"We have a great history, but we gather that up in stories, and in inspiration, and bring it with us," she said. "The leadership doesn't think it has to be possessed in museum-worthy artifacts, but rather in the living and vital work that we do in the world."
Makholm said many costs described by church leaders as critical are discretionary. In an October letter, he asks members not to trade the church's heritage "for air conditioning and upgrades to the basement!"
A growing church with an $18 million endowment is not facing financial crisis, he said. The leadership is considering misusing gifts from the past instead of doing all it can to solve its problems, he said.
"Once we break the faith with our forebears, it's all out the door," Makholm said. "How easy is it to spend somebody else's money?"
For the sale of the book and silver to proceed, a two-thirds majority vote from attending members is required on Sunday. The debate has provoked hard feelings, but Taylor said a church old enough to have baptized Benjamin Franklin the day he was born can endure it.
"We've made it through the Great Depression, and abolition, and the American Revolution," she said. "I think that we can weather this."