The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints collects an estimated $7-billion a year in donations from members and owns tens of billions of dollars worth of both religious and for-profit real estate, according to a Reuters analysis of the church’s finances.
Much of the Mormon church’s revenue comes from a wealthy corps of American adherents such as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and hotel magnate J.W. “Bill” Marriott Jr., said Ryan Cragun, a University of Tampa sociologist who worked with Reuters on the review.
The church’s meeting houses and ornate temples around the world are worth an estimated $35-billion, and it has extensive holdings in farm and ranch land, shopping malls, media, and other for-profit ventures.
The revenue and property figures in the article are based on extrapolating to the much larger U.S. church-member data from tax filings in Canada and other countries that require greater financial disclosure by religious organizations.
Some ex-Mormons and disgruntled current members have complained in about the church’s spending on property and commercial ventures, saying it neglects humanitarian and other charity work.