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)