Mormon billionaire leaves faith, rebukes LGBTQ rights stance

Dec 21, 2021, 4:19 PM | Updated: 7:54 pm

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An advertising-technology billionaire has formally resigned his membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and rebuked the faith over social issues and LGBTQ rights in an unusual public move.

Jeff T. Green has pledged to donate 90% of his estimated $5 billion fortune, starting with a $600,000 donation to the LGBTQ-rights group Equality Utah, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Green said in a Monday resignation letter to church President Russell M. Nelson that he hasn’t been active in the faith widely known as Mormon for more than a decade but wanted to make his departure official and remove his name from membership records.

“I believe the Mormon church has hindered global progress in women’s rights, civil rights and racial equality, and LGBTQ+ rights,” he wrote. Eleven family members and a friend formally resigned along with him.

The church didn’t immediately return a message from The Associated Press seeking comment Tuesday, but in recent years has shown a willingness to engage on LGBTQ rights that is unusual for a conservative faith. It maintains its doctrinal opposition to same-sex marriage and intimacy, but the faith didn’t block a 2019 ban on so-called conversion therapy in Utah and in November high-ranking leader Dallin Oaks called for a recognition of both religious rights and LGBTQ rights.

Still, the church has taken positions over the years that have been deeply painful for many in the LGBTQ community. Green, for his part, said most church members “are good people trying to do right,” but he also worries about the faith’s transparency around its history and finances.

Green, 44, now lives in Southern California. He is the CEO and chairman of The Trade Desk, an advertising-technology firm he founded in 2009.

He also mentioned concerns about a $100 billion investment portfolio held by the faith. It was the subject of an Internal Revenue Service whistleblower complaint in 2019, from a former employee who charged the church had improperly built it up using member donations that are supposed to go to charitable causes.

Leaders have defended how the church uses and invests member donations, saying most is used for operational and humanitarian needs, but a portion is safeguarded to build a reserve for the future. The faith annually spends about $1 billion on humanitarian and welfare aid, leaders have said.

The church has also come under criticism for conservative social positions. Women do not hold the priesthood in the faith, and Black men could not until the 1970s.

In recent years, though, the faith has worked with the NAACP and donated nearly $10 million for initiatives to help Black Americans. It has also worked with Equality Utah to pass a state LGBTQ nondiscrimination law, with religious exemptions.

Another prominent onetime Latter-day Saint sued the faith this year, accusing it of fraud and seeking to recover millions of dollars in contributions. James Huntsman is a member of one of Utah’s most well-known families and brother of a former governor. The suit was later tossed out.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Iowa motorist accused of hitting abortion rights protester

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa man faces two criminal charges accusing him of driving his vehicle through a group of abortion rights protestors in Cedar Rapids in June and striking a woman before driving away, court documents posted online Wednesday said. David Alan Huston, 53, of Swisher, is charged with assault with a […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Hundreds join anti-Gazprom protest in Bulgarian capital

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Hundreds of Bulgarians took to the streets of the capital Sofia Wednesday, voicing fears that the country’s caretaker government could break with the policies of its pro-Western predecessor and revert to close energy ties with Russia. The second in a planned series of protests under the slogan #GAZwithme took place in […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Closing prices for crude oil, gold and other commodities

Benchmark U.S. crude oil for September delivery rose $1.43 to $91.93 a barrel Wednesday. Brent crude for October delivery rose $1.09 to $97.40 a barrel. Wholesale gasoline for September delivery rose 11 cents to $3.07 a gallon. September heating oil rose 8 cents to $3.41 a gallon. September natural gas rose 37 cents to $8.20 […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Police: Explosion in southern Indiana injures at least 2

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Emergency crews are responding to an explosion involving at least one house that reverberated across a neighborhood in the southern Indiana city of Evansville, according to media reports. Evansville police said at least two people were injured in the explosion that occurred at about 1 p.m. Wednesday, though the severity of […]
13 hours ago
FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2017, photo, Miss North Dakota Cara Mund reacts after being named Miss Ame...
Associated Press

Ex-Miss America Mund: Abortion ruling prompted US House run

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Former Miss America Cara Mund said Wednesday that her concern about the erosion of abortion rights prompted her independent bid for the U.S. House in her home state of North Dakota. Mund, who is running against the odds in deeply conservative North Dakota, told The Associated Press that the U.S. Supreme […]
13 hours ago
Follow @ktar923...
Sponsored Content by Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.

Sponsored Articles

(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Mormon billionaire leaves faith, rebukes LGBTQ rights stance