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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

408: POWER IN HIGH PLACES


The Presiding Bishop is the highest position inside the LDS Church hierarchy in regards to the Aaronic Priesthood. The responsibilities of the Presiding Bishop is to:
  • Oversees the temporal affairs – i.e. buildings, properties, commercial corporations, etc. – of the church.
  • Oversees all the bishoprics around the world.
  • Key Member of the “Council on the Disposition of Tithes” – the group that decides how to spend “sacred” money.
  • Has power to convene the “Common Council of the Church,” the group which can initiate trials on the President of the Church
  • Receives all of  tithing donations.
  • Oversees the “LDS Foundation,” a department which “correlates, encourages, facilitates, and accepts voluntary philanthropic contributions to the Church and its related organizations and activities.”
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors of Property Reserve, Inc., the commercial real estate arm of the Church which owns numerous other investments and companies.
The Church Handbook of Instructions simplifies the duties of the Presiding Bishop as: “The Presiding Bishopric is the presidency of the Aaronic Priesthood of the Church (see D&C 107:15). Under the direction of the First Presidency, the Presiding Bishopric administers the temporal affairs of the Church (see D&C107:68).” To the general church membership, the fewer details the better.

Bishop H. David Burton was called to be the Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 27 December 1995. He had previously served for 14 years as secretary to the Presiding Bishopric and as assistant Church budget officer for a year. Prior to Church employment he worked for Kennecott Copper Corporation (Possible connection with Kennecott Copper and the Hopis) and the Utah State Tax Commission. While serving as Presiding Bishop, Burton spent close to 10 years in building the mammoth urban City Creek Center with its exclusive mall, high-end exclusive condominiums, corporate offices and shops in downtown Salt Lake City. In 2011, he was given the prestigious award of the Giant in Our City.


After serving as the church's presiding bishop for 16 years, Bishop Burton was appointed the new UTA Board Chairman in 2014. However it was reported in the news that he created controversy when the board decided to close its committee meetings to the public, drawing widespread criticism from the public and elected officials, including the governor.  He later stepped down and became the new Chairman of the University of Utah Board of Trustees. Shortly after his installment as chairman of the Board of the University of Utah, a exclusive mansion owned by the LDS Church was gifted to the University of Utah and named after Thomas S Monson. I wrote about it here and here.


In the news this week, Burton came under scrutiny as being part of firing the Huntsman Cancer Institute CEO. John Huntsman attacked H. David Burton, chairman of the U. board of trustees and publically went on record by saying:

"(Burton) is the one who ruined Utah Transit Authority, and now he came over and now he's chairman of the board of trustees," he said. "I told the governor last night, 'Can't you pick somebody in this state who is pro-cancer (research) and who is willing to make Utah stand tall and strong?'"

However, today it was reported that Huntsman Cancer Institute director was reinstated.

Oh the power of money.. and the threat of not having a personal jet at the Church's disposal. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh the temptations that come with power.

    Perhaps when one has been given so much authority, power and praise their glasses become dark and they cannot see outside of their own elite circle. We see this same disposition in Washington.

    However, I believe "we the people" are guilty of keeping these type of individuals on their pedestals by the adoration we place upon them through awards, and special ceremonies. The new Thomas S Monson building you wrote about is a case in point.

    As a spiritual leader, it takes a very humble person to refuse outward signs of admiration and ask people to direct their devotion to the only one who we are commanded to give our total love and homage to.

    Unfortunately, I don't see it happening any time soon. It is a lesson to any of us who hold positions of any type of responsibility not to put on the "dark glasses" of pride and self-importance.

    Perhaps, as citizens of political and religious groups, we could avoid falling into the trap of such "idol" worship by not buying into the nonsense by not attending ceremonies, and award banquets or hanging photos of these individuals on the walls of our homes, let alone stand when they enter the room.

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