Jeff T. Green, Chief Executive of the technology firm The Trade Desk, who is also believed to be the wealthiest man in the state of Utah worth an estimated $5.2 billion, announced he is leaving the Mormon church over its stance on a variety of social issues, including women’s rights, civil rights and gay rights.
Amanda Holpuch of The New York Times reported that Green’s high-profile departure from the Mormon church came in the form of a letter to Russell M. Nelson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the letter, Green said he was concerned over the church’s incredible wealth and its history of abusing individuals’ rights.
“While most members are good people trying to do right, I believe the church is actively and currently doing harm in the world,” Green wrote in the letter, which was reprinted by The Salt Lake Tribune.
Utah billionaire Jeff Green said he's donating $600,000 to an LGTBQ group after publicly announcing his resignation from the Mormon church, which he accused of "hindering global progress" on social issues.https://t.co/RhS1CZeISt
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 24, 2021
According to Holpuch, Green also said in the letter that “he had stopped believing in the church’s teachings more than a decade ago and had spent several years reflecting on his issues with it.”
“I believe the Mormon Church has hindered global progress in women’s rights, civil rights, racial equality and LGBTQ+ rights,” Green wrote.
Green also asked for his records to be removed from the church’s archives and asked for a letter confirming that he was no longer a member. One friend and 11 of Green’s family members also signed the letters, signifying their resignation from the church.
In an interview with Holpuch, Kathleen Flake, a professor of Mormon studies at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, said that Green’s exit from the church was similar to a person renouncing their citizenship from a county, and added that he wouldn’t be able to return without being rebaptized.
“Renouncing it is a political act,” Flake said. “It’s a way of making a political statement, not just a religious statement.”
In addition to attacking the church over its stance on civil rights, Green was also critical of its incredible wealth (including more than $48 billion worth of stocks), claiming that it was taking advantage of people’s faith for commercial purposes.
“This money comes from people, often poor, who wholeheartedly believe you represent the will of Jesus,” Green wrote in his letter. “They give, expecting the blessings of heaven.”
As for his own personal fortune, Green recently pledged to give away more than 90% of his billion-dollar fortune before his death. His recent donations include $600,000 to Equality Utah, an LGBTQ advocacy group in the state.
“He told The Tribune that almost half the money would go to a scholarship fund for students in Utah, including those who ‘may need or want’ to leave Brigham Young University, which is sponsored by the church and has an honor code that prohibits same-sex ‘romantic behavior,’” Holpuch reported.