These Magnificent Temples Point To How Rich The Mormon Church Is
often built near highways to impress passing drivers with their splendor.
These magnificent structures may be one of many recruitment techniques that helped the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints gain nearly 2 million new followers in the U.S. in a decade - more than any other religion - for a total of 6.14 million, according to the 2010 U.S. Religion Census.
Globally, Mormon temples and meetinghouses are worth an estimated $35 billion , reported Reuters in 2012. They represent the most outward show of wealth for an organization whose finances are secret but thought to be extensive.
A major source of income for the Church is tithes, donations followers are supposed to give that comprise 10% of their income, with other income from other donations, businesses, and properties. Although the federal government doesn't require public financial disclosure from religions in the U.S., a clearer financial picture is provided thanks to disclosures in other countries.
Sociologist Ryan Cragun and Reuters used data from Canada to estimate the Church receives more than $6 billion annually from tithing in America . Throughout the world, the Church is estimated to make $7 billion annually through tithes and other donations.
The Church's major for-profit enterprise is Deseret Management Corporation (DMC), whose subsidiaries bring in $1.2 billion of annual revenue through businesses in journalism, media, insurance, and hospitality, reported BloombergBusinessweek in 2012 , though DMC CEO Keith McMullin claimed that estimate was "vastly overstated."
The Church's for-profit agricultural holding company, AgReserves, and Church-run affiliates own 1 million acres in the continental U.S., containing farms, hunting preserves, orchards, and ranches, along with significant properties overseas. Notably, the Church recently became the largest private landowner in Florida .
The Church also runs for-profit real estate arms that have a hand in residential buildings, office parks, parking lots, shopping malls, and more, reports BloombergBusinessweek.
Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Church's high-ranking Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained in a speech how money can be used in spiritual ways : " If allowed to become an object of worship or priority, money can make us selfish and prideful ... In contrast, if used for fulfilling our legal obligations and for paying our tithes and offerings, money can demonstrate integrity and develop unselfishness. The spiritually enlightened use of property can help prepare us for the higher law of a celestial glory. "
The building and operation of temples is one of the Church's five key activities supported by tithing.
We've pulled together pictures and information on some of the most magnificent Mormon temples. Yes, other religions have some extremely lavish places of worship, but the Mormon church is closing the gap.
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