Why Does the Mormon Church Want to Build a Small City in Florida? July 29, 2015

Why Does the Mormon Church Want to Build a Small City in Florida?

The Mormon Church is trying to create a small city in Florida:

The church-owned Deseret Ranches is going through the bureaucratic process in Florida to win approval to transform rural farmland, used for 65 years to raise cattle, into a metropolis of a half-million residents within a 133,000-acre corner of Osceola County, not far from Orange County, the home of the world-renowned Disney resort in Orlando.

Eric Jacobsen, general manager of Deseret Ranches, says turning portions of the ranch into a residential and commercial development is simply a practical business decision.

All of this would make sense if we were talking about Donald Trump (well, okay, not even then)… but why do Mormons want to create a small city that’s open to the public when preaching Mormonism to them isn’t listed as one of the goals? To make a profit, presumably, but why? They’re not supposed to be a business!

Maybe you say they’re just trying to invest their money and grow it, which makes sense considering it’s not the first time the Mormon Church has invested in secular businesses.

But if that’s the case, ex-Mormon Justin wants to know why money that was tithed is being used — directly or indirectly — to finance things that don’t involve spreading the word of God (which is why people tithe in the first place):

The apologists claim that only dividends from previously invested tithed money was used to pay for the $1.5 billion shopping atrocity [City Creek]. Why was that money invested in dividend-providing accounts in the first place? Why does any tithed money go unused? Why is it not, instead, used to invest in future tithers — er — members? Why was that money not used to build more churches? Open more missions? Recruit more missionaries? Lower the financial burden for faithful missionary families. Increase humanitarian aid? Or — ha ha ha — reduce the amount of tithing that members are required to pay? I feel that at least one of those alternative investments might be something a certain Nazarene might feel comfortable in endorsing.

It’s a great question. Of all the things you’re supposed to do with tithed money, building a shopping center or a full-blown community — even if profits eventually get used to promote the religion — isn’t on the list. And if making money is part of your Church’s mission, why are members getting tax exemptions for their donations?

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