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Monday, March 10, 2014

246: MORMONOPOLY: BUILDING "ZION" ONE PROPERTY AT A TIME


When I was a little kid, sometimes instead of a lesson for Family Night Evening, we would play board games. One of my favorite games was Monopoly. It is a game where the players move around the gameboard buying properties, developing their properties by building housing and then collecting rent from their opponents.  For the LDS market, I had an idea for a new variation of the game. I would call it Mormonolopy.

 
All of us are very familiar with the non-profit side of the Church with the buildings of Temples, churches, and the missionary program, but most are not familiar with the LDS Church for-profit companies. I thought it might be good to have fun playing a game with some of the properties that the Church owns. These are investment properties and companies that are income-producing assets. One would assume that these properties are helping with the Church's 3 fold mission, (actually I think there are four missions now.) It was announced recently the additional 4th mission: To Care for the Poor and the Needy.


Many might be surprised to know that the LDS church is the largest non-governmental land owner in the US. It is not unusual for the Church to buy land. It normally does so through its primary corporate entity, the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  news article
 
In a recent fireside at our stake, a Church employee spoke and shared with us that the Church builds more square footage in United States than Walmart. I don't know what the Church's exact square footage is, but as of January 31, 2014,  Walmart  has built almost 1 billion square feet. ( 723,385,669 square feet to be exact) stats 

Last week,  Suburban Land Reserve (one of the real estate arms of the Church) met with the City Council to propose a preliminary Planned Unit Development (PUD) in Herriman.  The LDS Church owns 300 acres in Herriman approximately at 6801 W 11800 South.  and hopes to get approval to subdivide the land into 2,549 home building lots. (Minutes to the City Council Mtg.)

A few years ago, "The Mormon Church has purchased a major chunk of undeveloped property in overbuilt Maricopa from two major home builders. Property Reserve Inc., a real-estate holding company owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, paid home builders Fulton Homes Corp. and Shea Homes for Active Adults a combined $72 million in October for about 1,900 acres of virgin land in the Pinal County city, 35 miles south of Phoenix." LDS Purchases Maricopa land from builders in Arizona

While a developing land to subdivide into home lots is one thing, when I learned that the Church has land with plans to develop an entire new city, I was really surprised. Here are some specifics of developing the Elberta/Goshen area. For those who are not familiar with this area, this is the land that is being used to film all of the New Testaments Bible videos for the Church.

http://www.utahcounty.gov/Dept/ComDev/Planning/UtahCountyGoshenValleySpecificAreaPlan.pdf

 
 
A few other purchase of the Church within the past 10 years:

International Corporate Park in Orlando bought by LDS Church's Surburban Land Reserve.
http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/stories/2007/08/27/daily52.html

  • Suburban Land Reserve announced late Friday that it has bought the International Corporate Park in east Orange County for an undisclosed price.  Scott Dean, a vice president with the Utah-based firm, says work with Orange County and the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority will begin immediately to complete the development and construction of the Innovation Way interchange at the 528 Beachline.

LDS church transfers Northwest Quadrant to Kennecott
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/52567975-90/kennecott-development-church-lake.html.csp

  • Most of the quadrant has been owned by the LDS Church for decades, once serving as a welfare-era farm during the Great Depression. Duke, with the LDS Church's real-estate arm, notes PRI now holds 2,000 acres there, 1,000 of which is the city's former landfill.  Firmage says the LDS Church was "frustrated" by the inability to make a return on its sprawling investment. He says the housing market makes it too risky to develop, so he hopes to see an easement or the like to protect the land as open space." 
For those that are interested, here is a partial list of some of the other LDS for-profit companies and  property holdings.
 
  • Deseret Management Corporation 
  • Property Reserve, Inc.
  • Suburban Land Reserve, Inc
  • City Creek Properties
  • Beneficial Financial Group 
  • Bonneville International 
  • Bonneville Communications 
  • Bonneville Interactive Services
  • Bonneville Satellite 
  • KSL Radio Station as well as other affliates.
  • Television Station (KSL)
  • Deseret Book 
  • LDS Motion Picture Studios
  • Deseret Morning News 
  • Hawaii Reserves 
  • Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) 
  • La'ie Shopping Center
  • La'ie Park
  • La'ie Cemetary
  • Hukilau Beach Park
  • La'ie Water Company
  • La'ie Treatment Works (sewer)
  • Temple Square Hospitality 
  • Joseph Smith Memorial Building 
  • The Inn at Temple Square 
  • Lion House Pantry 
  • The Roof Restaurant 
  • The Garden Restaurant 
  • Passages Restaurant 
  • Zions Securities Corporation 
  • Farm Management Corporation 
  • Deseret Land and Livestock
  • Sun Ranch (Martin's Cove)
  • Deseret Ranches of Florida (Orlando)
  • Deseret Farms of California
  • Rolling Hills (Idaho)
  • West Hills Orchards (Elberta, Utah)
  • Cactus Lane Ranch (Arizona)
  • Deseret Trust Company
  • LDS Family Services
  • Property Reserves Inc. (PRI)
  • Ensign Peak Advisors - 
  • Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators 
  • Brigham Young University (BYU) 
  • BYU - Idaho 
  • BYU - Hawaii
  • LDS Business College
  • Agreserves Australia 
  • Deseret Ranches of Alberta, Canada
  • Agreserves LTD Cambridge,England
  • AgroReservas, S.C. Los Mochis, Mexico
  • Deseret Farms of CA Woodland, CA
  • Deseret Farms of CA Modesto,CA
  • Deseret Farms of CA Chico,CA
  • South valley Farms Bakersfield, CA
  • Deseret Security Farms Blythe, CA
  • Naples Farms Naples,FL
  • Deseret Cattle & Citrus ST. Cloud, FL
  • Deseret Farms of Ruskin Ruskin, FL
  • Kewela Plantation O'ahu,HI
  • Rex Ranch Ashby, NE
  • Riverbend Farms ST.Paul, OR
  • Deseret Land & Livestock Woodruff, UT
  • Wasatch-Dixie Farms Elberta, UT
  • Agreserves Cottle CO.,TX
  • Agrinorthwest Kennewick, WA
 
  
I would be interested in know how these companies and properties fulfill the missions of the Church, and with "hastening the work". It might be my lack of understanding but, it seems to be a lot of business as usual.  Large land parcels of several thousand acres for agriculture seems like a good thing.. but long-term development, mixed use projects, office, industrial, high rise condos seems more like Monopoly.

Sidenote:

Genesis 11:4–6
"And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and they said, "Come, let us build us a city, and a tower, with its top in heaven, and let us make us a name". And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one. . . Let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand . . . and the Lord scattered them."

 The Gospel of Thomas, 64:1–12
 "Buyers and merchants will not enter the places of my father."



18 comments:

  1. So BRT, what are your favorite books and blogs?

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    Replies
    1. The scriptures.. and anything else that contains truth.

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  2. Where did you hear about the church announcing a new mission to care for the poor and needy? I've tried googling, but the search terms I gleaned from your post are nonspecific enough that I'm not getting anything helpful. (As if we needed to actually put "to care for the poor and needy" as part of the stated mission of the church. Jesus kind of covered that clearly during His life, and saved souls can't help but actively seek out those they can help. Needing to declare it seems odd to me.)

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    1. The LDS Church is adding "to care for the poor and needy" to its longstanding "threefold mission," which is to preach the LDS gospel, purify members' lives and provide saving ordinances such as baptism to those who have died.

      This mission first was coined by late LDS President Spencer W. Kimball in the 1980s and since then has been repeated as a mantra by the church's more than 13 million members.

      The new group of phrases will be described as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' "purposes," rather than missions, and will be spelled out in the next edition of the LDS Church Handbook of Instructions , due out next year, church spokesman Scott Trotter confirmed this week.

      http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_13965607


      http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705350795/LDS-to-boost-emphasis-on-helping-the-needy-Salt-Lake-Temple-not-closing.html?pg=all

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    2. How convenient that "caring for the poor and the needy" is so damn profitable.... who'd a thought?

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    3. Annalea, I remember hearing it announced at a general conference several years ago.

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  3. You can call it Zion but it is not. Joseph Smith failed to build Zion, and as far as I know Zion has not been here since 4th Nephi.

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    Replies
    1. Notice the quote and unquotes around the word "Zion" :)

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  4. 1 Nephi 22:23 "For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain...are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake; they are those who must be brought low in the dust; that are those who must be consumed as stubble...". Go read the whole verse, it equates building up to get gain, to be popular in the eyes of the world, etc. with belonging to the kingdom of the devil.

    This is from that book described by Joseph Smith as "the most correct book on earth".
    Oh wait, he is just another dead prophet. Oh, well.

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    Replies
    1. The church of the first born is the only church I care about being a member of...there are really only two churches in this world.

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  5. Oh, too late. Mormonopoly has already been created (seriously). My family owns it. The most expensive property is naturally Adam-Ondi-Ahman, but you can also buy properties like Golgotha (seriously), Bethlehem (because the birthplace of Christ is somehow owned by the Mormons exclusively???) and the BYU Bookstore. I'm not even joking. This game really exists as I describe it.

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    Replies
    1. That's what I was going to say when I first read the blog post. It isn't quite the same as the one Bare Record would create, though.

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  6. http://www.lds.net/gallery/view/id_3579/field_/title_Mormonopoly-I-never-knew/

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  7. Barerecord -- I went to bed last night with a number of thoughts on my mind (you not being one of them, lol). I know I have a number of things going on in my life right now, which could have completely affected the impressions, messages, my experience last night, but I'm going to go ahead a just pass this along anyway. Maybe it means nothing ...

    Last night I had been pondering the experience of a couple of men, one of them I came across some time ago, Charles Gilchrist, an artist who works with, creates and paints Sacred Geometry. The other was a very short (40 min) documentary, simply called "Cavedigger." While one could be taken with the work that both of these men have done, I am more quickly moved by the story behind the work, the transformation of these men as a process.

    Charles has been doing this work for decades, his painting are absolutely incredible. He uses a number of youtube's that not only convey his passion, but teaches individuals about sacred geometry. Two youtubes in particular are supposed to be included in this message:

    Sacred Languages -- http://youtu.be/64NR8gIcaD0

    The first listed speaks to three sacred languages; 1) sacred sound 2) sacred sequence and 3) sacred geometry.

    In the second, Charles speaks to "redeeming fallen symbols." There is much talk about "priesthood" "Zion" "Kingdom of God" "Kingdom of Heaven" ... symbols, that members use, like the swastika, that no longer hold their originally intended meaning. There is something powerful about taking a symbol that is fallen, picking it up and placing it back in the Heavens where it rightfully belongs.

    Swastika Alchemy -- http://youtu.be/QakD-vezEMA

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  8. For Barerecord (contined):

    Lastly, it was somewhat seridipitious that I came across "Cavedigger" ... As discussed, "Ra" or so he goes by, never really fit into the whole learning, school, read a book mentality. As a "late bloomer" to life, around 40 he became very interested in digging caves...don't laugh ... There are some VERY significant quotes from the documentary specific to his work. I know I'm stretching here, but there are some that are quite anxious for the upcoming movie about Noah, others are equally very interested in Zion; how it will be built, how is it created, what does it take to allow for something such as Zion to come ... now at age 65+ working on His final magnum opus, the messages in this very short doc are extremely pertinent to the conversation at hand (PS ... "His" work is incredible!).

    Cavedigger Trailer -- http://youtu.be/eY5PY-1-Iks
    (I watched it on Amazon)
    Lastly, after going to bed, I had a dream ... much of it nonsense ... but as I awoke this morning, there was two things that stuck out. First, you were in it. We, and others were stuck up at a cabin, due to snow--long story. the part of the dream that you were in was we were with a number of young children outside playing in the snow having a snowball fight. I went back into the cabin and the owner of the cabin came in and distinctly stated "You will have to go back to Salt Lake City" (which holds its own meaning for where I am ...)

    As I ponder it now, seeking answers, with all that is above, because I believe part of this message to you (or something in here has you included in it) these three things are connected. I know how absolutely you love your children .. you love His children. I know how much you are connected to nature; to sacred sound, sacred sequence and sacred geometry. I know that despite what often gets thrown around on this blog, you absolutely love Christ, and love even those who have taken the sacred and defiled it...point, you deeply care about and love God's children, you love His work.

    Please know that in sharing this, I'm not passing along any suggestion to start drawing Sacred Geometry or digging holes in the desert. It was / it is the message behind those metaphors. It is about Him, His children, His work and connecting ourselves with it. It must come directly from Him, through us.

    Thank you.

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  9. Tithing was never meant by God to be used for building churches, temples, missionary work, salaries for leaders, or malls or any other business or building. It was for the poor 100 %. But the Church only gives token efforts to help the poor just so it can say it does, and it came up with the idea of 'fast offerings' to look good and like they are really helping the poor but so it doesn't have to come out of the real cash cow of tithing.

    It is so blatant that the Church is so completely untrue and corrupt that it is too much too believe for most members, so they just make excuses for the Church and put their blinders on and go into denial and keep repeating to themselves and others the line they have been taught since they were born, 'that the church is true and can't go astray'.

    Only those who have courage to live the truth will find see or find it. All others will blindly follow and financially support evil and corruption, no matter how many suffer around them, and often no matter how much they themselves are made to suffer by said Church. Most people still will not wake up no matter how much money or time you ask of them, for they don't want to take responsibility for their own salvation, they want to treated like children and be told everything to do and what is right or wrong by leaders.

    So the Church can do anything, ask for even more of member's money & time, build extravagant malls, give leaders huge salaries to live high on the hog on the widows mite, buy up the world, ignore the poor & needy, bring back polygamy, allow divorce & remarriage for burnt toast, allow SSM in the temples, allow people to have affairs and them allow them to divorce their current spouse and marry the affair person in the temple, so where church just becomes a spouse swapping arena. And most members will blindly go right along with it all and praise the leaders as they go.

    No want wants to have to think, study or pray or be righteous. It's becoming the church of anything goes, for that is what the people want. The quickest way to get exed is to start thinking for yourself and standing up for what's right.

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  10. Easy solution...stop paying tithing to the church. Since tithing is mostly meant to lift up the poor, give directly to the poor. Stop financing shopping malls and high rise office buildings, and vast tracts of prime farm land, and exorbitant salaries for the "unpaid" clergy with your tithing. It will become increasingly difficult for the church to play "Mormonopoly" if the money spigot gets turned off. When (if) the church ever gets around to remembering the words, "for the building up of the kingdom of God upon the earth and for the establishment of Zion" I will resume paying tithes to the church. Until then, my tithing money goes directly to the poor.
    JR

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  11. Technology today give you ease in access to public documents including allowing you to perform online property records search. This kind of seek out allows to get very important information on properties that you are planning to purchase such as the legal name of registered owner.

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