by “CLee the Anti-Mormon,” 8 February 2006)


Indeed, Edward Kimball, in his biographical work, "Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball," reports that President Kimball received a phone call from President Carter the same year of their White House meeting:

”In 1977, President Kimball and Marion G. Romney were attending a stake conference in Filmore, Utah. The White House telephone operator tracked President Kimball down and said that President Jimmy Carter wished to speak to him.

“Spencer was at the pulpit speaking, so President Romney took the call. President Carter was preparing to speak at a Baptist convention about missionary work and asked many questions about the Mormon program: How many missionaries? What salary do they receive? How long do they serve? Where do they come from? Where are they sent? He complimented the Church on an inspired program and asked that he be sent additional information."

Five months before the Mormon Church abandoned its priesthood prohibition against Black males, Carter was the invited guest of the LDS Church at a Salt Lake City event celebrating the family. Carter’s participation in those festivities are described on the Mormon Church’s official website:

"On 27 January . . . (1978), President Jimmy Carter of the United States was invited by . . . [the Mormon] Church to the All-American Family Week held in Salt Lake City.

“After the meeting, President Carter said that attending the Family Week was a most pleasurable experience for him. He also praised the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for launching the welfare and community services programs. He remarked, ‘If these programmes can be extended to all states in the nation, my job as the president will be much easier.’”

When Kimball eventually announced the Mormon Church’s reversal of its anti-Black priesthood ban, Carter again contacted him, this time by written correspondence. According to the article, “The LDS Church and African-Americans: THE PRIESTHOOD BAN":

“Jimmy Carter, then-president of the United States, wrote President Kimball, ‘I welcome today your announcement. . . . I commend you for your compassionate prayerfulness and courage in receiving a new doctrine. This announcement brings a healing spirit to the world and reminds all men and women that they are truly brothers and sisters

In the Mormon publication, "Meridian Magazine," under the headline, “Hallelujah! The 25th Anniversary of the Revelation on Priesthood,” Maurine Jensen Proctor reports that Carter made this contact with Kimball in order to relay his approval of the Mormon Church’s reversal on its racist ban relative to Black membership in the LDS priesthood:

”President Jimmy Carter commended President Spencer W. Kimball for ‘compassionate prayerfulness and courage.’


If one is to believe Latter-day lore, Carter even suggested to Kimball that the Mormon Church’s reversal on its ban against Black priesthood acquisition was divinely inspired.

According to LDS writer Janet Brigham:

"Even President Jimmy Carter implied acceptance of the revelation's divine origin. A telegram from Carter to President Kimball said, "I commend you for your compassionate prayerfulness and courage in receiving a new doctrine."

(Much of the above information on the Carter-Kimball connection comes from “Polygamy and Racism--a funny but sad story,” RfM post by “cricket,” in which the author notes that he also “found some notes about Jimmy Carter and Spencer Kimball.” 7 February 2006)


What the evidence of Carter-Kimball connective tissue shows is that a line of interpersonal contact existed between the two men during the time period when the Mormon Church was considering, and eventually implementing, its priesthood change pertaining to Black men.

With Carter and Kimball enjoying such a comfortable and regular one-to-one communication around the time of the Mormon Church's anti-Black doctrinal flip-flop, this potentially opens another investigative trail for following up on claims that Carter also allegedly warned Kimball that continuation of the LDS priesthood ban against Blacks could endanger its tax-exempt position.
_____


--Not-So-Secret Combinations: Consumer Boycotts, Vacation Detours, NAACP Lawsuits, ACLU Threats, Advice from Paid Professional Consultants--and Pressure from the IRS--

At the time the Mormon Church relented and reversed its anti-Black doctrine, societal and governmental forces were converging to bring it to its wobbly white and delightsome knees:

” . . . [A]nti-Mormons urged for boycotts of recordings of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the cancellation of vacations to Utah. The NAACP initiated several lawsuits against Mormon Boy Scout troops, charging that Church policy was foisting racism on minority Scouts. . . . “

“Several professional consulting firms which the Church had previously hired for other matters suggested to Church leaders that they reconsider the status of Blacks in the Mormon Church as part of a major overhaul of church policy. . . .”

“Worst of all, the IRS suggested that the racial policies of the Mormon Church might justify a suspension of its tax-exempt status.”

(Lorraine Hewlett, “The Second Great Accomodation,” 17 June 2004)


Mike Schreib, pastor of the Pionner Baptist Bible Church in Ontario, California, in an article entitled, “Mormonism: A Religion for Dumb White People,” further lays out the legal hurdles facing a besieged Mormon Church in danger of taking a haymaker tax hit to the chin:

”In early 1978, the Mormon Church found itself suffering from a massive news media campaign criticizing their attitudes towards blacks and nonwhites. Allegations of discrimination and racism by such groups as the NAACP and ACLU were directed against the LDS Church, and rightly so.

"The Mormon leadership began to sweat.

“If things progressed badly for them, they feared losing large numbers of their members who saw the Church as a White supremacist haven, and were willing to tell the media about it. Even worse, they feared losing their federal tax exempt status from the IRS; a loss that would have devastated their financial empire.

“THE SOLUTION

“On June 8, 1978, Mormon President and prophet, Spencer W. Kimball announced to the world a new “Official Declaration” from the Lord.

"Suddenly, he claimed, '. . . {A]ll worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood WITHOUT REGARD TO RACE OR COLOR.' (emphasis added by Schreib)

In short, it is reasonable to conclude that the Mormon Church's bean counters likely showed the Mormon Church's top brass what LDS Inc.'s punitive federal tax liability would be if it continued its racist priesthood ban against Blacks and, hence, a come-to-Jesus "revelation" was conveniently produced.

The cult monitoring group, “Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance” offers a broad overview of the increasing governmental pressures being brought to bear on the Mormon Church to abandon its racist doctrines and practices toward Blacks:

”More federal political pressure was felt by the [Mormon] Church in the 1970s over the Church's institutionalized racism.

"The Pearl of Great Price limited the advancement within the Church by Blacks or by persons with Black ancestors. (Higher levels in the priesthood were permitted for Australian aboriginal males, Polynesian men, etc.). . . .

“The U.S. Internal Revenue Service threatened [the] LDS's tax exempt status.

"There was a groundswell of opinion against racism by many Americans who recognized the centuries of injustice against Afro-Americans.

"Additional opposition came from sports groups which threatened to cancel events with Brigham Young University.

"Anti-Mormon religious groups promoted boycotts of Church businesses and of Utah tourism.

"The Church received a new revelation from God in [June] 1978 . . . which abolished racism within the Church. “

Hallelujah, indeed.
____


--Memories of National News Accounts Indicating Mormon Church Fear of Losing Its Tax-Exempt Status Due to Its Anti-Black Priesthood Doctrine--

News reports around the time that the Mormon Church reversed its anti-Black priesthood ban are said to have detailed the Church’s concern about losing its tax-exempt protection.

Writes one recollecting observer:

”I was not a member at the time but remember hearing all this discussion (in the late '70's) on the ‘national news’ about the LDS Church being threatened with losing its tax exempt status over discrimination issues.

“The topic was a hot one--and it blew over quickly when the ‘Blacks [and] the priesthood’ revelation was issued.

”I've been amazed that so few members of the Church seem to be aware that this was even an issue. There have to be some recorded media reports at the time or articles in Time and other news magazines that we can compile and reference.”

(“. . . [T]his is a great summary. [W]e need to keep working on this,” RfM post by “FCI,” 8 February 2006)
_____


--Saving Mormonism's Tax-Exempt Bacon with a Touch of Revelation--

The California-based Christian Research Institute Journal sums up the LDS Church’s financially-footed flip-flop on its anti-Black doctrine, in the coldest of cold cash terms.

Writes Latayne C. Scott in “Mormonism and the Question of Truth:”

”LDS leaders . . . perceived threats in both the outcome of a recent court case on racial discrimination and in the possibility of an IRS review of the Church's tax-exempt status.

“So, in a tersely-worded statement (a far cry from earlier revelations, which began with 'Thus saith the Lord') the Church announced that Blacks were suddenly eligible for the priesthood it had denied them for almost 150 years.”



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/13/2015 05:41PM by steve benson.

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