A billionaire from Utah, Jeff T. Inexperienced, mentioned 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 know-how agency and is believed to be one of many wealthiest individuals from Utah, didn’t say what brought on him to make such a public exit this week. However he mentioned in a letter to Russell M. Nelson, the church’s president, that he was involved in regards to the church’s historical past, funds and advocacy.
“Whereas most members are good individuals attempting to do proper, I imagine the church is actively and presently doing hurt on the planet,” he wrote within the letter, which was reported Monday by The Salt Lake Tribune.
Within the letter, a replica of which was dated Dec. 23, he mentioned 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 imagine the Mormon Church has hindered world 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 data 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 pals and 11 of his relations have been additionally resigning, he mentioned.
Kathleen Flake, a professor of Mormon research on the College of Virginia in Charlottesville, mentioned this type 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 method of creating a political assertion, not only a non secular assertion,” she mentioned.
She mentioned it was unlikely that the church, which has greater than 16 million members, would reply.
“I feel they care, however I don’t assume they’re shocked by such public statements,” Professor Flake, a church member, mentioned. “They’ve merely had an excessive amount of expertise with it to assume that they may escape this type of public engagement with their ethical requirements.”
Mr. Inexperienced, who now lives in Southern California, was additionally vital of the church’s wealth, which incorporates an funding fund paid for with contributions by members. The fund had $48 billion price of shares as of Sep. 30, in response to SEC filings.
“This cash comes from individuals, usually poor, who wholeheartedly imagine you symbolize the need of Jesus,” Mr. Inexperienced wrote. “They offer, anticipating the blessings of heaven.”
The administration of the fund has come beneath scrutiny lately after a former supervisor accused the church of deceptive members about using the funds. Church officers advised The Wall Avenue Journal final yr that the cash was for use throughout attainable financial downturns.
In September, a federal choose dismissed a lawsuit introduced by a outstanding former member, James Huntsman, that accused the church of utilizing the cash for business functions.
Mr. Inexperienced, the chief govt of the agency The Commerce Desk, is price $5.2 billion, in response to Forbes. In November, he pledged to offer away greater than 90 % 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 bunch that advocates L.G.B.T.Q. rights within the state.
He advised The Tribune that just about half the cash would go to a scholarship fund for college students in Utah, together with those that “might have or need” to depart Brigham Younger College, which is sponsored by the church and has an honor code that prohibits same-sex “romantic conduct.”