Thursday, June 17, 2021

Tithe Payers: Look What You Just Bought!

After many years of paying tithing, I think you and I just may have justification for a free trip and hotel stay in Maui.

You see, after having paid many thousands of dollars over the years to the church in the form of tithing, I feel I'm entitled to my free vacay. That's because the church recently spent $100 million to purchase a hotel in Maui.


By Janis L. Magin  –  Senior Editor, Pacific Business News
Jun 15, 2021, 8:16pm EDT
An affiliate of the Utah-based real estate arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has purchased the Residence Inn by Marriott Maui Wailea hotel for just under $100 million, according to public records.

75 Wailea Ike Drive LLC, an affiliate of Laie-based Hawaii Reserves Inc. and Salt Lake City-based Property Reserve, closed on the acquisition of the 200-room limited-service hotel on 6.4 acres mauka of the Grand Wailea Maui, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, on March 19 for $99.3 million.

The seller was Piilani Hotels LLC, an affiliate of R.D. Olson Development and Joseph Martelli Real Estate Investments Inc., which developed the all-suite hotel in Wailea that was completed and opened in 2016.

R.D. Olson had acquired the land from Alexander & Baldwin in 2014 for $10.6 million and spent an undisclosed amount to build the hotel, which remained open to airline and cruise crews last year during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was the second limited-service hotel on Maui for the developer, whose affiliate R.D. Olson Construction also built the 138-room Courtyard by Marriott near Kauhului Airport that opened in 2012.

R.D. Olson Construction also recently completed Maui’s first AC Hotel by Marriott in Wailea, a four-story, 100-room hotel built on 3.7 acres just makai of the Residence Inn in Waliea that R.D. Olson bought from A&B in 2017 for $3.6 million. The hotel opened on May 21.

R.D. Olson Development recently closed on the purchase of 6.3 acres at Maui Business Park in Kahului for $10.9 million for a second hotel near the airport.

Hawaii Reserves owns at least one other hotel in Hawaii — the Laie Courtyard by Marriott hotel next to the Polynesian Cultural Center.

The AC Hotel by Marriott Maui Wailea opened on May 21 next door to the Residence Inn by Marriott Maui Wailea.

Wow, check this place out!


Please go here to check out the hotel your tithing dollars invested in: https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/hnmmc-wailea-beach-resort-marriott-maui/

You'll notice that the Marriott Maui Wailea has lots of room options. For example, the "Garden View Room Guest room, 1 King or 2 Queen" (https://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-rooms/details/hnmmc-wailea-beach-resort-marriott-maui/terr/) goes for about $1,400 a night. How about the other rooms? I'll save you some time; most cost a lot more.


Here's the dining area:


I can just see Jesus, the beggars, the lepers and other social outcasts feeling right at home here. Talk about the perfect spot to eat, drink and be merry!


"And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:16-21)


"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)

Boy does this open up a multitude of questions!

Based on the aforementioned facts, I have the following questions:

  • According to the church (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics/tithing?lang=eng), "Tithing funds are always used for the Lord’s purposes—to build and maintain temples and meetinghouses, to sustain missionary work, to educate Church members, and to carry on the work of the Lord throughout the world." For which of these purposes is the hotel to be used for:. 
    • Building and maintaining temples? (Unless it'll be converted into a temple, doubtful) 
    • Sustaining missionary work? (Very doubtful that it will become the Hawaii MTC)
    • Educating church members? (Unless it's surfing lessons, no)
    • Carrying on the work of the Lord throughout the world? (Also very doubtful)
  • With those stated purposes of tithing money not applicable, then why does the Church need a 200-room limited-service hotel on 6.4 acres of Maui?
  • If it's for investment purposes, then how does the church's investment strategy align with Matthew 6:19-21 (above)?
  • Who will be staying at the hotel?
  • In order for the hotel to be Marriott branded, the church is going to have to pay hefty licensing fees. To whom will these fees be paid? Are they members of the church?
  • With bishops telling ward leaders that budget allocations are based on "sacred funds," what is to be said to those wards struggling to get decent budget funds?
  • It seems like we just went through a pandemic. There were / are a lot of people hurting around the world that could have used some help. What are we to say to those who are unemployed these days and even struggling to pay rent/mortgage, food and astronomical health care costs?
  • What is the scriptural justification for purchasing hotels?
  • Who do I contact for my free vacay? I wonder what they would say if I call the hotel (808-879-1922)?
  • Is there no more need for schools, hospitals, water wells, homeless shelters, womens and childrens shelters, etc?

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3 comments:

Janeen said...

My brother worked for the LDS church and we had these conversations many times about the church investments. He was certain (until recently) that tithing monies were not used for investments that it all came under Zion Securities. I know someone has posted info on the differences between what is supposed investments and what is tithing. Anyone know where I can find that documentation?

Latter-Day Truths said...

Janeen,

To answer your question, I consulted an investment advisor who invests client funds similar to what the church does (with the exception that all of his clients have to pay taxes, and he has to disclose all of his investments). He's very familiar with the semantics that the Church is using.

Long story very short (according to him): No one amasses $100 billion from pure earnings. The "seed capital " has to come from somewhere. In the case of the church's investments, they came, and continue to come, from tithing.

To substantiate this claim, the Wall Street Journal interviewed church and Ensign Peak (the church's investment arm) officials. Their article included this quote: "Annual donations from the church’s members more than covers the church’s budget. The surplus goes to Ensign Peak." Neither the church, nor Ensign Peak Advisors, contended that claim.
https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-mormon-church-amassed-100-billion-it-was-the-best-kept-secret-in-the-investment-world-11581138011?st=i1nrv402wccnod7&reflink=article_email_share

My investment advisor friend says most estimates put the excess contributions from the church at about a billion dollars a year to their investment fund. Those contributions, coupled with compound growth and no taxes over decades, results in Ensign Peak Advisors' investments being larger than most Wall Street firms.

Janeen said...

Thank you very much for your follow up. I appreciate your time.