The following is excerpted from the Deseret News. To read the full article, CLICK HERE

In a broadcast that aired Sunday, the CBS television program “60 Minutes” recycled four-year-old complaints about how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints handles its finances.

Most of the questions raised already have rather banal answers, which we discuss below.

But plain responses tend not to capture attention and drive TV ratings, especially during “sweeps” periods (like this month).

But the media’s unusual and enduring fascination with Latter-day Saint finances has extended over the better part of a century, begging the question: Is the goal of these similar media treatments to elucidate a misunderstood faith tradition or instead to further stoke public misgivings?

Riveting the journalistic eye

As a teenager, George Albert Smith worked to help support his family. While on a surveying job with Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, some harmful combination of desert dust and a scorching glare of summer sun damaged his vision, causing permanent impairment in his left eye.

Years later, Smith served as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the faith’s centennial celebration of the early Mormon pioneers arriving in Utah on July 21, 1947.

In conjunction with the anniversary, Time Magazine ran a cover story depicting then-President Smith with his injured eye fixated on a pile of dollar sign-leafed sugar beets in front of the temple with rows of gold plates in the background to drive home the point: What you need to know about Latter-days Saints isn’t the core tenets of their faith, but instead their sideways eye for amassing wealth.

And yet, it was just a few decades earlier the church had been on the verge of financial collapse — threatened with bankruptcy and the confiscation of holdings by the federal government. And a few decades into its second hundred years, the church still wouldn’t have the funds to complete its main office building on Temple Square.

To read the full article, CLICK HERE