Funds to Rebuild Provo Tabernacle Solicited Improperly?

On Friday, Provo City lost a beloved, historic icon when fire consumed the Provo Tabernacle.  Residents were left reeling from this devastating loss.  Within hours, a group calling itself Rebuild Provo Tabernacle appeared on Facebook.  The group immediately began soliciting donations to rebuild the structure, stating that it is:

“A group dedicated to helping Provo raise money to rebuild the Tabernacle or at least help and encourage the LDS Church.”

and that its mission is to:

“Raise Money to help rebuild the Provo Tabernacle or build something that will continue in that same mold of being a great resource for the Community.”

According to the Facebook page, the group was launched by the Provo City Mayor, Deputy Mayor, several City Council members, and a few other politically connected businessmen.  Here’s the complete list:

Corey Norman, Provo Foundation
Mayor John Curtis, Provo City
Taylor Oldroyd, CEO Ut Co Association of Realtors
Brian Chapman, BCR Political
Kelly Ward, Zion’s Bank
Chris Nichols, Pres Ut Co Association of Realtors
Steve Turley, Provo City Council
Sterlinng Beck, Provo City Council
Laura Cabanilla, Provo City Council
Gary Winterton, Provo Business Owner

Something just doesn’t sound right here.  The Provo Tabernacle is owned by the LDS Church, which surely has sufficient insurance and funds to rebuild the historic icon if it so chooses.  Indeed, Provo Mayor John Curtis made it clear in a press conference that rebuilding will be the responsibility of the LDS Church, not Provo City.  So why are city officials soliciting funds to rebuild the Tabernacle? It seems imprudent – even improper – to solicit funds for rebuilding when:

  1. Rebuilding is not the city’s responsibility;
  2. Insufficient time has elapsed for the LDS Church to assess damages and plan its future intentions for the building;
  3. No one knows if and/or when the building will ever be reconstructed.

It turns out that although several Provo City officials are listed as launching Rebuild Provo Tabernacle (including Councilman Steve Turley, who is already under fire for a questionable mix of political and business dealings), Mayor Curtis and Deputy Mayor Norman insist that the group is not sponsored by Provo City.  However, it seems questionable whether donors will be able to discern that distinction without questioning group members.

Rebuild Provo Tabernacle is listed as a subsidiary of The Provo Foundation, which is also headed by Mayor Curtis and Deputy Mayor Norman.  The Provo Foundation distributes donations to several programs throughout the city.  However, those listed on the Facebook site as members of Rebuild Provo Tabernacle are not all members of the Provo Foundation.  What part do they play and what benefit do they receive from this fund-raising drive?

In an email, Norman stated that “The Provo Foundation which is a separate entity from Provo City has set up an account where residents may, if they wish, contribute to a fund set up specifically to respond to the Church if and when that time comes. At this point we have not been given any word of when that might be.”

Futher, Norman stated to the Daily Herald regarding the fund-raising effort, “…perhaps this effort will help support the Church in whatever direction it decides to go while providing residents a chance and mechanism to heal from this great loss.”  Perhaps? It seems like such uncertainty, lack of information, and lack of direction form a rather shaky foundation for soliciting funds.

Why are Provo City officials soliciting money from city residents who are suffering emotionally immediately following a local disaster — for a building that may or may not ever be rebuilt?  Why are they  soliciting funds to rebuild a building that is not Provo’s responsibility to rebuild?  Would it not be prudent to wait to see what the LDS Church plans to do before asking residents to donate?  If the LDS Church does not need contributions from Provo City, what will become of residents’ donations?

There is no doubt that Provo residents will rise to the occasion if and when they are called upon to assist in any way with the rebuilding of the Provo Tabernacle.  However, at this time, soliciting donations that may or may not be used for a building that may or may not be built sounds neither prudent nor proper.

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5 Responses to Funds to Rebuild Provo Tabernacle Solicited Improperly?

  1. Diane says:

    “…perhaps this effort will help support the Church in whatever direction it decides to go” sounds more like putting pressure on the Church. This is inappropriate. There can be no doubt that the Church knows the public wants the tabernacle rebuilt. Now it is up to the First Presidency to make a decision. I will support that decision whatever it is.

  2. Dave Knecht says:

    Only two Provo Foundation members are part of the 10 names listed on the
    Facebook page for “Rebuild Provo Tabernacle”.
    Also the contact info for the group is listed as:
    Email:Brian@BCRPolitical.com

    Do I need to say more?

    The following information comes from the Provo Foundation web page,
    so you can compare the names for yourself…..

    “The Provo Foundation Board of Directors is made up of leading citizens who have distinguished themselves as community builders and who have consistently given of their time, resources and energy in making Provo a better place to live.”

    The Provo Foundation Board of Directors are as follows:

    John Curtis, Mayor and Chairman of the Board
    Midge Johnson, Chair, Provo Municipal Council
    Corey Norman, Executive Director
    Glee Zumbrennen, Owner, Brick Oven Restaurant
    Blake M. Roney, Chairman of Nu Skin Enterprises
    Leroy Dennis
    Craig Dennis

    “The Advisory Committee to the Foundation Board is an action committee working with the Executive Director in carrying out the day to day activities of the Foundation. The committee is made of eight prominent citizens with diverse backgrounds and varying ages.”

    Ron Woolley, Owner, Woolley Engineering Research Corporation
    Ann Calder, Business Woman and Former Teacher
    Mark Allphin , BYU Student and Realtor
    Vi Herrin, Senior Care Giver
    Dean Clark, Former Accountant for Geneva Steel
    Angela Yorgason, BYU student, Miss Provo
    John Rowe , Owner, Hines Mansion Bed and Breakfast
    Jean Marie Anderson, House Wife, Student and Former Teacher

  3. Yesterday, Corey Norman’s name was removed as the contact person for the Rebuild Provo Tabernacle Facebook page, and Brian Chapman was made the contact person. Corey’s and Mayor Curtis’ names have now been removed from the page as founders. That leaves NO Provo Foundation members associated with this group. Additionally, The Provo Foundation’s website was removed from the group. So NOW where’s the money going?

  4. Karen says:

    The proper way to make a donation to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is with the donation envelopes located in each LDS chapel. By marking the other box at the bottom of the donation slips and then writing Provo Tabernacle the donation WILL go directly to the LDS Church.

  5. Amy says:

    Please note the inconsistencies of the Provo Foundation Press Release published in the Daily Herald newspaper on December 17, 2010, and the link referenced in that press release.

    The Provo Foundation and people associated with the Provo Foundation are missing from the link posted at the bottom of the article.
    These are the people currently listed on the link:
    Taylor Oldroyd, CEO Ut Co Association of Realtors
    Brian Chapman, BCR Political
    Kelly Ward, Zion’s Bank
    Chris Nichols, Pres Ut Co Association of Realtors
    Steve Turley, Provo City Council
    Sterlinng Beck, Provo City Council
    Laura Cabanilla, Provo City Council
    Gary Winterton, Provo Business Owner

    Shouldn’t there be a separation of Church and state making it NOT legal for Provo City Council to donate to the Church as a city and council? Do they have ANY intention of giving this money to the LDS Church?

    Call these people and ask specifically what these funds will be used for.

    Daily Herald

    Fund set up to rebuild Provo Tabernacle

    Daily Herald | Posted: Friday, December 17, 2010 6:44 pm

    Through the Provo Foundation, a fund has been established at Zions Bank (all funds received are tax deductible) as a way for all who have been devastated by the fire at the Provo Tabernacle to contribute in a rebuilding effort.

    “This tragedy has caused such a shock for Provo residents and our community at-large,” said Provo City Deputy Mayor and executive director of the Provo Foundation Corey Norman, in a press release. “The tabernacle has so much history and perhaps this effort will help support the Church in whatever direction it decides to go while providing residents a chance and mechanism to heal from this great loss.”

    Individuals and organizations leading the charge to rebuild and heal include, Mayor John Curtis; The Provo Foundation; Kelly Ward with Zions Bank; Gary Garrett with Nu Skin; Chris Nichols, president and Taylor Oldroyd, CEO of the Utah County Association of Realtors; Brian Chapman with BCR Political; Pro-Provo; Gary Winterton; and Provo council members.

    For additional information visit: http://www.RebuildProvoTabernacle.com.

    http://www.heraldextra.com/tabernacle/article_13216a86-0a49-11e0-b22b-001cc4c002e0.html

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