Skip to comments.LDS Inc. owns .7% of Florida
Posted on 12/28/2010 12:26:44 PM PST by Colofornian
My brother-in-law came to visit last weekend. As science geeks, we tried to see a shuttle launch while he was here (the launch was canceled 11 minutes before liftoff because of weather ugh!). On the way to watch the launch we stopped by Deseret Citrus and Cattle Ranch to see the Mormon Churchs ranching operations:
Alas, as former Mormons, we failed to consider that they wouldnt offer tours on Sunday. But we stopped by the Visitors Center anyway and drove around a bit. Heres the Visitors Center:
I knew from the Deseret Ranches website and this wikipedia page that the ranch was big, but actually driving around the ranch made me wonder just how big it is. So, I spent a good 10 hours or so trying to see if I could map out just how big the ranch is. After all that time, I realized it was simply too big for me to easily map out by myself. But, the research I did do provided me with some fascinating information.
First off, thanks to a corporation registration website in Florida, I was able to track the name changes of the holding companies for the ranch over the years, eventually finding the current name. It used to be Deseret Properties of Florida, Inc., Deseret Farms, Inc., Deseret Farms Inc., Deseret Ranches of Florida, Inc., Deseret Livestock Company, Deseret Properties of Florida, Inc., Deseret Ranches of Florida, Inc. (1), Deseret Ranches of Florida, Inc. (2), but it is now called Farmland Reserve, Inc.. Once I finally found the current holding company, I was able to visit the property tax appraisers websites for the three main counties where the ranch is located: Osceola, Orange, and Brevard. On those sites I found all the property listings of Farmland Reserve, Inc. Heres a summary of what I found after I added them all up:
Yep, youre eyes do not deceive you LDS, Inc. has more than $1 billion in for-profit property in Florida. The acres convert to 457 square miles, or .7% of the State of Florida. I cant say for certain, but my guess is that LDS, Inc. is the largest landholder in the state behind the government. For comparative purposes, Disney owns 25,000 acres (thats all of their properties, not just Disney World), or about 1/12th of the land owned by the LDS, Inc. holding company.
To tally all of this information, I actually built a spreadsheet that youre welcome to download and peruse. I also started drawing the land parcels in Google Earth, but once I realized just how many there were, I decided I just didnt have the time. I did complete all the land in Orange County and started on the land in Osceola County. If you want to see the maps or, better yet, if youd like to improve/complete the maps, you can download them here: Orange County, Osceola County. If you do download them and improve them, please send me a copy of the updated versions as Id like to have them.
As I was searching through these listings, on a whim I decided to see if Farmland Reserve, Inc. owned any property in my county, Hillsborough, FL, which is all the way across the state from Osceola and Brevard Counties. Turns out they do (see above table). Thats in addition to the $12 million owned by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Corporation, which is the company that holds the churches. This makes me wonder just how much property Farmland Reserve Inc. owns. I checked a couple additional counties in Florida but didnt find any more property.
One of the reasons I wanted to visit the ranch is because my aunt and uncle recently completed a mission there (I should have gone while they were there, but never made it). The amazing thing about the fact that they served a mission there is that they did zero proselytizing and they paid to serve their mission. So, what did they do? My uncle was a high school shop teacher. He knows how to build and repair homes. So, they put him to work building homes on the ranch. Hes round 70 years old and was working 12 hour days 6 days a week for 18 months. His wife ran some of the tours and did other odd jobs around the ranch. When I found out that my aunt and uncle were paying for the opportunity to work for Farmland Reserve, Inc., a billion dollar for profit company, I was not very happy. Not only did the LDS Church use tithing money to buy the ranch (Im assuming, maybe it was profit from some other business venture), but now it makes people pay for the opportunity to make one of their subsidiaries money. How is that at all ethical?
To wit, the obvious question is: How does the billion dollar ranching operation of the LDS Church further its religious aims? Why does a religion need a billion dollar ranch? Anyone?
Finally, all this searching around for property owned by LDS, Inc. led me to realize that we, the MSP community, could probably put together a pretty good estimate of the property holdings of LDS, Inc. (in the US at least) fairly easily if we distributed the work among us. If each person looked up the holdings of LDS, Inc. in their county and put them in a spreadsheet, we could aggregate them and keep a running total of known property value of the LDS religion. It would make a cool little widget for MSP to display. Thoughts?
Please note re: the many farms the Lds church owns & operates: Do you realize that they keep up a good chunk of it w/"volunteers" who earn nothing? -- in fact, they are less than slave labor because these retired couples have to pay their way to "serve" the farms there. Do you realize then that they are able to operate like a commercial enterprise w/little labor overhead @ non-profit tax rates?
Hey, that's OK. Jim Jones did the same thing first in Northern CA & then in Guyana.
Then there's the other problems the LDS church creates w/their commercial produce enterprise -- like this article from Jan '08 re: Idaho (& states it did the same thing in Washington state):
Note this quote from an LDS church member:
Declo farmer Mark Darrington, however, is also concerned the church intended to take over management and does not see that as being in the best interest of his community. "I am an active member of the Mormon Church, but facts is facts, he said. I did not want them to turn this into a big corporate farm because of the impact on the local community. For one, he said, local vendors are bypassed. I think that puts a bad taste not just in non-members mouth but also in members mouth. ...He said the church setting up a large entity and garnering large potato contracts would have an adverse effect...The church tends to not cooperate with growers, he said.
Source: Farmers face off with LDS Church
They don’t have anything on how much the Chinese own us!!!!
The Flying Inmans excelled in 2010 in exposing the reality behind these statistics:
* See post #28 by Greyfoxx39 at Are The [Mormon] General Authorities Deluded Religious Fanatics Or Manipulating Conmen?
* See post #28 by Greyfoxx39 at Noteworthy Flaws in Mormonism
* See post #19 by Reaganaut at Even with decline in baptisms, the church is still true
* See post #163 by Colofornian at The Return of 'Mormon'
and the japanese own a very large portion of Hawaii
Being a “not for profit” organization, the LDS doesn’t have to pay income tax on their net revenues.
Good for the LDS. As long as they paid for the property it’s really none of your business how much of Florida they own.
The Fanjul family owns much more land than that. Also at one time, John MacArthur did as well. If I’m not mistaken at one time MacArthur owned over 50% of Palm Beach County, which is the largest county in the state.
No kidding. Worry more about the Chinese. This is nothing.
Are they also exempt from property taxes?
I agree that it is questionable as to why your aunt and uncle would have to PAY to go perform hard labor at the ranch.
Did not find any property owned by LDS, Inc. in Douglas County, NE, but possibly I did not do it correctly.
Who knows how many acres in KS...and TX.
They also own a packing plant somewhere...
On a business trip to FL, a Mormon coworker of mine told me about the huge cattle ranch properties owned by the LDS in this part of FL. He also told me that in each state, the LDS has picked the most lucrative staple industry to invest and run. Mormons are very good about preparedness to ride out any economic/political/military crisis as a whole religious community. Those farms and businesses work as an integral “safety net” and the results (crops/products/services) are shared across all of LDS’ world-wide community.
Many other churches (Catholic, Baptists and Jews) do this on smaller scale and in the past religious enterprises played a greater role at taking care of the needy. In today’s world, most people go to the government first. I would argue that the Mormons generally are more civicly responsible than the average liberal. I have no problem at all with that.
Whatever the criticism—I would rather have the Mormons owning it rather than the Red Chinese or the Saudis.
“LDS, Inc. has more than $1 billion in for-profit property in Florida”
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.”
“Hey, let’s tear down our barns and build bigger ones to hold our wealth - also, some luxury Hawaiian spa hotels, some luxury shopping malls, most of Florida, and more wealth than most could imagine. Make those poor people donate their gold fillings! We need more!”
- Mormonism (LDS)
... and so it goes
"Makes people pay"? If they are literally doing that, it's a crime. If people are doing that of their own free will, it's none of my business.
Ethics, Smithics? Who knows?
And I'm far, far from being a mormonism defender.
I'd love to see my church get off the tax exempt rolls but believe me, I'm a lone voice crying in the wilderness.
If you peruse the Free Republic religion forums you will notice a pattern. There's an anti-Mormon group of people here that spends a great deal of their time attacking the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They post regurgitated propaganda on an almost daily basis.
They have a misguided obsession. You can witness many different tactics employed that you might find quite interesting. The straw man argument is a big favorite and is frequently preceded by cherry-picking quotes or other material. After the "quotation" the attacker will misrepresent what has been said or what was meant and then attack their own interpretation.Later they will have the audacity to claim they were "only" quoting our own material.
They will of course insist ad nauseum that they are merely using our sources and are therefore innocent of any deceptive practice. LDS persons have no issue whatsoever having our scriptures or leaders quoted as long as it is presented fairly and accurately. This is rarely (if ever) done.
Another favorite is posting scripture or statements which on their own really present no dilemma. They make something out of nothing while never bringing up a single objection that hasn't been addressed a hundred times before.
You might note a couple of other tactics used to try to antagonize is the use of disrespectful or insulting terms or language and/or pictures. That's a Christlike thing to do right? Yeah I don't think so either. It does speak volumes about them though.
Some of them claim being some sort of special witness to you as being supposedly former Mormons. So someone who is an ex-member of any organization would never have an axe to grind or have reason to try to justify their actions by any means? Perhaps not but perhaps so. The LDS Church gains members from other denominations as well as others faiths all the time. This doesn't make them an expert on anything and you certainly won't hear them attacking their forner Church.
Frequently they cruise the headlines of the day seeking any story that might be twisted into making the Church look bad. Anything will do, just watch the progression of posts following it and see what I mean.
After reading their posts, I invite you to seek the truth about whatever "issue" they seem to be "revealing" or "exposing". I promise that if you do so with honest intent, the "ahah" moments you will have will be many and frequent. You will start to recognize the tactics employed to cleverly twist and attack and will likely chuckle the more you see. In actuality, there's nothing new here. It's all been addressed many times before.
The latest twist in the anti-Mormon propaganda machine is to actually go to the links provided, but then they cherry pick what they want, then quote and straw man attack that. Clever. It almost appears that they are helping you, the seeker of truth out by doing some footwork for you. Not so much. Don't be insulted, look for yourself. It's not the haystack they want you to think.
Here's a few links to get your started from a different viewpoint. I have found that the vast majority of the "issues" brought up can be found and addressed at http://www.fairlds.org/ but here's more:
Now you will likely notice the "you never address or answer our points" posts pop up as usual. All after providing the answers just as you have here.
Sometimes it is claimed that these sites present a needle in a haystack. Far from it. But if you give up before you try you won't know will you? They often state that these sites provide no answer. They just don't want you looking. It is as simple as that.
Will you wear blinders too? Seek truth. Find out for yourself. Want to chat with someone on any topic? A few of these sites provide just that. So do your homework sincere seeker of truth. Listen and read from both "sides". Make up your own mind.
I witness to you of these truths and wish you the best, in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Not true. They have meeting houses and Temples that are exempt from taxes because they are a church.
Much of their assets are set up as For Profit in which they are not tax exempt.
When the LDS business folds, who gets to claim all this wealth ???
Tommy Monson or all 15 of the top CEOs ???