Create transparency in Church monetary policy. Take steps to decentralize the monetary system and allow stakes far greater latitude in deciding how much money to spend on structures (meeting houses, temples, etc) & programs. Do a better job of separating “for-profit” arms of the Church. The presiding bishopric, not the traveling twelve should be involved in these “temporal matters”.
I believe the church looses many members because of what is perceived to be a direct violation of the scriptural warnings in 2 Ne. 28:13
12 Because of pride, and because of false teachers, and false doctrine, their churches have become corrupted, and their churches are lifted up; because of pride they are puffed up.
13 They rob the poor because of their fine sanctuaries; they rob the poor because of their fine clothing; and they persecute the meek and the poor in heart, because in their pride they are puffed up. 2 Ne. 28:12-13
We have a whole lot of work to do in this arena. Get members and ex-members together to find solutions. One idea is to make a habit of attaching some type of halfway house, soup kitchens or homeless shelters to ward buildings or temples. If the building is put to true humanitarian use, we won’t lose so many people who sense the inherent wrongness of spending so much money on buildings built exclusively to “worship God”, which are only occupied twice a week and do nothing for the poor. In general we need to stop spending so much money on temples and the “fine or precious things” of the world. There is value in having beautiful and uplifting places of worship which everyone has claim to, but our current temples are often flagrant, exclusive and elitist. Spending 100 million dollars on a structure for only “worthy members”, when there are starving people living around the building is pure wickedness. Do we apply the words of Jesus to ourselves as an organization?
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. (Matthew 19:21–22)
The church must never let the City Creek Center happen again. The traveling twelve and Melchizedek Priesthood of the church is to administer over the “spiritual affairs of the church”. They must not be intimately involved in the temporal affairs of the Church (ie. for profit arms) which responsibility belongs to the Presiding Bishopric (the lower or Aaronic priesthood). They should not be involved in planning, announcing, building or ribbon cutting ceremonies to shopping malls, etc.. This unscriptural behavior has destroyed literally thousands of testimonies. It gives the appearence of a church in love with money and prestige…
For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:10)
14 Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld. (D&C 70:14)
33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:33)