The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, aka the Mormon church, has a nest egg of one hundred billion US dollars. Yes, $100,000,000,000.
Leaving aside for now the fact that this money is all in a tax-exempt investment fund, this huge amount of money is just sitting around earning interest and not being spent. The church is not using these “surplus donations” for charitable works so I thought it would be interesting to try to figure out how that money might be put to good use.
According to UN data, the population of the United States was 329,064,917 in mid-2019. So, even without trying to decide who needs help, the Mormons could give every man, woman, and child $304, which would probably help a lot at Christmas time.
But, I think they would probably like to do something more practical with their money, and if it were me I’d want to try to house the homeless. The department of Housing and Urban Development says that there were 552,830 homeless people in the United States on a single night in 2018. $100 billion could be divided up to give each of those homeless people $180,887, which would go a long way to providing them with a home no matter where they live.
Maybe the church is more concerned about the welfare of children. The National Centre for Education Statistics says that there are 56.6 million students in elementary, middle and high schools in the United States. If the Mormons were to share their money with them, the children would get $1,767 each, which would be enough for them to pay for 353 lunches at $5 per meal.
Or, here’s another idea. A study published in Health Affairs found that, in 2016, one in six Americans had past-due health care bills on their credit report. Together, their debt totaled $81 billion. So, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, you could pay all those bills and still have $19 billion left over.
The church’s investment division is a company named Ensign Peak Advisors, and their president, Roger Clarke, has apparently said that the amassed funds would be used in the event of the second coming of Christ. Certainly, $100 billion would build a lot of grain silos and emergency warehouses, but I have a feeling they would run out of places to buy provisions long before they ran out of money.
Perhaps they think that Christ is going to need some walking around money when he gets here, which is fair. After all, He probably doesn’t have a lot of cash up in heaven. But at the same time, it is more than a little arrogant to think that the Lord needs their help.
Anyway, Mormons, I can think of a lot of ways you can put your cash to good use before Jesus gets here. Failing that, you absolutely should pay taxes on it.