By John Williams
Representatives of the LDS Church met with members of U.S. Congress in an effort to secure federal funding to shore up what they termed “weakness” in the religious market.
“Times are tough,” said church spokesperson Dale Bulls. “The recession and credit crunch have hit our bottom line big time.” Given the success of the financial and auto industries in securing money from Congress, Bulls said, “We thought we should get in on the action.”
Sources within the church note that recent years have seen a flood of expensive development projects, such as the enormous Conference Center, an aggressive temple-building campaign, and the ambitious City Creek Center mall project in Salt Lake City.
“We’re bleeding badly here,” said one insider who wished to remain anonymous. “The Conference Center needs constant repair, and around the world we have temples that no one is using. And don’t get me started on the malls.”
The source went on to say that, despite bad financials, some in the church continue to push for wasteful spending. “A temple in Rome? What the hell could they be thinking?”
Wall Street analysts outlined the bind the church finds itself in. “It’s a ‘perfect storm’ situation,” said Lerner Brothers vice president Robert Stearns. “They invested heavily in real estate just as the market peaked, and a worldwide recession translates into less tithing. Something has to give.”
And that something appears to be the federal government.
“We have no choice in this matter,” said Utah Senator Orrin Hatch (R). “This country was founded on Christian principles and faith. If we allow our religious base to fail, we’re in big trouble. We must act, and we must act quickly, to save our country from religious ruin.”
Some in Congress remain skeptical. “If we bail them out, who’s to say they won’t go back to their old, wasteful ways?” asked Indiana congressman Ed Warner (D). “I’m all for keeping this ‘one nation under God,’ but I don’t want to throw our money down a rat hole.”
Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) assured reluctant legislators that there would be strict oversight. “My bill provides for a federal ‘overseer’ to ensure that funds are spent wisely and prudently.” He said he had received assurances that the church would provide full access to a seer stone and a hat to ensure total transparency. “If it was good enough for Martin Harris,” Reid said, “it’s good enough for me.”
Church leaders suggested that a partnership with the government was a natural and positive devlopment. “We all know that when the Savior comes, he will subdue all earthly government beneath his feet. This is just the first step,” said a smiling Boyd K. Packer.
“He said what?” said Alabama congressman Buford Gustings. “It’ll be a cold day in hell before I give money to that cult.”
Repayment of the federal loans involves giving the government a percentage of church revenues over the next ten years. “We really didn’t want to give them a cut of tithing,” said apostle Quentin Cook, “but times being what they are, we had to agree.”
The government will also get a percentage of revenue from Beehive Clothing sales. “Everybody has to buy underwear at some point, don’t they?” said Cook. Federal negotiators declined the church’s offer of a ten-percent stake in the City Creek Center. “Yeah, like we’re going to take that on,” said newly appointed overseer David Tanner. “We’re giving them money, but we’re not stupid.”
In other news, the church announced plans to build a temple in Uzbekistan. “No, we don’t have any members there at the moment,” said spokesperson Bulls. “But we’ve got a lot of money that needs to be spent.”