Or, How I Learned That Some Debts Are Never Forgiven
[An application for an educational loan from the Perpetual Education Fund, SLC, Utah]
by Okweme O.,
systems administrator for computer firm X.
Dear Friend! I have GREAT STORY for you! I have placed in Perpetual Education Fund $300,000,000 U.S. Dollars, at Bank of Ensign Peak (Salt Lake City, America) and cannot this day recover my money due to regulations on borrowing by suspected systems administrators. THIS IS YOUR CHANCE to live high RICH!
Just send me $1,123 US, by way of Church Education System Money Changers, and I will add to said funds, with a small fee due to you, in the amount of 2,000,000 US, payable at 356% APR, over the lifetime of myself, and of my children, and for ONE THOUSAND YEARS in Terrestrial Land. Highest Regards!
You can read “success stories” of Perpetual Education Fund here:
Notice that no actual figures are given for how much has been loaned, to how many Mormons; and after reading a few stories, have brown bag ready for vomit: whole paragraphs are devoted to how special it was to pay back the loan, and not let the interest build up! Ah, Atonement At Work!
Here’s as specific as the figures get:
“Nine years after President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) first announced the PEF, the program has more than 38,000 participants in 42 countries. Despite worldwide economic difficulties, the Perpetual Education Fund is healthy and helping people like Tyson Kemege get an education, escape poverty, and contribute to their communities. More than 87 percent of PEF participants who have completed their schooling are currently employed.”
That is, 87% who graduated are “employed” (however determined, and I know when stats matter, church dudes can raise or lower the criteria at will); the fund, of course, “is healthy” because the principle is never risked, only the interest:
“The program is funded both by members, who allocate funds toward the program on their tithes and offerings slips, and by friends of the Church who believe in the program’s purpose. The money collected (the principal) is never spent, with loans being made only from the interest earned on the principal.”
“friends of the church” probably includes the likes of Dell Computer and Deliotte & Touche, (JetBlu?), and other corporations headed by Mormons, or that deal in large contracts with the CPB. I would assume some finance company that gets to invest (or receive) the millions in cash money is probably not adverse to being a “friend of the church” in this matter, either.
Also, 38,000 recipients over 9 years works out to just over 4,000 persons a year; not overwhelming, I think. And these pay back, the article says, $2.5m a year; my math says, that works out to $65 a year, per person. Again, I’ve heard first hand reports that the PE Fund itself sits at over $300m, meaning they’ve loaned out even less than they’ve earned in interest. Almost at the rate the COB dispenses its charity (say, 1%).
And they are looking into using the money for “other purposes,” which is partially what is behind the change in tithing slips recently slipped into those fancy wooden racks outside the bishop’s office.
These articles are really FUN!
They make it explicit that one purpose of the loans is to get church leaders (administrators, like bishops) training in finance and management; another purpose is to get debtors to live more frugally, and off church assistance; not your typical seminary, but here Mammon is served! Why cannot God see the value in a constant rate of return on donated money? Isn’t that part of the parable of the talents?
One man not mentioned in that parable was, in fact, given 300 million talents. He was to use these talents for educating the poor and the ignorant in the nearby towns. Fearing they wouldn’t repay their debts (and he understand such gifts were, in reality, loans carrying debt), this man kneeled before BAIN (who is ABLE), and let him handle the talents. BAIN promised his friend USURY would magically grow the talents every year, into like 1,000 or so. Why not lend this to those poor souls you do not trust? He asked.
The man thus put his talents to work, and when the Lord of the Vineyard returned, the man had a huge f-ing pile of talents! And like 100 stories about how some schmuck with a foreign sounding name got a job cleaning stalls in his market, after receiving rudimentary education in sweepology and Scrub Studies. So, anyway, the dude is just standing on his hill of talents.
Holy F-ing S&$#@ The Lord Said! What in the Hell did you do? No, don’t answer.
Guys? Take him away. Yeah, the Eye of the Needle for him, too.
And that’s the parable of the Perpetual Usurer.
But wait, the good of the PEF extends even deeper inside the COB:
In reality, the PEF loans have provisions that require debtors attend many classes at Church Employment Centers, notoriously ineffective at actually employing anyone other than church employees. The PEF keeps voluntary and paid personnel at Church Employment Centers busy enough to justify the millions spent on building, maintaining, and staffing them (with an eye toward getting Mormons off church assistance, “welfare” or charity, that is). The Employment Centers number around 300 in all, and in 2004 (when the economy was good) they apparently claimed to have placed 145,000 people into jobs; leaving aside my doubts about those figures, even taken as good data it means the average Employment Center placed about 480 people (if they get a job, it counts as “placement”; any job).
It’s been so long since I’ve felt that good old kicked in the face feeling, when looking at the Corporation!
(Another Late Night Post That Shouldn’t A Been)