Mormon temples are often built near highways to impress passing drivers with their splendor.
These magnificent structures may be one of many recruitment techniques that helped the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints gain nearly 2 million new followers in the U.S. in a decade — more than any other religion — for a total of 6.14 million, according to the 2010 U.S. Religion Census.
Globally, Mormon temples and meetinghouses are worth an estimated $US35 billion, reported Reuters in 2012. They represent the most outward show of wealth for an organisation whose finances are secret but thought to be extensive.
A major source of income for the Church is tithes, donations followers are supposed to give that comprise 10% of their income, with other income from other donations, businesses, and properties. Although the federal government doesn’t require public financial disclosure from religions in the U.S., a clearer financial picture is provided thanks to disclosures in other countries.
Sociologist Ryan Cragun and Reuters used data from Canada to estimate the Church receives more than $US6 billion annually from tithing in America. Throughout the world, the Church is estimated to make $US7 billion annually through tithes and other donations.
The Church’s major for-profit enterprise is Deseret Management Corporation (DMC), whose subsidiaries bring in $US1.2 billion of annual revenue through businesses in journalism, media, insurance, and hospitality, reported BloombergBusinessweek in 2012, though DMC CEO Keith McMullin claimed that estimate was “vastly overstated.”
The Church’s for-profit agricultural holding company, AgReserves, and Church-run affiliates own 1 million acres in the continental U.S., containing farms, hunting preserves, orchards, and ranches, along with significant properties overseas. Notably, the Church recently became the largest private landowner in Florida.
The Church also runs for-profit real estate arms that have a hand in residential buildings, office parks, parking lots, shopping malls, and more, reports BloombergBusinessweek.
Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Church’s high-ranking Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained in a speech how money can be used in spiritual ways: “If allowed to become an object of worship or priority, money can make us selfish and prideful … In contrast, if used for fulfilling our legal obligations and for paying our tithes and offerings, money can demonstrate integrity and develop unselfishness. The spiritually enlightened use of property can help prepare us for the higher law of a celestial glory. “
The building and operation of temples is one of the Church’s five key activities supported by tithing.
We’ve pulled together pictures and information on some of the most magnificent Mormon temples. Yes, other religions have some extremely lavish places of worship, but the Mormon church is closing the gap.
Dedicated in 1964, the Oakland, California temple stretches 170-feet high with a reinforced concrete and California white marble exterior, has a 95,000-square-foot floor area, and sits on 18.3 acres. The north and south side of the exterior feature 35-foot sculpted panels depicting holy scenes of Jesus.
Dedicated in 2002, the 54,000-square-foot Nauvoo, Illinois temple's exterior consists of limestone block from Russellville, Alabama. It is a reconstruction of an earlier temple destroyed by fire in 1848.
Dedicated in 1974, the exterior of the 160,000-square-foot Washington, D.C. temple consists of reinforced concrete and Alabama white marble. The temple sits on a 52-acre site, and its seven floors represent the six days of God's creation and the seventh day of rest.
Dedicated in 1893, the massive 253,000-square-foot Salt Lake City temple is the Church's largest and took 40 years to build. Its exterior consists of quartz monzonite, and the walls are nine feet thick at its base and six feet thick at their highest point.
Dedicated in 1875, the 100,373-square-foot Manti, Utah temple sits on 27 acres and has an exterior of oolite limestone from quarries on the same hill it is perched on, known as 'Temple Hill.'
Dedicated in 2012, the 32,000-square-foot Kansas City, Missouri temple sits on 8 acres, and its exterior is made of precast concrete.
The 57,504-square-foot Rexburg, Idaho temple is adjacent to the Church-owned Brigham Young University. Dedicated in 2008, the temple features wood from Africa and stone and tile from Israel. Its exterior consists of precast concrete panels with a white quartz finish and a water-proofing compound that helps keep dust off the white temple.
Dedicated in 2010, the 22,184-square-foot Kyiv, Ukraine temple has an exterior of Amarelo Macieira granite with quartzite crystals that reflect sunlight.
Dedicated this year, the Gilbert, Arizona temple has a total floor area of 85,326 feet and sits on 15 acres.
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