SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A billionaire who is believed to be the wealthiest person originally from Utah has formally resigned his membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and rebuked the faith over social issues and LGBTQ rights.

Jeff T. Green has pledged to donate 90% of his estimated $5 billion advertising-technology wealth, starting with a donation to a LGBTQ-rights group in the state, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Green said he hasn’t been active in the faith widely known as Mormon for more than a decade but wanted to make his departure official and remove his name from membership records, he said in a Monday letter to church President Russell M. Nelson.

“I believe the Mormon church has hindered global progress in women’s rights, civil rights and racial equality, and LGBTQ+ rights,” he wrote. Along with him, eleven of his family members and one friend officially resigned. He is donating $600,000 for Equality Utah.

The church didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.

Green said most members “are good people trying to do right,” but he also worries about the faith’s transparency around its history and finances.

Green, who is 44 years old, lives now in Southern California. The Trade Desk is his advertising technology business, which he co-founded in 2009.

The faith also has a $100Billion investment portfolio, he said. This was the topic of an Internal Revenue Service whistleblower case in 2019. It involved a former employee, who claimed that the church improperly constructed it with member donations. These funds are meant to be donated to charity causes.

Leaders defend how the church invests and uses member donations. Most is used for humanitarian purposes, while a few is saved to create a reserve for the future.

There have been criticisms of the church’s conservative social positions. This includes opposition to homosexual marriage. Black men and women were not able until the 1970s to take up the office of priesthood.

In recent years the faith has donated over $10 million to Black Americans’ programs. Equality Utah has also partnered with the faith to adopt a state LGBTQ-nondiscrimination bill with religious exemptions.

A prominent Latter-day Saint who was once a Latter day Saint filed suit against the faith in this year’s lawsuit. He accused it of fraud, and sought to recover millions of dollars of contributions. James Huntsman is a member of one of Utah’s most prominent families and brother of a former governor. It was eventually thrown out.

Source: HuffPost.com.

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