Read James Huntsman’s lawsuit against the LDS Church

Federal lawsuit seeks to recover at least $5 million of wealthy donor’s tithing money, claiming church officials misled on spending from investment fund.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Church Office Building, located at 50 E. North Temple, Salt Lake City, is home to the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The faith now faces a fraud lawsuit from James Huntsman.

Accusatory and almost indignant in its tone, a new federal lawsuit filed Tuesday by James Huntsman, son of the late Utah industrialist-philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr., against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints seeks to recover millions of dollars donated to the worldwide faith in tithing.

Now you can read the 13-page suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, right here.

Here are some highlights:

• Huntsman, a California resident, says church leaders “dishonestly and fraudulently placed its own commercial financial interests above the loyalty and well-being of the church’s most devout members” — including him.

• It cites fives times when the faith’s top leaders assured members that tithing was used only for church purposes such as missionary work and temple-building — and that none of those funds were ever used for City Creek Center, the church-built shopping mall in downtown Salt Lake City.

• The lawsuit points to a December 2019 whistleblower complaint to the IRS that alleged the church instead used up to $2 billion to financially support both City Creek and a church-backed insurance company, Beneficial Life.

• The suit demands the return of at least $5 million in tithing, so Huntsman can spend the cash to benefit other causes “marginalized by the church’s teachings and doctrines, including by donating to charities supporting LGBTQ, African American, and women’s rights.”

• The court document also used unconventional boldface asides, including a quote from Brigham Young, as it recounted remarks by Latter-day Saint leaders it portrays as a betrayal of members’ intentions.

Huntsman Lawsuit by The Salt Lake Tribune on Scribd