Photograph by Joe Sohm/VisionsofAmerica

The Mormon Global Business Empire

  1. Holy Holdings
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    Holy Holdings

    Mormons make up only 1.4 percent of the U.S. population, but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is remarkable for its varied business interests, which include cattle ranches, radio stations, an insurance business, a mall, sewage treatment, and a Polynesian theme park. Here's a sampling of some of the church's enterprises.

    Photograph by Joe Sohm/VisionsofAmerica
  2. Agriculture
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    Agriculture

    The Mormon Church reportedly owns over 1 million acres in continental America on which it runs farms, ranches, orchards, and hunting preserves. It also owns farmland in Australia, the U.K., Brazil, Canada, Argentina, and Mexico. The fruit orchards in Utah's Capitol Reef National Park (pictured) were planted by Mormon pioneers in the 1880s.

    Photograph by Dave G. Houser/Corbis
  3. Deseret Ranch
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    Deseret Ranch

    The 290,000-acre Deseret Ranch in Florida keeps 44,000 cows and 1,300 bulls. It also includes 1,700 acres of citrus trees, as well as timber, sod, and a fossilized-seashell business.

    Photograph by Jonathan S. Blair/National Geographic
  4. City Creek Center
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    City Creek Center

    This March, the Mormon Church opened a megamall across the street from its neo-Gothic temple in Salt Lake City. The estimated cost of the emporium, which features a retractable glass roof and fountains that spew choreographed bouts of water and fire, is $2 billion.

    Photograph by George Frey/Bloomberg
  5. Real Estate
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    Real Estate

    Besides malls, the church's businesses include owning and managing office parks, residential buildings, parking lots, and more.

    Photograph by Jumper
  6. Hawaii Reserves
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    Hawaii Reserves

    One of its for-profit arms, Hawaii Reserves, even runs a water management company, sewage treatment works, and two cemeteries.

    Photograph by Andrew Shimabuku/The New York Times/Redux
  7. Insurance
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    Insurance

    The church's Beneficial Life Insurance Company in 2010 had assets worth $3.3 billion and a net income of $17 million, according to the State of Utah Insurance Department.

    Photograph by Walter B. McKenzie
  8. Media
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    Media

    The church holding company, Deseret Management, owns several media subsidiaries that run a newspaper, a TV station, 11 radio stations, a publishing and distribution company, and more. Last year, the church sold 17 radio stations for $505 million to better focus on Internet ventures.

    Photograph by Apostrophe Productions
  9. Deseret Book
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    Deseret Book

    Deseret Book publishes both religious books and books for a "values based audience." The texts often address such topics as faith, family, marriage, or—at the very least—themes as general as the battle between good and evil. The company's general imprint, Shadow Mountain, which sells through Deseret Book stores as well as big box stores like Wal-Mart (WMT), includes titles like Janitors and Fabelhaven.

  10. Polynesian Cultural Center
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    Polynesian Cultural Center

    The Mormon Church's 42-acre Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu, Hawaii, features daily luaus (except on Sunday), an "Island Buffet," seven simulated Polynesian villages, Samoan tree-climbing lessons, Tahitian spear-throwing lessons, and more. Tickets cost anywhere from $35.95 to $228.95. According to its 2010 tax filing, the center had net assets worth $70 million and collected $23 million in ticket sales alone, while also receiving $36 million in donations or gifts.

    Photograph by Blaine Harrington III/Corbis
  11. Ensign Peak Advisors
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    Ensign Peak Advisors

    Ensign Peak Advisors is an investment fund of the Mormon Church. According to profiles on LinkedIn, managers at Ensign Peak specialize in international equities, cash management, fixed income, quantitative investment, and emerging markets. One of Ensign Peak's vice presidents in 2006 told the Deseret News that "billions of dollars change hands every day."

    Photograph by Paul Taylor/Corbis