Media in Salt Lake City—deep in the shadow of the Mormon temple—don't seem to have the perspective, impartiality, talent, whatever, to explore and explain the LDS power monolith as well as outside journalists. So, you can thank Mitt Romney for a growing, insightful and overdue scrutiny of Utah-based God Inc.
Businessweek offers one of the best looks yet into the secrets of the Mormon Church’s wealth–estimated at $40 billion, replenished annually by $8 billion in tithing. Blessed subsidiaries include 11 radio stations, a TV station, a newspaper, a hospitality business and insurance companies worth $3.3 billion.The article is titled, simply, “How the Mormons Make Money.”
Because the LDS Church keeps its books closed and even high-ranking insiders say the church’s finances are so compartmentalized that no single person—not even the president/prophet/revelator knows the extent of its holdings. (So much for the “seer” part of his title.)
But even more fascinating, the Businessweek article delves into the theology and culture behind the Mormon Money Mindset. Other religions separate cold cash from spiritual riches– for example, Jesus and his “blessed are the poor” shtick and offering lousy odds for the rich getting into heaven.
Mormons, not so much.
Historian D. Michael Quinn tells writer Caroline Winter:
“The Mormon Church is very different than any other church. … Traditional Christianity and Judaism make a clear distinction between what is spiritual and what is temporal, while Mormon theology specifically denies that there is such a distinction. In the Mormon worldview, it’s as spiritual to give alms to the poor, as the old phrase goes in the Biblical sense, as it is to make a million dollars.”
Ryan Cragun, a sociology professor and co-author of Could I Vote for a Mormon for President? says:
“Given their array of corporate interests, it would probably make more sense to refer to them as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Holdings Inc.”
This kind of $pirituality is bound to delight Romney's big donors, but how about the average independent voter already suspicious of Mitt's church.?