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Saturday, November 9, 2013

LDS Church land purchase

Some of you may have seen a report or two that the LDS Church is expanding its land holdings in Florida. Not all reports say much about why or with what money the Church does this. Enter the Deseret News version:
Agriculture plays a key role in the LDS Church's management of reserves it holds in case of rough economic times, according to church leaders.
(...)
Church finances operate on two simple principles, Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve said during last month's general conference of the church.
"First, the church lives within its means and does not spend more than it receives," he said. "Second, a portion of the annual income is set aside as a reserve for contingencies and unanticipated needs. For decades the church has taught its membership the principle of setting aside additional food, fuel, and money to take care of emergencies that might arise. The church as an institution simply follows the same principles that are taught repeatedly to the members."
Leaders set aside a fixed percentage of church income to build reserves for what late church President Gordon B. Hinckley called "a possible 'rainy day.’ ”
"Prudent management requires that this money be put to use," he said during a church general conference in 1991. "In that process, we have purchased and hold some good, productive farms. They are well operated under capable management, and they yield a conservative rate of return. We have felt that good farms, over a long period, represent a safe investment where the assets of the church may be preserved and enhanced, while at the same time they are available as an agricultural resource to feed people should there come a time of need."
These commercial properties, like AgReserves Inc., pay property taxes and income tax on any profits.

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