Bloomberg Business Week Cover Story (16 July-22 July 2012)
Here’s the context…: Image is from an 1898 lithograph of “The Youthful Prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., and Oliver Cowdery, Receiving the Aaronic Priesthood Under the Hands of John the Baptist, May 15, 1829. Recording a pivotal moment in the birth of Mormonism.
Of course added on to the historic image is editorial commentary from Businessweek referencing the many business ventures of notable Mormons. The story unceremoniously delves into the spirit of enterprise common in the ethos of modern-day Mormonism, while raising questions regarding the Church’s fiscal transparency.
It’s perhaps unsurprising that Mormonism, an indigenous American religion, would also adopt the country’s secular faith in money. What is remarkable is how varied the church’s business interests are and that so little is known about its financial interests. Although a former Mormon bishop is about to receive the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, and despite a recent public-relations campaign aimed at combating the perception that it is “secretive,” the LDS Church remains tight-lipped about its holdings. It offers little financial transparency even to its members, who are required to tithe 10 percent of their income to gain access to Mormon temples.
The article notes that the Mormon Church is hardly the only religious institution to be less than forthcoming about its wealth, but with the cover-art and highly tense current public discussion surrounding the religion (with a former bishop running for president and the hottest act on Broadway is a satire titled, “The Book of Mormon”), it seems imminent that the report will cause a stir.