because those are historical questions
I must respectfully disagree. These are not questions, these are facts. Brigham's statements of doctrine are well-documented by Church-approved sources (Journal of Discourses) and the Church does not deny that those doctrines were taught.
that necessarily are heavily influenced by a person's perspective on whether the church is actually what it claims to be
Facts are facts regardless of your perspective. Brigham really did teach Blood Atonement and Adam-God; the modern Church really has refuted those. Church leaders really have stated that God will not allow the Prophet to lead the Church astray. But you're right, in that I cannot see how anyone can hold the perspective that the Church is still true in spite of the logical impossibility.
How does that thesis hold up to examination, beyond the fact that the church receives money? Who benefits? Not President Monson, apparently, since he lives quite modestly ... he is not intermingling church funds with his own money
This is an unsupported assertion. The Church's finances are closed; nobody (except maybe the First Presidency and perhaps the Quorum of the 12) knows where all the tithing money goes. The charter for the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (on file with the federal government, you can read it) gives Monson total authority to do whatever he likes with all donations and is beholden to no-one. You can assert that Monson isn't living off the fat of the members, I can assert that he is; but neither of us can offer evidence because the Church refuses to open their financial books.
We do know that the Church is worth billions (with a 'B'), yet it makes it's members scrub toilets for free and gives only a few percent to charity and humanitarian aid while simultaneously spending many millions on the City Creek mall and miles of Florida real estate. You cannot assert that the mall and land were not bought with tithing; the books are closed, you cannot read them. Whether tithing was used or not, is the spending consistent with a Christlike philosophy, or are these actions indicative of a money-hungry corporation? You, and Occam's razor, can be the judge.
If so, doesn't it seem odd to you that this delusion is so general in convincing people to do good things, to help their neighbors, to pay fast offerings, to contribute to communities, and to have strong families?
Every con has an element of truth. Just because the Church does a few good things, doesn't make it okay for it to do a bunch of other bad things.
Further, other religions and even atheists give money, build communities, and have strong families. The Church does not have a monopoly on "goodness".
Isn't it odd also that it has warned so many of danger, averted personal catastrophes, and otherwise given sound counsel?
But it hasn't. What about all the people blessed to recover from illness, and then don't? How about people that get injured and killed in accidents but didn't receive any divine warning beforehand? What about Brigham's inspiration to teach his racist Blood Atonement doctrine, was that from the Holy Ghost or a frenzied mind? Or Joseph's "revelation" to send the Brethren to Canada to sell the Book of Mormon copyright, which ended in failure and Joseph admitting his revelation was of the devil? Even aided by his rock in his hat, the Holy Ghost wasn't even reliable for Joseph Smith, who's allegedly done more than anyone (save Jesus) for mankind.
Mormons love to tell "warm fuzzies" about little everyday occurrences confirm he Church is true. However these are heavily biased by the the Pollyanna principle. For every faith-confirming experience, there is usually one or two faith-destroying ones that are quietly ignored or forgotten. And members of other faiths have these little faith-building experiences too. If we lend those credence, there is more support for non-LDS religions being true than LDS based on sheer numbers (LDS being a minority compared to say, Catholics). If we tally up all these experiences, you'll find no statistical confidence supporting the idea that the Mormons have the only true Church.
Proper faith is a principle of action,
I gave my faith action for 36 years.
And then repeating the experiment over and over again.
I did it over and over again for 36 years.
I have. I have enough evidence to satisfy me that those few times I thought I felt the Holy Ghost, could be equally explained by bias and other phenomena. Add to that the evidence against the Church, the scales tip towards the Church being false.
On the one hand, you sound like you almost desperately want to believe for some reason. On the other hand, you are angry and disillusioned because you felt hopelessly abandoned
Yeah, I was betrayed. I wasted 36 years of my life. I missed out on a lot of life's great experiences. I will never get those hundreds of hours of time back. I hate that my family is still in bondage to the cult, and they all think I'm crazy for applying logic and reason and leaving it. Can you blame me for being a little bitter?
If I believe in science, I must accept that the Church may yet be true, pending further evidence. I'm not seeing any of that evidence though. Until that evidence materializes, I'm content to find what meaning I can in a secular life; it's better than wasting my time and money on a scam.