We all know that Mitt Romney is rich, but just how much does his church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, get within a year? Oh, just about $7 billion. You know, about the size of the entire Moldova's entire gross domestic product. The figure comes from a Reuters report wherein the news organization, alongside sociologist Ryan Cragun, examined church records to estimate the amount, which is derived from tithes — part of the practice of members giving 10 percent of their income — and "other donations."
While Moldova, the tiny country wedged in between Ukraine and Romania, only has a population of 3,656,843 (including two bronze medal-winning women weightlifters), according to July 2012 estimates, the Mormon church says it has 14 million members worldwide. That said, Reuters notes that only "active members are most likely to tithe, and the result is that from a financial standpoint at least, the church remains largely a venture of active American members."
So there you go: the Mormon church brings in as much money each year as a small country's economy, and that is largely due to rich Americans.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.