Bloomberg Businessweek’s Anti-Mormon Cover: Imagine this Depiction of Your Faith?

David Harsanyi reveals this new Bloomberg  Businessweek cover:

Age-old anti-Semitic stereotypes are now being transposed onto another religion … one that happens to be the faith of a wealthy Republican candidate running for president.

Looking beyond the cover art, which will undoubtedly offend Mormons if not most Christians, the piece itself is fascinating –  even though it’s liberally sprinkled with curious and strained assertions, like: “perhaps unsurprising that Mormonism, an indigenous American religion, would also adopt the country’s secular faith in money.” Do Americans have a secular faith in money? No. Americans have faith in faith. The United States is more religious than almost any developed country in the world.

Read it all here.

Most of you reading this aren’t members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I’m not either.  That’s the beauty of being Americans — we get to choose what church door we open on Sunday.  (Or don’t open!) However, this is the type of media coverage we should be upsetting to all people, especially people of faith.

Can you imagine if they’d made a cover mocking your religion?  What about one mocking President Obama’s Jeremiah Wright’s black liberation theology?

Another blog made what they think is a more accurate version of the Bloomberg cover here.  Let’s stand together as the LDS church is mocked relentlessly, while the President’s theology gets a pass.  It will only get worse between now and November.

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  • steve

    I have occasionally volunteered at one of the hundreds of farms and canneries that is owned and operated by the LDS Church for humanitarian needs. One time I worked on a Church farm next to a Bishop’s Storehouse. As I sat and cleaned and sorted tomatoes, I noticed as car after car of individuals and their families would drive up to the storehouse and load up food supplies into their cars. I saw young mothers with young children, minorities, large families, and older couples bring out boxes and boxes of food supplies to their vehicles and drive away. Missionaries and young volunteers would carry in more boxes of food items to restock and replenish the emptying storehouse shelves. I felt grateful and humbled to be able to contribute in a small way to those in need.

  • Laura

    Thanks for your attention to this. Since when is Businessweek in the business of satire? Or is it outright mockery? Anyway, I had hoped you would include the LDS Church’s response to this found here: It is uncommon for the General Authorities to respond so directrly to something like this and I think it is worth a gander.
    A couple of important excerpts: “he vast majority of the income used to manage the Church comes from tithing, not from businesses or investments.
    Tithing has thus proved to be an enormous blessing to the Church and its people, along with simple but sound economic principles such as avoiding debt, living within one’s means and setting aside funds for a rainy day.” And specifically with regard to the implication that the Church Leaders are building up an empire rather than a Church:
    “Published numbers related to our humanitarian efforts include only dollars spent directly on humanitarian service. The Church absorbs the administrative costs. Furthermore, these numbers do not reflect the Church’s extensive welfare and employment services that serve many thousands worldwide. They also do not represent Deseret Industries thrift stores that provide vouchers to other charities for their use, donations to food pantries, or humanitarian- or welfare-focused missionary service or support given to aid other relief organizations in their missions. Hundreds of thousands of hours of donated service underpin Church programs such as these.”
    If we look at any major catastrophe in recent history, regardless of the country or continent, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has often been one of the first on the scene, many times before even the Red Cross, rendering aid, providing food, shelter and basic necessities. We do this out of a love for Christ and Fellow men. The implications of this article are hurtful and deeply saddening. Apparently, leftists only allow for tolerance of behavior that agrees with theirs, certainly not behavior that follows the patterns set by Christ himself.

  • Timothy Dalrymple

    Holy smokes.

  • Agkcrbs

    I guess if my idea of “breaking even” were to hover at or around a very high debt ceiling, I’d smirk at financially stable religious bodies too. The love of money is indeed troublous; money should not be endlessly accumulated, but constantly invested back into the business of mankind, back into capital and services. Most private entities do this to a sustainable degree. The LDS Church, not unlike some other churches, has enormous service operations of both an intangible and religious as well as a secular bent, running throughout the year, stretching across the globe; and even their explicit business funds go to good uses such as salvaging the decrepit urban environs of their headquarters (a.k.a. building a shopping mall). On disclosure, the Church does seem resistant to what amounts to government supervision and permission of all “commercial” activity — but, considering their funds sacred, the Church’s tight internal accounting mechanism leaves precious little opportunity for malfeasance. The ridiculous cover nor the article itself is especially offensive to me, but those who do revel in the satire should realize that villainizing all prosperity under a guise of false modesty does not so much reveal the top-down kind of greed as the bottom-up kind of greed.

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  • Norman Johnson

    One trivial matter related to the cover story. I pulled the following from the website for the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC). The Center was non-profit and it was a way for natives of the pacific islands to earn their way thru school, and to keep their culture alive. I do not know if it is still non-profit but for many years it did not cover all it’s own costs. The LDS church valued it for reasons other than as an exemption from taxes.
    “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opened the Polynesian Cultural Center, considered one of the world’s most successful cultural theme attractions, on October 12, 1963, to help preserve and perpetuate the more ideal aspects of Polynesian culture, and to provide work opportunities for students at the adjoining Brigham Young University Hawai’i.
    Since opening, over 33 million visitors have been introduced to the Polynesian people, their arts and customs, and nearly 15,000 BYU-Hawai’i students have helped finance their educational objectives while working as the friendly guides, performers and other PCC employees serving people from all over the world.”

  • Brian

    When the ZCMI Center opened in 1975, it was the largest downtown mall in America. It was also owned by the Mormon Church, and it is the very mall that has now been replaced by the new controversial mall. There was no controversy 40 years ago. But I suspect that if a Mormon were running for president, things would have been different then.

  • Terry

    As a LDS person and one who is quite familiar with the tactics of those who have some kind of ax to grind with the church, the Businessweek cover does not surprise me–or bother me either, for that matter. For some folks, no matter what the LDS church engages in, these folks will find fault. Humorous, actually, considering that the same folks would never darken the door of an LDS chapel, nor have anything to do with our teachings and doctrine. Yet they presume to dictate what the church should be doing with it’s money. Why they even worry about it is beyond me. It’s certainly not depriving them of anything.

  • Kay Stephens

    I am happy to see that you did find the LDS response to this and I read a lot of it, I am LDS and am not surprized or shocked, as a people we have seen much worse, but it will get bad and we know that so does Mitt.

  • Betty Warnick

    All I can say is thank you Patheos and shame on you Bloomberg. You know better. The price you paid to sell a few magazines may end up being very costly.
    As a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I am grateful for every volunteer hour I have been privileged to render and for every dollar in tithes I have had the good fortune to give. I have traveled the world and have the seen the good works of the church in action in almost every corner. It rarely makes the news because that is not the intent but its Christ-like example should be one that all good people everywhere not only respect but applaud.

  • Paul

    I had a social work professor at the University of Utah in 1975 who criticized the Church’s relatively new 26 story office building. The fact that it was taller than the temple bothered her. That’s what the critics choose to see, and I wonder how many of them spend regular hours volunteering at a food bank or cannery or welfare farm as many of us do. The Church does so much good on so many levels across the globe. It would be tough to regularly have a jet in the air and trucks on the ground, full of food, medicine and clothing headed to disaster areas within hours, if you were running your operation from 2nd rate facilities. Especially if the government came to help!

  • Joe Mormon

    I’m thankful for kind people who write articles in defense of others, and want to add that the Mall was originally built in the 1800s. After Businessweek’s ( : )) Anti-Mormon predecessors drove us from our homes with cannons (and many were killed by exposure), Mormons settled where some hoped we wouldn’t be able to grow food. The survival plan: pray, work, educate, etc, and see if God would open windows in this great land that I love.

    We started the first western University, a newspaper, and what has been called the world’s first mall- ZCMI, etc. And, while others were digging for gold in the surrounding mountains, Mormons made the desert blossom.

    We rebuilt the mall, using only funds from businesses, and we still run America’s largest private University, etc. And, in our effort to help people better themselves, Mormons donate more of their time, money, etc, than almost any other group.

    No one is getting rich off Church funds, but our blessings still seem to offend anti-Mormons, who repeatedly demand that we report everything to them. It’s none of their business what we do with our mall. The openhearted people already know that Mormons are doing far more good than the haters ever will… so the anti-Mormon is left only to dishonestly malign : )

  • Colin R UK

    As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I am not surprised at both the increased interest and opposition to the Church, especially in light of the forthcoming US elections. As a Church and a people we are not unused to criticism, opposition and bigotry. I have been a member of this wonderful Church for over 50 years and despite the many attempts in the media to discredit the Church and its people, I have seen for myself the truth of the matter. The best advert for the Church is the faith and the lives of its members. I have seen for myself the positive impact the Church and its teachings has on individuals and families. The current issue of the Church’s financial status is but another attempt to discredit the Church. These come and go, and the Church continues to grow and continues to bless the lives of millions around the world. I’m not concerned about such articles. I give people credit for being able to see through all these accusations, misrepresentations etc, and know that as they come to really see the LDS Church for what it really is, they will make up their own mind. Many will continue to oppose the Church. However, many will embrace it. It was never easy for the Savior, his Apostles or the members of the early Christian Church, why should we expect it to be any different for us?

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  • Mike

    Good for Businessweek. All religious ideas deserve to be mocked and ridiculed. The president’s religious ideas are not exempt either. It is great that religion is no longer a protected class (at least in the US). It will help end superstitious, harmful beliefs, and make people and organizations accountable for their actions. In america, you can no longer hide behind your holy books.

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  • Robert Y Valentine

    I am grateful that my great-grandfather fled anti-Mormon persecution in Bornholm, Denmark in 1853 and settled in Brigham City, Utah. His descendants are highly educated successful citizens of the United States and most are still very active in the so-called Mormon church. I wish that those who distrust or fear the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would find a local LDS chapel on Sunday and attend a worship service. There is no church more “mainstream” American than the LDS church, which has no paid clergy, allowing tithing funds to be devoted to religious purposes.

  • Dave

    So you object to a poorly written article which has nothing to do with Obama, and you respond to it by smearing Obama? How does that work, exactly? The ‘alternative cover’ is an absolute disgrace and blatantly unChristian. Obama is not responsible for the content of Business Week.

    You say:

    What about one mocking President Obama’s Jeremiah Wright’s black liberation theology?

    Let’s stand together as the LDS church is mocked relentlessly, while the President’s theology gets a pass.

    The President’s theology is not Jeremiah Wright’s theology. Obama belongs to the United Church of Christ, which is attended by liberals and conservatives alike. There’s nothing wrong with his theology as far as I can see.

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  • Sharon

    I guess you’ll see what you want to see. The way I understand it, if the Mormon Church is fair game for ridicule, then so is the President’s church; however, that w0ud never be done because that would be racism. But let me be clear, I’d find it offensive if they mocked the President’s religion too. Business Week showed poor taste in mocking what is sacred to someone else and it is obvious that it was for purely political reasons why they did it.

  • Diane

    What most people, include the press, fail to realize is that freedom of speech also requires responsibility for the words used when voicing an opinion. Some would say that we should be able to say what we want when we want it without any recourse. That kind of thinking mirrors a society that is above the law. Many liberals hide behind the free speech clause so that they can share radical and sensational ideas with impressionable young minds. The words that we use are a reflection of our own thoughts and ideas. In some cases, words of how we really feel about our employer, a public official, etc. can get us caught into defamation, slander, and libel lawsuits. But hey, what about that freedom of speech clause? Words have consequences. Bloombergs distasteful cover and writings also will deal them consequences. If the tables were turned, the Mormon church could say every ill thing they could conjure up against Bloomberg and other news outlets – but we all known that is not going to happen which speaks more positively about them then it does about Bloomberg. If no one is above the rights and responsibilities of the rule of law, then no one is above the rights and responsibilities of freedom of speech. But obviously Bloomberg feels otherwise.

    Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. ~Abraham Lincoln

  • Jay

    Now that is funny–the Polynesian Cultural Center a profit-making investment vehicle?? A theme park? Like Disneyland or Universal Studios??? Things have got to be pretty clean if that’s the best they can come up with. Talk about grabbing at straws. I don’t have anything against the Polynesian cultural center or anything, but seriously… stock in Burger King?? So where should the Mormon church hold its assets, only in companies that publish Bibles and manufacture organ pipes and church steeples??

    I like that the church’s response mentions more than 30,000 bishops that have access to church funds. Bishops do not receive any compensation for their long hours of service to the church. Although specifics aren’t talked about much, every week I saw funds go out for families and individuals in need, all confidentially to maintain the dignity of the recipient from everything to paying for monthly bills during employment problems, repairing damage to the home of a single-parent family, experiences for the youth, counseling help for those with addictions or other needs. All the funds come with counseling, access to general church resources such as employment, employment centers, church storehouses (for food without paying) and with support of others for the long-term welfare of the recipient. The accounting and auditing is very strict, the generosity of the members is amazing.