Did the Deloitte audit really prove that Theresa Spence is corrupt?

Earlier this week, CBC reported that they had received a leaked copy of an audit performed by Deloitte on the management of the Attawapiskat First Nation. The audit of the management control framework showed that of 500 band transactions the firm researched during the period from 2005–2011, 400 of them had no supporting documentation.

Naturally, critics of the Idle No More movement (and Therea Spence’s fasting efforts) latched onto the leaked report, citing incompetence of band leaders and calling for their heads.

One thing to keep in mind is that this audit did not find proof of financial mismanagement or corruption. The federal government initiated this audit because they claimed Attawapiskat leaders could not account for $90+ million they had received in federal spending during that period.

As far as finances go, this audit only found lack of documentation, and as we all know lack of evidence is not proof itself. The only thing this proves is that at least 400 band transactions are missing documentation. Nothing more.

With that being said, we should note that of those 400 transactions, only 31 of them occurred during Spence’s term as chief. In fact, under her term, reporting and management processes have actually improved.

If you’re interested in knowing the truth, it is always better to go to the source. The problem with traditional media is they have a tendency to try to sell stories, and as such slant their stories. (For example, not a single traditional media outlet has mentioned that reporting under Spence has improved.) As such, visit the Attawapiskat First Nation website to see over 30 financial documents dating back to 2005. See for yourself if Attawapiskat is hiding anything.

Sacrament does not renew the baptismal covenant

In our elders quorum class on Sunday, we were discussing ordinances. At one point, we came to the ordinance of the Sacrament, and someone read the following from the manual.

The ordinance of the sacrament reminds us of the promises we made when we were baptized. We renew our baptismal covenant by partaking of the sacrament. As we partake of the bread and water, we remember our Savior’s life and His sacrifice. We remember our promise to follow Him. When taken worthily, the sacrament is a source of spiritual strength. It helps us develop greater power to keep the commandments. With sincere repentance it helps cleanse us of the sins we commit after baptism.

I disagree with two points in that paragraph: the idea that the Sacrament has cleansing properties and the idea that we renew our baptismal covenants by partaking of the sacrament.

First, beyond baptism of water and fire, the only spiritual cleansing available is through sincere repentance.

Second, the baptism and sacrament covenants are different. Consider the covenant elements listed in Mosiah 18:

  • Desire to come into the fold of God
  • Desire to be called his people
  • Willing to bear one another’s burdens
  • Willing to mourn with those who mourn
  • Willing to comfort those who need comfort
  • Willing to stand as witnesses of God at all times, in all things, and in all places
  • Serve God
  • Keep God’s commandments

Also consider the covenant that King Benjamin’s people made (Mosiah 5). Arguably not a baptismal covenant per se, but they did want to start new new lives, which is one purpose of baptism:

  • Do God’s will
  • Be obedient to God’s commandments

Now compare the sacramental covenant (D&C 20):

  • Take upon us the name of Jesus
  • Always remember Jesus
  • Keep Jesus’s commandments

It seems the only similarity between the two covenants is keeping the commandments. I think it is misguided to say that the sacramental covenant is a renewal of the baptismal covenant. In fact, I think it is this line of thinking that leads to the idea that the sacrament has a cleansing effect on us. I also think this line of thinking undervalues the other parts of the baptismal covenant.