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Billionaire businessman and CEO of The Trade Desk, Jeff Green, has decided to formally part ways with the Mormon Church.
Utah’s richest man sent a scathing, 900-word letter to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Russell Nelson on Monday denouncing them for activities which he says are a hindrance of civil rights.
He argued that the church hoards wealth and inflicts damage worldwide as a result.
“[While most members] are good people trying to do right, I believe the church is actively and currently doing harm in the world. The church leadership is not honest about its history, its finances, and its advocacy,’ he wrote, adding: ‘I believe the Mormon church has hindered global progress in women’s rights, civil rights and racial equality, and LGBTQ+ rights.”
Green, 44, is a Brigham Young University graduate and was previously a missionary for the Mormon Church. Eleven of his family members along with one friend have joined in Green’s exodus from the denomination. He has pledged to give $600,000 to Equality Utah, an organization that assists members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The billionaire said “almost half of the funds will go to a new scholarship program to help LGBTQ+ students in Utah,” particularly to those students who “may need or want to leave BYU,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
“It is my hope and that of my foundation that this is the first of many contributions to Equality Utah,” Green said, adding, “We made this investment sizable and publicly to send a message that Equality Utah isn’t going anywhere.”
Although the CEO said he has not practiced his faith in more than ten years and resides in Southern California, he stressed that his announcement formalizes his separation from the church.
“Although I have deep love for many Mormons and gratitude for many things that have come into my life through Mormonism, I have not considered myself a member for many years, and I’d like to make clear to you and others that I am not a member,'” Green wrote in the letter.
“While I left the Mormon church more than a decade ago — not believing, attending, or practicing — I have not officially requested the removal of my records, until now.”
Green also accused the church of taking advantage of its members, many of whom are impoverished but tithe as much as they can – sometimes more than they can afford.
“I think the church has exploited its members and their need for hope to build temples, build shopping malls, and cattle ranches, fund Ensign Peak Advisors investment funds, and own mortgage-backed securities, rather than alleviating human suffering in or out of the church,” he said, adding that the church should do more for the world with its assets in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
‘This money comes from people, often poor, who wholeheartedly believe you represent the will of Jesus. They give, expecting the blessings of heaven,” Green wrote.
Among the 11 family members who joined Green in officially leaving the Church of Latter-Day Saints was cousin Doug Whittemore, who expressed that although he had a “wonderful upbringing, something was not clicking for me intuitively.”
“It was pragmatic, but I could never buy into the [religious] concepts, and the teachings were about as far-fetched as you could believe,” he said.
Whittemore also said he was shunned by other church members after he refused to go on a mission one time, saying, “A lot of them wouldn’t talk to me for years, and that still persists to this day.”
Green appears to remain firm in his decision and reiterates his departure is not for selfish reasons.
“Believing Mormons (following the lead of church leadership) often accuse those who leave of doing so for simple or petty or even demonic reasons — this is not my story,” Green wrote in his letter. “I stopped believing and attending out of principle.”
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