With news that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has amassed $100 billion (at least) in a secret account, now seems like a good time to declare that none of that money is — or ever was — mine.
I just had tithing settlement with my bishop. I don’t know why. Bishop G knows I don’t pay tithing, which I suppose is why none of the tithing settlement questions had anything to do with money.
BG • “How’s it going?”
Me • “Good.”
BG • “You keep any guns or explosives in the library?”
Me • “Not since you told me to stop.”
BG • “Good. Good. What about letting the Young Men smoke in the library.”
Me • “Hell no. Their moms would kill me.”
That’s how my tithing settlement interview went. Bishop G knows I’m in an interfaith marriage, and that my wife and I agree on the principle of tithing but believe that it ought to go directly to people in actual need — hungry children, unwed mothers, homeless, etc.
So what is my church doing with all that money? I have no idea. A few things do occur to me, though.
More than $100 billion is a lot. I say “more than” because $100 billion is all we supposedly know about. It’s almost twice the annual intake of drug cartels.
My first thought was maybe a modernization of the missionary program. After all, the best way to make money is by spending money — or so they say. It’s never worked for me.
What if the church plans to nuclearize its proselytizing? A nuclear submarine pencils out at around $10 billion. The church would need only a couple of those, because cruise missiles cost about a hundred grand apiece.
Say the church gets an inquiry letter from Chung Pow Ding, a small village deep in China’s hinterlands, where no necktie-wearing kid from Provo has ever gone.
For the (relatively) small cost of a few billion, the submarine LDSS Heber J. Grant could stand off the coast of China and launch a couple of missionary missiles.
Imagine the surprise of the farmer in Chung Pow Ding when two elders slam to a stop on his stoop — scaring the crap out of his chickens and a timeshare goat — ready to teach his family the atomic gospel.
For $100 billion, the church could buy a squadron of F-22 Raptor jets if it wanted. More likely, though, it would opt to become a nuclear power for the simple reason that it’s more in line with prophecy.
A nuclear warhead costs about $1.8 million to build. The missiles are extra. But what better way to prepare for the Second Coming? Here’s where it gets good: The missile silos would be dug for free by elders quorums.
For around $50 billion, we could send the same workforce to the moon. The Second Coming will be expensive, people, and that moon isn’t going to paint itself red.
Besides the “blood” moon, other signs of the pending return of Christ are wars, famine, disease, turmoil, wickedness, storms, earthquakes, all of which are expensive. We need to save up for them.
According to Mormon doctrine, Christ will come and “dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years.” I don’t think we can expect him to do that on a per diem.
As for what else the church might spend its “harder to fit through the eye of a needle” cash reserve on, I don’t have a clue. Right now, I’m focused on Santa Claus.
Have a merry whatever, y’all. I don’t have the money to give you anything else.
Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.