Bloomberg Businessweek’s Controversial Mormon Coverpage

Bloomberg Businessweek released an early mock-up for the cover of its next issue which will feature the cover story, “Latter-day Lucre: How the Mormon Church Makes Its Billions,” by Caroline Winter. The article itself, which has been online since Tuesday, seems relatively balanced and non-controversial, and the online version is simply titled, “How the Mormons Make Money.”

The mock-up for the next Businessweek cover, however, is something different. It features an 1898 lithograph of the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood by the angelic John the Baptist to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, a sacred and important event in Mormonism’s  origin story. However the Bloomberg mock-up features speech-bubbles of the angel saying, “…and thou shalt build a shopping mall, own stock in Burger King, and open a Polynesian theme park in Hawaii…,” with a speech-bubble over Joseph Smith saying “Hallelujah.” The bottom of the cover is captioned in large capital letters, “INSIDE THE MORMON EMPIRE.”

The logic behind the offensive cover presumably is to stir up a small amount of controversy in order to get attention for an otherwise relatively objective article on the finances and investments of the LDS Church.