Mormon Church Rakes in Billions in Tithes

    August 14, 2012
    Sean Patterson
    Comments are off for this post.

An analysis of the finances of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormon church, has revealed that the church brings in around $7 billion worth of tithes and donations annually. The analysis, was done using church records in countries around the world that require more financial disclosure by religious institutions than in the U.S., and was conducted by Reuters and University of Tampa sociologist Ryan Cragun.

According to Reuters, the Mormon church owns about $35 billion worth of real estate, much of it commercial property such as shopping malls and ranches. It also has 14 million members worldwide, all of which are required to tithe. The analysis points out, though, that only the 40% of Mormons who attend services weekly are likely to tithe.

The reason any of this is relevant is because Mitt Romney is the first Mormon presidential candidate. As a wealthy Mormon, Romney has dutifully given his share to the church over the years. Reuters states in its report that Romney has given $4.1 million to the Mormon church in the past two years. That amount is very close to 10% of Romney’s gross adjusted income, which is a percentage traditionally given by many Christian tithers.

The Reuters analysis also accused the Mormon church of neglecting charity work with their billions. It states that the organization owns no hospitals and has only a “handful” of primary schools. The church puts most of its considerable resources into profit-making investments. For example, Reuters points out that it is the largest rancher in the U.S.

(Photo by Bjørn Graabek via Wikimedia Commons)



  • Donald

    Since the LDS church does not reveal its finances, maybe that is why Romney will not release his tax returns. Both have something to hide.

  • ADAM

    Here we go again with people posting their opinions about a church they know nothing about and they base it off a article that is completely opinionated.

  • Joseph

    The Church’s ranches are used to raise food for welfare efforts. The Church sends certain missionaries out with the sole purpose of finding and carrying out humanitarian efforts. It pours millions of dollars and man-hours into disaster relief. Church positions are filled by unpaid volunteers, and the Church undergoes a thorough corporate-style audit annually, with the results publicly announced.

  • Neophyte Nell

    Those of us who live in rural areas (like near Smith Center, KS) know the LDS Church has bought up many farms. The LDS Church then does not pay the typical property taxes that support local schools, local governments, etc.

    It’s time to revoke the “tax exempt” status of all churches.

    • DaninMO

      Because the Federal government would be much more efficient at spending dollars…Not hardly, I would love to see a comparison of what the Mormon church accomplishes in term of welfare delivered per dollar used…

      A city/state always has the option to rescind tax breaks for churches, you just have to do it for all of them.

  • DaninMO

    This article is so slanted, it still comes of positive even with all the effort to make it look bad. In reality the Mormons have no equal when it comes to using money frugally. Here is a few things that happen daily.

    – Members struggling have access to a food pantry, and grocery store
    – Members can receive temporary support with bills and even rent when losing a job or going through tight times
    – Members have access to tons of material at cost that promote youth programs, children programs, gospel study, provident living, genealogy, college study courses… BYU for example is one of the least expensive private schools because it is subsidized
    – Members in other countries can receive zero interest loans to further their education
    – Humanitarian efforts are on par with the Red Cross and the Mormons can get there faster through their network of volunteers….

    I wish the government could come close to these services, then I would say tax the churches.

  • Shannon

    It truly amazes me that the people of this country have become such “Sheep”; How they believe everything that they read on the internet. Do we not know that the internet is constantly being manipulated to say what someone, who has enough power or money, wants us to believe. How many of us actually investigate topics exploited, or do we just repeat what someone else said? I believe that is referred to as “gossip”, and is the very efficient why rumors are spread. I suggest that if you want to know what the Mormons believe, and how they live, and how they spend the money they receive in tithings, that you should ask them, not the priest, preacher or pastor of your own church. Do you think that they could give you an unbiased opinion? I think not. For one thing, most of them, like you, have never asked a Mormon about what he believes. And secondly, if you appreciate what you learn, and decide to leave your current church, would that not reflect on the ministers pay? These theology students have listened to their theologians, who obviously, have a vested interest. Would you take a Chevy to a Ford dealership for repairs? Same principle, don’t ask a Baptist or Catholic what a Mormon believes. They really don’t have a clue. Have we become a country that chooses its leaders because of the church they attend? I thought that that was the reason we came to this country. Most of the time, people are voted into office without anyone ever being aware of what religion they practice. I don’t understand the reason for the “fear” of a Mormon president.

  • Megan

    Check your history. Romney is not the first LDS candidate. Reuters analysis accuses the LDS Church of neglecting charity work…try to find any other Church that even comes close to matching it.

    • brig 44

      Total crap. This cult spends on it’s own and nobody else.Having lived in Mo communities for almost 30 years;20 of which were in Southern Idaho.
      The Mormon church is a vast right wing corporation with tax exemption.The members can be seen robotically smiling faces that actually mask pure evil.

      • 4score

        Bigotry is strong in you my son.

  • Charles

    First off, the real name of the church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The article neglects to mention the money the church puts into disaster relief. The Mormon Church is usually the first organization on the scene after a disaster. Haiti, the Asian tsunami, the Joplin Tornado, starvation in Africa etc etc anywhere we are welcome to go we provide relief. We have our own transportation set up to send it all over the world too. As far as investments, we could only wish the government would make such wise decisions with the money it brings in…..there would be no need for taxes anymore. The church buys farms to feed the poor and have food ready whenever needed. This article was the most biased thing I have ever read. It implies that because the church doesn’t make hospitals it doesn’t give charity. Journalism has lost all credibility.

    • Brandon

      If the Mormon church is so generous and confident with the way they spend their money, then why does the Church (more specifically, the “apostles”) not disclose its financial records to the public. If there was nothing immoral being done with the money, then they should have no problem producing the records telling where every dime is going.

  • larry

    and ALL of their church buildings are paid for BEFORE they are built. At least they dont have tons of gold at the alter in the poor neighborhoods like the RCC (also the pedophile network)

  • Andrew H.

    Who is Ryan Cragun, the sociologist from the University of Tampa? Has anyone asked? Why not?

    Answer – A former member of the LDS faith who left the church 10 years
    ago. Another study done by ex-Mormons that put their former faith in a
    negative light.

    This study is completely wrong and exaggerated and you can’t find it published (at least I haven’t). My own (unfinished)study leads me to believe that the LDS church receives closer to $1.55 billion in tithes each year from it’s U.S. members. Only $130-150 million from Central and South America. These 2 geographical areas comprise over 12.5 million of the total 14.5 million membership of the church. Ryan’s $7 billion is a farce, a lie and made for less then honorable reasons.

    Kind of puts a new perspective on the unpublished study that every new agency is jumping on without any vetting!

  • efr

    Mitt is a lifetime Mormon cult servant, sunday teacher , priest.
    Mitt can never separate religion form politics. religions was buisness for Mitt.

    President the priest is middle east age like.

    • 4score

      i think you are a lifetime bigot.

  • 4score

    I love the last part…
    “The church puts most of its considerable resources into profit-making investments. For example, Reuters points out that it is the largest rancher in the U.S.”

    Can someone fill this guy in on the fact that the ranches the LDS run are for giving food to those that can not afford it… This is classic half truth. Tell a true and then lie about what it means.