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I'm wondering if everyone has seen the article in Bloomberg Biz Week regarding how the Mormon Church makes their (significant) money?

WOW, how do I get in on this gig?

Late last March the Mormon Church completed an ambitious project: a megamall. Built for roughly $2 billion, the City Creek Center stands directly across the street from the church’s iconic neo-Gothic temple in Salt Lake City. 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. Macy’s (M) is a stone’s throw from the offices of the church’s president, Thomas S. Monson, whom Mormons believe to be a living prophet.
A $2 Billion dollar "Mega Mall"?
It’s perhaps unsurprising that Mormonism, an indigenous American religion, would also adopt the country’s secular faith in money. What is remarkable is how varied the church’s business interests are and that so little is known about its financial interests. Although a former Mormon bishop is about to receive the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, and despite a recent public-relations campaign aimed at combating the perception that it is “secretive,” the LDS Church remains tight-lipped about its holdings. It offers little financial transparency even to its members, who are required to tithe 10 percent of their income to gain access to Mormon temples.

The Mormon Church is hardly the only religious institution to be less than forthcoming about its wealth; the Catholic Church has been equally opaque throughout history. On the other hand, says historian D. Michael Quinn, who is working on a book about the LDS Church’s finances and businesses, “The Mormon Church is very different than any other church. … Traditional Christianity and Judaism make a clear distinction between what is spiritual and what is temporal, while Mormon theology specifically denies that there is such a distinction.” To Latter-day Saints, opening megamalls, operating a billion-dollar media and insurance conglomerate, and running a Polynesian theme park are all part of doing God’s work. Says Quinn: “In the Mormon [leadership’s] worldview, it’s as spiritual to give alms to the poor, as the old phrase goes in the Biblical sense, as it is to make a million dollars.”

Mormons make up only 1.4 percent of the U.S. population, but the church’s holdings are vast. 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.

AgReserves, another for-profit Mormon umbrella company, together with other church-run agricultural affiliates, reportedly owns about 1 million acres in the continental U.S., on which the church has farms, hunting preserves, orchards, and ranches. These include the $1 billion, 290,000-acre Deseret Ranches in Florida, which, in addition to keeping 44,000 cows and 1,300 bulls, also has citrus, sod, and timber operations. Outside the U.S., AgReserves operates in Britain, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil. Its Australian property, valued at $61 million in 1997, has estimated annual sales of $276 million, according to Dun & Bradstreet.

'the LDS Church remains tight-lipped about its holdings".

I see. I think this gives us some idea as to why Rmoney does not want to reveal his tax returns. it's wrapped up in the culture of his "church"... and I have to wonder just how much influence their "living prophet" has on this culture.

AgReserves owns almost one million acres of property in the U.S.?

Fair question: What sort of taxes are the Mormon Church paying, and why are they allowed to keep their 501(c)(3) tax exempt status-- particularly given the fact the Mormon Church actively supported California's Prop 8 in 2008?

Here's this gem regarding Romney:

Mitt Romney has never hidden the fact that he has a promised tithe to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but according to his tax returns released today, he gives back more to the Mormons than he pays to the federal government. Since 2010, the Romneys have given $7 million to charity, but over $4 million of that went directly to the Mormon Church, while they paid only $3 million to the IRS last year.
Uhhhhh?? OK, big problem, folks. I can't take seriously a guy who gives MORE money to his "church" than he does the United States. Weak, very weak.

http://www.businessweek.com/...

http://lds501c3.wordpress.com/

http://thinkprogress.org/...

Poll

This souds like some sort of scam.

72%16 votes
13%3 votes
13%3 votes

| 22 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 10:49:43 AM PDT

  •  how's this different (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, rat racer

    than any other large religious organization?

    There's a church in NYC that is the largest landowner in Manhattan I've read. Trinity Church? I think that's it.

    And prosperity gospel? Also fairly unique to the United States (although if you look back, it's not that unique at all. Indulgences? The Borgia popes?)

    pseudoscience can kill

    by terrypinder on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 11:21:31 AM PDT

    •  Uhh, did Trinity Church (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JTinDC

      build a $2 Billion dollar Mega Mall across the street from them??

      gimme a break.

      I note you didn't mention the catholic church.

      "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

      by Superpole on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 11:26:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Is It MANDATORY (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JTinDC

      at Trinity Church to donate TEN percent of your income in order to be a member?

      "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

      by Superpole on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 11:28:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  techincally it is for most sects (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe

        but most don't bother checking up.

        I mean that's how it was the last time I had to be involved in a church (late 1990s.)

        pseudoscience can kill

        by terrypinder on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 11:53:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're Wrong (0+ / 0-)

          I've belonged to several churches over the years, NONE had a specific requirement for $donations.

          "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

          by Superpole on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 12:03:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  and i belonged to one that did (0+ / 0-)

            and have relatives who belong to others who do so, i'm not exactly wrong. they just never bothered enforcing it beyond the "now remember to give" guilt-trip toward the beginning of the sermon.

            and no, we're weren't mormon. They didn't start accepting black people until the 1970s.

            10% of your income tithe is not unique to mormonism.

            pseudoscience can kill

            by terrypinder on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 12:08:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What a Load (0+ / 0-)

              yet another one here incapable of answering a direct question.

              "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

              by Superpole on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 12:21:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  it's telling you moved (0+ / 0-)

                immediately to hostility when I've done nothing of the sort, just because I offered a (very mild) critique of your diary that you seem to have expected "zomg no way mormonism is scam Bad Bad Bad" 100% agreement.

                A great deal of Christianity, in all its denominations and sects is a scam in the United States. That's why Rick Warren and so many other evangelicals have private jets and drive expensive foreign cars and have multiple houses and fools stay giving them money thinking it will "prosper" them when it really doesn't. Mormons are hardly unique. Who knew pointing this out would cause such a cantankerous sad, but then again, this is America.

                pseudoscience can kill

                by terrypinder on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 12:39:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Reading the article (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JTinDC

      It suggests the "motivation" is different. They find that the Mormon church seems to view investments and profiting from them is actually a ministry in itself, not a means to an end to manage resources as would be the case with most churches.

      Watching a religious leader celebrate a mall may seem surreal, but City Creek reflects the spirit of enterprise that animates modern-day Mormonism. The mall is part of a sprawling church-owned corporate empire that the Mormon leadership says is helping spread its message, increasing economic self-reliance, and building the Kingdom of God on earth.
      “The Mormon Church is very different than any other church. … Traditional Christianity and Judaism make a clear distinction between what is spiritual and what is temporal, while Mormon theology specifically denies that there is such a distinction.” To Latter-day Saints, opening megamalls, operating a billion-dollar media and insurance conglomerate, and running a Polynesian theme park are all part of doing God’s work. Says Quinn: “In the Mormon [leadership’s] worldview, it’s as spiritual to give alms to the poor, as the old phrase goes in the Biblical sense, as it is to make a million dollars.”

      from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

      by Catte Nappe on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 11:33:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Mormon theology fits US capitalism and the GOP (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Superpole, Catte Nappe, Calamity Jean

        to a T. I can now see why some evangelicals might have less of a problem voting for a Mormon than I initially thought.

        Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

        by JTinDC on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 11:38:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agreed, But (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catte Nappe, JTinDC, Calamity Jean

          ol' Joseph Smith IS a problem:

          During his lifetime Smith produced numerous revelations that are regarded as scripture by his followers. His teachings include unique views about the nature of God, cosmology, family structures, political organization, and religious collectivism. His followers regard him as a prophet of at least the stature of Moses and Elijah.
          same stature of MOSES? Uhhhhh, no, old-timey Christians don't buy that.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

          by Superpole on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 11:44:39 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, no doubt, there's puLENTY to work with to (2+ / 0-)

            convince evangelicals that the godly thing to do is just stay home. But someone needs to make and push that case to them. My preference is evangelicals themselves would do it. But if they don't. it needs to astroturfed.

            Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

            by JTinDC on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 11:49:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  My Question Is: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Occam was an optimist

        are they taking the ten percent they demand from their members year after year, and investing that money in these businesses?

        if yes, there's something wrong here

        ARE the "church" members stockholders, getting some sort of return?

        "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

        by Superpole on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 12:08:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Even Mormons are asking questions (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Superpole

          Since there is no accountability for how much is coming in or how it's being spent. But they do have substantial operaing expenses - the big temples, the international mission work, the geneaolgy work they do, and financial assistance to their own membership (few Mormons end up on food stamps or welfare). The article did raise quite an uproar in Mormon circles, and led to the posting of a statement on their finances.

          Tithing funds are used to support five key areas of activity:
          •Providing buildings or places of worship for members around the world. We have thousands of such buildings and continue to open more, sometimes several in a week.
          •Providing education programs, including support for our universities and our seminary and institute programs.
          •Supporting the Church’s worldwide missionary program.
          •Building and operating nearly 140 temples around the world and the administration of the world’s largest family history program.
          •Supporting the Church’s welfare programs and humanitarian aid, which serve people around the world — both members of the Church as well as those who are not members.
          http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/...

          from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

          by Catte Nappe on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 12:27:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  There's a reason the statue of Brigham Young (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Superpole, Calamity Jean

      Points to the bank rather than the temple.

      And it's not a coincidence that Joseph Smith was a well known "treasure hunter" and confidence man when he first started selling his story of revelation.

      "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

      by muzzleofbees on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 11:51:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  LOL!! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        right, Smith was the ultimate CON man.. got ran out of several towns for his nonsense, and ultimately murdered because of it.

        "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

        by Superpole on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 12:05:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think the story of Smith's assasination (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Superpole, Occam was an optimist

          Could actually be very instructive to Romney and his political life. There's a tipping point when the effort to cover up the illegal act (In Smith's case, polygamy) will become worse than the original problem and everything will go to shit. Joseph Smith would have never been arrested and taken to Carthage jail if he never would have destroyed the printing press...and that wouldn't have been necessary if he didn't have years and years of lies and misconduct and even more lies to cover up...

          "There's an iPad 3 and a Mitt Romney 4 now. They've worked the bugs out. He's not killing hobos at night anymore."

          by muzzleofbees on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 12:16:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Saw that article over the weekend (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Superpole, JTinDC

    Very interesting reading. Of all the facts that might emerge from the tax returns, one that I am most interested in is his "charitable" giving, and his tithing.

    A number of artilcles winnowed out what they could from 2010, and the biggest single recipient is, of course, the church, but he also (of course) gives heavily to other Mormon entities like BYU. And while some of his giving is direct, there is also a substantial amount through his foundation.

    http://www.forbes.com/...
    http://www.csmonitor.com/...

    from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

    by Catte Nappe on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 11:27:53 AM PDT

  •  What Willard does with the money he loots from (5+ / 0-)

    the enterprises he and his raiders acquire is less important than that he's a raider and a liar and a self-centered sociopath.

    Creative destruction, whether virtual or real, is still destruction.

    Willard's a deprivator.  He deprives other humans of their human and civil rights and targets them for subjugation.

    Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage"

    People to Wall Street, "let our money go."

    by hannah on Tue Jul 17, 2012 at 11:34:51 AM PDT

  •  It's those recurring payments (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Occam was an optimist

    that bring you financial freedom.

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