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Church’s Temple Building “Real-Estate Empire” Featured in Wall Street Journal

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As the finances for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continue to spark interest in mainstream media, another topic has come into focus—temple building. 

The Wall Street Journal recently featured the Church’s “globe-spanning real-estate empire.” Jonathan Weil writes, “The Mormon Church is constructing more than 100 temples around the world—a series of stone-clad monuments exhibiting the church’s vast and expanding wealth.”

Since President Russell M. Nelson became prophet and president, 133 new temples have been announced. The funds of the Church, which have come under scrutiny in recent years, are designed to build and maintain temples for years to come. 

“We have a vision of the church that is—can I use the word grandiose?” said Bishop Gérald Caussé, the Church’s presiding bishop, in an interview for the feature. “Because we believe the gospel has to be taken to all the world. And so we see the size of the church multiple times what it is now, in the future.”

Praia Cape Verde Temple.

“President Nelson feels that he can announce all these temples because he knows that there are reserves to maintain these temples for a long time, whatever happens in the world,” Bishop Caussé continued.

He also touched on some of the allegations and criticisms of Church finances. 

“We recognize mistakes, and we regret mistakes,” he said, referencing Ensign Peak and reporting issues. He noted how the funds from such for-profit ventures are used for religious, charitable, and educational purposes. “There is no other purpose. Nobody is getting rich. Everything goes to these.”

The feature discussed some of the Church’s humanitarian efforts, including its 1,000 relief projects in 130 countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it questioned if the Church could be doing more. 

“It’s not just about adding a zero at the end of a check,” Bishop Caussé countered. “That’s not how it works. It takes time to put the structure in every country, every area of the world, and this is what we have been doing.”

You can read more about the history of Church finances here. The Wall Street Journal feature is available to read when you sign up with a free account. 

Featured Photographs by Benjamin Zack for The Wall Street Journal


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Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

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