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 expertise agency and is believed to be one of many wealthiest individuals from Utah, didn’t say what prompted 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 concerning 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 at present doing hurt on the earth,” 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 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. One in every of his buddies and 11 of his members of the family have been additionally resigning, he mentioned.
Kathleen Flake, a professor of Mormon research on the College of Virginia in Charlottesville, mentioned this kind of formal exit from the church was just 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 spiritual assertion,” she mentioned.
She mentioned 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 stunned by such public statements,” Professor Flake, a church member, mentioned. “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 vital 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, in accordance with SEC filings.
“This cash comes from individuals, usually poor, who wholeheartedly imagine 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 advised The Wall Avenue Journal final yr that the cash was for use throughout potential financial downturns.
In September, a federal decide dismissed a lawsuit introduced by a distinguished former member, James Huntsman, that accused the church of utilizing the cash for industrial functions.
Mr. Inexperienced, the chief government of the agency The Commerce Desk, is value $5.2 billion, in accordance with Forbes. In November, he pledged to provide away greater than 90 p.c of his wealth earlier than or at his dying.
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 nearly half the cash would go to a scholarship fund for college kids 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 habits.”