A billionaire from Utah, Jeff T. Inexperienced, stated he was resigning this week from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in an unusually high-profile rebuke of the church’s wealth and place on social points.
Mr. Inexperienced, who runs an promoting expertise agency and is believed to be one of many wealthiest individuals from Utah, didn’t say what triggered him to make such a public exit this week. However he stated in a letter to Russell M. Nelson, the church’s president, that he was involved concerning the church’s historical past, funds and advocacy.
“Whereas most members are good individuals attempting to do proper, I consider the church is actively and at the moment doing hurt on the planet,” he wrote within the letter, which was reported Monday by The Salt Lake Tribune.
Within the letter, a duplicate of which was dated Dec. 23, he stated he had stopped believing within the church’s teachings greater than a decade in the past and had spent a number of years reflecting on his points with it. “I consider the Mormon Church has hindered international progress in girls’s rights, civil rights and racial equality, and L.G.B.T.Q.+ rights,” he wrote.
The church’s press workplace didn’t reply to a request for remark.
Within the letter, Mr. Inexperienced, 44, requested for his information to be faraway from the church and for his solely different contact from the group to be a letter confirming that he was now not a member. Certainly one of his associates and 11 of his members of the family had been additionally resigning, he stated.
Kathleen Flake, a professor of Mormon research on the College of Virginia in Charlottesville, stated this form of formal exit from the church was much like a renunciation of citizenship. To return to the church, an individual must be rebaptized.
“Renouncing it’s a political act; it’s a approach of constructing a political assertion, not only a spiritual assertion,” she stated.
She stated it was unlikely that the church, which has greater than 16 million members, would reply.
“I believe they care, however I don’t suppose they’re shocked by such public statements,” Professor Flake, a church member, stated. “They’ve merely had an excessive amount of expertise with it to suppose that they may escape this sort of public engagement with their ethical requirements.”
Mr. Inexperienced, who now lives in Southern California, was additionally essential of the church’s wealth, which incorporates an funding fund paid for with contributions by members. The fund had $48 billion value of shares as of Sep. 30, based on SEC filings.
“This cash comes from individuals, usually poor, who wholeheartedly consider you signify the desire of Jesus,” Mr. Inexperienced wrote. “They provide, anticipating the blessings of heaven.”
The administration of the fund has come underneath scrutiny lately after a former supervisor accused the church of deceptive members about the usage of the funds. Church officers informed The Wall Avenue Journal final 12 months that the cash was for use throughout attainable financial downturns.
In September, a federal choose dismissed a lawsuit introduced by a distinguished former member, James Huntsman, that accused the church of utilizing the cash for business functions.
Mr. Inexperienced, the chief government of the agency The Commerce Desk, is value $5.2 billion, based on Forbes. In November, he pledged to provide away greater than 90 p.c of his wealth earlier than or at his loss of life.
This week Mr. Inexperienced additionally introduced he was donating $600,000 to Equality Utah, a gaggle that advocates L.G.B.T.Q. rights within the state.
He informed The Tribune that just about half the cash would go to a scholarship fund for college students in Utah, together with those that “may have or need” to go away Brigham Younger College, which is sponsored by the church and has an honor code that prohibits same-sex “romantic conduct.”