Jeff Green, who might be the richest man in Utah, donated $600,000 to an LGBTQ support group in Salt Lake City.
Green, who was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, left the faith over a decade ago. But on Monday, he officially resigned from the Mormon Church in a letter to church President Russell Nelson. According to Green, his letter included his thoughts on the church. That it has “hindered global progress in women’s rights, civil rights and racial equality, and LGBTQ+ rights.”
The Mormon church, as the LDS church is usually called, keeps records on all members. Resignation is when a former or departing member requests that those records be removed, and it is considered a formal severing of ties.
Jeff Green delivered a statement about his letter and donation to the Salt Lake Tribune. He said that he wrote that most members of the church are “good people trying to do right” but that he believes “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.
The Mormon church has a complicated history happening with the LGBTQ community. It openly campaigned for gay marriage in Utah in the same year it adopted a new practice that the children of queer parents would have to renounce their parents as sinners to fully join the church as adults. Brigham Young University, the largest of the LDS universities, expels students for same-sex relationships. They’ve successfully defended their right to do so as a religious institution. They bankrupted the Boy Scouts of America by pulling their funding over the Scouts’ decision to allow LGBTQ children and adults to join and lead.
Green’s donation to Equality Utah is the first major donation of his family’s charitable foundation, Dataphilanthropy. It is intended to provide scholarships to LGBTQ students in Utah, especially those seeking to transfer away from Brigham Young.
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