The church also runs several for-profit real estate enterprises. They develop, own, and manage malls, parking lots, office parks, residential buildings, and other businesses.
Hawaii Reserves owns or manages over 7,000 Oahu acres with commercial and residential buildings, parks, water and sewage infrastructure, as well as two cemeteries.
Oahu's Polynesian Cultural Center is a 43 acre tropical theme park. It hosts luaus, canoe rides, and tours through simulated Polynesian villages.
Utah Property Management Associates is another operation. Its new megamall is part of a $5 billion downtown Salt Lake City makeover.
According to Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development official Spencer Eccles:
Church officials run "their businesses like businesses, no bones about it."
Given their vast enterprises and business expertise, Sociology Professor Ryan Cragun said it makes more sense to call them "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Holdings, Inc."
Like other churches, many of its operations and donations are tax exempt. They're also secretive. Religious operations aren't obligated to explain much publicly. In the early 1960s, the LDS church stopped reporting finances entirely.
In 1997, a Time magazine investigation estimated its total worth at $30 billion. It said about $5 billion flows into church coffers annually through tithes. It also owned around $6 billion in stocks and bonds.
A more recent Reuters/Professor Cragun investigation estimated a $40 billion net worth, including up to $8 billion annually in tithing.
Church finances are so compartmentalized that no single person, not even the president, has access to them all. They're vast, growing, profitable, and perhaps greater than estimated totals.
Modern Mormonism isn't just a religion. It's a money making machine.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Email address removed .
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.