Does the Mormon Church own any companies?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church, is a prominent religious organization with over 16 million members worldwide. Given its size and influence, many wonder if the Mormon Church owns or operates any for-profit companies.

Quick Answers

In short, yes, the Mormon Church does own several large companies and businesses through an investment arm called Deseret Management Corporation (DMC). Some of the major companies owned by the Mormon Church include:

  • Bonneville International – Media and broadcasting company
  • Deseret Book – Publishing and book distribution company
  • Deseret News – Utah newspaper
  • Beneficial Financial Group – Insurance and financial services company
  • Temple Square Hospitality – Restaurants, hotels and venues around Temple Square
  • AgReserves – Agricultural company with farms and ranches

In addition to these wholly-owned companies, the Mormon Church holds minority investments in many other companies and entities. The estimated total value of the Church’s for-profit investments is around $40 billion.

History of the Mormon Church’s Business Interests

The Mormon Church has been involved in various business ventures almost since its formation in 1830. In its early history, the Church established communities and settlements in places like Ohio, Missouri and Illinois. To support these communities, the Mormons were involved in activities like farming, construction, printing and merchandising.

When the Mormons eventually migrated to Utah in 1847, they continued similar commercial activities. They established farms, general stores, printing presses and construction companies to build up the new community in Utah. Some well-known early Mormon businesses included the Deseret News newspaper, ZCMI department stores and the Hotel Utah.

In the late 1860s, the Mormon Church started an organization called Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI) to coordinate its various community-owned enterprises. Over the next several decades, ZCMI opened stores, factories, livestock operations and insurance companies. Profits were used to build up the Church and broader community.

In the early 1900s, the Mormon Church continued expanding its business activities. In 1919, leaders established Utah Home Fire Insurance Company. In 1922, they launched KSL radio station which eventually grew into Bonneville International. In the 1930s, the Church’s business interests were simplified and consolidated into two main entities – Utah Home Fire Insurance and ZCMI.

To provide centralized professional management of the Mormon Church’s business ventures, leaders formed Deseret Management Corporation (DMC) in 1966. Today, DMC remains responsible for the spiritual, financial and temporal affairs of the Church’s for-profit companies and commercial real estate interests.

Current Major Companies Owned by the Mormon Church

Here is an overview of some of the largest and most prominent companies currently owned and operated by the Mormon Church through its commercial arm, Deseret Management Corporation (DMC):

Bonneville International

Bonneville International operates radio and TV stations around the country. Major stations include KSL radio and TV in Utah. Bonneville International also owns and operates other prominent outlets like WTOP in Washington D.C.

Deseret Book

Deseret Book is a publisher and book retailer focused on Mormon-oriented religious and family-themed media. They operate over 35 retail stores and also sell online.

Deseret News

The Deseret News is a daily Utah newspaper focused on Salt Lake City and the broader Mormon community.

Beneficial Financial Group

Beneficial Financial Group provides insurance, investment and other financial services. They operate in the Western U.S. through brands like Beneficial Life and Utah Home Fire.

Temple Square Hospitality

This group operates dining, catering, event hosting and hotels around Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Major properties include the Lion House, the Beehive House, the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and the Hotel Utah.


AgReserves manages agricultural operations including farms and ranches in Utah, Florida, Nebraska and other states. Prominent assets include Deseret Ranches in central Florida.

Other Companies and Investments

In addition to its wholly owned companies, the Mormon Church has minority stakes in many other organizations. For example, the Church owns roughly 2% of stock in major American corporations like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Disney, Pepsi and GM.

The Church also invests in prominent real estate projects including the City Creek Center mall development near Temple Square in Salt Lake City and the Key Bank Tower in Cleveland.

Some other organizations the Mormon Church has invested in over the years include:

  • Zions Bank
  • Utah Jazz
  • Kennecott Land Company
  • Deseret Cattle & Citrus Ranch
  • Laie Hawaii Temple Visitor’s Center

The exact scope of the Mormon Church’s investments is private, but the total value is estimated to be around $40 billion based on available data.

Reasons for the Mormon Church’s Business Interests

There are several reasons why the Mormon Church owns profit-making commercial enterprises:

  • To support the Church’s finances and operations
  • To create jobs and support the broader community
  • To spread Mormon values through media and other platforms
  • To build the Church’s long-term wealth and stability

The Mormon Church says its businesses and investments follow ethical practices and Church principles. Profits from companies owned by the Church go toward funding its religious and humanitarian initiatives around the world.

Criticisms of the Mormon Church’s Businesses

Despite the Mormon Church framing its business interests as serving the community, some criticisms have emerged over the years, such as:

  • Lack of transparency around the Church’s finances and investments
  • Conflicts of interest between the Church’s spiritual and business aims
  • Unfair competition with non-Church owned businesses
  • Diversion of tax dollars away from government programs

In response, the Mormon Church has pointed to its track record of community focused business practices and ethical standards. The Church tries to balance financial prudence with its religious and social welfare objectives.

Comparison to Other Churches and Organizations

The Mormon Church is not unique in having extensive business interests beyond its spiritual activities. Some other examples include:

  • The Catholic Church has multi-billion dollar real estate and stock investments.
  • Evangelical megachurches operate publishing arms and media networks.
  • Groups like the Knights of Columbus or YMCA have insurance operations.
  • Hospitals and universities with religious roots often have large endowments.

However, the scale and scope of the Mormon Church’s investments through entities like Deseret Management Corporation and Ensign Peak Advisors is still relatively unusual compared to other faith-based organizations.

Church Estimated Assets
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) $40 billion
Catholic Church in Germany $26 billion
Opus Dei (Catholic institution) $2.8 billion
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America $1.9 billion


In summary, while the Mormon Church is primarily focused on its religious mission, it does own a number of large successful companies through entities like Deseret Management Corporation and Ensign Peak Advisors. These business interests generate profits to support Church operations while also creating jobs and community benefits.

However, the Church’s extensive investments and perceived lack of transparency have occasionally generated criticism as well. On the whole though, the Mormon Church sees its business activities as aligned with its spiritual and social welfare objectives.

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