Mormonism and church finances/City Creek Center
- Critics of the Church, most commonly ex-Mormons, claim that the Church-funded redevelopment project in downtown Salt Lake City known as City Creek Center is funded using tithing.
- Critics claim that the City Creek project cost $5 Billion.
These claims are ill-informed and simply false.
The motivation for the Church's involvement in a project of this scope is described in an extensive interview with Presiding Bishop H. David Burton: "Mormon leaders and Salt Lake City work together to transform land," Deseret News (7 March 2010).
The 5 billion dollar figure refers to the cost of the entire Salt Lake City downtown redevelopment project, referred to as "Downtown Rising." The City Creek Center cost $1.5 Billion. Other projects include the following:
- Utah Performing Arts Center
- Frank E. Moss Federal Courthouse
- Six Gateway
- Questar Corporate Headquarters
- Jessie Eccles Quinney Center For Dance and Capitol Theatre Renovation
- Public Safety Building
- Public Market
- Convention Center Hotel
- Utah Theater
- City Creek
- Gallivan Plaza
- Harmons City Creek
- The Leonardo
- 222 South Main
- O.C. Tanner
Details about these projects may be viewed at Downtown Rising
The Church has repeatedly stated that no tithing money is being used for construction of City Creek Center, including in the official Church magazine, the Ensign:
The Church first announced three years ago it was planning to redevelop the downtown area to energize the economy of the city that houses its headquarters and to bolster the area near Temple Square. No tithing funds will be used in the redevelopment.
"Church Releases Plans for Downtown Salt Lake", Ensign, Dec. 2006, 76–80.
The entire project is being financed through the church's commercial real estate arm, Property Reserve, Inc. These funds come through for-profit, tax-paying businesses owned by the Church.
This Deseret News article has more information on the construction and financing:
Money for the project is not coming from LDS Church members' tithing donations. City Creek Center is being developed by Property Reserve Inc., the church's real-estate development arm, and its money comes from other real-estate ventures.
- Doug Smeath, "Downtown renovation project", Deseret News March 27, 2007.
Criticism of Church integrity
Ex-Mormon claims regarding the financing of City Creek often include complaints that tithing money that they paid while believing members were used for this project. Some even claim that this is the reason that they left the Church. Perhaps the issue underlying this complaint is a lack of trust in the leaders who run the Church. When the Presiding Bishop gives assurances that tithing monies were not used to finance the Property Reserve's business ventures, such assurances are satisfactory to believing members who aren't worried about the truthfulness of Church leaders' reports.
For a detailed response, see: Mormonism and church integrity/City Creek Center Mall in Salt Lake City