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Magazine cover angers Mormons

Published July 17, 2012 11:18 am

Religion • Illustration for LDS finances story is called "offensive" and "sophomoric."
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In this case, a picture may be worth a thousand slurs.

Bloomberg Businessweek's cover illustration for a story about LDS Church finances is setting off Mormons even before it hits newsstands Friday.

The illustration, playing off an iconic LDS image, depicts John the Baptist — with his hands on the heads of Mormon founder Joseph Smith and his assistant, Oliver Cowdery — saying, "And thou shalt build a shopping mall, own stock in Burger King and open a Polynesian theme park in Hawaii that shall be largely exempt from the frustrations of tax ... "

Another bubble quote has Smith responding, "Hallelujah."

The illustration is meant to highlight a probing article about Mormon business ventures titled "How the Mormons Make Money," written by Caroline Winter.

The cover is in "such poor taste it is difficult to even find the words to comment on it," LDS Church spokesman Michael Purdy wrote Thursday in an email. " ... The article misses the mark and the cover is obviously meant to be offensive to many, including millions of Latter-day Saints."

Even Daymon Smith, a source quoted in the piece, popped off about the illustration.

"The Bloomberg cover is just absurd and insulting," wrote Smith, a Mormon anthropologist. "It undermines the quality of Winter's article and gives the whole thing the appearance of some sophomoric, homemade evangelical broadside."

When asked if the magazine was getting angry reactions to the cover, Bloomberg Businessweek spokeswoman Patti Straus, told The Salt Lake Tribune: "The story speaks for itself."

pstack@sltrib.com