by Tiara Williams
Mormons represent a small religious community that comprises 1.4 percent of the US population. They are heavily populated in Utah where their church is headquartered. We rarely hear about Mormons, other than when people are talking about Mitt Romney. It seems they live peacefully, praising Joseph Smith Jr. for his “divine interaction” with God and mind their own business. But their business is doing a lot of talking, because they are one of the wealthiest communities in America.
In fact, this tiny community has more wealth than the entire African American community. We can’t discount slavery’s role in this equation, but there are some wealth building principles that we can peep out among Mormons that might be helpful to us.
About a year ago, the Mormon community opened a mega mall in Salt Lake City, UT. The mall cost about 1.5 billion dollars to build, and sits directly across the street from the Mormon Neo-Gothic Temple. The beautifully landscaped mall has approximately 100 commercial stores, multi levels, skyways and restaurants. Currently, the mall is now worth about five billion dollars.
In addition to the mega mall, Mormons now have ownership over countless businesses in their communities. According to businessweek.com, “First among its for-profit enterprises is DMC, which reaps estimated annual revenue of $1.2 billion from six subsidiaries. Those subsidiaries run a newspaper, 11 radio stations, a TV station, a publishing and distribution company, a digital media company, a hospitality business, and an insurance business with assets worth $3.3 billion.”
In theory, the African American community is a wealthy community. We have 1.1 trillion dollars of spending power, we have wealthy entrepreneurs, media moguls and rappers that make it rain endless amounts of money in the strip clubs. So, why can’t we compete with the Mormon community?
In essence, we are lacking of our own DMC. The Deseret Management Corporation is a management and holding company of for-profit businesses owned by Mormons or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The DMC is like the mother and the subsidiaries are the babies, and as a family they make lots of money. There is not one person in the group who starves, they can all eat and build more together. While the Morman are currently planning to build a 32-story building around the corner from the mega mall, we don’t have a plan. We’re just spending.
Our community lacks a mother and father and the babies are left to survive, and some of them do, while other do not. Our community should consider putting our monies together and flourishing as a community. This would lower murder and poverty rates, give our new children ways to thrive and bind a divided nation. Let’s live like the Mormons, at least when it comes to building our wealth.