After my last epic blog series, I thought to take a small break, especially because the holiday season is upon us. However, I really felt compelled to cover the following.

I keep thinking about and encountering that story from December 17, 2019 in the Washington Post, "Mormon Church has misled members on $100 billion tax-exempt investment fund, whistleblower alleges." The Church quickly responded with an official statement. There are new iterations of this story all the time.

As a member, I have a good sense of what is and what is not alarming about the story. I quickly focused on the fact that the disgruntled ex-member and his allegations were just that -- allegations -- and he was unlikely to know all the facts, especially given where he was placed. He couldn't possibly know all he alleged to know.

The numbers didn't bother me either. I thought, yeah, 100 billion is a lot. "If that is true," I told myself, "I wonder what is coming that the Lord needs to swell his coffers?" Then, COVID hit ...

Having lived in Utah and been privy to all sorts of reliable insider information, I have no qualms about how the Church spends, invests, or manages money. In fact, I have immense respect for what it does and how it does it. The Church is much more transparent than the news media alleges.

But, all this is not my beef today. What is? Answer: the number 100 billion.

It doesn't seem to die. The number has morphed into an eternal number. Any rational person may conclude the following: "If this number is accurate for an investment fund determined by market forces, why doesn't the number ever change?"

News organizations all over the world (trust me, I checked) are still reporting this "100 billion" number as if it is an established fact instead of an allegation. If it's a fact, why hasn't the number changed? Market forces change all the time. The markets go up and down all the time. Lately, it's only gone down.

The only change I see in the reporting is that occasionally, a news outlet will say "at least 100 billion" or "more than 100 billion."

Does anybody do their homework anymore? Numbers need to change!

Elder David A. Bednar basically told the National Press Club this in his recent address to them. It seems that most of them missed it.

He was asked how the press is getting coverage of the Church wrong and what could they do better. He told them to dig deeper instead of taking someone else's stuff and just moving it along. When asked about the so-called 100 billion he remarked that given the state of the stock market, he didn't think it was 100 billion anymore.

That's the problem. People are just moving someone else's stuff along and not doing their homework. That's why this 100 billion nonsense simply won't die.

I have followed this same tired story since it came out. I will continue to follow it.

There is only one bright spot on the horizon that I know of. A short time after the initial story ran I encountered some actual facts, as well as a very informative website. It's the actual SEC filings for the Ensign Peak fund.

It was never 100 billion. It was just under 38 billion. Right now, it's a bit over 40 billion.

And that's a fact.

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