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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: December 19, 2011 10:56PM

Speaking with a lei around his lie, apostle fossil Holland told his Hawaii campus Mormon student-body audience:

“There is no money in the Church except what our members offer.”

(Jeffrey R. Holland, Laie, Hawaii, 17 December 2011, in "BYU-Hawaii: Ground Broken for Campus Expansion Project," by Kelsey Royer, BYU-Hawaii University Communications, published in "Church News," Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 13 December 2011, at:

Really? Then please answer RfM poster "lulu's" question:

"So, how are they building the SLC mega mall and apartments?"

(posted by "lulu," on "Recovery from Mormonism" bulletin board, 19 December 2011, at:,371249)

In pretending to answer such basic inquiries, the Mormon Church, as a matter of purposely deceptive and disingenuous habit, claims that the bulk of its booty comes from money extracted from the faithful--an approach undertaken, of course, in the name of faith.

This is how the Mormon Church plays the numbers--and its members:

"Gordon B. Hinckley, prior President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said:

"'Our major source of revenue is the ancient law of the tithe. Our people are expected to pay 10 percent of their income to move forward the work of the Church. The remarkable and wonderful thing is that they do it. Tithing is not so much a matter of dollars as it is a matter of faith. It becomes a privilege and an opportunity, not a burden. Our people believe in the word of God as set forth in the book of Malachi, that the Lord will open the windows of heaven and pour down blessings that there will not be room enough to receive them (Malachi 3:8-10). Moving and touching is the testimony of Latter-day Saints throughout the world concerning this, the Lord’s law for the financing of His work.'”

("How Does the [Mormon] Church Finance Its Operations?," complete with parroted Mormon responses, at:

That's not the whole story, of course--not by a long shot. But the Mormon Church doesn't like telling the whole story and has not been providing any meaningful accounting of its earnings sources and earnings amounts for decades.

RfM poster "Jesus Smith" exposes hide-'n-seek Holland's antics:

"He's playing semantics and he knows it. [It] [s]hows his dishonesty.

"'Church' = only the religious wing of the corporation. He is excluding the Corporation of the COJCOLDS [Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] and of the presiding bishop[rics].

"Holland just showed his hand, once again, that he is a corporate man through and through."

(“There is no money in the Church except what our members offer," posted by "Jesus Smith," on "Recovery from Mormonism" bulletin board, 19 December 2011, at:,371249,371265#msg-371265)

Simply put, the Mormon Church is a hardcore business employing softsell b.s.

Over a half-century ago, Mormon Church expenditures reported for the year 1958 (as provided by LDS historians Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton in their book, "The Mormon Experience," were $72,794,306.

Arrington and Bitton acknowledge that "the [Mormon] Church does not give a detailed accounting of its annual revenues and expenditures" and that what it does dribble out amounts to "occasional summaries."

That's putting it mildly.

Since 1958, LDS Inc. revenues and expenditures have exploded astronomically. Trouble is, LDS Inc. has steadfastly refused to release the numbers. Indeed, in the face of ongoing outside questions about Mormon Church money-changing in its temporal world of business ventures, Arrington and Bitton admit that "the Church has only intermittently published data on revenues and expenditures."

In that regard, Arrington and Bitton cite "a study of its [the Mormon Church's] economic activities suggest[ing] that in the first half of thee 20th century it accumulated a considerable reserve that invested conservatively in real estate, bonds and saving deposits." They also report that LDS Inc. now has a "portfolio of securities," as well as "some income from its investments." But they add that "the basic cash flow still comes from its members in the form of tithes and other donations," noting that "[t]he Church is able to carry out is extensive programs only because its members contribute regularly and liberally to its treasury."

Arrington and Bitton outline (as of 1979) what is described as Mormonism's "income-earning properties" (income which, by that time, had reached into the multi-millions of dollars):

--Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI). This enterprise is described as a "wholesale and retail firm" in which "[t]he Church (through Deseret Management) owns a controlling 30% of the stock (the remainder lies in private hands)."

--Deseret National Bank, Zion's Savings Bank & Trust Company, Utah First National Bank and Utah Savings & Trust. Arrington and Bitton report that after creating a dominating bank business in the Great Basin through a series of territorial mergers, acquisitions and branch creations, the Mormon Church eventually received a favorable purchase offer and "sold its controlling interest in Zion's First National to a syndicate of persons friendly to the Church."

--Utah-Idaho Sugar Company. Arrington and Bitton report that, as of their writing, the Mormon Church "own[ed] about half the common stock and four-fifths of the preferred stock in certain Mountain West sugar manufacturing ventures, the annual sales of which were in the hundred of millions of dollars.

--Beneficial Life Insurance Company and Utah Home Fire Insurance Company. At the time of their book's publication, Arrington and Bitton reported that the company was wholly owned by the Corporation of the Mormon Church President and that it had "written over $2 billion in policies." The company was later restructured to include "an investment program that enable[d] it to compete with Prudential, Metropolitan and other national companies." Utah Home Fire Insurance Company--which was organized by, among others, "Heber J. Grant (described as having a "genius for business")--was identified by Arrington and Bitton as "Utah's largest domiciled casualty company."

--Utah Hotel Corporation. The Mormon Church partnered with a group of non-LDS businessmen to organize this profit-making entity which, through Deseret Management, eventually built "the 530-room Hotel Utah, [the] 189-room Temple Square Hotel and [the] 156-room Utah Motor Lodge--all of which adjoin [ed] Temple Square in Salt Lake City."

--Beehive Clothing Mills. Arrington and Bitton write that this monopoly is a "wholly-owned subsidiary of the Corporation of the President . . . [with] plants in Utah, England and Mexico and is the exclusive manufacturer of articles of temple clothing for Latter-day Saints."

The Mormon Church also set up Zion's Securities Corporation, which Arrington and Bitton describe as a "commercial real estate arm of the Church [which] pays property taxes and corporation taxes on its net income." They note that "it has grown steadily as its profits and gains have been reinvested." Calling its activities "ambitious," the authors write that Zion's Securities "hold[s] nearly all the real estate on the four sides facing Temple Square and Administration Square, and many other blocks and lots in Salt Lake City and County . . . . [I]t has cooperated with owners of neighboring parcels in developing modern business and shopping areas in downtown Salt Lake City. . . . Zion's Securities has built the 20-story Beneficial Life Office tower, the 8-story J.C. Penney Building, the 18-story Kennecott Building, a modern Prudential Federal Savings Branch, a 400-hundred-car parking terrace for the Temple Square Hotel, a 200-car underground garage for Hotel Utah, the Hotel Utah Motor Lodge, the ZCMI Center or Mall, a 1,000-car parking terrace on Regent Street and a 900-car parking garage near Deseret Gymnasium. [Millions of dollars] has been expended . . . by the Church, local government and businesses in 'sprucing up' the downtown area of Salt Lake City.

"Zion's Securities has continued to acquire new properties that will be useful to the Church in its building projects. On a site acquired adjacent to Temple Square a large new auditorium with 35,000 seats was once planned for Church and community use. Civic dialogue and deliberation resulted in the donation of this land to Salt Lake City and County to construct the Salt Palace and Performing Arts Center. The company acquired a thousand acres on 21st South and Redwood Road, Salt Lake City, after World War II and developed plans for the construction of the Latter-day Saint Distribution Center and Beehive Clothing Mills. Zion's Securities owns the ZCMI building and lot in Salt Lake City, which was [eventually] enlarged into the largest department store in the Mountain West. It also assisted in the location of a new $10 million federal office building on 1st South and State, close to Temple Square. Further afield, the company also owns property in Hawaii, Los Angeles, Wyoming, Florida and in Price and Cedar City, Utah."

Arrington and Bitton further mention that "[i]n January 1977 the First Presidency announced the formation of a sister corporation--Beneficial Development--to manage all development formerly done by Zion's Securities and the Church. Beneficial [was structured to serve] as a vehicle for Church mortgage-loan funds . . . [and to operate] through private developers throughout the West and concentrate on the acquisition and creation of industrial parks."

Arrington and Bitton also detail the fact that "for long years the Church has operated ranches in several states and in addition furnished capital and encouragement for the construction of canals and irrigation projects. . . . [T]he Church has acquired a number of ranchlands on which it has pioneered in the adoption of new practices. Under the Deseret name the Church now operates two large ranches in southern Alberta; a large ranching complex in Florida; a 10,000-acre hay and grain farm near Pecos, Texas; a 5,000-acre farm producing walnuts and almonds near Sacramento, California; and an 11,000-acre general agricultural ranch at Elberta, Utah.

"The largest of these ventures is in Florida. In 1950 the Church acquired for ranching and development purposes approximately 220,000 acres of swampland not far from Cape Canaveral (and Disney World). . . . Running over 30,000 head of young cattle on land once described as worthless for the cattle business, these 20th century [Mormon] pioneers converted a Florida wasteland into a center of cattle feeding . . . . Additional ranches and properties were subsequently acquired by the Church and the program of development continues. In 1977 some 100,000 head of Aberdeen Angus and Hereford cattle were being raised on 360,000 acres of Church land in Florida."

Given LDS Inc.'s significant business investments over time and place, Arrington and Bitton acknowledge that its proclivity for super secrecy in handling its books does not create a positive image of Mormon Church money-making:

"Mormonism's wealth . . . is often thought of as enormous and this impression may be strengthened by the policy of not releasing precise figures."

Still, these two Mormon historians insist that the LDS Church is managing its mountains of money in an appropriate manner, despite hiding from public view meaningful details on how that management is said to be taking place:

"One gathers that its liquid assets are being managed with responsibility and efficiency . . . [and] there is a careful annual audit by a professional accounting firm and a brief report is made at annual conferences."

Uh-huh. Way too brief.

(Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton, "The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints" [New York, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979], pp. 263, 280-83)

More determined digging into how LDS Inc. amasses and spends its dough has since been done by non-Mormon authors/investigative journalists Richard N. and Joan K. Ostling, who report the following in their book, "Mormon America: The Power and the Promise" (published in 1999 but employing statistical methodologies that make their findings relevant today):

"Broadly speaking, the [Mormon] Church derives income from two sources: tithing, which [Presiding Bishop/LDS chief financial officer David] Burton said provides by far the largest share; and income from Church investments, including both stocks and bonds passively held and direct investments in ranching, media, financial, real estate and other interests the the Church owns. We were able to work from some individual numbers, such as the the $172 million in revenue made by Bonneville Corporation. But there was no easy way to get at some of the other corporate revenue. . . .

" . . . Figuring [Mormon] church income from investments could . . . be taken according to [Burton's] ratio. If $5.3 billion in member contributions is 90 percent of revenues, by the reckoning provided us by Presiding Bishop Burton, total revenues would be around $5.9 billion. Or by the more cautious reading of tithing income, it would be just under $5 billion. In either case, the numbers are . . . within the correct order of magnitude.

"Estimating annual investment income at a total of $600 million allows us in turn to make at least a general stab at estimating the size of [the Mormon Church investment] portfolio.

"If we assume Mormons are competent enough managers to make a 10 percent return on assets after taxes (in the 1990s its stock portfolios would almost certainly be doing double that, balancing out whatever shortfalls there might be among the Church's corporate investments), then a reasonable estimate for invested assets would $6 billion. That estimate was corroborated by an informed source. . . .

"We estimated ranches, farms and accompanying real estate at $5 billion, though considering the amazing scope of such Mormon investments in the United States, that number is probably too low. Again, we have obtained independent corroboration of this estimate.

"Of course, it is hard to separate out land value from commercial value (of ranches, for example), and it is also hard to keep track, year in and year out, of how many farms and ranches are in the welfare system--and therefore non-profit and non-taxed--rather than in the church's commercial realm. . . .

"Our estimates for the value of LDS schools and miscellaneous other holdings is based on the insider number obtained in the early 1980s by [John] Heinerman and [Anson] Shupe ['The Mormon Corporate Empire,' Boston: 1985] They estimated this number, the largest portion which is BYU, at $836 million, which includes church and archival holdings as well as genealogical and historical properties. . . .

"Now for the big numbers . . . . We have estimated the value of the Church's meetinghouses, temples and land they are on at $18 billion. Once again, we have used 'comparables' in our statistical database. In this case, a very close comparable to the LDS Church is the Chicago-based Evangelical Lutheran Church in America . . . .

"The [Mormon] Church does not release the exact number of meetinghouses, but Heinerman and Shupe estimated 6,802 in 1983, and the Church says that it has been building about 350 new ones every year. This would mean that more than 12,000 additional meetinghouses have been built 15 years later. Factoring in 1980s growth rates and considering that global commercial real estate has vastly outpaced inflation, the average value could be $1.5 million, for a total asset value of $18 billion. Of course, as President Hinckley correctly noted . . . , all these properties are revenue-consuming, not revenue-producing. But it is also true that the construction of more temples and meetinghouses is an investment that reaps increased tithing revenue. Like the religious-use properties of any denomination, one can know what a facility cost at the time of construction, but it is hard to convert that to any true market value.

"To be very conservative, since we do not have access to inside accounts and inventories, we would conclude that the total LDS assets [in 1999 dollars] are in the range of $25-30 billion."

As to tithing income, the Ostlings note the challenge in getting at precise numbers, given Mormon Church thickly-shrouded finances on the subject, but have nevertheless provided a reasonable estimate:

". . . [T]here was no direct way at all to get at tithing figures. . . .

"[However, using financial and membership statistics from a similarly-sized religion, the Seventh-Day Adventists, for comparison] . . . the projected annual worldwide LDS membership contributions would . . . be roughly $5.3 billion as of 1995. Interestingly, in 1991, the 'Arizona Republic' [the newspaper for which I work], ran similar equations based on giving in the Church of the Nazarene and came up with $4.3 billion which, adjusted for inflation, is not far from our numbers."

How does Mormon, Inc. manage to achieve such massive wealth? The Ostlings explain:

"Several factors underlie the LDS Church's prosperity. It has a form of sacred taxation like no other: Members are obliged to give a tithe (10 percent of their income to the Church in order to gain access to temples and to participate in the holiest ordinances of salvation and exaltation).

"The salaried staff is not large and the performance of most duties by part-time unpaid volunteers cuts operating expenses to the bone.

"The highly centralized control and flexibility of the system enable leaders readily to modify money flow and later policies so that current income matches programs.

"Finally, by all accounts the businessman-apostles maintain effective administrative controls that minimize waste and maximize efficiency.

"The strict secrecy with which the hierarchy guards the financial facts is unique for a church of this size. Officials refuse to divulge routine information that other religions are happy to provide over the phone to donors or inquirers. Outsiders' money estimates always raise disclaimers from officialdom, presumably because of the danger that fat-looking figures might weaken members' tithing compliance. This had led to a cat-and-mouse game with various journalists who have attempted over the years to unveil the vast empire of corporate Mormonism. . . .

"If the LDS Church were a U.S. corporation, by revenues it would rank number 243 on the 'Fortune' 500 list. (Revenues are the best standard of measurement. Ranking a religious body by assets has little meaning since so much is locked into purely religious real estate). Mormons, Inc., lands somewhere between Paine Webber . . . and Union Carbide, a tad smaller than Continental Airlines and about twice the size of 'Readers Digest' [again, 1999 dollars and business circumstances]. The Church's gargantuan assets dwarf anything in that revenue class. If one were to add in the gross revenues of all Church-controlled business entities (more in keeping with the 'Fortune' 500), the total would be vastly higher. . . .

"[Moreover],[t]he Church has handled [its membership] growth by, in effect, retooling itself as though it were a multinational corporation. . . .[[L]ocal-level financial decision-making, including especially building projects, [has been shifted] to headquarters in Utah. More recently part of the burden of local maintenance funding has been returned to the wards.

"The global growth, of course, transfers much Church wealth from the developed world to the developing world, especially Latin America, where the expansion is particularly successful. . . .

"[As far as cash donations to non-Mormon humanitarian aid] . . . [a]ll churches, of course, perform charity and mercy work . . . [but] the LDS Church no longer maintains hospitals and its short-term missionaries concentrate on proselytizing for converts."

The Mormon Church has amassed its vast sums of unreportable and reportable wealth (depending on the category into which it falls: donation-collected or investment-driven), by following a bluntly basic two-prong approach:

". . . [A]s it invests in temples and meetinghouses, the Church shores up tis potential tithing base income. And then there's that investment portfolio."

In perhaps the most stunning no-brainer regarding how it's makin' the bacon, the Mormon Church's ranking revenue manager Burton says simply:

"Do we net to zero? No, we don't net to zero."

(Richard N. Ostling and Joan K. Ostling, "Mormon America: The Power and the Promise," Chapter 7, "Mormon, Inc." and Appendix B, "How the Income and Wealth Estimates Were Made" [San Francisco, California: HarperSanFranciso, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.], pp. 113-129, 396-400)

Here is some further information (with a bit of overlap) exposing LDS, Inc.'s misinformation, from another RfM poster:

" . . . Based on the best information I can find, the following is a summary of the business of selling God. Sources include the following books and publications. 'Mormon America,' 'Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power,' 'Mormon Corporate Empire,' 'Time' magazine, and 'Arizona Republic,' in addition to various on-line sources. No one really knows, because the Morg stopped reporting income in the late 1950’s when they were at the point of bankruptcy due to gross mismanagement. I would like to know any data that others have available.

"Corporate Structure

"The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a Corporate Sole with succession being the subsequent next President. That means he is the sole shareholder and owner of all businesses and holdings. Any legally required reporting would be to the President of the Church. Other than taxes, there is no legal obligation for reporting, other than to the owners. At [the time of this writing] . . . GBH [Gordon B. Hinckley] [was] the sole owner.

"The Morg is tax exempt, so other than an annual information return, nothing is required. Real property is held by The Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

"This is a separate non-profit corporation for the buildings, farms and raw property. I would guess that other than a few people at the top, no one knows the combined worth of the two main corporations.

"In addition to these corporations, there are a series of nonprofits that own BYU, Ricks and other holdings. There is also the for profit businesses which are owned by the nonprofits or select members. There are also the foreign corporations for each regional office. It is a very large and complex organization.


"While the tithing amount is not disclosed, there have been several attempts to determine the world-wide collection of tithing by the Mormon Church. D. Michael Quinn ('Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power') and the Ostlings ('Mormon America') both attempt to put a dollar value on tithing. The consensus between these and other authors is that it is between $4.5 and 6 billion per year.

"Other offerings are relatively minor by comparison and are generally used for charitable purposes. In addition, businesses that are in line with the core purpose of the Morg can be owned and operated on a tax exempt basis. Businesses that are not tax exempt can donate to the Morg without either entity paying tax on the donations. Below is a link to a partial list of Morg owned businesses.

"Here is an older document about holdings.

"Quinn reported that the known holdings included 48 banks, 34 lumber companies, 60 newspapers and magazines, 55 mining firms, 55 railroads and 9 hotels. There is also the $16 billion insurance company and a chain of radio and TV stations.

"In addition there are a number of related businesses that are indirectly owned by the Morg, having been sold or turned over to key members or groups. Quinn reported that ranking General Authorities were partners, officers and directors of over 900 different businesses. It is estimated that the gross revenues of these businesses is in excess to 6 billion dollars per year. The net income or cash which would make its way into the coffers of the Morg would likely be in the 10%-12% range. Add here an additional $720,000 in cash.


"In addition to the $1.5 [billion] being spent on the SLC malls, the Morg holds 6,000 acres on the North Shore of Oahu from a purchase over 100 years ago. They more recently purchased 600 acres to be developed. This includes houses that will be sold and a luxury hotel. They hold over 300,000 acres of land in Florida close to Disney World and 95,000 acres in Alberta Canada. The Mormon Church owns in excess to 925,000 acres in North America. The appreciation of the property is probably the greatest hidden value in the Mormon Church.

"The total was estimated at conservative $30 billion 10 years ago. (Ostling, Quinn). This was using conservative land and asset valuation. A former stock broker of the Morg reported that approximately $200,000,000 was added to their investment portfolio each year.

"The for-profit real estate is very significant as well.

"The real estate division of the Church conducts brisk dealings in land. Zion's Security Corporation, the church's commercial real estate arm, controls numerous office buildings in Salt Lake City, including regional headquarters for Kennecott Copper Company, J.C. Penney, Prudential Federal Savings and Loan, and many church facilities. It also owns the sprawling ZCMI (Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution) Mall in downtown Salt Lake as well as a controlling interest in the ZCMI store chain.

"Since 1977 a sister corporation, Beneficial Development Corporation, has taken over development work for the church, and has established several industrial parks in association with private developers in Florida, Arizona, Los Angeles, Hawaii and Utah.

"The current worth would be conservatively above $60 billion, and if the current market value of holdings was added, it would likely be closer to $100 billion.


"Now a comparison of Morg charity and humanitarian aid. Ostling (in 'Mormon America') compared the Morg to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA). They had a similar number of reported members in 1997. At that time, the ELCA had $152 Million in assets that was primarily the pension fund for the employees. This is compared to the assets of the Morg as reported above. In 1997 the ELCA raised $11.8 Million for humanitarian aid and $3.64 Million for disaster relief for a total of 15.44 Million in cash donations for charity. In the 14 year period from 1984-1997 the Morg reported cash donations for non-Mormon charity at $30.7 Million, or an average of 2.19 Million per year. This translates to ELCA donating a little over 10% (.10)of its holdings in 1997 and the Mormon Church donating approximately .2% (.002) of its holdings. Most businesses in the US have higher percentage charitable contributions than does the Mormon Church.

"Foreign Entities

"There is a number of ways that the Morg can shift income away from foreign subs to the main Corporation or vice versa. The information reported in foreign countries is most likely manipulated to show what TSCC wants to show. By selling books, temple clothing, magazines and equipment to the foreign entity at inflated or deflated prices, the income can be managed and changed significantly. The reporting from foreign subs, such as England does not give much of an indication of the health or wealth of TSCC.

("Mormon Finances and Charity," posted by "nao crer")

Finally, more recent information on how the Mormon Church is becoming one of Nebraska's biggest for-profit cattle-ranching land holders:

"Bison baron Ted Turner may own more private land in Nebraska than anyone else, but a cattle-ranching church is hot on his heels.

"Last month, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bought nearly 87,700 acres of the 126,200-acre Eldred Ranch in Garden and Morrill counties. The church, commonly known as Mormon, paid nearly $16 million, said Garden County Assessor Janet Shaul.

"Although the Eldred family retains ownership of the remaining 38,500 acres, it is expected those acres will be sold to the Church as well.

"When the sale is finalized, the Church will own nearly 270,000 acres of ranchland in five Sandhills counties. Turner, who raises bison on his Nebraska ranches, owns about 320,000 acres in the state.

"But don't expect buffalo to roam the Mormons' land, said Robert Lamoreaux, vice president of livestock at Farm Management Co., the department of the church in Salt Lake City that oversees its extensive farm and ranch holdings.

"'We run cattle ranches. We are the largest cow-calf operator in the nation.'

"Lamoreaux declined to discuss specifics about the Church's latest Nebraska acquisition to honor the Eldred family's desire to announce details at a future time. . . .

"The 87,700 acres sold to the Church was held by the Eldred family foundation, a charitable trust that benefits western Nebraska community projects. Attempts to reach a foundation representative were unsuccessful.

"The Eldred Ranch surrounds the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge and is near one of Turner's largest bison ranches in Nebraska.

"While Lamoreaux avoided discussing the Eldred purchase, he said the church's other ranches in Nebraska raise cattle while taking care of the land.

"'That's one of our objectives, to enhance the resource over time. If it doesn't get better, we're not doing our job,' he said.

"The Church bought its first Nebraska ranch — 20,500 acres south of Whitman — in Grant County in 1990. It has since bought additional properties in Garden, Hooker and Sheridan counties.
The church, operating under the name Farmland Reserve Inc., manages its ranches to produce a return on its investment. Those returns help support global spiritual missions.

"Although its management structure may resemble a private corporation, the church's non-profit status earns it an exemption from the state ban on corporate farming/ranching.

"Still, the consolidation of such large tracts of land by a single entity should cause concern, said John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union. The law seeks to protect the state's interest in having a diversity of resident landowners who live on and work their properties.

"'It's hard for local folks to outbid an outside investor who has unlimited money,' Hansen said.

"In fact, the church always pays cash, Lamoreaux said, eschewing loans and debt."

("Mormon Land Holdings Rise," by Joe Duggan, "Lincoln [Nebraska] Journal Star," 2 October 2004, at:

And this:

"The LDS Church has become one of Nebraska's largest landowners with the purchase of 88,000 acres in the western part of the statethat it will use to raise cattle.

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints paid $17.6 million last month for the land south of Alliance, about 60 miles from the Nebraska-Wyoming border.

"Through its investment arm, Farmland Reserve Inc., the Church began buying land in Nebraska in the early 1990s and held more than 140,000 acres before its most recent purchase, said Robert Lamoreaux, vice president of livestock for Farmland Management Co., which manages the church's land holdings.

"'We're in business for profit, and of course the profits go to the Church,' Lamoreaux said. . . .

" . . . [T]he Mormon church--which is exempt from a state ban on corporate farms and ranches because of its nonprofit status-- is now a major player among Nebraska landowners.

"Church President Gordon B. Hinckley sees farm land as a safe investment that carries the potential of feeding people in a time of need, Lamoreaux said.

"John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union, said deep-pocket out-of-state interests put smaller landowners--who need to borrow money to buy land--at a disadvantage.

"Smaller ranches are not able to make as much of a profit while paying off debt. That leads to some ranches being consolidated and ultimately the disappearance of rural communities, Hansen said.

"Lamoreaux said ranches owned by the Church aim to have a high quality product produced under environmentally sensitive conditions.

"'Anybody can be big,' Lamoreaux said. 'We try and be good.'"

("LDS Church Buys 88,000 Acres in Nebraska," by "Associated Press," 7 October 2004, at:,5143,595096557,00.html)


So, there you have it, brothers and sisters:

Forget about following the Messiah and His Prophet. Just follow the Money and Its Profit.

Edited 54 time(s). Last edit at 12/20/2011 01:47PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: gemini ( )
Date: December 19, 2011 11:38PM

How does he sleep at night? "No tithing money was used to build the mall, said Gordo". Well, then where DID that money come from?

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Posted by: oddcouplet ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 02:16PM

Maybe they found those gold plates in a corner of the vault and hocked 'em.

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Posted by: anonamust ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 12:11AM

so where does monson fit in this lineup.. is he possibly the top dog if the assets of the tscc are included???

"The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a Corporate Sole with succession being the subsequent next President. That means he is the sole shareholder and owner of all businesses and holdings. Any legally required reporting would be to the President of the Church. Other than taxes, there is no legal obligation for reporting, other than to the owners. . . GBH [Gordon B. Hinckley] is the sole owner."

2009 list
1. William Gates III $50.0 bil, 53yo, – Microsoft
2. Warren Buffett $40.0 bil, 79yo, – Berkshire Hathaway
3. Lawrence Ellison $27.0 bil, 65yo, CA – Oracle
4. Christy Walton & family $21.5 bil, 54yo, Wal-Mart
5. Jim Walton $19.6 bil, 61yo, Bentonville, AR – Wal-Mart
6. Alice Walton $19.3 bil, 60 Fort Worth, TX – Wal-Mart
7. S Robson Walton $19 bil, 65yo, Bentonville, AR – Wal-Mart
8. Michael Bloomberg $17.5 bil, 67yo, – Bloomberg
9. Charles Koch $16.0 bil, 73yo, Wichita, KS –
10. David Koch $16.0 bil, 69yo, New York, NY – y
11. Sergey Brin $15.3 bil, 36yo Palo Alto, CA – Google
12. Larry Page $15.3 bil, 36yo San Francisco, CA – Google
13. Michael Dell $14.5 bil, 44yo, Austin, TX – Dell
14. Steven Ballmer $13.3 bil, 53yo, Seattle, WA – Microsoft
15. George Soros $13.0 bil, 79yo, – hedge funds
16. Donald Bren $12.0 bil, 77yo, CA – real estate
17. Paul Allen $11.5 bil, 56yo, – Microsoft, investments
18. Abigail Johnson $11.5 bil, 47yo, Boston, MA – Fidelity
19. Forest Edward Mars $11.0 bil, 78yo, – candy, pet food
20. Jacqueline Mars $11.0 bil, 70yo, – candy, pet food

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Posted by: Mia ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 12:41AM

It just boggles the mind how they can call ward meeting houses revenue consuming, not revenue building.

First of all They are paying for as little maintenance as possible. Guilt tripping the members into it by crying poor.

Second, every single sunday they collect a bucket more than they have put out to build and maintain that building.

I'm sure there are a lot of businesses that would be thrilled to take in what those burdensome meeting houses are taking in every week. And then get their employees to work off the clock to maintain,manage, and oversee the business.

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Posted by: helemon ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 01:10AM

If I was a member I would wonder why only member offerings were in the church. Why aren't all those wonderful and marvelous business ventures the church owns paying into the church side of the equation?

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Posted by: sherlock ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 02:34AM

So despite pretty much knowing all these issues, my semi-TBM wife still responds with:

'Where is the personal pilfering of money then? We don't see Thomas Monson and others of the 12/70 etc with their own private islands, private jets, huge boats and multiple properties around the world, which is what you'd expect if they were just there to milk the system. Plus they still put in countless hours doing church stuff. Yes they get certain church funded benefits but they do not live anything like the kind of life you'd expect a very wealthy multi-millionaire/billionaire to lead - simply put, you don't see the same sort of trappings of wealth that you would with a Billy Graham type character'

How best to respond to this?

I'm also guessing that ETB was very comfortable but probably didn't have a huge personal fortune deriding from the church and didn't leave a fortune in his will to family members?

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 04:59AM

. . . which I hope will help your wife see that the actual Mormon motto is not "The Glory of God Is Intelligence" but, rather, "In Gold We Trust." (Most certainly, the story of the Mormon God is investments)

My grandfather certainly lived comfortably throughout his tithe-paid career as a high-ranking Mormon Church official, but he didn't appear (at least not to me) to be uber-rich.

That said, I don't know the exact details concerning the extent of his post-mortem, family-dispensed fortune, such as it may or may not have been.

Whatever it was, I certainly didn't get much of it. :)

Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 12/20/2011 01:02PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: sherlock ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 03:55PM

Many thanks Steve & Stumbling. Useful pointers to bring up when the time is right.

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Posted by: Anonymous User ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 06:55AM

Questions for your wife.

Do Apostles live to a significantly lower standard of living compared to the average tithe payer, about the same or significantly better?

Is it an appropriate use of the widows mite for Apostles to fly First Class rather than coach?

Do Apostles live the lifestyle of humble servants of God or the lifestyle of successful, wealthy Executives?

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Posted by: elcid ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 11:26AM

They indeed do benefit. TSM has a son employed by BYU (with only a Master's degree). GBH had three children on the board of directors for church owned companies. Holland's son is the president of Utah Valley State University. This is not church owned but I mention this because I believe that a vast number of children of church leaders get good jobs, especially in Utah, by direct manipulation. This is unprovable but stunning examples abound of family members in high positions.

It is easy to hide the money and perks they are given. I am not saying it is extremely lavish like the Sultan of Brunei, but it is fairly decent sized gratuities for their service.

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Posted by: Jesus Smith ( )
Date: December 21, 2011 06:06AM

One perk: Monson is chauffeured in a million-dollar, armored Audi A8 L.

Same car as his adopted tribal brother.

Of course, TSM may not live like bill gates, but he's a far cry from living the humble, charitable kind of life Jesus preached.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2011 06:10AM by Jesus Smith.

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Posted by: Anonymous User ( )
Date: December 21, 2011 09:28AM

Nice, our American prophet and the head of the jewish nation buys there cars from Germany. Well Monson did pick a German counselor.

Why does Monson need an amoured car when he eats at local restaurants with no protection?

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Posted by: Anonymous User ( )
Date: December 21, 2011 09:31AM

What Holland is saying is "this is not "church" money, stay away, don't even think about it".

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Posted by: Jesus Smith ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 06:30AM

Thanks Steve! This is what I will send my son to use with his bishop at settlement.

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Posted by: anon for this ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 06:55AM

Thanks Steve. Please include Nebraska for future reference.

October 2, 2004

the church paid nearly $16 million

"In fact, the church always pays cash, Lamoreaux said, eschewing loans and debt."

The Mormon vice president of livestock operations said: "We run cattle ranches. We are the largest cow-calf operator in the nation."

"The church, operating under the name Farmland Reserve Inc., manages its ranches to produce a return on its investment. Those returns help support global spiritual missions."

"the church's nonprofit status earns it an exemption from the state ban on corporate farming/ranching."

"It's hard for local folks to outbid an outside investor who has unlimited money"

October 7, 2004,5143,595096557,00.html

"The LDS Church has become one of Nebraska's largest landowners"

"We're in business for profit, and of course the profits go to the church"

"Still, the Mormon church — which is exempt from a state ban on corporate farms and ranches because of its nonprofit status — is now a major player among Nebraska landowners."

"John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union, said deep-pocket out-of-state interests put smaller landowners — who need to borrow money to buy land — at a disadvantage."

"Smaller ranches are not able to make as much of a profit while paying off debt. That leads to some ranches being consolidated and ultimately the disappearance of rural communities, Hansen said."

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 01:11PM

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/20/2011 01:50PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: sivab1 ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 10:50AM

What bothers me too is that aren't some of these men "retirees" meaning while the rest of us retire and have to live off our retirement savings these guys get to get paid by the church after they retire from their real jobs? Shouldn't they have to live off of their saved up retirement and do free labor for the church like the rest of its members? Do they really do more work for the church than a working class bishop that has umpteen kids and a mortgage? I also hate it how when you challenge a TBM they talk about the church's "international welfare programs". If you look at the list most of the assistance is in the form of missionary labor (doctors etc) and donated items. The actual monetary donations seem mediocre in comparison to how much they take in. They seem to give as little as they can to suffice for a good PR moment and then they move on. Let's not forget how in addition to your 10% if you actually want to know where your money is going to let's say if you wanted to donate to the missionary fund or a temple you have the OPPORTUNITY to donate extra to those funds.

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 03:31PM

By Holland's own reasoning then, ChurchCo hasn't given away a thin dime of it's own, they're just passing from one hand to the other since all the money they received came from members....

and, of course, some gets skimmed off the top in the form of 'overhead'.

ChurchCo prides itself in sending trucks with supplies (from SLC, lots of fuel & truck miles) but ask yourself: wouldn't it better help recovery if LOCAL VENDORS were patronized?
That way, the money c/would re-cycle locally!

just sayin'

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Posted by: Emma's Flaming Sword ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 11:01AM

It's not lavish, but still pricey for this economy.

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Posted by: WiserWomanNow ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 01:17PM

...when the sheeple say, "NO tithe or donations until you give us a FULL accounting of where you spend OUR hard-earned money!!!" ?

In any case, unless or until the day comes when the sheeple DEMAND accountability, the leaders will continue to feel free to avoid being held accountable!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/20/2011 01:18PM by WiserWomanNow.

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Posted by: RAG ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 01:19PM

That would lay all the questions to rest...right?

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Posted by: imalive ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 02:01PM

"Apostle fossil" for Droopy Dog. I love that! :-)

And thanks again Steve for another thread that I'll be bookmarking. It's always great to hear the insider POV for TSCC stuff.

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Posted by: flanders ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 03:37PM

Geez, Holland, feel free to mix in a salad occasionally! Doesn't miss many meals does he.

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Posted by: HooeyMinns ( )
Date: December 21, 2011 12:02AM

Don't talk shit. He fought a long, hard, protracted battle with anorexia.

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Posted by: flanders ( )
Date: December 21, 2011 09:15AM

I apologize. I give him credit for obviously beating the @#$%& out of anorexia.

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Posted by: GNPE ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 03:25PM

Only in the 'Most Technical' sense of language could what Holland said be considered accurate....

In times of greater Income than expenses, any entity has money to be invested.

Some of the income (revenue, assets, whatever) or 'Value' that has come to ChurchCo has been in the form of stocks, bonds, real estate, cash savings of contributors. Clearly, without a doubt, some people have contributed over & above 'tithing' because of either Love or Fear; only the givers know for sure which.

I sincerely doubt that anyone outside ChurchCo has been approached for donations/contributions (but, of course, the size & diversity of things suggest exceptions). When ChurchCo had an 'excess' of revenue... it 'should' invest them, shoudn't they?

Since they say/believe that giving, although what we call it Extortion, 'brings blessings' to the saints... they wouldn't declare a "Dividend", would they?

As with most situations, it's the Big Lie that matters most, not the incidental ones that are started & nourished to support the Big One.

just sayin'

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Posted by: SpongeBob SquareGarments ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 04:03PM

for the GA's familes, the prestige, etc. I think they just get their rocks off building an enormous financial empire that they control even if they don't spend like zillionaires.

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Posted by: Just browsing ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 10:38PM

If someone paid your housing cost -- your food --your health insurance --your transportation to foreign countries -- 5 star hotels and everything at a "First Class" level. Plus an unilimited credit card--How much would you REALLY need as INCOME ??

Maths in Action (Not Business Related Income)
Average tithing (Really low estimate)

$ 2,000 per year / per member.
Average member paying tithing 3 Million

Total income from tithing 6(YES)SIX BILLION **ALL TAX EXEMPT**

Deposit Interest @ only 5% -- $ 300 Million

Running short of Cash ?? Can't afford a Mall or TWO


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Posted by: anonamust ( )
Date: December 20, 2011 11:48PM

So is TSM one of the wealthiest men on the planet or not..

Yes or No will suffice

"The current worth would be conservatively above $60 billion, and if the current market value of holdings was added, it would likely be closer to $100 billion.
"The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a Corporate Sole with succession being the subsequent next President. That means he is the sole shareholder and owner of all businesses and holdings.

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Posted by: introvertedme ( )
Date: December 21, 2011 07:54AM

Just had a cup of tea and read this entire post. I'm shocked, but...not really. I knew some of this, but had no idea about the extent of the wealth and the clever ways of stepping around questions about it through semantics. Thank you, Steve Benson, for taking the time to post this info!

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: December 21, 2011 10:56AM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/21/2011 10:58AM by steve benson.

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