LDS Inc. owns .7% of Florida

Money Tithing

My brother-in-law came to visit last weekend. As science geeks, we tried to see a shuttle launch while he was here (the launch was canceled 11 minutes before liftoff because of weather – ugh!). On the way to watch the launch we stopped by Deseret Citrus and Cattle Ranch to see the Mormon Church’s ranching operations:

sign by main entrance
sign by main entrance

Alas, as former Mormons, we failed to consider that they wouldn’t offer tours on Sunday. But we stopped by the Visitor’s Center anyway and drove around a bit. Here’s the Visitor’s Center:

the Visitor's Center
the Visitor's Center

I knew from the Deseret Ranches’ website and this wikipedia page that the ranch was big, but actually driving around the ranch made me wonder just how big it is. So, I spent a good 10 hours or so trying to see if I could map out just how big the ranch is. After all that time, I realized it was simply too big for me to easily map out by myself. But, the research I did do provided me with some fascinating information.

First off, thanks to a corporation registration website in Florida, I was able to track the name changes of the holding companies for the ranch over the years, eventually finding the current name. It used to be Deseret Properties of Florida, Inc., Deseret Farms, Inc., Deseret Farms Inc., Deseret Ranches of Florida, Inc., Deseret Livestock Company, Deseret Properties of Florida, Inc., Deseret Ranches of Florida, Inc. (1), Deseret Ranches of Florida, Inc. (2), but it is now called Farmland Reserve, Inc.. Once I finally found the current holding company, I was able to visit the property tax appraisers’ websites for the three main counties where the ranch is located: Osceola, Orange, and Brevard. On those sites I found all the property listings of Farmland Reserve, Inc. Here’s a summary of what I found after I added them all up:

County Acres Value
Osceola 182,685.50 $763,252,812.00
Orange 64,843.57 $208,286,252.00
Brevard 41,559.66 $12,552,680.00
Hillsborough-FRI 3,952.94 $30,145,012.00
Total 293,041.67 $1,014,236,756.00

Yep, you’re eyes do not deceive you – LDS, Inc. has more than $1 billion in for-profit property in Florida. The acres convert to 457 square miles, or .7% of the State of Florida. I can’t say for certain, but my guess is that LDS, Inc. is the largest landholder in the state behind the government. For comparative purposes, Disney owns 25,000 acres (that’s all of their properties, not just Disney World), or about 1/12th of the land owned by the LDS, Inc. holding company.

To tally all of this information, I actually built a spreadsheet that you’re welcome to download and peruse. I also started drawing the land parcels in Google Earth, but once I realized just how many there were, I decided I just didn’t have the time. I did complete all the land in Orange County and started on the land in Osceola County. If you want to see the maps or, better yet, if you’d like to improve/complete the maps, you can download them here: Orange County, Osceola County. If you do download them and improve them, please send me a copy of the updated versions as I’d like to have them.

As I was searching through these listings, on a whim I decided to see if Farmland Reserve, Inc. owned any property in my county, Hillsborough, FL, which is all the way across the state from Osceola and Brevard Counties. Turns out they do (see above table). That’s in addition to the $12 million owned by “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Corporation”, which is the company that holds the churches. This makes me wonder just how much property Farmland Reserve Inc. owns. I checked a couple additional counties in Florida but didn’t find any more property.

One of the reasons I wanted to visit the ranch is because my aunt and uncle recently completed a mission there (I should have gone while they were there, but never made it). The amazing thing about the fact that they served a mission there is that they did zero proselytizing and they paid to serve their mission. So, what did they do? My uncle was a high school shop teacher. He knows how to build and repair homes. So, they put him to work building homes on the ranch. He’s round 70 years old and was working 12 hour days 6 days a week for 18 months. His wife ran some of the tours and did other odd jobs around the ranch. When I found out that my aunt and uncle were paying for the opportunity to work for Farmland Reserve, Inc., a billion dollar for profit company, I was not very happy. Not only did the LDS Church use tithing money to buy the ranch (I’m assuming, maybe it was profit from some other business venture), but now it makes people pay for the opportunity to make one of their subsidiaries money. How is that at all ethical?

To wit, the obvious question is: How does the billion dollar ranching operation of the LDS Church further its religious aims? Why does a religion need a billion dollar ranch? Anyone?

Finally, all this searching around for property owned by LDS, Inc. led me to realize that we, the MSP community, could probably put together a pretty good estimate of the property holdings of LDS, Inc. (in the US at least) fairly easily if we distributed the work among us. If each person looked up the holdings of LDS, Inc. in their county and put them in a spreadsheet, we could aggregate them and keep a running total of known property value of the LDS religion. It would make a cool little widget for MSP to display. Thoughts?

259 thoughts on “LDS Inc. owns .7% of Florida

  1. Hey Guys,

    Thanks for the replying.

    @China Blanco I’d be glad to Latter Day Main Streeters a discount from my safety warehouse, but our pricing is a bit difficult. I own another business that sells all kinds of casual clothing, like sweatshirts, t-shirts, etc.: http://sweatshirtstation.com. I just created a discount code for people who visit this page to use: mormonsareflippinawesome (Yes, the coupon code says “Mormons are flippin’ awesome”, and it’s a joke)

    @Kuri I’m sure there are all kinds of arguments that could be made about how General Authorities of the Church are supported, and we’d have just as many rebuttals to any attempts to smear the Brethren. The simple answer to all of the criticisms is this: anyone who knows anything about the good men and women who lead the LDS Church also knows that they could never be seriously accused of glutting themselves upon the labors of us common members. That simply doesn’t happen.

    A suggestion I have for profxm and his buddies is this, instead of rallying the troops to try to figure out how to make the Church’s good works look like they’re evil, why don’t you guys get out there and help with the next stake assignment to pick oranges, bottle peanut butter, or can food for those who need help? Your energy would be much better spent and you’d have a way better time helping instead of chucking stuff at us from the peanut gallery. I’ve helped load beef onto conveyors and packaged hot dogs at one of our meat packing plants, canned all kinds of stuff at the bishop’s storehouses, picked oranges, peaches, and other fruit at our vineyards, and thoroughly loved every minute of being able to give back after having been financially blessed myself. The only qualm I might have about all of those activities is that they always make me wear a hair net even though I’m bald, but I can easily get over that. Give it a try folks. See what it means to serve: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzjvE0ehnEI

  2. Dude, did you call me a girl? It’s C-h-i-n-O, with an O. But the discount is much appreciated. Thanks. Weirdly enough, though, when I tried that discount code, it added 15% to the total. What’s up with that? (just jokin’)

    You know, I worked on welfare farms all the time growing up. And my dad has continued to volunteer many spare hours to one church project or the other.

    Here’s my question to the church leadership: Why don’t you run things so I don’t feel like my dad’s being treated like a chump? I don’t like how there are two classes of Mormons: those who give, give, give and those who profit, profit, profit. Or is there some other reason that LDS finances are stamped Top Secret?

    It’s a racket.

  3. Rich, I don’t care if GAs get paid by the church; I think they probably should. After all, “the laborer is worthy of his hire,” as some guy once said. But you’re the one who quoted scripture as if they don’t. I guess you didn’t get the memo: Now that GAs get paid directly from church funds, an unpaid clergy is no longer a sign of the One True Church.

  4. I have a strong feeling that Kuri and Chino (Sorry about calling you China, but my fingers seem to be trained to type those letters in that sequence. I lived there for a year and I have a lot of friends over there.) won’t change your minds no matter what arguments are made or what evidence is given. You’re pretty set on calling the LDS Church’s finances black regardless of what color they really are.

    Regarding the “unpaid clergy is no longer” comment, my brother (a bishop) gets no compensation for the 30+ hours he puts into his calling. I’d call that unpaid. I get nothing for playing the organ on Sunday. I also don’t get paid to head up the scout committee. I’ve never been paid for any of my church callings, although I’ve had ones that required a lot of time and energy. In short, we do in fact have an unpaid clergy.

    The essence of this conversation is the accusation made here that somehow there are fat cats at the head of the Church who are living lives of luxury and oppressing members of the Church to finance their lifestyles. There’s simply no evidence anywhere that supports that claim. I’ve seen the schedules of some of the Brethren. I certainly don’t envy the work load they carry. Frankly, the accusations I’ve seen by anti-Mormons against the leaders of the LDS Church come from a purposeful, agenda-based ignorance about who they are and what their callings mean. If your anti-Mormon sentiment isn’t based in a bedrock of unjustified contempt for the Church, I invite you to educate yourselves:
    Elder Bednar describes an apostles role:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBtE5QbcDbU
    Conversations with LDS Church leaders: http://feeds.lds.org/LDSConversations

  5. Rich, you’re the one who quoted Alma saying he never received a penny from the church. It’s not my fault if GAs don’t live that way.

  6. I can’t say that I have read all 155 of the previous comments, but I read the first 50 and also the last few, and I can say that one thing is clear.

    Those of you that are questioning the ethics of the Church want to appear to be sincere, objective observers. You want to put yourselves out there as not feeling any hostility toward the Church and not being prejudiced in any way, but just sincerely asking questions that you think need to be asked.

    The problem is that when your questions are answered in logicial and concise ways that clearly put to rest any concerns you might have, you refuse to follow logic and reason. You twist words, you change your arguments, you cling to logical fallacies, or even to positions that have no basis.

    The Lord has asked us to pay tithing. He has clarified this policy through his living Prophets. If you know this, then you also know that the blessings you receive for obeying this commandment far exceed the difficulties you encounter as a result of paying your tithing. If you don’t believe this, then fine, don’t pay tithing. Nobody is forcing anyone to do anything. In fact, your continued obsession that people that are struggling should be given an exception and not required to pay tithing, would injure those parties and take from them the blessings that they receive when they pay their tithing. How about you just leave it up to them to decide for themselves?

    Chino, as to your question, “Why dont you run things so I dont feel like my dads being treated like a chump?”

    If you feel that way, that’s your problem. Your dad is probably understands that the blessings he receives now and in the hereafter are far greater than the time and effort he is providing. That’s the way it works. We are always indebted to the Lord. When we sacrifice of ourselves for his cause, he immediately blesses us to an even greater extent. The more we try to pay off our debt, the more it accumulates as he always provides us with more than we have given. You may not know that, but you could.

  7. There is a saying in the church…. ” Member who can’t live the gospel can leave the church but they can’t leave it alone.”

  8. I don’t like this post at all. I’m not sure what the issue is. Is there something morally wrong about a religious group holding a certain amount of property? To the extent that this post argues for that position, it is basically a rehashing of economic antimsemitism with a different target group. I find it shocking that such an attitude would be seen as acceptable in this day and age.

    Plus having practiced corporate law and dabbled in tax law, I don’t see why the big hullabaloo about the profit/non-profit divide. Just because an organization is non-profit, it does not follow that its senior executives and directors are not well-paid or that they are recipients of vast benefits. Just because an organization is “for-profit” does not mean that it’s a big, bad entity that squeezes its customers for every last ounce of cash that it can. If the ranch holdings were non-profit, the money it made would have to go back into the ranch itself because of innurement laws. Because it is run as a “for-profit” organization, the Mormon church (as the sole shareholder, presumably) can declare dividends and reinvest that money elsewhere, possibly for humanitarian goals.

  9. dpc,

    The questions that make this practice sketchy in my opinion are:
    1) Why does a religion need a for-profit ranch?
    2) Why is it okay for people to volunteer for a for-profit ranch owned by a religion but not okay for people to volunteer for, say, McDonald’s?
    3) Why are religions that run for-profit subsidiaries not required to report the profits and expenses from those?
    4) Why doesn’t the LDS Church voluntarily report how much money it makes from this and where the money goes?

    Maybe this ranch is run purely for humanitarian reasons, but neither your nor I know that to be the case.

  10. 1) Every single religion and/or non-profit and/or charity requires money to fund their religious and/or non-profit activities and/or charitable activities. One way to fund those is to take donations and simply spend the money. Another way is to take donations, invest the money, and generate a perpetual stream that can be used for those purposes. Sounds like an incredibly wise way to do it.
    2) It is perfectly ok for people to volunteer at, say McDonald’s. Why would you possibly think it’s not?
    3) Why would they be? What business is it of yours? You are not required to report your profits and expenses to the public. Why should they be? Why should anyone be?
    4) Because it’s none of the public’s business. It’s none of your business. Why do you even care? Is anyone asking you to report where your money goes?

    It’s none of your busienss whether “this ranch is run purely for humanitarian reasons”. It has nothing to do with you. Why do you even care?

  11. JJL9, I think we’ve had this discussion before, but I can’t find where. It is my business if religions get tax breaks. You agreed. You said we should cut the tax breaks for religions. I agreed. So, until religions lose their tax exemption status, this is my business.

    As far as your other points go, for-profit corporations are not allowed to have people volunteer for them in ways that will generate profit, or they have to pay them. Internships are highly regulated by the government. The same does not hold for LDS Inc., even though the ranch is for-profit. Another case of religions being treated differently.

    As far as #1 goes, well, if they are making money to give to the poor, I’d be fine with it. But you don’t know where the money is going any better than I do. So, I don’t know that that is what they are doing.

  12. profxm- For points 1 and 2, don’t get all wrapped up in the profit/non-profit divide. It’s a way to comply with tax/corporate law in a way to maximize the money the Mormon church can get to spend on what it wants.

    As for number 3, private organizations (including for-profit corporations) have no obligation to disclose their finances. Non-religious charities are required to disclose how much they spend on overhead and how much they use to benefit the targets of their charities. The only reason that big corporation disclose finances is because of securities law. It makes the financial system transparent so that corporations can raise more capital while the investors can more appropriately allocate risk.

    As for number 4, even if the church disclosed its financial statements, I doubt that anyone without a finance background would really know what they were looking at. I’ve looked at lots of finance statements and they are usually pretty staid. When was the last time you looked at a 10-Q or a 10-K? Plus I can see a lot of disaffected ex-Mormons complaining (although, I admit, most likely with good intentions) about the amount spent on office furniture or vehicles or printing costs when that money “could have gone to the poor” or “tsunami victims” as though a church were just some kind of glorified disaster relief organization or wealth-redistribution scheme.

  13. @163

    Chanson, this is a blog. It is, by its very nature, an open invitation to seek opinions, and to foster debate. It may not be “my business” that you’re discussing this, but it is a public forum, that theoretically seeks public input. I’m interested in the most basic principles of freedom and liberty. That’s why I care. I believe that adherence to these princples brings about the greatest amount of wellbeing and even prosperity in any society. That’s why I care.

    I also have an interest in what the LDS church does because I am a member, I pay tithing, fast offerings, etc… So, I’m interested. But that hardly means that the LDS Church has a duty (fiduciary or otherwise) to disclose anything to me about those ranching operations. They can disclose as much or as little as they please and I can decide for myself if I want to participate or donate to the Church.

    The difference between my interest in this discussion, and your interest in the ranch’s financial operations is that this is a public forum that seeks public input. Private individuals, and private businesses, both for-profit and non-profit, are, wait for it….. wait for it… Private.

    They are private, which means NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

    @164

    I do agree that all special tax breaks should be done away with. But two wrongs don’t make a right. I will focus on promoting more freedom and liberty, which includes removing special tax breaks, and which excludes making private information public. You can’t promote a principle by violating it.

    Also, McDonald’s can organize a charitable effort and recruit volunteers. The LDS Church can recruit volunteers (missionaries or otherwise) to aid in their charitable and other non-profit endeavors. If part of those efforts include oversight of their for-profit businesses, so be it. Non-profit corporations can own for-profit corporations. I served on the board of a non-profit organization that owned a for-profit corporation. The profits from the for-profit corporation were used to bolster our non-profit activities. I was a “volunteer” board member, working for free for the non-profit. Part of my responsibility included oversight of hte for-profit business.

    Again, you don’t know “where the money is going” and that’s ok. It’s not your money. Not your business.

    dpc is basically right about the laws regulating corporations in the US, but I think this discussion is not about what the regulations are, but what they should be.

    His point about reading 10-Qs and 10-Ks is completely beside the point. Either it makes sense to require disclosure or it does not. In my opinion, it does not. He also mentions securities laws and says that “it makes the financial system transparent so that corporations can raise more capital while the investors can more appropriately allocate risk.” If this were the case, you wouldn’t need a law to enforce it. Congress should not care if a company can raise capital. The company does care. The company should do whatever they think potential investors require to attract investment. Investors should invest in whatever companies they are comfortable investing in. If Company A discloses everything, that naturally reduces the risk of the investment. If Company B does not, that’s Company B’s problem, not mine, and not the US Government’s. If an investor does not want to invest because the potential risk is deemed too high because of the lack of disclosure, then he/she does not have to invest. Pretty simple.

  14. this is a blog. It is, by its very nature, an open invitation to seek opinions, and to foster debate.

    Exactly. I’m glad to see you’ve figured out the answers to the questions you posed in the end of @162.

  15. So what? Is there ap oint to this information. The LDS Church owns lots of land and produces product on this land. It also feeds people from this land.

    It has owned this land for decades and decades. It like other land owners ahd maintained th land and taken cre of the land. Whether theLDS Church is a church or other organization, it has properly used the land and not let it run down. It is not doing anything illegal. Is there a purpose to slamming the LDS church here. Would you be doing the same if it was Disney or an individual or the Catholic church? I doubt it!
    Your comment that the place was closed on Sunday for tours was telling in itself. As if this was wrong, so what if the LDS ranch is closed on Sunday. My hair dresser is closed on Sunday and Monday big deal. My fabric store is closed on Saturday to observe Sabbbath. Are you going after them for that?

  16. Just because the corporation is formed and run as a “for profit” organization, does not mean that its making money, that only refers to the way its formed and run from an administrative point of view. Hunreds of thousands of “for profit” businesses go out of business every year because they arent making profit, so harping on the term “for profit” over and over doesnt accomplish your argument. Have any of you taken the time to look at what actually takes place on these farms? Have you ever been walked through the process? These farms grow produce that is then taken to processing plants, also owned by the church, where they are then canned and shipped to storehouses where they are then given to people who are in need whether they are members or not. Have any of you been on scene of a natural disaster hours after it occurs to see the HUGE amount of supplies and emergency rations that are delivered by the church, often before government run agencies have a chance to even show up? Have you ever gone to the grocery store and seen products owned and manufactured by the lds church on the shelves? No, you havent. That is because they are only available through the bishops storehouse, where incidentaly, there are no cash registers. They dont take money there because they dont charge for their services. You all have your heads stuck so far in the sand, you dont even care about actualities anymore. You would much rather complain about tax status, than the actual purpose of these properties and what the church uses them for. The lady who wrote the article really should have taken the tour, then none of this drivel would have been written in the first place.

  17. You all have your heads stuck so far in the sand, you dont even care about actualities anymore. You would much rather complain about tax status, than the actual purpose of these properties and what the church uses them for.

    We’re getting close to 200 comments on this one (including a number of critiques by faithful Mormons), and (almost?) none of them are willing to discuss the points here without some gratuitous speculation about the character and motives of the author (and other people on this site).

    The author of the article is a man (not that it matters), and you don’t know how much experience he has or hasn’t had with the LDS church welfare system.

  18. Dusty, you didn’t read the post very closely, did you? That ranch doesn’t grow crops with the exception of oranges, which aren’t really great for canning last time I checked. They harvest shells from the land for road beds and raise cattle, which the LDS Church also does not give away. I doubt bishop’s storehouses hand out shell road base to those in need, but then, I’ve never bothered to ask. The LDS Church is using the land to make a profit. We just don’t know where the money goes.

    If it was a billion dollar farm, you may have a point. But it’s a billion dollar ranch that is NOT used primarily for raising food.

  19. Chanson- so the “points” your talking about is why doesnt the church tell people how much money they make? How much money do you make?

    Profxm- The ranch grows quite a few citrus crops, including oranges (which can be prepared in various ways including canning) tangerines, and tangelos, not to mention the wood crops they raise there such as pine, cypress, hardwood, and palm. Had you taken the time to go to their website ( http://www.deseretranchflorida.com/welcome.html ) instead of going off of some guys blog, you would have known all that. Incidentally, as far as the cattle is concerned. The church does indeed give a good amount of beef and other meat away in their storehouse’s, as well as use beef chunks in the canning of thier beef stew, which they also give away. The fact of the matter is, the church does a lot of good all over the world for members and non members alike. Like any other group doing buisiness in a world that is run by money, they need money to do business. In your opinion, what do you think the church does with its profit? You are speculating and insinuating that it must be doing something sneaky and underhanded, but you havent actually come out and said what you think it is. Obviously you dont believe what i or anyone else tells you, so why dont you tell me what YOU think.

  20. I’m not going off some guys blog. I wrote the post. I visited the ranch. My aunt and uncle volunteered there. I’ve read their website. You don’t can citrus fruits. Maybe they put some beef in stew, but their own website says they sell most of the cattle. Stop accusing me of being ignorant when everything I’ve said is accurate.

    As far as what they do with the profit, I DON’T KNOW! YOU DON’T KNOW! No one who is willing or allowed to post on this blog knows, including YOU! And that is precisely my point. I haven’t been speculating. I haven’t been insinuating. I’ve simply pointed out that there is a billion dollar for-profit ranch in Florida owned by a religion that is believed to make a profit and I don’t know what they do with that profit. I’ve raised a question: Why do they NEED THIS? You’ve assumed that I think it’s terrible. I don’t know if it’s terrible. Maybe they donate all their profits to poor starving kids in Africa. If they do, awesome! I’d go volunteer there myself. But I don’t know what they do with their profits. If you do, please tell us. But you can’t just assume that it all goes to a good cause because you’re defending your religion. Show us money transfers. Show us bank statements. Show us something. Until you provide evidence, I am perfectly within the bounds of reason to say: This smells funny!

  21. Im trying to tell you what they do with their profit and you are turning a deaf ear to me. They use the money to fund their worldside charity program. They have a huge amount of overhead to cover their building and transportation fleet. What i find amazing, is that in the face of all the good the church does by way of charity, you choose to focus on the PERCEIVED negative that they dont hand their legers over to you for personal inspection…
    But this isnt really about that at all. You are trying to obscure the obvious good the church does, by distracting people with smoke and mirrors. This website is obviously anti mormon, so its no secret what your agenda is.
    Your not looking for answers, your simply trying to plant seeds of doubt in any way you possibly can.
    Very little of what you have said is accurate. You yourself admit that you havent actualy been to the ranch. All you have done is managed to dig up the taxable values (not to be confused with the purchase price) of a piece of property, the overwhelming majority of which is un-improved and un-developed. You have put an artificial price tag on something and think that proves some vague point, but it really only proves your grasping at straws.

    P.s. People in Florida may not have a huge need with canned citrus, but its actually quite prevelant in non tropical areas of the world. Also, have you ever heard of orange juice? Thats another popular way to consume oranges and it comes in bottles AND cans…

  22. Im trying to tell you what they do with their profit

    You mean you’re trying to tell him what you think they do with their profit.

    and you are turning a deaf ear to me.

    Because basically all you’re doing is making stuff up. You have no evidence nor even unprovable insider information. You imagine that the church must be doing certain things with the profits, so you simply assert that it is doing those things. But you don’t actually know if it is or not. You’re just guessing.

  23. Kuri, its easy to say that I have no evidence when you have NO evidence to the contrary. What do YOU think they do with the profits?

  24. I have SEEN with my own two eyes, the results of the church’s programs, both with their welfare program as well as their emergency relief programs. Its rather well documented, so its not a matter of what i think, its what i know.

  25. Fact: I went to the ranch.
    Fact: I looked up the cost of the ranch.
    Fact: Dusty found out that Dole puts fruit in plastic cups.
    Fact: Dusty has no insider information on what happens to the profits at the ranch.

  26. you said in your article that you DIDNT go to the ranch, but if you have since gone, what did you learn?
    Define “cost of the ranch”. Is this the purchase price, the resale price, the taxable value, what? If you can be so wrong about something as simple as canned fruit, why should anyone trust anything you say on the more serious issues?

  27. Kuri, its easy to say that I have no evidence when you have NO evidence to the contrary. What do YOU think they do with the profits?

    Your guess is as good as mine.

  28. You didn’t read the post, did you? I said in the post that I went, but it was Sunday and they were closed for tours.

    The cost is the taxable value, which was also made perfectly clear in the post. Why not actually read the whole post.

  29. So you went, but you didnt actually go? did you glean some powerful knowledge by pulling up to the closed gates?
    The taxable value is not even close to the same thing as the market value, nor does it come close to the purchase price. You lead your readers to believe that if thats the value you place on the property, then thats what the church paid for it by saying they own a billion dollar piece of property. Its only a billion dollar piece of property when someone pays a billion dollars for it. Find what the church purchased it for, then try to make your point.

  30. Obviously my guess is much much better.

    Another unsupported assertion. Do you really not see the problem with the kind of arguments you’re making?

  31. Dusty, you win. Everything on the ranch is perfect! The cows shit rainbows and they donate the pots of gold to poor orphans in Africa. Every orange weighs 1,000 pounds and is personally delivered, free of charge, to poor families who live off them for a month at a time. Everyone is happy. No one sins. It’s a mini-celestial kingdom.

    There is no point discussing this further. In your mind, LDS Inc. can do no wrong.

  32. Dusty, this is the way I think about it. Imagine a church where the pastor makes tons of money from donations and tithing from the membership. If someone in the church needs help, he helps them out, so he appears generous and giving. But the money didn’t actually come from him, it comes from the membership; he’s the administrator. It’s actually the membership that is generous and giving, and one would think they should have a right to know how much of their money is given out as welfare and how much the pastor keeps for himself.

    Mormons basically just trust their leadership on money matters and don’t ask for financial transparency — how it’s invested, whether some upper level leaders get to tap into the “Church Bank” for capital for pet projects, etc. Meanwhile, non-Mormons and ex-Mormons look at this financial system and can’t imagine not having such transparency. We expect financial transparency from, say, the government that we pay taxes to. Like profxm said, maybe it’s all legit. But how is anyone to know?

  33. “I can’t imagine anyone having a problem with the Lord’s Anointed, because I’ve been inoculated against empathy by the church of Jesus Christ.

    Your obvious anger means you are wrong. Your apostasy means you are sinners, and therefore wrong. Maybe if you’d stop being wrong I would listen to you. Until then, fucking repent.”

  34. http://images.businessweek.com/slideshows/2012-07-11/the-mormon-global-business-empire#slide11 ok the church receives around roughly 9 billion in tithe money a year plus business ventures both in and out of the united states… temples roughly cost about 3 million to build a year..but yet It’s well known that tithe-paying Latter-day Saints continue to be told by Mormon ‘profits’ and other General Authorities as well as regional and local leaders that the church is unable to help them financially as they struggle to make ends meet during what’s shaping up to be a shaky economic recovery.

  35. but yet Church responses to wealth statements

    “A recent magazine article praised us as a well-run financial institution of great wealth. It grossly exaggerated the figures. The money the Church receives from faithful members is consecrated. It is the Lord’s purse. Our Church facilities are money consuming and not money producing. We are not a financial institution. We are The Church of Jesus Christ. The funds for which we are responsible involve a sacred trust to be handled with absolute honesty and integrity, and with great prudence as the dedicated consecrations of the people.We feel a tremendous responsibility to you who make these contributions. We feel an even greater responsibility to the Lord whose money this is.” Gordon B Hinckley, Latter Day Saints in Very Deed, Ensign, Nov 1995

    GBH also has some comments on Church financial operations in these articles. They discuss the churches expenses such as temples and BYU as well as why the church has maintained some business operations.

    Of Missions, Temples, and Stewardship, Ensign, Nov 1995

    Why we do some of the things we do, Ensign, Oct 1999

  36. The Tsunami

    Timeline:

    2004 – Annual financial statement sent to the Charities Commission shows that members of the Church in the UK donate £252,000 to the Humanitarian Aid fund. Church spends £52,000, all of it on projects within the UK .

    Donations to the Fast Offering Fund totaled £1,319,000. This was added to the existing balance of £1,186,000 already in the fund. £500,000 of this was transferred to the Church’s ‘sister’ charity, LDS (Welfare) “which will apply these funds to the relief of the poor and needy not only in the UK and Ireland but to other countries in Europe and Africa.”

    26th December 2004 – at 07.58 local time an earthquake occurred off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia , measuring 9.3 on the Richter scale. The resultant Tsunami devastated thousands of communities around the Indian Ocean, and the death toll was measured in the hundreds of thousands.

    29th December 2004 – First Presidency of the church issues a statement which was read from the pulpit at Sacrament Meeting the following Sunday.

    “In association with other relief agencies, the Church is extending substantial humanitarian aid to the stricken people of southern Asia. We have representatives on the ground who are assessing needs and who are administering help.

    This coming Sunday, 2 January 2005, will be our regular fast day. In the present circumstances, we urge our people to remember in their prayers those in the devastated areas and to contribute most generously in fast offerings, which will make it possible for the Church to increase its aid to those whose suffering is so great.”

    1st January 2005 – Humanitarian Aid Fund begins the year with a balance of £200,000. Fast Offering Fund begins the year with a balance of £2,005,000.

    2005 – Annual Financial Statement submitted to the Charities Commission show that members of the Church in the UK donate £509,000 to the Humanitarian Aid Fund. Church spends £34,000, all of it on projects within the UK .

    Donations to the Fast Offering Fund totaled £1,597,000. This was added to the existing balance of £2,005,000 already in the fund. £500,000 of this was transferred to the Church’s ‘sister’ charity, LDS (Welfare). This money was spent on ‘Direct Charitable Expenditure’ which is defined as “expenditure directly relating to the objects of the charity”. In theory this could mean the building of chapels, or paying staff (which accounted for £1,094,000 over 2005).

    In Summary – Humanitarian Aid Fund (2004 & 2005)

    Income – £761,000
    Expenditure – £86,000 (11%)
    On Tsunami – zero
    Balance sitting in the bank – £675,000

    Fast Offering Fund (2004 & 2005)

    Income (plus previous balance) – £4,102,000
    Expenditure – £1,000,000 (24%)
    On Tsunami – Impossible to quantify*
    Balance sitting in the bank – £3,102,000

    (* Given the money was spent in the UK and Ireland, other parts of Europe and Africa are probably nil. We know some parts of Africa were affected by the Tsunami but not much, and nowhere in the report was a reference made to helping Tsunami victims.)

    Why worry? We will say that we know the church provided very real assistance to some affected areas; we won’t deny that the church does some good with the money. What gets us is that we sat there in sacrament meeting when the letter was read out and having seen the news over the last week felt moved to take the church at its word and really donate an amount that would make a difference. However, the money just sat in the church’s bank account earning them interest.

    It also seems to indicate that ‘global’ directives from the First Presidency don’t necessarily apply to the whole church. Somebody at Solihull must have known that none of the money going through their hands would ever get to the Tsunami victims, yet they were happy to forward the letter with the directive it be read out in sacrament.

    Note: financial information from charities in the UK has to be disclosed publicly so this kind of detail is available.

  37. Where do you get your info from? Source please? As far as the church not helping its members in times of need, thats simply not true. Their welfare program is second to none. Obviously they want people to be self suffecient, so a lot of the time they try to assist in other ways like food and gas cards, thus freeing up money for people to pay their own bills, but when necessary, i have known people to receive money from the church. However that is neither here, nor there, because at the end of the day, tithing is voluntary and really nobodies businees other than those who pay and those who receive.

  38. How do other religions and charities spend their money?
    “In 1997, U.S. congregations of the similarly sized Evangelical Lutheran Church in America raised $11.8 million in cash donations for worldwide hunger. The same year it raised $3.64 million for domestic and international disaster response, for a one-year humanitarian cash total of $15.44 million, more than half the amount the LDS provided over fourteen years.” P. 129, Mormon America, Richard Ostling

    In Jan. 2006, from the Church PR department, (Deseret News Publishing Company): Edgley said, “that since 1984, the LDS Church has donated nearly $750 million in cash and goods to people in need in more than 150 countries.” That averages to $37.5 mil per year or about $3-$4 per Mormon member went to the poor. The total of $750 million in 22 years spent in cash and goods to people in need is only a small fraction of what the church spent on a mall they bult in Salt Lake City.

    The best estimates are that the church’s assets are around $100 billion and that tithing runs $4.5-6.5 billion per year. But no matter how you slice it, humanitarian work is a small part of church expenditures.

    Even many individuals and corporations spend more than 1% on charitable work:
    Wal-Mart – 1.5%
    Ford – 2.2%
    JP Morgan 2.1%
    MBNA – 1.4%
    UPS – 1.1%
    GM – 1.23%
    Avon – 3.97%
    MetLife – 1%
    Prudential – 1.22%
    Eli Lilly – 1.4%

    According to the IRS, the average charitable contribution is 2.2%.

  39. 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.

    previous123456

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *