I was surprised to learn how the Mormon Church makes money. I had no idea they were involved in so many for-profit business ventures:
First among its for-profit enterprises is DMC, which reaps estimated annual revenue of $1.2 billion from six subsidiaries, according to the business information and analysis firm Hoover’s Company Records (DNB). Those subsidiaries run a newspaper, 11 radio stations, a TV station, a publishing and distribution company, a digital media company, a hospitality business, and an insurance business with assets worth $3.3 billion.
They have an agri-business, AgReserves, which owns “about 1 million acres in the continental U.S.” and have land holdings “in Britain, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil.” Its property in Australia alone generates annual sales of about $276 million.
And then there’s their non-profit enterprises which include “the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC), a 42-acre tropical theme park in Oahu” that is worth around $70 million. Apparently it must turn a profit because a land court ruled they must pay state taxes to Hawaii, but they are still exempt from federal taxes under the claim they are “living museum” and “an education-oriented charity.” In fact, they are exempt from taxes on some of their commercial profit-making ventures as well.
And just this year the Mormon Church built a $2 billion mega-mall across the street from their enormous temple in Salt Lake City. It’s quite a mall:
The mall includes a retractable glass roof, 5,000 underground parking spots, and nearly 100 stores and restaurants, ranging from Tiffany’s (TIF) to Forever 21. Walkways link the open-air emporium with the church’s perfectly manicured headquarters on Temple Square.
An investigation recently conducted by Reuters estimated “the LDS Church is likely worth $40 billion today and collects up to $8 billion in tithing each year.” However, a study also estimated “the LDS church donates less than one per cent of its annual income to charity.” I’d note for the record the Church disputes those figures.
Nonetheless, clearly the Mormon church holds vast wealth which is even more impressive considering Mormons represent only 1.4 percent of the U.S. population as compared to say, Roman Catholics who make up 22 percent of the population. I’d urge you to read the whole article. The full details are riveting. Certainly it’s far different from holding bingo games, church dinners and craft fairs to raise money.