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Mormon Church Riches Could Reach $1 Trillion by 2044:  Report

By Jake Beardslee · August 7, 2023

In brief…

  • The Mormon Church has amassed an estimated $236 billion in wealth.
  • Its investment fund, Ensign Peak Advisors, manages over $175 billion in stocks and real estate.
  • The church cites preparing for prophesied hardships preceding the Second Coming as reaon for its vast reserves
  • Some church members question whether the the funds could be better used for charitible works.
  • The organizaton has been fined in the past for using shell companies to obscure its holdings.
The Mormon Church has an estimated net worth of $236 billion. Some adherents believe the church should save less, give more. Salt Lake Temple (above).  Dmm1169/Wikimedia

A new report estimates the Mormon Church has amassed a staggering net worth of approximately $236 billion. This would make the Utah-based religion, with 17 million members, worth more than major corporations such as Bank of America and on par with the sovereign wealth fund of South Korea, a nation with a population of 52 million.

The church’s riches derive from member donations and returns on investments managed by its low-key financial arm, Ensign Peak Advisors. Ensign Peak invests excess tithing from the church into stocks and real estate. Its use of shell companies prompted a $5 million fine from the Securities Exchange Commission earlier this year for obscuring its holdings. Ensign Peak employees must sign lifetime non-disclosure agreements regarding its assets. One former worker, whistleblower David Nielsen, claims the church’s investment assets alone approach $175 billion.

The church cites preparing for prophesied hardship preceding the Second Coming of Jesus as reason for accumulating its vast wealth. Some followers, however, question whether the church is unnecessarily hoarding funds when it could be supporting charitable works. They believe continuing a policy of parsimony could come at the risk of future contributions.

Nielsen told the Wall St. Journal the non-profit improperly used funds to bail out for-profit, church-tied businesses, which could violate its tax-exempt status. But a church overseer denied this, insisting the whistleblower’s claims are “flat-out wrong.” Still, the church recently raised charitable giving from less than 1% to 10% of surplus member donations. Some observers believe this was in response to growing scrutiny.

While the the organization declined comment on its estimated wealth, the report, conducted by The Widow’s Mite, projects that the Mormon Church - officially named The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - could achieve a net worth of up to $1 trillion in 20 years, making one of the world’s wealthiest institutions.