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Billionaire resigns from Mormon church, says it is "actively and currently doing harm in the world"

Billionaire quits Mormon church
Billionaire resigns from Mormon church, issues rebuke in letter 01:02

One of the wealthiest people from Utah said he is officially resigning from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, saying the church has "hindered global progress in women's rights, civil rights and racial equality, and LGBTQ+ rights."

Jeff Green, the CEO and chairman of the online advertising company The Trade Desk, will also reportedly donate $600,000 to LGBTQ rights group, Equality Utah. 

Green, who is believed to be worth more than $5 billion, wrote a scathing letter to Mormon Church President Russell Nelson and requested the LDS church, as it is also known, to remove his records, admitting he had not been part of it for over a decade. The letter, first published by the Salt Lake Tribune earlier this week, was obtained by CBS News.

"While most members are good people trying to do right, I believe 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 said. 

In the letter dated December 23, he attributed his exit in part because of how church leaders have created "unhealthy paradigms around gender roles (exacerbated by canonized doctrines on polygamy)."

 "This paradigm, coupled with the sex-negative teachings and policies, has a series of immeasurably negative impacts on nearly all participating members and their neighbors and communities," he wrote. 

He said most Mormons are "good people" and many are born into the religion, saying the decision to leave is "difficult." Ultimately, after years of reflection, he said he made the decision to leave because he wanted to live a "life of honesty, morality, truth, and a desire to pursue a more socially just world." 

"I feel deep empathy for those who have been ostracized from the Mormon community or who choose to leave because of their beliefs, values, or even just who they are," he added. "Leaving almost always means losing some amount of family harmony."

The 44-year-old tech executive said he hopes the church becomes more inclusive for "different views and beliefs among Mormons" in the future, saying it will benefit "the lives of millions of people."

Because of his views on LGBTQ rights, Green donated $600,000 to Equality Utah, a nonprofit that leads efforts for LGBTQ civil rights at the state and local levels. The group acknowledged the donation on Twitter on Tuesday. 

"We are tremendously grateful to Jeff Green for believing in our work. We are firm believers that despite our political differences, we always must seek common ground. Thank you Jeff, for supporting our work," the organization tweeted. 

The Church of Latter-day Saints in Utah
The Church of Latter-day Saints in Utah.  George Frey / Getty

In his letter, Green also took aim at the LDS church's wealth, which he alleges owns more than $100 billion in assets. He criticized them for not doing enough to "help the world and its members with its wealth." 

"This money comes from people, often poor, who whole-heartedly believe you represent the will of Jesus... Instead, I think the church has exploited its members and their need for hope to build temples, build shopping malls, cattle ranches, fund Ensign Peak Advisors investment funds, and own mortgage-backed securities, rather than alleviating human suffering in or out of the church," he wrote. 

The church did not immediately respond to CBS News' request for comment. 

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