The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released an official statement on Monday after 60 Minutes aired a new episode on Sunday night about how the Church manages its finances.
The statement reads:
“The Church believes in being financially responsible by carefully ensuring it has adequate resources available to fulfill its divinely appointed responsibilities. To Church members who support the work of salvation through living the gospel of Jesus Christ, caring for those in need, inviting all to receive the gospel and uniting families for eternity, we’ll continue to move forward consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ which makes this world a better place.”
The press release continues:
“It’s unfortunate ‘60 Minutes’ sought to elevate a story based on unfounded allegations by a former employee who has a different view on how the Church should manage its resources.”
In the 60 Minutes segment, journalist Sharyn Alfonsi interviewed David Nielson, the former manager of the church investment firm and Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, the first counsellor in the Presiding Bishopric.
Nielson commented that in his nine years working for the church, the value of its investments passed $100 billion dollars. He alleges that the money was used in ways to bend the law.
“He says the firm (Ensign Peak Advisor, which manages the Church’s investments) used false records and statements to masquerade as a charity, stockpiling money and misleading church members,” Alfonsi said in the segment.
Nielson stated that he’d been told that the Church stockpiled that money in preparation for the second coming of Jesus Christ.
“That is flat-out wrong,” Bishop Waddell said. “As a Christian church, we believe that someday Jesus Christ will return, but that’s not why we have those resources. It’s for the continuing operation and for the future.”
Nielson filed a 74-page complaint to the IRS in 2019. If the IRS determines that he’s right, he will receive up to 30% of the money that the IRS collects from the Church.
The Church has not been found guilty of the allegations that Nielson has publicly said.